AS part of our weekly Crime Files series, we are taking a look back at the archives to bring you stories from Herefordshire's history.

The following story dates from 1907.

A HEREFORDSHIRE country estate was the scene of a shocking attack blamed on 'explosive insanity' in 1907.

Mr Justice Lawrence at Hereford Assizes heard that Alphaeus John Jordan and victim Grace Gordon Jones had been employed at an institute for epileptics in Buckinghamshire in 1904, but by 1905 were both employed at Whitney-on-Wye, having falsely claimed they were half-brother and sister.

Jordan was employed as a cowman, while Jones worked as a dairymaid, and the pair occupied a cottage close to Whitney Court.

But Jordan was discharged from his position in the autumn of 1905, while Jones continued in her job, with another man supplanting Jordan in her affections, it was reported.

Jones and Jordan remained on friendly terms, with Jordan often paying secret visits to the cottage at Whitney Court, and spending the whole of January, February and March of 1907 secretly living with Jones before leaving for London, where he found new employment.

But, on April 19, 33-year-old Jordan returned to the Herefordshire cottage, stashing his bag in the cowhouse and removing two razors, which he hid in his pocket, before breaking in to the cottage through a window after dark.

A friend of Miss Jones, a Miss Willerton, was staying at the cottage that night, and Jordan locked her in her bedroom before waking Miss Jones and extracting a promise from her to marry him.

Jordan spent the night at the cottage, but, it was reported, when Miss Jones rose in the morning, he fumbled among his clothes, grabbing a razor and slashing at her jugular vein.

Miss Jones managed to snatch the razor from his grasp and flinging it out of the window before being attacked again with the second razor, which she managed to break.

But Jordan had managed to grab a pair of tongs, striking her on the head before slashing her in the head and neck with a penknife, leaving her with 22 wounds including one near the jugular, which Dr Lewis Heather later said was within the nearest fraction of being fatal.

In a strange twist of events, however, Jordan seemed to have been seized with remorse after the attack, fetching water to bathe the wounds, and unlocking Miss Willerton's door and instructing her to send for the police and a doctor.

The defence said Jordan had not been responsible for his actions and that they had been the result of an attack of explosive insanity.

Jordan was found guilty by the jury, who said there was not the slightest proof that he was not responsible for his actions.

He was sentenced to 15 years penal servitude for attempted murder.