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Robert Clack
Chief Inspector
Username: Rclack

Post Number: 603
Registered: 3-2003
Posted on Sunday, July 24, 2005 - 7:11 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Heres one for AP's growing list of Victorian Murders. Unfortunately I haven't been able to find out the outcome.

23 September 1899



A GREAT sensation was caused in Worksop by the report that a woman named Jessie Brett, wife of Wm. Brett, a workman employed in the canals-department of the Great Central Railway Company at Worksop, and living at 102, Netherton Road had been found under circumstances pointing undoubtedly to murder of a brutal kind by some person or persons at present unknown. Subsequent inquires verified the story, and there can be no doubt that a crime of a brutal nature had been committed. It appears a farm labourer named Sprowell was about his work in a field on Netherton Road, at the extremity known as Lower Sparken Hill, when he observed a booted leg protruding from some loose straw by the side of the stack. He uncovered it and found the body of a woman, shockingly mutilated, and bearing marks of brutal ill-treatment. The principal injuries were to the face and head, which were lacerated in such a manner as to render the features almost unrecognisable. The clothes were also disarranged, and altogether the spectacle was of a horrifying description. The body was quite cold and stiff. He at once raised an alarm, and the police were informed. Sergeant Stringfellow and Police-constable Phillips hurried to the scene, and the husband of the deceased was brought from his work. Identity having been fully established, the body was conveyed in a van to the home of the husband, which is only about 200 yards from the spot where the body was found. Shortly after noon Deputy Chief Constable Harrop arrived from Nottingham to superintend the investigations, and visited the field where the discovery was made. The coroner for the district (Dr. Housley) was also communicated with.
Deceased had been from home since September 9, but the neighbours say it was not an uncommon occurrence for her to be absent by day or night. The relations of the woman and her husband appear not to have been of the most amicable nature, there having been frequent quarrels between them. The husband is generally regarded as hard-working, steady man, and an act in his favour is that some years ago he received the Royal Humane Societyís medal for saving several lives, when, after a dance, a party drove into Cuckney dam. He appears to have taken no notice of his wifeís absence, and to have gone to his work as usual. Deceased is 40 years of age, and the mother of a family. During the afternoon Drs. Montague and Crawford made a post-mortem examination.
An inquiry was opened at Worksop concerning the death of Mrs. Brett. According to the evidence of several neighbours, serious quarrels had occurred between Mrs. Brett and her husband, and during the last twelve months she is stated to have given way to drink. A son stated that a man named Tate used threats to his mother, because, as he alleged, she had enticed his wife to her house. The lad said he went to bed on the night of the murder with his father, who was a sleep when witness woke next morning. A neighbour also disposed to hearing Tate use threatening language against Mrs. Brett. The medical testimony showed that considerable force had been used, and that the cause of death was fracture of the skull, bringing on hemorrhage on the brain. The inquiry was adjourned till the September 26.
Charles George French, alias Tate, was subsequently arrested at Liverpool, and charged at Worksop in conjunction with deceasedís husband, a bricklayer, with the murder of the woman, or aiding and abetting in the same. Both prisoners protested their innocence. No fresh evidence beyond that already adduced at the inquest was given, and accused were remanded for a week pending further inquiry into the circumstances of the mysterious crime. It is fifty years since a murder was committed at Worksop, and it is a singular coincidence that in that case also the victim was named Brett.

31st September 1899

The Worksop Tragedy.
At Worksop, on Wednesday, Charles George French, alias Tate, was charged on remand with the murder of Jessie Brett. The report of the Treasury said that, having considered the case very carefully, they had decided to offer no evidence against the accused, as the evidence was insufficient to warrant the Bench in committing the man for trial. The magistrates concurred, and French was discharged. French was subsequently handed over to the Leamington Police, who, it was stated, held a warrant against him for deserting his lawful wife and family.


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