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TEHRIBLE TRAGEDY ON THE HALKIN…

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TEHRIBLE TRAGEDY ON THE HALKIN ROAD. ATTEMPTED DOUBLE MURDER AND DETERMINED SUICIDE. It is not often that the town of Holywell seethes with excitement, yet this was the con- diiion prevailing on Friday evening. About six o'clock in the evening several shots were heard to have been fired on the south-east aide of the town-reports that quickly attracted at- tention. The cause of the reports was soon seen. Mr and Mrs E. B. Marsden, of the National Provincial Bank, had been up the Halkin road as far as the Workhouse for a walk, and when returning they were met by a man named Captain Walter William Fyson, late of Elm Villa, Lowestoft, near Gorleston, Great Yarmouth, who, immediately drew forth a large heavy calibre six-chamber revolver, and ex- claiming Now I have got you, I am going to shoot you," fired two or three shots at Mr and Mrs Marsden, as they stood on the footpath, Captain Fyson standing almost against the gate on the opposite side of the road to Ashurst Lodge gate. Mr Marsden was hit by one of the bullets in the hand, the other shot falling wide. Evidently, upon seeing the blood and the approach of some persons, their assailant took it he had effected his purpose, and putting the muzzle of the revolver into his mouth fired, the bullet entering the brain and killing him instantly. Mr Marsden oarried only a thin cheiry-wood stiok with a hooked handle whilst Mrs Marsden had an umbrella. The first shot struck Mr Marsden in the left hand, in which he held the stick, and according to his statement at the inquest, he had placed his arm round his wife to draw her aside and behind him as Fyson fired. It is very probable from the description that the eaoape of Mrs Marsden was miraoulous as also when the second shot struck and broke the umbrella. The walking stick was splintered by the bullet, and on the wall on the right hand Bide of the road are the marks of the bullets as they s ruck the stone. One of the splashed bullets was afterwards picked up on the road. There were a number of people in close proximity to the scene at the time, and they saw all that took place. It was not anticipated from the ap- pearancesof the parties that such a tragio oc- currence waa about to take place; so sudden was the shooting that the whole affair was over before the eye-witnesses comprehended the seriousness of the attack. When deceased shot himself a number of people came upon the scene, and Mr and Mrs Marsden were removed to Ashurst Lodge where they were attended by Drs. James Williams and K. M. Lloyd. Mrs Marsden suff-red, very naturally, from shock, whilst in addition to shock Mr Marsd&n's fingers in his left hand were considerably injured. The corpse was ultimately removed in a cart to the Holywell Police Station, and afterwards was placed in a dis- used room of one of the cottages in the station yard. Dr. Thos. Jones, of the Flintshire Dispensary, was oalled in, and he made an examination of the body, and it was found thai the deceased in firing into his mou, h had pointed the revolver to discharge into the roof of his mouth. The bullet had entered at the base of the skull which was considerably shattered, and had evidentlytarned aside and buried itself in some part of the brain. It appears that the deceased was related to Mr and Mrs Marsden. having some years ago married a Miss Lidle, sister of Mrs Marsden, whose dowry was secured in trust, by her father and at her death reverted to her relatives failing issue. To this arrangement the deceased was opposed and to such an extent that he manifestly thirsted for revenge for the fanoied wrong, and with the object of oarrying out his plan of revenge he visited Holywell, arriving in the town some days prior to the tragedy. He had, it seems, taken apartments in Well-street, and during his stay he had mixed pretty freely among the townspeople to more thaa one of whom he expressed his intention of having revenge. To these threats but little heed was taken, being regarded more as empty ravings than of one intent upon committing a heinous crime. The greatest oonsternation was caused in the town upon the spread of the news and crowds of people flocked to the spot. An inquest was held on Saturday, at which a full and detailed description of the particulars leadiBg up to and inoluding the tragedy were given. THE FUNERA.L OF THE DECEASED, The interment of the deoeased took place at Holywell Cemetery, on Monday afternoon, at half-past five o'clock, in the presenoe of a large crowd notwithstanding that considerable pre- cautions had been exeroised by the polioe in the oarrying out of the funeral arrangements. The remains were enclosed in a plain oak ooffin with black ornaments, the oentre plate bearing the inscription Walter W. Fyson, died May 13th, 1898, aged 46 years," and on the plate was the text" The spirit shall return unto God who gave it," and on a foot plate It Thy will be done." The undertaker was Mr Thomas Hughes, High-street. The Rev. D. Oliver, of the Welsh Congregational Chapel, Chapel-street, officiated at the grave, and read a portion of Scripture, afterwards offering a short prayer in which he said We have met this evening under unusual circumstances; we feel we are committing the body to the dust according to Thy oommand, bat we leave him with Thee, the righteous Judge. We are not able to scrutinize, and we are told distinctly not to judge. Thou art the only Judge and we believe in Thy goodness and in Thy righteousness. We commit the departed to Thee, knowing that he shall be justly dealt with. We feel there is a lesson iu the circum- stances to us who are left behind. We are told to govern our passions; to regulate our desires; we are told we are also liable to be led astray. We thank Thee heavenly Father we have been kept from evil. Let him that standeth to-day be oareful least he fall Keep as from evil habits; from the influences of our evil hearts. May our passions be regulated so that our lives should be in all things feeling that we are responsible to Thee for all our aotions. We ask Thee to bless those who naturally feel distressed by his actions; possibly some near and dear td.tlve8 b,)wed down with trouble. We ask Thee to sustain them and bless them in this hour of trouble. We would also recognise Thy Ko idness in the lives thlit nave been spared It might have been worse. We recognise Thy protecting hand, and we thank Thee, that we Mn acknowledge Eh*e as our Ruler. We would blosM rhy name and take a lesson from this deed to guard our lives in such a way that when d-nth vvllt come we shall receive the blessings of the rirfbt^ous Hear us in our prayers for Christ's Sake, Amen. The service was con- ducted under the provisions of the Burials Act. THE INQUEST. An inquest was held on the body of the deceased at the Court House, on Saturday moruiug, before Mr Richard Bromley, County Coroner. Mr J. H. Hague was elected foreman ot the Jury. Mr H A. Cope appeared on behalf of Mr E. B. Marsden. There were a large number of people present in Court during the hearing The Coroner in opening the inquiry said, no doubt this was a matter which had caused some amount of oonsternation, having regard to the circumstances in colnectioa with the care. The deceased first fired at M r and Mrs Marsden and then turned the revolver upon himself. It was for the jury to oonsider whether the deceased Was at the time temporarily insane, or whether the deceased killed himself being at the time sane, which would be equivalent to felo de se. A Jury sometimes considers that when a person kills himself, naturally he must be temporarily insane. That did not follow at all, for then every person who killed another would be considered temporarily insane, and be free from the penalty of the law. It wan of some importenoe that the Jury should oonsider that question, and the only way to arrive at a deoision would be by the evidence to be plaoed before them. Dr. Thos. Jones, of the Flintshire Dispensary, said: I was sent for about a quarter past six, yesterday (Friday) evening, to see a man whom I was told was injured and was at the Polioe Station. I went instantly, seeing a orowd along the road, I saw also a cart containing a body. I afterwards examined the body, in the police station, first and afterwards in the house in the station yard. I found there was a hole in the roof of the mouth and the base of the skull was also considerably shattered. I could feel splinters of bone but could not traoe the bullet. I traced with my finger and with forceps. The probability is that the bullet is buried in the brain. I did not make any further examination. I was shown a revolver (produced). The wound I saw was one consistent with a shot from suoh a revolver and the position was consistent with the deceased having shot himself. Mr Edwin Bowen Marsden, manager of the National Provincial Bank, Holywell, said the body lying in the Polioe Station and which I have just seen 1 identify as that of Captain Walter W. Fyson. He lived until recently at Gorleston, Great Yarmouth. His wife died there a month ago, and I had notioe that he was going to leave there and coming to Holywell to annoy me. He came to Holywell about a week ago and lodged in Well-street. He would be about 45 years of age, and was a sea-faring man. Some years ago he was captain of a vessel that went to South Afrioa. He scuttled the vessel and came home. He married my wife's sister. The Coroner: Was he retired or on aotive service ?-He was a sea-faring man, a certificated master. Was he retired?—No, I cannot oall him retired. He might have gone to sea again. I understand you are represented, as you are not very well. I simply ask you the questions for the purpose of burial and we will see about adjourning the inquiry ?—Witness: If not un- necessarily long I can manage if seated, and thus save you and the jury.—It was aooordingly decided to proceed with the evidence. Witness: Deceased did not write to me, but he wrote to my sister-in-law, stating that he was going to Holywell to oarry out his revenge. He married my wife's sister, and my father-in- law settled a thousand pounds upon her with the rest to come to her after death. She died about a month ago. The money was in trust, and he could not participate in anything after her death. Had he written any threatening letters to you before he came to Holywell ?—Many times. And to your wifeP-Yes. Did you write to him requesting him to come to Holywell at all ?—No, he came himself. He wrote to my sister-in-law to say that he was going to Holvwell to oarry out his threats, and that was to shoot us. In any letter has he told you what he intended to do-what kind of a threat-simply II to make it hot for you," or what ?—Some years ago, after the settlement was made, we had an action in London; the deceased tried to upset the deed of settlement. He then threatened to shoot me and Mr R. W. Williams of Cardiff, the solioitor in the case. Have you ever taken any proceedings to have him bound over to keep the peace ?-No, but I told his wife if I took any proceedings it would be serious. and she tried to keep him quiet. He only threatened you and your wife on this partioular question of money P-Yes, and the solicitor especially. I may tell you when the action was heard in the High Court the Judge gave a very strong opinion, that no costs should come out of the estate, and that it was a disgraoeful attempt to get hold of his wife's money. I tried several times to be released from the trust, but I could not be. Did you oonsider at all that his mind was deranged ?—Well, his sister told me that when he was young he had sunstroke. I don't believe his mind was deranged, only when he took liquor. Do you believe he committed this deed when his mind was deranged P-O, no; he did it when in apparently sound mind, for when in a proper frame of mind he would reiterate the threats no matter what his oondition was. I come now to yesterday, or rather to his ooming to Holywell. When he came here a week ago, what was his oourse of conduct P-I oannot say more than that he was seen walking up and down the street. On Friday morning I was in the Market Place with my wife. Deceased followed us and looked hard at us. He did not speak, but came olose to us and looked hard at us. Did you notice the look; was it malignant?— Yes, it was very plain. You did not see him again during the morning ?—I met him about one o'olock in the street. He was on the opposite side of the street; he crossed and met me, but nothing transpired. He passed without saying a word. Did you ever speak to him at all when in Holywell ?-I said "Good-day" to him once, but he made a rather wide reply to go somewhere. Did it strike you, when you saw him early on Friday, that he was out of his mind ?-No, he was observant, looking at the stalls and then came towards us and looked hard at us. After one o I clook, did you see him again that day ?-Mrs Marsden and I went for a walk about five o'clook. We were going up Halkyn- road. He came out of the Hotel Victoria as we passed and looked at us. Did he look at you in the same old way ?— No, he looked at us in a determined manner. Did you take any notioe ? Wa went on. You did not say anything ?-No, we walked on up the road until we got near to the Workhouse, and then turned baok. As we came round the curve in the road below the Workhouse we oould see a man standing near Ashorat Lodge. When we got down to within about 300 yards of the Lodge gate he crossed to the other side of the road. We walked on steadily, and just as we got within 30 or 40 yards, the deceased drew from his pooket a revolver and said "Now I have got you, and I am going to shoot you." He stood against a gate almost opposite Ashurst Lodge. My wife asked protection of some men on the road to try and stop the deceased. We walked back a few yards and asked a man to go to him, to proteot us, we thought that he would not shoot at the man. I do not know who he was; he did not do it. Did he see the revolver ?-He must have done, I should think. Who elae saw it ?-One man came along on a bicycle but he was afraid and went over the hedge I think. He went on ?-The first man did. I think the cyclist left his maohine and went over the hedge. At any rate he did not interfere. My wife sor earned. Did you Mk the oyolist to help you ?—He was far off. He saw you ?—Yes, and so far as I can ascertain he jumped over the hedge and left the bicycle behind. Then Mrs Marsden screamed P—Yes, and Mrs Cassels came down from Ashurat Lodge to the gate and she screamed as well for aasiatance. What was he doing at this time ?-Holding the revolver and pointing it now and again if we moved. My wife said You shall not shoot my husband; you shall shoot me," and she stood in front before me. I had no protection except a walking stiok. He was oontinually aiming more particularly at me. I was not quite behind my wife, but beside her. I watched him fingering the revolver and as he put his finger on the trigger I put my left arm round my wife and drew her quickly behind me. At that instant the deceased fired and the bullet struok the stiok I held in my left hand and at the same time injured my fingers. You saw him take aim ?—I saw him put his finger to the trigger, and as he did it I twisted my wife round, and my hand got it, unfortunately. What took place after that ?-I do not know whether he loaded the revolver then or not. He was not many seoonds before he fired a seoond time. I twisted my wife round again, and the bullet struok the umbralla she held. I believe the umbrella saved her. With that Mrs Cassels screamed out, and Mr Bertie Pierce oame towards them. The deoeased loaded the revolver, and as soon as he loaded it he put it into his mouth and shot himself. My belief is that he saw the tremendous amount of blood from my hand and thought he had done me bodily harm. I think Mr Pieroe saw him shoot himseif; Mrs Cassels also saw him. He plaoed the revolver in his mouth, fired, and dropped down. Did he say anything from the time he threatened you by saying "Now I have got you" till his death P—No, he said nothing. I see your arm is in a sling. Is that in consequence of the shooting P-Yeø, my three fingers are badly hart. We were both taken to Ashurat Lodge, and there the doctors attended to me. The Foreman Can Mr Marsden tell us anything as regards his health; whether he was generally in good health or not ?-He was always in good health. He led his wife a terrible life in Yarmouth. His oondact drove her- The Coroner: Never mind those details. So far as his physioal oondition was concerned he was a strong man. My objeot is to lead the jury in order to ascertain what was his condition. I do not want to go into too minute details. Toera is nothing to be served by it. Physioally he was a strong healthy man P—Witness Yea, a wiry man but very much addicted to drink. He was not in drink during the time he bad the revolver ?-I could not tell you the state of the deceased at the time, as he stood almost up to the gate. You can form no opinion ?-No, I thought he was sober when he oame out of the hoel. I understand he then went down to Well-street for the revolver. We will get that later on. You only know that from hearsay. Deputy Chief-Constable Hughes: That is our presumption from the inquiries made. The Coroner: That will do, and I am sure the jury will agree with me that we are glad you and Mrs Maraden came out so fortunately from this truly terrible affair. Mr Marsden: Thank you. Bernard Rafferty, of Blue Bell Yard, said, I was going up the Halkyn-road to the field with a horse when I saw the deceased going up the road. I also saw Mr and Mrs Marsden coming down the road. I noticed that the man was staggering a little as he went up the road, and it wai that which drew my attention to him. He had also a very peonliar look and he looked very hard at me as he went up. He had his left hand in his pooket and his right hand under his ooat behind his baok. He was walking leeuirely up the road as I passed him. Aftar passing him I saw Mr and Mrs Marsden, and after going about 40 yards I turned round and saw the man walk aoross the road towards Mr and Mrs Marsden, and when he got to about ten or fifteen yards from them he pulled his hand from underneath his ooat. I heard him say" Now for it," and fired two shots in rapid suooession at Mr and Mrs Maraden aud then one a little later at them. When I taw this, I left the horae and ran towards Mr and Mrs Maraden till I got about 20 yards from the man. The man stood still with his right hand behind his back under his coat and the revolver in it. I shouted to Mr and Mrs Marsden to come away from him, thinking to get them up the Red Houses. They came up the road and the man put something from Uio tot* band Into the revolver, and I shouted 44 Murder," and the man put the revolver in his mouth and fired. I did not see Mrs Cassells. I saw a man on a bioyole who jumped off and went over the wall on the right haad side. There was then quite a orowd coming up the road. The deceased was facing me when he fired. Mr Pierce was the next man to come up, and after that the polioe and the dooter were sent for. By a Jaror: Toe deoeased was about ten yards off when he fired the first shot and then went closer to them. Mrs Mary Roberts, Red Houses, said she was retaining from the bakehouse, and going up to Red Houses, when she saw the shooting. She was some little distance off. Deputy Chief Constable Hughes said, on Thursday evening last the deceased oalled at the Polioe Station, I noticed he was exoited. He said I have been told in the publio-houses in the town that you have a warrant against me, and I have come to give myself up to save being arrested." I told the deceased I had not got a warrant. Deoeased after. wards asked had I written to the Chief Constable of Great Yarmouth. I said "Yes," and he asked Why did you do so P I replied In oonsequenoe of the threats you have used to Mr and Mra Marsden." Deoeased said he had not done so; he bad come to Holywell in the hope that Mr Marsden would invite him to his house. He had seen Mrs Marsden in the street, but she ran away from him. He also said they need not fear,-he would do them no harm, as he was going to Liverpool on Monday to see his solicitor. Seeing his exoited manner he had a oon- vereation with him, and after an hour's stay he left very abruptly. On Friday afternoon he watched the deoeased; he seemed like a man with his mind unhinged and irrational in his manner. When the body was brought to the police station, the deceased had on him seven £10 notes, some silver and oopper, and six foreign ooins. There were letters on the deceased but not any bearing upon the case. The Coroner: There was nothing to shew from his oondnot that the man contemplated something ? -We were suspicious. It was quite consistent with a man working him- self up to a oertain pitoh to do something of which you had no knowledge ?—He spoke of Mr Marsden's family having done him an injustice, and it seemed to prey upon his mind. He waa anxioas to relate the whole matter to me, but I told him I did not want family matters. I saw him at 4.30 on Friday afternoon. He was excited and bad the appearance of having had drink. As to the obtaining of the revolver, from iuquiries made of the deoeased's landlady she could not say that he came there for the revolver, but he came to the house between five and six and went upstairs and afterwards left the house. The revolver (produced) had been in his possession sometime for be had a license taken out in October last. I should oonclude that the deceased re-loaded the revolver after firing at Mr and Mrs Marsden, for foor of the six barrels contained cartridges. You say you had had communications with the Chief Constable of Great Yarmouth, with regard to the deceased ?-The Ohief Constable said he was respectable, but drank heavily; he thought he was sane. The Coroner: That is all the evidence I intend to put before you. As I indicated at the opening, you have to consider how the deceased came by his death. The evidence clearly ishows-by a revolver shot, fired by himself. The next question il!- What was the oondition of the deceased at the time-was he insane or in his proper friinti of mind ? Some have the idea that if a man committed suioide, he mast at the time have lost possession of his senses. What are the circumstances ? Here is a man, ao- oording to Mr Hughes' evidence of the oommanica- tions with the Ohief Constable of Great Yarmouth, sane. No doubt if the Chief Constable of Great Yarmouth had snggeated to Deputy Ohief Constable Hughes that the deceased was insane, he would have taken steps to keep him under control. The Deputy Chief very naturally thought the man was a little exoited over some imaginary wrong done him. People often got those ideas, and followed them out to an extraordinary extent they got weak on oertain points. To be weak on oertain points is not sufficient to warrant a jury saying a man is insane. This man oomes to Holywell for a certain specific purpose to annoy the Marsdens. You have been told the whole of the oiroumetanoes by Mr Marsden, and you must feel satisfied that the deceased came to Holywell for that lIole purpose of annoying Mr and Mra Marsden, and brings with him a revolver. Ooming to the events of Friday: he went to the market hall, followed them about, and as Mr Maraden said looked malignant." He never said a word, and the only conversation that hai taken place during the time he was in Holywell was the remark of Mr Marsden Good.day," for which he oondemned him to a certain plaoe. That showed he had a terrible hatred for Mr Marsden, and I take it for Mrs Marsden also. It has been suggested that deceased weat down to his loigings for the revolver after he had seen Mr and Mrs Marsden pass up the Halkyn-road. It was very probable; there would be time for that purpose and for him to meet them as they returned in the manner described. The description given by Rafferty of the way the deceued held his hands showed that had he had the revolver before he went to his lodgings it would have been notioed. The evidence clearly showed the deceased meant misohief. He did not mean merely to kill himself, beoause he could have done that in his own room, without the fear of any interruption to prevent his object. He meant something, and that something came out very clearly in the evidenoe. He met Mr and Mrs Marsden on the road and said Now I have got you, and I am going to shoot you." He took out a revolver and commenoed shooting. Mr Marsden spoke as to two shots, but Rafferty asserts there were three fired at the Marsdens. Taking it that he shot but twioe, we don't know but that the stiok saved the life of one or tha other, as also did the umbrella. We know that the deceased did deliberately attempt to do them grievous bodily harm. Suppose he killed either of the two people, is the evidence saffioient for you to consider that he would have got off before a jury on that question of the state of his mind that he was insane f Did he really mean simply to kill himself, after having seen what he bad done to Mr Marsden f It is quite possible he might have thought he had better shoot himself. Of coursa the man oommitted suicide, but you have to oonsider whether he was sane or temporarily insane. There is no evidenoe to show he was temporarily insane and failing that you must bring in a verdict of felo de se. The Jury after a few minutes deliberation returned a verdiot of felo de se. WHAT THE SUIOIDE HAD BEEN BROODING OVER. AUDACIOUS ATTEMPT TO UPSET A MARRIAGE SETTLEMENT. DEOEASED'S ALLEGED GRIEVANCE LAID BARE. There can ba not the slightest doubt that the deceased had for years been brooding over an imaginary grievance, but how fictitious that supposed grievance really was is laid bare in a report in the Western Afail of July 28tb, 1888, a oopy of which we have at hand. We extract the report in order to show the opinion held by a Judge of the Supreme Court, of what the deceased unhappily magnified into a grievanoe, and also to shew the long period uuder which Mr and Mrs Marsden had patiently endured the moat dreadful threats and annoyanoes. —The report says: 44 Mr Justice Kay has just given judgment in an interesting marriage settlement case, heard before him in the Chanoery Division of the High Court of Justioe. The plaintiff was Mrs Fyson, wife of Mr W. W. Fyson, a master mariner, and she sought t.) reolify a marriage settlement under the following circumstances: -Plaintiff was a daughter of the late Mr Edward Lisle, of Penarth. In the year 1881 she was desirous of entering into a matrimonial allianoe with Mr Fyaon, and on the 5th of January, 1882, her father, aooompanied by his son-in-law, Mr Marsden (of the Cardiff branch of the National Provincial Bank), went to the office of Mr Williams, solioitor, for the purpose of giving instructions with regard to the marriage settlement. The father told Mr Williams that his daughter was going to make a marriage of whioh he did not approve, and that he was desirous of making a settlement of XI,000 upon her, and he was particu- larly desirous of tying up the property so 803 tj keep it from her husband. The solioitor prepared a draft settlement in pursuance of these instructions, and the 11th of January was fixed for completion. At the interview on that data the settlement was read over, and no word of objection was raised by anybody. The marriage subsequently took plaoe. On the 20th of September, 1886, Mr Edward Lisle died intestate, and Mrs Fyson became entitled to a share in soma considerable property, about .£15,000 worth. A question then arose whether Mrs Fyson's share of this property was bound by the marriage settlement or not. The trustees contended that it was, and eventually the lady issued a writ soaking to have the settlement rectified. In giving judg- ment Mr Justioe Kay expressed the opinion that the marriage settlement was entirely in accordance with the instructions givea by the father to the solicitor. His lordship was satisfied that if the father had been living this action would never have been brought. It was one of the most aadacious attempts to intar- fere with the provisions of a marriage settlement he bad ever known, and he should most deoidely refuse to rectify the settlement. The aotion was dismissed with oost. With regard to costs, he was satisfied that this was more a husband's action than the wife's, and if it were found impossible to obtain tha costs from the wife, he should order the payment of them by her husband. He would not burden the trast fund with the costs of the sotion.-Mi R. W. Williams, of Cardiff, was solicitor for the defendant. 0

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