December 21st, 2013 Headsman
From Illustrated Police News, via.
This murder discharged a vast accumulation of Oedipal wrath in the Wyndham family.
The eventual victim, 73-year-old widower farmer James Wyndham, had taken up with his housekeeper, a woman by the provocative and wholly unmerited name of Virtue.
She was, James retorted to his son’s protests, the “biggest whore” he could lay hands on.
Meanwhile, Frederick’s unmarried sisters had been turned out of the house. Following a dispute over money, Old Man Wyndham actually tried to run one of them down with his horse and cart.
On October 19, 1893, it all came to a head. Frederick, drunk on rum and cider, took some friends in a hunting party to James’s land and ran into dad. The two fell into a furious row over Virtue, the sister, and who knows how many pent-up grievances when Frederick finally whipped out his shotgun and blasted his father through the neck and heart.
Then the parricide went straight back to his sister to inform her what he had done and make some arrangements for the disposal of affairs, and marched himself off to the police to turn himself in.
“I have only done my duty,” he told the lawmen. “I solemnly declare I shot him. I put two barrels into him. I hope he is dead. I can die happy.” (London Times, Oct. 21, 1893) By the time his trial came around he’d thought of something else that would make his life complete, belligerently interrupting the testimony of his late father’s lover with sundry threatening vituperations.
His last sentiment on the scaffold, after shaking hands with his executioner,* was the regret that he had not killed “that whore” Virtue, too. (Times, Dec. 22)
* According to the Times (Oct. 21), Frederick Wyndham himself once applied for the hangman’s job.
Also on this date
- 1689: William Davis
- 1875: Henry Wainwright, Whitechapel murderer
- 1692: A batch at Tyburn, escorted by the Ordinary of Newgate
- 1838: The first hangings of the Lower Canada Rebellion
- 1936: Aberra Kassa and Asfawossen Kassa, Ethiopian royalty
- 1624: Marco Antonio de Dominis, posthumously
- 1855: The slave Celia, who had no right to resist
- 1995: Kimura Shujish