Fatal Termination to a Quarrel at Irchester A Verdict of Manslaughter
The usually quiet village of Irchester was thrown into a state of great excitement on Saturday evening, last by the sudden death of a man named Jeremiah Jones, about seventy years of age, which took place about five minutes after the deceased and a man named Owen Humphreys had been fighting together. It appears that there had been an outstanding quarrel between the two men for a long time respecting their adjoining allotments of land let out by the Vicar, and the quarrel seems to have culminated on the Saturday evening in front of Mr. Turnell's field near to Mr. C. Lilley's shop.
Humphreys accused the deceased of doing damage to the land he rented by carting (over some broccoli growing upon it, and the deceased seems to have made a remark that as some of Humphrey's wheat hung over his (deceased's) ground he should chop it off. This appears to have roused Humphrey's ire, and he sparred before the deceased, and threatened to give him one for himself. A lad saw Humphreys strike the deceased a blow on the chest which knocked him down. As he was falling, however, the deceased caught hold of Humphreys, and they both fell together. Humphreys was the first to get up, and he pulled Jones up by taking hold of his neckerchief. They again fell on to the ground, when Humphreys was pulled off by a man named Robinson. Jones seems to have made one or two remarks during the scuffle charging Humphreys with being a coward, alleging that he had tried to "throttle" him. Both the combatants then parted and went different ways, but when Jones got 20 or 30 yards away he fell forward and expired. Humphreys, who is a single man, and very much the younger, was then taken into custody and brought to Wellingborough Police Station, and on Monday morning was brought up before Mr. C. J. K. Woolston and remanded till Friday. In reply to the charge, prisoner said he did not strike Jones, who was the aggressor, and who had threatened to strike him with a knobbed stick but he (prisoner) only acted throughout in self-defence.Supt. Bailie asked for a remand. He said that an inquest was to be held the same evening at Irchester, after which he should not oppose bail.The prisoner said he was prepared with substantial bail.
The inquiry into the cause of Jeremiah Jones' death was held at the "Carpenter's Arms," Irchester (to which the body was conveyed), before Mr. J. T. Parker, the divisional coroner, at six o'clock on Monday evening. The following gentlemen were sworn on the jury:Mr. Stephen Parsons (foreman), Messrs. H. Saxby, E. Parsons, C. Lilley, W. Barringer, W. Ward, sen., J. West, D. Burgess, W. Ward, jun., S. George, C. Ward, J. Ward, J. Payne, G. Ward, and A. Kemshead. There were also present at the inquest Mr. J. D. K. McCallum (the chief constable for the county), Supt. Bailie (Wellingborough), and some of the relatives of the deceased.
The Coroner, addressing the jury, said that they had to inquire into the death of the deceased, and ... ... ... ... being the person was as much guilty of manslaughter as though he had caused the death of a perfectly healthy person. The question was whether there was sufficient evidence to show that the violence used by Humphreys accelerated death. Everything turned on the medical man's evidence. It seemed very probable that the struggle and excitement was the cause of death, but it was necessary for the jury to have pretty strong evidence with regard to that, and it all depended whether they considered from the evidence given by the medical gentleman that the violence used by Humphreys caused or accelerated death.
The jury having consulted in private for about ten minutes, returned a verdict of "Manslaughter."