Attempted Murder of a Coastguard

Patrick Donovan, a coast guard man at Skegness, was sitting in his house the other evening when a knock was heard at the door. On Patrick’s going to the door he beheld an apparition of a man garbed alone in his shirt, and armed with a rifle.

Patrick beat a hasty retreat, and the man in the shirt fired his rifle through the window, but hurt no one.

The murder was attempted in consequence of Donovan threatening to report the other man, who was also a coastguardsman, for some breach of duty.

Source: The Hull Packet and East Riding Times (Hull, England), Friday, September 21, 1877


The village of Skegness, sea-side resort on the Lincolnshire coast, was the scene of an attempted murder on Sunday night last. About half-eleven the chief officer of the coastguard station, named Patrick Donovan, was sitting in his house, when a knock was heard at the door. Donovan, on opening the door, saw outside a boat man in the Coastguard service, named William Radford, with nothing but his shirt on and a rifle in his hand. Radford, in a menacing manner,told Donovan to come out : but the latter quickly closed and fastened the door. Radford then broke the window, and fired a bullet from On rifle into the room. Screams of murder from the inmates attracted a seaman named John Moody to the spot, who, crouching down in the darkness, seized Redford unawares, and got possession of the rifle Radford, who is a married man with a family of two, has been at the Skegness Station about fifteen months, and appears to have resented some complaint of duty by the chief officer, Donovan. On being taken into custody, he was apparently suffering from the effects of liquor, and said to the police-officer who apprehended him, “It’s a bad job I didn’t do for him” (Donovan). Radford was taken Ware the Spilsby Beach on Monday, and committed for trial at the assizes.

Source: The Leeds Mercury (Leeds, England), Wednesday, September 12, 1877

Attempted murder newspaper report

Source: The Leeds Mercury (Leeds, England), Wednesday, October 31, 1877

Note: Patrick Donovan, who was born in Ireland in 1823, was living with his wife at Sea View Terrace in 1881. It appears he was living in the same premises in 1871, though at this time they were described as ‘Sea Bank’.


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