Skip to main content
Hide Articles List

9 articles on this Page



THE APPALLING TRAGEDY IN SOUTH WALE TIIE INQUEST ON THE MURDERED FAMILY. At noon on Friday last, Mr W. H. Brewer, the ceToner for t»e district, lielcl the inquest on Wil- liam Watknis, the husband of the family murdered ac Llangibbv cn the 17th. The inquiry was held at the White Hart Inn, Llangibby, whither a crowd had been attracted on receipt of the news that the inquest was to be held there. The jury having been sworn, the Coroner said :-This is a most fearful case a case, I think, we have never had anything in any country like it. I don't remem- ber ever having heard of such a dreadful affair. Of course, gentlemen, as far as we are able to judge, the man is in custody who committed this act. Of course we can't tell that as yet, but still I believe so. I saw him at Caerleon this morning, and he seems to be a very little bit of a small fellow. The man Watkins might have knocked him down if he had been prepared for it, but I have no doubt the poor man was taken unawares and killed, and his wife, I have no doubt, in trying to protect the husband, was killed also, and the murderer after- wards killed the children, and set fire to thenTand the house. So I understand. I know nothing of it I have not seen it yet, but I should fancy so. We will now go and view and then come back again. I hone we shall be able to finish the in- quiry to-day; I don't see why we shou dnot. The jury then viewed the bodies. The first witness called was Ann James, who said, in reply to Mr E. B. Edwards, the clerk to Caerleon magistrates, who had prepared her de- position :—I reside at Llangibby. I left my house on the 16th, and went over to Court Blethin. On passing Watkins' house I saw the front door open and a light down stairs, and when I returned home about 10.40 p.m., the door was closed, and the bedroom window was open, and a light up- stairs. Frank James next deposed: -I am 11 years of age. I know the nature of an oath. On the morn- ing of the 17th inst., I went to look for the deceased William Watkins, to go to work at the Cwm Farm, and when I got to the house I found Mrs v/atkins, the deceased, lying dead on her back in the garden. I was frightened, and went back. I came back again with my mother, and then I saw the deceased William Watkins lying dead in the garden, and I saw a smoke coming through a broken pane of glaass in a window in the house. The Coroner Have you anything more to state ? Witness: No, sir. Thomas Day, sworn, deposed I reside in Llan- gibby, and on the 17th instant I went to the de- ceased William Watkins' house, about 8 a.m. I saw John Morgan trying to get upstairs with a bucket of water. I ran round the house and got a ladder, and got up and knocked some slates off the house with a mattock, to let the smoke get out. I went into the bedroom, and there found the three children, dead. The eldest was under the bed and the other two on the bed. The Clerk Is that correct? Witness Yes, that is correct. Harriett Bowyer, a tidily-dressed girl of about 17, was next sworn. She said: I reside in the parish of Llanbaddock. I saw Joseph Garcea lying down by the side of the stile, about 100 yards from the deceased Win. Watkins' residence, at 11 a.m. and four p.m. on the 16th inst. Ann Gwatkins, an elderly woman, who was un- well, was sworn. She said I reside in Llangibby, and am the wife of John Gwatkins. Between seven and eight p.m. on the 16th inst., I saw Joieph Garcea? He came to my house and asked for some water. I gave him some, and he asked for a second glass. He asked me by signs and words the way to Newport. „ George Whiting deposed: I am a warder of the Usk prison. I remember Joseph Garcea leaving gaol on the 16th inst, He was confined for nine months, for housebreaking. His time expired on the 16th July. I discharged him at eight o'clock in the morning. He took his clothes with him. He had no knife. I was to pay his train fare to Newport. I was to take him to the station, put Urn in the train, pay his fare to Newport and when seated in the train to give him his ticket to Newport. But he got away without his train money. He had an old pair of blucher boots on when he left the prison, which I gave him. He had also a pair of canvass slippers tied in a pocket handkerchief. He had seven Spanish silver coins, and a handful of Spanish cop- per. He had 6d in silver and a id, in English money. Sergeant McGrath, Newport county police, said I apprehended Joseph Garcea at the South Wales railway station, on the morning of the 18th, at a quarter past twelve. He was sitting down in the Great Western railway office. He had a bag with him, containing one woman's cloth jacket, one waistcoat, a black cloth coat, one black-lead brush, the works of a clock, three pieces of calico (one about three yards, evidently the linings of a dress, or cut for that), one pair of trousers, three silk ties, a pair of black kid gloves, one woollen stocking, a black silk handkerchief, and a black lead pencil. I also found him wearing two pairs of trousers, one over the other. The outside pair were identified as belonging to atkins. I also found on him a waistcoat, a jacket, a black bowler hat, a pair of boots, and a pair of cotton stockings and a shirt. There is a mark of blood on the shirt. In a second bundle I found a blue slop, a guernsey, and a blue cap.' The blue shirt was wet, and the cap and the trousers were wet. The trousers were wet from the knee down. I also faund on him another waistcoat, a silk handkerchief, a glass, part of a loaf of bread, all of which things I now produce. He had 3s lid. in English money, and the knife now produced; He was wearing the boots pro- duced (thick hobnailed ones). Whiting re-called: These are not the boots I gave the prisoner, and he had not that knife when lie was discharged from Usk gaol. Mary Ann Watkins, a daughter of the deceased, -who was allowed to sit down, was an interesting looking young girl, dressed neatly in black. There are three other children living. She said I was home on Monday last. I have been in service six months, and my mistress gave me a fortnight's holidav. On the 15th I saw my father. He was quite well then. I left my home and went to service on the Monday. Here the witness was overcome, and burst into tears. She recognised the boots, the bag, the two pairs of trousers, a black silk handkerchief belonging to her father, the black cloth jacket belonging to her mother, her father's waistcoat, the new black kid gloves, which were in her father's box, boy's jacket. She knew the ties—a blue one, blue and white, and blue and black-belonging to her father, and a red and black scarf belonging to her brother. She identi- fied her mother's blue-cloth jacket, the calico belonging to her mother; the stockings belonged to a man her mother washed for. The other things all belonged to her mother. The blacklead pencil belonged to her father. She had not been in the house since the murder. There was a clock hanging on the wall on Monday—24-hour clock a round-faced clock. Mr Mackintosh said it was one such as are called sheep's-head clocks." The loaf of bread produced was her mother's. It had been only partly cut. The stockings were her sisters'. When she saw her mother on the Monday she had some money in her pocket; wit- ness did not know how much. Mr Donald Boulton deposed: I am a surgeon living at Usk. On Wednesday, the 18th, I made a post-mortem examination of the body of William Watkins^ deceased. Externally I found two bruises on his forehead; one, a small one, quite sufficient to make a man insensible. There was a wound on the right side of his neck, three inches long, five-and-half inches deep, through the thoyryd cartilage, and the wound went into the oesophagus; the wound extended back- wards and upwards, and divided the common carotid artery, jugular vein, and other small vessels, laying bare the bone of part of the 2nd or 3rd vertebrae, and removing the transverse process of the vertebrce. There was blood over the clothes* The cause of death was hemorrhage (bleeding), from rupture of the carotid artery, or yon. might say, the cause of death was from the wound on the neck. He would bleed to death in about two minutes. I do not think the wound could be caused by the knife (produced). In its present state it is not sharp enough. The carotid artery was cut through. An instrument the length of that knife would do it. I don't believe the man could do it himself. A man would not cut his throat with his left hand. Un- doubtedly the man was murdered, and the family likewise. This being all the evidence, The Coroner said Well, gentlemen of the jury, you are satisfied that this is enough evidence. We will give you a little time to consult amongst yourselves, and have the room cleared for you, so that you can return your verdict. So far as this evidence has gone, I can see no doubt in the matter. Somebody did it, and from what you have seen here, and from the clothes which were found upon the man in custody, the prisoner must leave you but very little doubt about it after his having in his possession the poor unfortunate man's clothes, and the woman's clothes. The only difficulty we have will be with regard to the knife. That knife (the one produced) could not have done it. We can find no other knife yet. Still, there is no doubt that all these poor people were mur- dered-killed by stabbing. The Clerk: A surgeon has been asked to examine the prisoner at Caerleon, and we will take some little evidence upon that. Mr Boulfon said I examined him this morning. There are scratches on both his cheeks and across the nose. They are recent scratches. I think they were done by going through a fence. On his left hand are twelve distinct places where he had been trying a knife to see how it would cut. There were at least a dozen such marks on the left hand. The room was then cleared for a few minutes. On the re-admission of the public, The foreman of the jury said We find a verdict of Wilful murder" against Joseph Garcea. The jurymen's fees were devoted to a fund for the funeral of the murdered family. THE FUNERAL. The funeral took place on Friday evening at Llangibby Church, an old-fashioned white-washed edifice, hardly more than a stone's throw from the scene of the murder. Th^ friends of the family had fixed upon Sunday, but the police authorities felt that the day would be unsuitable. Arrange- ments were, therefore, made with the Rev. Mr Salisbury, the rector, to carry out the interment at the close of the coroner's inquest. The rector was assisted in this painful duty by the Rev. Mr Salfort Cook, the vicar of Llanbaddock-nigh-Usk, the parish adjoining. The coroner having given his certificate for burial at about four o'clock, it was decided that at six o'clock the funeral should take place. The information that such was to be the case spread through the village rapidly, and before the hour for interment arrived, some hun- dreds of people had gathered on the highway be- tween the desolate cottage and the village church, many persons being strong in their determination to see the ransacked and pillaged cottage. On the arrival of those who had volunteered to carry the remains of the murdered victims to their long homes, conversation was hushed, and in a few minutes the mournful procession commenced to form, and then to proceed to the graveyard. No such distressing spectacle had ever been seen in this sequestered village, and it is not to be won- dered at the villagers, whose hearts failed them to join the melancholy cortege, stood aghast. The first coffin contained the body of the father, the second that of the mother. The bodies of the children were next brought out. As may natur- ally be expected, the chief mourners were the four surviving members of the family, two daughters and two sons, each of whom was deeply moved, 0 and drew forth the sincerest sympathy of the crowds of spectators who lined the roadway lead- ing to the quaint little church, and who subse- quently followed the bier. When met by the clergymen reading the first portion of the burial service, the orphan children sobbed convulsively, and others soon joined in what became a general lamentation. Amid teers and sobs the service pro- ceeded and concluded. Then there was a general effort made to take a last look at the c jffins, as they lay in the huge grave-the receptacle which has been broadly designate" the house appointed for all living. The father and mother were placed side by side, with the children on the top. Sigh after sigh heaved from many a manly and womanly brest, as the people gazed on one of the most me- lancholy and heart-rending spectacles ever wit- nessed in connection with murder. THE ORPHAN CHILDREN. With commendable foresight and humane feel- ing, Mr Benjamin Evans, of Llangibby and New- port, has suggested to the Rev Mr Salisbury, the advisability of raising a public subseription for the benefit of the four orphan children, who have thus been bereft of parents and of home. For persons in their position in life, the children have been well brought up, and are held in great respect by the neighbours and residents of the village. Mr Evans believes in making such an effort whilst public sympathy is warm, and has undertaken not only to subscribe himself, but to use his best efforts amongst gentlemen and tradesmen in Newport to raise a substantial fund. The vicar will doubtless take the initiative in his parish and district. This, however, should form the nucleus of what ought to become a public appeal to the liberality of all sympathisers throughout this and adjacent counties. None can read the account of the frightful massacre without having their feelings moved to the core, and it is not too mach to hope that some generous and spontaneous pecuniary as^i sistancewill be rendered to the bereaved children^1 thereby softening the distressed and harrowing condition in which they have unhappily been placed. THE PRISONER BEFORE THE MAGIS- TRATES. The prisoner Garcea was brought before the Caerleon magistrates on Monday morning, and charged with the murder of William Watkins and his family on the 16th or 17th inst. The crowd in and outside the court was enormous. The magistrates present were Messrs J. James (chairman), F. J. Hall, T. Llewelyn Brewer, F. J. Mitchell, and Capt. Hill. Mr Ensor, Cardiff, in- structed bv Senor Uncilla, who was present, ap- peared on behalf of the prisoner. On the charge being read over to the prisoner, Senor Uncilla interpreted it to him, and the prisoner responded in Spanish that he was not guilty. The evidence given at the inquest having been repeated, Mr T. H. Ensor said: May it please your worships. I have the honour to appear before you to-day to watch the case on behalf of the pri- soner at the bar, instructed by the Spanish consul for the Principality and for the county of Mon- mouth, and I need hardly say that a much more painful or unpleasant task could hardly devolve upon one. The prisoner already stands committed by the coroner's warrant to take his trial upon the heinous charge which has been preferred against him. Therefore it must be, to a certain extent, comparatively indifferent to him as to what view this tribunal may take of the case, because it is impossible to conceive that this case will not ne- cessarily and inevitably undergo examination and investigation before a jury at the assizes. Under those circumstances, I do not propose to make one single observation either upon the guilt or inno- cence of the prisoner, nor do I feel called upon to make any remark whatever upon the evidence which has been given by the several witnesses who have deposed before you. I desire, however, to state on behalf of the gentleman who, at the in- stance of his Government, has instructed me to watch over the interests of the accused, that there is no one living who regards with greater detesta- tion and abhorrence this horrible crime, which has resulted in the murder of no less than five indivi- duals, regardless of age, or sex, or helplessness. And I am sure it is his wish and desire, as it must be the wish and desire of every well-regulated mind, that the crime should be brought home on the person who was guilty of it,, and that the sword of justice should smite with no unerring aim. I do not com- plain of the loud passionate feeling and of the resentment of those who cry for vengeance, which has pervaded the public mind on this unhappy and lamentable occasion. Less could hardly be ex- pected. But just in proportion to the horrible and atrocious character of the charge just as tins appalling catastrophe agitates and bewilders the mind by contemplation of its unspeakable and transcendent horrors; j ust in propor- tion as there exists an almost universal cry of blood for blood, so ought every effort to be made to clear up everything which is ambiguous or mysterious in connection with this case, so, I venture to say, ought an judgment hostile to the accused, unless it is upheld by the strongest, accused, unless it is upheld by the strongest, clearest, and most irresistible evidence, to be withheld. It will be satisfactory to you, and also to the discriminatory portion of the public, to know that this man will not be condemned un- heard, and that, owing to the considerate liberality of the Government of the country to which he be- longs, he, an alien in blood and language, will at least have the same means and the same oppor- tunities of making what answer he can to the charge preferred against him, as would be enjoyed by any subject of these realms. I trust that the passionate excitement which this event has, not unnaturally, raised, will speedily subside and I hope when this awful and stupendous charge comes to be investigated by that tribunal before which it must come ultimately, and in the last resort, that every passion, that every prejudice, that every antipathy, and that every desire for vengeance will fade away in that holier desire for the impartial administration of calm and even-handed justice. I trust that the stranger and the soj ourner and the nationalities to which they belong may ever have* reason to repose confidence in the administration of English law, and I hope that even as in times past, so in the present time, and in the time to come, this land will continue to justify the boast of being a sacred temple for the perpetual resi- dence of inviolable justice (slight applause). The Chairman: The bench are very much pleased that you are here on the part of the stranger. We were rather anxious about it, and we hoped that it would be defended in every possible manner. We can have but one opinion as to what is necessary upon this occasion. Senor Uncilla then interpreted to the prisoner that he stood committed at the ensuing assizes, at Monmouth, to take his trial for the murder of Mr Watkins, Elizabeth Watkins, Charlotte Watkins, Alice Watkins, and Frederick Watkins. The Chairman You may as well tell him that the assizes will be held next week, and he had better make out his accounts, I think. Senor Uncilla communicated this intelligence to the prisoner. The witnesses were then bound over, the court cleared, and the proceedings terminated. The evidence taken was not interpreted to the prisoner, as it was considered unnecessary to do so, the prisoner being represented by Mr Ensor. The Spanish Vice-Consul, Senor Christobel, was present during the proceedings, and the depositions were taken by Mr E. B. Edwards, who officiated in a similar capacity at the inquest. Major Herbert and Mr Mcintosh, deputy, were present in their official capacities. The noise outside the court was powerful enough at times to prevent the. wit- nesses from being heard, and from the character of the exclamations which penetrated to the in- terior of the court the prisoner appeared to be clamoured for, the crowd outside expressing their readiness to lynch him. Strong barriers were er- ected to keep the crowd within bounds, but the babble of contending voices was at times perfectly deafening. The prisoner preserved a calm de- meanour throughout the trial. The traces of scratches have entirely disappeared from his face. The only movement visible on his features was the shooting to and fro of his eyes-very dark and very brilliant-which at times betrayed a latent inter- est in what was going on. In the cell he has con- ducted himself in precisely the same style. Even when the daughter of the murdered man identi- fied her father's clothes he exhibited not the faintest trace of emotion. He was conveyed to Usk gaol after the hearing, and when the crowd had, in some measure, dispersed. The only statement the prisoner has made was conveyed to his solicitor, and was to the effect that he picked up the pro- perty found on him by the roadside. «««—

[No title]





[No title]


[No title]