MURDER VERDICT AGAINST BURROWS.
DECISION OF CORONER’S JURY RECEIVED WITH CHEERS.
“I Shan’t be like Charles Peace: I Shan’t Tremble when I get on the Scaffold.”
SENSATIONAL EVIDENCE AT THE INQUEST.
Alleged Dramatic Statements by Prisoner.
“I DO NOT KNOW FEAR.”
“Men said things whilst my hands were tied, but with my hands loose and in the street, not one of them dare face me.”
Mr. G. H. Wilson resumed the inquest into the death of Thomas Wood at the Town Hall, Glossop. on Tuesday.
Prisoner was brought into Court and took a seat between warders at either side.
At the outset the Deputy Coroner addressed the jury, pointing out that they were there to ascertain how the boy came to his death.
The evidence to be given will be circumstantial evidence only, he said. There is no direct evidence as to how he met his death. That being so you will take particular notice as to the times and dates when the deceased was last seen and as to the statements of persons who were last seen with him. There are some 20 witnesses to be called and probably the inquest will go on to-morrow.
Fred Wood (father) said on Sunday, March 4th, he got the boy ready to go out and he went to his uncle James. He came back and went out again at 10 o'clock.
The Coroner; Did you see him again? — No, sir.
Witness said he did not see him until he identified the body.
Did he bring anything back with him when he went to his uncles? — A small parcel of fish. Did he take anything with him? — Yes he look a small purse.
Anything else? — No.
He said Burrows had been in the habit of taking the boy out for walks. He used to have a walk in the fields, to the market, and such like, and bring him back.
Was he away for a long time, for an hour or so? — Yes.
Did you ever object to Burrows taking him out? — No, sir.
Has there been any ill-feeling towards you? — No, sir; there has been no ill-feeling. Prisoner was asked if he wished to put any question to witness and replied no, sir.
James Wood 8, Freetown, Glossop, uncle of deceased said he remembered the Sunday morning; when Tommy came to see him at his shop.
The Coroner: What time would it be? — Near 10 o'clock.
Did you give him anything? — A small parcel containing fish.
I told him to take it to his father and to come back for some sweets. He came back about 10-30.
Did he stay? -— Yes, close on half-an-hour.
Did you give him anything? — No, sir.
Not an apple? — No, sir, nothing.
I sent him to his grandfather’s. That would be about 11 o’clock. That was the last I saw him until March 13th, when I saw the body recovered from the air shaft in James's field, Simmondley. I identified it.
The Coroner (to prisoner): Do you wish to ask the witness any questions?
Prisoner: Not at this stage, sir.
Irvine Broadbent (44), 1, Cooper Street, Glossop, said: On Sunday morning, March 4th, he was coming home from Charlestown Mill.
Did you see Thomas Wood? — I can't swear to the boy. There was a child.
Did you see Burrows? — Yes. He turned down Slatelands Road.
Witness said he could not swear to the child. He could not swear whether it was a boy or a girl, because he was not struck with the child.
How old was it? — It wouldn't be more than 4. The exact time was 11 to 11-30.
What was Burrows doing with the child? — He was giving it an apple.
Was the child eating it? — Yes. I saw Burrows throw away the core he had cut out of it.
Witness said Burrows and the child were just on in front of him. He could have touched them on the shoulder; but he never got in front of them.
A Juryman: But you cannot tell us whether it was a boy or a girl? — No, sir. I never had my attention on it. He could not tell how it was dressed. He mentioned that another person had spoken to Burrows before.
Prisoner was asked if he wished to ask questions and replied, no, sir, he is speaking the truth.
Samuel Buckley Robinson (17), farm labourer, said on Sunday, March 4th, he had a horse with him and he saw Burrows in Slatelands Road. He had a little child with him.
The Coroner: Was it a boy or girl? — A boy, about 4 or five.
Witness did not know the boy nor what he was wearing.
Did Burrows say anything? — Yes, he asked where I was going. Are you going to the Smithy? — I said no.
He told me about some cauliflowers. He said it wasn't him that was getting them.
Witness left him and went back to Pikes Lane Farm, where he arrived about 11-45. It was 11-30 when he saw Burrows with the boy.
The Coroner (to Burrows): Do you wish to ask any questions? — No, sir, at a later stage.
The Coroner: Do you mean to-day? — No, sir, when I have legal aid; at a later stage.
Jane Tregarthan Sidebottom, wife of Peter Sidebottom, residing at 24, Turn Lee Road, Glossop, said: I remember Sunday, March 4th, the day Thomas Wood was missing. I was going to my sister’s at Charlesworth, and went through Simmondley and past Robinson's hen farm. I saw a man and a child in the distance on my left, near to a white house on the left-hand side of the road going to Charlesworth known as Coal Pit house. It was before I got to Cloud Farm. I could not distinguish who the man was. There is a lot of shale there, and the man and child were walking on the shale, on the Glossop side of the Coal Pit house I noticed the child was wearing something grey. I should judge the distance between me and the child would be about 200 yards. They were going towards Charlesworth. The child seemed to be stumbling along in front of the man and he helped it along like a father would with both hands. I set off from home in Turn Lee Road about half-past eleven, and was pushing a pramette, and should think it would take me about half-an-hour to get to that point, which would make the time about 12 o'clock. I went forward to Charlesworth, and met Miss Goddard and a friend at the gateway to Coal Pit house. I arrived at my sister's at Charlesworth at twenty minutes past 12.
By a Juror: When I saw the man he was helping the boy in the direction of Charlesworth on the shale heap. I should judge the child to be about three years of age.
By another Juror: The child looked small through being in the distance.
In reply to the Coroner: Witness said she saw the man and child again come into view on the shale heap and she afterwards went on out of sight of them. I had gone on about a dozen yards when I saw them the second time on the top of another shale heap still proceeding towards Charlesworth. The man was still helping the child along.
By a Juror: She could not see whether the child had a hat on. It was too far away.
Prisoner: Can I ask a question, sir.
The Coroner: Yes.
Prisoner: In writing or now, sir.
The Coroner: You may put it now.
Prisoner: I am not quite clear about this shaling. Do you mean on the top side of Master Booth's white house? — Yes.
Prisoner: Thank you.
The Coroner repeated the query and the prisoner remarked, “There is a lot of difference in the distance, sir.”
Prisoner put other questions regarding the shale heap, and the foreman remarked that there were several in the vicinity and it was somewhat confusing.
The Coroner: Was it on the first you came to after you passed Robinson's farm? — Well, I cannot quite say. It was on one of the smaller shale heaps before she got to the white house nearer to Glossop.
There was a buzz, of sensation when witness closed and prisoner at once remarked, “I have an objection to make, sir, against the Inspector continually assisting the witnesses and talking all the time. It might be all right and it might be all wrong.
Frank Burgess, farm labourer, who lives in a cottage at Hargate Hill, Dinting, said at 12-30 he saw Burrows come down from the stile which leads from the direction of Simmondley. That was the direction from the air shaft where the boy was found.
He heard his foot-step as though stepping from the path to the lane leading to the road. The path comes from a field nearer to Charlesworth than the field wherein is the air shaft.
Burrows mentioned something about the men working In the quarry, but witness did not take particular notice. He also asked the time, and I said about 12-30 or one o'clock or something like that. He then left me,
The Coroner: Did you notice anything particular? — No, I took no notice.
Did you notice whether his clothing was wet or not? — No, I had no particular interest in the fellow, that's why. Burrows went towards Simmondley Lane.
The Coroner: Had Burrows anyone with him when you saw him? — No, no one whatever.
A Juror: If there had been anyone near, say on the other side of the wall, you walked with him long enough to see it? — Oh yes; if he had had a child with him I would have seen him.
Another Juror: Did he say he had lost a child? — No.
The Coroner: Did he mention anything about a child? — No, sir.
Prisoner, asked if he wished to interrogate, said “At a later stage.”
The Coroner: During the inquest.
Prisoner: At a later stage. All I say is he’s forgotten what he said to me. But it doesn’t, matter at present, sir.
Miss Mary Harrison, of Hargate Hill Farm, said on Sunday, March 4th, she was returning home by way of the fields leading from Simmondley Lane to Hargate Hill. She met a man half-way through the fields between Simmondley Lane and their farm. She did not know who it was then.
Can you tell who it is now?
Witness nodded to prisoner and said she now knew the man to be Burrows. He was going towards Glossop.
She noticed nothing particular about him.
Did he appear to be in a hurry? — Yes, he was hurrying down.
In a big hurry,? — No, just in a hurry.
Did he seem to be heated? — Yes, he seemed like as though he had been hurrying.
“Miss, it's close,” he said to me, “I'm sweating”.
Witness said her impression was that it was cold.
Did you think it a funny remark? — No, I didn't think anything at all.
She said their clock at the farm was half-an-hour fast on that morning, Burgess (previous witness) always came to the house for milk but she did not know at what time.
Prisoner said he had one question to put later on, but not at the Inquest.
P.C. Fred Bradbury, Glossop, said on the morning in question he was at Simmondley Lane at 12-50 p.m. and he saw Burrows and another man. Burrows was about 15 yards along the footpath leading from Hargate Hill to Simmondley Lane. He came into Simmondley Lane. I was passing down the lane, and he came along with me as far as the Junction bridge. He drew my attention to the soaking wet feet he had. He was wet through almost up to the knees. He said he had got wet through tramping through the fields looking for Clarkson's Farm, but was unable to find it.
Did he say anything else? — He said he would go and change his boots and make further enquiries about the farm. He also stated he had seen Cranmer's farm man whom he had formerly worked for, and had had a conversation with him.
Coroner: Did you notice anything about Burrows? — He looked as though he had been in a hurry. He was sweating very much. He was very talkative. It is hard to explain but there was something different about him.
Coroner: You thought there was something different about him? — Yes there was. Witness knew Burrows very well and he had not been talkative to him before, though they often passed the time of the day. On this particular day he was more talkative than usual. Witness left him at the Junction bridge. Witness got to the bottom of Simmondley about one o'clock.
Prisoner said he did not want to ask the constable any question. “Not until I have legal aid” he added.
Answering a Juryman, witness said the day was a very cold damp day.
Burrows’ boots were very muddy besides being wet and it looked as though he had been in a ditch. Had Burrows not called attention to them he (witness) would not have noticed the condition of his trousers.
John Dale, 90, Victoria Street, Glosop, chemist's assistant, stated, I went to Whitfield Church on the morning of Sunday when the boy was missing. I left the Church about a quarter to twelve along with my two brothers, Irvine and George, aged 14. I went home for the dog, and immediately went out again and down Slatelands Road on to the Nab by Simmondley and Dingle Cottage. I saw Mr. Oliver against the hen pens at the bottom of Slatelands Road, and we met Frank Steel, as we were coming down the Nab, and stood talking to him about ten minutes. It would be about one o'clock then. We met four little lads coming up the Nab. When we got into Slatelands Road we stopped against the brook just in front of the gate of Slatelands House. We were throwing pieces of paper into the brook for the dog to fetch. That was about twenty-five minutes past one, and we remained there about ten minutes. Albert Edward Burrows came up the road when we had been there about five minutes. Burrows said to us, “If you see young Tom Wood send him home; he is lost.” Burrows then went farther up the road. There were four little boys coming down Slatelands Road from the direction of Lord Doverdale's gates. We remained at the brook about five minutes after Burrows left us, and then went home up Slatelands Road. Just as we were passing the edge of Lord Doverdale's plantation we passed two men with a dog. I did not notice who the men were, as my attention was directed to our own dog. We arrived home at a quarter to two by the Town Hall clock.
By a Juror: I didn't see any boys quarrelling in Slatelands Road or any little boy looking over the wall while we were bathing the dog
Frank Steele, a cotton operative, residing at 88, Victoria Street, Glossop, said on the 4th inst. I went for a walk up the Nab, and left the house about 12 o'clock. I met John Dale and his two brothers about one o'clock, and went along Slatelands Road with them. We stopped just past the bridge facing Slatelands House; got over the wall and started throwing paper in the brook. That would be about twenty five minutes past one. We stayed there about ten minutes. Albert Edward Burrows came up to us and stopped and said something about a boy being lost. I did not catch what it was. There were no other boys about at the time, but some boys came down Slatelands Road after Burrows had passed. These boys would be about 12 years of age. I did not see any boy about four years of age the whole of the time I was there. I stayed about five minutes after Burrows had left and then went home up Slatelands Road but do not remember seeing any men, as I was watching Dale's dog over the wall.
By a juror: The wall at the place where we were playing at the brook is only about a yard high, and we could have seen any little boy playing about in the road if there had been one.
The Court then adjourned for luncheon.
After the adjournment the first witness called was Thomas Shortland, 9, Kershaw Street, Glossop who stated that on Sunday, March 4th, at twenty minutes past one in the afternoon he was going to Simmondley when he met Burrows in Slatelands Road against the gates leading into Red Court. That would be about half-past one. Burrows spoke to him and said he was there to meet a Mr. Clarkson with regard to the carting of some manure. Witness continued: I saw four young boys there, the oldest would be about eight or nine years of age. There was no child there as young as four years old. They went down Slatelands, and when I saw Burrows he was standing talking to them in Slatelands. Burrows said to me “There’s Fred Wood's lad down the road (pointing down the lane below); would you take him home; if I do his father would only curse me.” I remarked to him “Don't you interfere with anybody's children.” He then said “I'll go down and look for him.” We went down, and facing Slatelands House there were three boys playing in the brook course with a dog. We went down, Burrows and I, to the hen pens which are on the right-hand side just below the bridge. Burrows stopped opposite the hen pen, and pointed something out in the hen pen, and said it was Fred Wood's lad’s purse, and that one of the boys had thrown it over. We went (proceeded witness) as far as the bridge, and Burrows then said he would go to dinner and would meet me in the afternoon to have a walk. Burrow’s went on with me as far as Salt’s farm yard, and then said he would go to dinner and meet me in the afternoon up on the rough piece up the Simmondley side of the Nab near the watercress beds. Burrows remarked “I won’t be long.”
The Coroner: Did he say why he would meet you in the afternoon? — No, only to have a walk. Witness added “He left me at the bottom of Slatelands and I went forward to Simmondley. I met Burrows in the afternoon where we had arranged to meet about 3 o'clock opposite the water-cress beds, and we then went for a walk towards the Nab — towards Hayfield way.
The Coroner: Did he say anything to you about the missing boy? — No, he never mentioned anything.
By the Coroner: They were up there for about three quarters of an hour to an hour.
The Coroner: Did you notice anything in particular about him? — Yes. I noticed that from leaving me at the bottom of Slatelands to coming back again he had oiled his boots.
Did you notice what they were like in the morning? — They were very dirty.
Did you notice anything about his trousers? — No; but I noticed he had brown corduroy trousers in the morning.
Did you notice whether his trousers were wet? — No, I only noticed that they were brown.
What else did you notice in the afternoon? — I noticed he was frightened.
How could you tell? — Well, when we got to Simmondley on the way back to George Storey's he wanted to do something, and said he dared not leave me. He would not go without I went with him. He said “Come on with me” and I said “No I will wait of you.” He would not go and would not give any reason. He would not leave me, I could not get away from him, until I got back to Kershaw Street, Glossop. He seemed as if he wanted to be seen with me. It had just gone 5 o'clock, it might have been five minutes past, when we got back in Kearshaw Street.
The Coroner: What was the next you heard of him?
Witness: It was the following morning, Monday, he came to my house when I was in bed; it would be between eight and nine o'clock. He said to my missus, “Is he in?” and my wife said “Yes, he is in bed”. I then heard Burrows say “Do let me speak to him”. He shouted upstairs to me, and I got up. He shouted “What time was it when I met you in Slatelands yesterday?” and I replied “One-thirty.” He said “I have left a statement with the police, and I have not stated the time; I shall have to go down and rectify it.”
What did he say then? — Well, I came down the stairs as soon as he shouted, and we went to the cotes across the road. He wanted a foot iron, and I lent him one. Then he wanted something to repair his boots and soles with; so I gave him some india rubber. He set off home with these things, and he then asked me if I would go for a walk with him in the afternoon, and I said yes.
The Coroner: Did he say why? — No, he only said to look for the little boy.
And you arranged to meet him? — Yes, at two o'clock. It would be about ten minutes to two when I met him.
Did he suggest where you should go? — Not at first; we went to his house for a start and he gave me a stick. We then went out and shouted out for Fred Wood, the boy's father, to go with us; and he said he could not go; he was going to Ashton. We set off then by Pikes Lane and Slatelands Road, and turned into the Hobroyd Fields and bore to the right towards Simmondley. We met George Storey in the old lane, and then he went with us to a field called the Kenneth fields. Burrows said to me after Storey had gone “Let's go round that air shaft in James' field where they put cows and that down, and Hargate Hill”; and he added “I don't know when I was round there.”
What did you say? — I said “We will go up here - up the Kenneth towards the Nab. He kept stopping and wanted to go over towards Simmondley; but I insisted on going the other way, and we went the other way.
The Coroner: Did you notice anything peculiar in his manner? — Yes, he was strange.
In what way? — In his looks and everything.
We went forward then (continued witness) up to the Nab bottom, and sat down. While we were there he said “Go and borrow George Storey's gun to shoot rabbits,” and I said “George Storey has no licence, and he won't lend it to his own brother”. He said “If he lends it to me and I get in trouble, I'll say I have 'pinched' it out of the shippon, to clear George Storey.”
We then came home to their house,
What was the next you saw of him? — On the Wednesday, March 7th. He came and told me that the police wanted to speak to me — he said that Inspector Chadwick wanted to see me. I met him in Gladstone Street in the morning between nine and ten. Burrows said he was going to the Police Station, because they had got some boys there. After he had been to the Police Station he came to me near Brownson's comer, and said Inspector Chadwick wanted to see me.
Did he say what for? — No.
And he left you? — Yes.
When did you see him again? — On the Thursday night, the 8th March, about 6-30; he came to my house.
The Coroner: What was his manner?
Witness: He said he had had nothing to eat this week, since the child was missing.
Did he say whether it had been troubling him or not? — No, he pulled a dog collar out of his pocket and said “This is from my father; will you get me something for it”. He said “I would like some of that bacon you brought with you from Simmondley on Sunday for it” and I told him it was loo late. I said “I’ll get you a bit of anything you want,” and I got him a pound of cheese”
Did he refer to anything else? — No, not after that.
By the Coroner: I should not have noticed the purse in the hen pen if he had not pointed it out to me; it was too small tor anyone to notice when passing. It was about five or six yards away from the road in the pen.
By a Juror: Burrows told him that one of the boys told him that he had thrown it there.
Burrows (to witness): When I stood at the bottom of Slatelands, Bridgefield, did I shout to you when you had got a piece up Simmondley Brow? — No.
Just think — didn't I mention about something going up the hill? — Yes, these were some boys going up the hedge side towards Simmondley. You just drew my attention to them. That would be getting up for two o'clock.
Were those boys on the footpath, or were they trespassing? — They were trespassing. What direction were they going in? — In the direction of Simmondley.
Did they go up Weaver's Hill? — Yes.
Do you know where it brings you out? — In the old lane at Simmondley.
Is that where P.C. Ruck saw you and me going searching on the Monday? — Yes.
Burrows: He was watching us because he thought we were poaching.
Witness said this was Monday, the 5th.
Burrows: Do you remember the remarks I made about the officer on the road? — No. I don't remember you making any remarks only saying “There is a policeman going up.”
You are certain? — Yes. I am.
Well, we will leave that for later on. You don't know what I wanted the gun for? — You said you wanted it for rabbit shooting
Where do rabbits live? —in the hole or on the meadow? — I should say they live both in the hole and on the meadow.
You know what I wanted it for? —- You said you wanted it tor rabbits.
Burrows: You know quite well what I wanted the gun for and what I wanted to shoot, too. Well (added Burrows), I will ask you a question on that another day.
Annie Wood, 60, Wood Street Glossop, grandmother of the deceased, said Burrows came to her son’s house on Monday morning, the 5th of March, sometime before nine o'clock. He said to me “This is awful isn't it?” and I said “It is.” He then replied “If you will come with me Mrs Wood I will show you where one of the boys threw the purse over the hen pen.” I asked two women to come with me, Mrs. Parker and Mrs. Hammond. We all went with Mr. Burrows to Mr. Kinder's for the key of the hen pen and Mr. Plant came along and opened it. Mr. Burrows said, “It is somewhere about there”.
Mrs. Hammond saw the purse, and Mr. Plant, who was in the hen pen, picked it up and gave it to Mrs. Parker. The purse produced was the one I saw picked up, but I cannot say whether it was Tommy Wood's purse or not. Burrows, at the time we were going to look for the purse, looked very worried, and I said to him, "Are you worried because you didn't bring the little boy home”? and he said “Yes I am Mrs. Wood.” We went along Primrose Lane and I was enquiring of people if they had seen the little boy and when we got to the fields leading into Pikes Lane he left us. On the Sunday following Burrows invited me to go into his house. I went to the door and he was talking about little Tommy and he said “It was just as if an aeroplane had come and picked him up and took him away.” I said it was funny the purse was found in the hen pen and he replied that there were three boys, and my little grandchild said to Burrows “that boy has thrown my purse over there.” I asked him if he knew the boy and he said he did not.
Asked by a Juror if Burrows said anything to her about the contents of the purse, witness said she had a little idea that Burrows said there was a very much worn rubber heel in the purse.
Continuing her evidence witness said that on Sunday, March 11th, Burrows came to her house and said some women had been talking about him stating that he knew something about the child and when asked at what time he saw the child he replied at half-past one, and added that there were three boys there as he was passing, and he had seen Tommy there who told him that one of the boys had thrown the purse in the pen.
Prisoner; Did the boy love me?
Witness: He was always talking about Mr Borrows taking him in a waggon for coal. Prisoner: Do you think I loved the boy?
Witness: I cannot say.
Prisoner: Is it not a fact that he would run to me before anyone.
Witness: I cannot say that. I have only seen him with you when I have been shopping.
Sergt Geo. Clayton stated that on Tuesday the 6th of March, he was on duty at the Police Office, Glossop, and took a statement from Albert Edward Burrows. He first saw Burrows in Victoria Street, and in reply to questions he told witness that he would tell all he knew about the boy. Witness asked him to go to the Police Office and he would take his statement. They both went to the Police Station, where prisoner made a statement which witness took down in writing and it was signed by Burrows.
Constable Samuel Roe stated that on Monday, the 5th of March, Burrows came to the Police Office and there handed to him a written statement, marked No. 1, and dated Sunday, the 4th of March. Burrows merely handed the statement in. — Prisoner said the date should be the 5th of March.
The Coroner read the statement as under:— “I am writing this because there are so many reports of Thomas Wood that are not true. I spoke to one of your officers at the end of Primrose Lane and followed down behind him, after I had had a look if I could see anything of one of the firemen at the Generating Station. I walked along Primrose Lane until I got to where the Nursery Garden is and the hen-pens. I was getting some young shoots of dandelion. I spoke to three or four men talking about empty houses, and looking at a bundle of clothes tied up in the brook in a almost dry place. A man went up past Jack Salt's place, but where the officer called Bradbury went I don't know. Perhaps he went up the back road. When I got to the bridge I saw George Dale's sons with their dog playing in the brook and Thomas Wood was watching them, and I pulled him out of the way of a motor car. A Miss Barker went past with the milk cart and a boy. I met Mr. Shortland close to Lord Doverdale's gates and went back. I heard some lad had thrown his purse into the hen-pen. He had a sling whip in his hand and no hat on.”
In reply to the Coroner witness said:— I have taken the measurements of the air shaft in James’s field where the body was found; also the air shaft on the left-hand side of the roadway from Simmondley to Charlesworth. The depth of the air shaft in James's field is 112 foot to the top of wall, and to the top of the shaft 105 feet 6 inches. There is a depth of 8ft. 5in. of water in the shaft, and the wall round the shaft is 6ft. 6in high The depth of the air shaft across the road is 135 feet, with 16ft. 10in of water. The bramble bushes surrounding the mouth of the air shaft where the body was found appeared to have been crushed as if something had been pushed through them.
In reply to a question by prisoner, witness said there was a post and rail fence with barbed wire round the top shaft with room for a person to creep under.
Prisoner: Have the jurymen seen the shaft and fence?
Some of the jury replied they had, when prisoner remarked “That will do.”
Ernest Batty produced eight photographs of the disused air shafts, which he had taken under the instructions of Inspector Chadwick.
Fred Wood (recalled) said that on Sunday, the 4th of March, the boy had for breakfast a cup of tea and a slice of bread with half a fried egg. He had breakfast about 9 o'clock, and had nothing else in the way of food at home that morning.
John Wm. Ambrey, a general labourer, residing at 47, Whitfield Cross, said he was engaged in the search for Thomas Wood, and was at the air shaft when the body was recovered. After the body had been brought to the surface he was going home and on the way up Slatelands Road he heard that Burrows was missing. He went up as far as Charlestown Road and came back down Hollincross Lane and Slatelands Road when he met Jack Green who said he would go with him. They went up the Hobroyd Fields and along the bottom road loading to Lees Hall, They then went over the moor down by the Oak Wood. When they got into the fields leading to the Oak Wood they were informed that Burrows was in the hollow. They spread out and he took the water course on the right hand side leading to Dunn's Clough. He saw Burrows hiding under a holly bush on the other side of a wire fence. He sprang on to him and held him down until the other men came up. When the others arrived they got him on to his feet. Burrows asked them to have mercy on him. He said to him. “You have not shown much mercy to little Tommy,” and he replied. “I don't know what made me do it”. Two men then got his hands behind his back and tied him up. He was taken across the brook course and half-way up the hill leading towards Chunal Road, where be was handed over to Detective-Sergt. Wilson.
Burrows.; You say I asked for mercy? — Yes.
What did I say? — You simply said “Have mercy on me”.
You are positive? — Yes.
Well, it is the first time I ever did in my life. — Well, you did then. (Laughter).
“I had no fear,’’ said Burrows. “I have no fear now because —” and here he broke off to ask the witness: “You have just said that I said this before my hands were fastened behind my back.”
The Witness: Yes.
Your evidence is correct in a certain way, but you have put a little bit in about mercy. I know what I am talking about. You say I was hiding. You don't know what caused me to be there and to get down there?
The Witness. There was no logical reason for you to be in that bush as you were.
A Juryman: Are you sure Burrows made the statement that he did not know what made him do it? — Yes. I am absolutely sure.
Burrows: Yes. but do what? — I don’t know. It's not for me to say. I have simply given the statement you made.
“Well,” said Burrows, “I've got an answer to that later on.”
A Juryman: Did he make that statement when the other men had come up? — Yes.
The Juryman: Are they here?
The Coroner: They will be called.
Burrows: Are they in court?
The Coroner: Yes.
Burrows: Well, that is not fair.
The Coroner: It is the first time, you have objected.
Ralph Hinchliffe, 31, Whitfield Cross, Glossop, said on Tuesday, March 13th, he along with others was engaged in the search for the missing boy and was present at the air shaft in James's field when the body was recovered. He afterwards heard that Burrows was on the moors. He went to Freetown where Burrows lived and was informed that he had not come home. At the bottom of Freetown he saw John Hague and asked him to accompany him in the search. When they got to the Hobroyd he thought he saw Burrows going across the Nab. He went towards Lees Hall and afterwards to the “Intakes” where he saw Burrows “ducked” down. He (witness) called out to him and he turned round and then went a little further on. He sent John Hague to inform the others and half-a-dozen men came up, Ambrey being the first to get hold of prisoner. He (witness) got hold of his collar and said “Come out.” Burrows was done up, exhausted, and begging for mercy. Burrows must have thought they were going to “punce” him for he asked them not to touch him. Witness here repeated what Ambrey had stated with reference to Burrows' remarks when secured. They took him up the field and met someone who Burrows seemed to know. He (witness) thought it was Wm. Newton, when Burrows said “You will not touch my wife, she’s innocent.”
William Newton, a labourer, 102, Back Kershaw Street, corroborated the story. He found a drinking flask in Burrows' possession. “When I found this,” he went on, I held it up and said “Hello, premeditated”. Those are the words I used.”
Burrows: How many men had hold of me. when I was supposed to ask for mercy? — There were two of us I think. Then the others collected round ready for incidents. (laughter).
Were my hands loose? — We tied them.
Yes. Were they loose when you say I asked for mercy? You asked as soon as ever we got you on your feet.
Do you mean to tell me I asked for mercy from two men? — Why, you were a hunted man. (Laughter).
I don't think you knew where you stood properly. (Laughter).
What state were you all in? — We were “fair” exhausted. But we had pluck and energy enough to combat a man like you. (Laughter).
Did you put your sticks in my face? — We were too British to do the dirty on you, and you know it.
Evidence was next given by Daniel Birchall, warehouseman, 74, Freetown, who corroborated the story of Burrows's capture, and stated that he said “I don’t know what made me do it,” and later Burrows said “I had a brother who died in the asylum.”
Albert Cropland, of 22, Gladstone Street, stated that on Tuesday, the 13th of March, he was with George Barber and two other men on Simmondley Moor. They saw Albert
Edward Burrows running in the other direction. When he saw them he dropped flat. When they got up to him they found Burrows in a marsh of water and bull-rushes and said to him “What are you doing there. Have you no more sense than to lie in water”. Burrows replied, “I thought you was the gamekeeper.” He, witness, then said to him, “The gamekeeper can't touch you here.” when Burrows replied “He can touch me, I have been after rabbits.” Burrows then caught sight of Barber and asked him which way we were going. After Barber had given his reply Burrows remarked “Which way are you watching now” and witness informed him they were going towards Hargate Hill. To this Burrows made the remark “Why not go down the gulley here?” and witness replied “We are going in this direction” (indicating Hargate Hill way). Burrows then said “Well, why not go up here then on to Monks Road?” After that prisoner had some conversation with Barber, and they then went away leaving him in the water. Alter they had left Burrows came out of the marsh and went straight over the Nab in the direction of Chunal.
The Coroner: What condition was he in?
Witness: He was sweating and out of breath, and looked as if he was excited.
The Coroner: When you saw Burrows could you see the air shaft where the body was found?
Witness: Not from where we spoke to him but from the top one had a clear view. We saw him come from the top of Simmondley hill, from which point he could have seen the operations at the air shaft.
Burrows: Did all the conversation you have said take place? — Yes.
Burrows: How close did you come to me? — About four or five yards. I should have come nearer but it was too wet.
George Barber, 63, Gladstone Street, Glossop, giving evidence corroborating the last witness, stated that about five minutes past two on Tuesday, March 13th, he and Crossland were making their way to the air shaft in James's field when they saw Burrows knelt in some swampy water and rushes. He asked them which way they had come, and witness told him up the Hobroyd and over the Nab, and had followed the stream down Simmondley Moor. Burrows was about 400 yards from the direct point where he could have stood and watched the proceedings at the air shaft, and just out of the hole where he was knelt he could see on to the road leading to James's field. Burrows asked him if he had seen anything of a hare, and he replied “No.” Burrows said “Where are you going now?” and witness replied “On the top side of the air shaft” and he said “Why not go on the bottom side towards Cranmer’s, Simmondley”. They again told him they were going on the top and he remarked “Why not go on the Monks Road.” That was away from the direction of the air shaft. “He asked me if I had a gun with me,” added witness and I said “a gun is no use to me,” and I then left him.
The Coroner: What condition was he in?
Witness: He was in a very funny state.
The Coroner: What do you mean by that?
Witness: Well, if he had been a man he would not have been knelt in a ditch hole. He was kneeling in the ditch all the time he spoke to me.
Did he appear strange? — Yes, very strange.
Strange in his manner? — Yes. After we left him he went up Simmondley Moors towards the Nab and Chunal. He was not six yards out of the track we had come. We went on the top. Afterwards we saw a party of people, and we crossed back and met this party, and asked them what was the matter, and they said they were after Burrows.
Burrows: Did you see where I came from?
Burrows: Have you told all exactly as it was?
You are certain? — Yes.
Was there another man there? — Yes, two.
I want another man who saw me first.
The Coroner; Do you wish him to come to Court?
Burrows: It does not matter whether he is produced before the jury, so long as he is produced — at the far end wherever it is.
The Coroner: We can have him here if you wish him to make a statement.
Burrows: Yes, sir, he will have to come.
The Coroner: Who is the man?
Burrows: It is his brother-in-law — Isaac Lomas.
The Court then adjourned until 10-45 the following morning.
Second Day's Proceedings. When the Coroner had taken his seat, Burrows, who sat between two warders, rose and said, “Can I have a piece of writing paper and black lead? I have wanted it all week.”
The Coroner handed up to him a piece of foolscap and a pencil; and Burrows, directly afterwards, addressing the Coroner, said: “Have you any objection to me pulling my coat off”?
The Coroner: I have none.
Burrows then divested himself of his overcoat, and commenced to follow the proceedings with keen interest.
Isaac Lomas, 34 years of age, 5, Union Street, Glossop, driller, was called, and said: On Tuesday, March 13th, when the operations were taking place at the air shaft, I was on Simmondley Moor with Crossland and George Barber about 5 minutes past 2. I was on my way to the police operations at the air shaft. There were three men besides myself. I had been sat down, I was tired, and the others were a few yards in front. I saw Burrows; he appeared to be coming down the Simmondley Moor, and when he saw me he dropped flat.
The Coroner: And what was the nature of the ground? — Water and rushes — a swamp.
Who saw him first? Crossland was in front and may have seen him as soon as me — I don’t know. I beckoned to the other two men to come on.
The Coroner: Did Burrows say anything? — Not to me.
To anyone? — Yes, to Crossland and Barber. When I got up Crossland said “What are you doing there”? and Burrows said “I thought it was the gamekeeper.”
By the Coroner: He would be referring to me, I expect.
The Coroner: How far away from Burrows were you then? — About ten yards — about the width of this room.
What condition was he in? — He looked warm and seemed to be a bit excited.
Did he say anything as to where you were going? — He spoke to the other fellows, Crossland and Barber, and asked them which way they had come.
Did he ask them which way they were going? — Yes.
What did he say? — He said “Are you going up the hill; why not search down the gully”?
Would that be further away from the shaft operations or in the direction of them? — If we had searched down the gully we should have been going towards the road which leads to Charlesworth.
Did he appear to be trying to turn you away from the direction of the air shaft? — I could not say; I don't know what his motive was.
If you had done what he suggested, would it have taken you further away from the operations at the air shaft? — Yes.
Did he say anything else? — He asked George Barber if he had brought a gun, and Barber told him be had no use for a gun.
Did he say why he wanted it? — He asked Barber if he had seen any old hares about.
You say he was coming down Simmondley Moor? — He appeared to be.
If he had been at the top of the hill, could he have seen the operations at the air shaft? — I can't say; I have never been at the top.
Prisoner asked witness what were the latter's remarks when he met prisoner. “None” said witness. Just pull yourself together. You did not say anything about a hole being there?
Witness: Oh, yes: I asked the others if they were looking at the hole near there.
Prisoner: Which way does the brook run from the haunted house from behind the Nab down to Simmondley or towards the haunted house? — It was towards Simmondley.
Prisoner: I asked why not go down the valley. Is that going up the valley? When you say going down the stream ? — Witness: Yes.
Prisoner: Would not that have brought you behind the big hill between the two air shaft and Cranmer’s hen-house if you had gone down the stream across the footpath? — Witness was understood to say he did not know.
You will call that going down the hollow? Yes.
Witness did not see where prisoner came from and did not see anyone come up the stream from Simmondley in front of prisoner.
Prisoner: No men with dogs? — Not before saw you. That was afterwards.
Harold Haynes, Spring Bank, Turnlee, Glossop, assistant Borough surveyor, said: On Saturday last, the 17th inst., I took certain levels of the air shaft at Simmondley. I took the levels first at the air shaft in James' field — the one from which the body was recovered. From the surface of the bottom pit in James's field to surface of the shaft in the hillside across the road is 106ft. 6in. There is a rise of 106ft. 6in. The distance between the two shafts is 156 yards. Those are all the measurements I took.
The Coroner: You can't say as to whether there is any connection between the two shafts?— I couldn’t.
Burrows: I have just one question. You didn't go near the shaft on the other side of the Combs Rocks in the hollow? — No.
You don’t know whether any of these three are connected to each other? — I don't know that.
Dr James Henry Dible, Lecturer in Bacteriology, University of Manchester, said I was requested to make a post-mortem examination of the body at the Police Station, Glossop. I made the examination on March 15th about 9-15 a.m.
The Coroner: Will you give us the result of your examination.
Witness: The external examination. The body was that of a well-nourished male child; no death stiffening was present. The eyes were sunken and soften. The tongue protruded beyond the line of the teeth slightly bitten by these. The face was red in colour and the rest of the body pale. The skin was moist and its sodden condition, which was especially marked in the hands and feet, suggested prolonged immersion in water. There were also small muddy particles and pieces of debris clinging and entangled in the hair. A foamy, colourless material was issuing from the nose. The anus, that is the opening of the back passage was widely gaping — entirely relaxed and its interior and contents were visible. The following surface injuries were noted: Firstly specifical brazing of the skin on the inner side of both knees; Secondly there was a well marked bruise about the size of the palm of the hand over the left shoulder blade; thirdly, on the forehead just to the left of the middle line and at the junction of the hair with the skin of the forehead, there was a small bruise about half-an-inch in diameter.
Internal examination: The gullet contained particles of food. The upper air passages were not obstructed, and showed no signs of external violence. The main air tube and the larger bronchial tubes contained frothy material similar to that seen issuing from nose. The lungs were distended with air. On cutting them open, they were found to be congested and to contain a small amount of bloody fluid. The cavities which enclosed the lungs, that is the pueral cavities, each contained about 3 ounces of watery bloodstained fluid. The heart was full of dark blood. The organ was healthy. No other changes were found in the chest. The belly cavity contained about three ounces of blood. A tear was found in the spleen, about one and a half inches long, and a third of an inch deep, situated just in front of the point at which the blood vessels enter the organ. This was the source of the haemorrhage found in the abdomen. The stomach contained about three-quarters of a pint of material, in which partially digested food material and undigested pieces of apple were present. The rectum, that is, the lower end of the bowel, contained faeces and mucous material. The other abdominal organs appeared healthy.
The head: The following bruises were found when the soft coverings of the skin were turned back; A large bruise, about three inches by two, above and behind the forehead on the right hand side; a similar bruise over the left temple, just above the hair; a smaller bruise about the size of a shilling on the left hand side of the forehead in front, corresponding to the external bruise already mentioned (that is the third of the bruises I mentioned in describing the external appearances). The bones of the head were intact or whole, if you like, and showed no signs of injury. The brain was congested, was full of blood, but showed no injuries.
From consideration of the above mentioned findings, I am of the opinion that the immediate cause of death was drowning.
Now, portions of the contents of the bowel, at and near the point of its opening, were examined for abnormal substances, microscopically, and the result of this examination was negative. The microscopical examination of the wall of this portion of the bowel is being made, but is as yet unfinished.
The Coroner: With regard to the anus, which you say you found widely gaping and relaxed, can you tell us from that whether there was any trace of attempted sodomy or anything of that sort?
Dr. Dible: The appearances, sir, suggested to me that it had been forcibly dilated prior to death.
The Coroner: Does that suggest to you that something improper had taken place?
Witness: I cannot say by what means the dilation had been occasioned.
Did the finding of the anus in the condition in which you found it — was it natural? I mean to say, is it usual to find it in this condition after death happens in the ordinary way or by drowning? — No sir, it is not. The witness added: I think it has no bearing on the cause of death. The condition of the anus was not such as is the normal condition after death from any cause.
That is to say, you found the anus in an abnormal condition? — Yes; I would rather put it that the appearance of the anus suggested to me that it had been forcibly dilated — I cannot say by what means this dilation was occasioned.
Is it likely that condition could have arisen after the body had fallen to the bottom of the air shaft? — No.
Do you think it could have taken place other than by human agencies? — I don't think so.
With regard to the contents of the stomach, can you tell us how long that apple had been in the stomach prior to death? — It had not been there very long prior to death.
At the outside, how long would you say? — I should say from half-an-hour to three hours, I think, are the outside limits.
Now as to the contents of the gullet, you say it contained particles of food — how do you account for that? — It probably occurred from the act of vomiting.
Can you say how the vomiting occurred? — Oh, approximately, at the time of death. It would be part of the bowel disturbance, which took place at the time of death.
Were you present when Harold Haynes was in the box? — Yes.
The Coroner: He said the distance between the two air shafts is 156 yards. We have had it from other witnesses that the top air shaft is 135 feet deep, and contains some 16ft. of water at the bottom; that the bottom air shaft is 105ft. 6in. deep, and contains 8ft. 6in. of water. Now, supposing the body had fallen down the top air shaft, and supposing there is a connection between the two (this water passage between the two) would it have been possible to have found only the bruises on the body which you did find, if the body had fallen down the first shaft and been washed 156 yards to the lower one — I repeat, is it likely or possible you would only have found the bruises on the body that you did?
Witness: That question is one cannot answer without knowing the lining of the passage. If it is a smooth lining, and the water flowing smoothly from one to the other, there is no reason why I should not; if it is a rough lining, I should expect to find some evidence of bruises.
The Coroner: These are coal workings. I suppose it is not likely you will know whether it would be a smooth or jagged passage. Having regard to the depth of the first top air shaft, which is 135 feet deep, and containing about 16 feet of water at the bottom, and to the fact that the bottom air shaft is 105ft. 6in. deep, with 8ft. 6in. of water at the bottom, and to the fact that the distance between the two shafts is 156 yards, it might be possible for a body to fall down the top air shaft and be washed or carried along to the bottom air shaft, and still find no more injuries on the body than was found at the post mortem examination, providing the passage between the two air shafts was smooth and there was a good flush of water?
Witness: What I meant to convey was that if the passage was smooth, the body might be conveyed by a rapid current of water without being injured; and, alternatively, if the passage is a rough one, and a slow current of water, you might well have other damage.
In reply to another question by the Coroner, witness stated that if the passage was a rough one, with a rapid current of water, he might find more injuries on a body.
The Coroner: That is assuming there is a passage between the two air shafts? — Yes.
And you don't know anything about that? — No.
Not many hundred yards away from either air shaft, there is a pond full of water about 10 feet deep, with bullrushes round the side — do you think it possible for the body to have been drowned there, and carried to the bottom air shaft and been dropped in? Yes, it is possible.
And the appearances you found at the post-mortem examination would have been the same? — Yes, the appearance would have been the same.
The Foreman (Mr. H. Fielding): Have you any idea when the bruises were made; were they recent or of long duration? — Recent.
The Foreman: It might have been injured and afterwards deposited in this pit? — Yes, that is so.
By the Foreman: It would have been possible for the injuries to the head and shoulder to have happened some time before death.
Quite recently before death? — Yes.
The bruises are not sufficient to cause death? — No.
A Juror: They might have stunned the boy and then drowned him in the water? — Yes.
The Coroner: Could these bruises have been done by hand?
Witness: You mean by human violence — Yes.
A Juryman: Without using some kind of instrument — Yes.
The Foreman: What length of time had the body been immersed. We noticed the face was very full of blood, but the hands and feet showed they had been immersed some time. The body did not seem so badly soaked. Can you give us any idea how long the body had been immersed?
Witness: That is rather difficult to say. I can only give a very rough approximation, and I should say something over three days and something under twenty days. I am afraid that is as near as I can go.
The Foreman: Do you think it had been wholly immersed? — Yes, wholly immersed.
The Coroner: With regard to these injuries to the head, in your opinion are they caused by human agencies before drowning, or might they possibly have happened to the head and shoulder after the body was dropped down the air shaft if he was then alive? — Yes, and also to the spleen.
I think you have already told us they could not have happened after death? — Yes.
The Coroner to (Burrows). Is there anything you wish to ask the doctor?
Burrows: Yes. Supposing, doctor, anything was falling down a distance, as this boy is supposed to have fallen, he would go with a good force, wouldn't he?
Burrows: Now, any object that is thrown down a pit shaft, does it go clear to the bottom?
Witness: I don't know at all.
Burrows: Is it not a fact that it rebounds from side to side? — That I cannot tell you.
Burrows: I mean a hammer or any material that is thrown down.
Witness stated that he was unable to answer that question.
A Juror: I should rather think that it depends on the width or the shaft.
Burrows (repeating the question): If any object drops down the side, is it not likely to rebound from side to side in falling?
Witness: I don’t know. I have never been down a coal mine. I cannot reply to that question.
Burrows: You can leave that to me later on. These injuries, could they be caused by falling this distance? — Yes.
I mean every injury, everything? — Yes, except the state of the anus.
Could the grappling hooks do it? — No, I don't think so, not in my opinion.
The Coroner: Will you say it could not? — Yes.
Burrows: It could not be done by the force of falling in the water?
Witness: I don't think so.
Burrows: Could it have been caused by the boy riding on anyone's back?
Witness: No, I don’t think so.
Burrows: That is all at present
The Coroner: You say the body must have been wholly immersed at some time? — Yes.
It might have floated at a later period of its immersion? — Yes.
That would account for the face looking fresher than the other parts of the body? — Yes.
Dr. Milligan who was called as the next witness stated:- I was present at the post-mortem examination on the body of Thomas Wood at the police mortuary on March 5th, and have heard the evidence of Dr. Dible as to the findings of the post-mortem examination and agree to what has been said.
I examined the part of the body that has been described as the anus and found it gaping somewhat. I also found it slightly congested with blood. This was not a normal condition, but I do not know how to account for it.
By the Coroner: Would it be consistent if sodomy had been attempted? — It would be suspicious.
The Coroner: You say you cannot account for it otherwise? — No, as far as I am aware.
Witness (continuing) said: The condition of the anus in my opinion would not be in keeping by the body falling into the water at the bottom of the shaft.
The injuries to the head and shoulder would be in keeping by having been caused just prior to death. The same remark applies to the spleen; nor in my opinion could they have been caused after death. The injury to the spleen could only have been caused just prior to death, and it would be difficult to say whether caused by human agency. The injury to the shoulder and head are in keeping with having been caused by human agency prior to death, or by the boy falling down the shaft.
By the Coroner: How do you suggest the injury to the spleen occurred?
Witness: The injury would not be in keeping with falling into the water.
The Coroner: Had the boy been drowned in a pool he would not expect to find the injury to the spleen?
Witness: The injury to the spleen was not consistent with falling into the water, and indicated that other violence had been used, and also in my opinion the injury was not in keeping with having been caused after death.
In reply to the Coroner, witness said the pieces of apple in the boy’s stomach looked as if they had been swallowed very recently, and in my opinion were in keeping with having been in the stomach a period of from twenty minutes to three hours.
The particles of food found in the gullet were duo to having been posited during the death struggle. It could be due to several causes what he termed disturbances before death.
By a Juror: The state of the lungs and the conditions found in the body were in keeping with death having been caused by drowning.
I first saw the body about 3 p.m. on the 13th of March and at 6 o'clock in the evening for about an hour, when an examination was made externally along with Dr. T. M. R. Waddell. I didn't notice the brazing on the legs. The skin was slightly rubbed to see the condition of it. At the examination of the body on the 13th I noticed the anus was gaping and faeces exuding from it. The discharge was wiped away to get a better view, and there was also a slight redness which might be accounted for by the water. My remark applies to the slight redness outside the anus. The gaping of the anus found on the first examination was not in keeping with falling into the water.
By Prisoner: I have never dropped anything down a coal pit shaft, or seen anything dropped down.
Prisoner: Is it possible for these injuries to be caused by a body falling down the shaft?
Witness: Yes, providing it met any obstruction on its way down. Alter the first second the body would be falling at the speed of 32 feet per second.
Prisoner: If a person fell from a pit head down the shaft and struck the iron on the cage what would be the result?
Witness: Very different to what was found in this case.
Prisoner: He would be likely to be cut in two?
Witness: I do not know and do not care to go further. It would be very different to what was found on this occasion.
At this juncture Burrows asked for the appearance of three persons, namely, Mrs. Arrowsmith, Mrs. Fletcher, and Mrs. Mellor, who (he alleged) had made statements to him, One of these ladies was in Court and she was called and gave evidence as under:—
Mrs. Harriet Mellor, 98, Back Kershaw Street, said: On the Wednesday after the boy was missing, the 7th of March, Burrows was in my house about eleven o’clock in the morning until after 12, telling the “tale.” There was also present Mrs. Arrowsmith and Mrs. Fletcher. Mrs. Arrowsmith said “The little boy (Thomas Wood) was in my house at one o’clock on Sunday.”
Witness did not hear Mrs. Arrowsmith say the boy was having anything to eat.
Inspector J. Chadwick said that on Monday, the 5th March, he made certain enquiries respecting the missing boy, and was put in possession of a statement which had been handed to Sergt. Clayton by Burrows. The statement was as follows:—
“At 1-30 p m. on Sunday, 4th March, 1923, I was at Bridgefield and on turning into Slatelands Road I saw Thomas Wood, the missing boy. He had a whip with a brass ferrule on the end. It would be about 3ft. 6in, in length. I spoke to the boy and told him he would get run over I also got hold of him and pulled him out of the way of a motor car. It was going down Slatelands Road at a nice pace. I last saw the boy in company with three other boys older than himself. He was leaning over the wall of a hen-pen in Slatelands Road looking for a purse of his which one of the other boys had thrown over into the hen-pen.
I heard the boy Wood say “that — has thrown my purse into the pen.” On Monday morning about 10 a.m. I went down to the hen-pen with a man who lives in Hollincross Lane. He had the keys to the pen and found the purse and handed it to either Mrs. Parker or Mrs. Hammond. The boy’s grandmother was there also.”
The statement was signed by Burrows.
In consequence of the statements made we searched along the brook from Turn Lee Mills to the Junction, Dinting. A portion of the brook runs along Slatelands Road. We found nothing. That was on the 6th of March. The following day I interviewed Burrows and asked him for a detailed statement of the whole of his movements on the Sunday from leaving home in the morning to returning at night.
Burrows supplied witness with details which were written down and signed by prisoner. This statement was now read, which described the movements of Burrows on leaving home at 11-30, his journey across the moors to Hargate Hill in search of a farmer named Clarkson and thence back to Slatelands Road. The statement described several persons Burrows met on the way, and that on arriving at Slatelands Road to him seeing Thomas Wood; also to his movements in the afternoon and walk with Shortland on the Nab. Arriving home at five o'clock, and subsequently acquainting the boy's father that he had seen the child playing with other boys.
Inspector Chadwick (continuing) said the following day I made inquiries with respect to the statement Burrows had made, and found them substantially untrue.
The day after, I saw Burrows in Victoria Street and he handed me another statement written in pencil, which was produced.
Inspector Chadwick said in company with Detective-Sergt Wilson he had seen each of the persons mentioned in the statement and was satisfied that the boy referred to was not Thomas Wood. From further in formation he received it altered entirely the course of their inquiries. Up to Friday he had interviewed about twenty persons who had seen Burrows in Slatelands Road and the vicinity about half-past-one in the afternoon of the Sunday, but never found anyone who had seen the child. On Saturday, the 10th of March, he obtained a statement from Frank Burgess and went along with him to the place where he had spoken to Burrows. They afterwards went to the air shaft and noticed that four large stones in the wall near the ground were loose, and he lifted them out. On looking through the hole he saw the mouth of the shaft was grown round with blackberry bushes. The bush on that side nearest the opening was broken and crushed down, as if something heavy had been pushed down the shaft. One of the stones fell down the shaft and he and Sergt. Wilson replaced the others. On Monday, the 12th. he again saw Burrows and interrogated him about his movements on March 4th, when he still adhered to them he drew his attention to the fact that be had information about him being with the boy at half past eleven, Burrows admitted it was so and added “My first statement was all lies,” and that he had the boy at Bridgefield at 11-30 and had taken him for a walk on the moors and had lost him. Burrows volunteered to accompany witness to the place where he last saw the boy and accompanied him (witness), Sergt Wilson and the Chief Constable to a point 201 yards from the top air shaft. Prisoner said he had left the boy there whilst he went in search of a rabbit. Ten minutes later he returned and found the boy missing. Burrows assisted them to search round about the gorse bushes, also a pool ten feet deep which is close by. The pool would be about 40 yards from where the boy was sitting. Witness proceeded to describe the searching of the top air shaft, and said that P.C Roe and others there were conducting operations, he (the Inspector) went with Burrows to have another search on the moors round about, amongst the gorse.
Burrows then pointed out another place where he said he had left the boy sitting. At this point Burrows interposed and asked if the Inspector had made any inquiries about a party of six or seven men and four women with haversacks, who were going towards the Scout, and he stated that one of the women had very blue stockings.
The inspector said he had made these inquiries, and proceeding with, his evidence said that a rabbit hole which Burrows had referred to was a large stone drain.
Burrows: Well, it is all the same, rabbits go in drains. I know all rabbit holes from the Town Hall to Shrewsbury.
The Inspector stated that it was 10 yards from the rabbit hole to the last place where Burrows said he left the boy. When he went along with Burrows after leaving P.C. Roe at the air shaft, he made a further statement, referring to the first air shaft, “the boy is not down there.” Witness suggested that the bottom air shaft should be grappled, and replying to a Juror, said he could not say whether there was any connection between the top and bottom air shafts; but he had seen some plans of the working of the Dinting Colliery, which showed the air shaft in which the boy was found as the extreme point of that colliery in that direction. No workings at the colliery were shown across the road. In reply to the Foreman, witness said they were in communication with the Estate Office, and were trying to obtain definite information, and the matter was in abeyance.
The Inspector, continuing, said that with reference to these air shafts, he was informed, the opening at the bottom was only a metal pipe about eight or nine inches, but he could not definitely say that.
When they were up on the Monday, Burrows repeatedly said to him (the Inspector) “I never took the lad across the road.” Witness asked Burrows if he would accompany them over the whole route which be said he took the boy on the Sunday, and he was assisting them all the time.
By the Foreman: Burrows did not mention to me what time he left the boy or what time he saw Burgess.
Burrows: I did not know the time.
The Inspector said he asked Burrows to go over the exact route he had gone with the boy on the Sunday.
Burrows: You went the backwards way; you would not go the right way.
The Inspector said he asked Burrows to conduct him along the exact route that they went over, and it took them 13 minutes to get to the pen where the purse was thrown over. He then pointed out to Burrows that it was a four minutes' walk from where we started at the top air shaft to Hargate Hill where he had seen Burgess, and he had been stopped ten minutes after he had left the boy to look for rabbits, and that this only allowed him three minutes from the time of leaving Bridgefield to the time of arriving at Hargate Hill, and he had a child of four in his possession; he had said he had stopped at three more rabbit holes besides this one — (Burrows: You can stop without getting any) — and that he had stopped twice resting with the boy. He then said “I did not slop ten minutes at that rabbit hole; I only stopped about two; there was a man across in the next field, looking over the wall at me, and he was either a farmer or gamekeeper. During the whole of this journey he was trying to impress upon witness the fact that he “had not done the boy in” — (Burrows: I never said that in my life) — and “that he had taken him across the road”. The Inspector said that Burrows also said that “he had not done the boy any harm”. He kept persisting in saying that he had not taken the boy across the road, and it was owing to this persistence that they were induced to go to the bottom air shaft the following morning. On the Tuesday witness assisted in searching the air shaft, and the body was recovered at 1-30. Burrows was not present.
Burrows; But I was coming all the same.
The Inspector said he sent a search party after Burrows on the Simmondley Moors, as he had had some information that he was watching them. Witness went straight to Burrows' home, and there learned he had left about 12-35 the same day, taking with him some food and stick. Witness asked his wife for the loan of a photograph, and she went to get it and said “Well, he's taken it out of the frame”. He did not inform her that the child had been found or any particulars.
Burrows: The photograph was staring at you in the house.
Witness later informed Burrows about the photograph and ho said “I had taken it out and put it with some things I was sending to my daughter, she is in the hospital”. Witness made inquiries, and she said she put the things up, and she had not seen the photograph.
Burrows: Who puts all the things up? Who fetches stuff from the shop? Who sends it to the girl?”
When searching for the boy on Monday, the 12th March, I asked Burrows it he had looked for the boy when he found he was missing, and he said “I shouted, but I was too frightened.”
Witness asked him if he had mentioned it to anyone, and he said “No.”
I pointed out to him that he had seen all these men between Hargate Hill and Slatelands and that the boy's parents didn't then know he was missing; and when passing the witnesses Dale and Steele he could tell them that “Tommy Wood's down here; he is lost.” Burrows said nothing in reply to that.
Burrows said he put “Jack-boots” on and went into the water on the moors in search of the boy.
In reply to prisoner witness contended that many times Burrows said. “I have not done the boy in.” and “I have not done the boy any harm.”
Burrows: You are wrong. I never used such words.
In reply to the Coroner witness said: On Saturday, the 16th March, when I first saw the aperture in the bottom air shaft the hole was not large enough to admit of the boys body going through. I had to remove the stones lo allow my head to go through. The stones in the hole were loose and appeared to have been recently disturbed. It is practically a dry wall, but some of the stones were here and there mortared.
By Prisoner: I saw James, the farmer, and he said the skip had probably been put down the shaft during the coal strike. From the appearance of the skip he agreed with him.
The Court adjourned half an hour for tea.
On resuming, Mrs. Arrowsmith, who seemed ill and was accommodated with a seat in the witness box, was brought at the request of prisoner, and said she was a married woman of 71, Kershaw Street. She remembered Thursday following the Sunday the boy was missing — it was Thursday March 8th. and not Wednesday — she was in Mrs. Mellor’s house, finding Burrows there when she went in between three and four o’clock in the afternoon. Mrs. Fletcher was also present. She did not make any statement as to where the boy was on Sunday, except that Tommy was at her house somewhere about one o’clock. She could not say the exact time, as she had been very poorly, but did state the boy was in her house about one o’clock on the Sunday.
The Coroner: Is that statement correct? Was he there on the Sunday at one o’clock?
Witness: He was in our house on the Sunday. It might he any time between eleven and one o’clock. I cannot say the exact time. He was by himself, and she would not say when the boy left her house — no idea of the time, as she went out and left her husband in. The boy had nothing to eat in her house.
The Coroner: Can you remember what he was wearing?
Witness: He had a grey jersey with a collar.
The Coroner: Any hat?
Witness: I cannot swear if he had a hat or not. I was very poorly at the time.
The Coroner: If the child had been there at dinner time, would you have given it anything to eat?
Burrows: I don't wish to ask witness any questions. I am quite satisfied. I don't want anyone else now. I have done! You might tell Mrs. Arrowsmith I thank her for coming.
The Coroner: Do you want Mrs. Fletcher called?
Burrows: No! I did not ask for her.
Sergt.-Detective Wilson stated: On Tuesday, the 13th of March, I received instructions from the Chief Constable to arrest Burrows. I proceeded to his house and learned that he had left. I then went by way of the Hobroyd on to Garside's “Intake.” When half-way up the hill I saw six or seven men at the foot of the hill. There was a man with me named Wilmot, who said: “They have got him!”.
I ran down the hill and got over a wire fence, and a short distance up the field I overtook them. Burrows hands were tied behind, him with a piece of rope. I put the handcuffs on and he remarked “I have a brother in the asylum.” I noticed he was sweating very heavily. Sweat was running down his face and at the back of his neck. His eyes appeared to be staring and protruding. He was also breathless and exhausted. I searched him after putting the handcuffs on and found a Thermos flask, bread and butter and meat sandwiches. The flask was broken, but it had had some tea in it. He gave no explanation about the flask being broken he also had an apple, a purse containing 5d, a metal watch and chain, a letter and a note book and one of the men had a walking stick which they said they had taken from him. On walking down the main road towards Glossop. Burrows said - “I shan't be like Charley Peace” and “I shan't tremble when I get on the scaffold!” (Sensation in Court). A little lower down the road I saw the Glossop Corporation Sanitary motor van. I told the driver to take us as quickly as possible to the Police Office, which he did.
The Coroner: Did Burrows say anything to you as to the disposal of his property? He wanted the letter giving to his wife and watch and chain to his girl. He did not give me any order as to the disposal of them. It was mere conversation.
Prisoner here ejaculated that the men were very threatening towards him in their attitude.
The Coroner: Were the men very threatening?
Witness: I can't any they were.
Prisoner: What was said to me when I said what you state, but which I deny?
Witness: I didn't hear anything said.
“Now, sergeant.” said Burrows at this point, you have been fair up to that statement about Charley Peace. What was the cause of anything about Charley Peace being mentioned? What were the men who were following saying and doing? Weren’t they very threatening?”
Witness: I cannot say very threatening.
Prisoner: I didn't say the last words. I did not make the statement of my own free will. It was fetched out of me by what they were saying. If I have done wrong I will suffer for it if I am proved guilty, but they were saying all sorts of things. They were absolutely mad. My hands were tied; if they had been at liberty there was not a man amongst them that could have faced them.
The Coroner: Did the men make any threatening remarks towards Burrows?
Witness: I did not hear any threats. There were some remarks made.
The Coroner: Did you actually hear him say what you have stated?
Witness: Yes. He did not make the statement to me but to the crowd.
Prisoner: You can cross “scaffold” out altogether. I did not say that.
Witness to Coroner: When he used those words he had overheard some remarks made by the people, but I did not hear what it was.
Prisoner: I said if I am found guilty, I will stand my punishment.
Witness: I did not hear him say that.
The Coroner: When you heard the statement made by Burrows was Ambrey or Hinchcliffe there?
Witness: There were a number of persons, but I cannot say whether those two were there. Wilmot was there.
Prisoner: I object to the statement that I had a brother in the asylum. I don't want any insanity brought in if I am found guilty, I know where that statement has come from. I heard of it last night. (Laughter).
John Wm. Ambrey, recalled, stated that when Sergt. Wilson apprehended Burrows I heard him him say about his brother dying in the asylum. I heard Burrows say he had a brother in the asylum. I followed down to Glossop close behind them and heard Burrows say “I won’t be like Charles Peace,” “I won’t tremble when I go to the scaffold.”
Prisoner: I said if I am guilty.
By the Coroner: I did not hear him say “If I am guilty.” He might have said it and me not hear him, as there was a volley of taunts being thrown at him by an excited crowd.
I am certain I heard him say “scaffold,” replied witness, in answer to a further question put by the prisoner.
This concluded the evidence, and the Coroner turning to the prisoner, said:—
Mr. Burrows that in the end of the evidence. Do you wish to make any further statement or to give evidence yourself? You are not bound to do so, and what you say will be at your own risk.
Burrows: I reserve my defence until I get legal aid.
The Coroner then proceeded to review the evidence, prefacing his remarks by pointing out to the jury that the evidence against Burrows was purely circumstantial, but on that account none the less admissible. They also had the evidence of the two medical gentlemen whose opinion was that the cause of death was drowning. The jury had also heard in the medical evidence that in the opinion of those gentlemen there was a suspicion of certain impropriety having taken place previous to death; or, that there was evidence consistent with such having taken place.
Mr. Wilson concluded his lengthy summing up at eight minutes past eight o’clock, when the jury retired to consider their verdict. After an absence of about forty minutes they returned into Court at 8-45 when the Coroner turning to the foreman (Mr. Hy. Fielding) said: Gentlemen, have you decided upon your verdict?
The Foreman: Yes.
The Foreman then proceeded:—
“The verdict of the jury in the case of Thomas Wood is that on the 13th day of March, 1923, at Simmondley, in the Parish of Charlesworth, the said Thomas Wood was found dead in a disused air shaft and that the cause of death was that he was drowned; and that Albert Edward Burrows, of 94, Back Kershaw Street, Glossop, did feloniously and wilfully and with malice aforethought murder the said Thomas Wood.”
Tense silence prevailed whilst the Foreman was giving the verdict of the jury, and immediately he had concluded the last word the people filling the crowded room burst forth with cheers, which was immediately suppressed by tho police.
Within a brief period of the jury's verdict being in made known, Burrows was brought from the Town Hall in charge of the two warders from Strangeway’s Gaol, who had never left him during the proceedings, and quickly ushered into a waiting taxi, around which was drawn a strong cordon of police. In front of the Town Hall a vast crowd had assembled, and as Burrows appeared, this surging throng pressed forward round the taxi into which the man had stepped, and cheers, hisses and cat-calls rent the night air. Without fuss or ceremony the vehicle was driven off, the crowd scattering to right and left as it dashed away, following which there was another yell and a wild stampede in the direction of Glossop Station.
Meanwhile the taxi containing Burrows and the Gaol warders had arrived at the Police Station, and here Burrows was for the first time charged with murder on the Coroner's warrant. The Chief Constable (Mr. W. R. Wilkie) interviewed by the Press after the charge had been preferred, said that Burrows mode no material statement relevant to the case.
And in the darkness, Burrows was taken to Glossop Station, where, aboard the 10-9 train, he was whirled off to Manchester, there to be incarcerated in Strangeways Gaol, until he is again brought before the Glossop Borough magistrates on Thursday morning next.
We understand the Jury collected their fees together and handed them over to the prisoner's wife who, it is stated, is in straightened circumstances.
Wednesday Morning’s Police Court Proceedings.
On Wednesday morning Burrows made the journey from Strangeways to Glossop by train in the custody of two warders. The party had to change at Guide Bridge, and there Burrows spent a few minutes in the refreshment room on the platform.
At Dinting another change was necessary, and here he hurried over the bridge which crosses the line to the Glossop platform. There he sprung quickly to the door of the compartment, and though handcuffed, he himself opened the door.
At Glossop Station a large crowd of people awaited his arrival, and watched him step with head erect along the platform to the waiting taxi, which drove him to the Court.
The Mayor (Mr. S. Bamforth) presided at the Police Court proceeding, which though brief were not without dramatic interest, and the other magistrates on the bench were Mr. J. Malkin, Mr. W. Holdgate, and Mr. T. Swire.
When the name Albert Edward Burrows was called prisoner sprang up and said “I wish to speak to you, sirs. Is the inquest finished?”
The Chief Constable pointed out that it was not and added that the inquest was being resumed that morning.
“Excuse me asking the question” said the prisoner. “I have not understood these proceedings from beginning to end. Who is the Coroner? Who has been the Coroner all the time? Is it Mister Wilson, solicitor?”
He was told it was.
“Well, that's the first time I know that,” he said. “A minute; are those men that I left near the Junction being brought forward?”
The Chief Constable: That is a matter for the Coroner.
The Chairman pointed out that prisoner could raise the matter at the resumed inquest.
Prisoner: Only I thought it was funny jumping a thing and missing out those men”.
The Chief Constable pointed out to the Bench that prisoner appeared on remand “My instructions” he said, “are to request you to remand him a further eight days. That will permit the inquest being finished, and perhaps allow the police to have the full particulars in the hands of the Public Prosecutor. He thought the inquest would be completed by that time.
The Chairman assented, and prisoner was remanded until Thursday, March 29.