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

The adjourned Inquest into the circumstances attending the death of the murdered man, David Baldey, was held at the County Hall, Lewes, on Monday evening, before L. G. Fullgar, Esq., Coroner. The following additional evidence was called:-

Philip Baldey, son of the deceased, aged 14, deposed:- “I lived with my father, and worked with him for Mr Hodson, at Kingston. On Friday week I was working in Kingston, driving a cart. I left Kingston at a quarter past three o’clock, when I left off work, and went home to mind my father’s bullocks while he went after the wages. My father was at work on the hill that day. My father asked me to stop and take the money. He spoke about it on Thursday night, and again at breakfast time on Friday morning. He asked me to stop and take the money and save him the trouble of going down. I did not agree to do so, for I was timid about coming over the hill, because I had seen people on the hill and didn’t like to bring it. My mother asked me to bring it, and wanted me to stop till she came down there to meet me. I did not agree to do so, and father said he would fetch it. I have taken the money. I know a man named Brown and spoke to him that day, but did not speak to him about money. I didn’t tell him my father was coming down to take any money. My father had generally been at work in Kingston, and takes money, but on this day he had to come on purpose for the money.”

To the Jury: “The last time I saw my father alive was on Friday night, when he went for the money. I next saw him on Saturday morning, when I found him dead. I was with my little brother. We sat up till [10] o’clock, waiting for him. He has sometimes been away from home all night when he has been into Lewes. I have never been interrupted on the hill to make me afraid, but I have seen some queer people about. We don’t commence paying wages till six o’clock.”

Dr Smythe (re-examined) deposed: “I cut a piece out of the coat produced (the soldier’s coat belonging to the prisoner, and worn by him on the night of the murder). It was supposed that the dark stains on it were stains of blood: I took a piece out and submitted it to chemical analysis and high microscopic power. There is not the slightest evidence of blood in the stains. I am satisfied that the stains are not stains of blood.”

Police-constable Billinghurst, of the East Sussex Constabulary, deposed: “On Monday last, I went, in company with Superintendent Jenner, to Newmarket plantation, nearly half-a-mile from where the deceased was found. I found the stock of a gun which I have now produced. The pieces which I found near the deceased correspond with it.”

George Crocker, a thatcher at Kingston, deposed: “The gun-stock produced is the stock of the gun which I sold to Brown. That I am quite sure of. I bought the gun of a man named Evans. I know the stock by the heel plate and by a hole where I put a nail alongside of a screw, the head of which was broken off.”

Richard Goodwin, who lodged with Brown at Wickham’s, was re-called, and said he had seen the stock before. He believed it to be the stock of the gun which Brown kept in his bedroom. He knew it by a mark on the brass heel plate. Witness also identified a bullet mould, belonging to his master, Mr Hodson, in which he had cast bullets to shoot rooks with. He had never given any of the bullets to any one else but Brown.  (One of the bullets found in the body of the deceased was compared with the mould, and found to fit it exactly.)

William Evans, keeper of a second-hand bookshop in Southover, Lewes, deposed: “The gun-stock produced belonged to me. I had it 16 or 18 months, and sold it to a man named Crocker. I bought of a young man named William Swaysland.”

Joseph Brown, a labourer, living at 41, Guildford Terrace, Brighton, deposed: “I have only one brother, he who is in custody. His name is Martin Brown. I don’t know where he has been living lately. He lived in Brighton till about 3 months ago. The last time I saw him was on Brighton Race Course. I did not see him last Friday week, and did not expect to see him. I had not asked him to show me a gun.”

To the Jury: “He did not leave a gun with me on Friday week. It was a fortnight last Sunday that I saw him on the Race Course. He wrote to us to meet him there. He then said he was trading in a vessel between Newhaven and Dieppe.”

The Coroner having summed up, the Jury retired. After an absence of about 20 minutes they found a verdict of Wilful Murder against Martin Brown.

The enquiry then terminated.

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

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Next: Chapter 6-9. December 29, 1868 — The Trial — Day one

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