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«PACE Harry & Beatrice - Murder Trial HUSBAND POISONED A rather sad story extracted from the Argus, Saturday 2 June 1929. Arsenic for Sheep Dipping. ...»

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PACE Harry & Beatrice - Murder Trial


A rather sad story extracted from the Argus, Saturday 2 June 1929.

Arsenic for Sheep Dipping.

Wife on Trial.

LONDON. May 31.

The prosecution of Mrs Beatrice Pace, aged 35 years, who is charged with the murder of

her husband, Harry Pace, aged 36 years, a sheep farmer of Forest of Dean, by arsenical

poisoning, has been begun at Coleford.

The accused is the recipient of much local sympathy. The prosecutor said that Pace was a man of peculiar temperament. He attacked his wile with tongs on Christmas Day, and when his daughter intervened Pace picked up a razor and threatened the family. At least three doses of arsenic were administered. Between Christmas Day and the death of Pace.

His wife bought two packets of sheep dip, but they were not used for sheep dipping, as would be stated in evidence. The two packets were seen in Pace's house in August, and there had been no sheep dipping since July 23, 1927. After the death of Pace, the police searched the house and found only one packet. They also found a bottle containing a liquid in which there was arsenic.

Mrs Pace several times broke down, particularly when her husband's mother was giving evidence.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Extracted from the Argus, Wednesday 5 September 1928 CASE OF MRS. PACE New Police, Inquiries.

Woman Not Involved.

LONDON. Sept. 4.

The newspapers emphasise the fact that Mrs. Pace will not be affected by the latest police inquiries, which are believed to be directed to questions of alleged perjury and conspiracy arising out of the inquest into the death of Mrs. Pace's husband and her subsequent trial for murder.

Mrs. Pace was charged with having poisoned her husband, a sheep farmer, of Forest of Dean, and was acquitted by direction of the judge after a dramatic trial, at which evidence was given that she had been treated cruelly by her husband. It has now been announced that Scotland Yard officials are examining very closely a sensational document in connection with the case.

Mrs. Pace is now living quietly with her children at Gloucester. She regrets the renewed publicity being given to the case, but realises that the developments cannot affect her innocence, which, she says, was finally established.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Extract from The Canberra Times, Monday 9 July 1928.




London, Saturday.

There was a demonstration which lasted for some hours when Mr. Justice Horridge directed the jury to acquit Mrs. Beatrice Pace, who was charged with having murdered her husband by administering poison. On leaving court Mrs. Pace returned to Coleford, to stay at a small hotel kept by friends. Every now and then she went andwaved to the cheering crowds outside, and said, amid smiles and tears. "Thank you very much. I am glad to be home with my babies." It was a day of extraordinary scenes at Gloucester, and along the road through the Forest of Dean to Coleford, where triumphal villagers came out to cheer as she motored through. A demonstration on behalf of Mrs. Pace was a daily feature of her trial. The rapidity with which a fund was raised for her defence was largely the result of the publication of the story of her sufferings throughout her married life.

The sudden end of the trial has fo cussed attention on the conduct of the coroner, who refused to accept a verdict of "poisoning by some person or persons unknown." He asked purymen (sic) to name some persons and sent them back again to reconsider their verdict.

The Prime Minister will be questioned on the matter at the first available opportunity in the House of Commons.

In a leading article on the subject today the "Daily Express" says: "The matter cannot rest where it is. The fundamental purpose of an inquest is to determine the cause of death.

When it goes beyond this and fixes a definite charge of murder against a specific person, it is usurping powers properly belonging to police, and to the Judges and jury in a higher court.

A Coroner's Court which turns itself into a criminal court is not wanted. It is a perilous innovation in our judicial procedure. Under the present system a person, proved innocent of murder in a criminal court, may always bear the stigma of having been found guilty in a Coroner's Court. A coroner's jury may, on mere ex part evidence, unchallenged by cross examination, formulate an accusation of murder against a named individual. This is a travesty of every principle of British justice."

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Extract from The Argus, Monday 9 July 1928.



Amazing Scenes at Gloucester.

Cheering Crowds in Streets.

LONDON, July 6.

When the case for the prosecution of Mrs. Beatrice Pace, aged 33 years, who has five children, including a baby in arms, for the murder of her husband, Harry Pace, a Forest of Dean farmer, aged 36 years, ended at the Gloucester Assizes the defence submitted that there was no case to go to a jury, as there was no proof that accused had administered the poison.

Mr. Justice Horridge agreed with this contention, and when the jury of 10-men and two women formally returned a verdict of not guilty amazing scenes were witnessed. Loud cheers broke out in court, and an immense crowd quickly assembled. People, rushing from shops, offices, and homes, cheered uproariously, shouting, "Hurrah for the little woman!" '"The judge has done right!" "Hurrah for the jury!" Accused, in an interview, said that she felt all the time that she was safe, as her conscience was always clear, but the trials had seemed a lifetime. Thus has ended one of the most extra ordinary eases in recent years. Pace died on January 10. The inquest was adjourned 14 times before the verdict of wilful murder was given by the coroner's jury.



Sympathy of the Public.

Mr. Pace died on January 10. The police stepped in and stopped the funeral, and the Home Office ordered an inquiry, which proceeded, with many adjournments, for 10 weeks.

The taking of evidence' at the coroner's inquiry occupied 13 days, and throughout her ordeal considerable attention was focused upon the widow. Her face showed the strain, and once or twice she collapsed. Finally she was screened off from the view of the remainder of the court. Mrs Pace has continuously protested against the agony of adjournments.

At the earlier hearing of the case it was stated that Mrs. Pace had bought three packets of sheep-dip, which had not been used for sheep-dipping; and only one could be found after Pace's, death. Liquid containing arsenic had also been found in a bottle. Mrs. Pace, who received much local sympathy, said that her husband had been, very cruel to her, and had also threatened to commit suicide by poisoning Evidence was also given that Mrs. Pace had been dutiful and devoted to her husband in every way during his illness.

The medical evidence showed conclusively that death was due to poisoning by arsenic.

The evidence of relatives suggested ill-feeling between Pace and his wife. Other evidence showed that there was sheep-dip lotion on the premises in connection with farming operations. The widow, to use her own phrase, insisted upon giving evidence. Closely questioned, she denied that she was in any way responsible for her husband's death.

The coroner, in summing up, reminded the jury that Pace's life had been insured in 1924, and that he suddenly became ill in 1925. In July, 1927, after a meal he again became suddenly ill and was sent into a hospital, where he recovered. When he returned home he again became suddenly ill, and on January 10 he complained of burning sensations in his stomach and throat, and he died on January 10. The post-mortem examination revealed

3.62 grains of arsenic.

Verdict of Coroner's Jury.

There was a dramatic scene on May 22, when the jury returned its first verdict, which read:- "We find that Pace met his death by arsenical poisoning administered by a person or persons other than himself."

The coroner asked whether the jury could name the person. The jury again retired, and later named the wife.

On hearing the verdict the widow shouted, "I didn't! I didn't!" Then she swooned, and was unconscious for a quarter of an hour. Women and girls in court wept bitterly.

Later Mrs. Pace was formally charged with murder. She moaned, "I know nothing about it.

I wouldn't! I couldn't!" She was carried out of court prostrate and driven to Cardiff gaol, women weeping in the streets as she passed by.

Every hotel in Gloucester was full during the trial. Long queues formed outside the shire hall, which was practically filled with ticket-holders, including leading novelists and dramatists. Crowds thronged the streets on the opening day hoping to see and cheer Mrs.

Pace, but the police evaded them, so they demonstrated outside the hotel where the three children of Mrs. Pace, who were witnesses, were having tea, until the landlord took them on tho bal-cony. The public has subscribed £1,300 for the defence.

At the Gloucester trial the chief point of the prosecution, apart from the previous allegations, was that the sheep-dip consisted of sulphur and arsenic. The sulphur was easily drawn off by the solution of the powder with any liquid. No sulphur was found in Pace's body. Pace was too ill two days before his death to undertake the process of separating the arsenic from the sulphur if he desired to commit suicide. The prisoner had plenty of motive for the murder owing to her tragically unhappy marriage. Pace was a morose and brutal man. Two years before his death Mrs. Pace was heard to say that she wished she could poison her husband.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Some little detail into the official inquiry: extracted from The Argus, Friday 25 May 1928.


Another Police Inquiry.

Body Secretly Exhumed.

LONDON, May 24.

Following upon tho sensational develop ment in the inquiry concerning the death in January of Harry Pace, a Forest of Dean sheep farmer, whose widow, Mrs Beatrice Pace has been arrested on a charge of murder by poisoning, public interest is now centred in the inquest on Hilary Rougier aged 77 years, a bachelor farmer, who died at Woking. The case has taken a remarkable turn owing to the examination of William Lerwill a well dressed man in the early 30's, in whose house Rougier was living when he died on August 14, 1926. The body was secretly exhumed two months ago and an inquiry was ordered by the Home Office.

Lerwill in evidence to-day admitted that he had received between £5,000 and £6,000 from Rougier by cheques. Other evidence was given that when Rougier's body was exhumed morphine was found. Lerwill said that he had no idea how the morphine got there. He had a recollection that Rougier had asked him to obtain some laudanum for dogs suffering from eczema. Lerwill admitted that many of the cheques were in his handwriting but the signature was Rougier's. He did not know that Rougier had only £50 left after he had received the £6,000. This was mostly in the form of gifts, as Lerwill was in financial difficulties.

Mr. Hardwick a solicitor gave evidence that personally he had met Rougier who had explained Lerwill's financial difficulties. Rougier said that he had known Lerwill since his boyhood, and was willing to help him to avoid bankruptcy. Witness added that he thought that Rougier must be very wealthy in view of the free manner in which he gave away money.

Scotland Yard Methods.

Members of Commission Chosen.

LONDON, May 23 In the House of Commons, Mr. Thorne asked whether Scotland Yard had subjected Mrs.

Pace to 13 hours of interrogation.

Sir William Joynson-Hicks, This matter is not likely to be excluded from the general inquiry into Scotland Yard methods.

Mr. Thorne, Who issued the third degree instructions, Scotland Yard or the metropolitan police?

Sir. William Joynson-Hicks, Neither. There were no such instructions. The woman actually thanked the police for the consideration that she received.

Miss. Wilkinson (Labour), Is it reasonable to keep her two children for 13 hours at the police station?

Sir. William Joynson-Hicks promised to make inquiries. He then submitted his amended motion concerning the Hyde Park case. The motion limits the special inquiry to the interrogations by the police at Scotland Yard of Miss Irene Savidge. He said that it was proposed to limit the inquiry, because the Government appreciated the contention of the Opposition that it would be unfair virtually to retry Sir. Leo Chiozza Money by means of an inquiry into the constables' perjury, or otherwise. He did not intend to say a word in defence of tho police but, of course, there were two sides. Both would be put honestly before the commission. If the accusations were proved, naturally it would be detrimental to the force as a whole. Therefore, he appealed to members to suspend judgment (sic). The tribunal would consist of Sir John Eldon Bankes (Lord Justice of Appeal), Mr. J. J. Withers (Conservative member of the House of Commons and senior partner in a firm of solicitors), and Mr. H. B. Lees-Smith (Labour member of the House of Commons). The Government would pay reasonable expenses to Miss Savidge. The police would be represented by counsel.

Sir William Joynson-Hicks added:

- "The matter has caused the House and me much anxiety, and I hope that good will come out of the trouble."

Lady Astor (Conservative) and Miss Wilkinson urged that a woman should be included in the tribunal, and Mr. Brown moved an amendment to meet this opinion. He withdrew it, however, when Sir William Joynson-Hicks pleaded for unanimity.

The motion was agreed to without a division.

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