Victorian London - Crime - Violence, murders and assaults - Murder in Stepney (Sarah Redhead)

The Times, Tuesday, May 31, 1870


    Yesterday afternoon a murder was committed at No. 80, Sidney-street, Stepney, by William Redhead, aged 18, a member of the 7th Tower Hamlets Rifle Volunteers.
    It appears from inquiries hastily made by Mr. Edward Worels, superintendent of the K division, directly after the murder wets committed, that the marriage of the prisoner's father to a second wife gave much offence to his children by his first wife, and they lived on very bad terms. The prisoner was engaged in drill practice with his Volunteer corps so recently as Saturday evening. Yesterday he loaded his rifle and deliberately shot his stepmother, who fell and almost instantly expired. He then fled from the house, and was pursued by some neighbours, who did not overtake him; but on reaching Alfred-street, White Horse-lane, Stepney, about a mile from Sidney-street, he met a police-constable, to whom he admitted he had committed a murder, and gave up the rifle he was carrying. He was taken into the station-house, and the charge was read over to him by Mr. Worels. He said that his stepmother had behaved very cruelly to him and his sister, and he had no further statement or explanation. He is a quiet-looking lad, without any indication of ferocity in his countenance or demeanour. He has for some time been in the service of a wine merchant in the City as a bottler or cellar-man. His father is the officer of a ship, and is now on his way home from China.
    Yesterday evening after the business of the day the prisoner was brought before Mr. Lushington at the Thames Police-court charged with the wilful murder of Mrs. Sarah Redhead, his step-mother. The court and its avenues were crowded to excess, the intelligence that "another murder" had been committed having caused a very large number of people to assemble in and near the court.

Times, May, 1870