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Murder Of A Boy At Havant

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Murder Of A Boy At Havant

Post by Karen on Thu 11 Nov 2010 - 11:08

ATROCIOUS MURDER OF A BOY AT HAVANT.

Great sensation has been caused in the neighbourhood by the discovery of an atrocious murder committed on Monday evening in the Fair-field, Havant, near Portsmouth. The victim, a lad named Serle, aged 8 years, was playing in the Fair-field when he was suddenly attacked by a stranger, who seized him and cut his throat from ear to ear, leaving the dead body on the spot where it fell. A lad named Osborn, passing shortly afterwards, saw the body, and at once gave the alarm. The police and people turned out in large numbers, and the neighbourhood was scoured in the hope of finding the murderer. A man was arrested at the railway gates, Emsworth, on suspicion, and Osborn asserts that he saw the man near the scene of the murder. The prisoner showed great nervous excitement when arrested, and declined to answer the questions put to him. No motive can be assigned for the crime. Further particulars which have come to hand state that between six and seven o'clock the boy Serle was seen by another boy named Husband, in North-street, going in the direction of the Pallant, a well-traversed thoroughfare. Husband soon afterwards heard screams coming from the direction in which Serle had gone. Meeting a man named Platt, Husband said he believed a boy was being murdered, and Platt hastened to the spot, and found the body of the boy lying against some palings, still alive. He had four terrible gashes in his throat, and his face was unrecognisable, being covered with blood. The poor child died immediately in the arms of his discoverer. The police were soon on the alert. At nine o'clock the knife was found, about eight yards from the spot where the murder was committed, and where a large pool of blood indicated the nature of the crime. The knife is an ordinary buck-handled pocket knife. The little blade, which was shut, was broken in two, and the large blade, which was open, was stained with blood from one end to the other. The general opinion was, at the outset, that this was the work of "Jack the Ripper." A cooler consideration of the circumstances, however, would lead one to suppose that the horrible deed was not committed by a skilful hand, while the absence of motive is also perplexing. The greatest sympathy is expressed for the parents of the deceased who is described as a quiet, sharp, and inoffensive lad.

Source: The Courier, December 1, 1888, Page 7

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Karen Trenouth
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Author of: "Jack the Ripper: The Satanic Team"
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Re: Murder Of A Boy At Havant

Post by Karen on Sun 8 May 2011 - 3:22

THE HAVANT MURDER.
DEFENCE OF THE BOY-PRISONER.

A VERDICT OF ACQUITTAL.

At Hants Assizes, Winchester, today, the trial of Robert Husband, aged 11 years, charged with the murder of Percy Knight Searle, aged eight years, at Havant, was resumed before Mr. Justice Stephen. The Court was again crowded. Mr. Mathews, continuing his address for the defence, pointed out that the prisoner and the deceased had gone together to see a show at about six o'clock, and passed then within a few yards of the actual spot of the murder. Both had knives; but there was no allusion at the time to any ill-feeling. The supposed story of the prisoner as to the spot from which he saw the murder was not incompatible with truth considering the child's excitement and terror. His remembrance of the exact spot where he saw the crime could not be expected. The learned counsel pointed out that only fifteen minutes elapsed from the time Searle left Randall's shop and the murder, and a strong proof of the prisoner's innocence was the fact that when Platt led him back to the place where the body lay, the former noticed his right hand was quite dry, and had no blood upon it. Further, it would have stained Platt's hands, because he held Husband's right hand, and the knife found near the spot was soaked in blood; so that the person who committed the deed must necessarily have blood on his hands. The prisoner done all he could to draw attention to the crime, and from the first had said, "I never did it. I heard the boy cry out, and ran and told Shirley and Platt and Charlie Strange." He had never varied his description of the scene. His clothes were free from bloodstains; and, in conclusion, Mr. Mathews alluded to the undiscovered Whitechapel murderer or murderers as a proof of the difficulty of detection.
The boy Husband was subsequently acquitted on the charge of the murder of Searle.

Source: The Echo, Thursday December 20, 1888, Page 3

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Re: Murder Of A Boy At Havant

Post by Karen on Sun 8 May 2011 - 3:45

THE HAVANT MURDER.
BOY PRISONER ATTEMPTS TO ESCAPE.

The boy Husband, who is accused of the murder of the lad Searle, made a daring attempt to escape, on Saturday, from his cell. He had actually forced the wooden communicating window in the iron door of his cell. He was supplied with a spoon and fork at dinner time, and was left quietly eating, sitting on the bed. An hour or two later the attendant found the small wooden door taken out and gone. It was fixed on curled hinges to the ironwork of the large door on the bottom side, and folded downwards, forming a small table, it being used for resting plates on while passing in the food to the prisoner. The latter apparently forced back the curl of the hinges with the spoon, getting the door completely off, and leaving an aperture quite large enough for escape. At a height of four feet from the floor the cell opens into the corridor, which has a ventilating window fronting on to West-street. Had the boy escaped from the cell it would have been necessary for him to have forced the window or main door of the corridor. Afterwards the prisoner was more effectually secured. On Mrs. Knapton - who was aroused by hearing the door fall - going to see what was the matter, the boy naively requested her to leave open the door at the end of the corridor, in order that the monotony of confinement might be relieved by hearing the movements of those in the house.

THE CHAIN OF EVIDENCE.

There had been a rumour at Havant that the police were in possession of certain information that placed beyond doubt the innocence of the accused. This, however, is now said to be incorrect. It is asserted on the contrary - though with what truth we cannot say - that the police have worked up additional evidence that will make stronger the chain of circumstantial evidence against him. It will, it is alleged, be proved at the adjourned hearing on Wednesday that the accused was with Searle immediately before the latter entered the shop of Mr. Randall, while he was also hovering around the door the time the murdered boy was making the purchase for his mother. The boy, however, stoutly persists in his innocence, and, it is said, denies these assertions.

THE FUNERAL OF THE VICTIM.

On Saturday the funeral of the little boy Searle, the unfortunate victim of the crime, took place at the local cemetery, amid every manifestation of sympathy and sorrow. The funeral cortege was followed by a large concourse of people, whilst many more had gathered together. In the wake of the chief mourners came the scholars of the second standard at Brockhampton National School, to which the deceased had belonged, the children carrying bunches of white flowers in their hands. From the cemetery gates to the mortuary chapel the path was lined by about 180 boys from the same school. The funeral service was conducted by the rector of Havant, and was most impressive throughout. At the conclusion of the ceremony scores of wreaths were placed on the ill-fated lad's coffin.

Source: The Echo, Monday December 3, 1888, Page 3

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Four Wounds in the Neck

Post by Karen on Thu 12 May 2011 - 8:18

By the English papers is again a sensational murder bulletin in which an eight-year
boy in the neighborhood of Havant (Southamptonshire), was the victim. One evening, the poor boy, who was delivering a message for his mother and was accompanied by a companion, with whom he had been speaking to a moment before, was found dying, with four wounds to the neck, caused by a large knife, which was found on the ground nearby. Initially it was thought that this crime was the work of the Whitechapel killer, Jack the Ripper, but the way in which the wounds were inflicted, is contrary to that presumption. Suspected of the murder is a man who was apprehended in the vicinity of the crime scene.
What the motive for the murder was, no one can suspect.

Source: Wijksche Courant, jaargang 1888, Page 338

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The Inquest on Percy Searle

Post by Karen on Tue 17 May 2011 - 0:36

THE HAVANT MURDER.
A LANDLADY'S SINGULAR STORY.

The boy Husband has now been removed to Winchester Jail. He appeared perfectly calm and unconcerned during his journey thither. The landlady of a hotel in the district has made the following statement: "Three weeks ago an eccentric individual, of medium height, visited the hotel. He was dressed in a dark frock coat, and had a satchel of light material, in a position which, in a bad light, would resemble a patch on the back. It was supported by a light strap across the shoulder. He always wore a high hat, and answered the description given by Husband. It was noticed that he possessed a pocket-knife. He pursued infants with murderous threats, and at his lodgings stated that he had murdered several children, and would do for more. On a previous visit two weeks before, the same individual took a knife from his pocket and threatened to stab the other customers. He was then thrown on the floor and disarmed. The man was seen in Portsmouth within a few days of the murder."

INQUEST TODAY.

The adjourned inquiry into the circumstances attending the death of the boy Percy Knight Searle was resumed, today, at Havant, before Mr. E. Goble, Coroner. Mr. George Feltham, of Portsea, appeared on behalf of the boy Husband; but the Coroner, in answer to the solicitor's request to address the Jury, stated that privilege could not be conceded. Any question could be asked.

THE TIME OF THE MURDER.

Captain Boyd, J.P., deposed that he passed the spot on the night of the murder where deceased was found about 6:10 p.m. He was positive that he should either have seen the body or have fallen over it. He met a man who had the appearance of a navvy coming from the direction of the Town-hall to the school. He met him about fifty paces from where the body was found. The man's height was about 5ft. 9in. Witness heard no cries. He neither met the deceased nor the boy Husband. Witness kept close to the wall where the body was found. Witness wore a long coat.
Cross-examined: Had you a satchel? - No. (Laughter.)

Source: The Echo, Friday December 7, 1888, Page 3

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