William Hellowell



William Hellowell of Soyland was charged with the murder of his mother, Betty Hellowell, after her bruised and disfigured body was found in Flat Head Quarry on 26th September 1862.

This Foldout presents some reports from the Halifax Guardian which have been kindly transcribed by Susan Lowe, Betty's great-great-great-great-granddaughter

The Halifax Guardian, 27th September 1862

MYSTERIOUS DEATH AT SOYLAND, YESTERDAY
A SON CHARGED WITH THE MURDER OF HIS MOTHER

Great excitement was created yesterday in the usually quiet and peaceful village of Soyland and neighbourhood, on the discovery of the body of Betty Hellawell, farmer, aged 66, lying dead in Flathead delf, belonging to Mr. Nathaniel Binns, farmer of Soyland, which is situated about three quarters of a mile from Lane-ends where the deceased resided.

The body was found at seven o'clock yesterday morning, by John Dyson, delver, employed at the quarry after he had tipped his first barrow.

She was lying on her back, with her head reclining to the left, and was bleeding from the right ear, just over which was a severe sharp cut, upwards of an inch in length, and another of similar extent at the back of her head, there being a wound on her forehead.

Near her was found a stable lantern, with the glasses broken, leading to the inference that she had wandered into the delf late at night.

Dyson immediately called the attention of a number of other men working in the quarry at the time, after which information was immediately conveyed to policemen Brook and Follis, and under the direction of the former, the body was conveyed to the Beehive Inn, Soyland, whilst Follis went to make inquiries as to the supposed murderer.

The quarry along with a number of fields, is enclosed with a stone fence three feet high, having two gates north and south, both of which were secured by two large stones, which had not been disturbed, though the fence is partly broken down in one place, but there is no footpath to it within a hundred yards, neither were there any footmarks near the broken part.

The deceased was found at a depth of 36 feet from the top of the quarry.

Under the circumstances, it was at once suspected that the unfortunate woman had not come to her death by fair means, the more when it was known that there had been many quarrels between her and her son William, aged 40, a weaver, who had lived with his mother all his life, and between whom there had been a violent quarrel on the previous night, about the payment of £2 5s for the keep of a stirk belonging to her, by John Parsons, of Upper Lumb, Cottonstones, during the summer, the term concluded on Thursday.

The quarrel was as to who ought to pay for the animal's maintenance, and she said to William that he ought to pay, as she knew he had £25 and she had nothing.

He denied having so much money, on which she asked him where he got the money to pay for the chest of drawers which he had bought for Susannah Riley, his sweetheart, who lived next door.

The deceased then exclaimed to him, "You want me out of the way so as to have the farm to yourself."

A brother of William's named David, urged upon him the propriety of paying for the stirk, but he would not and they also had some angry words with each other, which had such an effect upon David that, after going to bed he got up again and left the house, being afraid of the consequences of his brother's violent temper, which was much roused by the quarrel with his mother.

It was stated by David that his mother went to bed after ten o'clock and the neighbours speak as to hearing her leave the house at half past ten, it being supposed she was going to the house of a married daughter.

Be this as it may, certain it is that when David came to the house at six o'clock yesterday morning, he found that his mother was not in bed, though William was at the time, but immediately after got up, dressed himself and went out of the house.

At this time there was an iron pan full of water on the fire grate and the water was even hot, but the fire was out, David went to seek for his mother, and on hearing that a dead woman had been found at Flathead delf, he went thither and found out it was his unfortunate mother.

Having suspicions of his brother William being the cause of her death, he went back to the house, in order to charge him with being the murderer of his mother; but he was not in, on which David sent for policeman Follis, and told him that he suspected his brother William had murdered his mother.

Follis continued his search for William, and eventually came up with him near Clough Mill, he having been wandering about, in the course of his wanderings had been met by a man named Robert Turner, cow farrier, who asked him if it was true that his mother had been found killed, in reply to which he said, "I believe it is".

Follis having taken William into custody told him that he was charged with the murder of his mother, to which he replied that he had not seen his mother since ten o'clock the previous night, but had heard her blowing the fire, during which he had fallen asleep, and never saw her again.

Follis then took him to the Beehive to see the body and when he saw the corpse, he turned quite pale, and exclaimed, "Oh mother, you wor a lying woman."

Follis then took him to the lockup at the West Riding Station, Halifax, and all the way he held his head down and kept repeating the words, "Oh mother, you wor a stubborn woman."

The prisoner has been known to have repeatedly threatened to kill his mother, and about four years ago he took a knife, and would have stabbed her with it but for the interference of his brother David.

So recently as a fortnight ago, he dragged his unfortunate mother up and down the floor of the house. The Rev. Mr. Ridley incumbent of Cottonstones, called at the house shortly after this occurrence and found the poor woman crying, and the prisoner at his dinner in a corner, sulking.

The Rev. Gentleman suitably admonished him on his conduct, dwelling on the sin of dishonouring parents.

When Hannah Whiteley, one of the deceased's daughter's, heard of her mother's body being found, she said, "My brother William has killed her."

When found the deceased's stays and gown were loose, and the lantern found lying beside her had no candle in it, neither was any candle found in any part of the delf.

The deceased was a hearty and healthy woman, little in stature and of light spare habits, active and energetic, and of vigorous mental power.

She had been a widow for eleven years.

The prisoner had been known repeatedly to threaten to burn down the house if ever they summoned him before the magistrates for his violent conduct.

In the course of yesterday afternoon, PC Follis, accompanied by PC Brook, took the prisoner's clogs to the quarry, in order to see if any footmarks could be found in the quarry or the immediate neighbourhood; but nothing of the sort could be perceived, a heavy shower having fallen during the day, obliterating any marks of the kind that might have been made.

The suspicion raised is when the unfortunate woman left her house at half past ten on Thursday night, the prisoner followed and over took her on the way, and seizing his opportunity, carried her to the quarry and threw her into it, and the lantern was thrown after as a blind, to make it appear that she had missed her way and fallen over, and so come by her death. The lantern belonged to the house.

An inquest will be held on the body, at the Beehive on Monday next.

The Halifax Guardian, 4th October 1862

THE LATE MYSTERIOUS DEATH AT SOYLAND
INQUEST ON THE BODY

The excitement created by the discovery of the body of Betty Hellowell in Flathead delf Soyland yesterday morning week, the full particulars we gave in the last number of The Guardian, spread in all directions, and on Sunday hundreds from various parts of the district paid a visit to the quarry in which the melancholy catastrophe occurred, and a strong feeling of sympathy for the unfortunate woman, mingled with indignation against the supposed murderer of his mother was created. Although the conduct and the language of William Hellowell towards his unhappy mother was well calculated to inspire the suspicion that he was the guilty cause of her death, yet there is in reality nothing in the evidence produced, nor the facts that have come to light (with the exception of the threatening language used by him) that can justify any other verdict than that which the jury came to on Monday after nine hours of investigation. To show that no pains have been spared by the police in making the most sifting search into all the circumstances and surroundings of the case, we may state that Superintendent Wardle of the West Riding Police for the Halifax division, obtained the services of Detective Fisher, of Wakefield in addition to his own personal scrutiny, and that of three other policemen, towards elucidating the facts of the case, and they all admit that there is nothing that can fix a charge of murder against the prisoner they had in custody. With respect to the point relative to the absence of a candle in the lantern, it is possible that one may have been in it, and that it may have burnt itself out. The medical evidence and the view taken by the Deputy coroner alike went to a conclusion in favour of the prisoner, and it is therefore a satisfaction, as regards the neighbourhood, to think that it has not been disgraced by the foul crime of murder. The inquest was held by Mr. Ingram Deputy Coroner, at The Beehive Beerhouse in Soyland, commencing at two o'clock, Mr. Ingram and the jury having minutely inspected the house at which the prisoner and his mother resided, and also the quarry in which the body was found, no effort having being spared by all parties to come to the truth.

The following were gentlemen composing the jury: Mr. Wm Marsden, Foreman and Messrs Robt. Culpen, Robt. Moores, Thomas Whitely, Thomas Wolstenholme, Charles W. Shaw, Peter Whitely, John Whitely, James Learoyd, Samuel Bottomley, Wm Whitworth, Wm Sherman, Wm Dixon, and John Jarman. During the proceedings at the inquest, a large crowd assembled at The Beehive anxious to have a view of the prisoner, who from first to last was thoroughly prostrated by his mental sufferings, repeatedly lifting up his hands and protesting his innocence of the suspected crime, as some of the witnesses against him were members of his own family, his own sweetheart even being called forward, the scene was at times of a most pitiful character as may well be imagined.

The first witness called was David Hellowell, brother of the prisoner, who disposed as follows: "I reside at Lane-Ends in Soyland and I am an outdoor labourer. My father's name was John Hellowell and he was a Farmer. My mother was 66 years old. I last saw her alive on last Thursday night when I came home from work at twenty minutes past six. My brother William and I lived in the house with my mother. There are two other brothers living, Abraham and Henry, also two sisters named Mary and Hannah who are both married. David Midgley is Mary's husband and James Whitely is Hannah's husband and they all live in Soyland. When I came to the house on Thursday night, my mother was by herself. I did not see my brother William in the house, John Howe a companion of mine, went into the house with me and whilst he smoked a pipe, I went and sealed the mistal, in which there were three cows. Whilst I was milking one of the cows, my mother came in with Howe and milked the other two cows. She was then cheerful and had not complained of anything, she sent me for some pig meal, and I and Howe went to Wm Riley's for it, and I ordered half a packet of it, which I did not pay for as we have a running account with him. I brought the meal back having parted with Howe at his home near Riley's. I got home about ten o'clock and found my mother in bed. The fire was out, and my brother William was not in then but he came in about ten minutes after. Before William came in, my mother told me how he had been going on all day with her, calling her, but she did not seemed frightened. When William came in she gave over talking about him, and remained silent about him as long as he stayed in the house. I asked him what he had been saying to my mother, but he did not speak to me. I told him we wanted some money to loose a stirk which had been grazing out at John Parson's. My brother said nothing and walked up to his bedroom, which is exactly over the room in which my mother was in bed. Where my mother slept was the room in which we generally lived. My mother complained of him and said to me, 'Never mind David, I will take him to Halifax tomorrow as sure as I'm a living woman'. Those were her last words. I suppose the reason why she said she would take him before the magistrates was for his abusing and threatening her. On Sunday fortnight previous, William took her by the neck twice and throttled her and she followed him into the next house, and said 'Our William has been throttling me and I have come to tell you as soon as I got loose'. My brother William heard her threaten to take him before the Magistrates, I feel sure he did. When my mother said this she was lying in bed. She was undressed at the time having nothing on but her shift, as I saw her clothes lying at the beds feet. It was about half past ten when she threatened to take William to Halifax. I got up from my chair, and said I would not stop in the house till I knew which was to be master of the house, him or her and then left the house for I was stauled of such goings on. I was frightened of William because he had threatened me three weeks ago to this very day. My mother told me about how he had been going on and he pulled something out of his pocket and said 'I will take both your lives in two minutes'. I have no idea what it was he pulled out. When he was upstairs I heard him making a din with his clogs, as if he was doffing them. I heard him groan and I had been frightened of him for months. When I left the house I believed my mother had 10s or 12s in her pocket. She generally had her money in her pocket. No-one was in the house when I left. James Broadbent lives at the next cottage, and Molly Riley on the opposite side and she has three sons and one daughter living with her. My brother William has been courting her daughter Susannah two or three years. When I left I had no reason to suppose my mother would follow me. I went straight through the mowing field and into the road, I went to Alma and leaned against the wall when I met a chap called Bill o'Toothill and we went towards Cottonstones church. He had a gun with him, I staid with him about fifteen minutes and then left him near the church. I did not linger near the Clough. Alma is not the road to the quarry where my mother was found. When I parted with Bill o'Toothill, I went to the Inn at Cottonstones kept by Joseph Hartley but did not speak to anyone there. I saw Hartley and old Joseph Cotton seemingly fratching and Billy Greenwood was laid drunk outside the house and singing. I spoke to no-one. I went to John Howe's house about three hundred yards off but all was dark in the house, I did not disturb them, but went into the petty where I fell asleep and woke about half past five on Friday morning. When I went down the mowing field it was close and foggy, but I could find my way. I have known my mother to go out and pass the night at my sister Hannah's, two years ago, and she has also gone there on other evening since, but not late at night, except about two years ago when she had been differing with William and he fetched her home, but I do not know what time they got back. On leaving the petty I went home and got there about ten minutes past six. I went to the bed to look for my mother but did not see her in it. I went to my brother Henry's and enquired if she had been there and if she had not been, I came a little way back, and then turned and then went to my sister's at Spa Moor, where I heard nothing of my mother. I returned home and sat on the wall at Fold End about seven o'clock. In two or three minutes afterwards I saw William come out of the "old house" where he winds his warps, having the same clothes as when I saw him going to bed the night before. No words passed between us and he went into the house. He stopped in about two minutes and came out with a knife which he was accustomed to use and went down the road to Clough Bridge where he met his sister Hannah, on which he turned back without speaking to her and went into the old house to his job. Hannah asked me where my mother was and I said I did not know, on which she went into the old house to William and I went into our own house to see if I could find my mother. I turned the bedclothes down as they had been thrown upon the bolster, it was a shut up bed and it was down at the time. The clothes were spread out up to the top and not turned down as if someone had just got out. The fire was out when I left the house the night before, I did not notice any kettle or pan in the house on Thursday night, but on Friday morning, I saw a pan on the bars of the fireplace it was partly rested on the bars and partly on the cinders. The water was hot, for I put my hand into it, it reeked, it was warmish, warmer than new milk and I threw some of it on the pig meal. I could bear my hand in the water, I am sure the pan was not there the night before nor anywhere about the fireplace or I should have seen it. I did not disturb the cinders in the fireplace, there was some dried heather lying on the side of the hearth, but I had not seen it the night before but it was common for my mother to get it ready to light the fire with it in the morning. I did not see any disturbance in the house but all was straight as on the night before. I did not notice that the floor had been fresh washed. When my mother went to my sister Hannah's after dusk, she would go the cart way as she generally did, either going or coming away, and it does not lead to the quarry where my mother was found. There is another way over the fields which goes nearer to the quarry and it is a shorter road, and more in the direction of the quarry. On going out of the house on Thursday night, I did not lift the door up to prevent it making a noise and it made the usual noise against the floor. I had not my clogs on that night but my shoes. My mother was wearing a pair of new soled clogs with irons at the bottom. When I saw my sister (after looking about the house) I asked her how the pan came to be on the fireplace and I heard her ask him but did not hear him answer. I said to Hannah he does not know where she is but he will have to find her, he must know something about her. I went to Luddendenfoot, where I heard my mother was found dead in the quarry. It was then nine o'clock. I did not go to the quarry until my mother was brought to The Beehive, I afterwards saw William with a policeman below Lane Ends. William said to me, 'If thou had stopped in the house, David, this would not have been done'. I said nothing to him then and the policeman took him away. I do not remember anything else that is said to me or anyone else. I did not see him at Halifax, nor since he has been brought back till now. The lantern now produced by Sergeant Inman, is ours but I do not know where it was on the Thursday night. I had not seen it before for many months. The last time I saw it, it had not the two dints in it, pointed out, but two pieces of horn were out and one broken as it is now". The witness here identified the clogs produced as those of his mother, which he said he did not notice at the bedside when he went into the house on the Friday morning. The witness also identified the dress produced as his mother's; adding she generally wore a handkerchief on her head when she went out. Two handkerchiefs both stained with blood were also identified by the witness and also a nightcap which was soaked in blood. The witness was deeply affected on identifying these articles and during his evidence repeatedly burst into tears. In answer to the jury, the witness said that when he poured the water out of the pan, it was not bloody or coloured with anything. His mother had often told him that William had threatened to take her life during the last five weeks. Four years ago she said William had threatened her with a knife and she cried about it. Witnesses happened to come up at the time and saw the knife in William's knife and he looked angry and savage. William heard her tell him of it but said nothing and went away and he (witness) afterwards got hold of the knife and took it away. It had never been used since.

The prisoner here said to his brother: – Before you went out of the house that neet, did you say "Damn him his twenty five pound"

Witness: – "No".

Prisoner: – did you say you would be master oft house and make me deliver it up?

Witness: – "No, oh William, speak the truth, when thy mother's lying dead here."

Prisoner: – Did thou ever threaten to make away with thy self?

Witness: – "No".

Prisoner: – Did not thou say to thy mother, five weeks ago, that thou would lower thyself before night? Thou knows thou wor in a queer way when thou went out, and she wor sitting up in bed. Thou went out that neet in a rage, David.

Witness: – "About nine weeks ago I said it's enough to make anybody that they cannot live because I had lost some money by a lawsuit in county court over a crane".

In answer to the coroner the witness replied "I never said anything to my mother when I left the house that night or that I would put an end to myself". Turning to the prisoner, the witness said in tones of bitterness and grief "Aye, William, hoo's been a rare mother to thee an me aye hoo's had some ups and downs in her life as for that neet, when I went out of the house, I wor as content as ever I wor, but I wor fearful of thee". Prisoner – "How wor it thou could tell James Broadbent that I had killed my mother? Oh dear",

Witness – "It was a young chap telled me -it was a mistak"

Thomas Henry Turney, surgeon, Sowerby Bridge, was next sworn and said – "I first saw the body of the deceased on Saturday at eleven in the forenoon, at The Beehive, and have made a post mortem examination this morning. On Saturday I observed that she had a cap and two handkerchiefs on her head tied under the chin. Her dress was fastened on from the third hook from the top behind, her stay lace was broken, she also had a shift and stockings on, and a wooden clog on the left foot, the other clog being placed on the washing machine near her. There were no rents in the cap, but it was saturated with blood, and one of the handkerchiefs was also soaked in blood, the other a blue one being slightly stained. There were no rents on the clothes. There was a skin deep wound about half an inch above the right eye. I found a fracture on the left frontal bone, at the junction with the upper jaw, and a perforation of the eyeball. It was a jagged wound which might have been done with a stone or a blunt instrument. At the crown of the head was a most severe circular wound half an inch in diameter, the skull being fractured and the brain protruding. I could trace the fracture under the scalp two inches and a half with my finger. It was a very jagged wound which might have been caused by a very severe blow from a hammer or a fall from a distance, but it was most likely to have been occasioned by falling heavily on stone. There was a slight scratch and discolouration on the left arm, as if by a pin, there were no more bruises externally. I fancied some ribs were fractured. All the limbs were uninjured. On making the post mortem examination, I found the lungs in a very highly congested state, filled with blood but no marks under the skin covering the muscles of the chest. Six ribs on each side were fractured close to the chest bone; I think they were broken by the shock of a heavy fall, not by kicking or striking, as there were no outward marks to correspond. The pericardium was filled coagulated blood and the heart was congested and soft. None of the large vessels near the heart were ruptured, nor those in the heart. The six ribs before spoken of on the right side were fractured in two other places and those on the left fractured in another place. Several of the dorsal vertebra of the spine were also fractured (a portion of the spine was here produced and shown to the jury) the shock of the fall would cause this injury. The skull was fractured all round except about two inches on the forehead, and the membranes of the brain were highly congested. The brain was severely lacerated, part of the skull being driven into it from the wound on the crown of the head. The bones forming the base of the skull were badly fractured and also the left temporal bone. There was no corresponding injury to the skull from the injury on the right side of the forehead. The substance of the brain itself was very pale, the right lobe was lacerated and also the cerebellum. In other respects the brain was perfectly healthy. There was nothing to make the poor woman insensible before receiving the great injury on the crown of the head was inflicted. In my opinion, there had been a clean fall on the top of the head which would cause the other injuries. All the mortal injuries seem to have been caused by one fall, which completely smashed her. I saw the stone in which she has supposed to have fallen and it was sprinkled with blood (the stone was here produced, being somewhat of a triangular form, a foot long and jagged, there did not seem sufficient blood upon the stone to account for such a fracture). From what I was told of the position in which the deceased was found it was such a position as might be expected from the fall. I would say death was instantaneous. Being out in the cold would stop bleeding to a certain degree; I should not expect much blood from the nature of the wounds there being no principle veins cut.

James Dyson of Swift Place, Soyland, proved finding the body of the deceased in Flathead delf on Friday morning at ten minutes past seven. Deceased was lying at the bottom of the delf. There is a steep cliff at the top of which a footpath goes from one gate to the other, leading out of the quarry. It was not a public footpath, she was lying more on her left side than her back, he gave an alarm and called the attention of the men in the quarry to the body.

Richard Walstenholme, Stonemason, Soyland, proved having his attention called to the body of deceased by the last witness on the morning in question. She was lying on her back with her face to the right. There was some blood on her forehead and the left side of her head. There was some blood on a stone lying opposite the side of her head. The stone stood up with a point and the blood showed very much. He saw the lantern now produced about a yard off the body and it was lying on its side nearer the rock than she was. Nothing appeared to have shuttered down on her. He saw no marks at the top as if anybody had been dragged into the quarry. The cliff from which she appears to have fallen was very perpendicular. Her left hand rested on her breast and the other lay at her side. He had neither seen any blood on the top of the cliff nor at the gates, neither had he been told of any. Her cap lay towards the back of her head.

Wm Whitworth, one of the jury was next examined. He stated that on Friday morning, soon after seven o'clock, he went to the quarry where he found the deceased, who had not been disturbed. She lay on her back looking up to the place whence she appeared to have fallen. There was some little blood on the stone at the left side of her head, but very little. The handkerchief was tied over the cap (the cap and handkerchief were here produced and it appeared neither of them were perforated, which as Mr. Turney said "They must have been if they had covered the wound", and Mr. Whitworth said he was positive that those articles covered the wound when he first saw the body). The witness then said he saw no footmarks about the quarry, that the ground at the top was soft and therefore the iron clogs would have made print marks if they had been pressed on the ground. There were however, two small clog heel marks a little down from the top of the rocks, which were very close together, and if a person had been walking there, the feet would not have been accidentally together. She could not have fallen down without disturbing something, and he said at the time that it was a very strange thing that a woman should be killed and no mark made or stone disturbed. He thought her dress would have been more damaged had she fallen down.

Mr. Supt Wardle, of West Riding Police, stated that on Saturday evening with Detective Fisher from Wakefield, thinking it strange that there was no blood found where the body was found, he went and made a search. He traced blood between two and three feet down the cliff, and found blood at various places all the way. On a large stone at the bottom was a large clot of blood. He was satisfied blood had gone further, and he appointed another officer to make further examinations. (Several stones that had been taken from near the bottom of the quarry were here produced baring marks of blood).

Police Sergeant Inman here stated he found stones marked with blood eighteen inches further down than had been found by Mr. Wardle. There were no traces of blood on the prisoner's clothes.

Richard Habergham, Soyland, said he believed he was the first man who on the Friday morning, went in at the gate of the quarry where the deceased was found. The gate was shut and the stone which usually propped it was about a foot from it, so that he could get in. He saw the deceased lying at the bottom of the cliff and at the top something like the shape of two heels, but he could not say that they were made by the deceased.

Ann Wolfenden was next called and said her husband was a farmer and lived in Soyland. She remembered last Thursday night, and from half past ten to eleven she went into the mistal to milk. Whilst milking she heard two knocks at the laithe door, and went into the house to see if anything had come, and there was not. She did not see anyone at the laithe door, she had a light in the laithe and she could not tell what the knocks were for. In going on from the laithe a person would come to the entrance of the quarry. The clock at the house was about an hour and three quarters too fast and it was at that time nearly twelve by her clock. She saw no one walking about nor any light. She left her light in the mistal when she went into the house and saw no person.

Susan Riley, residing at Lane Ends, with her mother, at the house next to that lately occupied by the deceased, stated that she remembers William Hellowell coming to her house at a quarter to nine on Thursday night, and stopping till five minutes to ten. No-one fetched him from the house, and he did not return again. She never heard any disturbance nor anything suspicious in the house of the deceased during the night. After William left her house she did not hear anyone go into the Hellowell's house, but at half past ten someone went out at the lower door of the house and she said to her mother that she thought it was Mrs. Hellowell. The person she heard going out had iron on their clogs and a light foot. The person shut the door on going out. She could hear the iron on the clogs. Witness had not spoken to William Hellowell since Thursday night. She was his sweetheart. The door of the Hellowell's house made a noise when opening. She had never heard William threaten his mother. She had never received any money from him, nor had he left any money at the house. (Witness here produced the invoice for the chest of drawers which was alleged to have been given to her by William). She has paid for the drawers herself. William did not tell her he had been having a difference with his mother that Thursday night. If there had been any quarrel in the house it would have been heard in the witness's house if they had been awake.

Police Sergeant Inman of the West Riding Force proved that the gown, handkerchief, shift, stays, stockings, cap, clogs and apron had been taken from the body of the deceased. PC Brook proved finding a purse containing 12s 1d in the pocket in the dress of the deceased, and also an old pipe and some tobacco. He had no reason to suppose that anything was missing that belonged to the deceased. He examined the quarry all about where the body was found, and where it was supposed to have fallen down from. There were some marks on the top, but they were not plain, being the heel marks of the deceased clogs, from the examination he had made. He did not see any blood on the dress. The foot marks were on a ledge a little below the top as if a person had been sitting on the top. A person sitting down there on a dark night, not knowing the quarry was there, might have got up and walked into it. He and others made search and had not traced any suspicious marks of blood for a mile about the neighbourhood of the quarry.

Hannah Whitley, wife of James Whitely, of Spa Green, Soyland, farmer, and daughter of the deceased was next called, and said: "The last time I saw my mother alive was on Wednesday night at her house and she went with me to Clough Bridge. I had nothing in particular to see her for, and I did not see William or David there. On that day she did not complain to me of William. Of late there had been some difference between William and his mother, but I can't tell what it was about" (here the coroner told the witness that she must know something of the quarrel, and urged her to tell what she knew, as he and the jury were in possession of much that she knew about). She then said it was about the money, as she complained he did not give her what she thought was sufficient. The last time she complained was about a fortnight ago, she told me he had throttled her three weeks ago and that she was frightened of him. She said that when she got from him she went to another house. On being asked by the coroner if her mother had told her that William had come to her with a knife, the witness burst into tears. She then said, I have known my mother come to my house with a lantern, but it was a year or two ago. I remember her coming and William coming after her and telling her to go home. It was after dark when she came, and she had no lantern then. That was about three years ago, and they had been quarrelling. William followed her home and reckoned he would do her some mischief by setting the place on fire if she did not go back. Her mother had got into bed but got up when he ordered her. After some reluctance, witness said she heard William threaten to take his mother's life, which was rather better than a fortnight ago, in witnesses house. She asked him what there had been to do, and he said his mother told such a many lies about his taking some money. Witness then said, "I fetched him a pint of drink, telling him he looked down when he came in, and asked him if he was poorly on which he said there had been a bit of difference between him and his mother and that he would take her life. He told her something like this – that she would see such a sight before long as she had not seen in her life before. She believed he meant these words to apply to her mother. She remembered her brother, David coming to her house on the Friday morning, enquiring for his mother. Her mother came sometimes by the footpath and sometimes across the fields. She never knew her mother to come by the quarry. In consequence of her brother David coming to her house on the Friday morning she followed him back to Lane Ends and when at Clough Bridge she saw William, who was then coming towards Clough Bridge, but turned back, and she followed him up. She asked William, at David's request, how it happened there was hot water in the house, and he said he did not know, for he had not missed a wink of sleep all night. He said he did not know anything of what had become of his mother and had not seen her since he went to bed. They then went into the house and her brother David set off to Luddendenfoot. She told William she had had many an uneasy hour about him and his mother, on which he told her to rest content. She never saw him threaten his mother with a knife. The lantern produced was the one her mother generally brought with her.

Prisoner being asked if he had any questions to put to the witness, replied by denying that he had threatened about letting her "see such a sight". The water in the pan spoken of in the evidence was brought into the room for inspection, but nothing suspicious was detected in it. After being duly cautioned, the prisoner said- I went to bed on Thursday night after coming out of Mally Riley's at half past ten, and went into the house thinking that they were in bed. I found David lighting a candle and I lighted one at his candle and went upstairs. When going across the floor David said, "Thou will have to find some brass". I never spoke, but went upstairs, doffing my clogs at the bottom of the stairs and doffed my clothes at the bedside. I went to bed and David made a big din about the brass, for I heard him say downstairs I had £25 pound at least, but I never opened my mouth upstairs nor downstairs. David went on till he stauled and went out of the house. Five minutes after I heard my mother get out of bed, fetch some kindling stuff and start blowing the fire, after which I heard no more till David came at six in the morning. I gave my mother all the brass I had, and I am innocent of any ill to her. That is all I have to say.

The coroner then summed up, and said that assuming that the wounds had been inflicted on the deceased and she then thrown into the quarry, there would have been some marks at the top of the quarry. If she had been sensible there would have been some struggle and a disturbance of the ground, which did not appear, but if the wounds were inflicted first and the deceased then carried to the quarry, the probability was that there would have been some drops of blood on the way and in the field above, which however were not to be found. If they considered the evidence was not sufficient to point out any cause, the most satisfactory course under the circumstances would be to return a verdict of either "found dead" or "accidental death" the latter being the most satisfactory according to the medical evidence.

The jury considered for quarter of an hour and returned the following verdict: – The jury are unanimously of the opinion that the deceased was found dead in Flathead quarry, but by what means she came to her death there is not sufficient evidence to prove. The jury are also of the opinion that the body should have been viewed and a post mortem examination made by more than one medical man. In giving this verdict, it was stated by the foreman and several jurymen that they did not mean to throw any discredit upon the medical evidence. Mr. Supt. Wardle here observed that two other surgeons had inspected the body. The proceedings terminated at eleven at night, having lasted nine ours. The prisoner was set at liberty, it not being necessary to bring him before the magistrates on Tuesday.




© Malcolm Bull 2018
Revised 15:01 /16th March 2018 / x1913 / 50191

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