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Charles Blewitt

Kill Total: 1 Kill place: Leeds
Kill date:   1900 Victim(s): Mary Ann Blewitt
Date of Birth: unknown Marital Status: Single

AKA:

Unknown

Occupation:

Tanner

 

Charles Blewitt's was certainly an intriguing case. The trial details quoted above refer to the second time he had faced the charge of murdering his wife. His first trial, also at Leeds, took place before Mister Justice Ridley, on 30th July 1900, when the jury were unable to reach a verdict.

The story seemed to be a simple enough one. Mary Ann Blewitt had last been seen alive on the evening of 8th June. The next day, Charles left Leeds and for some days, his house remained locked, the blinds drawn, and showing no signs of life.

On the 17th of that same month, the landlord, Thomas Armitage, together with Charles' parents, forced the door of the Blewitt home, to see if any trace of the family could be found. In the living room they found the body of Mary Ann. She was sitting in a rocking-chair, a shawl covering her head and when that shawl was removed, the people who had found her were horrified to see that her throat had been cut. There were also wounds on her arms and hands.

 

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Charles Blewitt, a tanner by trade, was the obvious suspect. He had been out of work for some nine weeks before the death of Mary Ann and perhaps financial pressures had put a strain on his relationship with his wife. He had of course vanished, soon after his wife had last been seen alive, and investigations showed that Mary had been dead for at least a week when she was discovered.

Charles was actually in Halifax, using the name of Oliver Jackson, and one day a workmate showed him a newspaper report of his wife's death, which also carried a picture of the wanted man; himself. He seemed to be totally unconcerned. The prosecution at his subsequent trial would make much of this attitude. Surely if he had been innocent of any crime, he would have become disturbed upon discovering that his wife had died.

It was 3rd July  when Blewitt was captured, in Halifax. He claimed to know nothing of the death of Mary Ann, his defence being that she must have committed suicide. He had merely gone away for a fewdays to find work and fully intended to return home, once he had been successful.

The suggestion of suicide however did not quite ring true. Blood had been found on a pair of boots in the house and it was shown that these boots belonged to Charles. Doctor George Heald, the police surgeon who examined the body, said that there were what appeared to be defence wounds on the body and no razor or knife had been found anywhere near Mary Ann, suggesting that she would have had to have cut her own throat and then put the weapon away.

The prosecution though could show no realistic motive for the murder and those doubts led to the first jury being unable to agree on their verdict. The second jury had no such problems and found Charles Blewitt guilty of murder.
He was hanged at Leeds on 28th August 1900.

 

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