Unsolved Murders

Robert Webber

Age: unknown

Sex: male

Date: 22 Jul 1920

Place: Royal Oak Pub, Westleigh, Burlescombe

Source: www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk

Robert Webber died after being thrown out of the Royal Oak public house in Westleigh.

It was said that Robert Webber had been drinking in a pub on 29 July 1920, and although not drunk, had been using offensive language and that the landlord’s son had then remonstrated with him. However, it was heard that when Robert Webber did not desist, the landlord himself through Robert Webber out of the pub.

It was said then that once Robert Webber was outside that there was no further need to interfere with him but that when the landlords son went outside for another purpose that he struck Robert Webber causing him to fall back and crack his skull on the ground.

Robert Webber was found unconscious and died two days later and the landlord's son was arrested and sent for trial at the following Assizes on a charge of manslaughter.

A man that had been drinking in the pub said that Robert Webber had been drinking with some other men at the bar and had an argument with another man about work. He said that Robert Webber was then ejected and that after that the landlord’s son went outside with some beer for a woman and that when he went out he either pushed or struck Robert Webber.

Another man that had been at the pub said that Robert Webber had had enough to drink and that after he was put out of the pub, he had used very bad language and had shouted and waved his arms about.

Robert Webber's brother said that Robert Webber had had some drink but that he would have been able to walk home if he had been left alone.

The wife of a quarryman said that she saw Robert Webber ejected from the Royal Oak pub and that after that the landlord’s son came and served her some bottles of beer. She said that she then went off home and that as she got to the door of her house, about 50 yards away, she heard a noise and said that as she looked round she saw Robert Webber lying on his back in the road. She said that she didn't see what the landlords son did or where he went after he handed her the bottles.

The wife of a police constable said that she saw the landlords son either push or strike Robert Webber and her daughter said that when she looked out of the window she saw Robert Webber put his hands up in a fighting attitude before the landlords son either struck or pushed him.

When the doctor examined the body of Robert Webber he said that his cause of death was due to an extensive fracture of the skull.

The landlord’s son's defence said that what the landlords son had done was what he was permitted to do in self-defence against the threatening and menacing attitude of Robert Webber.

The landlord’s son said that whilst he had been helping in the bar, he had had occasion to speak to Robert Webber as a result of his use of filthy language and later helped to put him out. He said that subsequently he had occasion to go outside and serve a woman some beer and that when he did, he met Robert Webber outside who was abusing his father and still using filthy language. He said that he advised Robert Webber to go away and said that Robert Webber then assumed a fighting attitude and came towards him and that concluding that Robert Webber was going to strike him he put his arm out and pushed Robert Webber away. He said that Robert Webber then went back a few paces and then fell down. He said that he then returned to the bar, stating that he had no idea that Robert Webber was hurt.

The landlord said that as a result of the language that Robert Webber had been using that he ejected him and said that as he was doing so they had both fallen in the passage. He said that he later saw Robert Webber lying on his back in the road and said that Robert Webber was then taken home.

The jury found the landlords son not guilty of manslaughter and he was discharged.


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


see Western Times - Friday 05 November 1920