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 1887.

AN ELDERLY Hereford man was murdered in an early-hours burglary at his home in 1887.

Phillip Ballard, an 88-year-old gentleman had lived at the Knoll in Tupsley for over 20 years when he was murdered.

The former engineer, who had also exhibited at the Royal Academy, had his niece and three servants staying in the house at the time of the attack on October 19, 1887.

The home's occupants had all gone to bed at their usual time, but the housekeeper and a servant were roused at 2am, hearing a groan.

They rushed out to the landing, spotting a light downstairs.

But when the housekeeper called out, the light was put out.

Fearing the worst, she went to check on her employer, finding him lying on his bed with two "fearful" gashes to his head. A blood-smeared jemmy and hatchet were found on the floor.


The alarm was raised and a surgeon fetched from Hereford, but Mr Ballard never really fully regained consciousness before dying some days later.

Police found the home had been broken into, while a gold watch and chain, two rings, and a white silk handkerchief were found to be missing.

An extensive investigation saw a young man named Moseley, who had known one of Mr Ballard's servants, apprehended on suspicion.

He was later discharged and compensated after it was found no case could be made against him and the case went cold until a letter was received by Hereford police.

A man named James Jones was swiftly arrested at his Hereford home and a reward offered for another, Alfred Scandrett, who was apprehended after he was spotted in Worcester as he sung hymns for coppers.

Both men were indicted for wilful murder and, after a lengthy trial, were both sentenced to death.

It was reported that a "terrible scene" unfolded in the dock as the sentence was pronounced, with Scandrett springing at Jones "with great ferocity.

Several warders were needed to prevent him attacking Jones and he was eventually subdued and led to the cells, never to be seen by the outside world again.