The Hardcastle Crags Murder

Every morning, Michael Pickles used to walk from his home at Heptonstall to read the Bible to his uncle Samuel Sutcliffe at Hawden Hole.

Around Hebden Bridge, Sutcliffe had bragged that he had a bank-note issued by Turner, Bent and Company of Mytholmroyd.

Assuming that Sutcliffe had plenty of money, Pickles persuaded a younger man John Greenwood – known locally as Joan O'Bog Eggs – to go and rob Sutcliffe.

At midnight on the 6th February 1817, Pickles broke into the house whilst Greenwood kept watch. When Sutcliffe awoke, he recognised Pickles and Pickles grabbed him by the throat and Sutcliffe died.

The murderers took all Sutcliffe's savings and documents, and were arrested when the stolen bank-note was passed on to John's brother, William Greenwood, and was later identified in Hebden Bridge.

Greenwood was arrested first. Pickles was in King Cross Lane, Halifax with his wife and was eating a piece of parkin when the Constable came.

The bank-note was recognised because it had not been signed by the cashier who had given it to Sutcliffe – and it is also said to have had the number 63 written on it.

When Pickles and Greenwood were apprehended, they confessed to having recently robbed a corn-mill at Hangingroyd, Hebden Bridge.

The pair were tried at York and hanged on 14th March 1817.

Their bodies were taken to the Halifax Dispensary for dissection

See Mill, Murder & Railway

© Malcolm Bull 2021
Revised 15:13 / 15th May 2021 / 3824

Page Ref: MMH116

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