Marple Bridge Murder - 3
I think perhaps if I'm going to make any sense of this story, I'm going to have to stop quoting from the newspaper for a moment, and explain something.
What happened was that after three years there had been no luck in finding the culprits who killed Mr. Ashton, and his family felt that something needed to be done to stir up the situation again. So there was an article published in the newspaper called the Hue and Cry. The advertisement was meant to be read by the criminal world and was offering his majesty’s pardon to anyone except the person who actually fired the shot if they turned King's evidence. That was why it was so important to ascertain whether it was James or Joseph who fired the shot.
Anyway, having explained that, I will now go back to the trial details.
Mr. Hill: Please stand down, Mr. Barnett. We may be recalling you later. I now wish to call William Jeffrey Locket. (Mr. Locket comes and is sworn in.) Please tell the court what your role is in this case.
Mr. Locket: I am a magistrate of the county of Derby and one of the visiting magistrates of the gaol. I believe I was sent for by James Garside, but I was from home. I first saw him on the evening of the 11th of April. Young Mr. Ashton, brother of the deceased, was with me at the time. Garside did not then say anything material. On the 12th and the 14th when I took two important depositions, I told him that they might be made use of against him, and I cautioned him most particularly, I did not swear him to these statements.
On the 14th I went up to the prison in course of my duty and was informed that Garside wished to see me. I ordered him to be brought up into the visiting justice room. He said he wished to know whether Joseph Mosley was in custody, and asked me if he (Garside) was to be admitted as a witness for the crown. I told him I did not know whether Mosley was in custody, and that I could give him no assurance as to being admitted a witness. That was a discretion which rested only with the court by which he would be tried. I told him that what he stated might materially affect himself and he had better consider what he was doing. If he had been making any disclosure under such a supposition, I begged he would dismiss that from his mind; and I told him my own opinion was that he would not be admitted a witness for the crown.
He did not say he had made a previous statement to Dr. Forrester in consequence of any promise to that effect. But I saw clearly that he was looking that way. He was then undergoing eighteen months imprisonment for a felony. I told him I was quite confident he knew more of the transaction than what he had disclosed. After some time he seemed considerably agitated and he said the he did know more and would tell all.
I thought he was beginning to make his statement, but he stopped and said, “I’ll see the Hue and Cry first.” The governor was not at home and the principal turnkey who was in the room was directly by me to bring the Hue and Cry of January 31st which was deliverer to him. I asked him if he could read. He said he could and the turnkey pointed out the advertisement to him relating to the murder of Mr. Ashton. I held it long enough to have read it; but I doubted that he had and I asked him. He said, “Yes” but not withstanding I said, “I’ll read it to you,” and I did so.
The advertisement was offering his majesty’s pardon to anyone except the person who actually fired the shot. He asked me, “Can I be made a witness without a pardon?” I asked him if he meant for the offence for which he was in custody. He said he did and I did not choose to answer the question, lest it might be an inducement. He was then about to commence: but I said, “No, you’re too agitated now; I’ll come again at eight o’clock and if you are disposed to make further disclosures I will then receive them.” I also told him my apprehension was that he was the person who had fired the shot.
I went again soon after eight o’clock. I ordered the governor to remain in the room and Garside was fetched. He was much more agitated than before: It was a very cold night and he shivered so much that I was afraid of his falling; and he had a glass of sherry. He soon recovered, and then made the statement which I tender.
Mr. Dunn: I wish to cross examine this witness. Was there anything said of giving him part of the reward in addition to the pardon?
Mr. Lockett: No. I told him if he did make any disclosure under the hope of being admitted King’s evidence it was contrary to my express intention. I am of the option that he did not make and disclose on the faith of the proclamation and that he asked for it to see whether the person who fired the shot was included in the pardon. Several circumstances occurred to make me come to that conclusion. He had frequently said he was afraid Joe would charge him with having done the act. I thought also he was better acquainted with the pistol than he ought to have been if he had only had such an opportunity as he described himself to have had, and his stopping so suddenly to look at the advertisement before he began.
Mr. Hill: I wish to call my next witness. Mr. William Wiston please take the stand. (Mr. Wiston comes forward and is sworn in.) Mr. Wiston will you please tell the court your profession and how you came to be involved in this case.
Mr. Wiston: I am clerk to Dr. Forrester, one of the magistrates for the county of Derby. I attended and took the Deposition of James Garside on the 7th April. Before he gave the account neither promise, inducement nor threat was held out to him, nor was there anything said about his being a witness. Dr. Forrester said nothing to him. I have the statement here. He did not sign it. When I had taken part of it, he wished me to read it over, and twice he wished me to interline it with some particulars which he had forgotten. He then said he had a great deal more to say, and he would be much obliged if we would let him have pen, ink and paper and he would let us have it. He was accordingly supplied.
Mr. Dunn: Was he told by Dr. Forrester that what he stated could be used against him?
Mr. Wiston: Dr. Forrester was afterwards with him on one other occasion. He was not told that what he stated would be used against him. There was nothing said about the reward. I cannot say what his intentions or views were in making the statement. No intimation was given to him that he would be admitted king’s evidence. The prisoner said something about a free pardon, not for the murder but for the offence of which he had been convicted; and I told him I could not give him any information on the subject. This was before he made the statement.
Mr. Hill: Thank you Mr. Wiston. You may be seated. Now I wish to call John Sim. (Mr. Sim comes forward and is sworn in.) Could you tell the court your connection with this case, please?
Mr. Sim: I am governor of the county gaol of Derby. The prisoner sent to me and said he wished to communicate about a murder of three of four years back. I asked who it was that had been murdered and he said it was Mr. Ashton; but he would not say any more without a visiting magistrate were present. Mr. Lockett was not at home; I went then to Dr. Forrester’s and he sent for his clerk and told me he would come up to the prison.
Mr. Dunn: And what did you promise him?
Mr. Sim: Dr Forrester saw Garside in my presence when Mr. Wiston was not there. Dr. Forrester did not promise him any pardon. Garside asked if he could get his pardon on the 18 months, and Dr. Forrester told him he could not do anything to get him his pardon in any way whatever. He told me I might take him off the mill, and separate him from other prisoners to prevent them ill-treating him. We said neither of us could make any promise till we had seen the Hue and Cry. It was read to him, and Dr. Forrester then said, “If you was the man who fired the shot there can be no pardon for you.” The deposition was not taken before the Hue and Cry was read to him.
Mr. Dunn: I submit that Mr. Joseph Garside’s statement cannot be given in evidence. As in the case of King v Hall, 2d Leach, page 359, that a confession given under view of receiving a pardon could not be evidence.
Judge Baron Parke: That must be where a magistrate had held out some hope to him.
Mr. Dunn: The prisoner here had a reasonable hope of pardon, founded on the king’s proclamation. His view was evidently to turn king’s evidence.
Judge Parke: No doubt that was his view; but nobody held out any hope to him that he would be allowed to do so.
Mr. Hill: So far from that, my lord he was told that it was not likely that he would be admitted.
Judge: I will take a recess and resume the court later after I have been able to look at the case sited and come to a decision.