True tale of brutal murder in a remote English village on Midsummer's Day, 1806.
'Damn him!' he swore. 'There is no more harm in shooting him than a mad dog!'
The brutal murder of the Reverend George Parker in the rural village of Oddingley on Midsummer's Day in 1806 gripped the nation. It was a strange and stubborn case in an isolated Worcester village still bound by superstition and folklore. The investigation, in a time before Robert Peel's police force, lasted nearly a quarter of a century, and involved inquests, judges and coroners, each more determined than the last to solve Oddingley's most gruesome crime - or crimes, as it transpired.
Peter Moore's account of the infamous case is a also fascinating glimpse into the darker side of English rural life at the beginning of the nineteenth century, far away from the civilised drawing rooms of Jane Austen. The country was exhausted and nervous: dogged by Pitt's war taxes, mounting inflation and the lingering threat of a French invasion, violence was rife, particularly in rural communities where outsiders were regarded with deep suspicion. With a cast of characters straight out of Hardy, 'Damn His Blood' is also a gripping true story of brutality, greed and ruthlessness in a rural community gone wildly astray.
Peter Moore is a young literary historian and journalist, who is currently teaching Creative Writing at City University in London.
Abridger: Viv Beeby
Producer: Justine Willett
The Reader is Alex Jennings, who is currently appearing in The Collaborators as Mikhail Bulgakov at the National Theatre and is currently starring in Silk on BBC One.