Unsolved Murders

John Bould

Age: 35

Sex: male

Date: 7 Apr 1901

Place: Mere Heathlane, Tabley, Knutsford, Cheshire

John Bold was shot five times.

A 21 year old man was tried for his murder but found not guilty.

John Bold was a tailor. He was a respectable man from Glossop and had been living in Knutsford for a few months having lodged with a landlady at Swinton Square about three weeks before Christmas. She said that he was a single man and took his meals at home and was fond of reading. She said that at about 6.45pm he had left home with a letter in his pocket enclosing a postal order for 20s addressed to the Tailors Society in payment for club arrears and that when he left the house he was in his usual spirits and cheerful. She said that he was accustomed to take walks alone into the country in the evening. She also said that he didn't have a sweetheart that she knew of and that in fact he did not like the female sex.

His body was found by a young lady who was employed by a woman from Knutsford Heath at 7pm on Sunday 7 April 1901. She found him as she was walking in the lane which passed the Rostherne entrance of Tatton Park, the residence of Earl Egerton of Tatton. He was lying in the road. She said that when she neared the scene she saw a man in a bent position over his body who ran away when he saw her. She described the man as of medium height and wearing a lightish coloured overcoat.

When examined his body was still warm and it was thought he was shot in broad daylight.

He had drawn his wages of 25s on Saturday and paid 7s. 6d. for his lodgings and told his landlady that he had sent £1 that day to a man at the Tailor's Association at Ashton-under-Lyne and so it was thought that he probably didn't have a lot of money on him at the time.

A mineral water manufacturer was identified by an 11 year old girl as having been stood by a gateway in Mereheath Lane at 6.45pm on the night of the murder and the woman that had found John Bold also identified him as a man she had seen walking along a hedge in the field but said that she could not say that he was the man that she had seen bending over John Bold's body when she had approached it.

It was thought that John Bold  had held up his arms to protect himself and that he had been shot with a revolver pointed level with his head. The revolver was found near to his body.

He had a sister that lived in Elizabeth Street, The Green in Padiham. She said that it was perfectly clear in her own mind as to the manner in which John Bold was shot but said that it was impossible to give publicity to her opinion on the subject as it would implicate persons against whom no suspicion had yet been entertained. She said that John Bold was of a chivalrous disposition and not a nervous or timid man in any way and that in a fair fight he was able to give a good account of himself.

She also said that it was perfectly clear that the assailant was thoroughly accustomed to the use of firearms. She added that in any other case it was unlikely that the murderer would have succeeded in lodging five bullets in a man without being familiar with guns as anyone who had attempted to handle a revolver would be aware of the difficulty of hitting objects at even a few feet distant and as such it was clear that the Police in searching for the murderer should look for a man to whom a revolver was no new and unfamiliar weapon.

She said that she had suggested that he came over to see her at Easter but that he had replied saying that trade was not so brisk and that he was not settled. He was a single man and his sister said she had never heard that he was engaged in any love affair. She also said that other than the Tailor's Society he was not a member of any secret society and added that he was against such societies.

It was thought that robbery was the motive in his killing. As well as the five bullets that had been fired at him his face also gave evidence of very rough treatment. The injuries were too severe to have been inflicted by a man's clenched fist and it was thought that they were the result of severe blows from a hard instrument.

A package with an address was also found nearby which also reinforced the idea that the motive was robbery.

The servant girl that found the body said that she lived at Knutsford Heath and that at about 6.20pm she went near Mere Heath Lane and at the entrance she saw a lady, gentleman and a child and passed them and that then they overtook her. She said that she walked on further but didn't meet anybody until she got to some haystacks where she saw a man coming out of a gateway who she didn't know. She said that he fastened the gate and was pale looking and sallow and wore glasses. She described him as a working man and looked respectable and well dressed with rambling eyes. She then said that she was overtaken by three men on horse back and that the last of the horsemen got off and when she passed him he said Good Evening and she replied Good Evening. She said that he then said that it was very wet. She then said that his horse became very restive and she told him that she was terrified of horses and asked him to go along. However, she said that he told her not to be afraid as there was a man with it and then another rider came back and got off and took hold of the horse which was tied to a gateway. She said that he then caught her around the waist and she told him to take his hands off but that he didn't and took hold of her and kissed her rather roughly. She said that while he had his arms around her she heard two loud rapports of a gun being fired and said to the man, 'Did you hear that? They must be shooting birds on a Sunday'. She said that she was firm with him and screamed and he let go. After that she said that she went home back the way she had come. When she was coming back towards Knutsford and in the curve of the road she said that she then saw the man, John Bold, lying in the hedge with the other man stooping over his body with his hand to his chest. She said that the other man was wearing a dark grey overcoat and said that he ran as fast as any man could run along the road. When asked if it was possible that the man that had run away was the same man that she had seen at the gateway who was later charged with murder she said that she could not say.

At the inquest, a man on behalf of the three riders appeared saying that he wished to totally deny any charge of improper conduct against them.

*map pointers are rough estimates based on known location details as per Place field above.

see www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk

see Burnley Express - Saturday 13 April 1901

see Dundee Evening Post - Monday 15 April 1901

see Derby Daily Telegraph - Monday 29 July 1901

see Burnley Express - Wednesday 17 April 1901

see Dundee Evening Post - Monday 15 April 1901

see Western Times - Wednesday 10 April 1901

see Lancashire Evening Post - Friday 12 April 1901