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Attempted wife murder by Quorndon man - 1870

Loughborough Advertiser - 13th October 1870

On Monday a shocking attempt was made to murder a woman in Nottingham, the circumstances of the outrage being of a peculiarly brutal character.

The would-be murderer is a labourer named William Astill, and, as we are informed, is a native of Quorndon. He has of late, however, resided at Nottingham, and has until recently been in the employ of Mr Loverseed, contractor, of that place. The unfortunate victim of his violence is his wife, Annie Astill, the daughter of respectable parents residing in Shelton Street, Nottingham. Astill married his wife some years ago, and made her exceedingly miserable by the violence of his temper and by his habits. They had one child, and lived in Northumberland Street where they had frequent quarrels, and where the poor woman was subjected to continued ill-treatment and brutality. After repeated warnings she left her husband and went to reside with her father. Her husband followed her, annoyed her by his importunities and threats. She resisted all his endeavours to compel her to return to his house, and he subsequently went to reside in Wellington Street.

On Monday morning he called at her father's house and asked to see his wife. She went to him and he demanded that she should immediately return with him. On her refusal to do so he used both threats and supplications, and in the end left her, saying he would return in the evening, when doubtless she would have changed her mind. He went again to the house in the afternoon, and again saw his wife. He asked her if she had decided to return home, and replied in the negative. He immediately pulled a pistol out of his pocket and fired it at her. The ball grazed her temple, and ploughed a deep wound across her head, from which blood flowed profusely.

Her mother heard the shot, and screamed for assistance. Astill, when he saw that his wife was not killed, rushed at her, and attempted to cut her throat with a razor. She struggled with him, and a fearful scene occurred. He struck her about the head with his disengaged hand, and tried to knock her down; but she, despite her weakness from loss of blood, fought against him, clasped the blade of the razor in her hands, and succeeded in breaking it. Her hands were cut in a frightful manner, and after desperate efforts on the part of his victim to effect her escape from the room, Astill overpowered her, and with the broken razor he gashed her throat in a horrible way. He inflicted an oblong wound extending almost from the ear to the chin, but happily the position of the body prevented him cutting the windpipe, and before he could fully effect his purpose assistance arrived, and he rushed out of the house, and succeeded in making his escape, leaving behind him the pistol, the razor and his hat. The poor victim of his brutality lay on the floor in a state of unconsciousness, and messengers were at once despatched for medical assistance. Dr Souter arrived and dressed her wounds which were of a frightful character. Since then she has been progressing favourably, and it is thought that she will recover. The police were in search of Astill, but up to last night he had not been apprehended.

Loughborough Advertiser - Nov 17th 1870

The Late Attempt to Murder a Wife at Nottingham
On Friday last, the man, William Astill, was again charged at the Nottingham Police Court with attempting to murder his wife. The case had been adjourned no less than four times in consequence of the feeble condition of the woman, who now appeared, but remained seated during the taking of the depositions. Mr Simpson (from the office of Mr Heath) prosecuted, and Mr Cranch defended. The prisoner and his wife are natives of Quorndon, near Loughborough, and the particulars of this most brutal attack will be in the recollection of our readers. The Bench, having heard the depositions, prisoner was committed to take his trial at the next Nottingham assizes.

 Submitted on: 2012-09-23
 Submitted by: Kathryn Paterson
 Artefact ID: 1688
 Print: View artefact in printer-friendly page

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