Unsolved Murders

James Andrews

Age: 62

Sex: male

Date: 20 Jan 1902

Place: Puckle Lane, Canterbury, Kent

James Andrews died after being kicked.

A 31-year-old man was tried for his manslaughter but acquitted.

James Andrews had been a carter employed by a man in Puckle Lane, Canterbury.

His son, who lived in Dover Street, Canterbury, said that James Andrews came home from work at 5.30pm on 4 January 1902 and sat down in his chair and had a cup of tea and that after a while he told him that he felt poorly and asked for a candle to go to bed. He said that he seemed to go up the stairs in a rather peculiar manner and thought that he had hurt his back.

He said that James Andrews then asked him to go and get his mother to make a brand poultice and that when he returned James Andrews told him that he had been kicked by his employer's son.

He said that he asked him whether he wanted him to go for a doctor but said that James Andrews said 'No'.

He said that on 5 January 1902 that a fellow workman came in and said that if James Andrews didn't get any better that they should send for a doctor and that he went for a doctor at about 9.30 and that the following Wednesday, 8 January 1902 James Andrews was removed to the hospital where he died on 20 January 1902.

He noted that when the doctor called that he said that it had been a nasty kick.

A carter who lived in Old Dover Road and who was also employed with James Andrews in Puckle Lane said that at about 4.30pm on 4 January 1902 he had been in the stables with James Andrews and another man when the employers son came in and he heard him say to James Andrews, 'You have not put the shaft of your water barrel up'. He said that he didn't hear what James Andrews said in reply but that he then heard the employers son say, 'I will kick you' and that he then saw them both struggling in the next stable and that he heard James Andrews say, 'Oh!' and that after that the employer's other son then came in and separated them.

He said that James Andrews afterwards showed him some blood on his under clothing.

The other man that had been in the stables at the time had lived in Railway Buildings and said that when the employers son had come into the stable that he had told James Andrews that the water cart was not all right and that James Andrews replied saying that if he left it alone that he would put it all right. He said that he then heard the employers son say, 'I will kick you'. He said that he then went to put up his harness and that when he returned James Andrews told him that he had been kicked and showed him his underclothing which had some blood upon it.

He said that the employer's other son then came in and took his brother away.

The other son said that on 4 January 1902 at about 4.30pm that he had been in the workshop about 25 yards from the stable and that he had heard a noise in the yard and that when he had gone to see that he had seen his brother in the yard in a very excited condition and told him that he had better go indoors. He said that when he asked him what the matter was that the only answer that he could get was that James Andrews began it first.

He said that when he looked back into the stables he saw James Andrews and the two other men and said that James Andrews told him that his brother had kicked him.

An assistant house surgeon at the Kent and Canterbury Hospital said that James Andrews had been admitted on the morning of 8 January 1902 suffering from a good deal of bruising in the abdomen and was operated on at once and then put to bed and carefully treated but later died there on 20 January 1902.

He said that during the operation that they found a good deal of clotted blood in the abdominal region.

He said that during the post mortem they found that his organs were comparatively healthy and that his cause of death was due to the injuries that he had received and that they were probably caused by a kick. He noted that his cause of death was also effected by subsequent morbid changes following receiving his injuries and exhaustion.

The employer said that the son that was alleged to have kicked James Andrews had always been sickly from birth and could not learn at school. He said that he had always been a quiet lad until 1897 when he complained of his head being bad and that he had sat up with him at night time because he had wanted to get out.

He said that he had had a fire on his premises some time before and that directly that his son saw it that he said that he was 'gone' and that he had a great deal of trouble after that and that his son would not go near a fire again, no matter how cold it was.

However, he said that he got an uncle to take his son to Hythe and that when he came back that he seemed altogether better and that he had wanted to go back to the work that he had previously been doing with the men in the stables.

He said that he thought that what had happened was that James Andrews had terrified his son or struck at him with his whip.

At the inquest the Coroner noted that the son was known to be of weak intellect and that there was no doubt that he was unfit to plead or say anything.

After hearing the evidence that jury returned the verdict that James Andrews died from injuries received from being kicked by the employers son and he was committed for trial on the charge of manslaughter.

When he appeared for trial at Canterbury on 1 March 1902 the son was acquitted.

The court heard that one of the stable men had heard the son say, 'I will kick you' to James Andrews but that he had not seen the kick but that James Andrews had later told him that the son had kicked him.

When the judge summed up he noted that the son was evidently a person of weak and inferior mind and after a short deliberation the jury returned a not guilty verdict, stating that they thought that it was accidental that the injuries were sustained.

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

see www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk

see Canterbury Journal, Kentish Times and Farmers' Gazette - Saturday 01 February 1902

see Herne Bay Press - Saturday 01 March 1902