After splitting from his wife, William Jackson, 35, took two of their four children, John, six, and Mary Jane, seven, with him. But after a few days the children vanished.

The police were alerted, and their inquiries took them to a garden in the Handbridge area of the Chester, where the Jacksons lived. The bodies of the two children were found buried in a pit. Both had their throats cut, in the manner of killing a sheep. As the bodies were taken to the mortuary women thronged the route, openly weeping.

Jackson, an upholsterer, denied killing the children when he appeared at Chester Assizes on December 5th, 1856, but several people said they had seen him digging in the garden pit. He was hanged on Saturday, December 20th, 1856, at Chester Prison. As hangman William Calcraft was about to pull the lever Jackson was asked by the chaplain if he confessed his sins, and he replied, “I do.” Victorian murder stories from True Crime Library.

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