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1911: The passing of policeman who supervised Balcombe tunnel murderer


Mid Sussex Times April 11 1911

Death today at Cuckfield of Ex-Superintendent Avery

Had Lefroy under his care


We regret to have to record that Ex police superintendent Amos Avery died this morning at Attrees Cuckfield, at the age of 81.


He had been resting on oars for a considerable period, and his end was very peaceful. Mr Avery was born at Uddimore, Sussex on July 17, 1829.


When 28 years of age he join the police force at Lewes. He was stationed for eleven  years at Fletching, and on leaving for Isfield the inhabitants of the village and neighbourhood presented him with a framed testimonial and a silver watch and chain “as a mark of esteem for his general good conduct and also for the satisfactory manner in which he had performed his duties as police constable”. While at Isfield, he was made Sergeant, and proceeded to Mark Cross, where he succeeded Sergeant Peerless, who was made Superintendent.


Lefroy the convicted murderer was 'under the care' of Superintendent Avery (c1881)

After having been at Mark Cross thirteen years Mr Avery was promoted to Superintendent, and received a purse of gold on leaving for Cuckfield, which was then the chief station in Mid Sussex. The night previous to his removing to the old coaching town, Lefroy murdered Mr Gold in Balcombe Tunnel, the event, as many will remember, creating the greatest excitement in Cuckfield, where the hearing before the magistrates took place. Superintendent Avery said Lefroy never gave him any trouble, and though he chatted freely with him about things in general he never once touched upon the terrible deed which he had committed. Mrs Avery used to make up Lefroy’s bed and take him his meals at the police station. Having held the post of superintendent about four years Mr Avery retired from the force in 1885 and took up his residence at “Sunnyside” Cuckfield. For some years he pursued the vocation of bill poster. “Early to bed and early to rise” was his motto. He would be about his business when others were asleep, and it was nothing unusual for him, we have heard him say, to rise soon after midnight and do a round of 20 miles before breakfast which he looked forward to having shortly after 7:30. Mr Avery disposed of his bill posting business in 1903. He was also organ blower for a long period at the parish church.


He leaves 10 children, (seven sons and three daughters), to mourn their loss. His wife predeceased him in December, 1906, and after that bereavement he went to Portland Dorsetshire for a time, staying with a daughter whose husband was a warder at the convict prison there.


Later he returned to Cuckfield and took up his residence with his son and daughter-in-law at Attrees.

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