Murder at the Midland Station - Sheffield September 1900

Postcard of the Midland Station circa 1900 - the scene of the crime is just to the left of the station on Sheaf Street

The Times dated September  24th, 1900 gave the following report on the inside pages

MURDER IN SHEFFIELD

Late on Saturday night a murder of a most brutal character was perpetrated in Sheffield, the victim being Walter Hague, of Cowley-lane, Chapeltown, near Sheffield.  Hague, who was a planer engaged by Messrs. Newton, Chambers, and Co., of the Thorncliffe Iron Works, was about 23 years of age.  He has for some time been engaged to Miss Alice Basford, a barmaid at the Carlton Hotel, Sheffield, but the two had had a disagreement and had not seen each other for a considerable period until Saturday week.  On that day they renewed their friendship and Hague promised to visit her at the hotel again on the following Saturday.  This he did.  He proceeded from Chapeltown, to Sheffield on Saturday night and waited until Miss. Basford was relieved from her duties shortly after 11 o'clock.  The lady resides at Darnall, one of the suburbs of the city, and the two walked towards the Midland Company's station.  Sheaf-street, along which they passed, is not all well lighted - on one side is a high wall, the boundary to the Midland Company's line, and on the other are works - and they came upon a man who appeared to be drunk before they had any idea he was there.  Rain was falling at the time, and the couple were sheltering themselves under an umbrella.  The man was swearing, but Hague and his lady companion took little notice of him, as they were pressed for time to catch their train.  They walked along briskly, and had reached the entrance to the station used by the parcel vans when some one seized Hague and threw him to the ground.  Almost before Miss Basford, knew what had happened Hague's assailant had given him a violent kick and made off, but she saw sufficient of him to recognize him as the drunken fellow she had just passed.  The injured man apparently thought very little was the matter with him, because he got up and, remarking that he wished a policeman had been at hand and he would have given the man in custody, he asked the young lady to knock the dirt from his clothes.  This she was doing when Hague fell to the ground, simply saying "Oh."  Miss Basford, at once summoned assistance. 

Hague was removed to the Midland station and placed on a barrow, and a medical man who was close at hand examined him.  It was at once clear that Hague had been badly stabbed, and before anything could be done for him he died.  The body was removed to the public mortuary, and an examination showed that with an ordinary pocket knife Hague had been stabbed in the region of the heart.  Considerable force must have been used as the instrument had gone through a thick coat, waistcoat, shirt front, and vest, and had passed for a considerable distance into the flesh.  Miss Basford states that she never saw a knife, but Hague must have been stabbed when his murderer was on the top of him on the ground.  The murderer got clear away, and the police have no trace of him.  The young lady says he was about 36 years of age and had the appearance of a working man, probably a collier dressed in his best clothes.

The News of The World dated 30th September 1900 also reported the murder under the title

BRUTAL MURDER AT SHEFFIELD

A brutal murder is reported from Sheffield. Walter Hague, 23, machine planer of Chapeltown, near Sheffield was murdered in the street. Hague was walking towards the Midland Station with his sweetheart who is employed at an hotel in the neighbourhood, and when in Sheaf Street they passed a man apparently drunk and it has to be said, using very foul language. They had proceeded only a few yards when the man ran after them, seized Hague by the throat and threw him to the ground. He leaned over Hague for a second or two, and after kicking him violently made off. The affair passed so quickly that Hague's companion had no time to raise the alarm. Hague got up from the ground and asked the young woman to brush the dirt from his clothes but a second or two afterwards drooped to the ground and when picked up was found to be dead. He had been stabbed close to the heart. The murderer got clean away, and up to the present, the police have no clue. At the inquest no fresh light was thrown on the affair. Hague is not known to have any quarrel with anyone and Miss Basford says there can be no question of jealousy. A verdict of wilful murder was returned against some person unknown

The final report of the murder is from the Illustrated Police News and went under the title

MYSTERIOUS MURDER IN SHEFFIELD

Under the eyes of his sweetheart, a young Sheffield man has been done to death in a public street of Sheffield, and the murderer has got clean away.

The peculiar ferocity and wantonness of the crime almost suggests that its perpetrator was some escaped madman.

Walter Hague was the name of the victim. He was a machine player by trade, twenty three years of age and lived at Chapel town, Sheffield.

On Saturday night he was walking towards the Midland station accompanied by a young lady who was employed by an hotel in the neighbourhood, and t6o whom he was engaged to be married.

Neither of the couple took notice of the man they had passed in Sheaf Street - except that they could not help hearing the foul laqnguage he was using, and seeing that he was greatly excited and apparently drunk.

When they got a few yards ahead of him, the man suddenly commenced to run. Coming up to Hague, he seized him by the throat and threw him down.

For a second or two the assailant leaned over the fallen man and then, after kicking him made off.

So quickly and unexpectedly did this take place that the girl had no time to call for aid before her unfortunate lover was gathering himself up again.

Brutal as the attack had been, she had no hint of the tragic reality. Hague asked her to brush the dirt off his clothes.

Then he fell headlong and was picked up dead. He had been stabbed nearly to the heart.

As for the murderer, he has disappeared utterly, and the police consider themselves baffled.

However, less than a month later there was a very unexpected development in the city of Hull

 Sources

The Times, Sep 24, 1900; pg 9; Issue 36255; col D

The News of The World dated 30th September 1900

Illustrated Police News

BMD Reference - Death September 1900 quarter Sheffield - Walter Hague age 23 Volume 9c Page 354

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