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A MYSTERIOUS MURDER. On Friday morning a deliberate murder was com- mitted on the estate of Sir Hanson Berneys, in a small village called Barton Bendish, about eight miles east- ward of Downham-Market. The deceased, Benjamin Black, was about fifty-five or fifty-six years of age, and had been employed on the estate all his life, and his father before him. He had lately acted in the capacity of woodman, and was remarkable for his quiet and un- obtrusive habits. On Friday morning last, about four o'clock, when in bed, he heard the report of a gun, and got up and went to a plantation called Barton Lays," from which direction the report was heard. The un- fortunate man was never afterwards seen alive. The body was discovered by five labourers going to their work in hoeing wheat near the wood in question. No time was lost in giving information to the authorities, and Superintendent Watson, of Downham-Market, was put in possession of the facts so far as they are known. The inquest was held on Saturday before Mr. T. L. Reed, deputy coroner for the Hundred of Clackclose, and a respectable jury, of which the Rev. S. G. Read was foreman. After viewing the body the following witnesses were examined Anna Black, sworn, said: I am the widow of Ben- jamin Black, the deceased. On Friday morning, at four o'clock, we were in bed. The deceased asked me if I had heard a gun, which I had not done. He then dressed himself and left the house. I did not see which way he went, but some time after I heard the report of a gun it was a loud report, and appeared to me to be outside the wood. The report did not appear to echo. It might take 20 minutes to walk to the wood. The report took place in as short a time as he could get to the wood, but I did not take particular notice. I did not see him again alive. The deceased was brought to my house in the course of the morning. I never heard him say that he was at variance with any one. He had money in his pockets. He took his purse out the night before. He had two half-crowns, a shilling, and a sixpence, which he said he would send the child to Fincham with to pay the poor-rates, and said he had money enough in his pocket to pay the men, meaning the men working in the wood. I took half-a-crown out of my pocket to make up 8s. 6d. I He handed me back 6d. He had a bag purse made of cartoon." He put the purse in his pocket before he went to bed. I have not seen the purse since. He was always in the habit of going to a wood called the Lays the first thing in the morning. He was a woodman, and had the care of that wood. Charles Kidd, of Barton Bendish, saw deceased on Friday morning at a quarter past four. About half an hour after he saw him he heard the report of a n while he was in his master's stable. Robert Wing, of the same place I work for Mr. George Read. I was employed hoeing wheat near the Lays. On Friday morning I was going to my work about a quarter or twenty minutes past six. I had to go through the wood. As soon as I got through the gate of the first field, into which the wood gate opens, I saw something lying, and when within 100 yards I saw it was a man. I had four other men with me, who also worked for Mr. Read. We saw at once that he was dead. I thought his nose was bleeding until we moved him, when I saw he was shot. His fingers were cold, but his wrist was warm. He was bleeding. I saw blood drop from his face; I saw it running from his eye to his whisker, and thence dropping on the ground. We found a pool of blood under the head as large as my hat, some fluid and some clotted. He was lying on his left side, with his knees drawn up, his hat on, his head upon the ground, and his face rather turned back and upwards, his arms lying limp and useless. We sent for Robert Clarke, Mr. Read's shepherd, who brought a cart. I went into the wood to search for footmarks, and found in a gladeway a broken bottle, having some hop leaves inside, also a piece of paper like what is used to wrap sugar in, containing about two common charges, some of which was spilt. I gave it to the police-officer, Balls, who came up to me afterward. Near to the place where I picked up the paper I found a fresh foot- mark it might be five or six yards from it. It was the footmark of a man, the impression not perfect, but the heel and ball of the boot and shoe seemed to be left. The impression of square-headed nails was visible in the mark left by the ball; they were middle-sized and square. We afterwards found several traces of footmarks, but none plain till we got on the top of the hill in the wood, possibly a furlong from where we found the paper and first footmark. This footmark showed the heel, the balls, and the toe, and resembled the footmark near where the paper was found. Both were made by a person going in a con- trary direction from the body. We saw no more foot- marks in the wood, but we saw a trail, as if some per- son in walking had brushed off the dew from the grass. We followed the trail to the opposite side of the wood, and thence by the side of the hedge bounding the wood. At the corner of the field there is a gap over which he appeared to have passed, and through a piece of vetches cornerwise to a stile. This trail was continued by turning down under the fence, to the end of which we went, and left it on that side of the wood in the direction for Fincham. Clarke and I then went back to the body the nearest way we could. During my search I found some small pieces of shattered paper by the side of the clap-post of the gate and a ditch. I examined the paper, which seemed like the paper containing the gun- powder. The gate where the deceased was shot was off the hinges, upon the spur of the gatepost, and not fastened. When we first found the deceased his watch appeared to have been half drawn out of his pocket, which was drawn up with it, and the ring by which the chain was attached was broken off, and the chain laid loose oil the waistcoat. When we first found the de- ceased one of my companions went into the wood to call Hubbard Lingley, who is a nephew of the deceased, who was working in the wood. My companion said, Hub- bard, come here." I saw him join my companion in the wood, and after talking a minute they came to the body. I think Hubbard Lingley said, Oh, my uncle! my uncle! I saw the tears run down his face, and he wrung his hands. I heard him mention the deceased's watch, but I cannot say what he said about it. He also said something about deceased's purse, but I cannot say what. He put his hand into the deceased's pocket, but did not take anything out. He afterwards said, "There is nothing there but my uncle always carried his money with him." Robert Clarke, of Barton Bendish, shepherd to Mr. George Read, gave evidence corroborating that of Robert Wing in every particular, he being his companion in the researches through the wood. William Cater, of Fincham, surgeon, was called, and said From information received, I went, on Friday morning, the 17th, to view the body of Benjamin Black. I found him lying upon a sofa in his cottage, about eleven a.m. He was dead, and death had resulted from a gun-shot wound in the left eye and from several shot wounds in the upper part of the left chest. I cannot say for certain what vital organ was injured, but deceased evidently died from gun-shot wounds. Those wounds could not possibly have been inflicted by. himself. He appeared to have died the instant he was wounded, with: -t: even a struggle. I am of opinion the gun must have been held at a distance of twelve or fourteen yards from his head if from a short distance the shot would have "balled" and entered the head in a lump, instead of dropping the shot, which caused the wounds in the left breast. I cannot say, without making a post-mortem examination, whether the shot entered the body in an oblique direction, as if fired from the ground, or whether the shot struck the body point blank, as they would do if fired'from the shoulder. The inquest was then adjourned.

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