TRAGEDY AT PETONE. AN OLD COUPLE FOUND DEAD IN THEIR HOUSE. THREE HORRIBLE STABS IN THE MAN'S BACK.
HE WAS ALSO BLINDED WITH PEPPER. HIS WIFE'S BODY NEAR THE FRONT DOOR. All Petone .was startled this morning by reports that either murder and suicide had taken place in that usually quiet borough, or that a double murder had been committed, the victims being an elderly couple, Mr. and Mrs. J. Jones, who kept a grocery store at the corner of Jackson and Beach streets. HOW THE BODIES WEHE FOUND. . About 7.15 a.m. a man went to the next house and asked if the Joneses were about, as he had' been knocking for some time, and conld not get an answer. The person enquired from crossed the yard, and went to a side door, which she found looked. The back door, however, was found to be open, and on entering the kitchen she was horrified to find the dead body of Mr. Jones lying" on the floor" on its back ;' and, in a passage leading from the kitchen', she saw the body of Mrs. Jones, also lying on her back with her arms raised, both fists clenched, and the head resting ma large pool of blood. An alarm was at once raised, and some railway employe's on |;heir way to work went for the police and Dr. Hislbp. POLICE AND MEDICAL JIEN.^ . Constable Cox, on arriving, took charge of the premises and made a cursory examination. He found the body of -Mr.- Jones as stated, and also noticed that a quantity of pepper had apparently been thrown, in his face, while there was a quantity of loose pepper strewn about' the nearth, the sofa, and the table. The pepper-castor was found on the table, nearly empty. On making further examination, he discovered that the victim had been stabbed in the back. The constable at once notified Inspector Pender of the occurrence. Dr. Hislop, who arrived about a quarter to 8, found both bodies fully dressed. Mr. Jones had received three stabs- in the back. One was about 2£in long, and 2in below the nape of the neck, right over the spine; another about 3in lower down, a little to the left of the spine ; and the third about 4in still lower down on'the right of the spine. Mrs. Jones's body was lying in a passage leading to the front door. Apparently she had been endeavouring to go out by the door when she fell. The head was resting in a large pool of blood, but no marks or wounds were discernible. However, no proper examination of the body had at this time been made. If therfc be none, the theory is offered th»'t shock or fright may have caused the rupture of a blood-vessel, a large clot of congealed blood about the mouth' pointing in this direction. Both Dr. Hislop and Dr. Scaulon (who had also arrived on the. stene) are of opinion that her death must have taken place from 10 to 12 hours Before they were called. THE Sf ATE OF THE PBEMISES. There was no indication of any struggle or any disturbance whatever. On the kitchen table were the remains of a meal, apparently tea, which had been laid ' for two persons. A kerosene lamp was still burning. The shop was not disturbed in any way, and the front door was 'fastened from tie inside, as it was the custom of the deceased to close the shop at 7 p.m., and from the nature of the food on the kitchen table, and the fact that the tea things had not been cleared away, it is conjectured that the crime must have been committed somewhere between 7>and 8.30 p.m., the state of the bodies also bearing out this theory. Whether robbery was the object, and any money or valuables was taken,' it is impossible to say, as the deceased lived by themselves. The cash-box, if one was used, could not be found. Inspector Pender, with Sergeant-Major Ramsay and members of the detective force, were soon on the scene and proceeding with their enquiries.' The only clue as yet discovered is the mark of a. heavy footprint at the back door.^ ANTECEDENTS OF THE DECEA9ED. Mr. Jones was about 64 years of age, his wife being 70. They formerly lived at Hokitika, where Mr. Jones was in the employ of Messrs. Cowlishaw and 'Plaisted, ironmongers. Afterwards he went into business at Christchurch. Later he came to Wellington, and entered the establishments of Mes«jrs. Wilkins and Field and Briscoe, MacNeil and Co. respectively. About two and a-half years ago lie bought the grocery business in Petone formerly parried op by Mr. Atkinson, where he resided until his death. Bath were of a very quiet disposition, and.much respected. The discovery has cast quite a gloom over the township, not unmixed with alarm.
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