14 July 1903 – Samuel Dougal

Essex boy Samuel Herbert Dougal came a cropper after the ladies’ man did away with one of his rich women.

Twice widowed Dougal was an ex army man, who, through his life, had a string of women in tow, as well as jobs. Such an unsettling period took its toll while he was posted in Dublin and he was done for forgery. Most of his year’s sentence was spent in an asylum after he tried to top himself.

Going Dutch

But he was soon at large again and took up where he left off, hooking up with a wealthy widow by the name of Camille Cecile Holland. She wasn’t born yesterday and continued to maintain everything in her name from a business perspective.

So when she forked out for a new gaff, naturally, her name appeared on the deeds to their new home – Moat Farm – in Saffron Walden.

Village people

But just over a month later Holland suddenly disappeared, apparently on holiday. And it was some holiday…

Four years came and went, a new wife moved in and Dougal bagged various bits of skirt around the village too. But no-one knew how he was funding his lascivious lifestyle, until the 57-year-old was caught having forged a cheque in Holland’s name.

It turns out our treacherous little toad had been busy embezzling Holland’s funds and transferring deeds into his name. And all the time there had been no sign of his rich benefactor. That was mainly because she was six-feet under.

It’s yer money I’m after

Cast your minds back to the month after they’d moved in and the long holiday story – well that was a load of rubbish. He’d actually taken her off one night, killed her, buried her on the farm and lived happily ever after courtesy of her wealth, well for the next few years until the law caught up with him.

They eventually found Holland’s body, or at least what was left of it and, according to a report on the Essex Police’s website, she had been killed by a bullet at point-blank range.

He stood accused of the most heinous of crimes – that he, ‘on the 19th May 1899, did feloniously, wilfully (sic), and of his malice aforethought, kill and murder Camille Cecile Holland’.

Number’s up

A jury took a mere 56 minutes – that’s virtually one minute for every year of his ‘felonious’ life – to convict him of murder and the sentence was death.

He was hanged at Chelmsford Prison and laid to rest within its grounds, with only a number to identify his grave.

Also on this day

14 July 1910 – Frederick Foreman

Stuff you may have missed over the weekend

13 July 1955 – Ruth Ellis
13 July 1894 – Patrick Eugene Prendergast
12 July 2005 – Robert Dale Conklin
12 July 2006 – Rocky Barton
12 July 1833 – Frankie Stewart Silver

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