Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Was Last Hanged Man Really a Murderer? Remember When A BLAST FROM THE PAST Author Reopens Edwardian Case

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Was Last Hanged Man Really a Murderer? Remember When A BLAST FROM THE PAST Author Reopens Edwardian Case

Article excerpt

Byline: RAY MARSHALL

JOHN Alexander Dickman was the last man hanged in a Newcastle jail.

He was executed for the murder of John Innes Nisbet, a colliery clerk from Heaton who had been carrying miners' pay for Stobswood Colliery.

On Friday, March 18, 1910, Nisbet boarded a train for Stobswood Colliery but never made it; he was found shot in the head five times under a seat of the train at Alnmouth, with the money missing.

But was Dickman framed? And did Sir Winston Churchill have a hand in a cover-up?

Author Diane Janes has researched the subject for her book An Edwardian Murder: Ightham and the Morpeth Train Robbery and will give a talk on the intriguing crime at the Laing Art Gallery in Newcastle this Friday.

On the train pulling away from Central Station, heading for Alnmouth, were at least three men carrying money collected from a bank in Mosley Street, for wages at different collieries.

Two, John Spink and Percival Hall, sat together in one compartment and acknowledge the third wage carrier, John Nisbet, as he entered another compartment, followed by a man in a raincoat and hat.

When Spink and Hall left the train at Stannington, they nodded goodbye through the window to their friend Nisbet.

Dickman never denied being on the train. He should have left earlier than he did, but went on to Morpeth, paid the excess fare and said he had missed his stop from becoming engrossed in his newspaper.

The train went on and Nisbet was supposed to leave at Wid-drington, where someone was waiting for him.

He couldn't be seen and the train moved on along its route to Alnmouth. "All change," head porter Tom Charlton's voice boomed down the platform at Alnmouth. As Charlton made his way down the length of the train, shutting the doors, he noticed a window had been left open and thought he had better close it.

Tom pulled the door open and saw bloodstains on the floor and a pair of smashed glasses.

Then, under a seat, he spotted a body. The face was badly disfigured with bullet holes indicating the man had been shot at point-black range.

Police checked back down the stations and soon realised Nisbet had been slain before Morpeth. …

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