Monday 22 January 1844
Monday 22 January 1844
The acquaintance of the offender and the soldier was commenced in the street here on Tuesday afternoon last, when an appointment was made to meet at 7 o'clock in the evening of that day in Grey-street. The soldier in the interim acquainted police-constable Mason with this appointment, which he regarded as being of a suspicious character, and by arrangement, at the appointed time, the officer hovered in the street. The gentleman and the soldier met at the time agreed on, and then repaired together to the Star and Garter inn, where they had some liquor; from thence they proceeded to a secluded place called the Leazes, situated in the immediate vicinage of the town, the officer dogging their steps at the same time. Arrived at the place just mentioned, the horrible attempt alluded to was made upon the soldier by his companion. The soldier immediately called upon the police, who thereupon burst from his concealment, and, with the assistance of two gentlemen who were walking near the spot, secured the offender, and conveyed him to the police station,whence he was removed to the Manors Station, and locked up for the night. He refused to give his name. About 5 o'clock on the following morning, through the cupidity or negligence of a man named Carter, the police constable, who had him in charge, the prisoner contrived to make his escape, and up to this time has eluded all attempted to recapture him. The policeman (Carter) states, in his defence, that the offender (now no longer the prisoner) called for a drink of water about a quarter before 5 o'clock, which he went to the back part of the station-house to get for him, but omitted to turn the key of the cell in which the prisoner was confined, and on his return with the water the prisoner was gone. A gentleman precisely answering the description of the offender had been staying for about ten days at the Queen's Head Inn in this town, in the discharge of functions under an act of Parliament; and on Tuesday evening last, about 7 o'clock, he left the inn, stating that he was going to the theatre. The waiter at the inn sat up till about 2 o'clock on the following morning awaiting his return, up till which time he did not come in. Before 5 o'clock, however, on the same morning, the gentleman came to the inn in great haste, and requested his luggage to be taken to the coach-office, as he was going to Darlington by the coach at 5 o'clock, which request the waiter obeyed, and the fugitive started by the 5 o'clock coach for Darlington. At noon on Wednesday, seven hours afterwards, an inspector of police was despatched by the mail in pursuit of him. Another policeman was subsequently sent off in another direction; but no tidings of their success have as yet arrived here. Carter has been in custody ever since.
To-day, at 12 o'clock, a full meeting of the magistrates, consisting of Mr. Alderman Potter, Mr. Alderman Batson, Mr. W. Loraine, Mr. James Archibold, Mr. Joseph Crawhall, and Mr. Alderman Nicholl, was held at the police-office here to determine what steps were to be taken in regard to the policeman Carter, but the representatives of the press were excluded from their consultation. I learnt, however, at the close of their deliberations, that it was their determination to prefer an indictment against Carter at the forthcoming sessions on the charge of aiding in the prisoner's escape.
After the magistrates had returned into the public office, Carter was brought before them; and Stephens, the superintendent of police, having deposed that sufficient information had been colleced to lead to the belief, in his mind, that Carter had wilfully and corruptly assisted in the escape of the prisoner, but that the chain of circumstances was not yet in that complete and conclusive state which he had no doubt it would eventually assume, Carter was remanded until Tuesday next, the magistrates refusing the prisoner's offer to put in bail.
The individual charged with the offence is a man about 45 years age, and if he is the person who was staying at the Queen's Head, of which there is not the slightest doubt here, he is supposed to reside in a large town in one of the midland counties, where he has a wife and a family. (Evening Mail)
Wednesday 24 January 1844
With respect to Carter, the police constable, out of whose custody the person charged with the offence escaped, he is to be brought up before the magistrates on Tuesday, when the evidence against him will be gone into, and if it is thought capable of sustaining the charge of his having wilfully permitted the prisoner's escape, he will be committed for trial for the offence, which is an indictable one. I had the cell shown to me yesterday from which the prisoner escaped and the labyrinth of passages, and staircases, and rooms through which he made good his exit into the main street, and upon the supposition of gross negligence on the part of Carter, his (Carter's) statement is not wholly inconsistent with innocence. On the other hand, the distance is so very short, not being more than a few yards, which he had to traverse in going to fetch water for the prisoner, and commands moreover a view of the doorway which the prisoner must have passed through on his way out, that one can scarcely think it possible for him not to have seen the prisoner escape; and it is stated in one of the papers to-day that Carter gave no alarm of the prisoner's escape until 20 minutes afteer 5 o'clock in the morning; and the coach by which the supposed offender left newcastle started at 5 o'clock precisely. (Evening Mail)
Friday 26 January 1844
THE HORRIBLE AFFAIR AT NEWCASTLE. The Government Police Gazette contains the following in relation to this extraordinary affair: "Absconded on the 17ith instant from Newcastle-upon-Tyne, George Louis, barrister-at-law, and also an assistant tithe commissioner. He stands charged on a magistrate's warrant with meeting another man to commit an unnatural offence. He is forty-five years of age, has grey hair, and is of gentlemanly appearance. Whoever will apprehend him shall be rewarded for their trouble. Information to be given to the police of Newcastle-upon-Tyne." (Morning Post) (This announcement was reprinted in innumerable newspapers.)
Saturday 3 February 1844
Saturday 3 February 1844
Friday 8 March 1844
JAMES CARTER was charged with negligently permitting the escape out of his custody of a person, said to be unknown, charged with an unnatural offence. Carter, at the time, was a policeman, and on the night of the apprehension of the person in question was the reserve man at the Majors Station, he received him into his custody about 9 o'clock, and at 3 o'clock on the following morning the person was seen in the cell by sub-inspector Scott. About 20 minutes past 5, Carter gave the alarm, saying that the person had escaped. A search instantly took place, but without effect. Carter's explanation of the circumstance was, that the prisoner in the cell requested him to stir the fire and to get a drink of water, while doing which he left the cell door unlocked.. On his return, the prisoner had gone. Mr Wilkins defended Carter with considerable ingenuity. After an absence of about two hours, the jury returned with a verdict finding Carter guilty of the carelessness, but not to the extent charged in the indictment. This verdict the judge declared to be incomplete. The jury again retired, and soon afterwards agreed upon a verdict of "Not guilty." (Newcastle Courant)
SOURCE: Various newspapers, dates as given. (Many reports were repeated verbatim across several newspapers, but I have not included them all.)
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