Murder and Crime in Sheffield

The grim and bloody murders in this book, many of which have not been written about for more than a century reveal the dark heart of Victorian Yorkshire. These crimes reflect the poverty and squalor in which a lot of people lived. Many would not look out of place in a work of fiction – a body abandoned in the middle of the street, highway robbery, a woman kicked to death by her husband and man murdered by his wife and her lover who then tried to make his death look like suicide. Most of these crimes took place in notorious areas of Sheffield where domestic violence and crime were rife and some cases involved neighbours hearing shouts an sceams which they ignored because they were so used to hearing them. Richly illustrated with archive and modern photographs, this gruesome collection will fascinate anyone with an interest in Sheffields history. Published December 2009

Chapter Synopsis

Chapter One The Body in the street – where a man’s body is discovered with marks in the snow which led to his killer

Chapter Two Manslaughter at Red Croft – where a man is murdered by the husband of a brawling woman

Chapter Three The Mystery of the Watch – this is a tale of highway robbery and how the finding of a watch led to the capture of two brothers

Chapter  Four Inflicted after death – this is the case of a man murdered by his wife and her lover and attempts to make it look like suicide

Chapter Five The Barrack Murders – this tells the story of two murders committed within the Barracks at Sheffield

Chapter Six A cruel Husband – this takes place in one of the many beerhouses of the town that was also a lodging house. A husband kicks his wife to death and tells other people that she has been poisoned.

Chapter Seven A disturbance in Market Street – a pub fight that ends in murder, but what was the cause?

Chapter Eight Dont hurt me father – a sad and terrible case of a man beset with mental health problems who dashes his baby’s brains out on the family hearthstone.

Chapter Nine Quack Medicine – at a time when medicine was quite expensive many families relied on their own medicine, medicine shared by neighbours and potions bought from disreputable salesmen. Some of these ended in death

Chapter Ten A thoroughly bad sort – there are some people who will never accept the evil deeds that they commit. Today we call them sociopaths. In this case we have a young man who had no compunction in robbing and attempting to murder an old man

Chapter Eleven White Powder in the beer – this is the story of a jilted lover and how he tried to poison his exgirlfriend in the beer which her son brought for her every night.

Extract from the book

Dr. Thompson gave Charles Henry Sampson some medication to calm him, on Friday January 3rd 1881 and he told his wife that she must not leave him on his own as he was a danger to himself. He urged her to go and see Dr. Willingham the next day and ask that he give her a ticket for the workhouse where Sampson could be contained in the padded cell there and looked after properly. On Saturday Sampson appeared to worsen attacking his wife’s brother Owen and throwing him out of the house. Mrs Sampson got up early the next morning due to her husband shouting out and went downstairs carrying the youngest baby, Ruth with her.She made up a bed for her in the clothes basket and left her in front of the fire. At 6am Sampson asked his wife to get him some brandy and water and thinking that it may calm him she agreed. When she went out into the court to the little shop there she told some workmen that her husband was in a terrible state and asked them to intervene if there was any sign of trouble. She returned to find that Owen had been attacked once again and was outside of the house. Hearing a scream and a dull thud she realized that little Ruth was still in the house and she became very fearful for her safety. It later appeared that Sampson had picked her up by her feet and smashed her head against the hearthstone.

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