WeSeWriMo Challenge 2015 – Chapter 9 Station Assassination Plot – Disappointed Dentist seeks Revenge!!

Hello again Readers, here is chapter 9 of my  new and upcoming true crime book – MURDER, MYSTERY and MAYHEM on the RAILWAYS 1830-1899. Enjoy………………..

Judge shot Nottingham station

Disappointed dentist seeks revenge on a judge

Judge Bristowe QC concluded his day’s work at half past four at Nottingham County Court in the Guildhall on Tuesday 19th November 1889. One hour later the judge proceeded from the court house and made his way down to the Great Northern Railway station on London Road. Unbeknown to the judge he was being followed. He bought a first class ticket for the 5.40pm train to West Hallam. The man following bought a third class ticket to the same destination. The judge passed through the barrier, displaying his first class ticket and walked to a first class carriage at the front of the train. The other man quickly followed and reached inside his jacket pocket. The door of the first class carriage was being held open by a porter and the judge stepped up onto the running board and was about to step inside. At this point the man following Judge Bristowe drew a revolver from his jacket, held it out with both hands and fired a single shot into the back of the judge. The unfortunate gentleman fell back partly onto the platform with a single moan. A porter immediately sprang upon the assassin and wrestled the smoking gun from his grasp. Railway and police officials quickly descended upon the spot and secured the assailant. He was taken to a waiting room and left under guard but was soon taken to the London Road Police station.

Surgical aid was summoned for the judge and when Dr. Hunter and My Sykes Ward arrived an attempt was made to find the bullet. As this was not successful a decision was taken to take the injured man to the General Hospital. He was taken there shortly before seven o’clock in the police ambulance, escorted by Superintendent Lamb, Superintendent A Foster and a number of constables. The prisoner meanwhile was detained and maintained a cool demeanour. He was heard to say “I’ve had the judges blood; I wish he was dead!” Police enquiries subsequently provided the full identity of the man, his background and his motive for attacking the judge.

Herman Arnemann was a German immigrant who had set up a business in Nottingham making false teeth and also working as a dentist. He had been in trouble five years previously for a breach of the Dentist’s Act and summoned by the British Dental Association for displaying a Dentist’s sign without authority. In the interval he had manufactured false teeth and dentures in a number of workshops and had sold these privately and to chemists and druggists. He had brought a number of complaints before the County Court concerning money he claimed he was owed. In each case the trial was handled by Judge Bristowe with Arnemann the plaintiff.  In each case the judge had found in favour of the defendant. The most recent case was brought by Arnemann against Mr Charles Warriner, a Nottingham chemist, to recover a small sum of money for artificial teeth supplied. The judge found against Arnemann again and he showed some excitement in court, under the impression he had not been fairly treated.


Edward Wilhelm Hermann Arnemann 41, had previously lived in St Petersburg where he had worked as a dentist. He worked at three different premises in Nottingham, the last one being in South Sherwood Street. His premises also served as his kitchen and his sleeping place. Here he had exhibited a sign saying “Arnemann Dentist” and this lead to proceedings being taken against him. The case was heard before the borough magistrates on August 16th 1886. The major point was that Arnemann was not registered under the British Dental Act though he had practised as a dentist.  The matter was settled when Arnemann agreed to take down the sign, agreed to be bound over and pay all court costs. He then created a new sign stating “Arnemann, Berlin dental works, teeth, 2s 6d, weekly payments.”

On the day after the shooting Arnemann made the first of a number of appearances in court at the Guildhall. The Nottinghamshire Guardian described his first appearance,


“The Chief Constable ordered No. 1 to stand up. Arnemann came from the cells below briskly enough, and stepped to the front of the dock. He looked somewhat pale,but was calm and collected and took an intelligent interest in the brief proceedings. He was shabbily dressed,wearing a snuff coloured dust coat buttoned up to the chin and his hair was dishevelled.”


Superintendent Alfred Foster was the first witness called and described the scene at the station when he arrived. He described the judge’s injury to the court,


“He had a bullet wound at the back of the left shoulder.”


The sergeant also recounted some things the prisoner had told him.


“I shot the judge. I intended to do it, to bring my case before another court so that I could get justice there as I have had a case before him today.”


The chairman remanded the prisoner for a period not exceeding eight days. The Nottinghamshire Guardian described the closing scene,


“The prisoner left the dock and was conducted to the cells below. Later in the day he was removed to the gaol in St Johns Street in the prison van.”


The problem the authorities now faced was framing the correct charge against Arnemann. The judge was in Nottingham General hospital, still with a bullet inside him. Attempted murder might become murder if the judge succumbed to his injuries. Later that same day the judge was operated on. The bullet was found but was too close to his heart so was not removed. The judge was weak and needed to rest. Arnemann appeared before magistrates a number of times only to be remanded again and again as the judge lay in hospital recovering for many weeks. Eventually Arnemann was charged with attempted murder and remanded to appear before the next assizes.

Arnemann took his trial before the assize judge Baron Pollock on Friday March 7th. 1890. He was tried for attempting to murder Samuel Botelier Bristowe. It was explained that Arnemann had been non-suited in several county court actions on the grounds of the insufficiency of his diploma. On the last occasion he had awaited the departure of the judge from London Road station. He had fired a revolver at the back of the judge as he was getting into his compartment. The judge was seriously wounded and for many weeks remained in a critical condition. The judge himself was unable to attend the trial. The bullet had touched one lung and narrowly missed the heart. It was still lodged inside him.  Arnemann provided a long rambling statement in his defence.  He claimed he was temporarily insane as he was smarting from a sense of injustice at the time. He claimed he had been persecuted by his professional brethren and could not get justice in the County Court. He said he preferred death on the gallows, it seemed to him better than to live on a life which has been disgraced. The jury found him guilty and the judge passed a sentence of twenty years penal servitude. The judge commented that it was pitiable that a man of the prisoner’s position and apparent education should commit so cruel, cold blooded and terrible a crime.


His bizarre plot to kill the judge so that he could get a new trial to recover his money had failed. He was not successful at making and selling false teeth and he had proved to be an incompetent assassin. Even his request for the noose was refused. He was transferred from Nottingham to Leicester gaol for onward transport down to London to set sail for the penal colonies. He never did serve out his sentence. On Tuesday June 17th 1890 he ended his life by hanging himself with his own braces in a Leicester prison cell.

This was a most unusual railway crime and the only proved case of a planned and attempted murder with a revolver for the period.  A number of bodies were recovered from both compartments and railway lines with gunshot wounds. It was impossible even for a coroner’s inquest to determine if these has been suicides or murder. In this case there was no doubt whatsoever.

Editors Note: this article was written and shared as part of a writing challenge in August 2015. It now forms chapter 9 of 12 in  my third crime book available in its entirety on Amazon. If you click  on the link below you will be whisked oft to Amazon where you can view the book cover and read the synopisis. You can also take advantage of the LOOK INSIDE feature and see the content and read the INTRO and  most of chapter 1 FREE of charge. The cost to download  the e-book s £2.01. It is not necessary to own a Kindle or other e-reader. Its possible to download free apps for Macs, pcs, laptops, tablets ,ipads, iphones and android phones FREE from Amazon….. Happy Reading!




About bakersfieldlad

July 2015...... I published my first book on Amazon - "Savilles Spinnney". On April 1st 2015 I published my second book - "Arsenic Sally". Christmas Day 2015 I published my third book " Murder Mystery and Mayhem on the Railways 1830-1899. That's 3 books in roughly 18 months. I enjoy researching and see no reason to stop writing. There will be many many more books and while I would love to be taken in by a publisher I am content to make my books available via Amazon. Keep checking my blogs for updates about my upcoming projects......
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