In the short story Sanctuary, Mr Eccles is the husband of Mrs Eccles. His wife claims to be the sister of the man found dying in the church in Chipping Cleghorn, although they call him William Sandbourne and not Walter St John. He is a stout florid man, with cheerful and facetious manners. He also has "bright, rather pig-like eyes".
Mr Eccles asks Diana Harmon if "William" left any message, or said any last words before he died. When Diana says that he only managed to say, "Please", Mr and Mrs Eccles seem relieved. Mr Eccles also asks for "William's" coat.
It is later revealed that Mr and Mrs Eccles are suspects in several robberies near Chipping Cleghorn. It is also revealed that Mr Eccles revolver was used to shoot Walter St John, but Inspector Craddock suspects that Edwin Moss did the shooting.