Gill Hill And The Radlett Murder
In ‘Haunted Churches’ (1939), Elliott O’Donnell (27 February 1872 – 8 May 1965) refers to ‘Gill Hill, the scene of the horrible Weare murder, and said to be still haunted by the ghosts of Weare and his murderers, Thurtell and Probert’. The Radlett or Elstree murder took place around Gills Hill Lane in Radlett on 24 October 1823.
The victim was a solicitor named William Weare. He was killed by John Thurtell (1794–1824) the son of the Mayor of Norwich over a gambling debt. Thurtell owed Weare around £300, though he believed that he had been cheated. His and his accomplices were Joseph Hunt a landlord and William Probert a merchant. They invited Weare to a weekend of gambling at a property owned by William Probert just off Gills Hill Lane. Thurtell shot Weare in the face, slit his throat and smashed his skull with his flintlock pistol before leaving it and the knife behind. Weare’s body was hidden in a nearby pond before being removed to another in Elstree.
The pistol was identified as Thurtell’s as it was one of a pair he owned and Joseph Hunt led the authorities to where they had hidden Weare’s body. Thurtell was hanged on 9 January 1824 for the murder of William Weare. Joseph Hunt was transported to Australia where after serving his sentence he became a Policeman. William Probert was not punished.
William Weare was subsequently buried at St Nicholas Parish Church, Elstree.