The Shirley Village Archive

Derby Mercury, January 15, 1851 (Document)

On Saturday night last at an by early hour-between seven and eight o'clock two most daring burglaries were committed at the villages of Wyaston and Shirley, on the dwellings of two of the resident farmers there. The first took place at the house of Mr. Thomas Sheldon, Wyaston, and was effected in the following of manner:-At the time named the inmates were quietly seated around the fire when they were startled by a smart knocking at the door, and on its being opened, two men, armed with of firearms and crowbars, with their faces disguised, entered, and one of them presented a loaded pistol at the head of Mr. Sheldon, and with horrid imprecations threatened to shoot him unless he forthwith delivered up his money, and further intimidation one or both of the villains more than once fired off a pistol, which was loaded with ball, in the room, leisurely reloaded it. During this time his companion was engaged in ransacking the house for cash or any other portable articles of value that could be found. The formidable nature of the weapons exhibited by the assailants so terrified the inmates that they were unable to offer any resistance, and the burglars succeeded in obtaining possession of gold and silver to the amount of 31. 1s., and a large silver watch, which they carried off within half an hour of the occurrence above narrated, the same men approached the house of Mr. W. Dakin, of Shirley (about two miles from Wyaston), and knocking at the door, sought admittance, under the pretence of having lost their way. No sooner was the door of opened than they rushed in, and commenced an attack on the inmates. Mr. Dakin they knocked down and unmercifully dragged about; and on his son coming to his assistance, its a loaded pistol was violently thrust into his mouth, causing at a sad mutilation of his lips and face. Resistance having been overcome one of the burglars kept watch down stairs over Mr. Dakin, while the other, followed by Mr. Dakin's son, proceeded up stairs in search of valuables. Having ransacked n all the drawers, he abstracted about thirty shillings in silver. Being satisfied that there was no more money in the home, they demanded some refreshment, and proceeded to regale themselves with cake, wine, &c. Here, as at the former place, the men fired their pistols off. On leaving the house, a pointer dog kept by Mr. Dakin began to bark, and fearing he lest the noise might lead to unforeseen consequences, they fired be at the dog and wounded it on one of the legs. They then proceeded to an adjoining stable, and stole therefrom a dark brown horse of considerable value, aid attaching to it a bridle they both mounted and rode off. F. Wright, Esq., whose mansion is not far distant, and who is a county magistrate, was apprised of the occurrences. Mr. Wright immediately dispatched two messengers to the police-station at Derby, by another to the superintendent at Ashbourn, and galloped off himself to the Rocester station, with information of the burglaries. The police at these places were actively on time alert as during the night and following day, but, we regret to say, that notwithstanding the most untiring vigilance on their part up to the present time, they have not been able to effect of the capture of the burglars, although, we understand, there by is some clue to their whereabouts. A reward of ten pounds has been offered for their apprehension. Both men are decribed as being of gentlemanly appearance.

"THE PUBLIC HEALTH-CLEANSING OF TOWNS." Derby Mercury 15 Jan. 1851. 19th Century British Newspapers. Web. 26 Apr. 2016. URL http://tinyurl.galegroup.com/tinyurl/3KMWm2 Gale Document Number: GALE|BA3200006912

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Dakin, William
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