Unsolved Murders

Tertius Hargreaves

Age: 29

Sex: male

Date: 11 Aug 1906

Place: Lache Hall, Chester, Chestershire

Tertius Hargreaves was found shot in a ditch near to his house.

It was thought that he might have shot himself whilst setting up a trap for poachers.

He had resided with his father-in-law at Lache Hall in Chester.

He was missed on the Saturday morning from his bedroom and later found dead in the ditch. His head had been partly blown away and a discharged gun was found lying by his side.

It was heard that attached to the gun was a very complicated arrangement of strings and it was thought that he had probably shot himself accidently whilst setting up a trap with it.

It was heard that Tertius Hargreaves was wealthy and had no anxiety of any kind. He had twenty horses and had just bought another for £120 so that his wife could go hunting in the forthcoming winter.

His father-in-law said that after dinner on the Friday Tertius Hargreaves took him to inspect his new horse and after that left him and went off to Chester.

He said that when Tertius Hargreaves was missed the following morning he thought that he had not returned the previous night because it was dark and that he was afraid of the 'High Rip Gang', which was a term that he used to call the local poachers and tramps that infested the locality.

The father-in-law later said that he thought that Tertius Hargreaves had shot himself whilst setting a gun trap to frighten poachers.

The doctor who examined his body said that the shot had entered his cheek-bone in an oblique direction and had blown away his left eye and the left side of his skull. He added that he thought that a man that had been attempting suicide would be most unlikely to have pointed the gun in the direction that Tertius Hargreaves had been shot in.

The doctor said that he had seen the gun and the arrangement of strings across the disused gateway, saying that the strings were attached to the triggers and fixed in such a position that a poacher walking through the gateway would have fallen across them and pulled the trigger of the gun casing it to be fired. He said that from the position of Tertius Hargreaves's body, he did not think that Tertius Hargreaves could have pulled the strings himself, except accidently.

At the inquest, Tertius Hargreaves's father-in-law said that Tertius Hargreaves had heard tales of warning-signals being set up by gamekeepers with guns and string.

When the coroner summed up he said that he agreed that it was impossible for Tertius Hargreaves to have shot himself with the strong in that fashion and said that nothing was more likely than that in a foolish kind of way he had tried to lay a trap to frighten poachers and that in the darkness of the evening had got entangled in the string and had pulled the trigger, shooting himself.

However, the jury returned an open verdict.

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

see www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk

see Daily Gazette for Middlesbrough - Tuesday 14 August 1906