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Derby Mercury, March 7, 1860

SUSPECTED INCENDIARISM — On Monday, before P. B. Le Hunt, Esq., and Captain Holland, R. Hitchcock, of Shirley, was charged with setting fire to a barn, the property of his brother, Mr. J. Hitchcock. — Tomlinson appeared for the defence, and Mr. J. Hobson watched the case for the Manchester Insurance Company.— The prosecutor on being sworn said, the barn and cow-house were partly of wood and partly of stone. It had hay and straw in it. There was a dispute between his brother and himself about some property. He was also under 16 days' notice to quit some property he held. The dispute was about other property, not that which was fired. On the Wednesday of the fire the 16 days notice expired. The property was insured in the Manchester Company. The prisoner had not threatened him with harm.— W. Maskerrey said, he went to fodder the cow at five or six o'clock at night, but did not take a lantern in at of all. He went again at nine o'clock to see a cow that was near calving. He had seen the prisoner opposite the barn on Wednesday at two o'clock in the afternoon. Saw him do nothing but look on. He was at a style at the back of the barn — the back corner.— By Mr. Tomlinson- Was not very friendly with prisoner. Had not quarrelled with him. The thatch was blown off the barn on Wednesday, and he might be looking at that.Ralph Large, on being Sworn, said I live with Mr. John Hitchcock. I remember the barn. I went after dusk with the man to the cowhouse. I had a lantern, but while he went in I stood at the door. The lantern was shut.— Mr. Pegge said he had passed the barn at half-past ten, and did not see or smell fire, but the wind was blowing from him. Did not hear of the fire till the next day.— Mr. G. Lemon, farmer, Shirley, said he was, expecting a cow to calve, and saw, at eleven o'clock, a light shining in at his window. He got up to see what it was. He lived 70 yards off. He gave an alarm. The place was all of a flame. He saw through a chink in the door five cows lying down; he did not open it. But he believed they had been suffocated and burnt afterwards, as they were all in a natural position.— Superintendent Corbishley said, at one o'clock on the Wednesday night a man came to give an alarm of fire at Shirley. He got there by two o'clock. When he got there he went to see Mr. J. Hitchcock, and in consequence of information, proceeded to the prisoner's lodgings. He went there and entered prisoner's room and found him in bed,on the ground floor. He was not like a man awoken from sleep. He got up and dressed, and came out, but did not make a remark. After going six or seven yards, he took something from his pocket and threw it away. I said, what is that you have thrown away? He said. "I have thrown nothing away." I searched him and found one shilling and some coppers on him. I asked him what time he came into the house that night. He said, "A little before nine; it might been quarter a to nine." I asked if he had not been out after that. He said no. I went a few yards further and said do you see that? He replied— I have not done it, and know nothing about it. I then told him that I apprehended him for firing his brother's barn and cowhouse. He said I am innocent. I then went back to his house, and in his bed-room I found this box containing two matches, and I got a lantern and candle to see what he had thrown away, and found a paper containing matches. The matches in the box corresponded with of the others.— Cross-examined by Mr. Tomlinson— Could not say whether the prisoner was asleep or awake when he entered his room, and one of hiss men went in with him. The prisoner threw the clothes off himself, he did not pull them. He had no reason to say that he was asleep or awake, Walked with prisoner six or seven yards.— Police-constable I Adcock corroborated the evidence given by Mr. Corbishley.— After hearing the evidence of Mr. and Mrs. Wheeldon, and Mr. Tomlinson for the defence, the Bench said, that although there were grounds of suspicion, there was not enough to determilne the Bench to commit the prisoner for trial at the Assizes. He would be liberated, but liable to be called again if further evidence could be obtained.-Loud cheers followed, but were instantly suppressed.

"DISTRICT NEWS." Derby Mercury 7 Mar. 1860. 19th Century British Newspapers. Web. 20 May 2016. URL Document Number: GALE|BA3200024775 (subscription required)

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