Newspapers and journals: David Gumbleton, murder charge


Midland Circuit

Bedford, March 7.

Crown Court—(Before Mr. Justice Lindley.)

David Gumbleton, a groom and gardener in the employ of Dr. Farr, at Dunstable, was charged with the wilful murder of his wife on the 31st of January last.

Mr. Housman and Mr. A.K. Loyd prosecuted; Mr. Jacques defended the prisoner.

The prisoner, a man of mild and exemplary character, lived with his wife at Dunstable. He appeared to have been extremely fond of her, but she was in the habit of threatening him with violence, and on one occasion, when he approached her and was about to kiss her, sheseized a knife and said she would stab him if he came near her. They had no children, and no one lived in the house but themselves. On the night in question a witness who lived next door had got into bed at about 11 o'clock, when he heard screams in the prisoner's house. He at once partially dressed himself and ran round to a neighbour's house, but, failing to arouse the inmates, went and knocked at the prisoner's back door. The prisoner at once opened it, and on being asked what was the matter, replied, 'I have killed the missus; she aggravated me to it, and if I had not killed her she would have killed me.' The wife was then lying on the floor, and, on examination, ws found to have received two cuts in the throat and four of five blows to the head, and though not quite dead, she was insensible and remained so up to the time of her death, which occurred in about half an hour. The prisoner at once stated that he had first hit his wife on the head with a poker and then used a knife, and a table-knife was afterwards found concealed in some ashes in the cellar, which bore unmistakable evidence of having been used in the way in which the prisoner admitted he had used it. There were no marks of a struggle in the room, nor on the prisoner, and he appeared perfectly calm and collected immediately after he had committed the deed.

Mr Jacques, for the defence, urges that the temper of the wife and that of the husband, taken with the prisoner's statement as to her threats towards him, made it probable that she had made a violent attack upon him, and that under sudden provocation the prisoner had taken her life, and that under the circumstances, the crime was manslaughter, and not murder.

The jury found the prisoner Guilty of manslaughter, and the learned Judge sentenced him to penal servitude for 12 years.

Note. This source gives the name as Gumbleton, but other sources name the accused as David Dumpleton. A search of the 1871 census found a David Dumpleton (a groom) in Dunstable, but no Gumbletons. Hence, this person is almost certainly not a Gumbleton.

The Times
10 Mar 1876



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