Huddersfield Daily Chronicle (24/Aug/1891) - The Horrible Tragedy at Linthwaite: A New Development

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.



Nothing that has occurred in Huddersfield in recent years has caused such intense excitement as has been evinced in the brutal murder of Catherine Dennis, in the Ivy Hotel, Manchester Road, Linthwaite, of which full details were given in Saturday's Chronicle. The subject has been discussed on every hand, and the curiosity displayed by thousands of people has led to scenes at "the Ivy," which can but be described as little short of disgraceful. The road to and from the house on Saturday afternoon and Sunday, was crowded with foot passengers, and by vehicles of all descriptions, conveying the morbidly curious to the house. Here the doorway was literally besieged, and people who were allowed to enter the house in batches, filed upstairs to view not only the scene of the outrage, but the body of the unfortunate victim. Subscriptions were also solicited to defray the expenses of interment. Altogether the scene was one in which sympathy for the murdered girl seemed to be almost entirely forgotten, and whoever was responsible for this state of things it certainly was discreditable to all concerned.

A discovery which seems to be regarded as important by the police, judging by the action they have taken, was made on Saturday morning. It is now stated that on Friday afternoon, before Mrs. Brook left home, as stated to our representative, a man named James Stockwell, who lives at Delph Terrace, within one or two hundred yards of "the Ivy," came into the house, and she left him eating some pie which she had given him, using his pocket knife for the purpose. There were two cart men in the house at the same time. Stockwell was seen to leave the house about four o'clock, and, it is stated, turned up a lane leading on to the quarry and moor land in the neighbourhood. One singular circumstance about the affair is that Stockwell has not been home since the occurrence. His house has been watched day and night by a Police-constable, and a number of officers in plain clothes have been searching the surrounding neighbourhood to obtain some information as to his whereabouts. As to the men in custody, the almost universal opinion of the public seems to be, rightly or wrongly, that they are innocent, and the evidence given at the magisterial hearing this morning, as well as at the inquest, which is fixed to be held at 1-30 this afternoon, at the Ivy Hotel, will be awaited with much interest. Mr. K. Welsh has been engaged for the defence. Mr. Law, photographer, with whom Lockwood has been engaged for nine years, and Farnham for 15 or 16 months, sneaks highly of their general character. They have been visited regularly by their wives, who have seen to their comfort in the various ways allowed by the police.

Regarding the new phase the case has taken, our representative last night had an interview with Mr. John Walker, of Smith Riding, Linthwaite. who resides not far from "the Ivy."' Mr. Walker stated that about half-past two o'clock on Friday afternoon he went into the kitchen of the Ivy Hotel to see Mrs. Brook, who wanted him to do a bit of business for her. He asked the deceased where Mrs. Brook was, and she replied she had gone to Huddersfield. Mr. Walker told the deceased that he had called to take Mrs. Brook's gas bill to pay. The girl replied that she did not know where the note was, whereupon Mr. Walker said he would "let it alone" until Saturday. Stockwell was then sitting in the kitchen, and Mr. Walker left him and the girl alone in the house together. Mr Walker went down to Milnsbridge, and on his return passed the house about four o'clock, he then saw Stockwell corning out of the house. Stockwell passed Mr. Waiker just opposite the cart shed which adjoins the house. Mr. Walker did not speak to the man, but thought that he did not hold his head up, and that he was, therefore, a bit "fresh." Mr. Walker did not see which way Stockwell went. If he had gone straight forward he would have come to his own house, but Mr. Walker had since heard that he turned up View Tree Lane in the direction of Crosland Hill. He first heard of the murder from the butcher's boy Beevers, who told him what had happened. Mr. Walker added that there was not a "dacenter"[1] or quieter little girl anywhere than the deceased, nor one better fitted for the "spot" she was in. He wished he had had the gas note to pay, because in that case instead of passing "the Ivy" he should have gone in, and if anything had been wrong he would have found it out at once.

The police have issued the following description of Stockwell to neighbouring police centres :— About 32 years of age ; height, 5ft. 5in. or 5ft. 6in. ; slight side whiskers and moustache ; rather stout build ; and very fresh appearance. He was wearing when last seen, striped fustian trousers, brown cord waistcoat with jean cloth sleeves, and black moleskin vest, coarse harden apron with string round the neck, low brown billycock hat, and light shoes.

Up to last night no fresh arrest had been made, though during Saturday and Sunday there were many rumours that one or more had been effected, and on Saturday night the Borough Police Station was surrounded by a large crowd, who were evidently under the impression that this was the place to obtain it, anxious to gain the latest information regarding the affair.

The parents of the unfortunate girl arrived from Flint, on Saturday. Much sympathy is felt for them in their sad trouble.

It is stated that the body will be interred in the Linthwaite Churchyard, and that probably the funeral will take place this afternoon, after the coroner's enquiry has been opened.


At the West Riding Police Court, at Huddersfield, on Saturday, Joshua Lookwood, 40 years of age, and George Farnham, 30, described as photographic agents, and residing in Lockwood, were brought up — before Mr. E. Armitage and Mr. F. Greenwood — charged on suspicion with murdering Catherine Dennis, 16 years of age, a servant girl, on the previous day at the Ivy Hotel, Linthwaite. There was a large crowd round the precincts of the court, but the prisoners were brought up in a private room, and none but those having business there or being concerned in the case were admitted.

Mr. Sykes (the magistrates' clerk) — Mr. Superintendent Pickard, you have two men in custody without warrants, haven't you ?

Superintendent Pickard — Yes, sir.

Mr. Sykes — Will you state the circumstances ?

Superintendent Pickard — The two prisoners, your worships, were apprehended last night at Slaithwaite. They are charged on suspicion with murdering Catherine Dennis, a servant girl at the Ivy Hotel, Linthwaite. It appears that about two o'clock yesterday Mrs. Brook (the landlady) left the hotel to go to Huddersfield on some business. She left the servant girl in charge of the house. I have a witness here who went to the house about 3-15, and saw the girl supply one of the prisoners with a glass of beer. At 4-30 again he was there, after the girl was found murdered, and he then saw both the prisoners there. From what he heard and saw he followed them on to Slaithwaite, and gave information to Sergeant Ramsden, who apprehended the two prisoners, and they were detained until Sergeant McCawley and I arrived there.

Mr. Sykes — Are you prepared to offer any evidence against them now ?

Superintendent Pickard — I am not.

Mr. Greenwood — Were they together ?

Superintendent Pickard — They were together. I have to ask to have them remanded until Monday.

Mr. Sykes — Yes, you are not prepared to go on with it. The verbal application of the superintendent of police is quite sufficient.

Mr. Armitage — Were there any other parties at the house besides these two men ?

Superintendent Pickard — Yes, sir.

Mr. Armitage — On both occasions ?

Superintendent Pickard — Yes, sir.

Mr. Sykes — As your are informed, Mr. Pickard ?

Superintendent Pickard — Yes, I am informed so.

Mr. Sykes (to the prisoners) — You hear what the superintendent of police has said. Have you any objection to offer why you should not be remanded ?

Mr. Armitage — Have you any cause to show why you should not be remanded until Monday next ?

The prisoner (Lockwood) — I should think we have, sir. The superintendent makes a statement that one of the prisoners was in the house and supplied with beer at 3-15. I deny that altogether.

Mr. Sykes — Well! he has not offered any evidence. We are not hearing the case to-day. He is merely making a statement to the magistrates of what he will be enabled to prove when the case comes up for hearing, or rather when depositions are taken.

Lockwood—Very well, sir. As far as that is concerned if it is your wish, of course we shall have to bow to your decision. 1 can say nothing further.

The Clerk — It has only recently occurred, you see, your worships.

Mr. Armitage — Oh! it is a very reasonable request to make.

Mr. Greenwood (to the prisoner Farnham) — Have you anything to say ?

Farnham — I think it's a very hard thing, indeed, that we should be remanded. You have no witnesses to prove that we were in the house, and I totally deny that I was in the house at all until after the alarm was given. The women in the house, and the carters on the road, can prove that we were on the road to the house.

Mr. Armitage — You stand remanded until Monday next, at 11 o'clock, in custody.

The prisoners were then removed to the cells.


  1. i.e. "more decent".