The house in High Street stank of fish. That is what the reporters first noticed –salt fish mingling in a sickly way with smells from the dwelling itself and with those from the backyard where the animals were kept. A fit place for an intensive investigation by the local board of health, is what they thought. But that could wait. The reporters were there to see the bodies, those of Josiah and Jane Padley.
But they were warned – the house was dilapidated, there was little furniture and the rickety stairs may not take their weight.
There is a sense of poverty and squalor which runs through this story- of unhappiness , waste, dirt, futility and of course, madness.
The shed leaning against the rear of the house had beams from which herring were hung for drying. It was here that Josiah had hanged himself. There was a new rope around his neck, intended to repair a fisherman’s net. He had jumped off some steps and since he was a heavy man, death appeared to have been instantaneous. In death Josiah appeared calm, his good features untroubled by the horror he had left behind. Jane was lying in an ill-furnished room upstairs.
You can read the rest of this shocking story in my book Swansea Murders, and I have now received new stock. Go to the Swansea Murders page in the menu or by clicking on this link, to find out more.
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