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Murder in
Daniel East was born in Chesham in 1844, in 1864 Daniel married Ellen Plested and they set up home in Berkhampstead.
Daniel like many other men in his family was a wooden hoop maker but times were hard and Daniel & Ellen struggled to feed their family of five children they applied for parish relief several times, however when they applied in 1877 they were opposed by the local magistrate, as Daniel had twice been convicted of public house rows in front of him.
Daniel was distraught and could not see how his family was going to survive. Then one Saturday in February he took the two youngest children David aged 3 and Frederick William aged 8 months, for a walk out towards Ashridge.
Later that day Daniel walked the 5 miles to the police station at Ivinghoe, here he gave the police a blood stained knife and confessed to the murder of his two children. The police went to the site where Daniel said the children were and found that their bodies had already been found by a local man.
At his trial Daniel said he had done the deed because “he had not a bit of bread to give the five children, so he thought he would take two of them and put them out the way. He had no ill feeling against his children, but did not wish to see them come to the Union.”  At the trial it became clear that Daniel had suffered with mental illness problems and had been an in-patient at the West Herts Infirmary suffering from mental derangement.
According to The Bucks Free Press the jury brought in a verdict of “wilfull murder” against him however Hertfordshire Court Assizes records for 7th March 1877, state “not guilty on the grounds of insanity”.
Daniel can be found in Broadmoor on the 1881, 1891 & 1911 censuses, he died in Easthampstead District, Berkshire June qtr 1911, aged 68.