Anglo The Murderer
On the 27th of February 1904 Florence Eugena Horton was shot dead in Rundle Mall near the entrance of the Adelaide Arcade, Her murder was committed by her husband, Thomas Horton, also known as “Anglo the Juggler”.
It was Saturday evening and the Rundle Mall precinct was alive with it’s usual display of Ladies and Gentlemen window shopping, when, at approximately 9:30pm three gun shots disrupted the normal proceedings. Crowds of people ran through the mall and arcade to see what had happened. There, in the front of Adelaide Arcade, lay the body of a young mother, Florence Horton who had been shot three times by her estranged husband, Thomas Horton. Whispers spread through the crowd quickly that the young lady was dead.
Moments before the shooting it was reported Mrs Horton was walking through Rundle street with two friends, her husband, with whom she had separated only two weeks prior, came from behind the ladies and said to Mrs Horton that he wanted her to go down a lane with him as he had a present for her, Mrs Horton refused, so Mr Horton asked one of her friends to please persuade his wife to do as he asked. Mrs Horton replied “ I’m not going down there with you. The present you’ve got for me is a bullet.”
Mr Horton, who was behind his wife, pulled his revolver from his hip pocket and fired three shots into his wife’s back. Mrs Horton staggered from the middle of the road onto the pavement before she fell.
Mrs Horton was lifted into the safety of Solomon’s Tobacco Shop in the Adelaide Arcade, where, before passing she whispered her last words “ My God”
As soon as he had shot his Wife, Thomas Horton fled down Charles street on to North Terrace, but was too fast for any man chasing him.
An Official Police report was printed in The Advertiser (Monday 29 February 1904 page 5) and is as follows:
“Sub-Inspector Burchell reports that about 9.15 pm on Saturday Florence Horton, aged about 22 or 23 years, who resided with her mother, Mrs. Lovell, at No. 15, Rundle Street, Kent Town, was shot dead by her husband. Thomas Horton, in Rundle-street, Adelaide, opposite the corner of Charles street. Horton is a shoemaker by trade and resides with his mother at Chief-street, Brompton, and he was aged about 24 years. He fired at his wife’s back, and after doing the deed bolted, through Charles-street to North-terrace. A lot of young fellows followed him but did not succeed in catching him. Mrs.Horton at the time of the occurrence was walking between two young women—Nellie Linnett, single woman, re-siding with her parents at No. 3, O’Halloran street, and Bella Smith, single woman, residing with her parents at 49, Gilbert-street. The Hortons were married on November 5, 1903, and resided in a little street off Carrington street east until about a fort-night ago, when she left him and went home to her mother, in consequence of threats used by her husband towards her. Dr. J. C. Verco, of North-terrace, was called, and examined the deceased, who had been taken into a shop in the Arcade. The body was subsequently removed to the city morgue.”
There is a great deal of information available through local newspapers at the time that tells the story of what happened before the murder of Mrs Horton. Here is a brief summary of some of that information.
Thomas Horton was a well known performing artist in Adelaide, performing under the title of “Anglo The Juggler”. He was married to Julia Chapman and had three children with her, Julia unfortunately died, after the death of Julia, two of his children were adopted by his step-sister, and his youngest daughter was taken in by his Mother.
Thomas Father had died in the Parkside Lunatic Asylum and his Mother had also been detained there for sometime.
Thomas had suffered from heatstroke as a child. He had also suffered head injuries after falling out of a 13 foot high tree when he was ten years old.
Thomas also had a bad stutter and was illiterate
Florence Horton (nee Lovell) had an illegitimate child from a previous relationship, and was quite often to be seen with her former lover as they were still friends.
At 24, Thomas Horton married Florence Lovell on the 5thof November 1903, the couple lived together on McLaren street (which runs off Hutt Street) in the South-East of the city of Adelaide.
It was reported that Thomas was extremely jealous of his wife’s relationship with her child’s Father, and thought the two were having “relations” behind his back, this fuelled numerous beating and rapes of Florence by Thomas.
This can be correlated by the evidence given during Thomas’s trial by Mrs Horton’s two friends, Nellie Linnett and Bella Smith, and also a letter written by Florence Horton, detailing her husbands crimes and threats, less than a month before she was murdered.
The letter, printed in The Advertiser ( Monday 29 February 1904 ) is as follows:
“I am writing this letter in case of anything happening to me (Mrs. Horton). If ever such a thing happens me it will be by no other hand than Mr. Horton. He has threatened my life times out of number for no just cause. We were married on November 5, 1903. The same night he accused me of adultery with his mate ——, who was at the wedding. I am admitting I had a child before marriage, but he knew everything before hand. He wanted me to give her away, and I did not think it was a right thing to do. If I was to be a mother to his three children I thought he could be a father to one of mine. I told him I would not get married on those conditions, so he decided to take her.
On the nineteenth of November two lady friends,came to see me. They knew he was brewing for a row, so they went. He had me by myself. Then he made the most cruel accusations. One was that I let the green-grocer come to the door and let him take me in the bedroom—instead of paying him. On November 27, 1903, I went to town, in-tending to go to Dr. ——, but changed my mind when I got in town. I told Mr. Horton I was suffering from severe pains and had a good mind to go to the doctor. The answer I got was that he ‘was not going to have a doctor pulling his wife about. They all do what they like to the women.’On the Friday fortnight before Christmas,as near as I can remember, he came home from work. I was lying down. He asked me if I had just let a man out of the back when he came in the front. I said, ‘No, but if I had the name I would have the game.’ He told me to go to bed, as he had sent for a doctor. Dr Bonnin, of Hind-marsh, attended me for just on a fortnight. I was in bed over a fortnight. He came up to town on Saturday, then came home and started a row. I was too weak to row with him, so I said nothing. He got worse. He told me that every time he went out he got hold of a nice little girl and had all he wanted. I made no answer at first. Then he said, ‘Why don’t you answer me? Why don’t you tell me you have men in the house when I am, at work? I am not frightened of you. I have got my pretty woman.’ So I said,’Good luck to you; have as many as you like. I don’t care. And when you have got cause to accuse me of such things you are quite at liberty to do so; but not be-fore. I’ll leave you first.’ Then he said he did not mean it, and asked me to look over it, so l did. Then he would not let me go to my own people’s place without him, or to do any shopping. He would say, ‘Where did you go? Did you stop long? Was it an old or young man? Did he have much, to say?’ I said, ‘Do you think everyone is like you?’ He said, ‘I’d,get another man like him.’
On December 28; 1903, I was in bed asleep, when I heard a bottle go smash. It woke me. I asked him what he was doing. He said, ‘A bottle fell down.’ Just on that another went smash. He said, ‘That will keep you awake.’ I said, ‘You had better be careful, or perhaps I can smash too. Don’t you think you can frighten me.’ With that he rushed in to me, caught me by the throat, and left marks of his fingers, which his own mother has seen. He said he would never do it again if I let him off. So I did.
On December 23, 1903, I went to Hicks’ grocer’s shop at the corner of Compton and Wright streets, with some coupons in the afternoon. Took one of his children with me, and left him with the two younger ones, which he was quite willing I should do. I caught the quarter to 4 tram from Bowden, and went the shortest way to Hicks’. My brother waited on me. I told him I was going out to see mother. So he said, ‘Leave the parcel and I’ll take it out for you.” I got out home about 5.30. By 7 o’clock Horton ,was out after me. He said he came to help me with the parcel. As soon as we got out of the train at Bowden he told me he had ‘foxed’ me everywhere. ‘You never went near Hicks’, but straight into a brothel. I’ll blow your brains out when you get home. Just as I got in the door—his mother was minding the children he left home—he said, ‘Mother, I have caught her this time going in a brothel.’ I could not stand it any longer, so I hit him first on that occasion. But he soon sent me senseless to the ground. He promised to be every-thing a woman could look for if I didn’t summons him. I said, ‘No;’ but his mother begged me to stop. I gave him another trial. Then his mother said she could not put up with him any longer, and he would have to go out of her house. But he wouldn’t. Next she sent a lawyer’s letter to him to go. Still he would not. I said I would go without him.
On that,one of Singer’s machine travellers came round. I wanted one, so I took it in, and was to pay the deposit in a fortnight’s time .Horton came home and saw the machine,and wanted to know what it was doing there. I said I was thinking of having it .He said, ‘Where did you get the deposit?’I said, ‘You had better ask him when he comes again and your mother as well.’Then we moved into town to McLaren-street, off Regent-street, Adelaide. The machine did not exactly suit, so I told the gentleman when he came. He said, ‘Come round and pick one for yourself. ‘But I could not leave the children. I told Mr. Horton that he had asked me to go and pick one that would suit. That stirred him up again for the time. He said he was not going to have a butcher, baker, or green-grocer, or grocer calling at the house. I said, ‘What about the milkman?’ He said,’I’ll get one that calls before I go to work,and I’ll take it myself.’ I said, ‘I was not going to go out shopping when I could get served nearly as cheap at the door.’ Then things went on all right till January 25,1904. I said I was going to the races with my sister and would take two children with me. He was willing to go. Then his mother came up, and about 1 o’clock my sister came. Then his mother went,and Horton followed her to the door and asked her for some money. She would not give it to him, so he came in and we had dinner. After that I went to clean the children. He said, ‘You need not take them; I’ll mind them for you, and we will go out together to-night.’ I did not say no to that. So I cleaned myself, and he came in the bedroom and said. ‘What time will you be home?’ I said, ‘After the races are over.’ Then I went to get my hat,which was missing. I asked him, where it was, and he said he had not seen it. That caused a fair row. I knew he had locked it up in his trunk . I said I would batter it up with the axe, which I tried, but I failed. About 6 o’clock my sister went. We had tea, and things got a bit quiet till10 o’clock. He said, ‘You wait till the turn of 12, and everybody’s in bed. I’ll shoot you stone dead.’ He knocked me right and left till I was senseless. I did not wake till morning. I looked over it, or he would not have got to work.
We went on all right till January 30, 1904.That Saturday night we went up the street together. Going home we saw the father of my child. He said, ‘There goes Tot’s father. ‘ I said, ‘Good luck to him.’ He said, ‘Curse him.’ I said, ‘He has done you no harm. When he has, it is time for you to curse him.’ Then he said, ‘Don’t you wish you had him instead of me?’ I said, ‘I would be better off if I did I would not get knocked about, and accused of things you accuse me of.” I said, ‘You have no right to mention this sort of thing if I don’t?’ There was no more said till we got home and in bed. He said,’Now I’ve got you, I’m going to bring men down for you, and knock off working,and make you keep me.’ I said, ‘You won’t get the chance; I am going to leave you. Then you can get whom you like to keep you.’ He said, “Where will you go to?’ I said ‘Home to my mother’s.’He said, ‘Your mother will not have you or your kid.’ Then I pushed him out of bed. He put the lamp out and kept punching at my head and face till I fainted. When I came to he said, ‘Would you like some more?’ I said, ‘It wouldn’t be well for you. I will call for assistance.’ He said,’I will stun you; then I will be able to do what I like. I have only got to die once.’ Then he started punching again till I had to call for help, but no one came.’ He said,’Shut up, or l’ll punch your brains in.’ I sang out again. He gave me three knocks in the left ear. I do not remember any more till morning. When I woke I could not move. My lip was cut and swollen,and I was black and blue on the head and chest and arm. He asked me to forgive him. I said, ‘Never as long as I live. I am going to leave you today.’ Then he
locked all the windows and doors, and took away all my clothes. I knew I could not get away while he was in the house, so I said, ‘I will look it over,’ to get him to go to work while I cleared out, as I think I was mad if I put up with it any longer. So I managed it all right, and am deter-mined never to go back to risk my life. He said he would torture my eyes, and then he would shoot me dead, and put the revolver in my hand, and they would think I did it; or he would make out that he was very sorry when it was found out that I was shot and swear we lived happy. Any-body who knows us knows different. And say, ‘The only one who had me set through jealousy was ——.’ I have got in my possession four cartridges and things to take the place of a revolver I managed to get from him. Then he said he would drive me to Torrens, and push me in, and then sing out for help and say I did it myself. So I think I could not do any worse than write this letter in case of anything happening. I think you could get further particulars at the Hindmarsh police-station, because his own mother has been to the station several times for protection and also Mrs. Ashby, the lawyer, knows a good bit. His mother told me he would do for me. He has accused Dr. —— of misconduct with me also the gentleman who delivered the machine; even to the young grocer boy, who is about 17 years of age. He has threatened me to my face, and my sister, my several friends, who if necessary will gladly appear if anything happens me. This letter is for the protection of myself and others, who he said he would blame for it. It will be by no other than Mr. Thomas Horton, false name Anglo, the juggler, Chief-street, Brompton, late McLaren-street off Regent-street, Adelaide. This letter will be produced on sudden death. Others will not suffer for him.
There would never be any trouble with him. I would never do risky work, such as murdering someone, and draw false will,and me to sign it, or let him start making false coins and me say nothing about it. He said he would do anything for money, and if he gets caught he would make out he was mad. I was to say the same. But I said I would report any false work he started. He held me down with a knife, but I got away from him. Then he said he would give me an overdose of ether, and go for the police, and swear he found me like it. I hop if anything does happen, and you read this letter, that you won’t bring it in that I am in an unsound mind. Everything I have written is true,and I know what I am doing. I am get-ting two witnesses to sign this letter as soon as I have written it, and will leave it in the possession of Miss Nellie Linnett, 0’Halloran street off Gilbert-street, Adelaide. The murderer will be Mr. Thomas Horton, juggler, at present living in McLaren, otherwise Mr. Anglo, off Regent-street, Adelaide. Witnesses (no names are given).—I am, believe me, Mrs. T. F. Horton. In sound mind. 2/2/1904.”
So from the above letter we can see there was a great deal of torture going on in Florence’s life before she was murdered by the bullets of her Husband, a death she had foreseen….
Next week: Adelaide Arcade Part Six: Horton Hears His Punishment
Featuring The Post-mortem of Florence Horton and the Capture and Punishment of Thomas Horton
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