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Rape,Murder & Suicide




This county has obtained an unenviable notoriety for the commission of crimes of the most revolting character. The following exhibits a picture of depravity and crime which it is shocking to contemplate. A man advanced in years - a hoary headed sinner with grown up children, leaves his own house, his wife and family, in the dead of night, and succeeds in decoying a young female, only 17 years of age, the servant of a neighbouring gentleman, from her master's house, under pretence that her mother is dying and wishes to see her. In going across the fields, he attempts the gratification of his brutal passion by violating her person; and failing to accomplish his purpose he strangles his victim. As a catastrophe to this tale of depravity, he hangs himself in a cowhouse! The following is a brief narrative of the particulars of this double tragedy, an on the inquests held on the bodies.

The unfortunate female deceased was named Mary MALPAS, and was in the service of Mr. Henry Davison, steward to Sir John Delves Broughton, Bart. at Doddington Park, near Nantwich. The suicide Thomas Baguley, was a labourer also in the employ of the said gentleman, and resided at Walherton. It appears from the testimony of Baguley's son, that his father was at home at 11 o'clock on Sunday night; and after the rest of the family had retired for the night, he was repeatedly called to by his wife to come to bed, but he refused to do so. At two o'clock in the morning, it was discovered that he had left the house, and he did not return afterwards. Mrs. Davison stated that she and her family went to bed about half past nine o'clock on Sunday evening. About one o;clock on Monday morning, the servant girl, Mary MALPAS, knocked at her bedroom door, to ask if she might go to see her mother who was dying. Mrs. Davison, with out inquiring how the girl obtained the information, gave her permission to go, and on going downstairs to lock the door after her, she found that it was already locked, and the key missing.

On Monday morning two labouring men named Simon Davies and Ralph Latham, in going through what are called the Chapel Fields, in Hunsterston, a short distance from Mr. Davison's house, found the dead body of Mary MALPAS. She was lying on her back, her clothes were above her knees, and otherwise in disorder; her bonnet was much torn; her combs were lying beside her; and the appearances on the grass and the ground near the body clearly indicated that there had been a violent struggle. About six o'clock on Monday morning, Baguley was discovered in a shippon suspended by his neck with a rope from one of the steps of a ladder. He was quite dead and cold. He appeared to have been resolutely bent upon self destruction, for his feet rested upon the ground even with his knees bent. In his pocket were found several keys, and among them the key of Mr. Davison's front door.

From the testimony of Mr. John Twemlow and Mr. Edward Barker, the surgeons who examined the body of the deceased female, it appeared that the neck was very much discoloured all round, as if it had been clasped, and the windpipe violently pressed by both hands, and the finger nails had penetrated through the skin over the trachea. The face and breast exhibited marks of discolouration from bruises. The general appearance indicated that there had been a violent struggle, and left no doubt of the nature of the crime that was attempted to be perpetrated before death, although, in the opinion of both these gentlemen, it had not been accomplished. The coroner's jury, in the case of Mary MALPAS, found a verdict of wilful murder against Thomas Baguley; and in the second a verdict of FELO-DE-SE. This dreadful affair has, as may well be supposed, excited a great sensation in the neighbourhood. The family and relatives of both the deceased, are in a state of distraction more easily conceived than described.