Trouble had long been brewing at the Liverpool home of David and Freda Caplan and their two children. On OCTOBER 14th, 1919, it erupted in violence that left three dead and one severely injured.
The Caplans had been married for nine years, but on September 9th, 1919, Freda, 33, moved out to live with her mother, her sister Miriam Waterman replacing her to look after the children. At the same time Freda returned daily to attend to the millinery business which she ran from her home.
Nine days later her husband was convicted of assaulting her, and on October 8th she obtained a separation order which required him to find a new home by the 20th.
Miriam had meanwhile moved back to her mother’s home, and when the Caplans’ three-year-old son Maurice became ill on October 11th Freda moved back to her home to look after him.
Three days later her family became worried when her 13-year-old sister went to visit her and got no reply to her knocks on the door. Freda’s brother Myer Waterman then went to her home. His knocks also went unanswered, so he climbed in through an unlatched kitchen window.
Forty-two-year-old David Caplan lay on the floor with his throat cut. Upstairs, Freda and her elder son Herman, six, lay on her bed, their heads battered. Maurice lay in his cot. His head too had been battered. A bloodstained flatiron lay nearby.
All four Caplans were rushed to hospital, where the children were found to be dead on arrival. Freda died the next day, October 15th, but her husband had recovered sufficiently by October 31st to be released and charged with her murder.
Sentenced to death after his defence of insanity failed at his trial, he was executed at Manchester on January 6th, 1920.