Monday, 10 October 2016

The Fazakerley Mystery

The shooting dead of a man who was looking for work in Fazakerley in 1892 was never solved after the two boys suspected of the offence couldn't be traced.

On the afternoon of Friday 2nd September that year Emily Mellor was in her home on Strawberry Lane when she saw a man turn the corner from Stopgate Lane and beckon her. Emily and her sister went out to see the man and he told them he had been shot by two boys, who had ran off towards the stiles. 

Emily gave the man some water and beer and although in a state of exhaustion he did not appear to be in any great danger. A farmer named Mr Walker, who was working in a field opposite, said he had seen two boys, one aged about fourteen who was wearing a cape and the other younger, running across an orchard. As the man was having a drink of water he told Emily that he had been looking for Harrison's farm as there may be work available, and he had been shot in the back by a boy wearing a cape who was playing with some others.

The man got up and went into a rear yard and was found dead in a closet shortly afterwards. The police were sent for and the the body was removed to the Railway Hotel where it was photographed. There was a bullet hole in the back of the coat and the only personal effects was a small pocket knife. A description was circulated, describing the man as being 30-35 years old, five feet six inches tall, having brown hair an a moustache, and wearing a green coat and brown trousers.

A postmortem was performed by Dr Anderson, who found that the bullet had passed the spine and severed the mesenteric artery before resting in the stomach. There was no way in his opinion that the wound could have been self inflicted. However the police continued to investigate the suicide theory but accepted this couldn't be the case when no gun was found in the vicinity.

The inquest was opened at the Railway Hotel on the following Monday before the coroner Samuel Brighouse. Evidence was heard from Emily, Dr Anderson and police officers, then the hearing was adjourned for a week to allow further enquiries to be made. That evening a lady named Anna Purchase called into the police office at Dale Street and asked for a description of the man who had been shot in Fazakerley. She was then taken to Fazakerley where she identified the body as that of her James Kellet, who she was co-habiting with in Kempston Street off London Road.

When the inquest resumed a boy named Charles Quillam who lived in Walton said that on they in question he had spoken to two boys by the entrance to Everton Cemetery. He said that one of the boys showed him a revolver and said they had walked one hundred miles as they were looking for a man who had stolen a cloak from their shop. A girl called Elizabeth Kinghorn recalled giving two boys some water in Stopgate Lane and that they then ran away as fast as they could. On the direction of the coroner, the jury returned a verdict of 'fatally shot by two boys unknown' and the mystery was never solved. 

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