The Hertforshire Tragedy

Publication date: 30 May 2012

ISBN No: 9781781561423


Product Description

John Thurtell was born in Norwich on 21 December 1794. His father Thomas was Alderman in Norwich and later Mayor. Aged 15, John received a commission in the Royal Marines, but a year later he was discharged for misconduct, By 1819 he was a bombasin manufacturer and a boxing match promoter. He left Norwich under a cloud for London and met up with solicitor and gambler William Weare. A confrontation took place over a game of cards in which Weare won £300 and Thurtell claimed that Weare had cheated him out of the money.

Thurtell killed Weare and was charged with murder along with William Probert and Joseph Hunt. Probert turned evidence against the other two, although some believed that he was the main guilty party. He would later be hanged for horse stealing. Joseph Hunt was sent to Australia where he settled down in life and became a Police Constable. John Thurtell was executed for the murder at Hertford Gaol on 9 January 1824.

The Hertfordshire Tragedy

The murder took place near to William Probert's house on a site on Oaks Close off Gills Hill and it is now known as Murder Lane. The story is known as the Hertfordshire Tragedy, because of the brutal way in which William Weare was murdered and because of the way that William Probert escaped punishment.

Later on he was executed for Horse Stealing, but John Thurtell made his peace with him. It was also the last court case to be tried where the defendant was guilty until proved innocent.

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