In 1907 Walter Davis, a painter and decorator, took a room at the Middlesbrough home of Esther Harriet Richards while her husband was working elsewhere. On Mr. Richards’s return his wife told him that Davis was her cousin, but in fact the pair had been having an affair even though Esther was 16 years older than her lover.
Then when Richards left to resume his work Davis and his mistress moved across the county and set up a new home together. About a year later, however, Esther rejoined her husband. Davis also returned to Middlesbrough, frequently calling to see her during her husband’s absence at work. By now Esther was 53 and Davis was 37.
He was at the house again on MARCH 30th, 1909, and Richards returned home that night to find his wife lying dead on the floor, her skull crushed by blows from a hammer which the police found in a cupboard.
A neighbour said she had seen Davis leave the house, and he was arrested at Blythe on April 17th. Convicted of Mrs. Richards’s murder, he was hanged at Wakefield on July 9th.