England · Newspaper clippings

Woman seemingly kills children with coal hammer, self with razor

From The Illustrated Police News
Published February 6, 1892
Margaret Ann Castings is shown beating her children to death before killing herself

Castings (32) seemingly killed her two children, Emily (10) and Ernest Stanley (8), with a coal hammer in the living room before withdrawing to her bedroom upstairs to slit her own throat with a razor blade. The killings appeared to have happened suddenly, with the preparation of the family dinner left half-completed as evidence. The family was dressed in their Sunday clothes and, between their attire and the beginning of the meal in the kitchen, it was surmised the family had been killed on Sunday around noon.

The Castings’ bodies were discovered late on Thursday when neighbors noticed Margaret’s Nottingham business — a milliner’s and haberdasher’s shop she inherited when her husband died three years before — was left closed for several days.

A young man by the name of Louis Deutschland was known to have roomed with the Castings in the past and occasionally visited as a friend and adviser. Police questioned Deutschland to ascertain Castings’ possible motive in the apparent murder-suicide. Between his testimony and the empty laudanum bottles in Castings’ bedroom surrounding her body, the coroner’s jury ruled Castings had “willfully murdered her children [then] committed suicide while in an unsound state of mind.”

Other sources:
“The Nottingham Tragedy.” The Nottingham Guardian. February 6, 1892
“Crimes of the Week.” The Ipswitch Journal. February 6, 1892

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