Marple Bridge Murder - 2
We then had a recess for lunch, and at 2 p.m. The trial continued.
Mr. Dunn: I wish to recall William Mosley to the stand. Remember that you are still under oath. (William Moseley comes forward to the bench.) Mr. Mosley, did you or your brother own a gun at that time?
William Mosley: My brother had a pistol; but I didn’t know whether it was his own. I have never seen him have any of his own. I didn’t own one. Neither of them told me where they got the pistols: nor did I ask where they got them. When we met at the gravel pit, they showed me the pieces as was loaded. They had each one. One was a large one like a horse pistol, and the other a less one. Garside had the large pistol. One of the pistols (the smaller one) had a bright barrel. It was not dark when they showed them to me: but they kept them under the sides of their coats.
Mr. Dunn: Could you describe for me what you and your brother and the other man were wearing that night?
William Mosley: Garside had brown cloth trowsers, the waistcoat same, coat dark coloured, like that he has on now, and a hat. Joseph had a pair of light jean trowsers, dark coloured singlet, a light coloured long shooting coat and hat. I had on a pair of woolen cord knee breeches, a yellow-striped kersey-mere waistcoat, brown cloth jacket or round coat, coming down to about my knees, and hairy cap.
Mr. Dunn: You said before, Mr. Mosley, that you had never been in that area before, is that correct?
William Mosley: I had gone along the turnpike road from Stockport to where Gee Cross was. I knew where the factory was. I had seen it many a time, and I knew that the road led to it. I didn’t know Mr. Ashton’s house; I knew where it was; but I had never seen it. I never was on that road before that night any further than the canal road. It was dark when we got to Lousy Thorn; not so very dark. It might be six o’clock when we got there. We could not see across a field at the time. It was not dark when we got to Mr. Taylor’s farm. That was where Garside made me change shoes with him.
Mr. Dunn: And why was that?
Willaim Mosley: Mine had a better grip with nails on the bottoms.
Mr. Dunn: So what happened after you changed shoes and left the farm?
William Mosley: The others went out of Apethorn Lane over the clap-gate and I went into the field on the other side of the road. I stood close by, not in the same field with the others. There was a ditch and a bank to it in the field where they were.
Mr. Dunn: Did you see anyone while you were walking down this road?
William Mosley: When we were at Lousy Thorn, we saw the farmer from there, Samuel Taylor. He was only the field’s breadth off. When we got to the lane, Garside and me changed shoes. I took his hat and gave him my cap. In a little while, when we were about 20 or 30 yards down the lane, we met a man, and next about the same distance further, a little girl met us. A little further, a short space on, we met a boy with a lantern and he passed on. We met a man afterward, nearly opposite the clap-gate leading to Mr. Ashton’s. My brother went across the road to look at him - he bended down to look in his face. He passed and Garside asked Joseph whether he knew him. Joseph said, No. We then went over the hedge into the field at the right side of the lane, opposite the clap-gate, and the other two went over the clap-gate into the other field, and stopped in the foot-path leading up to the house.
Judge: But you were close enough to see what happened?
William Mosley: I saw a person come down, cross the road and go through the clap-gate. I was within ten yards, happen, of the place where he was shot at the time. I was not within the clap-gate. He was coming towards me when he was shot. Of that I am quite sure. He would have come to where I was if he had not been shot. I am quite sure that it was Garside that fired the shot.
Mr. Dunn: Do you not know that if you swore that it was your brother and not Garside that fired the shot, you would be tried and in danger of being hanged?
William Mosley: No, I don’t know. We were standing twenty minutes on the canal bridge. I heard Garside say that he shot the man. He told me at the bridge that he shot him.
Mr. Dunn: Why did you not take the three pounds that was offered you?
William Mosley: Because I was satisfied with two.
Mr. Hill: When the accused were waiting for Mr. Ashton to come down the road, where were they seated?
William Mosley: It was on the left side of the road, and at that time Apethorn Lane was between us. They backed themselves in to a hedge in the road, besides cowering in the ditch. They did both. They came afterwards and backed themselves under where I stood, and that was the place where Mr. Ashton was shot.
(At this time, a note is passed to the Judge from Mr. Joseph Mosley, one of the accused. His lordship looks over it.)
Judge: (Speaking to Joseph Mosley) I do not think that there are any questions I could put to the prisoner arising out of this note. Do you have other witnesses to call Mr. Hill?
Mr. Hill: I call Robert Middleton. (He comes forward and is sworn in.) Do you know the prisoners, Mr. Middleton?
Robert Middleton: I know both of them and I saw them and William Mosley about four o’clock in the afternoon of the day before the murder, on Marple Bridge. I spoke to Garside.
Mr. Hill: Thank you Mr. Middleton.
Judge: I wish to recall William Mosley. (William returns to the bench). Which way did you go from Compstall Bridge on the Sunday after you met the two men?
William Mosley: They returned to Marple but I did not. I went to Romiley. We parted about four o’clock.
Then it was my turn.
Mr. Hill: You may go back to your place, Mr. Mosley. I wish to call Mary Derbyshire. (I went forward and was sworn in.) Where do you live Miss Derbyshire?
Mary Derbyshire: I live in Marple. On the day young Mr. Ashton was shot, I had been at Compstall, and was returning home between four and five o’clock when I met Joseph at Rose Brow toll bar; he was going alone towards Compstall Bridge. I had known him well, from school and am sure it was he. I have seen Joseph Mosley and Garside together and I believe they were acquainted. I didn't see William Mosely at all. I knew him too, but he wasn't there.
Mr. Hill: Thank you Miss Derbyshire. I wish to call Mr. Samuel Taylor. (He comes forward and is sworn in.) Mr. Taylor, will you tell us where you live and what you do, and what you saw on the evening of the murder.
Mr. Samuel Taylor: I am a farmer in Werneth, adjoining the Lousy Thorn Farm. On the evening of the murder, about five o’clock, I saw two men standing against the old road leading from Greave to Mottram, 50 or 60 yards from the gravel pit. I went up to the gate that leads from our estate into the road and I then saw two standing and another man advancing from the left, in the direction from Compstall Bridge. He might be perhaps 20 or 30 yards off, coming along. I did not stay to see whether he joined the others. He was about 80 to 100 yards from the other two when I turned away from the gate.
Mr. Hill: Thank you Mr. Taylor, you may stand down. I now wish to call Miss Martha Percival. (She takes the stand and is sworn in.) Miss Percival, can you tell us what you saw the night of the murder?
Miss Martha Percival (a girl): I was coming from the mill up Apethorn Lane when I met three men facing the factory. I was learning in the factory that night, and I don’t know what time it was. It was dark. The men, all of them, made a noise with their mouths. One of them, next to me had something in his hand like a gun. I was not sure what it was. It shone like a brass shoe-horn. They pushed me between them, and I was frightened.
Mr. Hill: Thank you Miss Percival. I now call to the stand young Joseph Collier. (He takes the stand and is sworn in). Joseph, can you tell us what you were doing that night of the murder?
Joseph Collier: I remember going along that lane on the evening of the murder about seven o’clock or soon after. I know the clap-gate, and I met three men near that gate, on the side next the mill. I had a lantern with me. One of the men had something that shined in his right hand. I saw the spot next day where Mr. Ashton was found; there were many persons there, but I can’t say who pointed it out to me. I heard the report of firearms down the lane about ten minutes after I had seen the men; but I can’t say how far it might be down the lane. I can’t say what sized men they were or if these are the same men.
Mr. Hill: Thank you Joseph, you may go back to your place. I now wish to call Mr. Thomas Wood. (He comes to the front and is sworn in.) Now, Mr. Wood, can you also tell us what you saw and heard on the night of the murder?
Mr. Thomas Wood: I am a blacksmith in Mr. Ashton’s employ and left Apethorn mill about seven o’clock on the night in question. I saw three men between Swindell’s farm and the clap-gate. I passed them, and went up the lane towards Gee Cross. I passed the clap-gate, and saw some man (whom I believe to have been Mr. Ashton) with a top-coat on, coming out of the gate, and not a minute after I heard the report of fire-arms. I did not turn back. As I passed I observed that two of the men walked closely together, and the other stepped a little aside, and looked me in the face, but I didn’t know him. He had a sort of round shooting-jacket on, and his hands down on either side. His jacket came down happen about middle of his thigh. He had a hat on. I didn’t see any other person except these three and the person with the top coat on till after I heard the shot.
Mr. Hill: Thank you, Mr. Wood. I would now like to call Mr. John Lowe. (He comes up and is sworn in.) Where were you Mr. Lowe on the night of the murder?
Mr. Lowe: I was wheeling some coals from Apethorn factory toward Gee Cross. It was about seven o’clock but I had not seen a clock from noon. I heard the report of a gun or a pistol, or something of the sort. After that I saw two men come by me. They were running, but not hard. I could have touched them both by putting out my hands. They were running towards the Apethorn mill, and from the direction of the clap-gate. I took them to be about the size of myself and I believe the prisoners are about the size. They had fustian jackets on, with pockets outside and cotton cord trowsers on. They passed me in two minutes after the shot, and I did not meet or see any body else between there and the clap-gate. I went up to the place where Mr. Ashton was lying, and he was dead. I did not touch him. There were folks there before me.
Mr. Hill: Thank you Mr. Lowe. You may step down. I now wish to call Mr. Robert Ollerenshaw. (He comes forward and is sworn in) Mr. Ollerenshaw, can you tell us about what you saw the day after the murder.
Mr. Ollerenshaw: I am a stone mason at Marple. I heard of the murder the morning after, and the same morning I saw both the prisoners (who I know) between the Navigation and Bull’s Head in Marple, but I don’t exactly at what time. James Garside said, “Uncle, stop, if you’ll turn back, I’ll give you either ale or gin, which you like best.” We went back to the Bull’s Head, and Mosley with us. I asked Mosley if he had been at home, and he said no. I told him if he could go with me into the house, I’d give him something.
Mr. Hill: Thank you Mr. Ollerenshaw. I now wish to call the accused, Joseph Mosley to take the stand. (He does so and is sworn in.) You have heard what Mr. Ollerenshaw has just said. Do you agree to it?
Joseph Mosley: I believe I did go and have something to eat in this man’s house - but it was not just after the murder. It was in August.
Mr. Hill: Thank you. You may sit down for the time being, but you will no doubt be recalled to the stand later. I now wish to call Mr. John Stavely Barrett. (He comes forward and takes the stand.) Will you please identify your profession to the court, Mr. Barrett and tell us what your connection is with the accused, Mr. Joseph Mosley?
Mr. Barrett: I am the deputy constable of Stockport. I apprehended Joseph Mosley on the 13th April last. I told him he was charged with being concerned in shooting Mr. Ashton. He said he knew nothing about it, for he was from home at the time. He stated that he was on a journey from Liverpool to Chester and that he never heard anything of it till he returned home again, which he said was the latter end of the same week as the murder.
Joseph Mosley: I wish to ask this man questions.
Judge: Very well.
Joseph Mosley: You never said that I was charged. You asked me if I knew Garside and said that he and I done it, and that he had helped me to commit many depredations.
Mr. Barrett: That was after the statement made by Garside in Derby gaol, when he did confess to some robberies.
Joseph Mosley: Have you not given money to my brother to make false claims against me?
Mr. Barrett: I object to this. Of course, I did not.