Monday, 6 July 2015

Tragic Death of Mrs. Harriet Reeve

Ashwell Arms, Leighton Buzzard, c.1925 [WL800-1]

Tuesday 6th July 1915: A dreadful domestic tragedy took place in Leighton Buzzard yesterday evening. At around 7 pm the sound of a gunshot was heard at 8 Plantation Road, the home of William Benjamin Reeve and his wife Harriet. Soon afterwards P.C. William Clarke, who was on duty near the Stag public house, met Reeve in the street heading for his father’s house at 84 Church Street; he noticed that Reeve was covered with blood and his throat was cut. P.C. Clarke helped the injured man to Church Road and called for a doctor. His injuries were found to be severe and he was taken to the Workhouse Infirmary. Mrs. Reeve was later found sitting in a chair at her home, dead from a gunshot wound which had blown away her right bottom jaw and left a large hole in her right shoulder near to the neck. A double-barrelled muzzle loading gun was against the fence outside the house.

The inquest into the tragedy opened this afternoon at the Ashwell Arms. P.C. Clarke described how he had found Mrs. Reeve’s body. He told the Coroner that the right-hand top drawer in a chest of drawers was open; it contained a number of loose cartridges and an empty powder flask. On the top of the drawers was a powder flask containing powder. Both barrels of the gun found outside the house had recently been fired and the left hammer was cocked . A razor was also found on the ground, covered with blood. The middle of the blade was broken out, apparently due to coming into contact with bone. Mrs. Reeve’s hand was wounded as if she had tried to shield her face. The inquest was adjourned to 21st July. Mrs. Reeve’s funeral will take place on Thursday, with funeral arrangements being made by her employers, Mr. C. H. Aveline and Mr. John Phillips. She leaves three children, Lance-Corporal Charles Reeve, William Reeve and Miss Florrie Reeve.

Source: Leighton Buzzard Observer 13th July 1915; Bedfordshire Standard 9th July 1915

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