The Tupsley murder, and other things

1827 – The Cock Inn at Tupsley to be Let

The Cock Inn at Tupsley on the side of the road leading from Hereford to Ledbury, consisting of a good House;  Malt House;  stables;  cider mill;  mill house;  cider house;  two neat gardens and two orchards capable of making from fourteen to sixteen hogsheads of cider and perry, with a right of Common on Lugg Meadow.

1835 – The Cock at Tupsley for Sale

For sale by private contract, the old established public house known as the Cock at Tupsley.

As well as the Inn, there was a garden;  malt house;  cider mill;  cider house;  stable;  shed;  piggeries;  fold and three acres of good pasture land and orcharding.

The Mail and Worcester Coaches pass to and fro daily.

1888 – The Tupsley Murder

The Murder of Philip Ballard took place on 19th October 1887, and although the victim received terrible wounds to the head it took him some time to die, four and a half days to be precise.

At the inquest where the jury viewed the body, they could see that the face was horribly discoloured with parts being black due to the effect of the blows.

The surgeon declared that when he examined Philip he was covered in blood and had two severe wounds to the head.  The post mortem revealed extensive fractures to the front of the head, and a clot of blood was found on the left side of the brain.

The Trial of the Tupsley Murderers

The trial of  23 year old James Jones, a barman, and 23 year old Alfred Scandrett, a gardener, men charged with the  murder of an old man by the name of Philip Ballard at Tupsley, was held at Hereford Assizes.  (During the trial the Lord Chief Justice discovered that the jury had talked to outsiders whilst locked up in the hotel overnight, and he duly fined two officials £20 each.)

The jury found Jones guilty after just five minutes and took little longer with Scandrett.

Both men were sentenced to death by Chief Justice Coleridge, and on hearing the sentence Scandrett appeared to have a fit, then made a frantic but abortive attempt to reach Jones with, it appeared, an intent to strangle him.

The double execution of Jones and Scandrett

The double execution took place in March 1888, with Berry being the executioner.

Berry collected James Jones and Alfred Scandrett at five minutes to eight, pinioning both prisoners.  The gaol chaplain, the Reg. G. Spencer had been with the men for quite a while up to this point.

The men were taken out and placed between two warders who took them to the scaffold, along with the Chaplain.  They were both very white and agitated, but walked without assistance to the scaffold….. neither prisoner said a word and the hangman quickly prepared them.  Death appeared to be instant, although the rope on which Jones was swinging appeared to “quiver for a moment”.

At the inquest held after the execution, the prison chaplain read a letter of confession from both Jones and Scandrett.  Scandrett admitted to having struck Mr. Ballard twice with the hatchet, whilst Jones was an eye witness.


The Pitfalls of offering a reward!

Following the arrest and conviction of men regarding the Tupsley murder, a great many claims were put in for the £150 reward which had been offered for the arrest of  the murderers, Jones and Scandrett by the relatives of the murdered man.

A woman who pointed out Scandrett to police in Worcester wanted £50, whilst Detective Wallace of Worcester claimed £25.  Then Colonel Carmichael on behalf of the Worcester County Police claimed £25 for Constable Williams who accompanied Wallace when he arrested Scandrett.

Over in Hereford, Sergeant Burdon claimed for the arrest of Jones, as well as Detective Donovan;  not forgetting Manchester Chief Beebee who sent a letter to the Chief Constable which put the police on the right track.

Birmingham police also made a claim, as they discovered important clues.

A Tragic Sequel to the Tupsley Murder

George Parry, a 28 year old mail cart postman between Hereford and Stoke Edith,  and one of the principal witnesses in the Tupsley Murder trial, was reported to have committed suicide shortly before the murderers were hanged.

George was a member of the choir of the Holy Trinity Church, and attended as usual on the Sunday evening, then went to bed.  Early in the morning his landlady heard groaning from George’s room and finding him in agony she sent for the doctor.  Three empty bottles of laudamun were found, and despite the use of a stomach pump George died a few hours later.

At the inquest a verdict of death by an overdose of opium was returned.

Rumours abounded re George’s connection with the murder trial, but it was also noted that his father had hung himself, and his brother was deranged.  In other words the gossip mongers were having a field day!