Literature is full of allusions to greedy, predatory children exploiting their aged parents. King Lear had a bad time at the hands of his daughters, and in the classic novel La Terre Emile Zola pointed out the perils that befall old folk when they give too much away to their unappreciative children.

William Betts, 47, of Teston in Kent, went to extreme lengths with his father, killing the 77-year-old man with an axe after they argued over a small amount of money that the son claimed his father owed him. He confessed at once, and police found the old man bathed in his blood, with terrible head injuries.

“We spent most of our lives arguing,” William Betts said. “I hate him.”

An outbreak of typhoid at Maidstone prevented him from being tried in the county town. Instead he was brought to Canterbury, where the jury found him guilty. He was hanged on Thursday, December 16th, 1897, at Maidstone Prison, by which time the typhoid outbreak, having killed 132 people, was over. Victorian murder stories from True Crime Library.

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