Released: September 2014
Publisher: Bradwell Books
Size: 180 x 110mm
Author: David J A Bell
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A collection of solved and unsolved murders from Staffordshire. The murders are recounted in a factual analysis of the events leading up to the murder and how the perpetrators were tracked down, tried and what punishment was handed down.
In this book of Staffordshire murders, the stories range from 1797 to 1978. In the account from 1797, a wealthy pottery owner did not want his daughter to marry a lowly young doctor, which might sound strange to modern ears. Medicine was not regarded as a profession then, and the father forbade her from seeing her young man, a ban which led to a tragic outcome.
Another story tells how, in the severe winter of 1947, the boys living in an approved school near Eccleshall planned to escape after murdering the headmaster and stealing his car. The plan went awry, and they actually shot another teacher and had to escape in deep snow on foot. The following year, a young man in Codsall was assassinated by terrorists, who were actually aiming to kill his brother.
Unsurprisingly, Staffordshire’s notorious poisoner, Dr William Palmer, puts in an appearance, as do the canal boatmen who murdered their passenger, a woman trying to get from Liverpool to join her husband in London. As she hadn’t enough money to afford to travel by coach, she decided to take a cheaper journey by Pickford’s canal boat, only to die tragically en route.
The murder of a newspaper boy in 1978 led to an infamous miscarriage of justice, described here. Two years earlier, a young lady was kidnapped for ransom by a ruthless man who had already killed three times during post office robberies. When things went wrong, he had no scruples about murdering her too.
Add in the poacher who was hanged twice, the murder of a headmistress in Burton, a tragic love triangle in Rudyard, and the bizarre case of a man who wanted to commit suicide by committing a murder and being hanged for it, and the reader will find much of interest in the crimes that have occurred in the county of Staffordshire.
Staffordshire Murder Stories is a family title and does not include graphic details of events. There are however some images of the location where the murder took place or photographs of the perpetrator.
David J A Bell