For several months 52-year-old Lawrence Purfield had been suffering from depression and sleeplessness. He had twice attempted suicide, and then he became convinced that his wife was having an affair with a man who was lodging with them. So on DECEMBER 19th, 1919, he axed the lodger to death with several blows to the head.
There was no evidence of any grounds for Purfields suspicion, the jury heard at his murder trial at Worcestershire Assizes a year later. He was a bottler at a mineral water factory in Malvern, and his plea of insanity was supported by medical witnesses.
A verdict of guilty but insane was consequently expected, but the jury found Purfield plain guilty and he was sentenced to death. On the judges recommendation, however, on January 30th, 1922, the sentence was commuted to life imprisonment. But Lawrence Purfield was tired of life anyway, and on July 6th, 1923, he killed himself.