Nurse beaten to death with broom by patient at Preston asylum

Whittingham Hospital, scene of the killing
Whittingham Hospital, scene of the killing
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Local historian Keith Johnson takes a look at a shocking killing at Whittingham Asylum...

There was little fuss made when Whittingham Asylum was formally opened on April Fools Day 1873 and by June 1875 the Asylum was officially completed.

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By the end of that year there were 891 patients at Whittingham being cared for by almost 100 staff. From then until its closure in 1995 the hospital cared for generations of mental patients.

Unfortunately, it was a place were trauma and tragedy occurred on numerous occasions.

One such day was the third Wednesday of July 1955 when five patients in Ward 6 were due to be medically examined by a visiting doctor. Francis Joseph Baxendale, a male nurse, was in charge of the ward and when he noticed that Bayzil Budaryn one of those due examination was missing he sent nurse Joseph Moss to find him.

Budaryn answered his call and requesting to use the lavatory the pair of them went into the toilets. Moments later Thomas Huskisson, a deputy charge nurse, heard sounds of a struggle coming from within the toilet block.

He immediately pushed the door open and found Moss lying on the floor, with Budaryn standing over him raining down blows upon the nurse’s head with a broken broom handle with a metal plate attached. With difficulty Budaryn, who struck Huskisson a couple of blows, was eventually overpowered and taken to a nearby strongroom.

Nurse Moss, aged 44, who lived on Coronation Crescent in Preston, was rushed to Preston Royal Infirmary with severe scalp and facial injuries. Despite the best of attention he died from a fractured skull and cerebral haemorrhage.

Within a fortnight Bayzil Budaryn, aged 33, a Polish mental patient, appeared before the Preston County Magistrates accused of murder.

The accused had been a patient at Whittingham since 1948, having been certified as a person of unsound mind.

Amongst the witnesses called was nurse Baxendale, brother-in-law of the dead man. He stated that after the incident Budaryn was in a very agitated state, muttering to himself and threatening.

Dr Glynn, a senior medical officer at the hospital, stated that the accused had previously shown suicidal and violent tendencies, suffering from delusions.

When examined after the incident Budaryn was reported to have said in Polish: “I do not wish any more electric treatment.

“Rather they may kill me than apply any more such treatment.”

Told he would be taken into custody and charged with murder, he had replied: “I shall murder, as they are murdering me in England.”

With his defence lawyers having no evidence to call at that stage Budaryn was sent for trial at the Lancaster Assizes of mid-October 1955. Before Mr. Justice Donovan a senior prison medical officer gave evidence that Budaryn was of unsound mind, suffering from deep depression and a sense of persecution.

The jury were asked to consider these factors and they formally brought a verdict that he was not fit to plead.

His Lordship then announced that Budaryn should be detained until Her Majesty’s Pleasure be known.