The murder of Richard FAIRCLOUGH, police-officer, No 78

Liverpool Mercury, Dec 20th, 1844

Policeman killed by a "Park Ranger"

On Tuesday William JONES, a powerful, athletic fellow, about 25, was brought up before Mr RUSHTON, charged with the wilful murder of Richard FAIRCLOUGH, police-officer No 78 in Toxteth Park, on Sunday morning last. The evidence against the prisoner was as follows :-

John TEGISSON, officer No 357, said, "As I was going home off duty at 1am on Sunday last, at the bottom of Whitfield St, Park Rd, I heard a noise and met a young woman, who said, "Is that you John ?" She though I was the officer on the walk, but I said no. She then said there was a young man abusing his sister. I heard a scream, and some party called out "Police" The woman said, "That is her" I went up the street, and saw the prisoner and his sister standing at the bottom of the court, and asked what was to do. The sister said, "I gave this man in charge for abusing me." I told them to go into the house and be quiet. The prisoner said he would not, and if I offered to take him he would nock me down. The sister said she would have him taken to the bridewell, and I knocked for assistance. FAIRCLOUGH and PRICE came up and after I told them what was to do, we all advised the brother and sister to go in. The prisoner went up the court and into the house. FAIRCLOUGH and PRICE then told me I might go home and go to bed. I had got as far as my own door, I live in the same street, when I heard a stick knock. I ran back directly, and met PRICE on the footwalk, bleeding very much. I went immediately to the court. The prisoner was in the house, FAIRCLOUGH was in the street also bleeding very much. I thought PRICE was not so bad as FAIRCLOUGH, and told him to stand on the opposite side of the street to watch the prisoner, lest he should escape and took FAIRCLOUGH to the house of Mr HODGSON surgeon. FAIRCLOUGH seemed quite sensible, he walked up to the door and knocked himself. He sat on the steps, and I saw the door open and him walk in. I went down Park Rd and got assistance and took the prisoner to his own house. H said, "What are you going to take me for?" I said, "You Know". He said, "If I am to be taken, I'll go along quietly, and not be poked behind with sticks." The prisoner was asked if he wished to say anything. He said, "No, I do not recollect seeing any of them."

Thomas PRICE, officer No 88, after corroborating part of TEISSON'S evidence, said, "After TEGISSON left, FAIRCLOUGH and I remained a few minutes. The prisoner who had gone in came out of the house with an instrument in his hand, he got hold of it with two hands and swung it around many times. He dare us to come near him, using threatening language, then FAIRCLOUGH made a spring at him. I was close behind him, he struck FAIRCLOUGH on the head first and he fell down. He struck him again while he was down then he struck me with a blow on the right temple, cutting through my hat. I saw GREGG pick up a poker in the yard opposite the prisoner's door."

John GREGG, acting inspector, spoke as to the apprehension of the prisoner, and to the finding of the poker.

Mary TYSON, the woman who first spoke to TEGISSON, said, she saw the prisoner coming out of the house, and heard him say, "I have got in my hand what will defend myself."

Samuel HODGSON, surgeon, 17 Park Rd, deposed to seeing the deceased between 2 and 3am on Sunday. He had a lacerated wound on the front part of the forehead, an inch and a half long, and a still larger one on the right temporal bone, his skull was fractured, and whilst he was removing the hair from the right side of his head, the deceased fell down in strong convulsions. He was afterwards removed to the hospital. The wound over the temporal bone he considered was dangerous to life.

John METCALFE, house surgeon, to the Southern and Toxteth Hospital said FAIRCLOUGH was brought to me on Sunday last. He was laid on his back, and was totally insensible, his hands and feet were cold and there was a slight pulsation of the heart. The pupils of the eye were very much contracted, there was a wound running down from the left to the right side of the forehead, extending about half an inch above the upper part of the nose, quite clean. There was not much blood from the wound, the upper end of which was not so high as the hair. In it there was a compressed piece of bone not moveable on pressure. On the right side of the head, a little above and beyond the ear was moon shaped wound in which muscle was protruding, there was three small pieces on bone in the wound. These were on the upper portion of the skull and not going through. There were extensive contusions at the back of the head and left side, as if produced by a fall. The deceased was placed in bed and within two minutes had a strong convulsive fit, and required holding in bed, this lasted a few seconds, but returned at intervals for an hour. He was sensible to pain when touched, and was coherent and could speak with an effort. He died at 5pm yesterday [Monday] From 8am on Monday he became more sensible, he put his hand to his head to show me where he felt the most pain. The pupils of the eye had partly recovered their power, he could put out his tongue which was healthy in appearance. I attribute death to irritation of the brain through a piece of bone being driven into it, caused by the wound on his head.

The prisoner, being duly cautioned, declined saying anything, but afterwards expressed a wish to have his sister examined. Mary Ann JONES, said, "I am the prisoner's sister, my brother came home at 12 am on Sunday. He knocked very dreadfully at the door, I got up as soon as I could and came down. I asked him if he was going mad ? He was in such a dreadful rage that he went and broke everything in the house. I ran out and called "Police" as hard as I could. No police came, and I called again. In about half an hour TEGISSON came up, and I heard him knock his stick. I said I wished him to take my brother to the bridewell, but I told him not to go himself, but to knock for assistance, as he was in such a rage. After this the other two came up and asked me and my brother to go in, I said, No, they had better take my brother off to the bridewell. I went into the house, but cannot say whether my brother was there or on the steps. After being in the house some minutes I turned round, and both the policemen were down. I cried out, "You'll kill the men" He had one of the policemen's sticks in his hand, he gave the stick up in a moment, the policemen got up and walked down the court. One of them sent me back for his hat, and I picked it up. I went in the house again, and Mrs REECE the woman next door came in. My brother was in also, and he sat down to eat supper. When he was at his supper all the policemen came in, he never offered to go away with them, he said, "They will kill me as I go along the road" and I said, "not if you go quietly" I only wished them to take him to the bridewell, he is such a terrible temper when he takes drink there is no holding him."

This being the whole of the evidence the prisoner was remanded until Wednesday, when the depositions were read over, and he was fully committed to take trial at the next assizes.

The prisoner has been six times in custody before, and was once tried for felony. During the whole of the examination he behaved in the most hardened and careless manner. Whilst his sister was giving evidence, he looked over to a comrade, a well-known thief, and, putting his hand to his neckerchief, he gave it a twitch upwards, as much as to say, "This is a hanging job" When he left the bar, he called out to the same party, "Will you come to see, [again twitching his neckerchief] Davy ?"

FAIRCLOUGH was a quiet unoffending man, and an excellent officer. He has left a wife far advanced in pregnancy and three children.

Coroner's Inquest

On Wednesday an inquest was held on the body of Richard FAIRCLOUGH, but the verdict was deferred to the following day in consequence of the witnesses being required at the Police Court. Yesterday the depositions were read over and a verdict of "Wilful Murder" was recorded against the prisoner.

South Lancashire Spring Assizes

Liverpool, Saturday March 29th 1845


William JONES, aged 19, was charged with having feloniously killed and murdered Richard FAIRCLOUGH at Liverpool, he was further charged with cutting and wounding Thomas PRICE, with intent to do him grievous bodily harm. There were six counts in the indictment laying the charge in various ways. Guilty of manslaughter of the most aggravated character.

His Lordship addressing the prisoner, observed that he had been guilty of an act of the most violent nature against an unoffending officer of the law, and it was necessary to mark with severity offences of that nature. If the officers of the law were not respected in the execution of their duty it would be impossible to maintain peace and good order in society.

The sentence was, that the prisoner be transported for life.

Prisoner, "Thank you, my Lord."


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