Inquest into 1869 Murder mystery: Testimony of the victim's children

Updated: Sep 27, 2020

Chichester Express and West Sussex Journal - Tuesday 04 January 1870


THE SUSPECTED MURDER AT CUCKFIELD.


The man Charles Rowland, alias Martin has been again brought up at Croydon on remand, charged with being concerned in the late burglary at north end and stealing jewellery valued at £500, the property of Mr Henry Harland, jeweller. The first witness called was Charles Greenhead, 13 years old, the son of James Greenhead, who was found dead at Cuckfield, who proved the coming home of Rowland and his father together and the deposit of something that rattled like money under the floorboard, on the night of the burglary.


Sgt Brooking now produced the dark lantern that was bricked up near the spot where the dead body of the lads father was found at Cuckfield, and witness said he had seen it before at his father's house. The investigation was adjourned in order to subpoena an important witness who had neglected to attend. It is thought that the prisoner will be called on to answer a more serious charge at the next examination

Lloyd’s Weekly London Newspaper


January 9, 1870


THE SUSPECTED MURDER AT CUCKFIELD


On Monday, at Croydon, the man Charles Rowland, alias Martin, was again brought up on remand, charged with being concerned in the late burglary at North End, Croydon, and stealing jewellery consisting of 164 rings, 36 scarf pins, 38 collar studs, 36 lockets, 14 gold chains, seven sets of valuable brooches and earrings, and quantity of charms, suspenders etc valued at £500, the property of Mr Harland, jeweller.



Charles Greenhead, 13 years old, who had to be told the nature of an oath, said:

I am the son of James Greenhead, who was found dead at Cuckfield one wet night at about 7 o'clock. I recollect seeing father and the prisoner go away from our house together. Father came home next morning about 7 o'clock, and Rowland came about five minutes afterwards. Father came upstairs first, and afterwards Rowland, and they went into the front room and shut the door. I looked through the keyhole and saw them take up the floorboard, and then I heard something rattle like money, but I did not see what it was. About the same time I heard of the burglary, and saw the bills up at the town hall about it. I was sent out of the room when father and Mr Rowland came. Croydon Town Hall


I had seen Rowland seven or eight times at our house, but only once on a wet night. I saw him take the crowbar produced from under his coat and give it to father. I had often seen it before in our house lying on a shelf, but it seemed shorter now than it used to be.


On the wet night I speak of I was sent by father to tell Rowland father wanted him to come and see him, and he said he would come. Besides my father and six of us children, there was a lodger named Cook in the house who used to go out selling oranges. I recollect father and Cook quarrelling, but I don't know what it was about. Cook left two or three nights after the robbery.


Sgt Brooker now produced the dark lantern that was picked up near the spot where the dead body of his father was found at Cuckfield, and witness said he had seen it before at his father's house. This witness underwent a long cross examination, and the bench complimented him on the way he had given his evidence. Anne Greenhead, who had previously been examined, was now called, and she identified both the crowbar and lantern; the bar used to be kept under a pot board, and the lantern hanging up. The investigation was adjourned in order to subpoena an important witness who had neglected to attend it is thought that prisoner will be called on to answer a more serious charge at the next examination.



THE MORNING ADVERTISER, TUESDAY JANUARY 11th 1870


Yesterday, at the town Hall, Croydon, which was densely crowded, Charles Rowland, who stands charged with being concerned in the late burglary at Mr Harlands, North end, Croydon, and stealing therefrom 164 gold rings, 36 scarf pins, 38 collar studs, 36 gold lockets, and other articles of jewellery, valued at £500, was again brought before the presiding magistrates, Messrs Adams, Eldridge and Robinson, when the following fresh witnesses were called:-


William Barclay, grocer and beer retailer of Princes Road Croydon said –

On 3 October James Greenhead, the man who was found dead in a ditch at Cuckfield, came to my shop in company with three others whom I knew by sight, the name of one being Edwards, and Greenhead said, “you are going to get married I hear. Have you bought any rings for the occasion?” I said, “no, I have not,” when he replied, “I have a friend in the trade, and if you give him a turn he might be a customer to you.” He then handed me nine rings, done up in a piece of newspaper, five wedding rings, and four keepers. I took the rings and said, “I can't be bothered with him just now,” when Greenhead replied , “Never mind, it will do in a day or two, I'll leave them.” I then asked Edwards to count them as I thought Greenhead was in liquor, and might fancy he had left more than he had. They all had some ale, and soon afterwards left. Greenhead on going out of the door stepped back and asked me to lend him 10s, which I did on his promising to return it.


By the Chairman:-

I believe the prisoner was one of the three with Greenhead, but I should not like to swear it. On the following day Greenhead, the prisoner Rowland, and another man came to my shop and called for some ale. I was just getting ready to go to Paddington, and I requested them to leave, there being only my sister in the shop. They left, and I went to London, and returned at about 11 at night, when the prisoner Rowland, Greenhead, and another man followed me in and ordered some ale, which they drank together. On Tuesday morning, as I was taking down my shutters, I saw Greenhead come out of Princess Road without his hat and I told him I wanted him to take the jewellery away. There was only one ring fitted, and I told him I wanted a keeper the same size, when he replied– “I can't stop now; I'm off to London, to get some money; i'll call on you tonight on my return;” but he never returned, and I was taken into custody and charged with receiving the property knowing it to have been stolen. I was tried for it at the Surrey sessions and was acquitted. In cross-examination witness said he was asked to come up and give evidence by the police on Saturday. He had seen the man Edwards selling herrings about Croydon since. Would not swear the prisoner was present on the first occasion of Greenhead’s coming but he had an impression that he was. He was certain that he was present on the two other occasions.


Eliza Thorpe, formerly lodging in the prisoners house, proved that Greenhead called there to see prisoner, and was admitted by prisoners wife, who described him as her husband’s “mate”.

Prisoner was then remanded; bail refused.


The jury concluded that a clear link had been established between the robbery and the murder; suspicion fell heavily on Rowland, but due to insufficient evidence, the jury was obliged to rule that Greenhead had been murdered by person or persons unknown. A reward of £200 was offered for any information leading to a future conviction.

The following year new evidence suddenly and unexpectedly turned up.....

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