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Coventry Crime Files: Husband tried to decapitate wife in horrific Coventry murder; Latest tale from Coventry and Warwickshire's grisly past.

Byline: Ben Eccleston

CoventryLive is looking back over some of the region's most famous and gruesome crimes from our bloody past.

Among them are murders and poisonings, together with their resulting executions, with some dating back more than 200 years.

Crime reporter Ben Eccleston investigates.

An angry husband who slit his wife's throat and then tried to decapitate her said her death was "her father's fault".

John Kington received the ultimate penalty for the gruesome murder of Elizabeth Ann Kington on November 12, 1859.

The shocking murder happened near to Jeffery Wood's Cross, Coventry, and Kington was only stopped from removing his wife's head as the knife wasn't sharp enough.

It was reported at the time that Mrs Kington even told her landlady she "should call for her brother to go with her to work as she was afraid of meeting her husband".

The report continues: "Accompanied by her brother she went towards her place of work in East Street, but when the reached Harnall Row they were met by Kington, who, having got rid of her brother, asked the unhappy woman to return to him."

When she refused, they quarrelled for around an hour, before heading in the direction of Swan Lane and then in to some fields.

"There seems to have been a last passionate appeal and a last decided refusal; then there was a momentary struggle and the victim was thrown to the ground," it was reported.

"The murderer depriving her of very much power to resist him by placing one knee on her breast and one on her shoulder and arm.

"A dreadful cut followed which took effect on the face and then there was a cry of 'Forgive me, forgive me!' and the brutal answer 'I've forgiven you times enough; if your father had been here I would have served him the same'."

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Kington then cut his wife's throat until "every artery was severed" and "even then his inhuman fury remained unappeased. He had resolved to to cut the head completely off, and it was not till he found two or three persons rapidly approaching him that he desisted from the attempt".

Kington then lunged towards one of the people who had arrived "with the knife upraised and with eyes glaring and teeth grating with passion", before he "calmed himself at once" upon seeing he was outnumbered.

Kington dropped the knife at the scene and was led away by one of those at the scene, before being handed over to a police officer.

Kington entered the court for his trial and "every eye was directed towards him", and he "placed himself leisurely in front of the dock, his face towards the judge, and remained in that position through the greater part of the trial".

He pleaded not guilty to murder and the witnesses during the trial included a 14-year-old milk boy and a girl of the same age.

Police Sergeant Edward Salmons also took to the witness stand and told the court: "I came up with the prisoner in a field near Ford Street. He called out 'Salmons, I am here, I'll go with you quietly so don't handle me'.

"A man was walking the by side of Kington and I asked him where the knife was. Before the man had time to answer, Kington said 'It lies by the side of her; she is dead enough. It was her father's fault; if she had gone to live with me last night it wouldn't have happened'.

"He also added 'I would have cut her head quite off had the knife been sharp enough'."

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Kington was inevitably found guilty and sentenced to death.

When he was taken from Coventry to Warwick Gaol to be hanged on December 30, 1859, he was "taken away in a cab, which was followed for a short distance by a number of persons whose repeated yells expressed their abhorrence of his brutal crime".


Reports regarding murder of Elizabeth Ann Kington by her husband John Kington in Coventry from 1859

Reports regarding murder of Elizabeth Ann Kington by her husband John Kington in Coventry from 1859
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Publication:Coventry Telegraph (Coventry, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Apr 21, 2018
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