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 1851.

A HEREFORD woman was found dead in a ditch after an argument with her husband in 1851.

Isaac Roberts, a 40-year-old mason, and his wife Sarah had been on their way home to Kivernoll from Hereford when a quarrel broke out between them in February of that year.

Roberts said he had left his wife at Gallows Tump, where public executions were carried out in what is now the Hunderton area of the city, and taken a circuitous route home through fields, going to bed alone and concluding she had turned back to Hereford.

But Sarah was instead seen proceeding along the tram-road which would become the Hereford to Abergavenny railway towards her home by witnesses.

She was found the next day in a ditch containing some two feet of water around two miles from Kivernoll. Her market baskets and the groceries she had been carrying home were strewn across the road and her bonnet was found on the bank.


An examination revealed she had no marks of violence but a scratch to her nose, and it appeared she had drowned.

However, it was reported, screams had been heard by people in nearby cottages, who had taken no steps to find out what was wrong.

A man's footprints were found beside the ditch, and Isaac Roberts was taken into custody.

His shoes were shown to the inquest jury, who returned a verdict of wilful murder against Roberts.

Roberts was committed to trial at Hereford Assizes, where a large crowd had gathered in March to see him convicted of the crime.

However a grand jury found there was no true bill against him, while prosecutor Mr Cooke said, having considered the evidence, that there he could not bring any charge against the prisoner.

Roberts was discharged by the court.