Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Man Buries Hatchet Into Wife's Head

In 1897 Thomas Lloyd was hanged after an apparent confession to the murder of his wife, saying that he would swing for her.

55 year old boilermaker Thomas lived with his wife, 52 year old Julia in a house shared with other families in Tillard Street, which was off Fountains Road in Kirkdale. It was a stormy marriage, with frequent alcohol fuelled rows and it was one of these that led to the tragic events that saw both of them end up dead.

In June 1897 Thomas left their home for several days but on the 19th he plucked up the courage, after downing several pints, to ask Julia to take him back. She relented but the following morning Julia was found by a neighbour lying in a pool of blood with serious blows to her head and was taken to the Stanley Hospital.

Thomas remained on the run for nearly a week and was picked up by police on 24th June, initially telling the officer, 'I did it, I'll swing like a man.' However on being charged with attempted murder he told detectives at Westminster Road Bridewell that nobody saw him strike her. After Julia died in Stanley Hospital of a haemorrhage two days later Thomas was then charged with murder. There was a further tragedy prior to the inquest which took place on 1st July when police officers attended the property to summons two females. They were found  in bed, one of them having lain over her baby daughter causing her to suffocate to death.

Thomas was tried at the next Liverpool Assizes on 30th July. Other residents of Tillard Street told how they had heard drunken rows coming from the Lloyds' room on 19th June, with Thomas having been heard to shout 'I will kill you and the other too.' Thomas had also been seen walking around with a hatchet and soon afterwards shout 'I will cut your head off.'

Thomas's counsel argued that he was provoked into the crime by Julia's bad temper and asked for a verdict of manslaughter. However the judge directed that the jury could only find him either guilty or not guilty of murder. The jury returned a guilty verdict after just twenty minutes and he was sentenced to death by Justice Bruce (left), who called it a savage attack. There was some sympathy for Thomas and over 9,000 signatures were collected in a petition that was handed to the Home Secretary on 14th August. Despite this a reprieve was refused and Thomas was hanged at Walton on 18th August.

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