A retired regional journalist has written a book about the most notorious crimes in the county he served.
Derek Yarwood’s Horrid Crimes of Bygone Cheshire is a collection of archive tales from the 18th and 19th centuries, based extensively on original source material.
He used long-forgotten assize court files, judges’ notes and inquest depositions, as well as contemporary newspaper reports, to compile the book, which was released at the weekend.
He told Stoke daily The Sentinel: “I’ve been interested in criminology for as long as I can remember. I’m also fascinated in the social history; how people lived, what jobs they did and what their lives were like.
“A lot of the criminals were from the poorer classes but whether that is coincidental or not, I don’t know. It was often a case of survival, despite the fact the law was pretty severe.”
The book is mainly about murder but also features attempted murder, house-breaking and highway robbery.
Derek added: “Less serious offences, maybe, but each one involving events for which the description ‘horrid’ was equally justified.
“And, under the savage penal code in operation for much of the time-span, most of the culprits ended up swinging from the hangman’s rope.”