This single sheet broadside published in 1841 details the trial of Job Joseph (or John) Ward for the murder of a 21 month old boy, Timothy Easted. Ward was the common-law husband of Jane Easted and shared a family home near Regents Park in London with Jane’s baby boy, Timothy (who was the offspring of another man). One evening Ward arrived home the worse for drink and asked Jane to fetch him beer from a nearby shop. After running the errand, Jane returned home to find the child suffering from a catastrophic head injury. The child was taken to a local hospital but died two hours later. Ward was arrested on suspicion of murder after it emerged that he resented the presence of another man’s baby in their home, and had previously ‘ill-used’ the child. Ward’s defence - that he had accidentally fallen on the child - was rejected by the jury and he was sentenced to death for murder.
The way that this broadside portrays the bloody details of the crime is typical of such publications of the period. Single sheet broadsides such as this, though crudely printed and illustrated, were sold in their thousands for only a penny or so when sensational felony trials took place and helped foster the public appetite for details of real-life crimes.
- Article by:
- Judith Flanders
- Crime and crime fiction, Popular culture
Looking at broadsides, cheap pamphlets and the works of Charles Dickens, Judith Flanders explores how crime in the 19th century – particularly gruesome murder and executions – served as entertainment in both fiction and real life.