Robert Berkeley told the tale in 2011 how, as a small child, he was shown the bullet holes that remained from the murder in Eversholt.
AN ENGLISH TRAGEDY.
WIFE AND MOTHER-IN-LAW MURDERED. A terrible tragedy took place at Eversholt, a village near Woburn Park, Bedfordshire. William Chambers, a telephone employee, from London, had been living at Flitwick, near Ampthill, for about six months. He and his wife separated some years ago, but had come together again; but, in consequence of her husband’s threats, Mrs Chambers recently went to stay with her mother, who lived at Eversholt. The mother and daughter were sitting talking to Mrs Hazell, another daughter of Mrs Oakley, when Chambers suddenly entered by the back door, with a, doublebarrelled gun, and, it is alleged, without a word, shot his mother-in-law through the neck, and then fired at his wife, the bullet entering the lower part of the face. Both women expired almost immediately. The other woman rushed out of the room and closed the door, holding it as long as she could, and then ran from the house and raised an alarm. Chambers also left the house and went across an allotment field, where he shot himself through the jaw and dropped his gun. He then managed to stagger into the Falcon public-house, where he could only gasp, ” Brandy, brandy.” . The landlord, however, refused to serve him, and having heard something of the occurrence he enticed Chambers into a back room, and kept him there until the police arrived. Chambers was taken to the Woburn police station, and later to the cottage hospital, where it was found that part of his jaw had been blown away. At the inquest, it transpired that the wife had been to see a Woburn solicitor with reference to getting a separation order, and the supposition is that Chambers heard of this, with the result that he paid the visit to his mother-in-law’s house. The jury returned a verdict of “Wilful murder” against Chambers.
Here is a letter written by a condemned murderer two days before his execution. William Chambers, an electrical engineer, and at one time a ground man at Lord’s, was executed on December 4, 1902. He had gone from London to Eversholt, where his wife was living with her mother, and murdered them both. In the letter which lies before me he puts the crime down to influenza :
Dec. 2, 1902.
I was so glad to have a few lines from you and that some one thinks about me. I am placed in this awfull position through mother-in-law and to sisters. They fetched my poor wife from her home when I was out and caused me to go wrong in my head, but I never was a drunkard you no that and your brothers. Give my kind regards to your brothers and hope they are well and kind regards to all old friends, I am so sorry and greaved for my poor dear wife, and also her mother. You have seen my wife and my home and drunkards do not have homes like mine, but God bless her, and I hope I shall meet her in heaven. With all good wishes from yours in great sorrow,
Thanks for your letters and for your brother’s kind message. No more cricket, George. Good-bye, I am making my peace with God.
In a postscript written at the side of the letter he adds:
I never though I should come to this. Influenza upset my mind, never been the same man since. Hoping your wife and child are well.
The line in the letter that perhaps strikes one most is, ” No more cricket.” It was the ruling passion strong in death.
Reports of the crime before the trial:
Reports of the trial:
After the trial: