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24 September 2014
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The gory story of Tom Otter
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The tale of Tom Otter is one of many stories of hauntings around Lincolnshire.

Tom lived in the county in the early 1800s. His story begins when he met a young girl called Mary Kirkham. The two became very close and the Mary eventually gave birth to Tom Otters child. The laws of the day stated that Tom must either marry her or go to jail. Despite the fact that he was already married, on 3rd November 1805 Tom took her to be his wife.

That night while they walked home together Tom killed Mary with a hedge stake. It was not long before the murder was discovered and Tom Otter was arrested and charged. He was sentenced to death at a trial which took place at the Sun Inn, Saxilby.

Sign of the Sun Inn, Saxilby.Mary Kirkham's body was found in the lane and was also taken to the Sun Inn. As the body was brought in, blood spilled onto the steps of the Inn. This blood was said to have stained the steps for many years after the murder took place, no matter what attempts were made to clean them.

On 14th March 1806 Tom Otter was hanged and then the body was fastened in irons and hung upon a high post. Even this event was surrounded by tragedy - the body fell from the post twice due to the weight of the irons and upon falling the second time crushed one of men and killed him.

The stake with which Tom Otter killed Mary was kept for many years. Every year on the night that the murder took place the stake would be removed from wherever it was being kept. Many attempts were made to secure it using iron hoops or staples, but nothing was found that could hold it. The following morning, it would be found in the spot where the murder took place and would be 'wet with gore'.

No one knew what or who was moving the stake and it was eventually burned by the Bishop of Lincoln in the yard outside the Cathedral.

 

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