MURDER AND SUICIDE IN HAMILTON, 11th May 1895.

MURDER AND SUICIDE IN HAMILTON. On Saturday evening a painful sensation was caused in Hamilton when it became known that a named Mrs Wilkinson, aged 53, had a fit of insanity killed her grandson, James Tyrell, aged six years, and afterwards taken her own life.

Six years ago she was dismissed from lunatic asylum as cured and while in the last three years or so she has from time to time shown symptoms of a return of her old malady, it was not considered necessary to put her under restraint.

On Wednesday last she was in Glasgow, and seemed bright and well, on Thursday, there was a change in her condition, and when, about three o’clock in the afternoon, she proposed to go to her son-in-law’s Hugh Tyrell, who is assistant to Mr Lynas, pawnbroker, there, and who resides at Gloucester Place, Burnbank Road, her son said, he would go with her.

She consented, and the two left her house in Chapel Street, Hamilton. At the hour stated, on reaching Mr Tyrrell’s house, she became excited, and after being inside for fifteen minutes, left, stating that she would be back in a little while.

She appears to have gone in the direction of the Catholic School, in High Blantyre Road, which the boy attended, and between whom and his grandmother there is said to have been warm attachment.

Meeting the child on the road she induced him to accompany her. She took the direction of Udston, and at Mr Dunn’s farm asked the road to Auchintibber. She was told the way, but instead of following it, struck through the fields and reached the highway near Hillhouse Cottage without crossing the railway.

She turned in to Townhill Farm, and was spoken to in passing through the farmyard by a servant girl, her future course was down the back road towards Earnock mansion- house, and she and the boy were last seen passing the laundry in the direction of Earnock Glen, all further trace of their movements being lost.

earnock-glen
In the 1896 map of Hamilton, you can see Townhill Farm with the back road in dotted lines. This was the path leading down to the Laundry mentioned in the story that Janet Wilkinson led her Grandson to his death.

Towards night the absence of the boy from his home gave rise to serious apprehensions on the part of his parents, but all their efforts failed to find any trace of him. Next day an organised search was instituted. The old woman and the boy were traced to the back of Earnock Colliery, but here the clue failed, and nothing further concerning their whereabouts could be ascertained.

On Saturday morning, acting upon instructions received from Chief-Constable Millar, of the burgh police, Sargent Clark, Burnbank, made a search in the vicinity of the Earnock estate, taking with him two assistants.

They entered the gate leading to Earnock House and a search of the woods proving fruitless, they proceeded up the burn in the glen, and towards afternoon, they found the two bodies lying in the water.

James Tyreell Death 1895.jpg

Mrs Wilkinson’s throat was cut, and she had her little grandson clasped to her breast with his face towards her. There was a wound in the boy’s throat, but not sufficient, it is said, to cause death, and the supposition is that he was drowned. A razor was afterwards found near the place where the bodies were found, the handle and the spring of the blade tied tightly together with the old woman’s boot-lace, as if to afford her fuller control of it. How she came by the razor is a mystery, but it is thought probable that she may have purchased it in Glasgow on the Wednesday. The bodies were conveyed to Hamilton.

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