Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Callous Husband Admits Intent to Kill Wife

In 1911 a man killed his wife before handing himself in to the police and pleading guilty at his trial, but this plea still wasn't enough to save him from the hangman.

Fifty Seven year old seaman Thomas Seymour married his cousin Mary in 1904, with some suggesting that it was down to an inheritance she had received. The couple moved to a property at 3 Breckfield Place, part of which remains off Breckfield Road North, near the Grove pub.

By 1910 Seymour had left the Merchant Navy and spent most of his days drinking. The relationship had deteriorated and Mary often left him after a beating, only to return. On 11th March 1911 Mary's sister Elizabeth knocked at the house and Seymour refused her entry, but when she did manage to push him aside she was confronted with the sight of Mary lying dead on the floor, her head beaten to a pulp with a coal hammer.

Seymour calmly told Elizabeth he was going out to find a policeman. On handing himself in, the officer thought he was crazy but was then confronted with the sight of Mary's body. Seymour then co-operated with the coroner's inquest and on his first appearance at the magistrates' court asked if the matter could be dealt with there and then to avoid wasting any more time. This request was refused due to the stipendiary magistrate not having enough sentencing powers and he was committed to stand trial at the Liverpool Assizes on 19th April.

Continuing to show total indifference to his fate, Seymour pleaded guilty and said he had intended to kill his wife. Justice Avory refused to accept this plea and instead adjourned for lunch. In the early afternoon Seymour was brought back into court and the prison medical officer, Dr Arthur Price, was questioned by the judge. Dr Price stated that he had observed Thomas since 13th March and he seemed fully aware of his actions and the consequences of them. Seymour was then taken back down to the cells to be spoken to by counsel, who were told by the judge to reiterate the consequences of a guilty plea.

When Seymour came into the dock for the third time that day he was quite agitated, replying 'Certainly I do' when asked if he understood that there was only one sentence that could be passed. Telling Seymour that he had an air of indifference, Justice Avory passed the death sentence and the prisoner then walked firmly down the steps to the cells.

No appeal against the sentence was made and Seymour was hanged at Walton by John Ellis on 9th May, continuing to show no emotion. Due to the notoriety of the case, a larger crowd than usual turned up outside the gaol, described by the Liverpool Echo that evening as 'a bigger cluster of busybodies.'

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