A Temporary Madness. Bettws, 1911.

While returning his sweetheart home, a miner in the Garw Valley, Glamorgan, was suddenly seized with a fit of madness, and pulling out a revolver fired twice at his fiance and then turned the weapon on himself with fatal consequences.

The deceased was Leonard Penton Beavis, 31. of Pandy. Bettws, and for nearly seven years he had been courting Elisabeth Bailey, 28, who resides in her brothers house in Bettws, both parents being dead.

On the day of the tragedy Miss.Bailey had spent the day at her fiance’s home, he appeared to be in good spirits and had even sung two songs to her in the early evening.

At 10 o’clock. They left the house, Beavis accompanying his fiance through the field towards her home 3/4 of a mile away. They had not gone far when Beavis stopped her asking to see if her cape was fastened, at the same time pushing her off the pathway towards the middle of the field.

He repeated the question, and reaching toward her pulled at her cape. The young lady was startled by this and pushed his hand away, as she did this, Beavis drew a revolver from his coat pocket and fired it at her head.

This bullet fortunately missed. Beavis, then shouted “I’ll have no more of this.”and fired the pistol again, this time she felt an impact on her shoulder and started to struggle with him for possession of the weapon, all the time screaming for assistance, but her cries went unheard. Now, fearing for her life she broke loose and ran towards her home. When she was about 100 yards away she heard another shot.

Miss.Bailey ran to a neighbour’s home and took shelter there until her brother came to fetch her. When she got home she went to change her clothes for bed, a spent bullet fell from her clothing.

The following morning Beavis’s step-father Mr.William Hall, and P.C. John Owen came to enquire as to the whereabouts of Beavis, as he had not returned home. Elisabeth Bailey related the incident to them and they went to look for her attacker.

They retraced her steps, and found the lifeless body of Leonard Beavis in the middle of the field, shot through the heart. The pistol, a six-chambered revolver with three discharged cartridges and Elisabeth’s fur cape lay on the ground beside him.

At a Coroners Inquest, the jury were advised to give a verdict of felo de se.* But they disregarded this instruction and passed a verdict of ‘ Suicide while temporarily insane.”

* felo de se. One who commits a deliberately malicious act and then commits suicide.

Abridged from contemporary newspaper sources.

GVHS/GJ/2019.

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