Hide Articles List

8 articles on this Page

Advertising

, The Pentre Murder. j

News
Cite
Share

The Pentre Murder. j Trial of Lange. Prisoner Hysterical. Death Sentence Passed. The last act but one in the grim tragedy which thrilled the whole ot 6outh W alelS and the Jblhondda in particular-in Sep- tember, was gone through at the Glamor- gan Assizes, awansea, on Monday, when jcirici jLange (30), a ussian seaman, was arraigned tor the wiltul murder or ivir: Ernlyn Jones at the Bridgend Hotel, Pentre. Accused was neither defiant nor indif- ferent on Monday. He slouched into the dock. The thick lips, so firmly compressed when he was at the Police Court, were wide apart now, and they often quivered. The powerful jaw hung heavily, and ever and anon a look of terror stole into his eyes. Mr. Benson, with whom was Mr. Ivor Bowen, was instructed by Mr. W. R. Davies on behalf of the Treasury; and Mr. Morgan Morgan (instructed by Messrs. Roberts-Jones and Everett) repre- sented the prisoner. Mrs. Lange was in court, a short, round-faced, blue-eyed Irishwoman. Her little boy was with her, and, innocent of the grim tragedy which was being de- scribed, he ate sweets with much relish. Mrs. Emlyn Jones, the widow of the murdered man, journeyed from Cardiff by the 7.15 morning train. Mrs. Lange was in the same train, and the two women passed each other on Landore Station platform. Neither knew of the sorrow which filled the other's heart. That know- ledge came later. No- guilty," replied Lange, in a tremulous voice, in reply to the charge as it was solemnly read out by the Hon. Stephen Coleridge, the clerk of arraigns. opuaing btatemeni. lhen Mr. isenson opened the case for the crown. The jjndgend Motel, he said, was suuace on the great mam thorough- fare which ran through the Rnonuda V alley, and Mr. Emlyn J ones was appoin- ted manager in the early part ot this year. Oil the night or September iith the hotel bar was crowded, tor it was Saturday night, and considerable money was taken. At 12 o'clock Mrs. Jones re- tu ed to her bedroom on the first lioor. learned counsel then gave a detailed de- scription of the hotel, how the bedroom could be entered by way of the lavatory, outside which a 14-foot ladder was found on the morning of the murder. Mr. Jiimiyn Jones and Mr, Davies, a local butcher, could be seen that night-if any- one had looked through a windowâcount- ing the takings of the day. Mr.. Benson proceeded to describe the bedroom struggle at the Bridgend Hotel in the early hours of that fatelul Septem- ber Sunday morning. Mrs. Jones was aroused at 3.30, and by the nightlight, burned for her baby's sake, and the liickering gaslight, she saw the face of a man peering at her through the foot of the bed. She screamed. The man rushed at her and struck her two violent blows on the left temple and on the arm with a heavy iron, wrapped up in brown paper. The husband was awakened, and he jumped out of bed. The man walked round the bed to meet him. The two men gripped each other in deadly embrace, and they fought and struggled in the bed- room. The man struck Mrs. Jones several blows with the iron, and Mrs. Jones en- deavoured to free her husband. The two men struggled out to the landing. Mrs. Jones called loudly for help. Then she heard a thud. Her husband had fallen in a heap on the floor, and his assailant had made his escape. The death-wound had been dealt by a man who was absolutely recklessâa man, said learned counsel, who was determined to carry out his felonious intention at all costs. He had .entered the Bridgend Hotel for robbery, and, having got there, was determined to effect his purpose at the cost of human life. Else why did he strike a defenceless woman and struggle with a man who was quite unarmed? Why did he not make good his escape when first seen by Mrs. Jones, if he had not made up his mind to allow nothing to stand in his way to ettect the robbery? The law of England is very jealous of human life, proceeded Mr. Benson, who next described how a man's boots were found at the bottom of the stairs at the Bridgend Hotel, and how those boots fit- ted Eric Lange. When smartly captured by the police several miles away from Pentre, Lange's feet were bleeding, blood was on his clothes, and bruises were on his body. All the circumstances pointed to Lange as the murderer, and when charged by Inspector Williams he made a statement which corroborated all the evidence against him, for he admitted that he went to the Bridgend Hotel to steal money. The police did not credit prisoner's statement that he had a mate," and on behalf of the prosecution Mr. Benson asked the jury to say that no other man but the prisoner was at the hotel, and it was a lame attempt on his part to get rid of the effect of the blows he struck Emlyn Jones by putting it on his mate 'Harry." Prisoner was a Russian, although he had passed as a Norwegian. He came to England four years ago, and in May, 1901, was married to an Irish girl, Bridget Gollaghl by whom he had had three children. In July of the same year he was at the Bridgend Hotel as a billiard-marker, and at his home in Middlesbrough was found a character from Mr. Gould, by whom he was engaged. He remained at the hotel from May to August. In conclusion, Mr. Benson asked the jury to say that Eric Lange was guilty of the crime of which he was now charged. While Mr. Benson was describing the scene in the bedroom, prisoner shook like an aspen leaf, while Mrs. Emlyn Jones bent her head and tears ran down her pale, hageard cheeks, Widow's Terrible Story. Mrs. Mary Jones, widow of the mur- dered man, presented a pathetic figure in black as she clutched the top of the wit- ne.ss-box. One saw for a second a struggle between will power and grief, and expec- ted to see grief secure the mastery. Mr. Benson grasped the situation splen- didly, and his first reply brought a firm "yes" from Mrs. Jones. It was in answer to the question as to her name. Then she told how about midnight she went to bed with baby, and left a night- light and an incandescent light feebly burning. Her husband retired to rest about 2 a.m. Between two and three o'clock," went on Mrs. Jones, "I heard a slight noise in the bedroom. I opened my eyes, looked towards the foot of the bed, and saw a man's face looking at me-a face in a cap. I screamed and raised my head." Justice Bray: Was this man looking at you? Witness: Yes. my Lord. As I raised my head to call my husband, the man rushed at me and struck me on the temple with some heavy instrument. It hurt me very much, and my temple bled. I screamed again, and he rushed at me again, and again he struck at me, but I held up my elbow. Oh my God, my God," he moaned. Sensational Scene. Here a fearful scene was witnessed in the clock, Lange shivered and shook; then a low, deep moan of terror escaped him, and he tell back from his seat. When the warders ran to his side, Lange screamed and struggled and kicked them. the three warders had as much as they could do to hold him. Then Lange tell exhausted. The warders raised him to his seat, and he seemed to recover, but only for a second or two. He again gave a terrified cry; the sobs came irom him in great gulps as though he would choke, and again he struggled with and kicked the warders. After the sensation which this painful incident created had somewhat abated, mis. Jones went on with her evidence: My husband jumped out of bed. He struggled with the man, who struck him with the instrument he had struck me with. My husband did his best to defend himself, and I tried to pull the man off him. My husband was pinned close to the wall, and I pulled the man's hand away and opened the door with the other hand. The oourt gazed at this little figure in black with intense admiration' and sym- pathy. There she stood in the witness- box brave and self-possessed, apparently determined that the story of her husband s cruel death should be told to the very end. As to the prisoner at the bar, he sobbed and shook and shook and sobbed as Mrs. Jones recalled the story of that night of horror, and the warders were alert that he did himself no mischief. Mrs. Jones continued: My husband and the man struggled on to the landing, and my husband leaned against the bannister. I released my hold of the man to open the attic door, and shouted, Jack, Jack I" Jack answered, Yes) I am coming." I shouted, Come down; someone here is murdering us." Then I heard a thud as of someone falling downstairs. I then went back to where m- husband was. The man had gone. My husband was clutch- ing hold of the bannister, and I helped him from there towards the bed. When he got to the bedroom door he fell down. Jack, the cellarman, then came running into the room with a revolver in his hand, saying, Where is he ? Which way has he gone ? I sent Jack for brandy, and gave some to my husband, but it did not revive him. My husband was in great pain, and he exclaimed, Oh, give me fresh air." Prisoner's Paroxysm of Terror. Again thick sobs came from the pri- soner, who was still held by two warders. JCivery reference to the struggle in the bedroom moved him into a paroxysm of tenor, and he would jump in his seat. When his boots were produced the pri- soner struggled to hide his eyes, so that they should not see the evidence against him. "How long did all this occur?" asked Mr. Justice Bray, referring to the bed- room struggle. It was like a flash of lightning, my Lord," replied Mrs. Jones. And who was the man that struck your husband ? queried Mr. Benson. The widow cast her eyes just for a second on Lange. In that second the horror of that fateful and fearful night seemed reflected in the eyes of both, only the one cowered down with terror, while the other, who answered, The man in the dock," made a great effort to be brave. "Have you any doubt?" asked Mr. Benson. None whatever," the widow replied. Mr. Morgan Morgan's cross-examination was directed to show that prisoner, when the alarm was given, made an effort to get out through the door, but Mrs. Jones adhered to her story that he was the attacker. "Why," she said, "when he had my husband on the bed leaning over him he struck him several blows with the iron." In re-examination by Mr. Benson, wit- ness said the safe was in the bedroom. This concluded Mrs. Jones' evidence, and she stepped out of the witness-boxi almost exhausted with her brave effort. However, she mastered her feelings and took a seat in the well of the court next to some lady friends. Further Painful Scenes. Evidence was afterwards tendered by John Henry Carpenter, the cellarman. While witness was telling his story of what he saw on arriving on the scene, prisoner again broke into great.soba and moans, and again the warders had to hold him. Mrs. Jones looked at the man in the dock, tears filled her eyes, and for a second she buried her face in her hands. But she was braver than Eric Lange, or Eugene Lorenz, for the next moment she wiped away her tears and listened in- tently to the evidence. Witness Carpenter told how he found Mr. Jones lying in the bedroom. I had no idea he was stabbed like that," he said; but he died very soon." Witness looked about the house, but did not see any man. He found, however, a ladder against the wall, which would per- mit anyone to get through the backyard into the lavatory." Miss Kate Richards, niece, described how she was awakened by the screams of her aunt, and how she ran to the bed- room and saw her uncle lying in the cor- ner groaning, and mumbling something which she could not make out. There was blood- The word" blood" seemed to strike terror into prisoner's heart. I saw blood," repeated Miss Richards. Lange groaned and shook and cried. Witness went on to say that she had seen prisoner in the bar of the Bridgend Hotel a week before the murder, and had served him with drinks. What makes you think you saw him before ?-He was a very quiet man, and I noticed that he always stood by himself. Do you swear you saw him before?" asked Mr. Morgan Morgan. Witness hesitated a little, and then she replied, I do, sir," You took a long time to think about it," remarked Mr. Morgan. And quite right," commented the Judge. The Capturer. P.C. Woods, the young constable who joined the police force nine months ago, and who arrested the prisoner a couple of hours after the tragedy on the Taff Vale embankment near Pontypridd, was the njext witness. He hid himself near a wagon as he saw Lange walking from the direction of Pentre. "I stopped him," said the constable, and there was blood â " Again the prisoner groaned and shook. His trousers were broken and blood- stained," continued Woods. He had no hat on and no boots. I asked him where he came from. He replied, I think 'tis Pentre.' What have you done with your cap? I have lost it.' Where are your bc),ot-s? I have left them behind How long have you left Pentre?' 'About three hours/ After those questions had been put and answered, I told him he would have to come to the station. Then he put his hands under his coat behind, as if to get something. I struck him on the arm with my staff, and he cried, Let me go quick, or I shall lose my boat, I am going out to-day. At the police station witness found a large knife fastened to prisoner's waist by a string, a clasp knife in his pocket, a bloodstained handkerchief, and a watch, on which was engraved Millward and Son, Middlesbrough." Patches of blood were on prisoner's coat, the back of his head, and there were cuts on his knee. Might these cuts have been caused by falling queried Justice Bray. "I think so; I can't say, my Lord," replied Woods, who added that when charged prisoner answered, I have no- thing to say to that." The Court then adjuorned for luncheon. Prisoner seemed more himself after luncheon, when Inspector Williams, Pen- tre, said that immediately after the tragedy he telephoned to Supt. Cole and to the various stations in the Valley. At the bottom of the stairs at the Bridgend Hotel he found a pair of shoes and a bent wire on the landing. The latter could be used for picking locks. In the bedroom he found a rasp or file wrapped up in paper, which was bloodstained. "Augh I groaned prisoner in his agony, shaking from head to foot what time the warders gripped him by the shoulders. At Pentre, continued Inspector Wil- liams, accused was placed among four other men as much like him as possible, and was identified by Mrs. Jones as the man who was in the bedroom. The file was here handed to the jury, when one of the jurors said, I think it is a burglar's jemmy, my Lord." Lange's soles," went on Inspector Wil- liams, were covered with gravel rash and small cuts." In reply to the charge of burglary and murder, prisoner then made a long statement, which has already been published. The Doctor's Evidence. Dr. Thomas, Pentre, said he had made a post-mortem examination of the mur- dered man. The wound which caused deathâ(" Augh I oh, augh! moaned the prisoner)âthe wound which caused death, went on Dr. Thomas, was two and a half inches deep, proceeding inwards and up- wards and penetrating to the heart. Oh, oh, augh!" moaned the prisoner again, clutching convulsively at nothing, with his eyes staring wildly at nothing, his whole frame shaking in a paroxysm of terror. Oh! augh! oh! he again moaned, while the doctor detailed other injuries on the body of John Emlyn Jones. Dr. Thomas believed the wounds, in- cluding the heart wounds, were caused by a knife, and not by the file. Augh I oh, augh I" groaned prisoner once more, and he shook so violently that his knuckles struck the front of the dock. Other evidence having been heard, the case for the Crown closed. Prisoner's Wife. I have only one witness to call," broke in Mr. Morgan. Annie Lorenz, the prisoner's wife, a short, round-faced, blue-eyed woman, stepped into the witness-box. Unlike Mrs. Jones, she took the seat proffered her, and gave her evidence in low, hesitating tones. Do speak up," kindly ordered the Judge. Mrs. Lorenz did so. The voice seemed to startle prisoner. He looked up suddenly, and fixed his eyes vacantly on his wife, who, however, seemed to pay no heed to him. There were three children of the mar- riage, said Mrs. Lorenz. Her husband was a German subject, and he did not leave their home near Middlesbrough until September 10th. He was paid off because of the want of employment, and this made him "strange in his mind." Is Prisoner Insane P Dr. Biggs, acting medical officer at Car- diff Gaol, was called by Mr. Benson, and said he had accused under daily observa- tion, and in his opinion he was respon- sible for his actions. There was no ground whatever for saying he was insane. Mr. Benson: You have been in court to-day and you have seen his conduct in the dock; is that in any way due to any- thing wrong mentally?âI think not. In reply to the Judge, Dr. Biggs said he had not seen or heard anything of the prisoner which could induce him to think he was insane. Dr. David Howell Thomas, medical officer of Swansea Gaol, gave similar evi- dence. He is perfectly sane," declared the doctor. In his address for the defence1, Mr. Morgan said he laboured under the great disadvantage that all the circumstances of the tragedy were known to the jury before that day. That was due to the Press of Glamorgan, but he appealed to the jury to dismiss from their minds anything they had been told and everything they had read in the papers, and to decide the issue on the evidence only. He assured Mrs. Jones that no one sympathised with her in her great sorrow more than the man in the dock. Justice Bray commenced his summing- up at 5 minutes past 4. You are not bound to be satisfied," said his Lordship, that there was inten- tion to kill. If you are satisfied that he was there to commit a felony, and if he used that knife intending to injure the deceased without intending to kill him, whether he used the knife for the purpose of enabling him to escape, I care not, but if he used that knife with the intention of doing injury to deceased, then it is murder." In view of all the circumstances, his Lordship thought it was impossible for them to come to the conclusion that Mr. Emlyn Jones' death was a pure acci- dent. Verdict-" Guilty." The jury retired at 4.40 and returned at 5.7 with a verdict of Guilty of wilful murder." Prisoner heard the announce- ment with head erect and set lips. A remarkable change had come over him. Prisoner at the bar," said the Clerk of Arraigns, the jury have found you guilty of murder. Have you anything to say why sentence of death should not be passed upon you according to law ? "No, sir, I have not," answered Lange and fixing his gaze upon the Judge. Not even when his Lordship donned the black cap did the man shrink. In a silence that could be felt, Judge Bray addressed prisoner as follows: â Eric Lange, the jury have found you guilty of wilful murder upon evidence which could, in my opinion, leave no doubt whatever upon their minds. Neither was there any suggestion, so far as I could see, for the suggestion that you were of unsound mind. I have only one duty to perform, and that is to pronounce the only sentence which the law allows in the case of wilful murder. I order that you be taken from this place to a lawful prison, thence to a place of execution, that you be there hanged by the neck until you are dead, and that your body be buried in the precincts of the prison in which you shall hire been confined for

Advertising

=--'-ii"sd.¡J Penygraig Landlord…

Advertising

co-operatiorh

Advertising

, The Pentre Murder. j