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. The Mayor and Mayoress1…

IThe St. Asaph Sensation.


I The St. Asaph Sensation. Xs it a Comedy on a Tragedy P "WHERE IS MISS CHARLESWORTH" ? ób i Hurled over the Cliff, or Where? .0 r STRANGE MOTOR MYSTERY. ¡ The usual quiet little city of St Asaph has this week been stirred to its depths. It has become famous throughout the country as the residence of a young lady who was either hurled from the driver's seat of a motor car over the cliffs into the sea at Penmaen head, or has quietly yet cleverly vanished into absolute obscurity and is lying low whilst the police, fisher- men, an army of newspaper men and sundry others are trying to find her body or unravel the mystery of her disappear- ance. But up to Thursday night this small host had been completely baffled and even the Daily Modi, whose resources are simply wonderful and whose power of scenting out and unravelling sensational events are the marvel of its millions of readers, has so far been baffled and beaten to say nothing of the numerous other representatives of newspaperdom who have swept down on to the little city. But the combined efforts of police and reporters are unravelling the mystery and letting day- light on to the doings of the principal actors and tending to show that what startled the country in the form of a sensational tragedy is now more likely to turn out a stupendous comedy or a cleverly enacted farce but with a set purpose behind it and that pupose not very difficult to make out. TEE ORIGINAL STORY. News reached St Asaph in the early hours of Sunday mornirg by telephone that a terrible motor accident had happened to the Misses Charlesworth, of Boderw, and their chauffeur, and that in it Miss Violet Charlesworth, whose age was about 24, bed been burled over the cliffs "at Penmaenbach, and either killed or her body fallen in the sea and carried away. The first account of the affair, before the most perplexing rumours and deep tny-steiy which have since surrounded the case had assumed shapeT was -to the following effect, namely, that "A motor car aocident of a singular kind was re- ported to have occurred about nine o'clock on Saturday night, in the urban disti-ict of Penmaenmawr on the Penmaenbach Point. Two ladies, daughters of Mrs Gharlesworth, of Bederw, St Asaph, were retcrning to St Asaph from the direction of Bangor. It was said that the younger Miss Charlesworth was steering, and the chaifeur sat beside her, whilst h<r sister sat behind. The car, which is (described as a landaulette, was observed to pass through Penmaemaawr about the time stated. The part of the main read along the»coast is about 50 yards on the Conway side of Penmaenbach Joint, where there is a jagged piece of rc-r-k projectiog upwards a considerable height between the road and the precipice, aud known locally as I- The D8v11I-s Thumb." The road dips down- wards on the Conway side of this aiguille, but not at all steeply. What« i aused the accident is not known, "but it was said that for seaie reason Miss Charlesworth lost control of the machine, which swerve J suddenly to the left, dashed towards a narrow opening in the ^boundary wall, part of which was knocked down, jumped throogh the gap, and came to rest within about ;1;3 inebes of the edge of the cliff. Just here there is a kiad of natural recess between the rocks, aad the wall through which the motor went ia intended for the protection of the vehicles and foot passen- gers asinc-, the road, but there is a right of way down to the beach, und the gap in the ivall is to give access to the top of the cliff nd to tiia declivity. The yeunger Miss Charlesworth was said to be thrown from bar position at the nrheel, through the glass screen at the ront of the car, it is fceifieved, and over ;he edge of the cliff, and that her body oiled and dropped a distance of feet Etc the sea. The elder Miss Charlesworth aetained a severe shock, and the chaflfeur vae, it was said, ejected from his seat, and etl on to the rock. It is stated on what is believed to be :ood authority that the eldtr Mis-s Charles- roctli walked to Penmaenbach cottages, bout half a mile from the seeae of the ccident, on the Conway side, for acsist- nee, and walked back again. But she and he ehaffeur, Watts, were afterwards found lying cear the ssene of accident in a dared condition, whick precluded their giving any coherent account of what had happened. Messages were sent to Penmaenuiawr and to Conway foe assistance, Supt Reea, of Conway, obtained a carriage, and drove to PeLtaaenbach, accompanied by Sergeant Evans and a constable. When they arrived the elder Miss Charlesworth and the chaffear who lay on the ground and given such attention as was possible. Mr R J Hughes, surveyor to the Urban District Council of Penmaenmawr" arrived with Dr Roberts and a constable. Under the care of Dr Roberts the lady and driver were taken in the carriage to PeDmaen- mawr, and given into the charge of a nurse at Gwynfa, a boarding residence in that town. Supt Kees, Dr J R Williams, Mr R J Hughes, and a large number of volun- j teers proceeded to search the beach for the body of the deceasc-d Lidy. The tide had by this time fallen, and it was possible to walk round the point on the sands. There was a brilliant moonlight, by the aid of which every likely spot was visited, but the body could not be found. Tae moon was shining brightly also at the time of the accident, which adds to the mystery of its occurrence. Strangely enough the car was but little damaged. It was got out of the small recess and driven back to Fenxnaeamawr." WHEN THE POLICE ARRIVED. Supt Rees, in an interview directly afterwards, said :After my arrival at Penmaenbach on Saturday night I found Miss Charlesworth and the driver in such a frienzied state that I thought it inadvis- able then to question them too closely as to what had occurred, but after some trouble I gathered from their incoherent statements that the lady had gone over the rocks. I thought the next thing was to ascertain where they belonged to, and at last, after a deal of trouble, they told me, and then I sent them, in charge of a policeman and Dr Moreton Roberts, in my own cart, to Pen- maenmawr, to make them comfortable for the night. I intended on Sunday to take the first opportunity of interviewing them, but to my great surprise I found that they left Penmaenmawr at four o'clock on Sunday morning in another car containing two gentlemen who had driven over from St Asaph in response to our telephone mes- sage. They left without communicating with me in any shape or form as to the b jst means of recovering the body. The I whole affair is dark to me. When 1 i arrived there were a dozen people present, and I refrained from questioning the couple I too closely. I made an examination of the I car, and found that the only damage was to the screen, the glass of which was smashed. Other the car was in perfect condition. It was only three inches from the edge of the cliff, and I cannot under- stand how it got there without considerable trouble. The lady, if thrown out, must have bounded down the side of the cliff, bat there was no blood or other marks about to show this. On the rocks I found a Tarn o' Shanter and an empty notebook, I but could not discover the body, although the water was only one foot deep and calm. A youth of sixteen years and his father and moth-er from Penmaenmawr made every search round the rocks, and they were also unsuccessful. The only words I could get from the chaffeur were, She has gone over the rocks,' which the lady also repeated." Dr Roberts, who accompanied the chauffeur and Miss Charlesworth to Pen- maenoiawr, stated that he could not get any statement from them as to how the accidep.t oocured. The chauffeur did notli- ing but moan deeply, "I took them to the Gwynfa Nursing Home, and left word they should not be disturbed. About three o'clock in the morning I was knocked up by a chauffeur, who said that the lady's friends wished to take her away in a motor-car. I told them she should be kept qiiiet, but notwithstanding this tkey took her away from the Home." 'I THE SEARCH FOR THE MISSING LADY. DOUBTS EXPRESSED: THE MYSTERY INCREASED. Inquiry at Conway and Penmaenmawr in the early days after Sunday only tended to deepen the mystery. It now seeme de- monstrated that the lady could not have beeu carried out by the falling tide. Police-constable Owen, of Penmaenmawr, saw a car driven by a man passing through the town about ten miautes past nine o'clock. The car had no tail light, but be made out the letters of identification, which are those on Alrs Charleswortki's car, whick was at the garage at Peumaenuiawr. Thus the accident could not have occurred before about a quarter-past nine o"clock, and the time of high water was eight o'clock, the height of the tide being 141t '1- T- -I_L _II_L IIIU. -A.o greab uepm Ul water is louna at I the foot of the rocks where the accident occurred, even at high water of spring tides, and, as previously stated, the night was peaceful and there was a strong moon- light. Several men reached the spot within a few minutes after the accident. Mr Ivor Parry, of Conway, happened to be walking that way, and arrived at the stranded car almost immediately. He learnt that a lady was missing, climbed down the rocks, and found that the sea did not reach the foot of them. He searched about, climbing the rocks and tearing his clothes, but he could not see anything. A boy, aged sixteen, living at Penmaenbacb, who appears to have beeu the first to arrive, went down to the beach and waded breast deep into the sea without any discovery. The cliff has been carefully examined, and there is no trace of blood anywhere, or on the screen II nf thn Afti*. I Mr Owen Riberts, of Penmaenmawr, was ,cycling home from Conway, and came across the wrecked car and was informed by the chautieur, Watts, that a lady was missing. Mr Roberts went down on to the beach to look for her, but she had even then dis- appeared. It was tie who fouud her hat on the sands at the foot of the rocks, and a pocket map, said also to belong to her, was on a ledge of the rocks. As he failed to see the lady be thought it bet er to go for assistance, and be rode off to Penmaenmawr, where be communicated with P.O. Owen The latter telephoned to Sapt Rees, and then hurried to Penmaenbach, finding Miss Lilian Charlesworth and the chauffeur in the naturally excited condition already described. Mr Owen Roberts must have reached the spot within a very few minutes after the accident, and even then the tide did not touch the c iff, so that the body could not have got into tbe sea. Search parties have rigorously scoured the base of the cliffs without discovering the body. Boatmen with years of experi- ence of this portion of the coast emphati- cally state that the tide never rises to a height of more than IS inches, and that therefore it is inconceivable that the boJy could have been carried out to ea. WHO ARE THE CHARLES WORTHS ? When the news penetrated the Vale, inquiries from all quarters came, who are the Charlesworths Y In was somewhat difficult; to answer. They formerly lived in a small house— say about iCI8 or iC20 a year-in Rbyl, and j it was said that the father was an ex-in- r surance agent, or ex-postman, or something of that kind but the father and mother appear only to have held a secondary I position in the household. A sudden rise appeared to have taken place in the prospects and position of one or both of the daughters of the family, and it was given out that Miss Violet Gordon Charlesworth would shortly come into a great fortune, to be precise, that it would come to her on attaining her 25th birthday, in the latter .portion of January of this year-this very month. The time has come, but she has vanished Where is the fortune ? They left Rhyl about IS months or 2 years ago and became tenants of Boderw, which, compared with the Rhyl house, was a very superion residence just outside St Asaph, in the Roe, between the Plough Hotel and the Abergele road. It was a pleasant enough residence, but it was known for the number of dogs, some formidable looking animals prowling about, and people approaching the back had need to pay regard to the admonitions to beware of the dogs." Here Miss Violet Gordon became the central figure of the establishment, she did the ordering and found the cash, and in general she acted as The Lady Bountiful." She subscribed to local objects, and, as one fond of sports, she encouraged football, and gave the local competitions a set of silver gold centre-medals for one and a silver challenge cup for another. i j dt will be within the recollection of our readers that she was one of the ladies to open the Wesleyan Chapel bazaar, on one of the days, held in the early part of last year, and as she could not attend herself, her place was taken by Mr "Gordon" Charlesworth, who handed over for her a contribution of five guineas. She also took much interest in local volunteering, and on one occasion gave prizes and also distri- buted the prizes and presented the challenge cup to the St Asaph and Abergele sections of the volunteers, and she gained the confidence of the tradespeople of the I city and became an extensive customer, but they do not now appear to appreciate the patronage bestowed I HOW THE NEWS REACHED ST ASAPH. MR. BUXTON'S NARRATIVE. The news reached Sergt Connah, St Asaph, by telephone, about midnight. Mr Buxton, the Bungalow, St Asaph, at though not an acquaintance or friend, very courteously and kindly fetched the uninjured sister and driver to St Asaph after the event. Mr Buxton kindly tele- phoned to our office how he came to use his car for the purpose, but we give his narrative of the event as given to the Daily Mail -^Mr W H Buxton, the lately-appointed manager of the motor department of Messrs Thorneycroft, Limited, has a residence at St Asaph. This is Mr Buxton's narrative given:—"I have a residence at St Asaph, about half a mile from Boderw, where the Charlesworths live. On the night of the occurrence the police, receiving news of the accident, went to Boderw, and after conveying the news suggested that some of the family or friends should go to the spot. It was then explained that MTS Charles- worth was dangerously ill from heart disease. Presently the police-sergeant suggested that as I was the only person with a motor car near at hand my help should be sought. At one o'clock in the morning Mr Gratton, a friend of the family (and who is well-known in the Vale of Clwyd district), and the young man who is the chauffeur to Miss Lilian Charlesworth arrived at my place and roused us up with a violent ring- ing of the bell. The servants got up, and eventually I went to the door. Mr Gratton and the chaufieur informed me that there had been a terrible motor accident at Conway, and that one lady had been killed, while her sister and the driver were s-verely injured. They asked me whether since the cbautleur was an experienced driver I would lend them my car to get to the scene. I said I could not do that, but in the circum- stances I would drive them myself. I added that I would come along as quickly as I could and would pick them up at the house. When I got along towards Boderw I found them a hundred yards away from the place. They got into my car, an 18-h.p. Thorneycroft, and I drove them to Conway. Blowing my horn at the police station, I got the superintendent out and be explained that the survivors were in a nursing home, about two miles from the scene of the occurence. We set off along the road to find it. Penmaenbach, where the affair occurred, is two or three miles out of Conway, and about twenty-five from St Asaph. It was a bright moonlight nighi, and when we came to the gap in the wall that skirts the road one could see it quite plainly. With a view to finding out whether this was actually the spot I pulled up. At last we found Gwynfa. It was on a hill, and I pulled up at the foot, and Mr Gratton and the chauffeur got oat and walked up. They were gone so long that I eventually went up to see what they were doing. Mr Gratton and a chauffeur (not Watts) I was told had gone to the doctor, who lived near, to get permission to awaken Miss Charlesworth and Watts, the ehaffeur, in order to take them home. When they returned, Mr Gratton said the doctor was of opinion there was nothing at ail wrong with them except shock, and there would be no harm in taking them home, inasmuch as the mother of Miss Charlesworth was ill WATTS' STATEMENT TO MR BUXTON. When the chauffeur Watts was awakened and came out I examined his face closely, and there was not a scratch on him. I ) no iced his gold-braided motor coat had white limestone on the back of it. )1 In conversation with him I said 'Was the lady driving ? Yes, she was,' he replied. I 11 1 It is almost an impossibility,' I said, for her to have been thrown oat from be- hind the wheel considering there is an arm I between the two seats. I 'As soon as the car struck the wall,' he said, I made a jump and dragged her with me. Then I remembered nothing more. "When I saw Miss Lilian Charlesworth, I said I J am very sorry to hear of your terrible experience.' She said, Yes, it is horrible, isn't it ?' I went down to the foot of the hill to back my car up to them, thinking to spare the lady as much as possible in her agitated state. But she took Mr Gratton's arm and walked down without apparent effort or disturbance. All got inco the car. The yonng chauffeur, the one who bad travelled with me from St Asap I. took his place be- side me. The other three, Miss Charles- wortli, Mr Gratton, and W&tts got into the back of the car. The time was about four o'clock when we passed the gap in the wall, aid the moon was shining brightly. NOLO of the cbree said anything, or asked me to stop, as we passed the spot. I noticed they did not I look over down the cliff. When we reached Boderw, Mr Gratton gave Miss Charlesworth liis aim, and they went into the house without saying a word to me. The young chauffeur, however, gave me a word of thanks. On Monday I went and saw the injured car. The wind screen had nearly all the glass gone from it. "J have been a driver for fifteen years," he said, 11 and have driven various cars over all kinds of roads at home and abroad. In my judgment it is impossible for any- body sitting in the driver's seat to tw thrown out by impact with any olrj et without the smashing of the steering column and wheel, and in this case the [ steering column and wheel were in their proper position and uninjured." The car was afterwares driven back tc St Asaph. MISS CHARLESWORTH GAVE THE ALARM. Within half a mile of the spot of the accident is the Ship Inn. About a quarter- past-nine on Saturday night, Miss Halkett, the daughter of the landlord, saw a weii- dressed girl rush in and in an agitated voice exclaim, There has been a motor- car accident. My sister has been thrown over the cliffs. Can you give us assis!- anne ? The landlord and three or four of tHe men accompanied her back to the spot. Mrs Lang, her husband, and her son acccm- panied her to the spot. I asked her when the accident happened, and she said 'About twenty-five minutes ago.' 'Well,' said I 'why didn't you call us sooner seeing we are so near the scene, ? She replied, We have been looking for my sister, and W did not know there was a house so near.' I found the chaffeur leaning on the wall moaning, 'Where is she?' I did what- I could for the lady. Our boy had run oit before us, and long before we got to the spot he had gone down the rocka to seek for the other lady," MISS VIOLET GORDON CHARLES- WORTH KEPT UP STYLE. It is reported that she recently took a house called" The Hall," at Caine, in Wiltshire, at a rental of £ 188 a year. Miss Gordon Charlesworth had also taken a lease of Flowerburn House and shootings at Fortrose, Ross-shire, for seven years, aT. an annual rental of 9250. She entered ou the tenancy at the beginning of June last. and refurnished the mansion in Highland fashion. Many of the rooms were entirely decorated with Gorton tartan. Workmen from Inverness were employed for months. She seemed passionately fond of motor- ing, and had three or four cars in her garage. Miss Charlesworth was reported there tc desirous of securing an estate of the vulue of £ 80,000. She had a solicitor in London. She informed the local tradesmen that she would be twenty-five on Jnne 13th, and would then inherit her fortune and clear off all her liabilities. MYSTERIOUS POINTS. Several facts, vouched fcr, commenced to throw an air of mystery over the acci- dent. In the first place the hole in the glass screen protecting those in the front seats of the car would face a person sitting next to the driver, and not the driver, and. it is rather extraordrnary how anyone driving the ear, as Miss Charlesworth was said to be doidg, could be pitched through the glass right over the bonnet of the car. Mr Sidney Holloway, of the Minerva Motor-Car Company, London, who built the car which was in the accident, came down to St Asaph on Tuesd'ay to examine it and take it back to London. "It aeems strange to me," he said, "that a person sitting behind the steering wheel (on the right side) oould have been thrown througb the wind screen on the left side," and his description shows that the car had been damaged very little. HER SUPPOSED FORTUNES. At Rhyl it was given out that she was General Gordon's heiress, and have his fortune at 25. It was subsequently said the fortune was left her by a luver r t irn- ing from South Africa. "DEATH=BEFORP4, STIGMA." The "Star" that during the last twelve months Miss Voilet Gordon Charlesworth has incurred liabilities runningjinto several thousands of pounds, and tnat quite re- cently a London tradesmanjobtainea a judg- ment against her in the County Court for a considerable sum. A forth i^nc KHO brokers were put.in at Bjderw, St Asaj h, where :Miss Charlesworth has recently been living; but as none of the goads lic.-o were owned by the missing motorist, they were removed by order cf a London solicitor. The lady used very smart stationery with embossed addresses and crest, consisting of a cock's head issuing from a coronet and the motto, "Mors patins maeniall-in. other words, Death before stigma." HAS SHE BEEN SEEN ? Miss Violet Gordon Charlesworth was often in London, and stayed at the Iaos .)f Court Hotel. On Thursday eveuing a waiter from the hotel, who knew her declared he saw her bookine: at the iir^t class booking office at King's Cross yesterday. THE SITUATION THIS MORNING. Nothing fresh has been discovaied. No- body now believes that Miss Charie-wo th has been killed, or drowned, or bur ed ovir the cliff or in any way injured. But the question where is she ? remains uusolved and her relatives and friends and the residents at Boderw absolutely refuse to be interviewed or to give any further informa- tion that will solve the mystery. LATEST FINANCIAL SURPRISES. Interest and effort is now all centred not on finding the body but on the clever young ladies financial dealings Extraordinary particulars are now furnished of Miss Violet Charlesworth's Stock Exchange trans- actions, by which she is said to have loit X10,000, for which she is indebted to a London firm of stock-brokers. It is further stated that the missing ladv reenntlv sought to borrow money on some remark- ably fine diamond jewellery, but thenegoci- ations fell through, as the trinkets seemed new, and and the cases bore no maker's name. Miss Charlesworth is said to have been insured in a northern cotrpiny for £ 3.000, and tried loans thereon. Whilst a London journalist was yesterday trying in vain to get an inverview, Mr Adams, representing the Sheriff of Flint- shire, had come to Boderw for the purpose of seizing goods to satisfy a claim for £ 2C0 owed by Miss Violet Charlesworth to a London firm, and Mr Adams said, "I found the damaged car, which I seized and left a man in possession. I have come now to see what goods Miss Violet Charlesworth pot- sessies here. I have another writ for £ 290 against her." Mr Adams then founrf that nothing in Boderw belonged to Miss Violet Charlesworth. DEBTS. It is said that Miss Violet Charlesworth was to have been the defendant at the lihyl County Court on the 15th of this month in an actinll for the recovery of a sum ol X50) in which she was indebted. The local ol je are daily receiving from various parts uf the country information touching the financial positio j of the missing young lady. One Chippenham tradesman, whose bill was about X200, obtained a writ in High Court, upon which judgment for the amount claimed has since been given. This writ was served on Miss Violet Charlesworth at the Inns of Court) Hotel, London, last week. The Hall Colne is now in possession of the bailiffs. On one occasion, said a stock-brocker, when she owed as iCI,200, she made a profit of A400.