‘Sailor runs amok’

‘Woman shot dead’

‘Petersfield terrorised by murderer’

On 17 August 1906 a naval stoker named Herbert Mitchell ran amok through the streets of Petersfield with a loaded rifle, firing indiscriminately and shooting dead Margaret Treble, a young mother out walking with her infant daughter.

Mitchell was quickly arrested, found guilty of murder at Winchester Assizes, and locked away in Broadmoor criminal lunatic asylum for the remainder of his life.

The affair of the ‘Mad Sailor of Petersfield’ is one of the most sensational events in the history of the town. But what actually happened that August afternoon? Did Mitchell really execute a woman in cold blood? Or was he falsely accused of murder and wrongly diagnosed as mentally disturbed? Has Petersfield all along been the scene of a dreadful miscarriage of justice?

Local author David Green sets out the case for Mitchell’s innocence. Using a wide selection of local history materials, and drawing on Home Office records and Mitchell’s newly-released patient file at Broadmoor Hospital, this book provides the first true account of the ‘Mad Sailor’ affair. And it names a new suspect for the killing of Margaret Treble.

David Green is the author of two other books on true crime in Hampshire. He is a freelance book indexer and lives in Petersfield.

Price £10 plus £1.99 UK postage
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