John Freeman, 46, lodged with his brother Robert and Robert’s wife Florence at the couple’s home in Hull. They all got on well together, except when they’d been drinking, and all three were drunk on the night of AUGUST 28th, 1909.
John and Robert were both intoxicated when they left the Myton Tavern, and a row developed between them as they made their way home, Robert accusing his brother of having an affair with Florence. They were still arguing when they reached Robert’s house in Porter Street, to find that Florence was also drunk.
Robert was unclear about what happened next. All he knew was that suddenly he had a wound above his eye which needed hospital treatment, and his wife was lying dead, having been stabbed in the throat.
Others had a better idea of what had occurred. William Gibson and Patrick Geraghty were passing the house when they heard screams. Looking in through the window, they saw John Freeman holding Florence from behind. Her back was against his chest and he was pulling a knife out of her neck. She ran from the house and into Geraghty’s arms, and Gibson ran for the police.
A neighbour, Mary Elizabeth Clark, had heard Robert Freeman shout at his wife, “You have been with him again.” Florence had called him a liar and the brothers had begun to fight. Then the neighbour heard Florence scream and saw her run out into the street.
Meanwhile the brothers had resumed their fight. When Police Sergeant Boyes arrived, Robert Freeman was pinning his brother to the floor. John was arrested, and at his trial he was convicted and condemned to death, the judge commenting that the brothers lived in a slum populated by lower working-class men whose main nourishment was alcohol.
Before the sentence was carried out, Robert said he had forgiven his brother. That was what John had wanted to hear, and he said he could now die a happy man.