Attempt to Shoot a Nursery Governess [1901]

In 1901, George Henry Bell, a young man employed as boots at the Bull's Head Hotel, Sowerby Bridge became infatuated with a young woman Ethel Christabel Seaman, who worked as a nursery governess for the family of John Campion Noble, proprietor of the Bull's Head. Miss Seaman rejected his advances and he confronted her carrying a gun

The Falkirk Herald [Wednesday 21st August 1901] reported the story

Attempt to Shoot a Nursery Governess – a Remarkable Story

At Halifax on Saturday, George Henry Bell, a young man, for three months employed as boots at the Bull's Head Hotel, Sowerby Bridge, was charged with attempting to murder Ethel Christabel Seaman, a nursery governess at the same place.

It appeared that the prisoner had sought to pay his addresses to the young woman, who had rejected them. On August 13th, he requested her to give him an appointment in the nursery after she had put the children to bed. She refused, but, as he was very anxious for an interview, she met him in Tuel Lane, Sowerby Bridge. Their conversation lasted about forty minutes. He proposed marriage but she refused him. He told her that he had written a letter home saying that he meant to commit suicide, but she told him he must be mad. He broke down and sobbed saying

I hope you will think no more about it

She replied that she would have him watched by the police, and upon this he said

If you split, it will be worse for you

Later, in the nursery, he appeared with his boots off and a revolver in his hand. Pointing the weapon at her, he drew the trigger twice, but each time it snapped harmlessly. She tried to get the revolver and also unbolt the door, against which he had placed himself, but he prevented her. For a third time the revolver snapped. The prisoner was fumbling about in his pocket and a cartridge dropped to the floor. He took another aim and she put up her hands and was bit on the finger and her ear. She called for assistance. The police later confirmed that the prisoner had bought the revolver in Halifax, selecting the largest shown to him. On the date of the offence, the prisoner wrote to the sister of Miss Seaman at Hornsea.

Dear Miss Seaman, In writing these few lines to you allow me to tell you, when you read this letter, that it is to be a warning to you and your family; so please say they must keep an eye on the papers, as there is danger ahead

From Yours Truly G. H. Bell, boots

The prisoner was committed for trial at Leeds Assizes


© Malcolm Bull 2022
Revised 13:12 / 19th January 2022 / 4622

Page Ref: X436

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