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Family Wiped Out

MADMAN COMMITS FOUR MURDERS AND THEN SUICIDES. A shocking domestic tragedy occurred on June 3 at Burslem, the vict'ms being a Mrs Hall and her five children, and the assassin, her husband, Frederick Hall, a cratemaker. The father, mother, and three of the children are dead, and the other two children are in a very precarious state. The commission of the crime was attended with shocking desperation, the victims being murdered with an axe while lying asleep in bed, the -DJurieß inflicted being of a terrible character. Hall, with his family, lived at Nettle tank, Shall thorn e, a village about two miles from Hanley. The family was composed as follows: — Frederick Hall j his wife Elizabeth ; Frederick, aged Bix years; Lizzie, aged four years ; Thomas, aged two years ; Charles, aged 15 years; Ethel, aged 12 years. The two last named, although terribly injured, are still alive. As a crate -marker, Hall, it appears, did some of his work at home, using principally a tool resembliog an axe. With this weapon be seems to have attacked his unfortunate family under circumstances that are not precisely known. The tragedy was [ first discovered by John Beard, Hall's i next door neighbor. Early in the morning Beard heard a peculiar noise which aroused some suspicion, and as he could not readiiy satisfy himself aa to the cause of the unusual disturbance he sought another neighbour, William Scarlett. Together they proceeded to the back door of Hall's house, and finding it on the latcb, entered. On the kitchen floor was the body of Hall with a great gash in his throat. The floor v/aa covered wi:h blood, and although the scene was repulsive they nevertheless proceeded to examine the body. Though ib was still warm, life waß extiuct. He had apparently died in agony, for his left arm was thrown carelessly over his forehead. Hurriedly Beard and Scarlett summoned assistance, sending for the police, a doctor, and calling in Mr Willett, a sanitary inspector, and neighbor. Mr Willetb was in the act of examining Hull's body when he was startled by groans proceeding from the upper rooms. Following the sounds to the back room on the upper floor, Mr Willett was confronted by a frightful spectacle, the apartment resembling a slaughterhouse rather than a bedroom. Blood everywhere met the gaze. Two beds were saturated, the floor was covered with the fluid, and the walls and ceiling were bespattered in a ghastly manner. On the floor lay the prostrate form of Charlea, the eldest boy, hia head being gashed open at the aide. It was his groans that had attracted the attention of Mr Willett, for he was still alive. On one bed the dead and mutilated remains of Freddie, L ; zz'e 5 and Turn no ie lay. In each case the fatal blow appeased to have been inflicied just above the ear; the head being chopped open. There is little room for doubt that the poor children were despatched while asleep. Proceeding in his search for the other members of the family, Mr Willett di'-cnvered behind the vaUance of the other bed in the room the eldest girl, Ethel. Like her unfortunate brothers and sisters, she had been struck, but with less violence, and she was still alive. Appearances indicated that Ethel and her surviving brothers, Charles, after being struck, attempted in their dazed condition to rise, and staggering, rolled on to the floor, where they were found, the girl having possibly got under the bed to secrete herself from farther violence. Leaving the five unhappy children, Mr Willefcfc discovered in the adjoining front room, on the bed, the dead body of their mother. She, too, had received murderous blows on the head, which was smashed, while the deadly weapon had severed the e*r in two. A distressing feature of the melancholy tragedy is the fact that Mrs Hall, according to the neighbors, was hourly expecting an addition to the family when her husband so brutally did her to death. For obvious reasons the motive that impelled Hall to his deadly work must remain enveloped in mystery. There was nothing to indicate that Hall contemplated such an extermination of his family, although there is now reason to suppose that his wholesale crime was perpetrated during a maniacal paroxysm. _L VICTIM OF nrPLUENZA. William Scarlett has made a statement in which he says that he saw Hall on the previous evening, when he i was standing at his back door with bis | arms folded across his chest in a meditative attitude. Hall said to him, j " It's a long lane which hasn't a tarn, ! Bill," to wnich Scarlett replied •• Ah !" with a laugh and entered his house, thinking nothing more of the matter*

It transpires that words had passed between Mr and Mrs Hall concerning their son Charles, who had been out rather late after attending a village gala. Mr Ralph Ward, school attendance officer, stated that Mrs Hall was not a woman to complain of any illtreatment she might have received at her hußbaod'a hands, but she once admitted that he had punched her. This was about four years ago, when ! the woman showed signs of ill-usage, having a very black eye. At that time Hall was recovering from a very serious attack of influenza. For yeais previously to that date he had been suffering badly from rheumatics, and he had lost nearly all the use of one arm. As he wa* a very nervous, passionate, aud easily excited man, brooding over his troubles did not improve his temperament, and Mr Ward stages that Hill had remarked to him, "I am ready to make away with my wife and the lot of ua." Mr Ward added that he should not have been surprised had a serious crime been committed by him at the time of his illness, when the above remarks were made, as he was extremely ill, and his nerves seemed completely unstrung. Mr John Booth, coroner for North S afford shir-", held au inquest on the body of Hll and his four victims. Toe jury found in the case of his wife and children a verdict of " Wilful murder " against Hill, and that Hall committed suicide while temporarily insane.

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Permanent link to this item

https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/BH18980809.2.11

Bibliographic details

Family Wiped Out, Bruce Herald, Volume XXIX, Issue 2904, 9 August 1898

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1,040

Family Wiped Out Bruce Herald, Volume XXIX, Issue 2904, 9 August 1898

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