The next witness to be called was John Bamford. After being sworn in he explained how he knew Saville as he was also employed as a Framework Knitter and lodged with the Suttons.
“I have known him since last New Years Day, it is since he lodged at Mrs Suttons and not before. He slept in the same bed with me. On Tuesday night or Wednesday morning he told me the intimacy between the young woman and himself was broken off. We were talking about both being out of work and the prisoner said “At one time I could have found a friend but now the acquaintance is broken off” I thought he was alluding to the intended match of the young woman. I think he told me the acquaintance was broken off in consequence of the woman calling. I did not see his clothes Tuesday night. I saw them on Wednesday, saw no blood on them nor on his shirt sleeves or wristhands. If he had any blood on his hand I should have seen it.The prisoner has two razors, a white hafted and a black hafted one.”
The jury foreman then stood up and began reading from Bamford’s deposition;
Saville and I went drinking together on Tuesday afternoon with John Hofton to Cheethams at the Falcon. We had some ale together on the Tuesday. Before the prisoner fetched us he had a pint measure filled with ale and drank part of it. We drank that up and had two pints more. William Saville paid for the last two pints in halfpencein my presence. He seemed as if he had had a little ale. He never called on us to go and drink with him before when he had money.
The Coroner asked the prisoner if he wanted to ask any questions of the witness and he declined. The next witness to testify was Samuel Wardle, husband of Lucy Wardle. Samuel began to explain how he accompanied Ann Saville in the search into Radford for her husband.
“I have known William Saville and his wife about two years, the prisoner is the man. On Monday at about eleven o’clock I saw his wife Anne Saville in Wm Wooleys house in Tyler Street where I was working. She came to inquire about her husband. I told her I believed he worked up at Radford. She asked if anyone would walk with her. I went with her. We went to the house of Mr Sutton in Birch Row. She called at the house on Snow Hill for her daughter to go with her; the child was seven years old. We then went up and had half a pint of ale in the Falcon. After we had been there half an hour Saville was just going past the window and came in. I said it was a pity had had sold his things but he said it did not signify. He did not seem pleased at her coming out of the workhouse. He said if he had stopped a bit longer he should have been in America. There was not much conversation going on while I was there. He never shook hands with his wife or child, never gave his child a kiss and he did not seem pleased at all. He looked savage at them when he first saw them. The deceased paid for a pint of ale in my presence in the Falcon. She said her sister had given her a little money
The prisoner had some questions for this witness.
“Did she not pay for anything else besides ale?”
Witness replied “Yes, she paid for half a quarter loaf and a pennyworth of cheese.”
Prisoner: “Did I not ask her as soon as she came into the room what was the reason she came out?”
Witness ; “No!”
Prisoner; Did I not take the little girl in my hand and draw her up to my knee and give her some cheese?”
Prisoner; “You are like your wife with the handkerchief, I see how you are but the gentlemen will find you out”
This concluded the prisoner’s question and the witness left the box. There was some stirring and shuffling from the men of the jury. Something the witness said seemed to have stirred the prisoner who had previously said little or nothing to all previous witnesses. At this point the Coroner called for an adjournment of thirty minutes and reminded all witnesses they had to stay inside the building as they could be called back for more questioning.
Thirty minutes later the Coroner’s Court were all suitably refreshed, filed back in and re-commenced the inquest.
The first witness of the new session now came forward. He was instantly recognisable in his blue uniform. It was Samuel Wilkinson, Inspector with Nottingham Police. He explained his part in taking up the prisoner.
“I apprehended the prisoner about two o’clock Wednesday afternoon on a charge of drowning his wife and three children which was then supposed, they being missing. There was a crowd of at least one thousand persons around the house. I saw him as he was sitting in a chair. I asked whether his name was Saville, he said it was. I told him that a very serious charge had been made against him, that I should like to ask him a question or two and that he need not answer them unless he pleased, as I might use it in evidence against him. He said he would answer any questions I liked. I asked him where he had been with his wife and children last.
He answered. “I have not seen them since I left them against Beardsleys clock at ten o’clock.”
I then asked him, “Have you never told anyone that you left them at the top of Toll House Hill?
He then said “I cannot say, I was then so fresh that I do not know what I said.”
I told him it was my duty to take him into custody and that he must go with me to the watch-house. On our way up Gedling Street the crowd shouted and he said; “I suppose if my wife has drowned herself I must suffer for it.” I took him to the watch-house and searched him.”
Inspector Wilkinson then reeled off a list of items found in Saville’s pockets, it included a number of items including a small packet of tea; Wilkinson provided more detail here.
“A quantity of black and green tea mixed in a paper. Printed on the paper. John Barker late G Bunting tea dealer and coffee roaster Long Row opp Police Office Nottingham”
There was a ripple of noise in the court room as this piece of information was read out . Inspector Wilkinson then went on to explain how he had been out to collect Saville’s box from the Suttons house whilst he was being examined on the Thursday.He then listed out the contents including a white hafted razor, a razor box and strop but without a razor and small packet containing arsenic. Again this caused some talking and muttering within the courtroom and the Coroner had to ask for silence
“I afterwards received a back hafted razor in a case brought to me by Mr Sutton to the Police Office.”
He then described how he was present when Saville was stripped of his clothes and specks of blood were found.
When his clothes were examined they were stripped off him by Mr Barnes. I saw three or four marks of blood on the right leg of the trousers and on the left knee it looked like it was discoloured by grass. I likewise received the handkerchief from Mrs Sutton which was produced and indentified by Mrs Wardle”
The prisoner then directed the witness who was about to return it to the box.“Do not put the handkerchief into the box as it belongs to John Palmer”
The Coroner said it would be returned to Palmer if he could prove it was his. Did the prisoner have any further questions for the witness? He did!
“I never heard you make a remark about Toll House Hill. I said Pierrepoint Street. I never said Beardsleys clock, I said going that way and I will take an oath for it as if I was going to die!
As Wilkinson left the witness box chairs were shuffling around the court-room. The words tea, razor and handkerchief had cropped up again and the prisoner seemed to becoming more animated, more bold and more determined to ask questions and challenge evidence.
The next witness had already given evidence but was now recalled to examine the tea packet. Lucy Wardle was directed to carefully examine the tea-packet found in the prisoner’s pocket.
“I believe that is the paper of tea. It was mixed tea Mrs Saville had said she wished it had all been green tea as she had a very bad head. I believe I saw the sugar in a paper.
As Lucy Wardle left the court the next witness came forward, another police officer in blue uniform; this time it was the Chief Constable of Nottingham Police, William Barnes. After being sworn in his testimony began.
About three o’clock last Thursday afternoon the prisoner was in my custody at the police office in Nottingham. Having received information that a woman and three children had been found with their throats cut in a wood at Colwick, I took the prisoners clothes from him. On examining his trousers I found on the right thigh three small marks of blood, two of them are very plain, the third is not so easily discovered. On the left knee there appeared a discolouration like clay which was very slight. It looked as if some person had worn them and had been kneeling upon the knee The shirt was clean. It was on the Thursday I made the examination. I do not know if he had that shirt on on the Tuesday.
Francis Wright, Justice of the Peace and previously High Sheriff, then produced a copy of the Police examination which was made on the previous Thursday and it was read out to court in its entirety. The Coroner asked the prisoner if he had any questions. The witness was the most senior police officer in all of Nottingham. Far from being intimated by him, the prisoner seemed to offer the Chief Constable some advice.
“If you were to send for my prison dress you might probably find some blood on them as my nose often bursts out a bleeding!”
TO BE CONTINUED
Copyright@Michael Sheridan 2013 ALL Rights Reserved