England

Man kills children, wife with iron, attempts to kill self with knife to throat

October 14, 1919
Liverpool, England
David Caplan kills his wife and children with a clothing iron before slitting his own throat

According to The Manchester Guardian (Dec. 3, 1919), Caplan and his wife Freda had an unhappy marriage, one which often resulted in domestic assault against Freda. So common were these occurrences that their neighbor disregarded the sounds of screams and a struggle, dismissing them as yet another “quarrel,” as David bludgeoned his family. Later the same day, Freda’s sister visited the home and was surprised to find it locked. Upon forcing the door open, David Caplan was found in a pool of his blood on the kitchen floor with a gash to his neck.

Freda was discovered in the bedroom, her head smashed. She survived briefly but succumbed to her injuries the following day. Her children, Maurice (4) and Herman (6), were found dead with similar injuries to their skulls. Despite his neck wound, David recovered. At the scene, a bloody flat-iron — similar to those pictured — was found and was determined to be the murder weapon.

David Caplan was arrested, confessed to the murders, and tried. Prosecutors portrayed the murders as premeditated while the defense attempted a temporary insanity plea. He was found guilty and sentenced to death, facing his execution on January 6, 1920.


[Image Source]

Sources:
“Executions at Strangeways.” The Guardian [London, England], January 7, 1920
“A Liverpool Murder.” The Guardian [London, England], December 3, 1919

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