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Murder & Crime Series : Lake District
Murder & Crime Series : Lake District
Drawing on a wide selection of sources and illustrated with more than fifty images, this collection of grisly tales explores the shadier side of the Lake District's past.
It features the tale of the 'Keswick Imposter', who seduced and bigamously married a young lady of Buttermere before being hanged at the Sands in Carlisle for fraud, a story which was the inspiration for Melvyn Bragg's "The Maid of Buttermere". Also included is the account of an eighteenth-century gang who repeatedly tried to kidnap a wealthy (but alcoholic) landowner and marry him to a prostitute in order to lay their hands on his fortune. With murders, hangings, kidnap and violence, "Murder & Crime: Lake District" is sure to captivate and horrify everyone interested in the criminal history of the area.
The History Press
166mm x 234mm paperback
Black & white photographs & documents
In the afternoon PhilipTinnenay went into the Jovial Butcher in Botchergate, Carlisle. He told the landlady, Ann Irving, that he had murdered his girlfriend. “He took out his handkerchief and started to cry again, saying, “They call her Mary Brown; she is a bad woman.”
Tinnenay had murdered her on the previous afternoon. He told her room-mate, “I’ve killed her, I’ve beaten her. I’ve hammered her brains out.”
Mary had been found in Far Field. “She had sustained horrific injuries, but was still alive, almost twenty-four hours after suffering the vicious attack”. She died the following morning at three o‘clock.
Two local doctors were called to examine the body. They shaved her head. “They found a piece of her brain protruding from a wound, and Dr Marrs next inserted his fingers into three deep wounds , and discovered three skull fractures.”
When he was sentenced to hang, Tinnenay wrote a poem in which he asked for his gibbeted body to be glutted on by birds of prey as a warning to future ages.
Just over two weeks afterwards, on 15th September, 1826, Robert Fox, from Gosforth, “entered the shop of Whitehaven druggist David Saul and asked for two pennyworth of arsenic, claiming he wanted to kill some rats.” He actually wanted to kill his heavily pregnant wife, Sarah. She drank the bitter posset he offered her, as did her sister and the family pig, but when the dose proved insufficient, he forced more ‘medicine’ on his reluctant wife.
Robert Fox and Philip Tinnenay were hanged in Carlisle on the same day, Monday, 11th March, 1827, before a crowd of many thousands. “ Their bodies,” we are told, “were dissected in front of a gathering of eminent medical men and their students.”
Margaret Thompson was a prostitute plying her trade at the Michaelmas Fair in Cockermouth in 1833. She rushed towards five Workington men who were savagely beating one of their fellow colliers, Bernard Burns. She begged them to stop the assault, but one of them, Green, “swore at her and shouted, “If you don’t go away I’ll smash your brains out as small as an egg was ever chopped for a canary!”. Margaret ran away, but Burns’s body was found in the River Derwent a week later.
Incredibly, and much to the anger of the assembled mob, the five men were acquitted at their trial, at the Carlisle Assizes. They were beaten and pursued down English Street. Green, with his wife’s help, sought refuge in the Turk’s Head in Fisher Street. Another of the freed men was beaten in Paternoster Row.
Nonetheless, the following night the five men were in Cockermouth drunkenly boasting of how they had got away with murder. The defence witnesses were found guilty of perjury but, officially, the murder of Bernard Burns remained unsolved.
The transcripts of old court cases, especially nineteenth century ones, provide vivid, lurid reading and Martin Baggoley has obviously relished leafing through many a musty volume.
The other crimes subject to his forensic eye are the Bewcastle Murder of 1849, the Concealed Babies case of 1877, The Hindpool tragedy of the following year and two further murders in Barrow in 1917 and 1942. Martin also tells the famous story of Mary Robinson, the Maid of Buttermere and her seduction by the notorious impostor, John Hatfield, and he gives an account of the tragic killing of Constable Byrne by the Netherby burglars.
If you like your murders gruesome, bloody, local and true, this is just the book for you.
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