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!.' ♦ ■ (Before H. W. Branba'nt. Esq., R.M.) , : Tuesday, 28th April. ■ alleged incendiarism. Francis Trevelyan Kenny waß charged on; the information of the Police with having feloniously, maliciously, and wilfully set fire to a dwellinghouse (the Commercial Hotel), being then <habitated by Mr and Mrs Laird and several other per-, sons. Sergt.-Major 'Anderson conducted' the prosecution, the prisoner being unde-' fended. The' first witness called. was C. . R. Laird, being sworn, said— Was licensee of the Commercial" Hotel'; ' was absent at his farm at Paraekaretu ori'the, 18th and 19th;' 'building is his own, but the .deeds' are burnt; there were no insurances' on the ' building, ' only on .the the furniture there was 'a policy for £709 which cost him .£1093 ; furniture was insured in the New,^ Zealand. '-Insurance Company ; could not say fcnytblng about , the fire, being absent ; tne accused was in his employas kitchonman. . The prisoner had no questions ' to ask. 1 ' ; ..■>■.■- William Pinches, on bath, said— Was an architect in Wanganui' "^prepared plans' ; of the late CommerciaT'Hotel (produced) marked a., a] „ and a2. ' No '.'questions "were asked '' by. -the prisoner. ■■ * , By the Bench— Completed the plans from his knowledge of the place and from actual measurements. - Mrs Laird said — Remembered the night of the 18th ; was sleeping in the hotel that night ; Mr§ Hamilton, Miss Balmer, James Hamilton, Mr 'D'Arey, Miss Johnston, Misßes,.Sweeny and Andrews,; Chas. Macdonald (cook), : ; anS' . witness' three children. were sleeping. in the house on the 18th; the.prisoner 'waa in her employ; he occupied the' room off the kitchen,' marked on the plan "kitchenman's bedroom ".; she occupied the room next the stairs, marked on the plan as "Mrs Laird's room," .tend the children' slept in the room marked "children^ room.'f which had ai • door • opening into' her room ; ! the windows of these two rooms both ;> looked into the back yard ; Mr I)'Arcy occupied the room marked "14". on plan; the boy Hamilton occupied room. No. 5; MUb Andrews, JTo. 18; and the other, servants Nos. 1,2. and 3; Chas. Macdonald, the ' cook, occupied a room downstairs next the billiard-room, marked "cook's bedroom; Miss Balmer stayed^in the room Nb; 6 with her brother, and Mrs Hamilton in one of. those ( next to No. 5,' either No.' 4or 6 ; , went to beiat 12.15 on the morning of the i9tE, as near as she .can remember ; . Mr D'Arcy went about the same tiuie ;\ went round the house dqwnstairs before' going to be'd,to see if, everything Was right; saw no sigh' of fire whatever ; did riot go to sleep after going to bed; her attention was attracted by a noise going oh in J the back' yard about ten minutes or a quarter of an hour after going to Bed; took" no notice for some time until '.she heard : a smash of 'glass, wtien she got out of bed ; went into [the children's room and looked through Ithe window and saw the fire in No. 3 'sample room; the children's bedroom looks straight into that ; the fire she saw ; was at the lower corner of the room at ■the .lower part; -this room was used, ] latterly more as a harness and horsefeod' room than a sample room ; there were a number of empty cases there and straw packing,; ,tho prisoner had the key of .the room ; ; witness tlieri gave the alarm, and got the children out; was not dresbed, but put a dressing gown on ; gave the children to one of , the girls and went back to call Mr D'Arcy^ who had not got up ; heard the [the prisoner behind her calling, "Where's No.'s"; directed him to No. 5, and asked him to get the child out, then went out herself ;; from the pro,caGdingß just' described till she?heaid the firebell it seemed a considerable time; she only heard one toll; the prisoner acted as "boots " as well as kitchenman; he would; know all the rooms from the. time he was there ; the prisoner had been employed two or thre& -weeks tip to that time ; had told him that she would not ! requiro his services aftor his week was up ; J the fire spread very rapidly after she first , saw it; the bedrooms are over all the; Bample rooms. ' .■■-* By the prisoners-Did. no,fc fix any definite time when he (prisoner), was. to leave; the '(prisoner) proposed. to; 'stay until somebody else was got. in his place: had someone in her mind's eye at that time; .was not certain but had a boy who promised to come down' and see her on Monday morning ; it was - then that ho said he .would' not see. her pushed, but would stop until someone was got; prisoner might have been in her employ two or three we.oks more ; , just previous to her getting up she heard a .very dißtinct noise inthevard; saw the fire arid nothing else; did not think the noise could come from. the far yard; .heard a noise on the roof of the kitchen like someone on it; the noise would decidedly not be, the progress of fire : after the noise on the roof heard the crash of glass -the next thing. . ■ _ . Louisa Andrews said — She was,employed as waitress at the Commercial Hotel ; left the kitchen on the night of the 18th to, gojto bed at 10.30; the prisoner was in the. kitchen before she went to bed; had a. conversation ,with him ; they were speaking about several things, and ' the . prisoner said to her, "Supposing there should be. a fire, if there was a ladder put the balcony should I come up myself or send MdAlinden",; was woke, up by ,Mr? Laird, and looking out of her window' saw the little room and sample room on fire ; took one of the children to McAlinden's ; escaped in her night-dress. John Clark deposed— Was a' saddler, resident next next door to the scene of tho late fire in Market Square; sleep upstairs at the back; was sleeping with his face, to the wall, and was awakened by hearing some glass breaking; got out of bed and wont to the window ; his window at the back overlooks No. 3 sample room; from this room he saw the fire bursting"; saw a tall man with a smoking cap on coming towards the No. 3 sample room from the yard between the 'kitchen and billiard-room ; the iriau went round No; 3 sample room (which was burning at the time) and out through the gate into the stable yard lane ; recognised the man as tbo prisoner at the bar ; this was fully two minutes before the firebell rang; aftor this he was intent on his own safety nud had his daughter to rouse up. By the prisoner — Heard the glaas breaking and went to the window to see what it was ; it would be about sixty feet in a straight line from his bedroom to the place where the fire took place ; would swear that the features of the man he saw were those of the prisoner. By the Bench — when he saw the man going along the yard there had, been no alarm of fire; the man was walking and did not appear to be hurrying so as to give an alarm of fire ; he (the man) was close by the - fire and must have scon it. The Couit then adjourned for lunch. Charles Laird, recalled by SergeantMajor Anderson — Knew the No. 3 sample room; the last time ho was there ho locked the door ; the lock was in good order ; he found a lock in the debris of ; the fire (lock produced) which was unfastened. Cross-examined by prisoner — Were he found the lock he did not find the part that the catch fitted into ; would n)t swear that it was the lock of the sample room door; it was lying in the place where the lock would be ; did not find the key ; the last time he entered tho room was about a fortnight before the lira ; hud beon in tho sample room while ,

Kenny was in his employ ; there was no duplicate key ; Kenny might have had oharge of the key which he found hung up in the kitchen; the keys of all the sample rooms were generally placed away in the draw. By the Bench— As far as he knew the room had always heen kept locked. Charles Macdonald said— He ' was employed at the Commercial Hotel as cook at the time of the fire; He retired at 8.45 o'clock on the evening of the 18fch ; slept in the room known as the cook's bedroom, off the billiard-room ; Baw the prisoner before he (Macdonald) went to bed ; he (prisoner) had just come in, and he (witness) asked him if he was going to bed ; he replied that he was not. but was Jake a little walk up the town; witness left him ia thb'kitch'eh, and asked him to turn the light out; when he (witness) got into his bedroom he. noticed that the gas was not alight in the kitchen; since the prisoner had been there he hadalways shut,the_ gate leading into the backyard ; after spending an hour with his children wifeless went to sleep; was awoke about 1 o'clock through some noise that he thought jW as in tie kitchen had a. a O g always with ■ him, and he , (witness) . attributed the' noise at first to the dog; _ a .f e w minutes afterwards the .window , of No. 3 sample room fell into, the yard ; he immediately got up and raised the window- of' his bedroom and looked out and saw that No 3 sample room was on fire; got up and went. into the kitchen; everything was there as he had left it; went' into the prisoner's room, the room off the kitchen : there was nothing disturbed in the room ; prisoner was- not there, and. his bedclothes had evidently not been:moved s he hoardthe firebell rung just after the glass had fallen j the , first; stroke rans out as he entered the prisoner's room; went to the front door and opened the one leading on to Market Square, only the prisoner, whchad the key; lid access to No. 3 sample room. :-' ■• : ■- Cross-examined, by prfsoneti-The bed clothes were all in a heap in; the middle of the bed, and the bed did not look as had .been made:, could, not* that i; never noticed the state of' the looks of the various floors',', -did not remen»%>im (prispner):j»vj ng ',refe ; rred , toth^particalarkey;,..was,awaFe of a drunken man having elepi' oil 'the back premises; previous, to the' prisoner coming tothe house the key was "always kept hung, uniri'the kifceheny-'Bince the ■ prisoner had oeen in the house he always T carried thajkey,- the bottled '■ ale and porter .were" removed into another room*after prisbher came; prisoner 'told' him some time before the 'fire that a man had been sleeping about the "stables^ and he -. (witness) told- him lie= haa^better-. warn the police about it. ■•* "'■>■!>■> ;•/,-;• ; By 'the prisoner— Did not know of ' any other cases of men r naving*"siept in the Btabjes. '. ■By.Sergt-Major, Anderson— The -place where' the accused had stated the man had been sleeping "wasin the s f»bles, not in the yard. . Bythe prisoner— There were otherontplacep'.besides the; 1 s tables .'where. a inan jnight have slept. ", ■;'■■• •- ;■> ■« ■,"■' ■ ' I "By the Bench— There was nothing of ■ the fire showing outside the sample room when he first'looked out j theiioor of ifie pamploToom'led'inWthe'b'ackyard;- --! "By •the..'p6lioeUi'J?He- backward. was ; asphalted. .. v, V i>.--. ?; H ; n «j ; Thomas Mahpniay 1 was tHe next witness called,' and :fltase'd^A ; m^empl6yed as a letter carrier in the local Post Office ; remembered the morningtof the ISfch ; saw the accused that;mdrnipg at, abouj; .12.30, o'clock ; he (prisoner), waajthgn'sianding at the Rutland corner; momti&Sfymrig fellows— James Carrell and Richard Connery—were also wi,th : witness; the latter asked accused, if (he..- were "Jack the Kipper " ; the.acdused had only his .sticks :on^ ,he .was standing"; quietly ai.the. 'corner,; Carrelllooked-.down at .his, feetand remarked that he had only ",'gofc .his socks on (.prisoner ii^pliod.' ','", What, the : devil has that^gofc to, do 'with yoti?"Constable MacHe came across to them from tne .Fountain : and" tola i.thfem-' to move'on ; they proceeded along Ridgway-' .Btreefcas far. as' Cummins and Sharpo's corner-; the prisoner followed them 'and fell down in therdad; 'he.'thengotupand started calling addgVhe had with him;whil?fc,they. were standing, there prisoner remarked, "There's aping tobo a lire., to-' ; night"; he. -then -went! on down Wiek•steod;Phwe, and they/went home-s.they had only, been from five to; ten minutes in' company, with the accused 5 just , aß.they got home the firebell rang • 'hia i Witness) home; in Boltoti' Bow, was about "ten minutes walk' fronr the Po'stfOmoe.' . By. the Bohch'— Prisoner did riot'W pear to be intoxicated.-" : :.•■•.-,■'. ■■ James Carroll was then called, and said —Was employed as "at turner rat! the Railway Workshops, Eastownj he 'resided in Wanganui} remember the morn-' ing of the 19th ; saw the prisoner on that ■morning at. about 12.30 o'clock ; Richard Connery and Thomas Mahbney were withhim at the time ;' when they fi'rst's'aw accusod he was standing against one'df the" pillars of the. Rutland Hotel. The" r&-' mainder of this ; witness 1 evidence wa3 mainly corroborative of -that of the preceedmgone ■ . .Richard Connery was ; next called, and his evidence' was'.. almost entirely a're- • petition of thafgiyeriMby 'ttie "tworprevious witnesses— Saw accused near Me-" Alinden's Hotel, and remarked! "You're pretty cool on it old fellowj" knowing that the prisoner stayed at . the: hotel/ the prisoner made no reply. Sergeant-Major Anderson at this juncture asked for a remand |until. this day. week, buthis Worship decided to adjourn the Court till Friday next.

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Bibliographic details

R.M. COURT., Wanganui Chronicle, Volume XXXIII, Issue 11255, 29 April 1891

Word Count

R.M. COURT. Wanganui Chronicle, Volume XXXIII, Issue 11255, 29 April 1891

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