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Canonbury-terrace Murder

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Canonbury-terrace Murder

Post by Karen on Sun 24 Oct 2010 - 16:45




Henry Glennie, 24 years of age, was charged at the Central Criminal Court, today, with the murder of Frances Maria Wright, the wife of a bank clerk, living at 19, Canonbury-terrace, on the 16th of May last.
Mr. Poland and Mr. Mead prosecuted; and Mr. Metcalf appeared for the defence.


Mr. Poland, in opening the case for the prosecution, said that Mrs. Wright, who was in very feeble health, and did not keep a servant, occasionally engaged a girl or a woman to come in and work for her. It was from some one of those girls, so it was suspected, that the prisoner and another man obtained information concerning the habits of the murdered woman. The medical evidence would show that, in consequence of the very feeble state of Mrs. Wright's health, a very slight blow, or a severe shock, would be sufficient to cause her death. The prisoner (proceeded Mr. Poland) was engaged at the "Eagle" Iron Works as a fitter, and was in the habit of carrying a black bag to and from his place of business. That bag, or one like it, was thrown away by one of the men connected with the murder while he was making his escape. The bag - which was in the possession of the police - had since been recognised by the prisoner's fellow-workmen as the bag he carried. The prisoner, since his arrest, had indeed admitted that the bag was his; but he averred that he sold it to a man, together with the tools which it contained, before the 16th of May.


On the morning of the murder two men - one of whom was, it was alleged, the prisoner - went to 19, Canonbury-terrace, and obtained admission on the plea that they had come to mend the gas-pipes or water-pipes, which were out of order. After she had admitted the men Mrs. Wright became suspicious, and when one of them endeavoured to seize a packet of gold which she had sewn in her dress, she uttered a loud scream. One of the men - who, it was asserted, was again the prisoner - then struck her across the head with his fist. She at once fell down and expired. The scream, however, had been heard by two French ladies who live on the opposite side of the road. They at once ran across, and knocked at the door. The two men, appreciating their danger, then made their escape, being pursued, however, by the two ladies. A "hue and cry" was raised, and it was then that one of the men threw the bag away.


After making his escape he (prisoner), it would appear, went to live in the country. He, however, returned to London a short time since, and then formed an acquaintance with a young girl named Phoebe Field, who was at the time being with a man named Edwards. The prisoner eventually asked her to leave Edwards and go to live with him. This she assented to do, and sold her furniture with that intention. Of course (said Mr. Poland) there was a quarrel with Edwards. The prisoner and Field, however, lived together as man and wife until August 27th. At about three o'clock in the morning of that day, the girl Field went to the police-station at Islington; and in answer to certain questions made a statement, which led to the arrest of the prisoner. The prisoner, the girl declared, had confessed to her that he had committed the Canonbury murder. He said he struck the woman, but did not intend to kill her. When he found that the old lady was dead he and the other man made their escape. They were, however, chased by two French women. "It was so hot carrying the bag," continued the prisoner to the woman, "that I threw it away. If the bag has been taken to the workshop they will know to whom it belongs." Of course, the girl Field was an immoral character, said Mr. Poland, and her evidence must be strictly scrutinised. It would, however, be terrible if that girl had simply invented the story, and skilfully pieced the facts together for the purpose of getting the man convicted.


The girl had also stated that the prisoner had expressed regret at having caused the death of the woman. He had no intention - he had said - of killing her or of injuring her in any way. He had also stated, so Field averred, that one of the girls who had worked for Mrs. Wright (a Polly Dominie) told him to go to the house. He had - as Field declared he told her - been obliged to take the girl Polly Dominie's part in a row because she knew something about him. It would, of course (Mr. Poland said) be for the Jury to say whether they were satisfied with the evidence that would be given by the girl Field. They would also have to consider whether there was sufficient evidence to satisfy them that the prisoner was one of the two men who were seen to leave 19, Canonbury-terrace, on the 19th of May last.


The two French ladies and a number of other witnesses were then examined with regard to the identity of the prisoner. Some of the witnesses had pointed him out from among a number of others as resembling the man who had been seen running away with a bag on the morning of the murder. None of them, however, could swear positively that he was the man.
Dr. Greenwood said he was called in to examine the deceased on the morning of May 16th. There was simply a small bruise over the left eye. It might have been inflicted by a blow with the fist or hand. No instrument had been used. Death had been caused by shock to the system.
Several workmen from the Eagle Range Company, Islington, where the prisoner was formerly engaged, were called, and identified the black bag, produced, as that which formerly belonged to the prisoner.


Mary Dominie was then examined. She said she lived at Barnsbury, and was 21 years of age. She passed by the name of Mrs. Hooper. She had occasionally been engaged at charing at Mrs. Wright's house in Canonbury. She had, she said, worked for Mrs. Wright for about three years, on and off. She had not been engaged there within six weeks of the murder. Witness knew Annie White. The girl White had not asked for Mrs. Wright, although she had been to 19, Canonbury-terrace. Witness also knew the prisoner. She had seen him with Annie White, who lived with witness at 7, Payne-street, Barnsbury. Witness also saw the prisoner about a week after the death of Mrs. Wright. About a fortnight before he was arrested witness saw him and Annie White in Pentonville-road. Witness and Annie White had had a quarrel, and when witness saw her she called after the prisoner, "I will have you locked up for the murder of Mrs. Wright."
Mr. Justice Cave - That was an extraordinary remark to make. Why did you make it? - Because I suspected him.
"When did you see him again?" asked Mr. Poland.


I saw him in the Canonbury-road on the Monday before he was arrested. I told him that the police had been to my mother's house making inquiries about the murder. The prisoner said, "They can't touch you."
"What more did he say?" asked Mr. Poland.
He told me that he went to Mrs. Wright's house, and struck her. He afterwards felt her and found that she was cold, and he then ran away. He said he struck Mrs. Wright because he wanted to get upstairs, and she prevented him. I also told him, continued the witness, that I had seen the Police News. He replied, "Did you see the picture of the French woman running after me?" I said "Yes," and he then said he was very sorry for what he had done. He also said that the "other party" ran away and left him.
Did you ask him who the other man was? - Yes, but he would not tell me. I promised not to tell anyone what he had told me. I was also with him, said witness, on the Wednesday when he was arrested.
Mr. Justice Cave - Did you inform the police of what he had told you? - No, I did not. On the night of the 25th of September, after the arrest, Police-constable Robinson came to me, and I went with him to Upper-street Police-station, where I remained all night. I went to Whitehall next day and made a statement.
Mr. Poland - When Annie White went to 19, Canonbury-terrace, did she see Mrs. Wright? - Yes, she was at the door minding my baby, and when Mrs. Wright came to the door she saw her.


Cross-examined by Mr. Metcalf, witness admitted that while she was working for Mrs. Wright she went by the name of Mrs. Hooper.
Then you represented yourself as a married woman? - Yes.
Is there a Mr. Hooper? - Yes.
Where is he? - I do not know. I have not seen him for about twelve months.
After further questioning, witness admitted that she had heard that he was in prison. Witness also denied that she was an immoral character, and said that she worked honestly for her living. She had not done any work since Glennie had been arrested, however, as she had been allowed a guinea-a-week from the police.
On being re-examined by Mr. Poland, witness said she had two children, both of whom were by Hooper. Hooper was only 21 years of age.


Phoebe Field was next called. She is a tall, neatly-dressed girl, 19 years of age. She said
- About ten weeks ago I was living in Hamilton-terrace, King's-cross-road. I was living at that time with a man named Edwards. A Mrs. Parsons lived next door, and witness went with her to a public-house. There they met the prisoner. He said he had been away for about seven weeks. He also said he was glad to get back, as he had only been living on hot tea. In the evening he returned, and went to Mrs. Parsons' house to tea. He spent the night at my place. Edwards was not at home that night. The prisoner proposed that I should leave Edwards and go and live with him. That I consented to do. I sold my furniture, and went to live in the Canonbury-road next day. The day after that Edwards found us out, and there was a row between him and the prisoner. Edwards said he would not have me living with men who went thieving and murdering. The prisoner reiterated that he would be even with Edwards, as he might as well be killed for six or seven as for one. In reply to questions from Mr. Mead, witness continued: -


After I had lived with the prisoner for four days, he said he had something to tell me when we went to bed. When we got upstairs, however, he would not tell me. He went to sleep, but I did not. The prisoner began to talk in his sleep. He cried, "I did the Canonbury murder, mother; but never mind, it will be all right." I then woke him up and told him what he had said. He said he would tell me the next night. On the following night the prisoner said to me, "I did the Canonbury murder." I said, "No, you did not." He replied, "Yes, I did; me and "Long Bob" and the eldest Parsons." I asked him how he knew how to go there. He then told me that two girls who worked for Mrs. Wright had told him; but he would not say which one.


Mr. Mead requested the witness to state what the prisoner had said in his own words. Witness then told the following story: - The prisoner said to me, "I went to the house with "Long Bob," the eldest Parsons, and a woman. "Long Bob" and I went to the house, while the others stayed outside. We knocked at the door, and Mrs. Wright came to the door. I said, "Now, mother, don't make a noise, and I shan't hurt you." She, however, screamed, and I knocked her down. She fell behind the door. "Long Bob" then searched her pockets. I, however, felt the woman's body, and found that she was dead. I said to "Long Bob," "I have killed her." He said, "She has 17 pounds and some silver in her pockets, but I can't touch it now you have killed her." We then made our escape, and we were chased by two French women. I had a carpet-bag with me at the time, but I had to throw it away. If it is found and taken to the workshop I am sure to be found out. While I was running, the soles of my boots came off, and when I got home I was so exhausted that I fainted. I gave the boots to young Parson's Sam."
Two days after that, continued the witness, the prisoner brought two parcels from his mother's house. They contained two coats, one of which he said he had committed the murder in. He asked me to pawn the clothes, and I did so. Two days after that I left him. I saw him occasionally, and we were still on the best of terms. He said he believed that detectives were following him. On the morning of Aug. 27 Edwards assaulted me between three and four o'clock. I went to the police-station at Islington, and told the police I would give Edwards in charge, but they could not find him. I then told Sergeant Maroney what the prisoner had told me about the murder.
Mr. Metcalf then read over the account which witness had given to the police at the Upper-street Police-station. In that account she had said that "Long Bob" had been sent to prison for five years for watch robbery.


Police-sergeant Walsh said he received the statement made by the last witness in respect to the murder. She had been drinking, but was certainly not intoxicated.
Was her statement taken down in writing at the time? - No, Sir.
Mr. Justice Cave - Why not? - Because she objected. She said she went in fear of her life, as she was afraid Glennie and his companions would kill her.
The case for the prosecution was then concluded.


Mrs. Swallow, a confectioner of Neasden, was then called on behalf of the prisoner. She said the prisoner was her brother, and he went down to Neasden on the Tuesday before Whitsuntide this year. He was staying with me at the time of the murder, and did not go out at all on the 16th of May. He was not very well at that time. He went up to town for some medicine. Witness said she never went out during the Whitsun week. The next day that the prisoner went out during that week was on the 17th. He went out on that occasion to look for a situation.
Miss Chandler said she went to Mrs. Swallow's house on the Monday before Whitsun. She was helping me with some dressmaking, and I went every day that week. On the Tuesday I saw there Glennie. I had seen him before, and knew him by sight. He was also there at dinner on the Wednesday.
John Chandler said he lived at Neasdon, and occasionally assisted Mrs. Swallow in her business. Witness knew Glennie, and remembered seeing him at the shop on May the 15th last. That was on a Tuesday, and on the Wednesday witness got some medicine for him from Lisson-street, Lisson-grove.

(The report will be continued.)

Source: The Echo, Monday October 29, 1888, Page 3

Karen Trenouth
Author of: "Epiphany of the Whitechapel Murders"
Author of: "Jack the Ripper: The Satanic Team"

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