Wrexham Advertiser (29/Aug/1891) - A Flint Girl Murdered at 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.



A mysterious murder is reported at Milnsbridge, a suburb of Huddersfield. On Friday afternoon a servant girl at the Ivy Green public house, Manchester Road, was left in charge. During the afternoon a butcher's boy called at the house and shouted, but could make no one hear. Later on the 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.

The unfortunate victim, named Catherine Dennis, was only sixteen years of age, and had been engaged from Flint as a domestic servant at the Ivy Green Hotel, Linthwaite, which is kept by Mrs Brook, a widow. The deceased was the only assistant 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, and 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 call a neighbour who heard his shouting went in and soon 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 bands 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, immediately procured a companion and set off at once for Slaithwaite. Before arriving at the village they saw the two men Iredale had seen in the house, and whilst one kept them in sight the other made for the police-station. Sergeant Ramsden and Police-constable Downs were informed of what had occurred, and arrested the men on suspicion, finding them in the Dartmouth Arms. They were immediately 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 Joseph Lockerwood, a stoutly-built man of between thirty-five and forty, and George Farnham, aged 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 Lockerwood said : "It's 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.


The parents of the poor girl Dennis, who was murdered at Huddersfield, live at Corporation-street, Flint. On Friday they received a telegram from the Huddersfield police informing them of the terrible tragedy, and the announcement caused the most painful sensation in the town. Mr and Mrs Dennis left for Huddersfield on Saturday morning. Miss Dennis had been twelve months in service.


At Huddersfield, before the We-t Riding magistrates, on Saturday, Joshua Lockerwood and George Farnham, described as photographic agents, were charged on suspicion with the murder of Catherine Dennis, aged sixteen, servant at the Ivy Green public-house, Linthwaite, on the previous day. Superintendent Pickard stated that he could prove the prisoners were in the house, and were supplied with beer at a quarter-past three o'clock. They were also in the house after the murder was discovered, and were followed to Slaithwaite and were arrested. The murder was committed while the girl was alone in the house, and the prisoners were the last men seen there. On being asked whether they objected to a remand, Lockerwood denied that they were at the house and were supplied with beer. Farnham also denied the statement, and said they were going towards, not from the house but to it, after the murder for the first time. They were remanded.


The Huddersfield magistrates on Monday discharged Lockerwood and Farnham. It was shown that prisoners could not have had anything to do with the tragedy.

The police are instituting inquiries as to a man who was in the public-house immediately before the girl was murdered, and who, it is thought, has been concerned in it. He lived in the neighbourhood, but has since left, and his description has been published.