Chapter 6-7. October 13–19, 1868 — Cave and Capture

Tuesday Afternoon, 13th October 1868 — Newmarket Plantation

Superintendent Jenner and Police constable Billinghurst were successful in finding the stock of the gun with which, without doubt, the murder was committed, in a plantation on the hill, within half a mile of where the body lay. There was blood at the end where the trigger broke off, and which was picked up on Saturday close to deceased’s head. Although the barrel has not yet been found, those parts which were in the hands of the police had been clearly identified as those of the gun which Brown had in his possession, which he carried away from his lodgings on the night of the murder, and which there was every reason to conclude the brutal deed was executed.

Also, at sometime during this week a discovery was made which was supposed to have a connection with the murder of Baldey. It appeared that the police, whilst searching in the plantation where part of the gun was found, came across a new-dug cave with a very narrow opening, but sufficiently large to hold two or three men. A pick-axe and a hammer were the sole contents of this mysterious hole, though there was no evidence to show by whom the excavation was made or to what use it was to be put. It was of course suggested that Brown had made the hole intending it as a grave for his victim, and that subsequent events thwarted the carrying out of that part of his purpose. This, of course, was but a popular interpretation of the discovery.

Wednesday 14th October 1868 — Arrest warrant

On Wednesday, a brief investigation took place before G. Whitfeld, Esq., at the County Hall. In addition to the facts recorded above, the man living at Kingstone, who sold Brown the gun, was further examined. He swore that the stock of the gun which had been found in the plantation by the police was the same that he sold to Brown. The trigger and plate and the small piece of stock near the body of the murdered man were produced, and it was evident they formed a portion of the gun, as they exactly fitted. Upon the production of this evidence Mr Whitfeld signed a warrant for Brown’s apprehension, and handed it over to the police.

Meanwhile, Brown enlisted in the Royal Horse Artillery on Wednesday, in the name of Reuben Harvey.

Saturday Afternoon, 17th October 1868 — Maidstone

In consequence of certain facts that had come to the knowledge of the Brighton police, Supt. Crowhurst (who was later promoted to Chief Constable in 1876) left Brighton for Maidstone on Saturday afternoon.

Saturday Evening, 17th October 1868 — Royal Horse Artillery

Superintendent Crowhurst arrived there the same evening, and proceeded to the Barracks, thinking it likely Brown had enlisted, and having communicated his business at head quarters, every facility was afforded him, the service of a sergeantmajor of Artillery being placed at his disposal, and after a few enquiries, Mr Crowhurst had little doubt that his man had enlisted in the 6th sub-division of the B. Battery of the Royal Horse Artillery.

9pm Saturday 17th October 1868 — Arrest of Brown

He, however, was not in barracks at the time, and the officer had to wait until the tattoo beat at nine o’clock. At that hour the men not on leave return to quarters, and the Superintendent on looking into one of the rooms saw a man whom he believed to be Brown, sitting at a table reading a newspaper, which, singularly enough, was afterwards found to be a copy of the last issue of a periodical called the Illustrated Police News, which contained two miserable engravings intended to represent the commission of the murder. The light not being good, Mr Crowhurst was not clear to the identity of the man, and at his request the sergeant-major sent Brown in charge of a corporal to the library, where there was a light full on. On confronting him the Superintendent asked his name, and he replied, “Reuben Harvey,” betraying evident signs of mental agitation, and quickly changing colour. Being now quite sure of his identity, Mr Crowhurst said, “I think not; I know you very well, and you know me; your name is Brown.” He, however denied that, and on the officer telling him he was charged with murdering a man named David Baldy on Newmarket Hill, he said, “I didn’t do it.” Being removed to the Maidstone police station, the inspector on duty asked Mr Crowhurst the name of his prisoner, and the superintendent said, “Ask him.” The prisoner then gave his proper name, that of “Martin Brown,” and on being searched, a knife, some percussion caps, and other trifling articles, were found on him. He had been up to this time in the uniform of an artilleryman, wearing the regimental shirt and drawers from when he deserted from Aldershot, but as he retained possession of his own clothes, he was ordered to change, and on his doing so it was seen that his braces were marked precisely according to the description given them. Upon the sleeve of his smock were traces of blood, also upon the leg of his trousers. The
accused said that the blood on the sleeve arose from a scratch on his face. He was locked up for the night.

Sunday 18th October 1868 — Train to Lewes

Mr Crowhurst left Maidstone with his prisoner at half past eight on Sunday morning, for Tunbridge Wells, and after waiting there over six hours for a train to Lewes, he was brought to the latter place, and handed over to the custody of Colonel Mackay, Chief Constable of the East Sussex Constabulary.

Brown was handcuffed during the journey, and the news of his capture having preceded his arrival crowds collected both at Tunbridge Wells and Lewes stations in the hope of catching a glimpse of him.

Monday afternoon, 19th October 1868 — Magisterial Inquiry

A magisterial examination, to which the reporters were not admitted, was held on Monday afternoon, at the police station, before G. Whitfeld and A. Beattie, Esqrs. There was a large and excited crowd outside the building. The prisoner walked into the Magistrates’ room in a careless manner, and looked unconcerned. His stated age was 22, but he was entirely without hair on his face, and did not look more than 18 or 20. Only just sufficient evidence was taken to justify a remand, and after about half-an-hour’s inquiry the case was adjourned until Friday morning next, at 10 o’clock, at the County Hall. The prisoner, who had been previously confined in the police station, was then conveyed in a cab, which was followed by a large crowd, to the County Gaol.

Previous: Chapter 6–6. October 12, 1868 — Coroner’s Inquest

Table of Contents

Next: Chapter 6–8. October 19, 1868 — Adjourned Inquest

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s