"THE MYSTERY OF THE SEVERED HAND."
AN OLD-TIME SENSATION. At the meeting of tho Catholic Club last night, ex-Inspector Pender related the details of what was at the time known as "Tho Mystery of the Severed Hand," which caused so much public excitement in Christehurch in the year 1885. Mr Pender was Inspector of Police at Christehurch at the time the events happened, and directed the enquiries, which resulted in the conviction of tho man Howard for conspiracy. The facts of the case are tolerably well known to many Christehurch residents, but as a new generation has sprung up since the affair occurred, the main features may be recapitulated. Howard, an engineer living at Addington, shortly after insuring his life tor £2400, disappeared. A set of his clothes was found on the rocks at Sumner, and it was generally concluded that he had been drowned while bathing. The Insurance Companies delayed paying over the insurance money to Mrs Howard pending enquiries whicn were being mado by the polioe. Two suspicious facts were -discovered by Inspector Pender, ono being that Howard, white on his way to Suninor on the day ho was supposed to have been drowned, was observed to bo wearing two waistcoats, and the other, that Mrs Howard exhibited nono of the signs usually associated with tho death ot a husband in a sudden or violent manner. Little further was discovered until one day two men, whilo visiting Taylor's Mistako met and conversed with another man, afterwards found to be Howard, although his identity was not discovered then. The man, on leaving theifT, remained for a little while at a particular spot on the beach, and while passing the same spot shortly afterwards, the other two men discovered a human hand, one finger of which was encircled wiui a ring bolonging to Howard. The hand was identined by Mrs Howard as being her husband's, but it was afterwards proved to havo been a woman s. Shortly afterwards Mrs Howard was arrested on a charge of conspiracy, together with the two men who had found the hand. Finally Howard himself was secured at Petono, and tho four were tried together at Christchurch, Howard being the only one convicted. Where the hand came from was never cleared up, but Mr Pender gave a very probable explanation last night-. Howard, it _eems, after leaving Sumner, went straight to Wellington by a boat leaving the same night, and proceeded inland as far as Masterton, where he assisted in an engineer's shop. He left suddenly one day, taking away with him a varnish tin similar to tho one he was observed to bo carrying when he spoke to the two men afterwards at Taylor's Mistake, and it was supposed that he had procured^tho hand from a dead body at Masterton, and brought 'it down with him in tho varnish tin. This theory is strengthened by the fact that while in Masterton he sought tho assistance of a friend to accompany him on a "resurrection" enterprise in the local cemetery. Mr Pender narrated tho facts with great detail, and also described tno steps taken by tho polioe to elucidate tho mystery.
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