Wrexham Advertiser (5/Sep/1891) - The Murder of a Flint Girl in Yorkshire

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.




On Monday afternoon, Mr Barstow, coroner, and a jury, resumed the inquest touching the death of Catherine Dennis, aged 15, servant at the Ivy Hotel, Linthwaite, who was foully murdered on the 21st ult.

John Charles Brook, grandson of the landlady at the hotel, gave evidence as to his being at the Ivy Hotel on the Friday morning. He and Stockwell and a man named Oscar Dransfield had some beer in the house, and then they went to the Royal Oak, another public-house on the same road, where they had some beer. Stockwell had some bread and cheese, which he was eating with a knife, which appeared to have a sharp point. Later on witness had potato pie to his dinner, and Stock-well asked if he might have the remainder. Mrs Brook said he might, and then Stockwell began eating. It was a quarter to two when witness left the house, and Stockwell was then in the kitchen of the hotel. Mrs. Brook, her two grandchildren, and the deceased were in the house at the time he went out. Witness and Dransfield went to a house at Milnsbridge. Witness left Dransfield there, and went home to his mother's.

In reply to the jury, he said Stockwell had some conversation with the company, but he never mentioned the deceased, or named her in any way whatever. Stockwell said to him, "I have taken some more harvesting ; I have got two places to go to." Witness did not hear him say anything as to where he was going to, and he never mentioned Oldham.

Oscar Dransfield gave corroborative evidence, but said he thought Stockwell was under the influence of drink, while Brook said he considered him sober.

Herbert Hirst, the Linthwaite bandsman, proved being at the Ivy Hotel on the day of the murder along with Iredale, his companion bandsman. They practised a bit and then went away. While at the Workingmen's Club, Iredale came in with the intelligence — "There's a bad job at the Ivy House ; the servant is stabbed." Upon that all in the club went to the house. He saw a man wearing white overalls and a white smock under his black coat, and that man had a glass of beer in the house just before they left.

Sarah Ann Bailey, wife of Thomas Bailey, gave evidence as to the butcher's boy, Beevers, coming to her house, and asking if there was anyone in the hotel, as he had brought the meat and could find no one in, and as to her coming into the house and finding the body of the deceased on the top landing. Deceased was lying on her back, and witness noticed subsequently that the girl's dress was disarranged.

John Walker, who said he did not do any work, said he was in the Royal Oak on the day of the murder, when a man in white overalls and with a white smock on came in. That would be about ten minutes or a quarter past three o'clock, and the man, who seemed clean and as if he had not done any work that day, told him about having been to Egypt and having been in Alexandria. He stayed there till about half-past four, or later.

The Coroner : Did he look as if he had been in a slaughter-house — pig killing ? — No, sir : he looked quite clean, and as if he had not done any work that day. He was quite cheerful, and certainly he was quite natural in his manner.

Edwin Hoyle, the man whose aid Beevers called in, gave corroborative evidence as to being called in after Mrs Bailey had come downstairs after finding the body. He said that Beevers went upstairs and found the deceased lying in the passage with her head against the door in a pool of blood. Beevers went on his bicycle for a policeman.

Jane Carter, married, said that at ten minutes or a quarter past four she was going on to the road to look alter her child, which was playing about, and she saw James Stockwell coming out of the house ; but her attention was taken up with some-thing else, and she did not notice which way Stockwell went.

John Walker, of Milnsbridge, said on the afternoon in question he called at the house in order to obtain a gas bill, which Mrs Brook wanted him to pay for her. He saw the servant Dennis and the man Stockwell in the kitchen. Dennis told him that Mrs Brook had gone to Huddersfield. Witness said it did not matter, as he would be coming round on the Monday or Tuesday, and he would call when he came back from the gashouse. He met Stockwell coming away from the house. Witness was on the footpath, and Stockwell was in the road. He had seen him come out of the house. He noticed that Stockwell when in the house had his apron on, but he did not notice it later on. It would be a few minutes after four when he saw Stockwell coming out of the house. He did not notice which way he went.

Superintendent Pickard said that since the murder he had caused inquiries to be made for James Stockwell, but the police had not yet met with him. He had not been at his home since the 21st ult., and not only had the country been searched for him, but his house had been watched, so that in case he returned he would be captured. Stockwell was seen near Marsden railway station on the night of the murder, but he had not been seen since.

The Coroner, in summing up, said the deceased died from a wound which was not self-inflicted, but was the result of a foul and brutal murder, committed by some one. There did not seem to be a shadow of a shade of suspicion against anyone but Stockwell, whose whereabouts were not known It was quite clear that Stockwell was the only man to whom the evidence regarding the crime pointed.

The jury unanimously found that the girl Dennis was wilfully murdered by James Stockwell.

The Coroner said he would make out his warrant for Stock well's arrest.