The Murder at Deerton Street

Does anyone know anything about a servant girl in the 1887’s who was reputedly murdered by her boyfriend in a house in the Deerton Street area" asked Mrs Coppins in the Summer 1988 edition of Teynham News.

Did Mrs. Coppins know we wondered, just what she started when she asked about the murder in Deerton Street?  We received this interesting letter from Mr. Vernon Page:

"Regarding the question about the murder of the servant girl at Deerton Street in the 1887s, my late wife's parents lived in that area at the time hence my information.  I think it happened on a Sunday morning at Mr. Dixon's farmhouse.  Her name was Florence Kate Poysden but I don't know the man's name who committed the murder.  The girl's remains lay at Teynham Churchyard with a Tombstone marking the grave, but I think the man got a reprieve."  

Following on from Mr. Page's letter, our cub reporter was sent off pen in hand to the offices of the East Kent Gazette. After research she found the following information from a newspaper dated 11th June, 1887:-

That on Wednesday, 8th June, 1887, Charles Walter who lodged with Mr. & Mrs. Poysden and their daughter Florence, murdered young Florence when she brought him his medicine.  Both Mr. George Poysden, bailiff, and Charles Walter worked for Mr. William Roper Dixon and Charles Walter had lodged with the Poysdens for nearly three years during which time he appeared to have become infatuated with Florence.  Florence who was 15 on the 16th January, 1887 did not return his affection.  On the day in question Charles Walter had remained in bed for an ailment and had called to Florence to bring him his medicine.  She had declined to do so but after persistent calling she took up his medicine to him in a wineglass.  As she approached the bed, Charles Walter seized hold of her with one hand, and producing a razor from underneath the pillow, drew it across her throat (cutting her from ear to ear).  She managed to stagger downstairs where she later died in her Mother's arms.  Walter then cut his own throat, but not dangerously. Having had it dressed he was apprehended by Police Constable Gibson of Greenstreet and taken to Faversham. At the Faversham Police Station on 10th June, 1887 Charles Walter was charged before Mr. W.E. Rigden with the wilful murder of Florence Kate Poysden.  Superintendent Mayne stated that at the inquest a verdict of 'wilful murder' was returned against the prisoner.

We couldn't leave the story of the gruesome murder of Florence Poysden at Deerton Street on 8th June, 1887 without finding out what happened to the man who committed the dastardly deed. 

Following being charged with the wilful murder at Faversham Magistrates Clerk's Office, Charles Walter was formally committed to Maidstone Gaol to await trial at Maidstone Assizes the following month.

A large crowd gathered outside to witness his departure. He was duly bought before the court in July.  Mr. Dering, who had been instructed to prosecute said he understood there was a question as to whether the prisoner, a 25 year old engine driver, was in a fit condition to plead. Dr. Francis Davies, Superintendent of the Banning Heath Asylum, stated that at the request of the Treasury  he examined the prisoner the previous Wednesday and he thought the prisoner was not in a fit condition to understand the charge against him.  He did not understand thoroughly what was going on.  He had only a hazy idea.  He gave most irrelevant answers to several questions that convinced witnesses he did not understand what was said to him. It was stated to the Court that the prisoner's Uncle was presently confined in Barming Asylum.  Dr. Davis had no doubt in his mind that the accused was affected by a hereditary disease and firmly believed that he was not able to plead to this charge.  The jury found that the accused was not fit to plead and he was ordered by the Judge to be detained in an asylum during Her Majesty's pleasure.

(For this gruesome but interesting story our thanks are extended to the East Kent Gazette for letting us look through their back-copies, to Mr. Vernon Page for putting us on the right track and to Mrs. Phyllis Coppins for asking the question

Murder at Deerton Street