Sunday, 5 October 2014

The Murder of Edith Longshaw

This is another one of those "If I cannot have her/him, then nobody will" murders, and the man who paid for it on the scaffold at Pentonville Prison, London, was Harry Tuffney.  He had taken lodgings at 75 Star Street in Paddington, after being introduced to the landlady, Elizabeth Warren, by another resident, Edith Kate Longshaw.  The 38 year old waitress started courting 36 year old Tuffney, and everything was fine for some weeks until he was doing a repair on Edith`s handbag.  Inside was a letter from a man named Sidney, and the contents made it clear that there was something going on between the two.  Both of them did know a man called Sid, who had recently broken up from his wife.  Now he was convinced that she was cheating on him. He went to a hardware store on Friday June 29th 1934 and purchased an axe.

That night, he confronted Edith about Sid, who denied anything was going on and that their relationship was fine.  She asked him to stay with her that night, which he did but waited hours for her to fall asleep.  He then went and collected the axe and brought it down on her head as hard as he could, embedding it into her head.  Then he lay down close to a gas ring and tried to gas himself but this did not work.  He then went to the nearest Police station, confessing to the crime and his attempted suicide.  Gas could be smelt on his clothes, so they went to Star Street and made the grisly discovery.  Tuffney was charged with murder.

    He went on trial at the Old Bailey on September 20th, in front of Judge Atkinson.  The Prosecution was led by Mr Eustace Fulton and the Defence by Mr Henry Curtis Bennett.  The only defence that could be put forward and save him from the gallows, was one of Insanity.  Indeed, evidence was produced of mental deficiencies in his mother, two brothers and an aunt, but this did not save him.  He was executed at Pentonville on October 9th 1934 by Robert Baxter.  A notable fact was that no letter from "Sidney" was ever found in Edith`s room.  Was this a figment of an abnormal mind?  Or did Edith destroy it as Tuffney believed?  Yet, he decided on a course of action, and intentionally purchased the murder weapon. Guilty as charged?