Blackburn Standard and Weekly Express (12/Sep/1891) - The Huddersfield Murder

The following is a transcription of a historic newspaper article and may contain occasional errors.



James Stockwell, suspected of the Linthwaite murder, was arrested by a member of the Huddersfield borough police on Monday morning. The Chief Constable declines to say anything about the matter, but it is rumoured that Stockwell, tired of being hunted down, went to his mother's house on Sunday night, and Mrs. Stockwell went next morning to the house of Constable Hiram Taylor, and informed him that her son was at home awaiting arrest. The officer at once proceeded to the house and arrested Stockwell, who made no resistance, and was quietly taken to the borough police station. Intense excitement prevails in the town. Stockwell is said to be a wretched object to look at, having apparently lived and slept on the moors as best he could. His clothes are in rags, and his hunted appearance suggests that the arrest came as a relief.


Stockwall, who is aged 32 years, and described as a teamer, of Milnsbridge, was brought before the Huddersfield borough magistrates, on Monday, charged with the wilful murder of Catherine Dennis, at Linthwaite. Upon the charge being read over to him, the prisoner, amid considerable sensation, pleaded guilty. The chief constable having stated the facts of the case, applied that the accused should be handed over to the county authorities. The magistrates granted the application, and the prisoner was removed to the West Riding Police Court across the road, where he was brought before the county magistrates and remanded for eight days. Superintendent Pickard stated that the prisoner had been searched for night and day for the whole seventeen days he had been missing. The accused appeared to be weak and ill, and was assisted to and from the court by two officers, his weakness being evidently due to want of food.


The excitement caused by the murder of Catherine Dennis, aged 15 years, a domestic servant at the Ivy Hotel, Linthwaite, by James Stockwell, teamer, Linthwaite, against whom the coroner's jury returned a verdict of "Wilful murder," having since the 21st of August, the day of the murder, eluded the vigilance of the police, culminated on Monday, when it became known that Stockwell had been arrested at the house of his parents, No. 2, Lower Brow Road, Paddock, within the borough of Huddersfield. He admitted his guilt, and was remanded by the magistrates. Since his arrest Stockwell has talked freely to the police who had him in custody, and he states that he has been about Crosland Moor and the neighbourhood the whole of the time, and that he has had no solid food for sixteen days. His story is that only two men saw him — one on the morning of the 22nd, at Crosland Hill, namely, a man named Brook, who was out for some early shooting, and the other a man named Heap, who saw him near Honley Wood, which is across the Meltham Valley from Crosland Hill, and he further states that he knew the police were after him, and they have repeatedly been within almost touching distance. For three days he was cut up with remorse and wept, and he wandered about at nightfall from one haystack to another to escape detection. On one of the farms a man came to the stack where he was hiding, and it took Stockwell all his time to prevent coughing, and he had to put his hand to his mouth. He got so weak that he could scarcely lift water to his mouth to drink, and it was nothing but hunger that compelled him to


Prisoner during the afternoon was allowed to wash himself, and he looked very much better and more cheerful, though he feels his position deeply. In the afternoon Superintendent Pickard, Sergeant McCawley, and Police Constable Webb took the prisoner to Wakefield Gaol. On leaving the police station he was hooted, and at the railway station there were cries of "Lynch him," as there had been at Paddock. The case has naturally caused much excitement, but there is intense satisfaction that he has been arrested, and that he has confessed the crime. The prisoner was safely removed from Huddersfield to Wakefield, and there were crowds of people at nearly all the stations from Huddersfield to Wakefield. The prisoner was very retired, and made no communication whatever to Superintendent Pickard, who had him in charge. Before the prisoner was removed from Huddersfield, he made numerous statements to the police, and one of them was very touching. Talking to one of the county police officers as to his wanderings be said, "Yesterday, I didn't know it was Sunday till I heard the bells a-ringing." He states that during the 17 days he has been missing he has not been more than two or


and during most of the time has been in the immediate neighbourhood. On one occasion he heard policemen talking about him, and laying plans for his arrest. He says that he had nothing substantial to eat, having to content himself with wild herbs, not daring to show himself near a habitation. When some workmen surrounded Honley Wood, he was there, but his thorough knowledge of the locality enabled him to escape. Stockwell says he gladly devoured some beans which he had found in his mother's garden yesterday morning, being the first solid food he had had. The prisoner's condition is such that when he was being taken to the railway station at Huddersfield he trembled from head to foot as the crowd cried "Kill him ; lynch him ;" but he regained his composure on being told by the superintendent not to notice the crowd. Prisoner's father was at one time a mister farmer, but failed in business. Prisoner is the second child out of a family of nine — six boys and three girls — and one of the latter, it is stated, has been in a lunatic asylum. When Stockwell was searched there was found on him an ordinary single-bladed pocket-knife, with a blade about two and a half inches in length and half an inch wide. It has a very sharp point, and is a very likely instrument with which to inflict a wound such as was found on the girl Dennis's neck, but it has no marks whatever of blood upon it. Another knife was found on the road leading to Crosland Hill, and it is now away undergoing examination by an expert. About eight years ago Stockwell was committed for two months for assaulting his wife.

Blackburn Standard and Weekly Express (12/Sep/1891) - The Huddersfield Murder


Articles about James Stockwell (c.1859-1892) | Articles about the murder of Catherine Dennis in 1891 | Articles from 1891 | Articles from the 1890s | Newspaper articles
This page was last modified on 19 August 2015 and has been edited by Dave Pattern.

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