DESPERATE STRUGGLE FOR LIFE.|1881-07-02|The Cardiff Times - Welsh Newspapers Online
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DESPERATE STRUGGLE FOR LIFE. THE BODY THROWN ON TO THE LINE. ESCAPE OF THE SUPPOSED MURDERER, (PRESS ASSOCIATION TELEGRAM.) The circumstances surrounding the mysterious tragedy on the Brighton Railway, which we briefly reported on Tuesday, point to a, singularly brutal murder having been committed. The de- tails, as far as at present ascertained, bear a resem- blance to the well-remembered murder of Mr Briggs by Muller, and are creating a wide-spread interest, especially as the particulars of the actual occurrence have not been definitely ascertained. It would appear that on the arrival of the 2 p.m. express from London Bridge at Preston Park, the station before Brighton, where tickets are taken, the collector found a man alone in a first-class carriage with wounds in his head and chest, and covered in blood from head to foot. He appeared to be a man of about 30 years of age, and on being- questioned as to his condition by the officials, gave his name as Lefroy, of 4, Cathcart-road, Walling- ton. He stated that he was travelling in a first- class carriage in company with two fellow-passen- gers, one an elderly gentlemau and the other hav- ing the appearance of a farm bailiff. On entering Merstham tunnel he saw a flash and felt a blow on the top of his head, which rendered him in- sensible, and he did not recover consciousness till just before reaching Preston, when he found himself alone in the carriage. He further stated that he was a journalist and an author, and that he was coming to Brighton to have an interview with Mrs Nye Chart, proprietress of the Theatre Royal, to arrange for bringing out a dramatic piece which he had written. He was at once accompanied by one of the railway officers to the chief police-station at Brighton, where the occurrence was duly reported, and he then went to the county hospital to have the wound on the top of his head dressed. Returning to the police-station subsequently, he was accom- panied by one of the officers of the company to the house at Wallington, near Croydon, which he reached at about half-past nine o'clock. The officer before-mentioned went to report the case to his superior at Croydon Police-station, and on his return to the house where he had left the man Lefroy, he found that he had gone out, stating his intention to see his doctor, and he has not since been heard of. This is at present all that is known of the movements of the man Lefroy, whose whereabouts it is most desirable to ascertain, on account of what has subsequently transpired. Shortly after his departure from Brighton, on the return journey, the dead body of an elderly gentle- man was discovered in the Balcombe tunnel,about 18 miles from Brighton. It was taken to Bal- combe station, and on being searched papers were found in a leather pocket-book which left little doubt that it was the body of Mr T. M. Gould, of Claremont-terrace, Preston Park. Inquiry was at once made at Mr Gould's residence, and it was found that the deceased gentleman, who is a retired corn merchant, left home on Monday morning with the intention of going to London to transact business. He held a season ticket, and was expected to arrive home by his wife by the two train, in which Lefroy had gone to Brighton. An examination of the body by Dr. Byass, of Cuckfield, showed some dreadful injuries. There was a severe gash over the right eye, two deep cuts across the left cheek, and two other cuts in the right side of the throat, leading to the belief, in the mind of the medical man, that the wounds could not have been self-inflicted. The body had been stripped, but it may be here mentioned that there were no traces of pistol wounds. The platelayers who discovered the corpse reported the matter to Mr Henley, the stationmaster at Balcombe, the latter communicating with Mr Brown, the station- master at Three Bridges, who proceeded with the engine to the spot, and removed the body to the Railway Inn at Balcombe. The inquest will be held to-morrow by Mr W. E. Baxter, the county coroner. The body was lying in the six feet way, and no money was found upon it, although two penny pieces and a, small penknife were picked up close to the spot where Mr Gould was lying. The watchchain was still hanging to his waistcoat, but the watch had disappeared, having apparently been broken off at the swivel. It will be seen that there are many circumstances strongly pointing to the man calling himself Lefroy as the murderer of Mr Gould. An examination of the carriage in which the first-named reached Preston Park Station showed traces of blood upon its steps, the carriage handle being also covered. In the carriage itself were also traces of blood, while a bullet was found em- bedded in the woodwork immediately below the alarm bell, and another in the, cushion at the back of the compartment. On the floor were two flash sovereigns, and others were found in the possession of Lefroy, who was without a necktie when he first called at the police-station. He purchased one in returning thither from the hospital, and a necktie was found in the carriage. A further statement is to the effect that Lefroy was also without a collar on his arrival, and that one has been found in the tunnel at Balcombe. Another suspicious circumstance regarding Lefroy, whose real name is said to be Mapleton, is the fact that when searched at Preston he was found to have some Hanoverian medals upon him, while three of a similar character were discovered in the car- riage. There was, however, no trace of the money that Mr Gould is supposed to have been in possession of. With the object of establishing the truthfulness of Lefroy's statement, inquiries have been made of Mrs Chart, of Brighton, but she knows nothing of such a person or his busi- ness, but says it is often the case that she receives visits for the purpose mentioned by Lefroy with- out being previously apprised of them. The communicator" in the carriage was found to be uninjured, and does not appear to have been used. Lefroy, whose story at Brighton was somewhat disjointed, said to the police that he had recently come in for some money, and would offer a re- ward for the apprehension of the man who had assaulted him. The police believe that a desperate struggle took place in the carriage, the deceased having clutched at the throat of his murderer, tearing away the collar and necktie. Between Merstham Tunnel, where Lefroy stated that he had received the bullet wound, and the Balcombe Tunnel, where the body of Mr Gould was found, there is a distance of between 14 and 15 miles to go over, which would occupy about 20 minutes. The fact that a bullet was found lodged near the communicator would seem to indicate that the deceased had attempted to give the alarm when he was fired at, but without effect, no pistol wounds being found upon the body of Mr Gould. The story told by Lefroy of a third man being in the carriage is regarded as a pure fabrication. Mr J. I. Knight, general manager; Mr Wil- liams, chief traffic superintendent Mr Richard- son, assistant superintendent; and the Chief Superintendent of the Company's Police, went down to Balcombe on Tuesday afternoon, and in the course of inquiries ascertained that the only per- son who answered to the description of the labourer given by Lefroy, and which was speciallycom- municated, was seen to get into a third-class com- partment, and was booked to East Croydon. The tragedy was enacted in a first-class smoking carriage. Upon the person of Lefroy was found a gold watch, the swivel of which, it is reported, was broken, and corresponded with the swivel on the end of the chain worn by Mr Gould. It is further believed that deceased had in his possession about £40 in notes and cash, no trace of which has been found. Mrs Gould visited Balcombe on Tuesday after- noon with the view of identifying the body of her husband, but it was thought better she should not see the deceased, at any rate until after the in- quest. The identity, however, is closely estab- lished, the body having been seen by several who knew the deceased, beyond which his first-class season ticket was found in his pocket. In the hurry at Preston, Lefroy was not asked for a ticket, but upon him was found an expired London Bridge to New Cross ticket. Neither the Government nor the raihvay company have as yet offered a reward for the capture of the murderer, it being usual to await the result of the inquest before such a course is taken. Detectives from Scotland Yard are scouring the district, assisted by police officers of the company. Officers of the N Division are watching every continental train of the London and Brighton Company's system. LATER.âThe Press Association is further in- formed that the man Lefroy was given into the charge of Sergeant Holmes, of the metropolitan police, who has recently been accredited to the force of the Brighton and South Coast Railway, for con- veyance from Brighton to his home at Walling- ton. There are two railway routes, one by changing at Norwood and the other by changing at East Croydon. When, however, West Croydon was reached, Lefroy proposed that they should get out there and drive to his cousin's house at Wallington. The sergeant agreed, and after trying to obtain more information from Lefroy as to the supposed would-be murder, he left for Wallington Station to return to London. When he got to the railway station, however, he found that while he and Lefroy had been on their way the body of Mr Gould had been found, and the station master of the nearest station had tele- graphed to Wallington not to lose sight of Lefroy. Had the suspected murderer come the usual railway route,the telegram would have been await- ing the officer. Sergeant Holmes, as soon as he saw the telegram, procured police aid, and pro- ceeded to the house where Lefroy was supposed still to be. He stationed men at the front and back, and then went into the house only to find the man he wanted had escaped. Other facts regard- ing Lefroy's movements have been ascertained by the Press Association representative at Croydon. For instance, he left Carshalton Station for Lon- don yesterday morning. He had then no watch in his possession, and he obtained £2 on some Hanoverian tokens corresponding with those found in the railway carriage. The tokens are said to a superficial observer to closely resemble sovereigns. Lefroy was not not in the habit of travelling in a first- class carriage. Further descriptions of the man say he has dreamy eyes, and was in the habit of nervously holding his chin while speaking, and was in monetary difficulties. This evening a large body of men employed all along the line be- tween Balcombe and Croydon searching for a pistol or any other weapon supposed to have been used in the murder. Dr. Byass, senior, made this afternoon a further examination of the body of the deceased, which presented a fearful appear- ance, and shows that a protracted strusarle must have taken place. Mr Gould was a. fine-built, powerful man. CUC J on both hands seem to indi- cate that he endeavoured to grasp a knife, or to seize the sharp instrument with which he was assailed. A Press Association correspondent who visited Wallington late on Tuesday evening was informed that the clothes seized at the residence of Lefroy have been found to be very much stained with human blood. The real incident as to the changing of the Hanoverian tokens is that in his assumed name the suspected man wrote to a sta- tioner, named Ellis, from whom he had bought books, saying that he would I call and pay his account. Mr Ellis was absent when the call was made, and Mapleton, alias Lefroy, tendered a boy in the shop two of the spurious sovereigns and a shilling, say ing that his account was one guinea. Th.) boy, ho w- ever. discovered that the account was somewhat more, and Mapleton accepted 13s change. He resided at the house of a second cousin, who is married. The place to which he was traced this morning is some 14 miles from Wallington, and as no indication of his having taken train has come to light, there is every reason to suppose that he had walked the distance. A house at which he called this morning has been visited, and information obtained as to his further proceedings, which it is confidently believed will result in his immediate arrest. As an evidence of a struggle having taken place, it is said that no less than six scars, pressed with sticking-plaster, are observable on his forehead and head. The number of the watch which was in his possession on Monday night was taken, and is said to correspond with the number of the watch missed from the body of Mr Gould, and which is published in the police description. All the inquiries which have been conducted by Chief-Inspector Mason and Inspec- tor Goodall have failed to obtain any clue to the labourer or countryman alleged by Mapleton to have accompanied him in the railway carriage. The inquiries of the railway police have been directed to the same end, and the closest examin- ation of all the officials along the line has been equally resultless. Nothing has transpired to ac- count for the supposed acquaintance of the sus- pected person with the habits or business of the deceased, Mr Gould.


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