It was not just a rope that hanged Herbert John Bennett. He was also hanged by a gold chain. It was his wife’s, and she was wearing it as usual on SEPTEMBER 22nd, 1900, when he alighted from a London train and joined her on holiday in Great Yarmouth.
Their marriage had been troubled, and Mary Bennett’s 20-year-old husband had spoken of leaving her. But Mary had an answer to that. Their landlady had heard her yell at him, “Herbert, I will follow you for the sake of our baby. And if you’re not careful I can get you fifteen years.”
Her husband had replied that he wished she were dead – and if she weren’t careful, she soon would be. But he too had to be careful. Unknown to Mary, he wanted to marry another woman. And only months earlier his grocery business had mysteriously gone up in flames. He had eagerly pocketed the insurance and, as his wife knew only too well, he was always “on the fiddle,” one scam or petty theft following another.
When he stepped off his train in Great Yarmouth, however, the couple’s quarrels had been patched up. Or so Mary thought, until they went for a stroll on the beach that night and her husband strangled her. When her body was found Mary was identified by a Great Yarmouth landlady as one of her guests, a “Mrs. Hood,” and a picture taken of her by a beach photographer was found in her room.
It showed her with her gold chain round her neck, and the landlady said that “Mrs. Hood” was wearing it the last time she left the house. No gold chain, however, was found on the body.
Mary was identified as Mrs. Herbert Bennett through a laundry-mark on her clothes, and her missing gold chain turned up when detectives searched her husband’s Woolwich lodgings. The chain’s damning discovery was all the police needed, and Herbert Bennett was hanged at Norwich Prison on March 21st, 1901.