Monday, 8 February 2016

Wife Hammered to Death

A man who battered his wife to death the morning after enjoying a game of snooker was found to be insane and the time of the killing.

At 715am on the morning of Friday 26th May Harold Wood, a 39 year old foreman painter, walked into Speke police station and calmly told the officer at the front desk that he had just killed his wife with a hammer. Asked if he was sure of what he had just said Wood replied 'Yes I waited until she was dead before I came to you.'

An officer accompanied Wood to his home in Bray Road where the battered body of 35 year old Elsie lay in the bedroom. Wood then picked up a hammer and handed it to the officer, who placed him under arrest. When asked why he had done it Wood said 'I dont know, something came over me, we had no quarrel, she was a good wife.'

Wood appeared at the police court that morning where he was remanded in custody for a week. The following day the inquest was opened and adjourned, the only evidence being heard from a doctor who carried out the post mortem, who said that the injuries could not have been self inflicted.

On 5th June, the day before the Normandy Landings, Wood was committed for trial at the next Liverpool assizes. One of his friends, George Norwood, told the court that prior to going to the police station that fateful morning Wood had called to his Ramsbrook Close home and said to him 'I have killed the missus, I am going to the police station. I don't suppose I will see you anymore, you have been a pal.' Just the previous evening the two men had enjoyed a game of snooker together and Wood appeared normal. However Norwood told the court that he had been worried about his work of late.

Wood appeared before Mr Justice Croom-Johnson just nine days later, where he was found to be unfit to plead. James Murdoch, the senior medical officer from Walton gaol told the court that Wood was unfit to instruct counsel, make a defence or follow trial proceedings. Investigations had shown that there was a history of insanity in his family and that he had been depressed for some time and contemplating suicide. The judge then ordered that Wood be detained at His Majesty's pleasure.

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