The Awful Killing of Sarah Watts (Hardback)
A Story of Confessions, Acquittals and Jailbreaks
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Before Road there was Frome . . . before Whicher there was Smith . . . before the heartless slaughter of four year old Saville Kent there was the brutal rape and murder of fourteen year old Sarah Watts.
Taking place nine years earlier than the Road Hill case, made famous by the best-selling book The Suspicions of Mr Whicher and subsequent television adaptation, The Awful Killing of Sarah Watts: A Story of Confessions, Acquittals and Jailbreaks recounts the shocking details of this 1851 murder, on an isolated farm near Frome, and the incredible events that transpired from it.
On Wednesday 24th September 1851, with her parents at market, Sarah Watts was alone at Battle Farm. Sometime during the afternoon, an intruder battered, raped and brutally murdered her.
As the case gripped the nation, a London Detective was sent to investigate. The result was three local men – all notorious felons with previous convictions – were arrested and charged; but with a huge reward on offer, were they really guilty or just hapless victims of others' greed?
When they did stand trial, it set in motion a series of riveting events that culminated a decade later in a sensational confession; but was this confessor’s sanity to be questioned and were they even in the country at the time of the murder?
For the very first time, this sensational story is told in full-length book form, with the authors having meticulously researched newspaper accounts, court transcripts, prison records and eyewitness accounts.
David Lassman talk as featured bySomerset Guardian, 9th January 2020
'Following in the footsteps of Victorian killer'Frome Standard, 7th November 2019
'Murder Walk will be highlight of festival'Frome Times, 7th November 2019
Feature 'Frome Times Past' contributed by authorsFrome Times, 17th January 2019
As featured bySomerset Guardian/Frome Times, 8th November 2018
As mentioned in article part of promotion for Foul Deeds and Suspicious Deaths in and around FromeFrome Times, 27th September 2018
As featured byFrome Times, 13th September 2018
On 24 September 1851, 14-year old Sarah Watts was brutally murdered at a farmhouse near Frome in Somerset while her parents were at market. At the time Somerset did not yet have a professional police force, so the magistrates asked Sgt Henry Smith of Scotland Yard, part of the newly formed London Metropolitan Police, to help find the killer.Historical Novels Review
The Awful Killing of Sarah Watts is a true crime story with a gallery of colourful suspects, courtroom drama, sudden new evidence, gaolbreaks and more. Essentially a piece of local history, meticulously researched by two local historians, it has a wider interest as a detailed case study of law enforcement, criminal justice and the penal system at a formative stage in their development in Britain. The case remains unsolved, and readers are left with a set of scenarios to choose from themselves.
David Lassman appearance as promoted bySomerset Guardian, 12th July 2018
David Lassman appearance as promoted byFrome Times, 5th July 2018
I had never heard of this case until Pen and Sword decided to take it up - Mick Davis and David Lassman turn in a fascinating account of the murder and the subsequent arrest of three men who might not have had anything to do with the crimes against the little girl; this is a cold case that deserves this attention, and the authors have done the little girl proud!Books Monthly
Feature 'Frome Times Past' contributed by authorsFrome Times, 24th May 2018
As featured inTrue Crime Library, Bulletin 470
As featured inTrue Crime Library, Bulletin 469
Recommended 'read of the month' - Frome LibraryFrome Times online
'IN THIS edition of the Frome Times we welcome two local authors and historians, who will become regular contributors through a feature entitled ‘Frome Times Past’
Article: 'When our town was the crime capital of region' by James Wood as featured byFrome Standard, 12th April 2018
Author talk as featured inFrome Times, 29th March 2018
Click here to listenBBC Radio Somerset
Note: set cursor to 24:04 for interview
Article: Frome, the 'crime capital of the south west' where an horrific murder took place by James Wood as featured bySomerset Live, 20th March 2018
Article: 'Frome's most infamous murder - The Awful Killing of Sarah Watts' as featured inFrome Times, 1st March 2018