The murders of Emma and Albert Watson brought horror to Basildon back in the summer of 1906. 

That year the summer was hot and dry, with no tap water in the area residents had to rely on water from the ponds to drink and give to their animals. 

Husband and wife, Emma and Albert, had a well-tended property on Honeypot Lane with a small garden and a few animals. 

With no water on their land they gained permission from their neighbour Richard Buckham to collect water from his pond at Sawyers Farm. 

A city worker, Richard worked in London and commuted by train from Laindon Station which he could walk to from his home. 

On the hot dry morning of August 23, Richard left his home to attend work - The Watson's had also left their property to fetch water on his land. 

The couple were never seen alive again.

Later that day a man was walking past Sawyers Farm and noticed some figures by the pond, he stopped to see what was going on. 

Upon closer inspection the man was shocked by what he saw, Emma and Albert were floating face down in the bloody pond. 

Full of adrenaline the man raced to the authorities and a police officer was summoned from Billericay to move the bodies into their bungalow.

The sergeant searched the property and found that it had been ransacked and a sum of money was stolen. 

The following day Robert Buckham, Richard's brother, broke down in tears and told the police of his brother's crime - Richard had shot the Watsons. 

The Buckham's home was searched and two guns were found, both Richard and Robert were arrested and charged with murder. ​

The case was heard in November 1906 and the younger brother, Robert, who was 16-years-old at the time was acquitted of the murder.  

However, during the trial Richard's mental state was examined and it was revealed that he suffered from headaches and that mental illness ran in the family. 

Richard's father told the courts how his late father had died in a padded cell at Colney Hatch and that his mother had a mania for breaking windows.

He also noted that Richard's head was out of shape and said that he had been guilty of terrible acts of cruelty, on one occasion having had cut up a cat and on another occasion held a cat in a vice and tried to bore a hole into its head. 

It is believed this was one of the first cases for a defendant's mental state to be taken in to account.

The jury also heard that Emma Watson had been shot twice, requiring Richard to have reloaded the shotgun to shoot her again.

Richard Buckham was hanged at  Chelmsford Prison for the violent murders of Albert and Emma Watson on December 4, 1906

Mr and Mrs Watson were buried in the graveyard of St. Mary Magadelene's in Great Burstead where it is reported a large crowd turned out to pay their respects at the funeral. 

Have you heard of any historic Southend murders? Let us know in the comments or email