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Tales of murder and mayhem in Cheshire are recreated by Chester writer

Retired journalist Derek Yarwood has revealed the Horrid Crimes of Bygone Cheshire

Horrid Crimes Of Bygone Cheshire by Derek Yarwood

True crime writer Derek Yarwood has turned to the dark side once more to gather together another forceful collection of archive tales of murder and mayhem in 18th and 19th century Cheshire.

A retired journalist, he has combined the newspaperman’s natural instinct for a good story with his interest in local history to produce a gripping anthology that is based extensively on original source material.

Drawn from long-forgotten assize court files, judges’ notes and inquest depositions — and with contemporary newspaper reports adding flavour to the mix — the book’s 12 chapters contain the most comprehensive, authenticated accounts of the cases ever published.

The third in the author’s Cheshire true crime series, the book, which comes with more than 100 illustrations, is mainly about murder, though also featured are attempted murder, house-breaking and highway robbery — 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.

The grim story-lines include a shoot-out with an armed gang who had been terrorising a farmer and his family at Eccleston; a marital row in Handbridge that ended in the death of a local constable; the attempted assassination of a law officer at Stockport; the Northwich case of a jilted suitor who extracted bloody revenge on his former sweetheart; the Crewe and Stockport parricides; a drink-fuelled axe murder at Hyde and the Macclesfield man who stabbed his partner with a red-hot poker.

True-crime writer Derek Yarwood

You can also find out why a man condemned to die for attempted murder near Congleton may have been hanged by mistake and the Smallwood crime that was regarded at the time as one of the most cold-blooded and mercenary double homicides ever committed in the county.

Horrid Crimes Of Bygone Cheshire is published under the DB Publishing imprint of JMD Media Ltd of Nottingham, price £14.99, and is available via Amazon or major book-sellers.

Derek Yarwood is a career journalist with almost 40 years’ experience, having worked on a number of newspapers in his home county of Cheshire, including the Liverpool Daily Post and Echo, the Chester Chronicle and various editions of the Warrington Guardian Series.

From 1987-1990 he was deputy editor of Cheshire Life magazine.

Originally from Frodsham, he now lives in the village of Barnton near Northwich with his wife Christine.

The couple have two grown-up sons, three grandsons and four step-grandchildren.

The author’s two previous books are A Vintage Casebook of Cheshire Crime (2012) and Cheshire’s Execution Files (2007).

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