Cranmer Local History Group
Researching the history of Aslockton, Scarrington and Whatton-in-the-Vale - Established 2001


Cranmer Local History Group Newspaper Archive

Western Daily Press
Saturday 21st February 1914
The Whatton Tragedy - Inquest and Verdict

Sensational evidence was forthcoming at the resumed inquiry yesterday, by the Coroner for the Newark division of Notts, on the. bodies of William Houghton, 61, well-known agriculturist, and his son Jasper Arthur, aged 20, in connection vith whose deaths by shooting' Whatton, John Frederick Houghton, 27, elder son, stands charged on suspicion with murder.

The widow, recalled, said Jasper's life was insured a few weeks before the tragedy. There was a heavy premium, and her husband said it was apparently all they could do for their children. She just observed her son Fred in the yard, and when he shouted " Oh, mother, its a gun," his voice sounded to come from his bedroom. .There was no stranger in the house on the night of the occurrence.

Dr. Cope, cf Bingham, deposed to examining Jasper on January 9th for a life assurance company for a policy of 1,000 1,500. In May, 1912, he warned the parents to keep all weapons out of Fred's reach, after certain mild epileptic fits of his, and he told the father in August last he thought son would go insane.

Later evidence showed that two policies on rasper's life, bearing dates January 17th and 23rd, for respective sums of 13,750 and 1,000, were found safe of Fred.

Other testimony was given that on January 28th accused and his brother ascended a mill, of which the farmer, who is a corn merchant, is the owner, to measure its height. A clerk holding the measuring rope below heard cry and then saw Jasper struggling on the narrow platform. Jasper told him afterwards that he had a narrow squeak. " Fred told me," he added, " the ladder slipped and he caught me, but I nearly went down." Jasper, however did not convey the idea that his brother attempted to push him odwn.

The Coroner, summing up, said the fact that only one barrel the gun had been used and that it had been re-loaded, pointed to the coldblooded deliberateness of the person who fired. Insurance policies gave Fred a direct interest in Jasper's death. The jury returned verdict of "Wilful murder against John Frederick Houghton.

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