Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

The Massacre That Shocked a Town; 100 Years Today since the Killings at the Sun Inn

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

The Massacre That Shocked a Town; 100 Years Today since the Killings at the Sun Inn

Article excerpt

Byline: Joanne Butcher? 0191 201 6455 ?

TODAY marks the 100th anniversary of the grisly Sun Inn murders.

Exactly a century ago, three victims were gunned down by crazed innkeeper John Vickers Amos at the pub in Bedlington, Northumberland.

And to mark the milestone, a local history group has opened up their incredible archives.

Six Townships Community History Group hold a fascinating collection of original items from the crime, as well as detailed accounts of what took place.

They have now uploaded many of the documents online so they are accessible to anyone who wants to read them.

John Dawson from the group said: "It's a fascinating story, and this memorabilia puts it back together piece by piece.

"It's such an interesting and important part of local history." On April 15, 1913, two policemen and a woman called Sarah Grice were shot dead when they answered a 999 call to the Sun Inn on Front Street West.

Amos, known as Jocker, had armed himself with a Winchester repeating rifle after he was accused of stealing money from James Wood Irons, the owner of the pub, and lost his job as manager.

PC Mussell, who was first on the scene, died within minutes of stepping into the building after Amos opened fire.

Mrs Grice, the wife of the new pub manager, was then blasted in the face.

Sgt Barton, a war hero who was hailed for his bravery on a sea rescue attempt, was shot after trying to disarm Amos.

Six Townships' collection includes the sergeant's bloodstained notebook, retrieved from the left breast pocket of his uniform and left in tatters by the spray of pellets fired into his chest. Pencilled in neat handwriting are the faint details scribbled by the officer, documenting his final steps before his death.

The group also own his wooden truncheon and steel handcuffs.

Amos fled the scene and ran into nearby fields after the murders, but he was later shot in the head and captured when he was found hiding in a culvert following a three-hour manhunt.

Three months later, despite a 60,000-name petition to save him from the gallows, 35-year-old Amos was hanged in Newcastle Jail. …

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