A brutal Belper murder revisited

A BRUTAL murder in Belper in 1869 is one of the cases featured for the first time in a new book by a Derbyshire true crime writer.

The book, ‘Deadly Derbyshire’, by author Scott Lomax, features the case of Matilda Hitchcock.

On the morning of November 2, 1869, at Farnah Green, a mile from Belper, William Hitchcock, a 47-year-old stonecutter, set off to town. His plans for the day, if they extended beyond his usual session of ale drinking, are unknown but they ended in one of the most horrifying murders to take place in Victorian Derbyshire.

When he was turned away from pubs in Belper on account of his drunkenness and the knowledge of his violence when heavily under the influence, he became violent towards his wife, Matilda. The couple were seen by passers-by arguing. Hitchcock was then seen to become violent.

Eventually some women intervened and demanded the dying woman be taken home. Hitchcock proceeded to drag his wife along the ground for more than a mile. She died hours later.

The killer never stood trial. Following his arrest, he was found hanging in his cell at Belper police station.

The book features almost 50 real life cases of murder and manslaughter and is available through Amazon or any good bookshop.