Murder at Saffron Walden Workhouse

Eastern Evening News - Tuesday November 1st 1898


Tuesday November 1st 1898


What is supposed to be a desperate murder was committed yesterday morning at Saffron Walden Workhouse, where a tramp named Thomas King is stated to have attacked William Woollard, superintendent the stone- breaking department, with a hammer weighing six pounds. Woollard, who received four blows on the head, succumbed shortly afterwards to his injuries. King was arrested and brought before the magistrates, who remanded him on the capital charge.

Latest details, says our Cambridge correspondent, show that King left the stone-breaking yard after performing part of his task, and went another portion of the premises, where he found William Woollard, a man of 64 years of age, and formerly a rural postman. The deceased was sweeping a yard, and without the slightest warning, King knocked him to the ground with his stone-breaking hammer, and, kneeling on the chest of Woollard, repeated tho blows until he had battered the murdered man's face almost beyond recognition. Woollard shrieked for assistance, and Labour Master Blaxsell, running to his aid, saw King deliver tho last two blows. Blaxsell and a gardener named Snelford secured King, and sent for the police and doctor.

The latter reported Woodard's case to be hopeless from the first, and the police removed King and took possession of the hammer, which has head about six inches long, and is covered with blood and hair. The two men are reported to have been entire strangers, and the cause of the assault is a mystery. When before the magistrates the prisoner appeared to be insane. He had been begging about Saffron Walden on Sunday, and entered the workhouse on Sunday night. He gives his age as thirty. The inquest will be held today.

The prisoner has been remanded until the inquest has commenced.