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Brighton Railway Murder

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Brighton Railway Murder

Post by Karen on Sun 24 Apr 2011 - 3:36

THE BRIGHTON RAILWAY MURDER.

PISTOL FOUND NEAR THE SCENE OF THE TRAGEDY.

A Croydon correspondent telegraphs: - A pistol was found this morning near Earlswood, in close proximity to the Brighton Railway line. It is conjectured that this is the pistol with which Mr. Gold was murdered. The spot where it was found is about four miles south of Merstham, where the murder is alleged to have been committed. The weapon has been taken to London and lodged with the authorities.

FURTHER PARTICULARS.

The Press Association says: - Another of the missing links in connection with the Brighton Railway murder has been discovered. Early this morning a platelayer in the employ of the Brighton Railway Company, when proceeding to his work, found, embedded in the earth by the side of the line, near Earlswood, a revolver answering in every respect the description of the pistol which the pawnbroker's assistant in the Borough said Lefroy redeemed on the day of the murder of Mr. Gold. Earlswood is about five or six miles North of Merstham Tunnel, where the shots were heard, and about four miles North of Horley, where the struggle in the carriage was witnessed. The pistol has been sent to London for identification.
On inquiry at the London-bridge Railway Station this morning, the Central News was informed that the pistol found near Earlswood had been handed by the Railway authorities at London-bridge to the Scotland-yard detectives. It was discovered in the grass a short way from the line of rails, and a very little distance on the London side of Earlswood. It could easily have been thrown there from a passing train. The pistol is a small six-chambered toy revolver, very much of the description of a weapon used by boys, but sufficiently powerful to do deadly mischief in the close compartment of a railway carriage. None of the chambers of the weapon were loaded when it was picked up, and from its rusty appearance it has evidently lain in the grass some weeks. Judging from the size of the revolver and the bullets found in the carriage, the railway officials think it quite possible that it is the weapon used in the murder of Mr. Gold, but it has yet to be formally identified before it can be definitely said to be the lost pistol. The murder was alleged to have been committed in Merstham Tunnel, and the body to have been thrown out in Balcombe Tunnel. Earlswood is about four miles from Merstham, and just past Redhill Junction. The pistol must therefore have been thrown away some time before Mr. Gold's body was disposed of. Indeed, according to the evidence of the Horley witnesses, the pistol must have been thrown away before Mr. Gold succumbed to his injuries, as the struggle in the carriage was still going on when the train passed Horley, which is some miles below Earlswood. There arises the conjecture as to whether the pistol was thrown away by the murderer himself, or whether in the struggle which ensued Mr. Gold obtained possession of it, and threw it out of the carriage. It will be remembered that the medical evidence went to show that although Mr. Gold's wounds were fatal ones he might nevertheless have lived and struggled for some time after they had been inflicted.
A further examination of the pistol found at Earlswood this morning shows that the cock is broken, and some of the stains upon the handle are believed to be those of blood. The pistol has now been taken by Inspector Swanson to the pawnbroker who gave evidence at the late trial, to ascertain whether his assistant can identify the weapon.

WHAT THE PAWNBROKERS SAY.

Mr. Donald Swanson, upon his return from visiting Messrs. Adams and Hillstead, High-street, Borough, gives the following as the result of his interview with the pawnbrokers' assistants: - Henry Crick says: "I have seen the revolver you produce as having been discovered this morning, and I recognise it as similar in its manufacture and make to the one I described in my evidence, and I have no doubt that it is similar in every respect to the one I took in pledge and handed over the counter when it was redeemed."
Ernest Alright, with reference to the same, made the following remark: - "I have seen the revolver, and entertain no doubt that the revolver is identical in make and every way with the revolver that Lefroy pledged and I packed up afterwards."
It is worthy of remark that the pistol produced by the assistant Crick at the trial, as being somewhat like the one he had taken in pledge from Lefroy, corresponds in size and make to the one now discovered, with the single exception that the barrel of the one discovered today is round on the outside, whereas the one produced at the trial was hexagonal.

The authorities at Scotland-yard say that, although the revolver found this morning is very like the one Lefroy pawned with Messrs. Adams, the pawnbrokers, while in no doubt as to the close resemblance, are not able to positively swear to its being the identical weapon. There may be, and probably are, many revolvers of the same make. There appears, however, to be little doubt in the minds of the officials as to its being the one actually pledged last June.
A Redhill correspondent states that the pistol was found by a ganger named Streeter, close to the 21 3/4 mile post from London. The butt was upwards, and Streeter kicked it with his foot before he recognised distinctly what it was. The cleaning-rod of the revolver is missing, and a search is being made for it.

INTERVIEW WITH LEFROY.
TELEGRAM TO THE ECHO.

Mrs. Clayton and Mr. Seale, Lefroy's cousin, reached Lewes this afternoon, and had an interview with the convict. The meeting was a most affecting one, and Lefroy has no hopes that the efforts which are being made in his behalf will be successful. He still adheres to his original statement, and appears to be resigned to his fate.

The authorities, it is stated, are taking every step to ascertain the accuracy of the statements which have been sent in on the part of the condemned man, but no special arrangements have been made for a visit to Lewes prison by medical men commissioned for that purpose. An application was made some days ago on behalf of the relatives of Lefroy for permission for Dr. Forbes Winslow to see him and give his certificate as to the mental condition of the unhappy man. The Home Secretary replied acknowledging the receipt of the letter, and stating that he saw no sufficient grounds to warrant the granting of the request which had been made to him. This reply was anterior to the presentation of the memorial, and Lefroy's friends entertain a hope that the Home Secretary will permit Dr. Forbes Winslow to see the convict, or will appoint some other medical man to visit him and report independently as to the state of Lefroy's mind. Lefroy's conduct in the prison is meantime stated to be most exemplary.
Mr. F.W.S. Seale, the cousin of Lefroy, paid a visit to his relative at Lewes Gaol yesterday. He was accompanied inside the prison by the deputy-governor, Mr. Farr, to the usual room where visitors are allowed to see condemned prisoners. The room in question is divided across from floor to roof, about the middle of the apartment, by a double row of stout iron bars, with a three feet wide passage-way between them. Lefroy was conducted from his cell in the main building to this room, and assigned a position behind the innermost row of bars. The deputy-governor sat in the passage-way between them in a chair placed for the purpose, whilst Mr. Seale stood on the outside. The convict was taken by another route than that which his cousin traversed to the room, so that he did not see him until he entered. Lefroy immediately, on perceiving Mr. Seale, brightened up, and, leaning against the bars, entered into conversation. The convict expressed himself glad to see his cousin, and inquired about his relatives, asking Mr. Seale to remember him to those he loved, and to tell them he was resigned to meet the worst. Mr. Seale told him the family had been inundated with letters and suggestions about the case, until they hardly knew what they were about, at which Lefroy smiled quietly, saying he was sorry to have brought so much trouble and distress upon all that was near and dear to him, and again asked his cousin to convey his thanks to all who had helped and sympathised with him. He further said he was well treated, and expressed himself indebted to the governor and other officials for their kindness to him since his imprisonment. The interview having lasted twenty minutes, terminated, the cousins separating without being allowed to shake hands. Lefroy throughout was calm and collected, speaking in a full, distinct voice. In appearance he seems healthy and well, and not nearly so careworn as during his trial at Maidstone.

Source: The Echo, Thursday November 24, 1881, Page 3

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Swanson to be Paid

Post by Karen on Sun 24 Apr 2011 - 23:46

The Police and Lefroy.

According to the police orders just issued, the Commissioner of Police for the Metropolis has directed that the sum of 5 pounds each be paid to Inspectors Donald Swanson and John Jarvis, of the Criminal Investigation Department, Scotland Yard, and the same sum to Inspector William Turpin, Chief of the London Brighton and South Coast Police, for the part they took in apprehending and conducting the case against Lefroy. Mr. Turpin is specially commended for the manner in which he conducted the case as far as the railway is concerned.

Source: The Week's News, December 10, 1881, Page 556

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Inspector Swanson's Narrative

Post by Karen on Wed 27 Apr 2011 - 0:26

THE BRIGHTON RAILWAY MURDER.

The arrest of Arthur Lefroy (or Mapleton) for the murder of Mr. Gold, with whom he travelled in the Brighton express leaving the London Bridge Terminus at 2 p.m. on the 27th ult., was effected on Friday week. Since Lefroy's departure from his lodgings in the Cathcart Road, Wallington, after the discovery of the dead body of Mr. Gold in the Balcombe Tunnel, railway stations, as well as places of departure for shipping, have been well watched, and common lodging-houses were not lost sight of by the detectives.

THE ARREST.

On the evening in question, between eight and nine o'clock, Inspectors Jarvis and Swanson were prosecuting their inquiries in the East End of London, and visited Smith Street, Stepney. At the house, numbered 32, in that street - a private lodging-house - they discovered Lefroy, who had been lodging in the house since last Thursday week, three days after the murder was committed, and since his stay there he had acted in the most reserved manner. When the two inspectors entered the place they found Lefroy seated in a chair. He had a most dejected appearance, and remained for some time silent. A cab was at once procured, and Lefroy was conveyed to Scotland Yard, Mr. Howard Vincent, the director of the Criminal Investigation Department, having been already apprised of the capture. On arriving at the chief office of the Metropolitan police, but little formality was gone through, and Mr. Vincent subsequently accompanied the two officers and charge to the King Street Police Station. Beyond the entry of his detention at the station, the information sheet shows nothing. Before being conveyed to the cell Lefroy begged for some refreshment, observing that he had had nothing for two days. This was, of course, given him. He occasionally placed his hand to his head as if in great pain, and expressed a desire not to be troubled or seen by anybody. During his concealment Lefroy has had his whiskers and moustache shaved.

THE LANDLADY'S STATEMENT.

Mrs. Bicker's statement is as follows: - "When he came here on the Thursday week he said he had been recommended to my house by a neighbour over the way. On entering into the place he paid me 3s. 6d. as an instalment of the rent, and on the following Sunday another half-crown. On the morning of the day following that on which he arrived (Friday) he went out for about an hour and a half, and then returned home, and there remained until the time of his capture. This I should not have so much noticed, except that he did not call for adequate food, his staple article of diet consisting of bread and cheese, of which he partook very moderately. This continued until last Sunday, when, as we were about to have dinner, I went up to his room and asked him if he would not like to have some of the meat to which we (myself, my daughter, and lodgers) were about to sit down. He said he should like some, and he at once ate what I took up to him. From the first I cannot say that I liked his manners, as although he was a very plausible young man, he was extremely reticent and mysterious. My suspicions as to his character were first aroused by his coming down to breakfast dressed in a morning coat belonging to one of the other gentlemen lodging in the house, who had a short time before left for business. Putting this circumstance together with his otherwise extraordinary behaviour, I came to the conclusion that there was something wrong about him, and accordingly gave information of my suspicions to the inspector at the Arbour Square Police Station on the Friday. In consequence of this two detectives, Swanson and Jarvis, came here about eight o'clock, and proceeding to his room, arrested him. He was then taken downstairs and removed in a four-wheeled cab." Mrs. Bickers also said - "I was one day speaking to him about the murder on the Brighton line, about which my lodgers have often spoken, and said to him, "I suppose they have not yet found the man who committed the murder on the railway?" He replied at once, "I suppose not." He did not seem in the least disconcerted when I put the question to him, and, as far as I noticed him, exhibited no sign of emotion whatever. When he came to me he gave his name as Clarke, and seemed to me extremely fond of smoking - in fact, his pipe was never out of his mouth. On Friday he also raised my suspicions by wishing to send me out with a telegram, although, I told him that there would be nobody but him left in the house. As I would not go he waited, and eventually, later on, Mr. Doyle, a gentleman who is at present lodging with me, volunteered to take it to the office. He did so, and sent it off. It was to the following effect: -

"From S. Clarke, 32 Smith Street, Stepney, E., to S. Seele, J.T. Hutchinson, 56 Gresham Street, London, E.C. Please bring me my wages this evening about eight, without fail. Shall have flour tomorrow."

With reference to what Mrs. Bickers says, the Central News Agency adds that before she communicated with the police she sent her daughter to Mr. Hutchinson's to make inquiries, and there learnt from a fair young man with light beard and curly moustache that no such person as G. Clarke worked there, and that no telegram had been received from any one of the name of Seele. Mrs. Bickers then went to the Thames Police Station and related the above facts to the authorities. Her suspicions were all the more strongly aroused by the fact that the telegram in question was sent to a Mr. Seele, and that a gentleman of that name, only somewhat differently spelt, had given evidence before the coroner with reference to Lefroy. She heard nothing from the police as to how they meant to act in the matter, but at about eight o'clock at night two detectives called and saw her, and said they wanted to see the gentleman lodging with her. They immediately proceeded upstairs, and shortly afterwards one of them came down for a chisel to force open some drawers that were locked in Lefroy's room. He had the keys of those drawers when he came to her, and either refused to give them up or had thrown them away. The police were not at her house very long, and left with Lefroy in custody. Subsequently she went into his room and found a quantity of crape hair, which is generally used for stage make-ups and disguises. This she still has in her possession, as well as the draft telegram referred to.

HIS FELLOW LODGER'S STATEMENT.

The following is the narrative of one of the lodgers in the house, 32 Smith Street, Stepney, in which Lefroy has been staying since Thursday, June 30, and in which he was at last arrested. It was on Thursday afternoon, June 30, that Lefroy, who gave the name of Clarke, presented himself and asked if he could have a room. The landlady showed him upstairs to the only one that was to let, and with it Lefroy expressed himself satisfied. It was the front room, and the best in the house. Mrs. Bickers was impressed by his quiet demeanour and gentlemanly tone of voice, though her fears were aroused by the absence of all luggage. This, however, Lefroy explained by stating that he had just come from Liverpool, and that it was to follow him. Mrs. Bickers accepted him as a lodger, and Lefroy without again leaving the house, took up his abode in the room. He stated that he was a wood engraver. On Friday morning I was introduced to him by Mrs. Bickers. He had asked her for a latch-key, and she requested me to show him how to fit it into the door. I did so, for which he was much obliged, and expressed his thanks in a very genial way. He then returned to his room, where he remained - working at his engraving, as it was supposed. He took all his meals in his own room, contrary to the usual practice of the house and much against the wish of Mrs. Bickers. This, however, he told her was necessary, as he was obliged to watch the machine which he had working. On Sunday the excuse of the work could not be given, and we naturally expected to see him. He did not, however, come. Mrs. Bickers explained that the gentleman upstairs did not like to come down and have his meals with the other lodgers, as he felt he was too shabby. His luggage had not yet arrived from Liverpool. The day after his arrival Lefroy, while I was out, walked downstairs, and borrowed a book of mine from the parlour. It was a large volume of Cassell's, and furnished him with enough reading for several days. He had it still when arrested. When taking the book he said, "It is very seldom I have time to read, but I should like to look at this." When I left home this morning Lefroy had not come down to breakfast, but remained in his room. After the other lodgers had gone out this morning, I hear that Lefroy came down wearing one of their coats. I do not know if he intended to go out in it.

INSPECTOR SWANSON'S NARRATIVE.

Inspector Swanson, after parenthetically remarking that the "information received" which led to the arrest was in no way connected with Mrs. Bickers' visit to the police-station, stated:

At about twenty minutes to eight o'clock on the Friday evening, in company with Inspector Jarvis and a constable, I went to Smith-street. Unattended by my companions I entered No. 32 and saw the landlady, and asked her whether she had any lodgers. She replied, "Yes; several." "Anybody of the name of Clarke?" "Yes, I have," she replied. "Which room does he occupy?" "First floor front." Having further ascertained from her that he was a peculiar man and left the house but seldom (and my impression was he left it not at all), I told her who I was and instructed her to remain downstairs. I called in a constable from Wallington who could identify him, and, any possible escape in the rear having been arranged for by Inspector Jarvis, I bolted straight upstairs into the room, excusing myself under the pretext that I was looking at the house with a view to purchase. I saw Lefroy sitting in the armchair with his arms akimbo, and in his shirt sleeves. Looking at him I said, "Percy Lefroy Mapleton?" He replied, "Yes; I expected you." I told him that I was a police officer, and added, "I arrest you upon the charge of wilfully murdering Mr. Gold in a carriage on the Brighton Railway on June 27 last." In response he said - and here I took my pocket-book out, and entered his answer - "I am not obliged to make any reply? I think it better not to make any answer." By a signal Mr. Jarvis then returned, and I read aloud the answer Lefroy had made, and Lefroy said, "Well, I will qualify that by saying I am not guilty." I cautioned him that what he said would be used in evidence against him, and asked Mr. Jarvis to search him and the room, having ascertained that he occupied the bedroom only. From what I saw it was clear that he had not left the room for some days. Mr. Jarvis, on searching, found a flannel shirt with the front cut out, and a number of pieces of the same garment cut very small, as if with scissors, one part blood-stained. He also discovered a waistcoat very much blood-stained, mostly on the right side, inside and out, and on the top of the chest of drawers a small pair of scissors. I asked Mapleton Lefroy whether they were his, and he replied, "Yes; I use them to cut my moustache off." We also found false whiskers and beard to fit over the ears. We took the prisoner to Arbour Square Police Station in a cab. Lefroy was not removed out of the cab, for we went simply to telegraph to Scotland Yard that he had been arrested. At the latter place he was detained for a very short time, and subsequently taken to King Street, Parliament Street. Inspector Swanson adds that in the room at 32 Smith Street no vestige of a newspaper was found on the occasion of his visit.

REMOVAL OF THE PRISONER TO LEWES.

Lefroy had been captured and lodged in a police-cell, and the word was sent round that he would be taken by the ordinary half-past 7 a.m. train from Victoria to East Grinstead - that being the petty sessional division of the district in which Mr. Gold met his fate. No sooner was Lefroy settled in the carriage, in the middle seat, with his face to the engine, than he commenced to talk in an unconcerned manner with his captors. His enunciation is that of a fairly well-educated man, and he speaks deliberately, as one who forms his sentences with care. He had been talking pleasantly enough until the train steamed into Merstham tunnel, when he became silent and disturbed, first folding his arms across his breast and dropping his head, next lifting his head, thrusting his neck forward, and with his right hand stretching out his under lip, and letting it contract again and again. When Redhill was reached it seemed as if all the town, learning the news, had come upon the platform. A noisy mob gathered round the windows laughing and jesting. Although the police, acting on instructions, had taken their tickets to East Grinstead, by the time the train reached Three Bridges their destination was changed from headquarters, and the prisoner was taken, via Hayward's Heath, to Her Majesty's prison at Lewes. At Hayward's Heath, which was reached at ten minutes past nine, we changed carriages, and Lefroy was walked to the Lewes train. Marching thus between the two detectives who captured him, one of them carrying a bundle of blood-stained clothes done up in a soiled white handkerchief, Lefroy looked a wretched object. He had the weary, fearsome look of a starved and hunted creature, and as he went by, the people cursing and groaning at him, his brows more than once contracted and his upper lip was raised, showing the gums and the eye teeth pressed together, a very painful sight. When at length Three Bridges was passed, the detectives, now joined by Superintendent Berry, talked among themselves, Lefroy's spirits quickly revived. He gossiped lightly with Mr. Berry, who has been in Australia, on theatrical and literary affairs in the colony, displaying great volubility and an apparent knowledge of the subject. Lewes was reached by half-past ten o'clock, and Lefroy, having been transferred from the train to a cab, was hurried along up the steep streets to the constabulary office, where a halt was made. It was thought that he might be brought before a magistrate in the town; but as no official of the kind was about at the time, he was carried at once to the new county gaol, where he was examined in private by Mr. Molyneux, a local justice of the peace, formal evidence only being given.

HIS BEHAVIOUR IN GOAL.

On Sunday morning the prisoner woke early, and made a hearty breakfast. He appeared to be in good spirits, and attended the usual service in the chapel of the prison, which was conducted by the chaplain, the Rev. H. Cole, and at its conclusion Lefroy was conducted back to his cell, where the ordinary midday meal was supplied to him. He has made no allusion to the crime with which he is charged, except to repeat the story that there was a third person in the carriage who was the assailant. The wounds upon his head, which were of a superficial nature, have healed, and no traces of rough handling are now apparent. In the afternoon the prisoner again devoted himself to reading, and seemed quite unconcerned as to the charge preferred against him.

THE LATEST DETAILS.

It has now been decided by the relatives and friends of Lefroy that Mr. T.D. Dutton, solicitor, who attended at the inquest on Mr. Gold's remains, shall undertake the prisoner's defence. A clerk of Mr. Dutton has visited Lewes Prison since Lefroy's incarceration, and had an interview with him. He states that Lefroy was calm and collected. The prisoner maintained that he was entirely innocent of the murder of Mr. Gold, and gave the clerk his narrative of what took place during his ride on the Brighton Railway, revealing, as alleged, some new and startling circumstances which have thrown a different light on the prisoner's conduct. There seems to be some difference of opinion as to who is entitled to the reward in connection with Lefroy's arrest. Mr. J.J. Hutchinson, the gentleman by whom Mr. Seale, the late fellow lodger of Lefroy, at Cathcart Road, is engaged as clerk, has written a letter saying that he was not the gentleman, as might be inferred, who saw the authorities at Scotland Yard and quibbled over the reward. When Miss Bickers called at his office regarding the telegram it was one of Mr. Hutchinson's clerks that she saw, and it now appears that it was this clerk who communicated with the police. In the neighbourhood of Stepney there is still considerable excitement, and the house in Smith Street, in which Lefroy took temporary refuge, was largely visited. The sister of the accused man, who, as already stated, resides at Islington, has sufficiently recovered from the shock she received on hearing of her brother's arrest to be able to leave the establishment with which she was connected - namely, the Islington Fever Hospital. A pawnbroker residing in the Borough has come forward and stated that on the morning of the murder a man answering the description of Lefroy redeemed a pistol from pledge. The pawnbroker was taken down to Lewes Gaol, and he at once identified Lefroy as the man who took the pistol from pledge.

Source: The Week's News, July 16, 1881, Page 57

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Re: Brighton Railway Murder

Post by Karen on Thu 28 Apr 2011 - 0:49

THE RAILWAY MURDER.
RE-EXAMINATION OF LEFROY.

Lefroy was again brought from Lewes prison on Tuesday morning to Cuckfield. The prisoner was awakened at about five o'clock, and after a light breakfast he descended to the prison yard about 5:30, and, entering the vehicle which was in waiting, was at once driven off to Cuckfield in the custody of two warders and two of the Sussex police. He bore himself as quietly and composedly as on the former occasion, chatting with the police about the warmth of the weather, and remarking it was sure to be as hot and trying in the court as on Friday. The carriage was driven to the police-station at Cuckfield.
At 10 o'clock the prisoner was taken into court in custody of Superintendent Every. He looked very pale, and was again accommodated with a seat behind the solicitor. The court was again crowded.
Mr. Dutton proceeded to cross-examine Detective-serjeant George Holmes, who stated that he asked the prisoner whether he had any firearms about him, because he thought there was a probability of his committing suicide. He took him to be a lunatic because he looked so strange about the eyes. He did not consider the prisoner in custody when he took him to Croydon. He thought his injuries were self-inflicted. The prisoner has a different appearance now to what he had on the Monday at Croydon. Witness received a telegram, but he did not say what the sender's name was, as he did not read it. He believed it came from Three Bridges or Balcombe. It had reference to a watch. The telegram was handed to the witness. It ran as follows: - "Tell Inspector Holmes to take number of the watch on wounded man coming by the 6:10 train. Man found has no watch on him." Witness did not tell the prisoner about the telegram. It was not after the receipt of that telegram that witness asked the accused to show him his watch. He did not consider it his duty to ask the prisoner the number of his watch after receiving the telegram. It was not until he reached Cathcart-road, Wallington, that he learnt that the watch was number 16,261, and the maker's name Griffiths, Mile-end-road. He did not know it was Mr. Gold's watch, but thought it was the prisoner's. He knew a body had been found, but he did not know the watch was missing until the following morning. Could not say where he heard that Mr. Gold had a watch. Did not hear of a watch having been found in the prisoner's shoe until the following day. When he went into the house at Wallington Mr. Clayton was the only other person in the room besides witness and the prisoner. Mr. Clayton heard the whole of the prisoner's statements.
Did you read over the statement you had taken down to the prisoner? - I did fully. Had been in the house nearly half-an-hour when he read the statement. The prisoner showed him out, and wished him, "Good night." Witness then went to Wallington station, and found two telegraph despatches awaiting him. The message handed to witness was one of them. It was from Brown, Three Bridges, to Kedge, Wallington, and ran thus: - "Ascertain for certain what watch, if any, the man has, and do not lose sight of him. This message is for Serjeant Holmes, Turpin's man." The other telegram was as follows: - "Keep the man Lefroy in safe custody." Witness did not communicate prisoner's statement to Mr. Kedge, the station master. Could not say what time he received the telegrams, but believed it was about half-past 9. Was only absent from the house about six or seven minutes. The first person he showed the statement to was Mr. Brewer, the company's solicitor. He did not show it to Inspector Turpin; but he believed he told him that the prisoner had made a statement. Believed also that he told Mr. Turpin that he had reduced the statement to writing.
What other superior officers were with you on that night? - Two others were there, but they were not my superiors. Howland was there, but I don't think he is my superior officer, although he is a superannuated inspector. A meeting was held in the boardroom, at which Mr. Knight, the general manager, Mr. Sewell, the secretary, and others were present. It was there that witness heard of the circumstances attending the murder, and that the watch was missing. Did not believe the maker's name or number of the watch was mentioned. Only heard that the watch was a gold one, with open face and white dial. Witness then gave the description of the watch he found on the prisoner.
Were you asked by anyone why you did not take the number of the watch? - I may have been; I cannot say I was not. After leaving the Board-room witness began making inquiries about the watch, and he had since done all he could in the matter, but had been unable to find the watch. On the Wednesday he made inquiries in the Mile-end-road and Burdett-road, Bow, relative to Griffiths, the maker of the watch, and he finally learnt that the latter was dead.
By Mr. Poland: It was at the Brighton station that witness learnt that the prisoner was wearing a gold watch without a chain. He said he had been robbed of his metal chain. He received one telegram at East Croydon, but he did not show it to the prisoner. It was in consequence of that telegram that witness asked the prisoner the number of the watch. Williams asked the prisoner to allow him to examine the watch, and he said, "Take it and examine it," at the same time handing it to him. Upon finding the number different to the one the prisoner had given him, witness told him of it, and he said he had made a mistake. Witness received the urgent telegram, telling him not to lose sight of the prisoner, at 9:30. He knew a body had been found in the tunnel, but he did not know it was that of Mr. Gold till Tuesday.

Thos. Watson, the guard, was at the request of Mr. Dutton, recalled. Mr. Poland called upon him to look at a chain, and said: You mentioned in your evidence that you saw a piece of chain? - It looked like gold hanging from his shoe, and I took hold of it and pulled it out, and saw it had a gold watch attached to it. Then I pulled the watch and it came out of the shoe.
How much was hanging outside? - Four or five links. It was in consequence of seeing it I took hold of it. It was a low shoe, not a boot. The chain was broken, and there were only four or five inches altogether, and I took particular notice of it before I took hold of it. It looked like a common, old fashioned chain, and I have no doubt about it's being a piece of this (chain put into his hands). I have seen this at the inquest.
Cross-examined by Mr. Dutton: I am positive that when I saw Mr. Gold at Croydon he was sitting with his face to the engine. I know that two or three ladies who were first-class passengers got into the train at Croydon. I did not see any gentleman get in.
Is it possible for a person to walk from the last compartment of a carriage to the first while the train is in motion, by making use of the footboard? - Yes.
Was it possible for any one by the particular train in question to step from one carriage to another? - I could do it; but it would be a risk. I do not think that any ordinary passenger could do it; he might do it if he did not value his life at all.
Kate Boivin was called by Mr. Poland, and in reply to him, said: I am the daughter of Joseph Boivin, who keeps a watchmaker's shop at 2, Market street, Brighton. I assist him in managing the business, I knew Mr. Gold. He has been a customer of ours for two or three years. He lived at Preston, near Brighton. I have seen him on several occasions at our shop. I remember his bringing a watch to be adjusted and cleaned. I saw the watch in the shop. My attention was called to it by my sister, Matilda, I looked at it, and I don't remember having seen it before. In the day-book is an entry in my handwriting, dated 31st May, 1881. I made it after examining the watch. The entry is, "Mr. Gold, Preston, gold English watch, patent lever watch, to be adjusted and cleaned, 3s. 6d.," and I put down the number, "16,261." I did that from the watch itself in the ordinary course of business. I remember afterwards that the watch was adjusted and cleaned. The face was white enamel, and it took four or five days to complete.

Joseph Boivin, father of the previous witness, said he remembered the watch in question, which he took to Mr. Gold's house at Preston, and gave into the hands of Mrs. Gold herself. A few days afterwards Mr. Gold called at the shop and paid for the repairs.
William Godden Howland, called and examined by Mr. Poland, said: I am an inspector in the service of the London, Brighton, and South-Coast Railway company, but am not a policeman. I was at the chief constable's office on the evening of Monday, the 27th of June. I went about five p.m., from information I received, and saw the prisoner there. I heard there some statements, and made some notes in my pocket-book, which I have here. It was read over to me in the prisoner's presence, from what was taken down by Mr. Terry at the Town hall. It is a memorandum beginning "Arthur Lefroy."
Mr. Dutton objected to that being given, on the ground that it was not evidence.
Mr. Poland said Mr. Terry would be called, but if he was not, the memorandum, which was read out in the prisoner's presence, was evidence.
Witness: I afterwards saw a watch at the superintendent's office at the station at Brighton, about 20 minutes after leaving the Town hall. On arriving there, I heard the prisoner, who was there, in answer to my questions say, first, there were two men in the carriage besides himself. I then asked him to give me a description of them. The first he said was aged 60 to 80, light grey whiskers, dark clothes; the second, 50, dark whiskers. The old gentleman, he said, sat at the left-hand corner opposite to the prisoner, who was sitting with his back to the engine. I asked prisoner if he had any conversation with them, and he replied "No." I asked him where he dined, and he replied at the International restaurant. I said, "Did you see them there?" He replied, "No." I then asked him whether they both joined the carriage at London. He said, "I will not say that both got in the carriage together at London-bridge, but one was in, and both were in before we left." He said, "We stopped at Croydon. After leaving there, and just as we were entering the first tunnel, I saw a flash, heard a report, but did not see any firearms. I was struck on the head, and became unconscious, and did not recover till just previously to arriving at Preston-park." I said, "Have you any firearms about you?" He said, "No. You may search me if you like." I said, "It will be very satisfactory to do so." Serjeant Holmes then searched him. I went out for a moment, and when I returned I saw a watch taken out of his left hand trowsers pocket. The prisoner said, "That's mine; they have taken my chain and about 25s. in money. When I recovered myself I found the watch lying on the floor of the carriage, and there was no one else in it." I asked him for a description of the chain. He said it was a metal cable chain, and then added, "I want to get back to London, as I have an appointment in the Strand at half-past eight." I said, "You had better go home to your friends first, and Holmes and I will accompany you." He left by the 6:10 train. There was no chain attached to the watch when it was taken out of his pocket. I rode in the brake of the train by which he left, but only went as far as Balcombe. I did not go inside his house.
By Mr. Dutton: I thought prisoner was a man who had attempted to commit suicide.

Samuel Thompson, 41, Brunswick-place North, Brighton, examined by Mr. Poland, said: I am police clerk at the Town hall, Brighton. On Monday, the 27th of June, I saw the prisoner there, at a quarter to four in the afternoon. Gibson and Martin were also there. The prisoner made a statement in my presence. Gibson said he had come with a gentleman to make a report as to his being assaulted in a railway carriage. The gentleman referred to was the prisoner. He made his statement partly in answer to questions. I took down in writing actually what he said (paper produced).
Mr. Dutton: Nothing was said to me by any person about a chain.
James Terry, examined by Mr. Poland, said: I am chief constable of the Brighton police. On Monday, the 27th of June, I was at the Police-office, Town-hall, and Mr. Thompson pointed out the report produced, and I read it. I saw the prisoner about five in the afternoon on his return from the hospital. I spoke to him, and asked him if his name was Arthur Lefroy, living at Cathcart-road, Wallington, and if the report he had made was true. He said, "Yes." After I had read a portion of it, he said, "It is quite true, and I hope you will do your best to arrest the parties who have so seriously assaulted me." I promised to do my best. I saw at the police-station two Hanoverian medals, and I asked the prisoner if he knew anything about them. He replied, "No, they must belong to the men who assaulted me in the railway carriage." I was told they were found in the bottom of the compartment in which he rode. Howland and Holmes had then arrived, and Howland put several questions to him. I asked him what brought him to Brighton; he said, "I came down expressly to see Mrs. Nye Chart at the theatre. She is the proprietress of the Brighton theatre." I said, "Won't you go and see her now?" He replied, "No, not in this state." His head was then bandaged. I then said, "She is a very nice lady; she would not mind seeing you in that state." He said, "No, I should not think of going like this." He then left the station with Howland, Holmes, Martin, the police-constable, and the ticket-collector. I asked Martin if he had any charge to make in reference to this case. He said, "Oh, dear no. I only accompany this gentleman down here to make his complaint." I then heard no more till 9:45 p.m., when I heard the body of Mr. Gold had been found in the tunnel at Balcombe. I had then seen the station-master. I had not then heard anything about the watch and chain.

To be continued.............

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Re: Brighton Railway Murder

Post by Karen on Thu 28 Apr 2011 - 2:34

James Martin, who was next called and sworn, said, in reply to Mr. Poland: I am a policeman in the service of the London, Brighton, and South Coast Railway company, and on Monday, June 27, I was sent for to the superintendent's office of the Brighton railway station. I found that prisoner, Gibson, and Mr. Hansom's clerk were there. I went with prisoner and Gibson to the Town-hall. I did not see anything of the watch, but I was there when Mr. Thompson took down the prisoner's statement. After that was taken, Lefroy asked to be allowed to leave the place for a short time. He received permission, and I and a town constable waited for him. He came back and was taken to the hospital. On the way back, as he had no collar and no necktie, I got him both at his request. The size of the collar was 14 1/2. He handed me a two-shilling piece and a sixpence. The charge was only 1s. 6d. I gave him the sixpence back, and then sixpence in coppers change from the two-shilling piece. He said he was running short of money.
Did you see any Hanoverian coins? - I took two from the railway station. I got them from Mr. Hooper.
Henry Anscombe, stationmaster, Brighton: On the evening of Monday, June 27, at 20 minutes to six, the prisoner came there with Gibson and Inspector Barnes. The prisoner was looking ill, and had his head bandaged up. I said, "What is the matter?" He said, "I have been shot at, and seriously injured." I said, "By whom?" He said, "By two parties in the train; one was an old man and another was a countryman." I said. "Where are they?" He said, "I don't know. I was rendered almost insensible, and came to my senses when we reached the station where we take the tickets."
Did he say anything as to where they got in? - He said they were in the carriage at London bridge. I asked him if he was injured much, and he said, "I should think I am, having four or five bullets in my head." He had his head enveloped in bandages.
Did he say anything about a lawyer? - Yes. He said, "I want a lawyer; I must offer a reward." I told him there was no lawyer here. I asked Barnes if he had been searched. Barnes said he did not know. We then called Martin, and Martin said in his presence that he had not been searched. I said, "What have you about you?" He said, "What do you mean?" I said, "A pistol or knife?" He said, "No." I said, "I must see." When Howland and Holmes came in I told them to search him, and they did so in my presence. I saw about 12s. or 14s. found. That was good money, and was given back to him. I saw one of the officers find three Hanoverian medals. I said, "This looks queer, as there have been some found in the carriage." On that he said, "I know nothing about them." I said, "There are some found on you." He replied, "I must have got them at whist."
Did you see a watch found on him? - Yes; a small white-faced watch; nothing particular.
Did you see a pocket-book? - Holmes found one, and was about to examine it when the prisoner said, "That is private property." It was then returned to him. Prisoner said, "I must go home." We had got his name and address, and he left with Howland and Holmes.
When did you hear a body had been found? - At a quarter to seven, and I then telegraphed to Balcombe and Three Bridges.
Cross-examined: When you first saw the prisoner, did he look vacant and ghastly? - He looked vacant.
In your opinion, was he carefully searched? - Not very minutely. He was searched to see if he had a pistol or knife.
You say that when you asked him if he was much injured he replied, "I think I am, with four or five bullets in my head." Will you swear he did not say, "with four or five wounds on my head?" - He said "bullets."
You have examined the carriage in which this terrible affair took place? - Yes. And seen that underneath the footboard, near the door, there are finger-marks of blood? - Yes.
And are those the marks of a person grasping for support? - Yes.
Could a person standing on the footboard take hold of the brass handle or protector with his left hand and with his right grasp the footboard in the same place as where the marks are? - It is possible.
Could a passenger in the end compartment of this carriage have got out and walked along the footboard to the compartment at the other end? - It is possible, but it would be a most dangerous practice.
Re-examined: With an express train that would be a most dangerous thing to attempt? - Very.
And still more dangerous in a tunnel? - I don't think it could be done.
If a man was lying on the floor of the carriage, and trying to save himself, he could easily grip the footboard? - Easily.
And if his hands were bloody, they would make these marks? - Yes?
Did the blood extend far? - It was a small mark.

Joseph Stark, ticket collector, Preston park station: I remember on Monday, June 27, the two o'clock express arriving at that station about 3:15. In the ordinary course I went to the carriages to collect the tickets. I went to the doors on the right or off side. I saw the prisoner sitting facing the engine. He was next the platform. I opened the door and asked him for his ticket. He said, "Look here, can I see a policeman?" "Can I get a wash?" I told him he could see the station-master.
What state was he in? - His neck, on which there was no collar, was smeared with blood.
What sort of mark was on it? - As if he had been smeared with bloody fingers. His hands and face were smeared with blood. Behind his ear there was a clot of blood. His clothes were covered with it. He had a hat. I got on the footboard and looked in the carriage. There was a pool of blood just inside the carriage, and blood on the footboard just where the door was. It looked as if somebody had been pitched out and the blood had been blown back.
On your railway is it the practice to lock the doors? - No.
You knew Mr. Gold? - Yes; he was a season-ticket holder, and used to travel by this two o'clock express back from London. I did not notice on what days.
Cross-examined: When the train came in did you notice that prisoner was sitting with his head leaning forward and a pool of blood between his legs? - Yes. I did not notice him leaning out of the carriage window when the train arrived. Gibson had no conversation with the prisoner until I called for him to come up. I did not notice any chain hanging out of the prisoner's boot. It was not till after the train had gone that I heard the station-master say that a watch and chain had been found in the prisoner's shoe.

Alfred Joseph Hall, station-master at the Preston station of the London Brighton railway: I was on duty at Preston on Monday afternoon, June 27th, and I remember the London express coming in at 3:19. It came in at the platform on the loop, at the right or off side of the carriages. I remember the last witness calling me, and as I proceeded towards him I met the prisoner, whose face, hands, and clothes were covered with blood. He said, "Are you the station-master?" I said, "I am." He said, "I wish you would send for a medical man. I have been murderously assaulted and fired at by a fellow passenger." The prisoner was wearing a high hat, but no necktie or collar. Gibson beckoned me to go to the compartment in which the prisoner had been riding. The prisoner accompanied me. I said to him, "Where is the fellow-passenger you speak of? The compartment is empty." He said, "He got out at a station further up." I answered, "That cannot be, as the train does not stop after it passes East Croydon." The prisoner made no reply to that. I told him there was no medical man nearer than half a mile, and that he had better proceed on to Brighton, where he could get medical advice if he needed it. I called up Gibson, and told him to go with the prisoner to Mr. Anscombe, and tell him what he had seen and heard. As the prisoner was getting into the compartment I saw about four inches of a gold chain, to which a watch was attached, hanging out of a low shoe on his left foot. I said to the prisoner, "That is a peculiar place to carry a watch." He said, "I did not know it was there." I told him he had better take it out, and Watson stooped down and took it out. Watson put it on the cushion of the carriage. The piece of chain now shown to me would form one with what I then saw.
In what state was the compartment? - There was wet blood both on the floor and on the footboard.
You noticed no actual wound on the prisoner? - No; the ticket-collector afterwards came back, and brought me the prisoner's ticket.
You knew Mr. Gold? - I have known him well for the last 10 years. His name was Frederick Isaac Gold. He usually travelled to or from the Preston station. I had seen him on this very morning, and spoke to him.
What had he with him? - An umbrella.
Cross-examined: Did the prisoner look very wild? - He had a wild appearance.
Did you think him a lunatic? - I thought he was not in his right mind, and that he had attempted to commit suicide.

Ellen Elizabeth Nye-Chart, 9, New-road, Brighton: I am the proprietress of the Brighton theatre. On Monday, June 27, the theatre was closed, and I was away at Bramber.
Do you know the prisoner, sitting there? - No. I had no business engagement with a person of the name of Lefroy or Mapleton.
Edwin Gardner, booking-clerk, at East Croydon station, Brighton line: On June 27th, I was there issuing tickets when the London express due at Croydon at 2:20 started. I issued three first-class single tickets to Brighton, and the numbers were 8,565, 8,566, and 8,567. Those are the only tickets I issued for that train. I cannot say who the passengers were.
Cross-examined: Could a person who had taken a first-class return ticket have come back to Croydon by that train? - Yes.
Mr. Poland: That is the countryman, I suppose.
Mr. Dutton: I said nothing about the countryman. I only want to get at the facts.
Re-examined by Mr. Poland: This was the first express, and the fares were higher. But a person who had taken a first-class return to London could have come back by that train.
James Woods, porter, East Croydon station: I was at the station when the two o'clock express from London left on Monday, June 27. I saw three ladies leave by that train, a gentleman standing at the door to see them off. I carried in their luggage.
John George Agar, clerk in the accountant's office, London-bridge: I produce tickets 3,179 and 3,180, issued at London-bridge on June 27 last, and in July returned to the office as having been collected from the passengers; 3,181, issued to the prisoner, had already been produced. I produce also tickets 8,565, 8,566, and 8,567, issued at Croydon, on the same date for the same train.
Cross-examined: Are all the first-class tickets issued from Victoria accounted for? - I cannot say without referring.
Mr. Poland (addressing the Bench): Of course, at the trial we will have this matter put right, but at present we are quite prepared to rest the case on the six tickets.

To be continued.......

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Re: Brighton Railway Murder

Post by Karen on Fri 29 Apr 2011 - 1:08

FOURTH DAY.

The prisoner was located in the police-station at Cuckfield all night, his cell being guarded by two constables, who were continually watching him. Although he has very much improved since his incarceration, he again spat a quantity of blood on Wednesday morning. At seven o'clock he partook of a good breakfast, consisting of bread and butter, eggs, and tea.
At 10 o'clock the examination of the prisoner was resumed before the local justices.
Mr. Humphrey Gibson, a chemist, of 107, King's-road, Brighton, said: On Monday, June 27th, I was a passenger by the two o'clock express from London-bridge. I travelled in a second-class compartment of a composite carriage immediately preceding a first-class compartment. Upon my arrival at Brighton I noticed prisoner in the first-class compartment. He was covered in blood.
Had you noticed anything unusual on the journey? - Yes, when the train entered the first tunnel I heard four or five reports, which I took to be fog signals. I told my little boy so. At half-past six on the same evening I went to the Brighton terminus and told Mr. Anscombe what I had heard. I had not noticed any slackening of speed on the journey.
Thomas Jennings, platelayer in the employ of the company, living in Balcombe, said: On the Monday afternoon I was going through Balcombe tunnel towards Balcombe with my nephew. I had a naphtha lamp with me, and on reaching the centre of the tunnel I found the body of a man lying in the six-foot way. It was on its back, the head being towards Brighton, and the body parallel with the metals. The corner of the coat was over the head and the shirt and face were covered in blood. The face was very much cut. The body was clear of both roads. I felt the body near the heart, and found it was still warm. Other persons came, and I commenced looking about the ballast. The body was conveyed by engine and brake to Balcombe station. It was nearly seven o'clock when we got there. I had a good look round in the tunnel, and noticed a mark about 18 yards north of the body, as though something had fallen from the train. There was also some blood on the sleeper. I found a boot seven yards south of the body, and I noticed one foot of the deceased man had no boot on. I also noticed that one of his wrists had a cuff on, and I found the other north of the body. I found near the body two pennies and a bunch of keys (produced). No hat was found.
By Mr. Dutton: The legs were perfectly straight. It did not have the appearance of having been placed there. The right hand was on the breast, and the left arm was extended. The tail of the coat was over the face, but it did not appear to have been placed there.
By the chairman: He was a very heavy man.
Re-examined by Mr. Dutton: I felt the face as well as the heart, and found it was warm.
By Mr. Poland: The ballast had the appearance of something having been dragged over it for a short distance.
By Admiral Pakenham: I could not say whether the body had been moved after it had fallen.

John Jennings stated: I am a ganger of platelayers, and live at Willow cottage, Balcombe. I was walking through Balcombe tunnel on the day in question at 19 minutes to three, and there was no body there then. I had a naphtha lamp in my hand. The two o'clock express passed through the tunnel directly afterwards. The tunnel is just upon three-quarters of a mile long. As I was approaching Balcombe station I was informed that a body had been found in the tunnel. I went back and found the last witness there. I saw the marks spoken of about 18 yards north of the body. The first mark was as if something had fallen very heavy. About eight yards towards the body the ballast had been apparently brushed by something light, possibly some clothing. The buttons had been burst off the waistcoat. I felt the body, and found it warm. I gave information of the discovery, and Police-constable Lewis came.
Police-constable George Lewis, of the East Sussex constabulary: I am stationed at Balcombe. At 4:50 on Monday afternoon I was informed of the discovery of the body, and I reached the spot at 5:30. I felt the hands, throat, and breast, and found them cold. I saw the two pennies and half of the broken eyeglass (produced). The latter was three yards north of the body. I also saw the cuff and boot. After the body was deposited in the stable at the Railway inn, I searched it thoroughly, and found the other portion of the eyeglass suspended to a piece of elastic round his neck. I also found the long piece of gold chain (produced) around his neck. The pocket-book (produced) contained two receipts for 4 pounds, two blank cheques, a first-class season ticket, London to Brighton, name "F.J. Gold, Esq.," and four postage stamps. There was neither purse money, or watch on the body. He was wearing a collar soaked in blood, and a necktie in the same condition. The clothes were very bloody. The clothes were not torn, but there was a rent in the knees of the trowsers, as though he had fallen. The body was covered with black dirt and dust.
Mr. William H. Brown, station-master at Three Bridges, said: - In consequence of what I heard, I went with an engine and carriage into Balcombe tunnel, and saw a body picked up and conveyed into Balcombe. We got to the body at 6:30. After it had been removed to the Railway tavern, I got into the 6:10 train at Balcombe. I there saw the prisoner in a first-class compartment, with Detective Holmes and Mr. Hards, of the Engineer's department. I said to Holmes, "I have just found a body in Balcombe tunnel, and taken it to the station. From the injuries to the face, I should say they could not have been done by a railway accident, and I feel certain a murder has been committed. The prisoner has complained of being shot at, and he must know something about it."
Did the prisoner hear that? - Yes, and he appeared very uncomfortable and crestfallen. I said to Holmes, "I suppose you are not going to lose sight of him?" and he said, "I have no charge to make against him; I am seeing him home as an injured party." I then said, "You are not going to let him go?" and Holmes replied, "He is the actual complainant." I then proposed that Holmes should have the prisoner's depositions taken before a magistrate. I told Holmes to sit by the window while the train went through the tunnel, in case prisoner jumped out. Holmes told me not to talk so loud, as prisoner was listening. I got out at Three Bridges.
By Mr. Dutton: I agree with the evidence of Thomas Jennings as to the position of the body in the tunnel in every particular. The body looked to me as if it had been laid out straight.
Thomas Pincknell: I am a platelayer, living at Balcombe. I found the collar produced about three-quarters of a mile south of Balcombe station. It was very much blood-stained and wet with rain. I found it in the six-foot way. I had passed that spot in the morning and it was not there then.

Edward Tullett, of Keymer, a platelayer, deposed: On Monday, June 27, I found the tall silk hat produced about half a mile south of Burgess-hill station, between the two rails of the up-line. The two o'clock down express had just passed me. The hat was not there previously. It had been raining shortly before, and the hat was quite dry. The train was going at a good speed.
By Mr. Dutton: It was five minutes past three when the train passed me. I am certain that was the time. Hassock's-gate station is the next station to Burgess-hill, and the stations are two miles apart. I should say the train was going at the rate of 50 miles an hour.
Kate Greenfield was the next witness. She said: On July 3 I was on a visit to some friends at Hassock's-gate, and while walking in a field with some children I found the purse produced in common grass. It was on the right-hand side of the railway going from London, and within throwing distance of the train. It was a quarter of a mile north of Hassock's-gate station. It was empty and torn, and I gave it to my father, who served on the jury.
Henry Waller, ganger of platelayers, living at Hassock's-gate, examined by Mr. Poland, stated: On Monday, the 27th June, I was in Clayton tunnel, and found the umbrella produced on the up line against the wall, and about 150 yards from the north end of the tunnel. I carried it to Burgess-hill and gave it to the station-master.
By Mr. Dutton: I found it at a quarter to seven. I had orders to walk through the tunnel at 6:15. I have no doubt it is the same umbrella.
By the Bench: I took it to the station-master in accordance with instructions. I was sent to search the tunnel.
John Blunden White, 39, London-street, Brighton, said: I am a carriage inspector at Brighton. Upon the arrival of the two o'clock train at that station on the day in question, I examined all the carriages. In one of the first-class smoking compartments of a composite carriage I noticed blood. Before I entered the compartment, I observed blood on the footboard opposite the door. It was fresh blood. My first impression was that somebody had been struck while looking out of the window. Blood had been flowing at the bottom of the carriage. I went round the other side of the carriage and got in. I found blood on the floor and on the mat. There was also a considerable amount of wet blood on the padding of the door and on the cushions. The arms and backs of the seats were bespattered with blood. The bell-pull was on the side nearest the engine. There was a bullet about seven inches from the bell-pull. There was a bullet mark about six and a half inches from the side of the carriage in the stuffed cushion. That also had a bullet in it when I saw it, but it has since been taken out. In the centre seat opposite the bell pull there was a small hole which might have been produced by a bullet. The light was burning in the roof of the carriage. A newspaper was on the floor of the carriage covered in blood. On the off side footboard there were finger marks of blood. One of the finger marks was smudged for about three inches towards the engine. The carriage has been locked and sealed ever since.
John Barnes, police inspector at Brighton station, said: On Monday afternoon I partly searched the two o'clock express train. I saw the bullet in the panel near the bell-pull, and I also saw a shot mark in the cushion. I found a bullet like the one produced in the cushion. It is a small pistol bullet. It was embedded in the leather about three-quarters of an inch. I gave it to Mr. Anscombe's clerk.
White, recalled and re-examined by Mr. Poland, said he wished to say that he only saw one bullet in the carriage.
Mr. Dutton: You saw nothing of a piece of chain in the carriage? - No.
Mrs. Lilian Matilda Gold, the widow of the deceased, was the next witness examined. She said: My husband was 64 years of age, and a retired tradesman. He was in the habit of going to London on Mondays. He left home at 8:50 on the morning in question. He had a freehold shop where he collected the money every Monday, in Walworth. He was in the habit of collecting my dividends, and would bring money down from London on the Monday previous to the 1st of the month for household purposes. He generally gave me 7 pounds or 8 pounds. I have known him to have larger sums. On the previous Monday he had over 300 pounds in his pocket. He possessed a gold watch and chain. I knew Mr. Griffiths, the maker of the watch. He lived in the Mile-end-road. The name was inside the watch. The chain produced is a portion of the one he wore. The double eyeglass and the hat (both were produced) were his. The umbrella was also his. I know the latter not only by its general appearance, but by a large piece of darning which I did myself. He used to hook the handle in his waistcoat. It was his favourite umbrella. The pocket-book, memorandum-book, &c., were also his. He always kept a purse like the one produced for his own private gold. He never carried firearms - not for 36 years, at any rate. He was a very reserved man, and had a habit of closing his eyes to prevent passengers talking to him. I have a brother-in-law living at The Knowle, Wallington; but besides an old school-fellow of mine I don't know anyone else there. All my husband's collars had the name of Gold upon them. The collar marked "A," shown to me at the inquest, was not his.
By Mr. Dutton: My dividends were due on the 27th of June. Mr. Hollington, of Mile-end-road, London, was my husband's tailor. He was in the habit of carrying a skull-cap, and I presume he had it with him because I cannot find it. I remember the watch being brought home by Mrs. Boivin. Although my husband was elderly he was a strong, powerful man. He would enter into conversation with passengers in the train if they did with him. A day or two before his death he told me that he spoke to passengers rather too much. He was a very kind-hearted man, affable in company, and liked by everyone with whom he came in contact. The deceased's brother, Mr. Thomas Gold, was not on very good terms with him. I have not seen him for several years.
Dr. Bond said he examined the body of deceased, and he described the wounds which had been inflicted. On the left hand there was a deep cut inside the thumb to the bones and there was a deep cut at the joint of the thumb. The four fingers of the left hand were cut, and when the fingers were fixed it seemed as if the hand had grasped a knife and it had been drawn through. On the right hand there was a very deep cut, almost severing the thumb from the wrist. These wounds might have been made with a knife or a razor. There were contusions on the back of the hand, and on the forearm, with extravasation of blood. These injuries were done during life. On the face there was a curved incision, extending from the lobe of the right ear along the ramus of the jaw, going down to the bone, and laying bare the muscles forming the floor of the mouth. The cut was jagged, and had the appearance of having been made from right to left, and during life. On the point on the chin there was a transverse cut an inch long. On the left side of the face there was a cut extending from the angle of the mouth to within an inch and a-half of the left ear. This cut divided the muscles of the face, and of course the facial artery. This cut would bleed a great deal. A quarter of an inch below there was another cut, dividing the mucous membrane. All these wounds were made by a cutting instrument, and undoubtedly done during life. On the inner side of the left eye was a jagged wound, three-quarters of an inch deep. Witness went on at considerable length to describe other wounds on the body of Mr. Gold. He found a bullet which must have been fired during life, and the pistol must have been two or three feet from deceased when fired. Death was due to syncope, produced by the loss of blood and the shock consequent upon the injuries. The heart was slightly diseased.
Were all the injuries inflicted on the face during life probably inflicted by an assailant in front? - They had all the appearance of it, and of being inflicted by a right-handed assailant.
Would the shot in the neck have caused death? - It would, in my opinion; though, perhaps, not for some days.
Cross-examined: After the deceased had suffered those wounds on his right hand, could he, if lying on the floor of the carriage, have clutched the footboard? - Yes, but not very tightly.
Could he also have done so with his left hand? - I think he could have clutched with either hand.
Were the injuries to the head and throat sufficient to cause death - not including the gunshot wound? - He might have bled to death from the cuts on the face and mouth.
Dr. Byass, Cuckfield: I have heard the evidence given by Mr. Bond. He has accurately described the external and internal appearance of the body, and I agree with him as to the cause of death. I saw the body of Mr. Gold on the Tuesday. The clothes he was wearing were saturated with blood. The wristband of the right arm had more blood on it than the left.
Mr. Hall, acting house-surgeon at the Sussex County hospital, Brighton, on June 27: I have been in court and heard the evidence given by Mr. Bond. I agree with that evidence. I had cut the piece of skin out of the neck in order to see if it contained traces of gunpowder, because the condition of the body made it difficult to say what the character of the wound was. Witness then repeated the evidence he gave before the coroner as to what took place when he dressed Lefroy's wounds on the night of the murder.
Cross-examined: The wounds on the prisoner caused a certain amount of hemorrhage? - Yes. When I spoke to the constable to look after the man and take him down to the Town hall I thought perhaps he might be insane. Afterwards I thought he had been in a fight.
Alfred Gilbert, cashier, London and Westminster bank, Eastern branch, Whitechapel: I knew Frederick Isaac Gold. He had an account at our bank for 30 years. On Monday, June 27, about one o'clock in the afternoon, he paid into his credit 38 pounds in gold. He drew nothing out.
The inquiry was then adjourned.

To be continued.............

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Re: Brighton Railway Murder

Post by Karen on Fri 29 Apr 2011 - 21:00

COMMITTAL OF THE PRISONER.

At 10 o'clock on Thursday the examination of Lefroy was resumed.
Mrs. Ann Brown, of King's Head cottage, Horley, said: My cottage faces the railway, and is about 100 yards from the line. I remember hearing of the murder on the Monday night. Between two and three o'clock on that afternoon I saw a train passing in the direction of Brighton.
What did you see? - I saw two gentleman standing up in the carriage, fighting or larking. I thought nothing more of it until the evening. All I noticed was that they were struggling very much. I could see them very distinctly. It was a closed carriage, and not quite in front of the train nor behind. I was sitting down in front of the window, where I had a good view of the train. My daughter was with me at the time.
By Mr. Dutton: I could not say if there was a third person in the carriage.
Rhoda Lucas Brown said: I am the daughter of the previous witness, and live at Horley. I remember hearing of the murder at 10 o'clock on the Monday night. On the afternoon of that day, between two and three o'clock, I was looking out of the window and saw a train going in the direction of Three Bridges. I saw two men in a carriage apparently fighting or playing. Their arms were moving about. I saw no one else in that compartment.
William Peel, 38, Gloucester-road, Brighton, said: I have been a driver in the employ of the company for over 34 years. I had charge of the 2 p.m. down express on the day in question. On the way down I heard no shots fired, nor did I hear any fog signals. The slowest pace I was going at was 30 miles an hour. That is my opinion as a man of great experience. When I get through Clayton tunnel there is an incline right away to Brighton, and the speed increased. I should say we went at a speed of 45 or 50 miles an hour after leaving the tunnel. I entered Preston station at about 20 miles an hour.
By Mr. Dutton: We certainly did not slacken to four miles an hour.
Alfred Aylwin, stoker, in the employ of the Brighton company, said: I was on duty with the witness Peel by the two o'clock train on the day in question. I heard no fog signals. The lowest speed we travelled at was from 25 to 30 miles an hour. The brake was not applied.
Henry Nye, the under-guard of the train, said: I have been in the employ of the company 27 years. I can apply the brake in the event of an emergency arising. Nothing attracted my attention on the journey until we got to Hassock's-gate, when the signals were against us. We slackened speed there. I believe the Westinghouse brake was applied. In my judgment we slackened to four miles an hour.
Mr. Albert Ellis said: I am a stationer and news-agent, carrying on business at 5, Station-terrace, Wallington, and I have known the prisoner as Mr. Lefroy for the last 18 months. He was a customer of mine. On Monday morning, the 27th of June, I had a letter brought to my shop by one of Mrs. Clayton's children. It was in Lefroy's handwriting, and requested me to call at 4, Cathcart-road, for a stationery order which Mrs. Clayton wished to give me. I went up at a little before 10, and, after waiting a little while, saw Mrs. Clayton's servant. I had been there five minutes without seeing Mrs. Clayton, when one of the little girls brought an order for a copy of the "Pilgrim's Progress" and other works. I left there at five minutes past 10. Before leaving I heard the gate click, and on looking out of the window saw Lefroy's hat. The wearer was going towards my shop. On returning to my place of business my errand-boy gave me an envelope, upon opening which I found it to contain two flash sovereigns, a shilling, and a blank piece of paper. At this time the prisoner owed me 1 pound 7s. 2d., and he had promised to pay me the money the week previously.
By Mr. Dutton: Until the day of this occurrence I had always looked upon the prisoner as a highly respectable man. He bought largely of foolscap and writing paper.
Frederick Pink, shopboy to Mr. Ellis, next gave evidence. He said: I know Mr. Lefroy very well. He came to the shop on the morning in question at about 10 o'clock. Mr. Ellis had just gone out. The prisoner asked if he could pay his bill, and I told him he could. He had an envelope fastened up, and he said it contained two sovereigns, and would I give him 19s. change. I looked in the till, and found I had only 13s., and I asked him if that would do, and he said: "Yes; Mr. Ellis can send the rest of the change, with the bill receipted." He said nothing about a train. I gave him the 13s., and he went away. I have not seen Mr. Lefroy from that time until today.
Johanna Chamberlain, domestic servant to Mr. Clayton, after giving evidence of Mr. Ellis's visit. in the morning, said: I have never seen the prisoner with a watch or chain. I was there when the prisoner came home at half-past nine. He came into the kitchen where I was, and I noticed he was wearing different clothes. He had sticking plaster on his head, and told me he had been assaulted in the train. I asked him if anyone else in the train was injured, and he said, "Yes, five or six." I said, "I hope they will soon get caught," and he said, "So do I." He did not say where he had been during the day. I gave him some toast. He said he was going to see Dr. Cressy. He went out at the lower front door into the area. It was at half-past nine. I have not seen him from then till now. I remember the police coming there and taking possession of the clothing.
By Mr. Dutton: I should have taken no notice of the prisoner if he had not told me he had been assaulted. He had a wild look, and there was a very extraordinary appearance about his eyes. He looks different now. He went out with a double-breasted coat, which he always wore buttoned.
Thomas Graham Clayton, living at 4, Cathcart-road, Wallington, said: The prisoner lodged at my house. I know him as Percy Lefroy Mapleton, and he was related to my wife. On the morning in question I left my house at a quarter to nine. The prisoner was not up then, but I had seen him in bed. He did not say where he was going that day. He had told me he was reporting for the Era newspaper. He had not paid anything for his lodgings for three or four weeks. He had been in the habit of paying 8s. a week. My wife had lent him money - a few shillings. I hadn't lent him any money. I knew he had a second-class season-ticket on the Brighton railway, but that had run out. When he had to pay, I should say he used to travel third-class. I returned home at 6:15 on the Monday. The prisoner came in at nine o'clock. Seeing that his head was bandaged up, I asked him what was the matter, and the prisoner replied, "I have been assaulted in a railway train going to Brighton. I have been knocked on the head by a gouge." I saw there was blood on his trowsers. He added: "The man in plain-clothes (Holmes) can confirm what I say." I asked him if his assailant was in custody, and he made answer he must have got out of the train before it stopped. I saw Holmes writing at the table, and the prisoner commenced talking to him. Holmes was questioning him. When I left the room I saw a watch there. I heard Holmes ask the prisoner the number of the watch he had in his possession, but I cannot remember his answer. Holmes asked to see the watch, and the prisoner handed it to him. Upon opening it, Holmes said, "You have not given the right number;" and prisoner said, "I must have made a mistake." Holmes found the watch difficult to open, and handed it to me, but I could not open it, and Holmes ultimately did so. I had never seen the watch before. The watch had no chain to it. Prisoner only left the room to conduct Holmes to the street door. After Holmes had gone I told the prisoner it was a very strange affair, and he said, "I hope they will be caught." He had the bandages on at this time, and said he should go to Dr. Cressy's. I went out and returned at 10:15, and found that the prisoner had gone. I don't know where he went to. We remained up some time, and the police came and took possession of his clothes. I did not go to Dr. Cressy's the following morning. I did not know the prisoner had been pawning articles of clothing. The letter (produced) is in Mr. Seale's handwriting. I did not know where the prisoner was before he was arrested.
By Mr. Dutton: There was gas in the room, but it was not lit. Holmes and the prisoner were sitting at a table by the window. When the gas lit Holmes commenced taking down his statement. I could not say what Holmes did with the watch. After Holmes had read the statement over to the prisoner I don't remember seeing him make any addition to it. Neither do I remember any memoranda at the foot of the statement being read. I observed no name or number on the face of the watch. It was not prisoner's custom to tell me where he went to every day. About 18 months ago he returned from Australia. I do not know that it was alleged that he had obtained some pictures under false pretences. I do not know that a summons was obtained against him, and that it was in consequence of his not appearing to that summons that a warrant was granted for his apprehension and that the warrant was actually in force on June the 27th. Knew he had a sunstroke on Epsom downs about a year ago, and he frequently complained of his head since. He was always a very weak man, and would sometimes lie down in the daytime. Before he went abroad he had been confined to his bed for six weeks at a time with diseased lungs. I do not know that he was once so bad that he was taken about in a bath chair. He once went to Ventnor. I never knew him to hurt a living creature, and he was always very kind. He had an exceedingly good temper. He was not given to profligacy, card-playing, or anything of the kind. Nor was he given to betting. I never saw him with a pistol or a firearm of any description in my life, and I never saw him with any of those Hanoverian coins. I never saw him with a knife. He frequently borrowed mine. I have frequently seen him with different watches, and about three or four weeks before that Monday I saw him with a small white-faced gold-coloured watch. I have seen him with an albert chain. I have never had a pistol in my house. A member of his family once died in a lunatic asylum.
By Mr. Poland: I cannot say what relation it was. He has been back from Australia about 18 months. Since then he has been engaged in intellectual work by reporting. He has followed his calling ever since, so far as he has been able to get it. I saw him with an aluminum gold watch seven weeks ago. I do not know what he has done with it, but my opinion is that he pawned it. I should not know it again, as I have never had it in my hand. I could not say whether the watch Holmes had had a white dial, although I held it for a moment. I could not say whether the prisoner had a pistol in Australia.
William Turpin, an inspector of the Metropolitan police and a detective in the service of the railway company, gave evidence as to searching the prisoner's lodging, and taking possession of some of his clothes, on the night of the murder.
Charles Tobutt said: I am a police-serjeant in the East Sussex constabulary; and on Monday evening, June 27, I went with the last witness to 4, Cathcart-road. He went up to the bedroom; I remained down below. He handed me the trowsers and the surgical bandage. The coat was found in the hall, in the state in which it is produced. In the breast pocket of the coat I found a leather case containing five pawntickets (produced); one is a ticket 181, 30th May, on watch, 5s., in the name of John Lee, Southampton-street, Strand. The next one is June 2, of coat, 10s., William Lee, 8 Southampton-street, Peckham - Adam and Hillstead, 25, High-street, Borough. The next one, June 11, dress suit, 25s., James Leigh, 26, Soton-street, Peckham - Adam and Hillstead. The next is June 20, John Leigh, two coats and trowsers, 15s.; Sutton, 17, Stockbridge-terrace, Pimlico, and 101, Tachbrook-street, June 20. The last pawnticket is June 21, 1881, four plated spoons, in bag, were pawned; the name is James Lee, Samworth-street, the amount advanced 5s.; the pawnbroker, Bowman, London-road, West Croydon. In the same leather case is a second-class rail way ticket; London-bridge to New-cross, dated the 24th June. I found in the pocket of the coat a registered envelope, and it has not been used or directed. It is the usual envelope issued for sending valuables by post. There were also parts of an envelope and some pink paper that was smeared by blood, and there was a pair of ordinary kid gloves.

Mrs. Sarah Bickers, a widow, residing at 32, Smith-street, Stepney, said: I have lived there nine years. I know the prisoner. He came to my house on Thursday, the 30th of June. I had a bill in the window, "Bedroom to let." He came about 11 or 12, and asked if I had a bedroom to let, and I showed him the front room on the first floor. I send the rent would be 6s. a week. He said he liked the room, and said he should take it from that day. I told him the last tenant had the room for three years. He went away for a couple of hours, and upon returning he gave the name of Clarke, said he was an engraver, and that he came from Liverpool. He had no luggage with him, but said it was coming afterwards. He paid me three shillings and sixpence in advance. He went out for a short time in the evening. On the following day he had breakfast, and was out till two o'clock. On Sunday I asked the prisoner if he would like to dine with us, and he said he preferred dining upstairs, being a little busy. He paid 2s. 6d. on that day. I remember on one occasion speaking to him about the Brighton murder. On Monday I asked him if he had my Sunday paper, and he said he had not. I said to the prisoner, "Do you know whether the man is caught?" and he replied, "No; I don't think he is." I don't know whether he went out after that, although he told me he did. He received a letter on the following Thursday, July 7th. My lodger took it in, and I put it under the door of his room. It was addressed to my house in the name of Clarke. He told me he had made a mistake in the number, and had given it as 33, instead of 32. He got up from the table and went next door to inquire. On the same Thursday morning, after he had received the letter, he brought downstairs to me a telegram written on a piece of paper, and asked me if I would go in a cab to his place of business to get some money. I said, "Why don't you go yourself?" and he said, "Getting out of bed I sprained my ankle and can't go." He then said, "Never mind, Mrs. Bickers; if you can't go, will you get a lad to go?" Soon afterwards I spoke to Mr. Doyle, who came in, and I heard the prisoner say, "Will you take this for me?" - at the same time giving him 1s. for the message and 6d. for himself. I did not read the piece of paper. I think it was addressed to Mr. Seale. I did not copy the writing. The police came on the evening of the following day, and took the prisoner into custody, and searched the room. Nobody visited him there. Mr. Dutton had no questions to ask.

Donald Sutherland Swanson said: I am an inspector of criminal investigations, and on the evening of Friday, July 8th, I went to 32, Smith-street, Stepney, with Inspector Jarvis, who waited outside. I entered the first-floor front room, and found the prisoner there. I said, "Percy Lefroy Mapleton?" and he said, "Yes; I expected you." I then charged him with the murder, and he said, "I am not obliged to make any reply, and I don't think I shall do so." Jarvis then entered the room, and I told him the prisoner admitted his identity. I cautioned the prisoner, and he then said, "Well, I will qualify that by saying I am not guilty." I then searched the room with Jarvis, and afterwards took the prisoner in a cab to the station.

Frederick Smith Jarvis stated: I am a detective of the Criminal Investigation department, Scotland-yard. I have heard the evidence of Swanson, and that is correct. I searched the prisoner, and found upon him 1s. in silver. The chest of drawers was unlocked, with the exception of one drawer. I broke that drawer open, and found therein a black cloth vest, stained with blood; a black scarf, also with blood upon it, and a pair of false whiskers and moustache to hook over the ears. In one of the lower drawers I found another scarf and three shirt collars. I also found two caps and a portion of a woollen shirt on the chest of drawers. I found a bottle of arnica and a pair of scissors. Prisoner said he used the latter for cutting off his moustache. In a cupboard I found some cuttings of a material like the shirt. The prisoner said, "I think that is all." We then went to Scotland-yard. On the way he said, "I am glad you have found me. I am sick of it. I should have given myself up in a day or two. I have regretted it ever since I ran away. It has put a different complexion on my case, but I feared an expose, and was afraid certain matters in connection with my family would be made public." He added, "I suppose I shall see a lawyer?" I said, "Certainly." He then added, "I am glad you have not brought any of my so-called friends from Wallington with you." On the 10th I made a further search, and found some more of the cuttings in the back yard. Mr. Dutton put no questions.
Ernest Alfred Allright said: I am an assistant to Messrs. Adams and Hilstead, pawnbrokers, 25, High-street, Borough. The pawnticket produced, dated on the 2nd June, referring to an overcoat pledged in the name of Lee, is in Mr. Creek's writing. This ticket, dated June 11th, in the name of Leigh, is in my handwriting. It refers to a dress suit and was pledged by the prisoner. I remember the prisoner coming to our shop on June 21st with a revolver. Mr. Creek looked at it, and spoke to the prisoner about its being loaded. The prisoner drew the cartridges and returned the revolver to Mr. Creek, and the latter advanced 5s. upon it. On the 27th June I was downstairs where we keep the articles that are pawned, when Mr. Creek called me up and told me to get the revolver. That was about 12 o'clock on Monday, the 27th. I got the revolver and gave it to Mr. Creek. I did not see the person who redeemed it.
By Mr. Dutton: I knew the prisoner from the 11th of June as James Lee, of 11, Southampton-street, Peckham.
Mr. Berry, Superintendent of police, East Grinstead, deposed that in Lewes gaol prisoner asked him for the pawnticket of the dress suit "to hand over to his friends for his defence."
Mrs. Catherine Cross, wife of the manager of Mr. Gold's baker's shop, at 145, East-street, Walworth, stated that Mr. Gold called there, according to weekly custom, on Monday, June 27, between 10 and 11, and took away the week's takings, 38 pounds in gold, 5s. in silver and a penny, in a little canvas bag. Mr. Gold appeared to be in excellent health at the time.
Cross-examined: I have never heard Mr. Gold mention Lefroy or Mapleton. I never knew or heard of such a person.
Mr. Goldsmith, assistant in the engineers' department of the Brighton railway, having produced a plan of the whole of the Brighton line, with the spots marked in red ink where the body of Mr. Gold, the collar, hat, purse, and umbrella were found.
Mr. Poland said that completed the case for the prosecution.

As Lefroy rose while the clerk, Mr. Waugh, read the charge to him, there was a buzz of sensation among the spectators in court, and everybody leaned forward to catch the prisoner's utterances in reply. Asked what he had to say in answer to the charge, Lefroy, in a deep bass voice, and in a haughty and off-hand style, said, "I reserve my defence."
The magistrates then formally committed the prisoner for trial at the Lewes assizes on the charge of wilful murder.
A large crowd in the High-street witnessed the removal to the police-station of Lefroy, who walked in the midst of a phalanx of police, marching in military fashion. In the course of the evening he was conveyed to Lewes gaol in a fly.

On Thursday evening, after the close of the magisterial investigation, a second knife was found near Hassocks-gate, the place where the train in which the murder took place is said to have speed. The knife is very much stained, and the blade is bent in a most remarkable manner, as though it had been used with great force.

Source: Lloyd's Weekly London Newspaper, July 24, 1881, Pages 2-3

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Re: Brighton Railway Murder

Post by Karen on Mon 2 May 2011 - 6:21

True Stories of Crime and Criminals.
PERCY MAPLETON LEFROY, THE MAN IN THE EXPRESS.

One of the coolest criminals M. Mace the great chief of the Paris police, declared he ever had to arrest was a man named Galliart. Galliart, having murdered a fellow passenger in an express train, alighted from the carriage apparently absorbed in reading a newspaper, and by this ruse passed a crowd of railway officials with a concealed face. The trick enabled him to disappear unrecognised. Ultimately it proved fatal to him. The piece of paper he had used was a page torn from a periodical his victim had been perusing, and when Galliart was at last run down this sheet was found in his lodgings. It had on it an instalment of a serial story.
"I thought the story so good," said Galliart, "that I resolved to read it day by day, and kept the instalment I had used to hide my face with. What a fool I was not to buy another copy!"
The torn-out page, fitting exactly the fragment of newspaper found beside the dead man, established the scoundrel's identity as the victim's fellow-traveller.
"Can you, gentlemen of the jury, believe," demanded the celebrated barrister, Mr. Montagu Williams, addressing the Court in defence of Percy Mapleton Lefroy, accused of one of the most sensational crimes ever committed upon a British railway - "can you, gentlemen, believe that the prisoner, little more than a youth, discovered in the compartment of that railway carriage in which, according to the prosecution, he had a few minutes before committed one of the most awful deeds on record - can you believe that he could have nerved himself with such consummate self-possession as to act the part he did of an innocent man, unless he had been truly so? Is it possible to believe that he concocted the story he related - that he acted a lie? If being the murder he acted as he did, then it is one of the most astounding pieces of dissimulation ever recorded." Upon the afternoon of June 27th, 1881, the two o'clock express train from London Bridge to Brighton steamed into the station at Preston Park and stopped for the purpose of ticket collection. A cry from one of the officials engaged in the work caused others to hasten to him. He was looking with terrified face into a first class smoking carriage, the door of which he had opened.
"Something terrible has happened here! he exclaimed to the men who came round, and he pointed a trembling finger to the carriage.
In one corner of it was a startling figure, a young, dark-haired man who dazedly looked at the officials. His face was ghastly pale, save where it was smeared with bloodstains. He had no hat. His collar and tie had disappeared and his clothes were torn, as if he had been engaged in a desperate struggle.
The carriage itself bore traces of having been the scene of a fight for life. There was blood on the cushions and floor.
At the sight of the faces round the door the man seemed to recover himself.
"I have been attacked!" he said. "A man tried to murder me. I am injured and feel faint. Can you get a doctor?"
He quickly revived enough to be able to step out of the carriage, and to make a statement to a policeman and the station master.
"My name is Percy Mapleton Lefroy, and I am a journalist," he said. "I got into a carriage at London Bridge Station. There were then in it an old gentleman, seated in a corner reading a newspaper, and another man who looked like a countryman. As I sat looking out of the window I suddenly saw a flash and heard the report of a revolver. Then I was attacked by the man - I think it was the countryman - with the butt-end of the weapon, and became insensible."
He was questioned as to the appearance of his would-be assassin.
"He was rather red-faced," he replied, "and had dark whiskers, but no moustache. He was dressed in dark grey."
"And what became of him and the other person?" asked the station master.
"I cannot tell," said Lefroy. "The attack made on me was so sudden and ferocious that I was stunned almost at once. I don't remember anything after the first minute, till I began to recover as the train steamed into Preston Park."
To assist him in recovering himself, Lefroy walked slowly up and down the platform. One of the porters, as he did so, suddenly noticed something bright hanging from his left shoe. He leant down. The object was part of a watch chain! The porter gave it a tug and pulled out a gold watch!
"I put it there," explained Lefroy, and the people remembered afterwards that he trembled as he spoke. "I put it there for safety."
As there was no doctor handy at Preston Park, Lefroy entered the train once more to proceed in it to Brighton, only a couple of minutes' journey. At Brighton his wounds were attended to.
It was strange, the doctor thought, how slight they were to have produced the insensibility which Lefroy stated they had occasioned. They had, he declared, rendered him unconscious for close on thirty minutes - from the time the train entered Merstham tunnel (doomed to become again notorious in connection with the later murder of Miss Money) till it reached Preston Park. And it was peculiar, too, how the wounds had bled. Such scratches - the abrasions were merely superficial - seemed inadequate to account for the ghastly appearance of Lefroy.
Calm and collected, Lefroy answered all the questions put to him, and so impressed were the folk whose inquiries he so readily replied that it was resolved to allow him to go home to his address at Wallington, near Croydon, accompanied by two policemen. At one of the stations on the journey home a railway official appeared at the door and spoke to the constables.
"There's been a gentleman found dead on the line," he said. "Looks as if he had been done to death."
"Hush! interrupted one of the officers; "this chap was in the business and may overhear you."
Lefroy said nothing. Arrived at Wallington, the officers saw Lefroy to his address.
"If I am wanted tomorrow, you will find me here," he remarked, as he stepped inside the door, "or at my club in the Strand. Good day."
An hour or two later the police were once more at the door of that house. A telegram had come stating that the gentleman found on the line had clearly been murdered and robbed, and that Lefroy must be detained, as there were discoveries pointing to him as the murderer. The servant who met the officer at the door informed him that Lefroy had left the house almost immediately on entering it, stating he was going to see a surgeon he knew in the neighbourhood. Lefroy, having at first extricated himself from the terrible dilemma he had found himself in, had at last lost his nerve and sought safety in flight!
Up to that point his self-possession and audacity had been equal to Galliart's.
As the two o'clock train for Brighton was leaving London Bridge on the day of the tragedy there had been seated in a first-class smoking carriage an old gentleman occupied in reading a newspaper. He was a Mr. Gold, a retired business man living at Brighton, who had run up to London to collect some rents, and who was now on his way home. As the train was about to start, a young fellow in a dark frock coat, dark trousers, and wearing a low felt hat, who had been walking up and down the platform peering into the carriages as if in search of someone, suddenly walked to the door of Mr. Gold's carriage, opened it, and entered.
The two were alone - the unsuspecting man seated in the corner and beguiling his homeward journey with his newspaper, and the man in the opposite seat with the revolver ready in his pocket, waiting but a favourable moment to fire at and murder his victim.
As the train with a shriek dashed into the gloom of the Merstham tunnel, Lefroy commenced his attack. A passenger in the next compartment heard four explosions, which he attributed to fog signals. In the smoking carriage a desperate struggle was proceeding.
Severely injured as Mr. Gold had been by the shots, he had turned up his assailant and defended himself with his umbrella. Then they engaged hand to hand. As the train rushed on and passed some cottages at the side of the line, a woman, looking out of the window of her house, had seen two men standing up and grappling together. "Was it a struggle or merely horseplay" she wondered.
But at last the old man was overcome. Lefroy helped himself to his watch and chain and the contents of his pockets, and then, opening the door, he threw the dead or dying man out, and sat down to think.
He had lost his hat in the struggle - his collar and tie - and his clothes were torn and blood-stained. If he attempted to escape in such a condition from the train he would undoubtedly attract notice. If he had killed Mr. Gold at once, as he had designed, he might have thrown him out of the carriage, arrived at Preston Park calm and smoking his cigar, and passed in the crowd unobserved. The struggle had upset all his plans!
To extricate himself from the fearful situation he concocted his story of the attack, hid Mr. Gold's watch in his shoe, and proceeded to daub himself with the blood that lay in the carriage - those terrible stains would give a greater appearance of truth to his story of escape from murder when he was questioned at Preston Park!
So far Lefroy had escaped. Not the slightest clue could now be discovered as to his whereabouts. In spite of the offer of 100 pounds reward by the railway company and by the Government, no one seemed to have the least information respecting him. From one end of the country to the other people kept a keen look-out for a young man, aged about twenty-two, tall, slim, slightly round-shouldered, with dark hair, slight moustache (though that would probably be shaved off), and a peculiarly retreating chin.
Ten days passed before the police received information that there was lodging at a little house in Stepney, in the East of London, a newly-arrived stranger who called himself Clarke, and who described himself as an engineer from Liverpool. The stranger answered to the description of the suspected murderer for whom all were seeking, and during the day he remained indoors. He kept his window-blind down so that no one might peep in on him, and he avoided meeting the people in the house as if fearful of some discovery. Could he be the sought-for murderer? That evening Inspector Swanson, of Scotland Yard, and another officer suddenly entered the strange lodger's room.
"You are Percy Mapleton Lefroy," exclaimed Swanson, laying hands on the trembling man, who looked at them too amazed and horrified to resist. "I arrest you for the murder of Mr. Gold in the Brighton express."
"I am glad you have found me," gasped Lefroy, at last. "I am sorry I ran away. It makes things wear such a bad complexion. But I could not bear the exposure."
Lefroy was tried at Maidstone, Lord Chief Justice Coleridge presiding at the trial, while on Lefroy's behalf Mr. Montagu Williams, the great criminal advocate, appeared. The case lasted three days, and the court was daily besieged by huge crowds of persons conveyed to the town from London in special trains.
"I hope I shall not be mobbed when I am acquitted," Lefroy remarked to one of his guardians in the dock, and he gave orders that a cab might be ready at a private door in the rear of the prison to carry him secretly away.
"He was the most theatrical prisoner I ever saw," exclaimed Montagu Williams. "He acted the whole time."
He was a poor, vain creature, and was much annoyed that he was not allowed to obtain an evening suit and appear in it in court. He carried into the dock a brand-new shining top-hat (he had lost his felt one in the fatal struggle), and he seemed, even at the most dreadful points in the case, to be chiefly concerned about that hat. Once, when a passing warder brushed it with his elbow, Lefroy snatched it up and carefully smoothed it. At that moment the Solicitor-General was denouncing him as Mr. Gold's assassin and demanding a verdict which would send him to the gallows!
"Gentleman," Lefroy cried, as the jury pronounced the word "Guilty," "some day when it is too late you will know that you have murdered me."
Lefroy's confidence that he would be acquitted was all pretence. Conscious of his guilt, he had sought before his trial to induce a woman friend to attempt to smuggle to him in prison a small phial of prussic acid concealed in a cake!
In order to postpone the execution he, while awaiting death, concocted a bogus confession of his being the perpetrator of the mysterious murder of Lieutenant Roper in Chatham Barracks a few months previously. The details of the confession, however, betrayed such utter ignorance of the real facts of the crime that the trick failed in its purpose, and upon the day fixed he was executed in Lewes Gaol, confessing the justice of his sentence, and - all his theatrical bravado fallen from him - a trembling coward.

Source: Ashburton Guardian, Volume XXVIII, Issue 7093, 4 February 1907, Page 1

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