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THE MURDER IN CHRISTCHURCH.

The following particulars of this dreadful tragedy are supplied by tho " Lyttelton Times " : — The servants in the house were Simon Cedeno, a native of Panama, butler ; and Margaret Burke and Bridget Murray, housemaids. Cedeno, the murderer, was born in Santa Fe Bogota, the capital of Jfevr Grenada, in South America. He is of negro extraction, all the principal characteristics of that race beuu prominent in his features, but hit complexion is somewhat lighter than that of a pure-bred negro, and hsi hair longer, thus denoting the admixture of blood with some other colored race, probably the G-ambian. He is 28 years of age, about 5 feet 8 inches in height, very slight built, and for u man of color is good-looking. A very short acquaintance shows him to be very excitable, and there is occasionally a look about him anything but pleasing. Conversations, with an interpreter, in the Spanish tongue —he •peaks English but very imperfectly —give great proof of intelligence, and altogether he is of a superior stamp to the ordinary run of coloured men. In religion he is a Catholic. Beferring to his position in Mr Eobinson's family, we learn that Mr Robinson, when returning from England about four years ago, met with him at the Aspinwall Hotel, Panama. The landlord of the hotel said he had originally come from Havana, and gave him an exceedingly good character as a servant. Mr Robinson, upon the strength of tliii, took Cedeno into his employment, and brought him to Canterbury. From then, until some months aeo, he proved an excellent servant, but one day Mr Robinson, going by chance into the kitchen, found him very threatening in his conduct towards one of the servant girls — chasing her about in a very violent manner. Mr Robinson remonstrated with him, and subsequently

some further interchange of angry words ensued between them. Nothing seriouB, however, was anticipated, although we should say that Mr Robinson had learnt, after returning to Canterbury, that the good character given to Cedeno was incorrect — that, in fact, he had been a troublesome man in Panama. In the relations existing betwoen Cedeno and the unfortunate objects of his murderous assault, We find 5 strong clue to his conduct. It would appear that he was about to be married. The wedding arrangements had all been made, and he had been " chaffed" i about it several times by the female servants at t Mr J, Robinson's. The two immediate objects of Cedeno'si attack — Catherine Glenn and Margaret Burke — had been cautioned to discontinue this by their relatives, and more particularly by the minister of the Catholic' Church on Sunday last. Acting upon this advice, the girls discontinued their badinage, and on Monday endeavored to avoid speaking to Cedeno at all. Between three and four o'clock in the afternoon, Cedeno was employed cleaning knives, the girl Catherine Glenn being engaged at work in the scullery, and her more hapless fellow-servant being at work in the kitchen. Without any provious intimation, Cedeno suddenly rushed at the former with a knife, and made an attempt to cut her throat. Fortunately, by* a movement of alBright, the blow was diverted, and the face and breast only were cut, though such was the force of the effort that the breast bone only saved the latter from being a fatal wound. On being wounded, Catherine Glenn at once made a rush for the door, evaded Cedeno, and getting outside the house, ran round to the front and up stairs. Mean* while Cedeno, as soon as Glenn escaped, ran at the girl Burke in the kitcheu, and it ii believed stabbed her whilst she was at work. Whether or not, however, she ran screaming towards the dining-room, where were seated Mrs Robinson and Mr S. Campbell. Cedeno followed her, and Burke stumbling over some articles of furniture, he fell upon her, stabbing her with the knife several times. Mr Campbell, immediately followed by Mrs Robinson, at once rushed upon Cedeno, and seized him. The aid came too late, however, for the unfortunate girl never moved afterwards. Cedeuo struggled with Mr Campbell a short time, but was ultimately overpowered, and the knife taken from him, Mrs Robinson receiving a wound in the hand during the struggle. With the aid of one of Mr Robinson's grooms, named Price, Mr Campbell at once conveyed Cedeno to thOj Police Depot, and in the meantime medical aid wa« promptly called in to the two victims of his violence. Drs. Turnbull and Prins at once attended, but in Burke's case their services were unhappily not required, for she must, from the nature of the wounds, have died almost instantaneously. The stabs, three in number, were in close proximity. The knife had entered under the left breast, and penetrated the heart, the force of the blow bein i such that although the blade of the knife was fully six inches long, a portion of the handle had also penetrated the body. Of the girl Murray we have happily to report that although very severely cut, she is in no immediate danger, the informal ton given at the Hospital last night being that she was progressing very favorably. The knife, on examination, proved to be a silverhandled bread knife, with a narrow blade, and a very sharp point.

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Permanent link to this item

https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/NOT18710117.2.17

Bibliographic details

THE MURDER IN CHRISTCHURCH., North Otago Times, Volume XV, Issue 591, 17 January 1871

Word Count
886

THE MURDER IN CHRISTCHURCH. North Otago Times, Volume XV, Issue 591, 17 January 1871

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