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Forum Home > Murder Case Reviews > Christopher Edwards. Willenhall.1872.

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Another one from the " More Ghastly Murders " section, and one that highlights the evils that can come from the demon of the age, Strong Drink. Forever suspicious that his wife was indulging in a bit of " hanky panky ", 34 year old Christopher Edwards, at least as far as his trial was concerned, beat his wife to death with a Poker. She, the totally innocent Rosannah, like a great many Blackcountry women of the time, was expected to suffer such beatings as a way of life, indeed, it seemed to be an event seen and heard in any street, and any town in the area. Screams for help were routinely ignored, as sadly, poor Rosannahs were. Before his execution, Edwards, who couldn't write, dictated a statement which threw a lot more light on the case, although it wouldn't have altered his death sentence one iota.

" I left work early, and on my way back home, I passed the " Shakespeare Inn ". I was called by William Cooper, Joshia Tonks, and Charles Bateman. I remained drinking with them until half past seven. When I went home, I was the worse for drink. James Adey came in, and after he had gone, we had supper and I read the paper for a short time. It was then that I resolved to kill my wife that night, and fearing that if I took the poker upstairs she might take alarm, I left my snuff box on the table as an excuse for for going down again. Which of course goes to show that Rosannah was on the alert for trouble, every time he had been for a drink. He then relates that he fetched the poker, and went upstairs to kill her. No sign of any insanity there then. My wife was near the doorway, and turned towards it. I struck her on the forehead with the poker. She cried " George " three times, I think, and I gave her another blow on the top of the head, which caused her to fall across the bed. She did not move or make any cry. The " George ", was Edwards apprentice, George Marsh, just sixteen years old, who although awake, and possibly terrified, failed to answer Rosannahs cry for help. Then he makes a revelation that did not come out at his trial. I jumped over the bed, between my wife and the head of the bed, and placing the poker by the fireplace, seized her by the throat with both hands and strangled her. There is no mention, in any of the medical or other records, that even hint at strangulation. Two eminent surgeons had completely missed the tell tale marks around Rosannahs neck, and it also tells us that she was, at this stage of the assault, still alive. He held her neck for several minutes, blood from her wounds forming a pool on the bedroom floor. Even after strangling her she still clung on to life. Grasping the poker once more, I dealt her several more blows about  the back of her head, and this time, I think I must have been in my violence, for I knocked over the candle which was on the chimney piece. I went downstairs for a light, and on my return to the bedroom I placed the body of my wife lengthways on the bed, as it was found.

Through all this, George Marsh lay in bed in the second room, only venturing out when the Police finally arrived, in response, ( at last ) to some concerned neighbours requests. It's a chilling tale, in the killers own words, of a totally senseless murder, for which he was rightly hanged on 13th August,1872.


A wonderful thing is work, I could watch it all day.  ( See my Blog entry )

November 1, 2012 at 4:47 PM Flag Quote & Reply

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