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Forum Home > The Ultimate Crime. > Enoch Whiston. Hanged,1878.

Alaska.
Site Owner
Posts: 1404

The death of Albert Meredith, Dudley, 1878.


I would be willing to bet, that Enoch Whiston, a hard working man, who was born in 1806, never dreamed  that one of his sons, could end up killing someone. But that is exactly what his son, also Enoch Whiston, born in 1859 did. The old man had endured a lot in his life, his first marriage, to Mary Ann Bowling, in 1841, had produced three children, the youngest, Robert, dying in childhood. Edward, and his twin Thomas, surviving. In 1856, while living at High Oak in Kingswinford, he lost his wife as well. In 1857, he met, and married, Emma Bird, a union that produced another five children, Samuel, Enoch, Joseph W, Beniah, born blind, and Ada Agnes. She died in 1873 aged 8. Around 1860, they had moved to 28, Wood Street, Woodside, Dudley, a small community almost surrounded by Ironworks and Coal Mines. The old man found a job at one of the many coal mines as a watchman, and life, although not ideal, settled down until the whole Country, in 1875, went into a terrible depression. By 1878, their were signs of recovery, but for his son Enoch, the damage had already been done.


Enoch Whiston, never a bright lad, as events would prove, was employed at the Ironworks of Hill and Smith, in Harts Hill, not far from his home in Woodside. His duties were as a Horse driver, moving materials around the site, a job, that of course, even an idiot could manage. Even so, in 1877, he managed to get dismissed. This caused him a few problems, not least of which was a marriage, ( allegedly ) he had promised to 23 year old Mary Terry, who resided at Commonside, a short walk away. He had promised her some money, £30 in total, £25 for her, and £5 he would keep himself. Maybe they were really meant for each other, because she accepted, and believed, that the money was his savings. ( Savings from what she should have asked, he only earned about 8 shillings a week when he was working.) She must have been delighted, when on the afternoon of 6th December,1878, he arrived with the money as promised. Her joy at receiving £25 in glittering Gold coins, must have been a joy to behold, not very evident though a short time later, when just after she had hidden it away, P.C John Keenan and two other Officers turned up, and promptly arrested him. Dragging him from his hiding place, they quickly recovered a loaded Pistol, £5 in Gold, and the £25 Mary had just put away. They were both marched off to the Police Station in Brierley Hill, under the control of an excellent Officer, Chief Superintendent Burton, where Mary soon learned what her loverboy had been up to.


Albert Meredith, a well liked and trusted Clerk at Hill and Smith, was, under instructions from his employer, required each Friday to go to The Birmingham, Dudley and District Banking Company, opposite Saint Thomas' Church, in Dudley. With him he took a black leather bag, and a cheque made out to cash for £280. 6s 9d, the wages for the Companies men. He had been making this journey for some time, and as he knew the area well, he was prone to follow the same route each time. Not for him the main road, he headed off in the direction of Woodside, then towards the Canal legging tunnel, and finally down Parkhead and so to the Bank. What he didn't know, was that from a window, from which he had asked for the blind to be removed in the Junction Inn, young Enoch Whiston was tracking his movements, and after passing the pub, Whiston step outside, and quickly followed. There's no doubt that the subsequent robbery was planned, although doubts were raised as to whether or not Whiston intended to fire the pistol, (not much point in taking it if he didn't) in any event, he did. Alfred Meredith knew he was being followed, indeed several others saw Whiston a few steps behind him, as the pair headed for the waste land of Pit Lane. Selecting his spot with care, ( or so he thought ) Whiston snatched the bag from Meredith, and then fired the pistol, right into the young Clerks face. He then ran away, through a hedge, and continued for a short distance before opening the bag, ( spilling out the money ) collected as much as he could see, and then headed off towards Fens Pool, and Commonside. I said earlier that he wasn't very bright, just behind one of the many pit mounds was an Engine house, the fireman, Daniel Round, hearing the shot, raced the short distance to the scene. A Policeman., PC Staines, was stationed just 80 yards away, and heard the shot at exactly 3.30pm, only being told some 30 minutes later of what had happened. The name of the suspect was already known by that time, he had been seen and recognised in and around the area, and running  away. It didn't need a Sherlock Holmes to solve this crime, and Whiston never denied doing it, he had admiited to firing the shot. Alfred Meredith sadly died a few days later, and it was only at this stage, that Enoch Whiston told the Police where he had hidden the bulk of the stolen money. Under a stone near Fens Pool. Enoch Whiston was charged by the Coroner at the inquest at the Queens Head, Dudley, with the wilful murder of Meredith, and the trial date was set for 21st January at Worcester. The judge, Baron Huddleston, who had also been involved in the Rugeley Poisoning Trial, was a wise old bird and dismissed in his summing up the defense of insanity Whiston's Lawyer had raised. The basic question of course was did he actually fire the shot, knowing what damage it would cause. And of course he did. He was, as predicted, found Guilty, and the date for his execution was set for 10th February, 1879. a date he most certainly kept. Over 500 people turned up outside the prison on the day of the execution,(  A panic about the state of the equipment at the Gaol, meant they had to quickly borrow the gallows from Northampton ) which went off without a hitch. Young Enoch bemoaned the fact that he was leaving this life tragically early, and that he would have liked more time on earth. It's a great pity he didn't think of this before he robbed and shot to death Alfred Meredith, but then again, I did say he was non to bright, didn't I.




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

April 2, 2012 at 4:45 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Alaska.
Site Owner
Posts: 1404

Dudley Murder,1878, Enoch Whiston.


It's been remarked on before, but there's no evidence of exactly where Enoch Whiston obtained the weapon he used. Nor I should add, any evidence that he had any knowledge of how to use, or even load one. It was described as a Pistol, and when found by the searching Police Officers, loaded with what they said looked like " rough pieces of Brass". At his trial, Whiston insisted he had used Bullets, the ends of which he had flattened, to make them a tighter fit in the barrel. James Buckley, an experienced engineer, who was in the Engine House in Pit Lane, arrived after Meredith had been rushed off to the Guest Hospital, Dudley. He saw the patch of blood, and also spotted what the Police had missed, a leaden Slug which he first thought to be iron. This Bullet, for it undoubted was a bullet, was handed to Thomas Sanders Stevens, another of Hill and Smiths clerks, and the workmate of Alfred Meredith. He was also handed the now empty leather bag by one Thomas Smith, a local miner. In his statement to the Court at the trial, PC Keenan said that when found in Whistons pocket, the Pistol was " loaded to the muzzle, the charge on the table, capped, and contained two slugs,  similar to the one already found at the scene". This doesn't make much sense really, for without the charge, the weapon was useless, and only a total idiot would put two bullets down a single barrelled weapon. Described kindly, as being a bit 'simple minded', what chance then, that Whiston, who couldn't manage to load it properly the second time, had actually managed to get it right the first time. More to the point however, was where he got it from in the first place. Mary Terry, from her total surprise, had obviously never seen it before, and for that matter, nobody else appears to have either. I've no doubts that the Police knew from where it came, Whiston never denied the facts, so he must have told them. For whatever reason, the Police decided to say no more on the matter, and Baron Huddleston did not press them on the matter. So did this rather sad young man have an accomplice in the crime, certainly someone else knew what was afoot, or maybe the plan itself was the other persons idea. If it was, they were not much brighter than Whiston, except of course they knew how to load an old Pistol.

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

April 3, 2012 at 10:25 AM Flag Quote & Reply

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