When a collier was found dead near a railway line, there was no initial suspicion of foul play.
But the man’s family, not satisfied with that verdict, pursued justice.
However, it never came, as the man arrested over William Jones’ death later hanged himself while awaiting trial.
Coal miner Thomas Peter Griffiths, 26, who lived with his father at Pentre Broughton, near Wrexham, was arrested on December 1 on a charge of having “feloniously and wilfully killed” William Jones, 53, a colliery fireman.
The Carnarvon & Denbigh Herald of December 4, reported the case was involved in “considerable mystery and has been the topic of conversation in the district for over a week”.
Both men were employed at the Westminster Colliery in the Moss Valley near Gwersyllt. Police inquiries revealed on Monday, November 23 they were in Wrexham together with some of the other colliery employes.
Newspaper reports from the time say they left Wrexham together in a stage cart with several others.
The Flintshire Observer reports they alighted from the trap at Moss Well about 10pm and William Jones “proceeded along the Moss Valley Hotel towards his home.”
Nothing more was seen or heard of him until the next morning, about 5am when an engine driver found his dead body lying by the side of the line a short distance from where he left the trap.
An inquest was held two days later and the jury returned a verdict of “Found Dead” there being no evidence to show the cause of death.”
But Jones’ relatives were dissatisfied with this verdict, and reported the case to the police.
Deputy Chief Constable Wilde arranged for a postmortem examination, which was carried out the following day by Dr Edward Davies, of Wrexham, who discovered that the cause of death was external violence.
The Herald reported “Mr Wilde made a searching investigation into the matter on Monday and Tuesday, and, as the result of his inquiries, he applied for a warrant for the arrest of Thomas Peter Griffiths.
“Armed with this, Mr Wilde proceeded to the Westminster Colliery on Tuesday afternoon, and about three o’clock he succeeded in arresting his man, and lodged him in the cells at the County Hall, Wrexham.
“On Thursday, at Wrexham, formal evidence having been given, the prisoner was remanded until Tuesday next, to enable the police to complete their inquiries.”
But the matter took a dramatic turn the day before Griffiths was due back in court.
The Llangollen Advertiser of December 11, 1891 reported: “The accused on Monday afternoon hung himself in a passage leading from the cells to the exercise yard at the Wrexham County Buildings, where he was undergoing a remand until Tuesday.
“On Tuesday, Mr B H Thelwall held an inquest. It seems that the Deputy Chief Constable, who had the case in hand, and the magistrates’ clerk, were busy preparing evidence in the room above to be produced against him at the time (Griffiths) hanged himself.
“His solicitor, Mr Wyn Evans, had just left the accused after taking instructions for the defence.
“Puree, the bridewell-keeper, said deceased seemed quite jolly shortly before he was found hanging, and told him he should never forget his kindness. Mr. Wynn, as the deceased’s solicitor, said he was with the deceased an hour before death, and he assured witness he never touched Jones.
“He said he should break his heart if he had to be detained till his trial.”
The jury returned a verdict that the suicide was committed during temporary insanity.
Source : DailyPost