THE JAMES WALLER STORY
"It may be creditably recorded that in the returns of the
executions at York from the year 1379 to 1860, of all towns
and villages in Yorkshire, not a single person from Bingley
has suffered the extreme penalty of the law.
The first unfortunate record is:
January 4th, 1862, James Waller of Eldwick
Executed in the Castle of York for the murder of
William Smith, alias Davy, gamekeeper to
Timothy Horsfall, Esq., of Hawskworth Hall."
Chronicles & Stories of Old Bingley - Speight
MURDER AT HAWKSWORTH
A GAMEKEEPER SHOT
A shocking tragedy occurred at Hawksworth on Tuesday morning. William Smith, alias Davey, the head gamekeeper of Timothy Horsfall, Esq., of Hawksworth Hall, was shot about seven o’clock. The dying statement of Davey was that he went out about four o’clock to watch some pheasant preserves. He had suspected that an old poacher, named James Waller, would be about. About seven o’clock he met Waller, in Springs Wood, at Hawksworth, with a double-barrelled gun. On seeing Davey, Waller turned round and took to his heels, going in the direction of his own house, near Baildon Moor. Davey pursued him and gained upon him. When Waller had got within a short distance of his house, he suddenly turned round and levelled his gun at his pursuer. He discharged one barrel, riddling the chest of Davey with shot. Putting his hand to the wound, Davey cried out, "Oh, Jem, thou hast done for me at last." He had hardly spoken ere Waller discharged the second barrel, the contents shattering the hand of Davey while he was holding it upon his chest. Waller then ran off and after depositing his gun in his house, he returned without coat to the place where he had left Davey in mortal agony. He as leaning over a wall, and several persons, who had come up, were standing near him. Waller, on coming up, affected surprise at seeing Davey bleding and inquired "Who has done it?" Davey replied "Oh, Jem, thou hast done it; thou hast shot me." Waller replied "Why, I have never been out of the house this morning till now." The persons who had gathered round Davey asked Waller whether it was true, as was stated, that he had shot Davey. Waller, in an evasive manner, replied again that he only just then come out of his own house. He was subsequently allowed to walk off, and it was afterwards found that he had fetched some milk, part of which he drank, from a neighbouring farm house. He again passed the place where he had encountered Davey, and then disappeared. The constabulary have scoured the country round by night as well as by day without meeting with Waller. His track was on Tuesday traced by Sergeant Slingsby to Buck Mill, but was then lost.
Davey died about half-past eleven o’clock on Tuesday, at the farm-house of Mr. Denby, whither he had been removed. He related to several who gathered round him in the last hours of his life, the circumstances (as above stated) of the conflict in which Waller shot him. Deceased was about 38 years of age and leaves a widow and one child. He was much respected. Waller is a man about 34 years of age, and has a wife and three children. He has been repeatedly convicted of poaching by the magistrates at Otley and Bingley. In August last, he was committed at Bingley for shooting at a neighbour. About the 12th ult., after paying a fine imposed for an offence at Otley, he told Police Sergeant Inman, of Menston, that before he would ever again submit to be taken by Davey, he would shoot him. The surrounding district has been scoured by officers belonging to the Otley, Bingley and Windhill districts. The inquest on Davey will be held today.
THE MURDER OF THE GAMEKEEPER
We have last week an account of the murder of William Smith, a gamekeeper at Hawksworth. He was shot by a poacher named James Waller, when hotly pursuing him near Low Springs at Baildon, on the morning of Tuesday week. Smith died in a few hours after. Waller absconded soon after the murder, and has not since been found.
INQUEST: VERDICT OF WILFUL MURDER
The inquest on the body of the deceased was held on Friday, at the Angel Inn, Baildon, before J. R. Ingram Esq., the deputy coroner, and a highly respectable jury of which Joseph Hardcastle, Esq., was the foreman.
The jury was sworn, and went to view the body at Lower Springs, and also the scene of the tragedy in the immediate locality. On the return of the jury, the following evidence was tendered:-
John Fawcett of Moorside, Baildon, was first called. He said:
I am a watcher under Mr. Horsfall, of Hawksworth Hall. I knew the deceased man whose body the jury have seen. His right name was William Smith and he resided at Hawksworth in the parish of Bingley. He was the head keeper under Mr. Horsfall. He was aged 32 years. I saw the deceased on Monday, the 4th of Nov. at dusk and we made arrangements to meet in the morning. We talked about Waller. We said that Waller had duped us at several places by getting a few shots in the morning. We wished to catch him. He lived at Low Springs, and is a woolcomber and a convicted poacher. The deceased and I agreed to meet – he at Springs Wood and I at Birks Wood. These places are about 400 yards apart, and at a short distance from Waller’s house. He had duped us at that end for a morning or two. I went to Birks End just after five o’clock on Tuesday morning. The deceased did not come down my way, and I waited about till I heard a short about half past six o’clock. I heard a single shot about that time in the direction of Springs Wood. I expected Waller then coming up. I saw nothing, but waited some 20 minutes. A little before seven o’clock I heard another shot in the direction of Waller’s house, and then another immediately after. The shots were as rapidly as if a man were shooting at two partridges in the same covey. These shots would be about 400 yards from me but the hill prevented my seeing the place where they were. I saw a head going towards James Waller'’. It seemed to have a white billycock on, and to go towards the place where the shots had been fired. There was a wall in the way and I could only see the cap. I am not sure but I am almost certain the head was that of Waller. I did not see that the person had a gun. The fence would hide it if he had one. The billycock hat produced by Inspector Whitehead is the one I saw pass along the man’s head. I know the shape and form of the hat, and am certain it is the one Waller wore. I then went towards home, thinking Waller had duped us again. My house is in an opposite direction. I did not hear any one cry out: the hill between prevented any doing so. When I got part way home – some 400 yards from where I had heard the shots – I heard an alarm that the deceased was shot. It was Joseph Batley that shouted. I ran back to the place, and I heard the deceased’s bitch "Caley" barking in Batley’s fold. This was at a distance of about 100 yards from Waller’s house and about 150 yards from Batley’s. Both houses are at Lower Springs in Bingley. I got her into a string and took her to Batley’s house. Smith was there lying before the fire in the low room. There were several persons there. In a few minutes I went to Hawksworth Hall. I saw him again many times before he died. I went to Hawksworth and Mr. Horsfall came away with me. My master heard him make a statement. I went in after that, some time after eleven and heard the deceased say he was done for – he said James Waller had shot him. I understood him to mean, when he said, "he was done for" that he was going to die. Among those present were Mr. Davey, his uncle, the deceased’s wife, his sister and others. I am sure he said James Waller shot him. I am alos sure he meant he was going to die, in consequence of James Waller having shot him. He died near one o’clock. This was about one hour and a half after he said to me, "he was done for". He had got up stairs and was on the bed when he said this. I knew the stick produced to belong to the deceased. I gave it to Whitehead yesterday. It was given to me on Tuesday. I have known James Waller all my life – 20 or 30 years. I know that Smith has had him convicted once – about two months ago at Otley for trespassing in pursuit of game. He was find £2 and costs. His certificate was then forfeited. In about a fortnight after, in the evening, just before dark I was in Mr. Horsfall’s preserves, near a place called Botany Bay. I saw Waller on the other side of the beck, out of our preserves. He fired a shot, but I cannot say what at. I, supposing his certificate had been forfeited, crossed over the brook to him. I said to him, "Dost thou know they license is forfeited?" and he said "Nay, I do not know that it is; but, if so, I can shoot rabbits so long as farmers give me permission". I told him that if he shot anything but rabbits we should have him up. He said he would not care what we did. He also said "You d-------d scamp up at Hawksworth, I will be his end". He meant Smith and he said that he had fined him falsely. He was very bitter against Smith, and said he should think no more of shooting him than shooting a rabbit. He did not mention his name, but he meant no one else. I then left him and went to my own side of the hill. He was civil to me. He seemed to have a great hatred of Smith. Waller is a bad, ill tempered, ill contrived man, and farmers were as much frightened of him as a "toad is of Thunder.". He was a terror to the neighbourhood. I have not seen Waller since. I wish I had.
Joseph Batley, jun., was next called. He deposed:
I live at Lower Springs, Faweather, in Bingley, and am a warp dresser. On Tuesday morning the 5th of November, at about ten minutes to seven o’clock, I heard the report of a gun twice, at a distance of some 200 yards, in the direction of our wood corner. I have often heard the report of the same gun in that neighbourhood. I believed it was from Waller’s gun. I had not seen him go out in that neighbourhood. I thought it was Waller shooting, because I heard it in a particular direction and have heard the sound in that neighbourhood almost daily. I then heard a low screaming noise, as if occasioned by a wounded rabbit or hare. I then heard a man cry out distinctly, "Oh, Waller: oh, Waller!". This cry came from the direction, where I heard the sound of the gun come from. I told my father that I thought a man had been shot, and I then went in the direction whence the cry came. When I got to the wall at the far side of the second field, I found a man lying, and a big dog pulling at his coat with its teeth, apparently trying to get him up. I did not see any one else about. I should think the distance would not be more that two minutes in getting there. Waller might have got away without my seeing him. It was nearly full daylight. I stood at a distance or thirty or forty yards. I dare not go near him on account of the dog. The dog was partly bloodhound in breed. The dog left, looking through the fence, and then went back to the deceased. I could do no good by shouting and I went back for assistance and met my father coming. Two men, also, came from the moor, and I told them what had happened, and bade them go on. I also went to James Wilkinson’s house, and asked for him. He was not in. Wilkinson’s house is between my father’s and Waller’s, but a little nearer Waller’s. I was just going back to the wounded man, when I saw a man going through a gap, and crouching, as if to avoid being seen. I thought the man I then saw was Waller, but I could not be sure. He went towards his own house. He was in my sight till he got round the corner. I did not see sufficient to be able to say whether he had a gun. When I was returning, in about three minutes, John and Abraham Horner were returning with a dog, and I went with them. When we were going up the croft, Waller, who was without coat, was coming after us, in the direction from his own house. Waller stopped at the wall side where I was first. I found there were there at this time my father, Thos. Murgatroyd and Robinson Moorhouse. Joseph Greenwood came up about the same time and he said to the deceased, "What is there to do, lad?" The deceased replied "Jim Waller has shot me." My father said to Waller, "Hast thou done this?" and Waller replied, "I have never been out of the house before, this morning." Waller was then standing at about 30 or 40 yards distance. I cannot say whether Waller heard my father ask the deceased or not, but I think he would hear him. Smith said immediately after, "It is Waller and no one else." I don’t know that Waller said anything more. To get the dog away, I went to fetch Fawcett, the keeper, and when I came back the deceased had been removed to my father’s house. Mr. Steel, the surgeon, came into my father’s. The deceased, while Mr. Steel was examining him said "Oh, doctor, don’t hurt me." The doctor, when pulling the pellets out of his body, said to him, "Dost thou think thou art going to die?" and he said, "I do, doctor." Mr. Horsfall had not come then.
Joseph Batley, senior, was next called. He swore: -
I reside at Lower Springs, in Faweather, and am a farmer. On Tuesday, the 5th of November, about ten minutes to seven o’clock, my son told me the deceased was hot. I ran directly towards the deceased at my wood end. When I got to the second fence I found a man lying on the other side of the field. The dog was pulling his clothes. The deceased was crying for help. When I got to him, I asked the deceased who had done the deed. He said Waller had done it. I said, "You must look to the Lord for help: no one else can give you help." He said he was a "done man" he seemed helpless and was unable to get up from the ground. I was looking for my son when the two men – the Horners – and my son came up. Waller followed, but stopped at a wall adjoining the field, at a distance of about forty yards. Waller being at a short distance, I said to the Horners "Is yon Waller?" and they said, "Yes". I then called out to Waller, "Hast thou done this deed?" He replied "No, I have not, this is the first time I have come out of door this morning." I then said "Has he not done it Smith?" and Smith said, "He has." I then said to Waller, "Come up and hear what he has to say, face to face." He did not come up, and I said, "Thou art a villin and will have to answer for it, both here and hereafter." We then removed Smith to my own house. I afterwards saw Waller going up the road for milk. He had a milk can in his hand. I did not see him again. He was a terror to the whole neighbourhood, and no man, knowing him, dare tackle him. He had a black velveteen jacket on. I gave evidence against Waller, in August last year, at Bingley. He had shot at Samuel Bradley, at one o’clock in the morning. Waller had previously poisoned poultry to the value of £50, and Bradley was out watching on the night when Waller fired at him. He got six months.
Timothy Horsfall, then sworn, said:
I reside at Hawksworth Hall and am a justice of the peace for West Riding. The deceased was my head gamekeeper. Soon after eight o’clock on Tuesday, November 5th, I was told by Fawcett that deceased had been shot. I came over to Lower Springs, in the township of Bingley. Lower Springs is between three and four miles from Bingley, six from Otley and one and a quarter from Baildon. When I got to Lower Springs, I found the deceased laid on a mattress on the house floor in Joseph Batley’s house. He was quite sensible. The doctor (Mr. Steel) was there. I asked him what had happened and afterwards, not swearing him, took what he said down in writing as follows:-
I was out watching this morning. About seven o’clock I heard a gun fired. I then saw James Waller. I ran after him. When I got within about fifteen yards, James Waller turned round and fired at me. I then turned back, when Waller fired again and hit my right hand. The first time he fired I was hit in the body. I have no doubt whatever about the matter. It was James Waller who shot me. I did not take the muzzle off the dog till I was shot." I then read this statement to him, and asked him if it was true, and he put his mark to it. He seemed perfectly to understand it. I had asked the deceased before taking the statement whether he thought he was in a dangerous state and he replied he considered he was in a dangerous state, but not without all hope of getting better. I was advised by the medical man to say no more about his hopeless case. He was in such a critical condition, that it was thought my doing so would have a prejudicial effect. There were three or four medical men there. I took this statement I should say about a quarter before nine o’clock, and before he was taken upstairs. Shortly after, the deceased told me, in answer to an inquiry, that the reason he took the muzzle off the dog was that he was in fear that Waller, after firing, would come at him with the butt-end of the gun.
Wm. Johnson Booth, the next witness called, simply proved having heard the deceased say he believed he was going to die.
William Davey, of Baildon Moor Side, was then sworn. He said:-
I was not at Batley’s with the deceased when he died. He had been removed up stairs. He heard the deceased say repeatedly he though he was going to die. He heard him say several times, "Lord be merciful to me for I am about to die". He also heard him say several times that James Waller had shot him. Witness asked him the question several times, and heard the deceased say each time, after being removed upstairs, that Waller had shot him twice before he had exchanged words with him. He found Smith’s rug about ten o’clock, close up at the Spring wall. The deceased told witness that he had left his rug in the "Roundabout Wood", close up to the Spring. He had thrown it down when he began to chase Waller. This spot must be a distance of 400 yards from Waller's’
James Steel, surgeon, was then called. He said: -
On Tuesday, about five or six minutes past seven o’clock in the morning, I was called in to where the deceased was, and was with him in a quarter of an hour. I found him lying on a mattress in Batty’s house. I examined him and found him in a state of collapse. I asked him where he was most injured, and he said in the abdomen and hand. I examined his chest and abdomen, and found in these parts between sixty and seventy pellet marks. I found his right hand dreadfully injured with pellets. I extracted four pellets from his abdomen. I now produce them. I think they will be No. 5. He complained much of pain in the abdomen and tenderness of the touch. He did not bleed except in the hand. I applied such remedies as I could. Two or three other surgeons came; Mr. Hepworth, of Guiseley, was the first; Mr. Gardiner’s assistant next; and then Mr. Gardiner himself. They all came in a short time. We all did what we could – remaining there till he died, between twelve and one o’clock. He died from gun-shot wounds, and the shock received thereby to the nervous system. I had no idea from the first that the deceased would recover. After I had carefully examined him I said "Davey, you are going to die," and he said "I believe I am." I repeated this at different times. I made this statement before Mr. Horsfall came. I heard Mr. Horsfall ask him if he thought he was going to die, and he said, "I hope not". That would be an hour and a half after I had told him he would die. He was moved up stairs after that. He died suddenly at last. He talked to his wife and mother-in-law while upstairs. His silence indicated to me that he was going to die. He was sensible to a quarter of an hour of his death.
Ann Wilkinson was the next witness. She deposed:-
I am the wife of James Wilkinson, a farmer, and live at Lower Springs. I live near Joseph Batley’s and James Waller’s. I heard an alarm from Joseph Batley between a quarter and ten minutes to seven o’clock. I had seen Waller two or three minutes before Batley told me something had occurred. James Waller came into my house with a gun in his hand. He had on a velvet coat and this billycock. He asked me whether I had a door or window through which he could have a sight of the place where Smith was shot. I said "We have neither window nor back door." He crouched down as he spoke, as if he wished to keep out of sight. He ran into the parlour. I asked him why he came there, telling him he must know I had neither back window nor door. I thought he had committed some crime. He was very white and agitated and his eyes seemed to come out of his head almost. I got him out of the house as soon as I could. Joseph Batley then came, and told me some one had been shot. Waller never told me he had shot Smith. I ran down for the Horner’s and their dog and Waller was then at the door, and said "what is there to do?" Horner said some one had shot Smith, and then Waller followed them. I did not know anybody was shot before I got Waller out. Waller came back in a short time and said to me, "What do you think? Smith is shot, and Old Batley says I have been out." He then went away. I went into the house and said to my mother, "I am afraid Waller has done it." I saw him go up for milk in about half an hour after. He went towards Lambert’s farm at Sconce. I never saw him go for milk before. He had a cap on his head, but I cannot say what sort of one it was. It was a dark coloured one. The object of his going into the parlour was to hide himself. Waller was in the parlour when Batley came the first time. Batley did not at that time state that anybody was shot. He had gone out of the house when Batley came the second time. Waller slipped out while I was talking with Batley.
Police-Inspector Wm. Whitehead was called and said:-
I am inspector of the constabulary. Yesterday, I searched the house of Waller, and found the billycock hat now produced. It is the same that Fawcett and young Batley and Mrs. Wilkinson identified. This is the stick I received from Fawcett; who identified it as belonging to the deceased. I have used all reasonable means to apprehend James Waller. He has kept out of the way since Smith was shot. I believe he is still at large. No reward has been offered for his apprehension.
Police-sergt. Inman was the next witness. He said:-
I am stationed at Menston, in the Otley division. I searched Waller’s home on Tuesday about ten o’clock. I found three empty powder casks and one with a little powder in; a tin flour dredging box containing wads; a box of percussion caps, a wooden mallet, one single-barrelled gun, two wad-cutters, an old gun lock, and a few other things connected with shooting. I also found two cartridges, one of which fits the double-barrelled gun produced, and a quantity of No. 5 shot. The deceased has had Waller up twice before the magistrates within 15 months, for trespassing in pursuit of game. He was convicted on both occasions. On the 12th of October, I was on duty on Baildon Moor, about eleven o’clock in the forenoon, and Waller came to me and wanted me to take 8s as part of a fine inflicted upon Waller’s boy, for overthrowing Mr. Superintendent Smith from his gig, by banging a gate against him. I told him I could not take the 8s as part payment. He said it was very hard, as he had just had to pay £2.10s for "the bloody lurking thief, Davey (meaning Wm. Smith), swearing false at Otley." He said, "He will never have the chance of taking me to Otley again. Before I allow him to take me to Otley again I will blow his brains out, or any other man." On Monday, the 14th of October, I met him coming out of Otley. He stopped to speak to me, and I asked him if he had been to pay the money, and he said he had. I said "Did you pay in full?" He said "Yes, there is no getting off for any less there." He then began about Smith swearing false, and said he would never do it again. He said "If ever he attempts to take me again I will shoot him dead in the place where he stands if I have a gun in my hand." I have frequently heard him make similar remarks in reference to Smith, but I don’t remember the exact dates.
George Addy, police-officer at Baildon, was then called. He said:-
On Tuesday, the 5th of November, I went to James Waller’s house and took the double-barrelled gun produced. It was under the cross beam, and on two supports in the house. There were no caps on the nipples, but it appeared to have been recently discharged. I searched the place, and found the empty powder flasks produced. I received the wads now produced from Joseph Greenwood. The two wads produced resemble those found in Waller’s house.
Joseph Greenwood was then called. He said:-
I live next to Mr. Joseph Batley’s. On the 5th of November I found these two wads at the place where the deceased was shot. I picked them up about an hour after he was gone. I gave them to Addy.
The Coroner then went through the evidence. He directed the attention of the jury to the more salient parts, and then charged them as to their course.
The room was cleared, and in five minutes the Coroner was re-called.
The Foreman stated that the jury had come to the unanimous verdict of "Wilful Murder" against James Waller. He added that the jury were of opinion that the government ought to offer a reward for the apprehension of Waller.
THE MURDER NEAR BAILDON:
CAPTURE OF THE MURDERER
JAMES WALLER who, on Nov. 5th, shot Wm. Smith alias Davey, the gamekeeper of T. Horsfall, Esq., of Hawksworth Hall, was apprehended about 5 o’clock on Sunday morning last, in a barn occupied by Mr. John Holmes, farmer, at Birs, near Eldwick, in the township of Bingley. The spot is a lonely one, at a distance of about three-quarters of a mile from Sconce and just upon the borders of Rumbold’s Moor. Waller had been absent since the day of the murder, and very vigorous efforts had been made, under the direction of Col. Cobbe, chief of the West Riding Constabulary, to discover the prisoner. The country was night and day thickly patrolled by officers. In the night groups of officers went together. About four o’clock on Sunday morning, a group of ten surrounded the barn of Mr. Holmes and ultimately found Waller concealed beneath a stack of hay within. He was pale and haggard and much reduced in body. Want of food and anxiety had no doubt produced this effect upon his appearance. He had shorn off his whiskers for the purpose of disguise. He surrendered quietly to his pursuers. He had 16s 6d in this watch pocket, and a small quantity of bread in a handkerchief. He had been to see his wife on Friday night and received a supply of money. He was removed to the lock-up at Keighley early on Sunday morning.
EXAMINATION AND COMMITTAL OF THE PRISONER
Yesterday at the magistrates’ Court at Bingley, Jas. Waller was brought up on the charge of having, on the morning of the 5th instant, wilfully murdered William Smith alias Davey, gamekeeper of Timothy Horsfall, Esq., of Hawksworth Hall. There was great excitement at Bingley and the court was crowded to overflowing. The magistrates present were Wm. Ferrand, Esq. (the chairman), Alfred Harris, Esq., Wm. Murgatroyd, Esq., John Brigg, Esq., J. G. Sugden, Edq., and W. Marriner, Esq. A large number of respectable persons resident in the district were also present.
Mr. Marsden, solicitor, of Wakefield, appeared for the prosecution, and Mr. J. G. Hutchinson, of Bradford for the prisoner.
The prisoner, when arraigned on the charge of murder, appeared perfectly cool and unmoved, being apparently indifferent to his awful position. Three persons – namely his aged mother, his wife (who was in deep distress) and his brother – pressed forward towards where the prisoner was standing, and watched the proceedings with evident anxiety.
The magistrates had opened the inquiry as we entered the court, and the legal gentlemen, who had arrived in the town by the same train, at that time also appeared in the case. We give a summary of the evidence tendered, having previously given a full report of the inquest.
John Fawcett, a keeper for Mr. Horsfall, of Moorside, was called. He stated that, on the 4th inst. He arranged to meet Smith, the keeper, next morning. He went to Birks Wood End. He heard a gun fired at about twenty minutes after six o’clock. A little before seven he heard two shots in immediate succession. Those shots were in the direction of Bobofield’s mill. He saw a man about two minutes after that running across a pasture in the direction of Waller’s house. He did not see him perfectly, but he was almost certain it was Waller. He heard somebody shout, "Davey has got shot," and he ran back in the direction where he heard the two shots fired. He went to Batley’s house and saw the deceased laid in front of the fire. He was in a bad state and covered up. The deceased said, "I am done – I have got shot" and witness went to inform his master, Mr. Horsfall. He returned with him to Batley’s. The stick produced by Inspector Whitehead belonged to the deceased. There were shot marks upon it.
Mr. Hutchinson objected to a question being put as to any conviction of the prisoner before magistrates, but Mr. Marsden contended that he had a right to receive evidence to show a previous animus and the magistrates overruled the objection.
The witness said that the deceased had had the prisoner up before the Otley magistrates. He had him up three months ago, when he was convicted. Saw the prisoner about a fortnight after that in a field of wood belonging to Mrs. Oddy called "Botany Bay". Told him that his license had been forfeited by his late conviction. He said "he did not care a d…n; he would shoot where he liked." Told the prisoner that, if he shot anything but rabbits he would fine him. He said he would do as he liked, and he would think no more of shooting "Yon d…n rascal up at Hawksworth (meaning the deceased) than I would of shooting a rabbit." He had known the prisoner for many years and he had long worn whiskers and beard. He had shaven them off since the morning of the murder.
Cross examined by Mr. Hutchinson: There were no houses between Waller’s and Spring Head. There were houses within a short distance of each other at Low Springs. The person he saw had on something very like a billycock. Witness went to no house that morning except Batley’s and Mr. Horsfall’s. It was six weeks since he had conversation with the prisoner with regard to the rabbits and the deceased. He had never told anybody what the prisoner had said.
Joseph Batley, warp dresser, of Low Springs, Faweather, was called and said – About ten minutes before seven o’clock on the morning of the 5th inst. he was in his father’s farmyard and heard two shots fire in immediate succession. In a short time after, he heard a person cry out "Oh Waller, oh Waller." He went out of the back door and down his father’s field by the wall side and in the direction where he had heard the gun fired. He saw a man laid in the wood-field, and he dare not go to him because there was a big dog tearing at him. His coat was over his head, and he could not see who he was. He soon found the person was William Smith alias Davey, a gamekeeper at Hawksworth Hall. He was going back and met his father. His father went to the deceased, and witness went to Ann Wilkinson’s house, to ask for a dog, thinking it would induce the dog to leave the deceased. He saw two men come running towards the field where he was – Thomas Murgatroyd and Robinson Moorhouse. While talking to Mrs. Wilkinson he did not see any person, but, when going away, he saw a man’s back going in a stooping position past James Wilkinson’s gate post. He went in the direction of Waller’s house. He saw no more of the man at that time. He returned to James Wilkinson’s again, and Ann Wilkinson went to Peter Horner’s house for a dog. They came back and the prisoner followed them. He was in his shirt sleeves. He did not know he had a hat on. Murgatroyd and Moorhouse came up. The prisoner came to the wall of the field where, within a distance of 30 or 40 yards, the deceased was laid. Joseph Greenwood said, "Who has done it?". The deceased said "James Waller has shot me." Witness’s father said to Waller, "Hast thou done this?" and he said, "I have not been out of the house before this morning." The deceased then said, "It is Waller and no one else." His father then told Waller that Smith said it was he and no one else who had done it. They removed the deceased to his father’s house, where Dr. Steel came and examined him.
Mr. Marsden: Did Mr. Steel say anything to Smith?
Mr. Hutchinson objected to the question.
Mr. Ferrand decided that the question might be put.
Witness said that the doctor asked the deceased if he thought he was going to die, and he said "I do, doctor."
Cross examined by Mr. Hutchinson: There are other houses in the direction where Waller was going, and among them is Waller’s. It was not daylight, but he intended doing his work by the light there was.
Joseph Batley, senior of Faweather, farmer, was called. He corroborated the evidence given by the last witness. He went to the deceased in consequence of what his son had told him. The deceased was laid upon the ground in the wood-field. A dog was tearing at this coat. The deceased cried out for help. He was unable to get up, and witness told him "he must look to the Lord for help, as no one else could help him." Waller, hast thou done this deed?" He replied, "No; I have only just come out of bed and this is the first time I have come out of doors this morning." Witness then said to Waller that the deceased said "he had done it, and that he had better come and speak to the deceased himself." Waller said nothing, and witness lost sight of him, but he saw him some time after go past his house for milk. Did not notice how Waller was dressed. The deceased was removed to witness’s house.
Joshua Greenwood, a neighbour of the last witness was called and sworn. He stated that he went to Batley’s field on the morning of the 6th inst. near seven o’clock. Found there the deceased lying on his back on the ground, and his dog by him. Old Mr. Batley was there when witness got up, as were Thomas Murgatroyd and several other person. Waller was standing by a wall at forty yards distance from the deceased. The deceased told witness that Waller had shot him, and on telling Waller he said it was the first time he had been out that morning. From something Smith said, witness afterwards went to the place where the deceased had been laid, and found two wads on the ground 15 yards from the place where the deceased said he was shot. He gave them to Police-constable Addy, who no produced them.
Ann Wilkinson, wife of James Wilkinson, of Lower Springs, Bingley, farmer, was then called. She said that she remembered the morning of the 5th of November. James Waller came into her house about ten minutes or a quarter to seven. He had a gun in his hand. He had on a black velveteen coat and a billycock hat. He appeared pale and much agitated. He asked if they had a back window and witness told him they had not. He then ran into the parlour. She begged him not to remain but to go into his own house. She took him by the arm and said "Oh Waller, do go, for I think you have been doing something wrong." He made no reply but went. His house is about 20 yards from her house. She did not see him go into his house. When young Batley went to her house he said a man had been shot, and he wanted a dog. Batley came a second time, and she then observed the Horner’s so with a dog. About seven o’clock she saw Waller again in his shirt sleeves, leaning against her garden wall. He said to her, "What do you think, old Batley, an old scamp, says I have shot Davey, but I have never been to the door before this morning." He had no hat on, and was bareheaded. He went towards his own house. Saw him, about half-past seven o’clock, go up the lane with a can in his hand. Knew Batley’s wood field and knew there was no window looking into it. Had known the prisoner for ten or twelve months. He had shaved his whiskers off since he was at her house on the 5th of November.
Cross-examined by Mr. Hutchinson: Had lived nearly a year where she now did, and had seen the prisoner scores of times. He might have been in the parlour and she not know it. There is no footpath at the back of her house, but there is one in Batley’s field. Believed the prisoner had once assisted her to get flour into the back parlour, but could not be sure.
David Midgley, of Baildon, bookkeeper, was next examined. He said that he had conversation with the prisoner on the 28th of October last, at a pit on Baildon Moor. It was about a case which Davey had had against him, some time before, for which he had him fined. The prisoner began the conversation. He told witness all about the job, and appeared much dissatisfied about it. He said he had heard Davey say he would have his gun the next time he took him, and the prisoner said that, before Davey should have the gun, he would give him the contents. He said nothing more respecting that case.
Cross-examined by Mr. Hutchinson: Had told the conversation to some persons, but could not remember when. Told George Oddy, the police officer, about it last Sunday night. Have seen Addy frequently since last October. He had told many persons of the conversation.
Inspector Whitehead was next called. He produced a billycock found in a drawer in the prisoner’s house.
George Addy, police-officer, No. 318, stationed at Baildon, was the next witness. He said that, from information he received, he went to the house of Waller on the 5th November and found the double-barrelled gun now produced. He also found two empty powder flasks. He examined the gun, and found from its appearance that it had been recently discharged. He produced two wads given to him by Greenwood. He found they fitted the prisoner’s gun barrels.
Police-sergeant Thomas Inman, of Menston, was the next witness. He said that on the morning of the 5th November he searched Waller’s house and found two wire cartridges. He found that the cartridges fitted with the gun. He also found nine wads, which corresponded with those produced. He produced some clothes he found in the prisoner’s house. The velveteen coat is much torn. The waistcoat has shot marks through it on both sides of the breast. The drawers, shirt and flannel have also shot marks upon them. Witness had been in daily search of the prisoner from the time of the murder to the time of his apprehension. He was found on the morning of the 17th inst. in a barn belonging to Mr. Homes, at Birks Close, in the township of Bingley, about a mile from his own house. About a quarter to five he and another officer commenced to search some straw. They removed a large quantity of the straw, till where there was some hay. Beneath the hay the prisoner was found. He had a blue rug upon his shoulders and the coat he is now wearing around his feet. When pulled out, he said "Let me have my cap," and he pulled out a dark tweed cap. Witness met the prisoner on Baildon Moor on the 12th of October. He began a conversation with witness. He wanted him to take 8s on account of a case against his son who had overturned Mr. Superintendent Smith from his gig while passing through the Baildon Moor gate a short time before. Witness told him he could not take it. The prisoner replied "It is very hard – for that bloody lurking thief – Davey swearing falsely against me at Otley." He afterwards said, "Davey would never have the chance of doing it again, because before he would let Davey take him again he would blow his brains out, or those of any other man." Saw the prisoner again on the 4th of October, coming out of Otley. He said he had paid the fine in full. He also said that Smith had sworn falsely, and added, "I will never be taken again by Davey, before I will, I will shoot him on the spot, if I have a gun in my hand."
Cross examined by Mr. Hutchinson: First mentioned the conversation he had with the prisoner in the afternoon of the 12th of October, to the deceased. Told him all he had just stated. Next time witness told anybody of the conversation was after the deceased had been shot.
James Steel, surgeon, of Baildon, was the next witness. He said he was called in to the deceased on the morning of the 5th November, a little after seven o’clock. Found him lying on a mattress in Betty’s house at Lower Springs, Sconce. He found him in a state of collapse. Found from 60 to 70 pellet wounds in his chest and abdomen. His hand was also injured with pellets. Extracted four pellets from the abdomen. Produced three of them, which he believed to be No. 5. He told the deceased repeatedly he was going to die. He then sent for Mr. Horsfall to take his deposition. He had not given the deceased any hop of recovery from the time of first speaking to hi. When Mr. Horsfall had taken his declaration, he knelt down upon the mattress and said "Smith, do you think you are going to die?" and he said, "I believe not." The deceased died between twelve and one o’clock the same day.
By Mr. Hutchinson: He (witness) did say the deceased was to be kept quiet and no one was to speak to him till Mr. Horsfall came. His object was to prevent his dying if possible before Mr. Horsfall arrived.
A long argument took place between Mr. Marsden and Mr. Hutchinson as to whether the former ought to put an inquiry as to whether the deceased had said he was dying and also that the prisoner had shot him: Mr. Hutchinson contending that, if there was evidence of this in a dying declaration it ought alone to be put in.
Witness resumed: When he told the deceased he was going to die, he said that he had been shot by Waller. He said this to the company generally, before Mr. Horsfall arrived.
Mr. Timothy Horsfall, Justice of the Peace for the West Riding, was called. He said that from information he received on the morning of November 5th, he went to Betty’s from home. He there found the deceased laid on a mattress. Mr. Steel, surgeon, was there. He took the declaration of the deceased in writing as follows:-
I was out watching this morning. About seven o’clock I heard a gun fired. I then saw James Waller. I ran after him. When I got within about fifteen yards, James Waller turned round and fired at me. I then turned back, when Waller fired again and hit my right hand. The first time he fired I was hit in the body. I have no doubt whatever about the matter. It was James Waller who shot me. I did not take the muzzle off the dog till I was shot.
William X Smith
He signed the declaration in witness’s presence. He read the declaration over to him, and asked him if he thought his case was hopeless, and he said he hoped not – he hoped he might get better.
By Mr. Hutchinson: Heard one of the medical men say that, if the deceased were told his case was hopeless, it would have an injurious effect upon him.
Mr. Marsden told the court that he had two absent witnesses – Booth and Davey (examined at the inquest) – whose depositions could not be taken at present, but he would supply Mr. Hutchinson with a copy of what they had to say.
Mr. Hutchinson said that he did not object, but he would be deprived of the opportunity of cross-examining these witnesses.
The depositions were then read over to the witnesses and signed. This process occupied considerable time.
The prisoner was asked if he had anything to say, the usual caution being given; but, acting under the advice of his legal advocate, he declined to say anything.
The prisoner was then committed to take his trial at the next York assizes.
The inquiry occupied nearly eight hours.
The prisoner was again removed to the Keighley lock-up and will this morning be removed to York.
EXECUTION OF WALLER
At noon on Saturday, James Waller suffered the extreme penalty of the law at the place of execution adjoining York Castle. Thomas Aksern, of Maltby, near Rotherham, was the executioner.
It may be mentioned, as an instance of the prisoner’s lamentable state of ignorance through life, that until he was sent to the Castle he had never heard of such a place as heaven; this has been admitted by Waller himself.
To the High Sheriff, on Friday afternoon, Waller confessed his guilt without any qualification and acknowledged the justice of his sentence. At 7 o’clock in the evening, he was again visited by the chaplain, and from 9 0’clock until 11 the officers in charge read to him various portions of Scripture, viz. The 51st and 55th Psalms, the 5th and 6th chapters of Matthew, and the 15th, 16th and 24th chapters of Luke. The prisoner then joined in singing psalms and hymns, and at ten minutes past eleven he retired to rest, and appeared to sleep well until half-past four o’clock on Saturday morning. He then asked what was the time, said he felt "grand" and that he had had some refreshing sleep. A little before seven o’clock he was visited by Mr. Green, the deputy-governor of the prison and the culprit’s own clothing was substituted for the prison dress he had been wearing since his conviction. He was then removed to the small room connected with the assize courts, where prisoners sentenced to death are usually placed and remain during the last few hours of their existence. He was accompanied by the deputy-governer (Mr. Green), to whom he said, whilst crossing the castle-yard, that he had no doubt he should soon be in heaven. In fact, he appeared more cheerful and resigned than he had done during the past fortnight and partook of a hearty breakfast. He was visited by the chaplain shortly before eight o’clock, and again between nine and ten. The sacrament was administered to him at eleven by the chaplain and the Rev. T. Myers, the latter of whom is the Thursday lecturer at the Castle.
Workmen commenced erecting the scaffold at half-past three o’clock in the morning, and although the approaching execution did not appear to excite so much interest as in some cases – that of Dove and others – yet as soon as it was light, weary pedestrians were seen wending their way towards the place where the existence of a fellow-creature was so soon to be terminated. At the hour of execution there were 8000 or 10000 persons present.
As a whole the crowd were orderly. Mr. Chalk, the chief constable, with a numerous staff of policeman, was in attendance in front of the fatal drop and by the excellence of the arrangements conduced to this result.
A few minutes before twelve o’clock, W. Gray, Esq. (the Under-Sheriff), arrived at the Castle and formally demanded the body of Waller, who was then delivered into the hands of Askern, the executioner. The process of pinioning immediately commenced, and by the time it was concluded, the clock of the Castle denoted the fatal hour which had been fixed for the criminal’s death. A procession was then formed in the usual order, and consisted of W. Gray, Esq., the governor and under-governor of the castle, the chaplain, and the Rev. T. Myers (both of whom appeared in robes), and the usual complement of halberdmen and other officials.
The procession arrived slowly upon the drop, the criminal walking with a firm step. Before the execution he fell upon his knees whilst the usual prayers were read, and he responded to the Lord’s Prayer in the most earnest manner. At the conclusion, Waller arose and submitted himself to the executioner, who at once adjusted the fatal noose, secured his legs and by drawing the fatal bolt, launched the unfortunate man into eternity. During the latter process Waller prayed in the most fervid manner, and when the fatal drop took place was supplicating the Lord to receive his soul. His struggles were rather severe, but life was extinct in less than two minutes.
After hanging the usual time the body was cut down and interred in the afternoon within the precincts of the Castle, in accordance with the terms of the sentence passed by Mr. Justice Wightman.
It is satisfactory to know that Waller, on Saturday morning, again acknowledged his guilt of the crime for which was about to suffer. While speaking of Smith, the murdered man, he said "I had my revenge and this is my reward; but I hope that he (Smith) is in heaven, and I hope to meet him there soon. There is no bad feeling between us now." Some time after, while talking of his family, who have occupied a large amount of his anxiety since his trial, he said "I have two children in heaven, and I hope to meet them there."