Author Topic: Murder, Mystery and My Family  (Read 1310 times)

Offline andrewalston

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Murder, Mystery and My Family
« on: Monday 08 April 19 09:07 BST (UK) »
I've been quite enjoying this series, currently showing on BBC1, where people with a murder case in their family history have modern-day barristers re-examining the evidence.
Afterwards the case is made to a retired judge, who decides whether the conviction was sound, rather than on guilt or innocence. Of course this depends on the law at the time, rather than currently, so the "verdict" might be unexpected.

Has anyone found serious crime in their investigations? How did you react?

In my lot I have a 1st cousin 3 times removed who was found guilty of rape in 1883 and sent down for 12 years.

Reading the newspaper reports, I found myself cheering for the victim, a married woman of 45, who stuck to the same story through three court hearings.
Looking at ALSTON in south Ribble area, ALSTEAD and DONBAVAND/DUNBABIN etc. everywhere, HOWCROFT and MARSH in Bolton and Westhoughton, PICKERING in the Whitehaven area.

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Offline Marmalady

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Re: Murder, Mystery and My Family
« Reply #1 on: Monday 08 April 19 10:08 BST (UK) »
My Grandmother's cousin (so my 1st cousin twice removed) divorced her first husband for cruelty in 1904.
He later re-married and had several children. In 1924 he shot and killed a man he suspected of having an affair with his wife. He was originally found guilty of murder and sentenced to death. On appeal, the verdict was changed to manslaughter and he was sentenced to 7 years in prison (Times report Dec 9 1924).

Other wise no serious crimes have yet been uncovered in my family.
I nearly had the "sheep stealer transported to Australia" but he turned out to be another man of the same name from the same area and not my ancestor.
Wainwright - Yorkshire
Whitney - Herefordshire
Watson -  Northamptonshire
Trant - Yorkshire
Helps - all
Needham - Derbyshire
Waterhouse - Derbyshire
Northing - all

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Offline Viktoria

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Re: Murder, Mystery and My Family
« Reply #2 on: Monday 08 April 19 12:19 BST (UK) »
Yes and it was dealt with according to the mores of the times,early 1900’s.
A young woman had a child before marriage.
Married and there was another child of that union.
Parted from her husband who was twice her age.
Became pregnant by we know not who!
Concealed the pregnancy from her father with whom she and her two children were living.
Her mother had been dead for many years and her stepmother was in an institution.
Baby born whilst father at work,Midwife in attendance and she called later in the day as was the custom,and baby was dead.
Now ,the woman MU S T  have been tightly corsetted as no one suspected a pregnancy,so if any harm to baby from that ?
There had to be a Dr’s death cert ,but he did not attend so another called and he would not issue one as too long had elapsed and it had to go for a Coroner’s inquest.
Meanwhile young woman pestering her father to get the baby buried - ?
Father comes home from work ,gets shotgun down from a rack  (where it was stored) to shoot a rabbit for the pot . It had been left loaded and from a range of about six feet ,it banged on the table,went off and she was in direct line.
Mind you it was late on a November afternoon ( he was a miner and the shift ended about 4 O’clock but then a long walk home to the extremely remote cottage where he lived) and it would be darkish .
The two little boys gave evidence they heard the bang on the table  then the gun going off .
Given she was an unmarried mother,then had separated after another baby ostensibly her husband’s,then had another baby she was a fallen woman in the eyes of the community of strict Methodists and Baptists.
The trial opened after the P.M ( done on the kitchen table) but the baby was of no consequence,its cause of death overlooked completely,not even a name just” Female”.
The father served only 18 months as he had been in prison already for 18 months so 3 years in total.There had been a re-trial.
A group and I got a small plaque made as the young woman and her baby were in the same coffin and we only think we know where she is buried,next to my G. Grandparents . They were my paternal G Grandparents and my Grandmother was first cousin to the young  woman,her father and my G,Grandfather were brothers.
It seemed a light sentence, but no doubt her past misdemeanours would count in his favour in those days 1914.
The plaque was attached to the remaining walls of the house which was never lived in again.
It simply says “ In memory of
                       Xxx xxxx and her un -named baby girl.
                       Their dates .
                        Who died here.
                        Erected by relatives who wish thrm to be remembered.
                         Then our names.
The whole thing was hushed up and the two boys lived with uncles in other villages.
Later generations had no idea of the events but a book about the area revealed all and then a bundle of newspapers stuffed behind a gargantuan
piece of furniture were discovered when the occupant of the house died.
Older people knew of it all but ranks were closed and the two boys had a good kind upbringing and it was just forgotten.
My Dad knew from his mother but I would have liked to have asked people nearer to it all but you do not break a silence like that just for your own curiosity.
So sad,especially that little life .
Did the mother harm the baby ? As there was no post mortem  we will never know.
The shotgun had a fault and seemingly a heavy pull so——-? Was that accudental or ,as voices had been raised ,a flash of anger?
So there we are .
Manslaughter was the verdict but the evidence of the older boy was discounted as he broke down and the presiding magistrate deemed him to be “ of low intelligence”, I mean he had seen his mother’s head almost blown off at point blank range, the crime scene photographs show blood up the wall behind where she was sitting to six feet high .
The house was left almost within minutes as their grandfather whisked the boys to their uncles in the village,
He must have left the door open as the photographs show dead leaves blown in ,on the floor.The fender pushed aside and the stool turned over.
The body stayed there with the baby’s until the funeral and they were in the same coffin ,carried by neighbours the long walk to the Baptist chapel .
A low mound seems to be their grave,when my O.H and I went to the graves,we tidied and planted a small bush for the people in the three graves we know of and a little evergreen for the mum and he baby.
Only two weeks ago someone asked me where the mum and baby were buried.I could only say where we think it is.
Viktoria.


Offline pharmaT

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Re: Murder, Mystery and My Family
« Reply #3 on: Monday 08 April 19 13:50 BST (UK) »
Yes and it was dealt with according to the mores of the times,early 1900’s.
A young woman had a child before marriage.
Married and there was another child of that union.
Parted from her husband who was twice her age.
Became pregnant by we know not who!
Concealed the pregnancy from her father with whom she and her two children were living.
Her mother had been dead for many years and her stepmother was in an institution.
Baby born whilst father at work,Midwife in attendance and she called later in the day as was the custom,and baby was dead.
Now ,the woman MU S T  have been tightly corsetted as no one suspected a pregnancy,so if any harm to baby from that ?
There had to be a Dr’s death cert ,but he did not attend so another called and he would not issue one as too long had elapsed and it had to go for a Coroner’s inquest.
Meanwhile young woman pestering her father to get the baby buried - ?
Father comes home from work ,gets shotgun down from a rack  (where it was stored) to shoot a rabbit for the pot . It had been left loaded and from a range of about six feet ,it banged on the table,went off and she was in direct line.
Mind you it was late on a November afternoon ( he was a miner and the shift ended about 4 O’clock but then a long walk home to the extremely remote cottage where he lived) and it would be darkish .
The two little boys gave evidence they heard the bang on the table  then the gun going off .
Given she was an unmarried mother,then had separated after another baby ostensibly her husband’s,then had another baby she was a fallen woman in the eyes of the community of strict Methodists and Baptists.
The trial opened after the P.M ( done on the kitchen table) but the baby was of no consequence,its cause of death overlooked completely,not even a name just” Female”.
The father served only 18 months as he had been in prison already for 18 months so 3 years in total.There had been a re-trial.
A group and I got a small plaque made as the young woman and her baby were in the same coffin and we only think we know where she is buried,next to my G. Grandparents . They were my paternal G Grandparents and my Grandmother was first cousin to the young  woman,her father and my G,Grandfather were brothers.
It seemed a light sentence, but no doubt her past misdemeanours would count in his favour in those days 1914.
The plaque was attached to the remaining walls of the house which was never lived in again.
It simply says “ In memory of
                       Xxx xxxx and her un -named baby girl.
                       Their dates .
                        Who died here.
                        Erected by relatives who wish thrm to be remembered.
                         Then our names.
The whole thing was hushed up and the two boys lived with uncles in other villages.
Later generations had no idea of the events but a book about the area revealed all and then a bundle of newspapers stuffed behind a gargantuan
piece of furniture were discovered when the occupant of the house died.
Older people knew of it all but ranks were closed and the two boys had a good kind upbringing and it was just forgotten.
My Dad knew from his mother but I would have liked to have asked people nearer to it all but you do not break a silence like that just for your own curiosity.
So sad,especially that little life .
Did the mother harm the baby ? As there was no post mortem  we will never know.
The shotgun had a fault and seemingly a heavy pull so——-? Was that accudental or ,as voices had been raised ,a flash of anger?
So there we are .
Manslaughter was the verdict but the evidence of the older boy was discounted as he broke down and the presiding magistrate deemed him to be “ of low intelligence”, I mean he had seen his mother’s head almost blown off at point blank range, the crime scene photographs show blood up the wall behind where she was sitting to six feet high .
The house was left almost within minutes as their grandfather whisked the boys to their uncles in the village,
He must have left the door open as the photographs show dead leaves blown in ,on the floor.The fender pushed aside and the stool turned over.
The body stayed there with the baby’s until the funeral and they were in the same coffin ,carried by neighbours the long walk to the Baptist chapel .
A low mound seems to be their grave,when my O.H and I went to the graves,we tidied and planted a small bush for the people in the three graves we know of and a little evergreen for the mum and he baby.
Only two weeks ago someone asked me where the mum and baby were buried.I could only say where we think it is.
Viktoria.

IME such things are still used in defence , even a woman being ugly is used and frustratingly allowed by the judges.


The wife of one of my daughter's grt uncles (can't remember how many greats off the top of my head) was murdered.  She was found at the allotment with her head bashed in.  The lodger was convicted of it, she had allegedly turned down his advances.


One of my Grt grt grandfathers was seriously assaulted when he intervened to stop 4 men "ravishing a young serving girl".  The attackers were sent down for a long time because they had, as well as attacking this girl committed the more serious offence of attacking a man and theft. 
Campbell, Dunn, Dickson, Fell, Forest, Norie, Pratt, Somerville, Thompson, Tyler among others

Offline ThrelfallYorky

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Re: Murder, Mystery and My Family
« Reply #4 on: Monday 08 April 19 16:50 BST (UK) »
I was doing some researching for a friend some years back, and came upon a "family scandal" - a labourer had slain his wife one morning, gone off and done his day's work, then come back and "found" her, but was quickly identified as the baddie. Quite a surprise to the modern members of the family concerned, but quite a lot of newspaper coverage was turned up, and gave an insight into other things that had split the children in that generation.
My lot? Totally boring, in every generation! Just a married-in link to a hangman, way back!
Threlfall (Southport), Isherwood (lancs & Canada), Newbould + Topliss(Derby), Keating & Cummins (Ireland + lancs), Fisher, Strong& Casson (all Cumberland) & Downie & Bowie, Linlithgow area Scotland . Also interested in Leigh& Burrows,(Lancashire) Griffiths (Shropshire & lancs), Leaver (Lancs/Yorks) & Anderson(Cumberland and very elusive)

Online Erato

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Re: Murder, Mystery and My Family
« Reply #5 on: Monday 08 April 19 17:40 BST (UK) »
No known murderers in my tree but there are several murder victims including one victim of a very notorious serial murderess.
Wiltshire:  Banks, Taylor
Somerset:  Duddridge, Richards, Barnard, Pillinger
Gloucestershire:  Barnard, Marsh, Crossman
Bristol:  Banks, Duddridge, Barnard
Down:  Ennis, McGee
Wicklow:  Chapman, Pepper
Wigtownshire:  Logan, Conning
Wisconsin:  Ennis, Chapman, Logan, Ware
Maine:  Ware, Mitchell, Tarr

Offline 3sillydogs

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Re: Murder, Mystery and My Family
« Reply #6 on: Tuesday 09 April 19 11:31 BST (UK) »


An ancestor was convicted of killing one of her children in 1865. She was sentenced Broadmoor as a lunatic because of evidence given by neighbours regarding her behaviour.  Looking at it now she had 11 children between 1856 and 1890 and by today's norms she would probably have been diagnosed with post partum depression.

The rest down the generations are pretty boring, the real scandal was my paternal grandmother!!!! ;D ;D ;D
Paylet, Pallatt, Morris (Russia, UK) Burke, Hillery, Page, Rumsey, Stevens, Tyne/Thynne(UK)  Landman, van Rooyen, Tyne, Stevens, Rumsey, Visagie, Nell (South Africa)

Offline Viktoria

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Re: Murder, Mystery and My Family
« Reply #7 on: Tuesday 09 April 19 12:45 BST (UK) »
Even as late as the  1950’s you dare not say you were feeling very down.The “ Baby blues” were quite normal for a
few weeks but anything longer is not .
There was no help and you were told to” Pull yourself together “ well if you
could have done that you would have.
It seems there are hormones in the placenta which if replaced do help with the condition and it begs the question if humans disposed of it in the way animals do  would there be no post natal depression .?
  But Medicine and The Law were the realms of men and women were judged by people who had no idea what they were being judgemental about.
Even Drs.did not understand and if they did not who would?
Oh I am signing off as I am getting on a rant !
Viktoria.



 

Offline River Tyne Lass

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Re: Murder, Mystery and My Family
« Reply #8 on: Tuesday 09 April 19 13:17 BST (UK) »
My 2 x Great Grandparents were James and Elizabeth Conroy who went on trial (along with their lodgers) in a then infamous trial which became known in the press as the Matfen Murder.  The murder of their landlady Dorothy Bewick took place in 1855 and my ancestors were put on trial in March 1856. 

Personally, I do not think they carried out this murder but I do have my suspicions about one of their lodgers who was called Michael Allen, as he went on to commit more violent crimes and was eventually deported.  I also have suspicions about two other people who were not even focussed on at the trial.  People at the time who were not even considered but who may have had a motive, as far as I can see.  I am not thinking of their neighbour Bernard Dobbin who I think was also considered as a suspect albeit briefly.  I think he was innocent. 

My ancestors and their lodgers were acquitted due to not sufficient evidence. 

I often think about this case and cogitate on the evidence myself.  For instance, my ancestors were away from home on the night of the murder but it was said in court that my ancestor and Michael Allen were capable of travelling back to do the murder and then return to the barn they were sleeping in.  I do wonder though how feasible this might have been for them  to have travelled the distance along unlit country roads, commit the crime then return.

I think it would be great to have this case relooked at today by modern day barristers.  I think it terrible that poor Dorothy was murdered but I do not think my ancestors were responsible.

Perhaps if they had not been acquitted I might not perhaps be here today.  If they had been hanged my Great Grandfather, who was only four at the time may not have survived without the care of his parents.  I do not know what happened to the children during their parents trial - whether they went to family or a workhouse perhaps.  It appears that the baby (their then youngest) stayed with them during the trial going off newspaper reports.
Conroy, Fitzpatrick, Watson, Miller, Davis/Davies, Brown, Senior, Dodds, Grieveson, Gamesby, Simpson, Rose, Gilboy, Malloy, Dalton, Young, Saint, Anderson, Allen, McKetterick, McCabe, Drummond, Parkinson, Armstrong, McCarroll, Innes, Marshall, Atkinson, Glendinning, Fenwick, Bonner