Hello again Readers
Still doing some last minute work on my book including designing my book cover. If you want to create an e-book you will require a separate cover. I am happy with mine and contracted my illustrator through Elance.com. You will get a first glimpse of the book cover on Friday morning – Launch Day!
Now some more details about the creation of my first book. I am writing about true and historical crime and very quickly located some amazing information. It came in reports from the Coroners Inquisition or Inquest in May 1844. These are usually very detailed and seek to explain odd or unusual or sudden deaths. Most often they were investigating murders and have detailed depositions ( witness statements) sometimes reveal proof or evidence of crime eg weapons. There is a coroner’s jury and they must come to some sort of conclusion based on evidence presented. If a crime has been commited the accused will be sentenced to stand trial in a court before judge and jury. I found my information in old newspapers. You may be able to find the original accounts in a local records office where you live in the UK.
In my book a mother and her three very young children have been found in a wood with their throats cut. A man, the father, has been arrested on a charge of drowning his wife and children in the River Trent. Enter the local policeman who is a parish constable, a part timer and quite a busy man by all accounts. He has to organise an Inquest if any bodies are found in his parish. He also has to collect bodies, witness testimony and stage the inquest at his own home. The detail I found amazed me and it was all new, no-one has ever bothered properly researching or publishing this story before. There is a very well known but short version of the story where a boy up a tree witnesses the bloody murders. I really thought I might finally find his name in the Inquisition details. Did I? Well all will be revealed very soon!
The end result of the Inquisition was a man being charged with wilful murder and sentenced to go before the assize court in July. The Inquisitions were rarely more than a one day affair, many were open and shut cases. Not this one. It ran over a mammoth three days which was three times longer than most assize trials! On the final day and in summing up the case the Coroner had something profound to say..
“The most brutal and outrageous murders ….perhaps unparalleled in the history of crime ”
County Coroner Christopher Swann. Nottingham Tuesday 28th May 1844
Give the number of deaths he must have investigated this was indeed a bold statement. A statement like this gives some indication of what people thought of the alleged murderer. In dangerous and troubled times and in a town famous for rebellion and rioting the Coroner did not mince his words. Yet there was a problem. The prisoner did not and would not confess the crime of which he was charged, protesting his innocence til the last. That left only one other person who might conceivably have committed the murders. Now if that really was the case the words of the Coroner would not only be true, this might also be the crime of the century! So who exactly was the only other possible suspect?
Soon reader, all will be revealed…….
Tomorrows blog will feature the Assize trial….. and more controversy!