Geoff Brookes tells us about William Butler, a jobbing gardener with over twenty years in prison under his belt.
Tank Cottage in Bassaleg was a small property dominated by a large water tank in the front garden. It was the home of Charles and Mary Thomas. He was 82 and she was ten years younger. They had lived on the Tredegar Estate in Newport where Charles had been a wood cutter but, just two weeks earlier, he had finally retired and they had been given use of Tank Cottage.
On Thursday 11th November 1909 they retired to bed, early as usual but their neighbours didn’t see them at all on Friday and became alarmed. Mary hadn’t turned up to go shopping in Newport with a friend as was her habit, so Constable Bale was called and he found a terrible scene when he went upstairs. Charles and Mary were dead in bed, their heads beaten with a heavy blunt instrument until they were almost unrecognisable. Blood was splattered everywhere. It had been a brutal assault on a benign elderly couple.
This story continues on page 11 of our magazine.