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Forum Home > The Ultimate Crime. > Murder by Gunshot.

Alaska.
Site Owner
Posts: 1404

Have you noticed, that of all the Murders listed on the site, only 6, so far, have involved the use of a Firearm. It's not that were hard to get hold of, it more likely that most of the murders covered, were committed at the spur of the moment, and with any weapon that was handy. Using a Gun it seems, is more a deliberate act, concerning a degree of planning. In 1689, The Bill Of Rights was passed by Parliament. This gave every citizen the right to bear arms, not only for the purpose of Self Defence, but for hunting as well. This Bill is classed as Statute Law, and is still in force today, although our present Gun Laws have been implemented totally ignoring this right. Not that any of us would wish to see the Country awash with weapons, there are too many already available to those who would use them indiscriminately. Following the end of the Napoleonic Wars, there was surge in Gun crime, so in 1824, under the Vagrancy Act, it became an offence to wander the Highways and byways of the land with a weapon, carried without due cause. In 1828, following a spate of incidents, the act of Night Poaching with a firearm also became a very serious offence. In 1870, a Gun Licence Act was passed, which allowed anyone over 14, to buy a Licence, for just 10 shillings, which allowed a Gun to be carried. To be renewed each year, it could be purchased from any Post Office, and did not need to be produced when actually buying the weapon of choice. There were no further changes for the next 33 years.


The Pistols Act, of 1903, stipulated, that anyone holding a Licence, could, this time on production, buy a weapon that did not exceed a barrel length of 9 inches. The age limit was raised to 18, for the Licence, and excluded Drunks or anyone suspected of being barking mad. The penalties for selling to such people were a stiff fine of £25.00, or 3 months hard labour. Anyone underage caught with a weapon, attracted a fine of just 18 shillings.There was no offence committed, if you simply lent the Gun. Which must have been the case with Enoch Cox in 1906, and Thomas Fletcher, in 1913. ( both listed on site ) The end of the Great War, inevitably, saw an big increase in Guns in circulation and so in 1920, The Firearms Act was bought in. This time, the sole arbitrators were the Police, who issued a Firearms Certificate to those who qualified, which lasted 3 years. For the first time, Ammunition was included as well, and the fine for transgressions was doubled to £50.00, or a period of imprisonment. To combat a rise in armed robberies, in 1933, the penalty for using a Firearm in the furtherance of Theft or resisting arrest was increased to 14 years in the pokey. ( No remission in those days either ) It's strange to relate, but although the age for obtaining a Licence was 18, you could still buy a Gun if you were only 14. You just couldn't carry it around.  In 1937, this little loophole was partly closed, by raising the age for purchase, from 14 to 17. After World War II, in 1946, the right to carry a Firearm for self-defence was withdrawn, and with a few exceptions, is still the position today.


Firearms, as you can see, were fairly easy to come by in times past, indeed, you could buy one from any half decent Hardware Shop, for around 5 shillings, if you only wanted a cheap one. This region, as you know, was a centre for the Gun Making Industry anyway, and, I should add, the Ammunition as well. Back in the 1930s, Armed robbery was committed about 24 times a year on average, today it's more like 15 a week. Murder with a Gun was also fairly uncommon, where as today, it seems to have become more prevelent. Mind you, maybe thats just my way of thinking. Finally, there's a selection of what was available to everyone in the shops, many years ago, in the Gallery.

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A wonderful thing is work, I could watch it all day.  ( See my Blog entry )

March 12, 2012 at 4:46 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Alaska.
Site Owner
Posts: 1404

To illustrate the above points, and the consequences of the stupidity of carrying and using a firearm, I offer the following sad tale, that affected the lives of innocent people.


John Steward, was born in Tardebrigge, Worcestershire, around 1830. By way of a trade, he became a Baker, and moved into the fast growing town of Birmingham. His trade shared a commodity with another in the town, Yeast, for the Brewers also used it. Harriet Newey, was born in Birmingham in 1836, her father being a retail brewer who supplied an area around Hockley. The pair were married in West Bromwich, in 1856, presumable because Harriet was suffering from " a womans complaint ". They had two children, the second one was sadly born crippled, and by the 1860s, were living at 71, Branston Street, Hockley. All was well, until in 1863, when John took ill and suddenly died. Harriet found a job as a Screw-maker, and unable to afford the rent on the house, moved to cheaper accomodation at  number 7, 2 Court, William Street, At her works, she met a man, Henry Kimberley, who was a Heading Machine man, a quite well paid job, as it required some skill. He was in his 40s, and he soon moved in as a lodger. Things develo ped between them, and around 1879, Henry bought a house,151b, Sherlock Street, where they and Ada, the crippled daughter, seemed to live a happy life. All was not well though, and in 1884, by mutual consent it appeared, they split up, Henry giving Harriet the house, half of their joint bank account, and a Piano. He wasn't though a happy man, as later events would show.


Thomas Palmer, born in Birmingham in 1835, was, by the time he reached 24, diffinately in charge of his own destiny. He owned a beer house at 21, Anglina Street, helped by his wife, the former Emily Whitworth, and in 1879, purchased a better one, " The Gem Vault ", in the busy and more commercial Steelhouse Lane. Around 1883, another public house came on the market, the former Coaching Inn in Paradise Street, " The White Hart ". Thomas bought it, although he didn't know it yet, it would turn out to be, the worst descision he would ever make. It wasn't long long in coming either.


After the split between Harriet and Henry, at least on the surface, things went well. That is until Henry tried to get Harriet to return back to the relationship he had enjoyed for over 17 years. Harriet would not budge on the matter, it was definately finished as far as she was concerned. On the 27th December, 1884, during what must have been a miserable Christmas for Henry, he spotted her, so he said,  going into the White Hart with her friend, the Landlords wife, Emily Palmer. Entering the place, he proceeded to try and persuade Harriet, again, to resume the relationship, She again refused, and Henry appealed to Emily, as her friend, to intervene on his behalf. Quite sensibly, it was after all a domestic dispute, Emily also refused. Henry then stepped back, pulled a revolver from his coat pocket, and calmly shot them both. He would have shot the barman who jumped on him as well, if he hadn't been overpowered by customers in the bar. In one of those strange twists of fate, Harriet survived the wound, but Emily, the innocent party, died on the 8 th January,1885. Henry Kimberly, was rightly hanged on 17th March,1885, at Winson Green Prison. Emily's Husband, Thomas Palmer, never got over the event, and, with some saying he did himself in, died in December 1888, almost three years to the day after his wife. As for Harriet, she had more to bear the same month of the hanging, her daughter Ada, who was 22, also died. As I said, a very sad tale,

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A wonderful thing is work, I could watch it all day.  ( See my Blog entry )

August 17, 2012 at 11:51 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Alaska.
Site Owner
Posts: 1404

We are all today, familar with Ferensic Science, and that weapons can be identified by marks and numbers. Back in 1841, it wasn't so easy, and when Superintendant John Raymond, was handed a pistol, found on the premises of Matthew Adams, a Cottage at the Delves, Walsall, he did an unsual thing. The weapon, a short barreled pocket pistol, had been loaded to within a half inch of the end of the barrel. A clear indication of in-experience. After the charge had been withdrawn, he sat down and dismantled it. The area was quite famous for the production of arms, and Raymond was looking for any clue that would help him. He was lucky, for the mainspring of the weapon, being old, had been replaced recently, and as he already had a suspect in mind, he only had to find the repairer, to confirm who owned the pistol. He then spent many hours touring the gunsmiths and repairers of the district, until he came across Walter Baggot, a Gun Filer. He immediately indentified the repair as his, and gave the officer the name of the young lad who had bought it in, and more importantly, the name of the man who paid him six pence for the work; Thomas Boswell. For the time, it was brilliant bit of policework, and insured that the perpetrators of a really nasty murder, would all get their just desserts. One on the Gallows, and three others by what could be called " Devine Providence ". ( See Walsall Murders,1841. )

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A wonderful thing is work, I could watch it all day.  ( See my Blog entry )

August 26, 2013 at 3:54 PM Flag Quote & Reply

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