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THE DISTRESS IN JAMAICA AMONGST…

BRUTAL MURDER IN STAFFORDSHIRE.

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BRUTAL MURDER IN STAFFORDSHIRE. Early on the morning of Thursday, a. young man, named Thomas Smith, son of a. gentleman farmer, re- siding on his own estate, at Whiston Eaves, two miles from Oakmoor, and four miles from Cheadle, Stafford- shire, was brutally murdered within a few hundred yards of his father's house. The perpetrator of the crime was William Collier, the occupier of a small neighbouring ;farm. The deceased had for some time suspected Collier of poaching on his father's property, and between two and three o'clock on Thursday morning left home, unarmed, for the purpose of watching a rabbit warren in a small wood, a short distance from the farm. He seems to nave stood near a quarry, from which he could see the prisoner's house and the wood at the same time. On the same morning James Hamford, a labourer in the employ of Mr. Thomas Smith, the deceased's father, went to keep watch on another part of the farm, but does not seem to have communicated with his master's son before he set out. This man, on his return, passed by the spot where he knew the deceased would be watching, and not observ- ing him there as he expected thought he had returned and went to the farm for his breakfast. Between eight and nine o clock, the deceased's father having 1 r ? "^awast-table, became suspi- cious of foul play, and went in search of him, accom- panied by Bamford. They first proceeded to the quarry, where they found the deceased's leggings, mackintosh, a,nd a bag upon which it is supposed he had been lying while keeping watch. A further search was made, and in a hollow in the adjoining wood Bamford found the dead body of the young man, Ising with his face downwards, and with one if not two gunshot wounds in his head, which had also been frightfully beaten with some blunt instrument. The grass and ferns near the spot were covered* "with blood also, showing conclusive evidence of a fearful struggle. Police-Superintendent Woollaston, of Leek was promptly on the spot, making inquiries, iu conse- quence of which the man Collier was arrested at hia own house by Police-Sergeant jerkins, ab four o'clock on Friday morning. On Ihursday, a ramrod and lock of a gun, with several bits of wadding, were found Moss to where the body was discovered, while the deceased's hat was found about 130 yards further nn the wood. A search was made for the gun, and of ft bout half-past five on Friday morning, Thomas Moreoroft, a servant of Mr. Smith's, found the double v,avrels of a gun, marked with blood, pushed up a drain in a corn field, occupied by the prisoner, and near £ hia own bouse. Subsequently the other lock and se ve- A ral pieces of the stock of the guu were found near the scene of the murder. The barrels and the locks exactly corresponded with each other, and were iden- tified by a gunsmith of Hollington as being portions of a gun which he had sold to the prisoner about a month before Christmas. The clothes of the prisoner, including his coat, trousers, and shirt, had blood upon them in numerous places; that on the treusers being on the lining of the knees, the outside of which had been washed. The deceased was a fine young man, about 24 years of ago, and was very much respected in the neighbourhood. The prisoner is a married man, with a wife and seven young children, his age being about 35 years. He was a well-known poacher, though he had never been convicted of the offence. The inquest had been opened and adjourned, and the prisoner has been examined before the magistrates and remanded.

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