Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Making a Killing in the Local

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Making a Killing in the Local

Article excerpt

Byline: Mike Kelly Reporter mike.kelly@ncjmedia.co.uk

a pub guide to send shivers down your spine, where the glasses aren't just 'dead' but the punters IT'S a pub guide to send shivers down your spine, where the glasses aren't just 'dead' but the punters are too.

And the book Murder at the Inn not surprisingly includes a number of North East hostelries -including reputedly being the site for the oldest ever pub murder.

Author James Moore -steads Roman fort on -gists working in the 1930s there found two bodies under the oor of what Author James Moore said: "It was at Housesteads Roman fort on Hadrian's Wall. Archeologists working in the 1930s there found two bodies under the oor of what they believed to be a tavern and one of them still had a knife sticking in its ribs."

James said: "e way the oor had been covered again showed they had been buried. e nd dated from about the fourth century and it showed the link between pubs and murders goes back about 2,000 years."

James got interested in the darker side of pubs when researching a previous more genteel book about the history of hostelries.

He was particularly intrigued by the fact that in days gone by they were also used to hold inquests and some court sessions.

e author Charles Dickens was one of a number of critics of the practice in the 19th century, pointing out that juries hearing the evidence in the pubs were often tipsy.

It was following an inquest at a pub that Mary Ann Cotton - who is believed to have murdered at least 21 people, mainly by arsenic poisoning, including her own mother, children and husbands - was eventually found out.

e County Durham e County Durham woman was reputedly Britain's rst serial killer, whose reign of death took place between 1865 and 1872 and was described by the Newcastle Chronicle of the day as a "monster in human shape".

Her fall came after she had poisoned her sevenyear-old stepson Charles Edward Cotton in the summer of 1872.

Following a hasty postmortem conducted on a kitchen table, and an inquest at the Rose and Crown pub in West Auck-Auck land, a verdict of death by natural causes was returned.

But this was not enough for journalists attending the hearing.

Aware of local gossip about Cotton, they began to dig into her background, soon exposing the tally of dead husbands, lost children, and the tell-tale signs of arsenic poisoning. And the police - still a comparatively new force in provincial life - were moved to act.

James said: "e pub is now closed but the case is one that resonates in the North East to this day."

As does another case featured in the book.

In April 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 in Bedlington, Northumberland. …

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