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Reconstruction of Lechmere's/Cross's inquest statement

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  • Reconstruction of Lechmere's/Cross's inquest statement

    Hi all,

    Seeing that a number of the 8 newspaper versions of Lechmere's inquest statement contain something that others don't, I thought it a good idea to put together a version that's as complete as possible. At one point, after he'd said "I'm not going to touch her" or words to that effect, the opinions differ in that reporters heard him say different things (see the colored phrases). And at the end of his statement, Lechmere was asked two questions that weren't included in any of the statement versions (only his answers were). So, I've incorporated the questions that may have been asked and colored them blue.

    Charles Allen Cross, a carman, in the employ of Messrs. Pickford and Co. for over 20 years, and appearing in court with a rough sack apron on, said: I left home about half-past three on Friday morning. He reached Messrs. Pickford's yard at Broad-street, City, at four o'clock. He went down Parson-street, crossed Brady-street into Buck's-row.

    Was there any one with you? - No, I was by myself.
    As I got to Buck's-row, by the gateway of the wool warehouse, I saw something lying at the entrance to the gateway. In the dark he not tell at first what it was. It looked like a tarpaulin sheet. I walked into the centre of the road, and saw that it was the figure of a woman. At the same time I heard a man come up behind, in the same direction as I was going. He was about thirty or forty yards behind then. I stepped back to wait for the man, who started on one side, as if he feared I meant to knock him down. When he came, I said to him, "Come and look over here. There's a woman." We then both went over to the body. He stooped one side of her over her head to look at her, and I stooped the other, and took hold of her hand, which was cold and limp. Her face was warm. I said to the man, "I believe the woman is dead." The other man at the same time, put his hand on her breast over her heart and remarked, "I think she is breathing, but very little, if she is." He then said, "Sit her up," I replied, "I'm not going to touch her. "let us go and tell a policeman."/Let's go on till we see a policeman and tell him."/ “You had better go on, and if you see a policeman tell him."/"Just then they heard a policeman coming. When I found her, her clothes were above her knees. There did not seem to be much clothing. Her bonnet was off, but close to her hand. The other man tried to pull her clothes down to cover her legs before we left, but they did not seem as if they would come down.
    Did you touch the clothes? - No, Sir.
    Did you notice any blood? - No, it was too dark. I did not notice that her throat was cut.
    We then left her, went up Baker's-row, turned to the right, and saw a constable. I said to a constable - the last witness - "There's a woman lying in Buck's-row. She looks to me as though she was dead, or drunk." The other man then said, "I believe she is dead." The policeman answered, “All right,” and then (we) walked on. The other man left me at the corner of Hanbury-street, and went down Corbett’s-court. I don't know who this man was; he was a stranger, but appeared to me to be a carman.
    The Coroner - Did you see Police constable Neil in Buck's row?
    The Witness - No, sir. I saw no one after leaving home, except the man that overtook me, the constable in Baker's row, and the deceased. There was nobody in Buck's row when we left.
    The Coroner - Did you see anything of a struggle?
    Witness - She seemed to me as if she had been outraged and gone off in a swoon.
    You did not think so at the time? - Yes, I did; but I did not think she had been seriously injured.
    You had no idea that she had been injured at all? - No.
    The Coroner - Did the other man tell you who he was?
    The Witness - No, sir. He merely said that he would have fetched a policeman but he was behind time. I was behind time myself.
    Did you hear any sounds while in Buck’s-row, a vehicle, someone walking away?
    No, I heard no sounds of a vehicle. I believe that had anyone left the body after I had turned into Buck's-row, I would have heard them.
    A juryman - Did you tell Constable Mizen that another policeman wanted him in Buck's row?
    The Witness - No; because I did not see a policeman in Buck's row.
    What did Constable Mizen do when you left him/What was Constable Mizen’s reaction?
    After I had told him there was a woman lying in Buck's-row he went out and knocked at a door. He did not go towards Buck's-row to do this.

    All the best,
    "You can rob me, you can starve me and you can beat me and you can kill me. Just don't bore me."
    Clint Eastwood as Gunny in "Heartbreak Ridge"