Date: 17 Apr 1904
Place: Wrecclesham, Surrey
George White was found dead in a hop-field.
He was found dead in the hop plantation on the night of Sunday 17 April 1904.
An 18 year old man was initially charged with his murder but the evidence was later considered to be circumstantial and he was discharged. when he was charged he said 'I didn't do it'.
They had allegedly been rivals in love.
George White and the other man had both been employed at Runwick Farm, Runwick House in Farnham and witnesses had said that they had seen the man following George White from Runwick House after work in the direction of the plantation where he was found and that a stick found near the body had come from the farm.
When the accused man had given details of his movements on the night they were found to not be entirely correct and what appeared to be blood stains on his clothes he had said were red paint stains. The man had denied being at the scene of the crime at 9pm that night.
A doctor who examined the man's clothes and knife said that very small bloodstains found could have been caused by a nosebleed which the man was known to be subject to.
After reviewing the evidence, the Counsel said that either George White had met a stranger in the hop-field and had an argument, which they thought unlikely, or that he had met someone that he had known there and had an argument, which they thought more likely.
George White's brother, who also worked at the farm, said that George White had left to go to the post office at 6.30pm and could not have had more than 1 shilling on him at the time and did not have a watch.
A nursemaid said that George White had accompanied her home from Farnham Church on the Sunday night after they had met when she had left church and they had parted at her master's house at 8.30pm nearly half a mile from where George White was later found dead. He had told her that he was going home to bed from there. she said that she saw nothing more of him and didn't see anyone else about the house. she said that she was not in the habit of walking out with George White but that she had met him on several occasions.
A woman said that at 8.45pm she had seen two men and that one had been assisting the other along. She said that at first she thought they were a man and a woman but then discovered that they were both men. She said that one of them appeared to be drunk and that the taller of the two had had his arm around the waist of the other and was helping him along.
She said as she approached them the taller man called the shorter man to the side to let her pass and that after she passed the two men one of them stumbled and screamed and when she heard a second scream she called out 'Is anyone hurt?' and heard the reply 'No' and saw one of the men apparently helping the other up who was on the ground. She said that she asked again 'Are you sure no one is hurt?' and got the reply 'I told you no'. She said that she then went away thinking that the man was a drunken freak.
She said that when she returned along the footpath shortly afterwards and passed the spot where she had seen the men she heard come shuffling, a dragging sound and very short breathing and thought that the men were fighting in the plantation and ran away.
The doctor said that George White had two wounds on his scalp over the temple bone and that his skull was fractured and that he had a large wound to his throat which was quite sufficient to have caused death.
The Coroner noted that the footprints, which he described as important evidence, had been obliterated by the inquisitive crowds that had visited the spot after the discovery.
see Exeter and Plymouth Gazette - Saturday 07 May 1904
see Northampton Mercury - Friday 06 May 1904
see Edinburgh Evening News - Saturday 07 May 1904
see Dundee Evening Post - Thursday 21 April 1904
see Sheffield Daily Telegraph - Thursday 21 April 1904