Birmingham Daily Post (22/Aug/1891) - Mysterious Murder of a Servant Girl

The following is a transcription of a historic newspaper article and may contain occasional errors. If the article was published prior to 1 June 1957, then the text is likely in the Public Domain.


A Huddersfield correspondent telegraphs that mysterious murder is reported from Milnsbridge, a suburb of that town. It appears that yesterday afternoon a servant girl at the Ivy Green public house, Manchester Road, was left in charge of the house. During the afternoon a butcher's boy called at the house and shouted, but could make no one hear. Later on, neighbours went to the house and found the girl lying dead, having apparently been stabbed in the neck by some sharp instrument. No knife could be found near the body. The police are searching the district around, but at present the occurrence is shrouded in complete, mystery. The wound in the girl's neck had separated the jugular vein.

A later telegram says that enquiries show that the unfortunate victim was named Catherine Dennis. She was only sixteen years of age, and had been engaged from Flint, North Wales, as domestic servant at the Ivy Green Hotel, which is kept by Mrs. Brook, a widow. The deceased was the only assistant which Mrs. Brook employed. It is stated that her mistress left home on a short shopping expedition, and that shortly after three o'clock a customer named John William Iredale left the house, there being then a couple of strange men at the counter drinking. At four o'clock a butcher's boy named Beevers, employed, by the local co-operative society, arrived with some meat, and it was then that the tragedy was discovered. The bar and various rooms frequented by callers were all empty, and, there being no response to the boy's calls, a neighbour who heard him shouting went in and found the girl lying in one of the passages on her back, and dead. There was a small punctured wound on the right side of the neck cutting through the jugular vein, and this had evidently been inflicted while the deceased was down, the blood having flowed down the neck and formed a pool under her head. Her clothes appeared to be in proper order. There were no marks of blood about the hands or face, and there were no signs of any struggle having taken place. The police having been summoned there was soon much excitement in the locality, and Iredale having heard of the discovery he immediately procured a companion and setoff at once for Slaithwaite. Before arriving at the village they saw the two men Iredale had met in the house, and whilst one kept them in sight the other made for the police station. Sergeant Ramsden and Police Constable Downes were informed of what had occurred, and arrested the men on suspicion, finding them in the Dartmouth Arms. They were removed to Slaithwaite police station and searched. A small penknife was found on one, but nothing of importance was discovered on the other man. The names of those arrested are Joshua Lockwood, a stoutly-built man of between thirty-five and forty, and George Farnham, aged from twenty-five to thirty, tall and slightly built. Both are respectably dressed, and described themselves as agents in the employ of Mr. J.B. Law, photographer, of Ramsden Street, Huddersfield. When cautioned and charged Lockwood said, "Its a bad job, but I know nothing about it." No blood-stains were discovered on the men's clothes, but there were patches of green on their coats, and the corridor where the body was discovered is washed with green which comes off on being touched, whilst the walls, of the lower passage are painted with paint which does not come off.