1. “the passion of jealousy” and the demon drink

ImageOn 5 Apr 1862, just after 9 in the morning, Walker Moore slit the throat of his wife, Betty, as she was on her knees cleaning the fire grate.

“The gash was six inches long, very long, and passed through the larynx, the cartoid artery, and the jugular vein.”

He killed her in the Hare and Hounds pub, on the main road from Colne to Skipton at Black Lane Ends, and never attempted to hide his guilt. Police Constable Lord, who escorted him to the Colne lock-up, claimed Moore told him:

“I do not deny the charge. I came on purpose to do it. But I will tell you all about it. Her uncle and cousin (the landlord and the landlord’s father) fetched her away from Keighley about six weeks since, and she has been there (the Hare and Hounds) ever since. I came yesterday to try and get her back, but she would not go. I asked her if I might remain with her that night, but she would not let me. I know that she was unfaithful. I asked her to go back with me this morning, but she would not, so I killed her”

The subsequent inquest and Moore’s trial became national news.

Many of these reports talk of his hard drinking, physical agitation and mental instability and suggest that thoughts of his wife’s sexual infidelities lay at the heart of Moore’s madness: on his journey into Colne he told PC Lord that each and every one of a group of men they encountered had had “criminal intercourse” with her. At the inquest, held at the Swan Hotel in the town before the coroner J J Hargreaves, Moore asserted that Betty had been sleeping with both her uncle and cousin – “One of them told me so” he claimed.

“The most intense excitement prevailed in the town during the inquest, hundreds of people being assembled round the hotel door.”

The jury returned a verdict of “Wilful murder” and Moore, it seems, wished only to go the same way as Betty, offering to cut his own throat just after he killed her and threatening to throw himself from the train during his transfer from Colne to the house of correction at Preston.

Moore stood trial for murder at Lancaster Assizes on 13 Aug 1862.

Next: dancing to the gallows


The Hare and Hounds, now known as Black Lane Ends

Sources: various contemporary newspapers


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