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newspaper article 1930. william henry vile.


master brummie
I am trying to get a copy of a newspaper article reporting on a serious incident which happened to a rele in 1930 (resulting in his death). does the bham library hold copies of the local papers in circulation at that time? maybe the incident was a national report. any suggestions would be great.
regards, steve.


Staff member
hi stevie..you go to the central library archives on the 6th floor you will be able to get on film copies of newpapers..to narrow your search down it would help if you know the paper it was in...


john bev

master brummie
Hi steve.
If you have his death certificate it should say if there was an Inquest. I would think there would be for a Murder. If it does you can apply for the Inquest report at the central library.


New Member
May be out of date and too late, but here are some transcripts of newspaper articles.
Western Daily Press 19 April 1930
Mysterious Story
Inquest Verdict of "Murder", against Sexton Blake reader.

There were strange revelations at a Birmingham inquest, on Thursday, on William Henry Vile, (66), described as a brass worker, who died in hospital on Tuesday.
The widow, Loisa Anne Vile, told how on the afternoon on Saturday, February 1, she and her husband, were having a nap at their house, while a youth, named Alexander Johnathan Harvey, who lodged with them, sat reading by the fire. Her husband was sleeping in a chair and witness on a couch.
"Suddenly," said Mrs Vile, "I was aroused by my husband shouting 'You ------- what have you done that for? I will wring your neck for you.' " She thought her husband was dreaming, and asked him what was the matter. He replied, "He (meaning Harvey) has hit me on the head with a hammer."
Her husband was holding a handkerchief to his head and was swaying. He was bleeding from a wound an inch and a half long on the back of the head. She saw nothing of Harvey, but a small coal hammer was lying on the table.
"I have saved you, my girl"
She was under the impression that the attack was meant for her, because her husband said to her, "I have saved you, my girl. That was meant for you." Her husband also told her that after he felt the blow, he saw Harvey by the door. "He was watching for me to drop," he added.
Her husband also told her that when he jumped to his feet, Harvey ran away. Nothing has been seen of Harvey since the occurrence. he left without his coat and cap.
After treatment at the hospital, her husband returned home, but some days later his neck began to swell. He was again taken to hospital, where he was detained until his death.
Mrs. Vile added that Harvey was a good boy, and there had never been an angry word for him. He always seemed perfectly normal. He was fond of reading, and very seldom went out, except to the pictures on Friday.
Unable to trace him.
Asked what Harvey read, she replied, "Sexton Blake stories,"
Her husband, she added, had expressed the view that the motive for the attack must have been robbery. She further said that Harvey had lodged with them since last November.
Detective Inspector Vince said every effort had been made to trace Harvey, but without success.
Medical evidence was given that death was due to septic pneumonia, following a septic wound on the scalp. There was no indentation in the skull and no fracture.
The jury returned a verdict of "Murder" against Harvey.

Western Morning News 21 April 1930
Police Search for Missing Youth
Birmingham police stated last night that they were still without news of the whereabouts of Alexander Jonathan Harvey, aged 16, said to be native of Penarth, against whom a coroner's jury on Thursday returned a verdict of murder in connection with the death of William henry Vile, a brass worker, who died in hospital from a blow from a hammer.
Harvey lodged with Mr. and Mrs Vile at Saltley.
Mrs. Vile giving evidence at the inquest, stated that while she and her husband were having a nap during the afternoon of February 1, her husband jumped up and said he had been hit on the head with a hammer. A few days after the alleged attack a warrant was issued against HARVEY charging him with common assault.
A police officer stated in evidence that Harvey left his home at Barry Docks last November and had not been seen there since.

Murder of William Henry Vile
Dated 1930 (newspaper unknown as it had been cut out from the page)
Fifteen year old boy remanded
Stratford Arrest
Four months` search by police
Alexander Jonathan Harvey, the 15 yr old boy who was wanted in connection with the death of William Henry Vile (aged 65), of 89 Adderley Road, Saltley, has been arrested.
Mr M P Pugh (prosecuting) said the charge was that of murder. On Saturday, February 1, Mr Vile was seated in a chair in the kitchen of his house, his wife being asleep on a sofa in the same room.
The boy, who lodged at the house, was reading a book but he suddenly picked up a hammer and attacked Mr Vile with it.
Death after Ten Weeks
The man did not die at once, but on April 15, ten weeks after the attack, he died at Selly Oak Hospital as a result of wounds he received.
A warrant was first issued against the boy Harvey on a charge of inflicting grievous bodily harm upon the man, but not until yesterday was he charged.
Detective inspector Vince said he went this morning to Stratford where he saw the boy. He told him he was a police inspector and that he was taking him back to Birmingham on a charge of murder, also informing him that at the Coroner`s inquest on Vile, a verdict of wilful murder had been returned.
The boy said "When I hit him I did not mean to kill him. I was going to steal his money."
"Afraid to go back"Shortly before 10 o`clock when the boy was charged in Birmingham he said: "When I was working at the Midland Carriage Works I did not like the place. I did not like Birmingham as there was nowhere to go to enjoy myself. I did not intend to kill Mr Vile. I intended to take his money and go away. I only hit him once with the hammer. He jumped up and said "What are you doing?" I ran out through the door and was afraid to go back. I did not know he was dead till you told me this morning."
DEATH CERT DETAILS:15 April 1930, I.B. Raddle Barn Road, Selly Oak, Birmingham South, WILLIAM HENRY VILE, 66 years, of 789 Adderley Road, Saltley, Birmingham, a Brass Worker (shop fronts), Old age pensioner, Cause of death: Septic Pneumonia. Septic wound of scalp inflicted by Alexander Jonathan Harvey with a hammer. Wilful murder against Alexander Jonathan Harvey. P.M., Informant: certificate received from W.K. Davison Coroner for Birmingham, inquest held 17th April 1930. Registered 20 April 1930

Gloucester Journal
19 July 1930
Boy who killed Benfactor
Five Years Detention for Manslaughter
Mr. Justice Rowlatt, at Birmingham Assizes, ordered Johnathon Alexander HARVEY (15), to be detained for five years in such a place as the Home Secretary might determine for striking William Henry Vile on the head with a hammer on February 1 and causing death.
the boy pleaded not guilty to a charge of murder, but guilty to Manslaughter.
After tramping from South Wales, Harvey who is a son of a seaman, obtained work in Birmingham, and was allowed to lodge with Mr. Vile at Saltley after he had made the acquaintance of Mr. Vile's son.
He struck the blow while Mr. Vile was dozing in the kitchen. He admitted that he intended robbery, but Mrs. Vile was wakened and he ran away.
"There old people took you into their house and treated you well, " said Mrs. Justice Rowlatt to Harvey. "It beats me to know how anybody could behave in this abominable way to one who befriended him. If you had been 16 years old you would have stood in danger of your neck.
I hope you will see later on what a scoundrelly, low, ungrateful wretch you have been".