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The Crown, Broughton

History of the Crown

The Crown figured in the story of the murder of Sybil Emily Worthington in March 1935.

This is described in detail in ‘Cambridgeshire Murders’ by Alison Bruce.

Sybil Worthington née Parker was born in 1907 in Streatham. She worked in Bruton Street, London for the couturier, Norman Hartnell.

Her sister, Bertha, was married to John Churchill Wright and lived in Broughton. They ran the village shop and also took over the Crown pub next door. It was during a visit to her sister that Sybil met the widower, Walter Worthington, 30 years her senior.

Sybil and Walter were married in 1933 and she moved to live at Worthington’s home, The Meads. Three of his children lived there with them.

Sybil initially spent a lot of time at her sister’s pub, the Crown. Her sister had a son, Lionel, 22, who was a local bus driver. He had come back from Canada in 1933 in time to attend his aunt’s wedding.

During 1934 Bertha was seeing less and less of her sister so in December visited the Worthington to find out what was going on. Sybil was clearly unwell and Walter Worthington announced that he would not allow his wife to go to the Crown. The reason was an alleged insult that Lionel was responsible for. The following day Walter Worthington threatened Lionel and his father with a shotgun when they tried to visit.

Relations between Walter and Sybil deteriorated even though Walter allowed her to visit her sister again. On 9 March 1935 an argument broke out because Sybil wanted to go out and Walter wanted to prevent her. A shot was fired; Walter ran out of his house, found a passing lorry which took him to St Ives where he handed himself in at the local police station stating ‘I have shot my wife’.

Sunday Mirror: 10.3.1935:

WIFE SHOT DEAD Husband Arrested on Murder Charge Within an hour of Mrs. Sybil Worthington, aged twenty-eight, being found shot last night at her home at Broughton, near St. Ives, Huntingdon, her husband, Walter Worthington, aged fifty-three, was arrested and charged with her murder. He will appear before the magistrates to-morrow. Mrs. Worthington was shot in the chest, and death, according to a police doctor, must have been instantaneous. A double-barrelled gun, found with one barrel discharged, is in the possession of the police.

The trial began in mid May. Worthington pleaded not guilty. After 55 minutes the jury found him guilty of murder. Walter Worthington was hung at Bedford gaol on 10th June 1935.

Daily Herald: 12.5.1935:

DEATH SENTENCE ON HUSBAND For murdering his wife, Sybil Emily Worthington, aged 28, at Broughton.,Hunts. Walter Osmond Worthington, aged 57, a retired engineer, was yesterday sentenced to death at Huntingdonshire Assizes.



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