Thomas Weldon Atherston
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A classically trained actor, Atherston became prominent in vaudeville during the early 1880s and 1890s although by the turn of the century his presence in vaudeville had been considerably reduced with the exception of occasional performances such at poetry readings. Although married with four children, he began living with actress Elizabeth Earle at an apartment in London's Battersea district around 1899.
While Atherston's career continued declining over the next decade, Earle soon retired from vaudeville and turned to teaching. He and Earle began arguing regarding his accusations of Earle carrying on an affair as well as his resentment towards her success as a professional schoolteacher. Earle threw him out and sent him to live with his two sons Frederick and William.
However, Earle then began a relationship with the son Frederick despite protests from Atherston. While Frederick was visiting Earle to view a painting she had recently finished, they heard gunshots from next door. Entering the apartment, which connected to Earle's though a garden, the two investigated the darkened apartment to find the body of a man who had been violently shot to death. After calling for the police, it was discovered to be the body of Atherston.
Although an investigation found several witnesses who claimed to have seen a man jumping over a back wall fleeing the scene, police believed Atherston had been spying on the two when he encountered a burglar who shot him and fled the scene. However, the murder remains unsolved.
- "The Battersea Flat Murder. Evidence At The Inquest". The Times. 25 July 1910. pp. 4; Issue 39333; col B. "...resumed the inquest on the body of Thomas Weldon Anderson, aged 47, an actor, who was found shot at a back of a flat...on the night of Saturday, July 16."
- "The Battersea Flat Murder. An Open Verdict". The Times. 19 September 1910. pp. 3; Issue 39381; col A. "The jury at once returned a verdict of "Wilful murder against some man unknown""
- Macnaghten, Sir Melville Leslie. Days of My Years. London: Edward Arnold, 1914.