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CURIOUS CIRCUMSTANTIAL EVIDENCE.

A crowd again besieged the little Cannock Police Court on- September 8, on the reappearance before tiie Staffordshire Justices of the young Birmingham solicitor,George Edward Thompson Edalji, on a charge of unlawfully womading a horse at Great Wyrley. Edalji came up fresh and cheerful from a night in the police cells, aiid walked briskly into Cburt. He was greeted/ affectionately Jby his father/ the Vicar of Great Wyrley, and also by his mother. v The prisoner's favourite attitude/ leaning back with arms folded and legs crossed, revealed very plainly the curious; wearing down of the heels of his boots, which forms an important link in the ohain of purely circumstantial evidence against him. There was now a second charge, baj&ed upon the extraordinary series of letters read at the first hearing, of threatening to murder a police sergeant at Hednesford. A constable named Cooper described the curious footprints found near the wounded horse and towards the vicarage. The heelmarks, he said, were noticeably broad and very short. He took the kft boot of the pair obtained, from the vicarage and made impressions with it in- the mud next to the footprints. The two sets of impressions corresponded exactly in size, shape, and in the heel peculiarity. In cross-examination, the constable produced the boot, aiid 'showed on. the cloth of the solicitors' table -how he had, made the impressions. \. "Do ypu mean," asked Mr Gandy, the prisoner's counsel, "that the heel-mark in the footprints appeared to be made by the unworn part of tbe heel?" " Yes," stud the constable., ',; ■ -j ': There was a murmur ol expectation as Wilfred Greatorex was called. Ifc was in his name that the astonishing confessions relating to an alleged cattle-maiming gang were signed. In the letter* he purported to describe himself as the possessor of a " dare-devil -face." He is a sKm, fair-haired lad of fifteen,. and spoke maildly t He said that he knew the prisoner by "sight, and often travelled in the same compartment while on his way to school from Hednes. ford. In the names of "the gang" he • recognised those of schoolfellows who travelled with him. The: last occasion when they travelled together was the morning "Mr Blewitt's horses were killed. They could see the bodies from the train, and Edalji said, " They belong to Blewitt, don't they?" and got up and looked out of the window. The witness wrote none of -the' letters, and had never seen them before. \ Mr Thomas Henry Gurrin, the expert in handwriting, said that tfie letters wtittenr in a feigned hand showed the same peculiarities as those which the police had received in Edalji's own handwriting. He was of opinion that they were written by the same hand. Sergeant Parsons said that one of the four razors found in the prisoner's bedroom had fresh wet Bftains on it, which the prisoner's father tried to rub out vith his thumb when ' his attention, was drawn . to them. The Rev S. Edalji protested against this statement, saying, "It is not true', it' is not true." The sergeant continued that there were two hairs on the razor when he first saw it. He had not seen them since, and he was positive thst the prisoner's trousers had been cleaned since be first saw them. Dr Butter, of Cannock, said that two stains on the coat had given, a blood reaction under four distinct tests. The microscope revealed that the corpuscles were mammalian, and also that the hairs of the horse and . those found on the prisoner's coat were identical. He found no blood op, the razors, | Mr Barnes closed the case for the proI secution with the evidence of engaged couples, who stated that they had seen Edalji in the vicinity of the outrage about the time at which, aooording to the police theory, ifc was committed. - i Edalji thereupon arose. "I am perfectly innocent," he said, " and I prefer to ' reserve my defonoe." He- was committed for trial on both charges, bail being allowed.

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CURIOUS CIRCUMSTANTIAL EVIDENCE. Star, Issue 7814, 26 October 1903

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