Attempted Murder by a Jealous Lover

Empire News & The Umpire - Sunday 21 October 1906


Lover Jealous After Visit to a Fair.

"If I don't kill her tonight, I will kill her tomorrow." These are the words attributed to Charles Wood (20), an agricultural labourer, who was charged at Braintree, Essex, with the attempted murder of Ethel Swallow.

The girl, who had been brought from the hospital in a cab, was provided with a chair at the table, and made the following statement in a weak voice:-

"I am 17 years of age, and live with my father. I have known the prisoner about three months, and have walked out with him. On October 6 I had arranged to meet him, but did not keep the appointment. I met him accidentally. I went on to the. Fair Field, and afterwards went into a swinging boat with a young man named Jess Willis. Prisoner was then on the fair ground. I returned home with prisoner. He had previously asked me to marry him, and I had promised him I would. On the way home he told me I ought not to have gone in the boat with the other young man. On Sunday, October 7, I heard a knock at the back door. On opening it I saw prisoner there He said, 'come out - I want to speak to you.' I told him that my father had told me that I was to have nothing more to do with him. He then caught hold of me, and pulled me out. He asked me if I wanted him or not. I said, 'No.' He then laid me on my back in the garden and cut my throat. I tend over, and put up my hand, and felt another cut on my neck, and one on my hand. My sister Kate came out and pulled him off. He said, 'I have done it now, Ethel.' I got up and ran to a house next door."

Benjamin Ketley, labourer, said he was called to Mr. Fribble's house at about 10 p.m. on October 7, and there saw Ethel Swallow lying on a couch and blood dripping on the floor. On going out a few minutes later he saw prisoner looking through the window. Prisoner had a bottle of beer, and offered some to two young men. He also took a razor out of his pocket, and said, "If I don't kill her today, I'll kill her tomorrow." He then shut up the razor and returned it to his pocket.

Police Constable Wiseman said, "While conveying prisoner to Springfield Gaol, Wood said, "I hope she'll die: I shall settle her the first chance I get. She has played the fool with hundreds of other chaps, but she's not going to with me. She deserves what she got." 

Wood was sent for trial.