The shooting of Dr. Burke’s daughter was a big outrage his trial a bigger one and the commutation of the death penalty to life imprisonment caused the biggest public outcry of all three. The biggest issue with his reprieve was the fact that another man, Richardson who received the death penalty for a similar crime hanged. The difference between the two was class.
Around the same time as Dr. Burke shot his daughter there were two similar ‘crimes of passion’ as they were called at the time. It appeared that there was an epidemic, which there was but not one of murder but alcohol. All three assailants had alcohol in their system when they committed their crimes. It was also unusual that three murders took place in a small and relatively quiet area too. Back in Victorian Times it was not the norm, and caused huge furore, locally and nationally, so much so that the sad affair were preached about from the pulpit of many churches. Some of these sermons were printed in the newspapers. the one below by Rev. W. Dawking a Methodist minister in Barnsley.