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Retired journalist writes book about county’s most notorious crimes

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.

Derek, 73, worked on a number of newspapers including the Liverpool Daily Post and Echo, the Chester Chronicle and various editions of the Warrington Guardian series.

Horrid Crimes - cover.indd

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.”

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  • July 6, 2017 at 3:03 pm

    Derek was a superb feature writer and no doubt his book is a cracking good read.

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