Leeds Mercury (24/Aug/1891) - The Murder of a Servant Girl Near Huddersfield

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.



The circumstances attending the murder of the unfortunate girl, Catherine Dennis, at the Ivy House Inn, Linthwaite, are still enveloped in mystery. The two men, Joshua Lockwood, Emmanuel Terrace, Lockwood ; and George Farnham, 22, Fair Street, Lockwood, who were apprehended on suspicion of having committed the murder, were brought before the magistrates at the County Police Court, Huddersfield, on Saturday, and formally remanded till Monday. But at present there is very little to connect the prisoners with the crime, beyond the fact that one of them is said to have been seen at the Ivy House about a quarter-past three o'clock on Friday afternoon, having a glass of beer, that both of them were observed in the house after the poor girl was murdered, and that when taken into custody, there were marks of a greenish colour upon their coats, similar to the colour on the walls of the landing on the staircase of the inn. The prisoners, who are described as photographic agents, are both married, and are employed by Mr. Law, photographer, Ramsden Street, Huddersfield. They both deny that they were in the house until after the alarm was given that a murder had been committed, and as a large number of persons crowded up the staircase to see the body of the victim lying on the landing, they may easily have got some of the colouring matter upon their coats becoming in contact with the wall. Their employer, Mr. Law, who has had them in his service as canvassers for several years, speaks highly of them, and it is unlikely that they had anything to do with the crime.


Suspicion now points in another direction. The foul deed was done, it may be recollected, during the absence of Mrs. Margaret Brook, the landlady, at Huddersfield. When she left home about two o'clock in the afternoon, Hubert Ainley and John Crowther, two teamsters in the service of a Golcar firm, were in the taproom getting dinner, as was their custom. There was also another man in the house at the time — a man who lives a few doors away from the inn, who is well known, and who has disappeared since the tragedy occurred. Between one and two o'clock this man was sitting in the kitchen beside a grandson of Mrs. Brook's who had called, and who was having some dinner. He had ordered two-penny-worth of bread and cheese, which he cut with his pocket-knife. Mrs. Brook's grandson was having potato pie, and having left some of it, the man asked the boy if he could have it. The boy replied that he could, if his grandmother said so ; and. Mrs. Brook having given permission, she left him in the kitchen eating the pie by "forking" it with his pocket-knife, after making the remark that he was a regular Irishman, and liked potatoes. It is said that this man is a teamster, and is married, but does not work regularly. Amongst other occupations which he occasionally follows is that of killing pigs ; and it is pointed out that the wound on the girl's throat, which severed the jugular vein, is very similar to the puncture made in pig-killing. This man, although he was not a frequent visitor at the house, may have known that the servant-girl was occasionally left in charge. He was seen on Friday evening by another man who was acquainted with him, going over Pym Royd and Crosland Hill in the direction of South Crosland. His friend spoke to him but received no answer ; and from that time all trace of him has been lost. The police, however, are making inquiries, and it is hoped that he may speedily be apprehended. Mrs. Brook, in the excitement of Friday, had forgotten that this man was in the inn when she went to Huddersfield ; and although too ill to be seen on Saturday, she remembered the circumstance, and the police were immediately informed, subsequent inquiries showing that the suspected person had left the district. The man's wife, who is employed at a mill, states that they have lived apart, for some time, that during the last month her husband had not worked at all, and that it was nothing unusual for him to be away from home all night.

As to the motive for the crime, it appears to have been outrage, not robbery ; but one circumstance seems to lead to the conclusion that robbery also may have been intended. The bedroom doors are usually kept closed, as so many people use the band-room ; but all of them were found wide open, and it is possible that the murderer may have taken a hurried glance into them. If this was the case, he missed a purse half full of goId which was lying in one of the rooms ; and nothing has been missed. The murderer, whoever he is, must have waited until he was sure that there was no other person in the house except his victim and himself. A large room used by the Linthwaite Brass Band required to be swept out, but Mrs. Brook had told the girl that she need not do the work that afternoon. She apparently thought, however, that she might accomplish it, and had gone upstairs with a sweeping-brush and a pan containing sawdust, which she had sprinkled on the floor. It is probable that while engaged in this occupation she heard footsteps on the staircase, and came out to the landing to see who was there. She may then have been seized and thrown down, and an outrage committed. The unfortunate victim, who was of slender proportions, may not have had strength sufficient to offer much resistance to her assailant ; and, as there were no marks of a struggle having taken place, it is possible that she may have fainted. Supposing the miscreant to have been known to the girl, he may have thought to escape justice by silencing her voice for ever ; and the one offence, as too frequently happens, may have led to the still greater crime of murder. On the back wall of the lobby there is the impression of a hand, about a yard from the floor ; but it is impossible to say whether it was there before Friday ; or whether it may have been made by the murderer in raising himself from the floor.


The Ivy House Inn is situated in the township of Linthwaite, on the right-hand side of the road going from Huddersfield to Marsden, and is about three miles from the former town. It is a detached house, and the nearest neighbour lives some distance away, so that any cries, or the noise of a struggle inside the house could not be heard by any one, unless they happened to be passing the door. The house is built on sloping ground, the frontage to the road being two stories in height, while at the back there are three storeys, cellars occupying the basement floor. Passing through the front door into the lobby, there are sitting-rooms to the right and left, and facing the visitor is the bar. In a line with the bar to the right is the taproom, and to the left is the kitchen. Between the front room on the left-hand side and the kitchen at the back, is the staircase. A flight of twelve stops brings the visitor to a small landing, and turning to the right he ascends other four steps to the bedroom-floor. The landing on this floor is between four and five yards long. Two doors on the left, and another at the end of the landing, lead into three bedrooms, which form the back portion of the second floor. On the right-hand side is a door leading into a large room, which occupies the whole frontage of the building, and which is used as a practice-room by the Linthwaite Band. The house is a well-frequented and well-conducted one and has been in the possession of Mrs. Margaret Brook, the landlady, for twenty years. At ordinary times Mrs. Brook has been able to manage the business, with the aid of only one servant. About twelve months ago Catherine Dennis was engaged as servant. She was 16 years of age, and her parents, Edward and Mary Ellen Dennis, live at Flint, North Wales. She had an aunt, Mrs. Agnes Ramsden, wife of Mr. George Ramsden, fettler, Ransden's Mill, Linthwaite, and it appears to have been through her influence that Catherine obtained the situation at Ivy House Inn. The girl is described as having been of a quiet, inoffensive disposition, always doing her work well and cheerfully. Mrs. Brook, who had the greatest confidence in her, was in the habit of going out occasionally on days when there was not much business done, and leaving the girl in charge of the house, a neighbour sometimes coming in to assist her. Friday, during the summer months, is one of those days, and Mrs. Brook thought that as the weather had improved she would ride to Huddersfield and back in the spring cart in order to make some business calls. Accordingly, as we have already stated, she left home at two o'clock, the teamsters, Ainley and Crowther, being at dinner at the time in the taproom, and the other man in the kitchen.


Some time after Mrs. Brook drove off to Huddersfield the teamsters proceeded on their way, and John William Iredale, who is a member of the Linthwaite Band, entered the place. Iredale, who lives at Royd's Terrace, Manchester Road, Linthwaite, is a spinner by trade, lie had been to the Ivy House Inn in the morning, and made an appointment with two other members of the band to meet them there at half-past two in the afternoon to practise. He went to the house at twenty-five minutes to three, and one of the men with whom he had made the appointment was there, but the other did not come while they remained. They had a pint of beer between them in the taproom, and stayed till a quarter-past three, when they left. Iredale says — "Just as we were coming out of the taproom door a man was coming into the house along the passage, and had got near to the bar, behind which was the girl, Catherine Dennis. I heard the man say to her, 'Bring me a gill of common, miss.' I just turned my head, and saw her drawing the beer as I was going out of the door of the house on to the road. We left no one else in the house, so far as I know, but the girl and man at the bar. The man was about five feet nine inches high. He had a pale, fair, and rather, thin face, with scorched or sunburnt marks on the cheek-bones. He had a small, dark moustache, cut short at each side, and the rest of his face was clean shaved. The hair of his head was rather dark. The man was apparently about thirty years of age. He was wearing a slack-backed black coat, and a round billy-cock hat, and wore it straight on his head, and not 'cocked.' He had on a black waistcoat, a white smock, and white overalls. When he asked for the beer I could tell by the way he spoke that he did not belong to this country. He looked clean, and not as if he had been working much lately. We did not think there was anything unusual in his appearance at the time. While I was in the house a cart driver and a mill-hand came in, had a pint of beer, and went out before I left. The cart-driver said he was going to Lindley. After the girl was found dead I saw a man on Manchester Road, going towards Slaithwaite, who looked so much like the man I had seen at the Ivy House Inn that I followed him some distance, and afterwards informed the police ; but this man had not white overalls on."

As confirming the statement made by Iredale with reference to a stranger being in the house wearing white overalls, it appears that a person answering the description went between half-past three and four o'clock to the tap-room of the Royal Oak Inn. He called for a glass of beer, with which Mrs. Knight supplied him. John Lockwood, factory hand ; Thomas Sutcliffe, painter ; and two other men came in subsequently. The man in the white overalls got into conversation with them, and said he had been in Egypt, at Alexandria and Cairo, and had seen the Pyramids. He talked a great deal, and had a second glass of beer. Some of the men were reading the newspaper, and the conversation turned upon the execution of Conway at Liverpool, and upon the Horsforth murder. The stranger said, "Who knows whether Turner committed the crime or not? Who knows but what the parents did it, and took the body to Turner's?" The man continued to talk a good deal, and say things to which no one listened or made reply. Sutcliffe says the edge of the coat seemed to have paint on. Sutcliffe also says he left the house about twenty minutes past four, leaving the man there talking. A man answering the same description called at the Coach and Horses Inn, Manchester Road, about twenty minutes to five. Just at that time the news came to the house that the girl had been murdered at the Ivy House Inn, and everybody in the Coach and Horses went to the door. There was no one to serve, and the man went away without having anything to drink. Dan Bottom, professional cricketer for the Linthwaite Cricket Club, who lives at the Coach and Horses Inn, appears to have met the same man about 60 yards from the inn, when he was going towards it. He says: "I met a man coming from the direction of the house, and after what I had been told I looked at him with suspicion, especially as he was staggering, but in his face and eyes did not look drunk, and when I looked at him he would not look at me. He was wearing either white overalls or white cord trousers, a little soiled down the fronts, a black coat, black billycock hat, and stood about 5ft. 8in. or 5ft. 9in. He looked as if he had been working in a foundry, and his face looked scorched or dried, and his eyes heavy and sunken. He appeared to be about thirty-five years of age, and had rather dark and short hair, and short but strong moustache, with the ends cut off. He was walking with his hands in his pockets. I am sure I should know the man again if I saw him."


After Iredale left the Ivy House, nothing further appears to be known with regard to the shocking tragedy enacted within the inn until the discovery of the body of the victim. About ten minutes past four, David Beevers, sixteen years of age, and employed as butcher's boy at the Linthwaite Co-operative Stores, called at the house with some butcher's meat. He walked forward into the kitchen, but finding no one there he looked into the other rooms, and then shouted out to attract attention, but received no reply. Passing once more into the kitchen he looked through the window, and saw a man, named Edwin Hoyle, at work in the adjoining field. He went out to him, and told him that he had been to the Ivy House with the meat ; but could make no one hear. Hoyle accompanied Beevers to the back part of the house, thinking that either Mrs. Brook or the servant girl might be about the cellars. They called out to see whether there was any one there, but again there was no response. Passing round to the front of the house, Hoyle and Beevers entered the door and shouted, but there was no responding voice. Fearing that something had happened, Beevers went to the house of Mrs. Bailey, who lives about fifty yards from the Ivy House Inn, and informed her that there was no one in the lower rooms of the house, and asking her if she would go upstairs and see whether Mrs. Brook or the servant was there. Mrs. Bailey sent a little girl to the house of Mrs. Fred Hall, who lives on the opposite side of the road from the inn, to see whether Catherine Dennis was there, she having been in the habit of going to Mrs. Hall's occasionally. The little girl returned and stated that Mrs. Hall's door was locked, and there was no one in the house. A greengrocer, named Robert Bedford, had seen Catherine Dennis washing the window on the landing some time before, and Beevers walked back to the inn, accompanied by Mrs. Carter and Bedford. Mrs. Bailey followed, about half-past four o'clock, and went upstairs. As soon as she got to the small landing and turned round, she saw the girl lying on her back on the bedroom landing, her head being near the door of the bedroom at the far end of the passage, and her feet stretched out towards the landing ; her arms being also extended. She screamed and turned back, feeling rather upset, but thinking that the girl had only fainted. Bedford and Beevers then came upstairs, passed her, and having looked at the body, they returned and said that the girl was dead. Mrs. Carter also went upstairs with the men, and noticed that a large quantity of blood had flowed from the neck, and that the murdered girl's clothes were slightly disarranged. Beevers set off on his bicycle to inform the police, and Police Constables West and Kempston being on duty in the neighbourhood, soon arrived at the scene of the tragedy. Police-Sergeant McCawley followed shortly afterwards,and by his direction a telegram was despatched by West to inform Superintendent Pickard, at the County Police Office, Huddersfield, of the shocking affair which had happened. Dr. Haigh, of Golcar, and Dr. Leslie, assistant to Dr. Dean, of Slaithwaite, were driving along the road past the Ivy Inn at this time, and they were called in to examine the body. These gentlemen found that life was extinct, and that there was a small punctured wound on the right side of the neck, which had severed the jugular vein. The life-blood of the unfortunate girl had flowed so copiously that it formed a stream about six feet in length, extending from the bedroom door at the end of the landing to the feet of the victim. There was no appearance of a struggle having taken place. Sergeant McCawley searched for a knife, but did not find one, nor was he successful in finding anything which would give a clue to the murderer.

Mrs. Brook returned home from Huddersfield at five o'clock, and it was a great shock to her to hear of the terrible death of her servant girl, for whom she had great regard. But she had received a warning that there was something wrong. On the conveyance arriving at the Warren House Inn, a carrier, who was in charge of a waggon, said to the driver, "Whip that horse, and get Mrs. Brook home. There's something to do at her house." She said, "Oh, has Kate fallen out of the window?" but the man did not reply. This was said in consequence of a remark made by the girl that the windows wanted cleaning. Mrs. Brook had told her that she had better leave them till the next day, but it would appear, from the statement of the greengrocer, Bedford, that she had actually been seen cleaning a window when he passed in the afternoon. When Mrs. Brook got home she found a crowd outside the door, and the house was full of people. She went straight into the kitchen, and asked, "What's amiss?" One of the policemen told her, and said she had better go upstairs, and see if there was anything missing. She told him she could not go, as she was "right sick." Afterwards she did go upstairs, and found that nothing had been disturbed. The body of the deceased was still lying in the passage, but covered over, and she did not see it, and the medical gentlemen had not then left the house.


Superintendent Pickard, who during the afternoon had been visiting the Slaithwaite and Meltham sections of the division, did not reach home till nearly half-past five. On learning of the occurrence, he drove to Linthwaite, accompanied by Detective-Inspector Wilks, of the Huddersfield Borough Force, who had received a telephonic message from Longwood, and went over to inform the Superintendent. On the way they met Dr. Haigh, who informed Superintendent Pickard of the nature of the wound on the girl's neck. The Superintendent continued his drive, and on arriving at the Ivy House Inn, found that Sergeant McCawley and Police Constables Kempsten, Webb, West, and Stansfield were on the spot, making inquiries. Iredale, as will be seen from his statement given above, had observed a man entering the house as he was leaving it at a quarter-past three. This person, who was wearing a white smock and white overalls, Iredale suspected of being the murderer ; and after the dead body of the girl was found, he saw a man so much like the one he had seen in the inn — but without the overalls — that he followed him scene distance towards Slaithwaite, and gave information to Police Sergeant Ramsden and Police Constable Downs. Another young man went with him, and their action led to the arrest of Joshua Lockwood and George Farnham, at the Dartmouth Arms, about a quarter to six o'clock. According to a statement made by Police Constable Downs, Iredale met the officers in Manchester Road, and said, "Sergeant, two men who are supposed to have committed murder have gone down there." The sergeant said, "Where?" and he replied, "They have gone down there. There's a man looking after them." When the officers got to the other man, he said, "They have gone on there," meaning to the Dartmouth Arms. Having first sent a lad to see it the men were in the house, and having ascertained, that they were, the constables went in. Lockwood was leaning over the bar speaking to the landlord ; and Farnham was in the taproom, looking at a paper. Sergeant Ramsden told them that they were suspected of having committed murder, and that he would have to arrest them ; and they were conveyed to the police station. Superintendent Pickard, hearing that the men had been followed, drove on to Slaithwaite with Sergeant McCawley, and went to the police station ; and the sergeant having cautioned the prisoners that anything they might say would be given in evidence against them, charged them, on suspicion, with having murdered the deceased. At first neither of them spoke ; but Superintendent Pickard said he believed that subsequently one of them remarked, "It doesn't look right to detain us here when we are not guilty." Lockwood had upon him a shilling when searched, and his companion had nothing.


Superintendent Pickard drove back to Huddersfield, and the prisoners were brought to the town by Sergeant McCawley and Police Constable Downs. Hundreds of persons witnessed their departure, and the news of the arrest having become known in Huddersfield, many persons followed the cab in which they were conveyed to the head-quarters of the division in Princess Street. They had been brought from Slaithwaite handcuffed, and in the Police Office some conversation took place on the subject.

Farnham remarked — We are only arrested on suspicion, and I don't think it is fair to handcuff us like this, because we don't look like men that would run away.

Superintendent Pickard. — If you had not been handcuffed, and you had run away, the sergeant would have been responsible.

Farnham. — It is a serious thing for us, and (noticing that two reporters were present) it will be all over the country.

Superintendent Pickard. — It is a serious thing. It's a serious thing for somebody else besides you.

Sergeant McCawley remarked that he did everything he could to bring the prisoners to Huddersfield as quietly as possible.

Farnham. — I have nothing to say against you except that I protest against being handcuffed. It is the first time I have had them on, and I hope it will be the last.

Superintendent Pickard then gave instructions for the prisoners to be locked, up, and Farnham asked — What about communicating with our friends? Have they been communicated with?

Superintendent Pickard. — Not yet ; but they shall be. You want them to know before we know.

Farnham. — We want you to let them know before so very late.

Superintendent Pickard. — Whom do you want to know?

Farnham. — My wife, Mrs. Farnham, at 22, Fair Street, Lockwood, just opposite the Bath Hotel. Will she be allowed to come and see me?

Superintendent Pickard. — Oh, yes ; but not before morning. She will not see you to-night. Now, then, Lockwood, have you anybody you want to let know ?

Lookwood. — My wife and family.

Superintendent Pickard. — Where is the address?

Lockwood. — Emmanuel Terrace, Salford, Lockwood.

The prisoners were then removed to the cells, wearing coats belonging to Sergeant Ramsden ; their own coats, which bore marks of a greenish colour, similar to the colour on the walls of the Ivy Hotel, having been removed when they were arrested at Slaithwaite.


A special sitting of the county magistrates was held on Saturday morning, at the County Police Court, Huddersfield, Mr. E. Aimitage and Mr. F. Greenwood being the Justices present, when Joshua Lockwood *(41) and George Farnham (30), canvassers in the employment of Mr. J.B. Law, photographer, Ramsden Street, Huddersfield, were brought up on suspicion of having been concerned in the murder of Catherine Dennis. In the courtyard a large crowd had assembled ; but only a few persons could be admitted to the small room in which the proceedings took place. Among those present were some of the relatives of the accused.

Supt. Pickard (addressing the magistrates) said — The two prisoners were apprehended last night at Slaithwaite. They are charged on suspicion of murdering Catherine Dennis, servant-girl, at the Ivy Hotel, Linthwaite. It appears that, about two o'clock on Friday afternoon, Mrs. Brook, the landlady, left the Ivy Hotel for Huddersfield on some business, and she left the servant-girl in charge of the house ; and about 3.15 in the afternoon, I have a witness here who went to the house, and saw the girl supply one of the prisoners with a glass of beer. At 4.30 he (the witness) was there again after the girl was found murdered, and 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 prisoners and detained thorn until Sergeant McCawley and I arrived there.

Mr. Sykes (the Magistrates' Clerk). — Are you prepared to go on with the case to-day, and to offer any evidence?

Supt. Pickard. — I am not.

Mr. Armitage (the Chairman). — Were they together ?

Supt. Pickard. — Yes, sir.

Mr. Sykes. — This is merely an "ex parte" statement. He was not there himself.

Supt. Pickard. — I have to ask for a remand until Monday.

Mr. Sykes. — You are not prepared to go on to-day ?

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

Superintendent Pickard. — Yes, sir.

Mr. Armitage. — On both occasions ?

Superintendent Pickard. — On both occasions.

Mr. Sykes. — As you are informed, I suppose ?

Superintendent Pickard. — Yes.

Mr. Armitage. — You can prove it?

Superintendent Pickard. — Yes.

The Clerk (to the prisoners). — Have you any objection to a remand ? You hear the application made by the Superintendent of Police.

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

Lockwood. — Well, I should think we have, sir. The Superintendent makes a statement that one of the prisoners went info the house and was supplied with beer at 3.15. I deny that altogether.

Mr. Sykes. — He is offering no evidence, but merely making a statement that he will be enabled to prove when the case comes to be heard, or, rather, the depositions to be taken.

Lockwood. — Very well, sir ; as far as that is concerned, your Worship, if that is your wish we shall have to bow to your decision, and I can say nothing further.

Mr. Sykes. — it has only recently occurred, so that there has not been time to go on with a case like this.

Mr. Armitage. — It is only a reasonable request. Have you (Farnham) anything to say ?

Farnham. — I think it is a very hard thing 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 till after the alarm was given ; and the woman in the house who gave the alarm, and the men that were on the road with the waggons, can prove that we were on the road by the house at the time.

Mr. Armitage. — Well, then, you stand remanded, both of you, till Monday next, at eleven o'clock, in custody.

The prisoners were then removed.

(From our Correspondent.)

Huddersfield, Sunday Night.

The police are doing their best to follow up another clue to the murder, which they have obtained since Friday, and to arrest a man who lived near the Ivy Hotel, and who was seen to leave the hotel at four o'clock on Friday afternoon, just before the butcher's boy called with the meat. Mrs. Carter and another person saw him leave, but the police were not told of it till Saturday, otherwise they would have been on his track earlier. It is fully believed he will soon be caught as he is well known. Owing to the new phase which the case has assumed, the two men, Farnham and Lockwood, will, it is believed, be released from custody tomorrow (Monday), when they are brought up on remand. The father of the girl Dennis arrived from Wales on Saturday night.

To-day the scene of the tragedy was visited by large crowds of people, who were allowed to see the body, and outside the house there were sheets to help to defray the expenses of the funeral, which takes place this afternoon, at Linthwaite.