THE story of George Price is a dark one.

The man who would become known as the Hounslow Heath killer killed his wife in the most cold blooded fashion and became one of the most wanted men in the country which led to a nationwide manhunt.

He was born and raised in Hay-on-Wye and while he had spent much of his life in London, his early life in Powys would eventually lead to his ultimate surrender, arrest, conviction and death in 1738.

George moved to London after seven years of service to a widow in Hay and soon married inn servant Mary Chambers which led to his dismissal by his disapproving master.

George took his new wife to meet his family in Powys and claimed her to be an heiress of a military officer entitled to a large fortune before returning to life in London where Mary gave birth to twins.

The death of the children soon after had led to rumour George had poisoned them with medicine procured to induce them to sleep and seemingly the event put paid to their whirlwind marriage.

For George had contrived a plan to kill Mary.

Having told his wife he had obtained her employment in Putney as a nursery maid, his wife had borrowed some clothes from her landlady and met her husband in Monkwell Street as instructed.

Mary entered the chaise and George drove them as far as Hounslow Heath when he threw the lash of the whip around his wife’s neck and strangled her to death.

County Times: Hounslow Heath. Picture by David Hawgood/Wiki.

Hounslow Heath. Picture by David Hawgood/Wiki.

Later it would emerge Mary’s last words had been ‘My dear, my dear, for God’s sake, if this is your love, I will trust you no more.’

George stripped the body and coldy left it under a nearby gibbet and shredded her clothing and dropped pieces around London though had sent the borrowed items of clothing back to the landlady.

After returning home early the next morning he had soon fled to Portsmouth.

While waiting to board a ship he heard a bellman describing him as a murder and a description which had been accurate enough to make him escape through an inn window and into the sea where he swam ashor and into hiding.

County Times: Portsmouth harbour today. Picture by UK Government.

Portsmouth harbour today. Picture by UK Government.

George made his way toward Oxford but by now newspaper reports of his suspected crimes spread far and wide.

George reasoned he would make for home and duly arrived near Hay where his brother had been an apprentice at the house of a shoemaker and the brothers made their way home together.

George’s father had been waiting, having read the newspaper report of his son’s alleged crimes, upon the sight George’s brother had burst into tears.

George’s father said he hoped he had not come home to which his brother had replied ‘He is at the door but being afraid that neighbours were in the house he would not come in til he had your permission.

George fell to his knees before his father who said: ‘Ah George, I wish God may bless you and what I have heard concerning you may be false.’

The son said: "It is false, but let me have a private room; make no words; I have done no harm; let me have a room to myself."

County Times: Views from Hay Bluff. Picture by Ian Capper/Geograph.

Views from Hay Bluff. Picture by Ian Capper/Geograph.

George’s claims of innocence had likely failed to convince

He had tried to convince his brother to buy a lancet so he could commit suicide to which his brother declined as he remained at his childhood home for two days.

However, rumour of George being in Hay had soon seen him flee once more.

Upon arrival in Gloucester he managed to gain employment at an inn where he happened to meet two sons of his first employer in Brecknockshire who wrote to their mother praising George’s civility.

County Times: Newgate Prison. Picture by George Shepherd.

Newgate Prison. Picture by George Shepherd.

However they would soon learn from their mother that George was a wanted man.

The brothers and one of Price’s fellow servants confronted George though swore not to betray him providing he left Gloucester.

George returned to London and surrendered where he was committed to Newgate and sentenced to death though he died of fever in prison before facing the noose on October 22, 1738.