Unsolved Murders

Thomas Anglesea

Age: 36

Sex: male

Date: 6 Mar 1903

Place: Bridge Tavern, Cross Street, Wigan

Thomas Anglesea died after complaining of being kicked.

He was a collier and had lived at 15 France's Yard in Cross Street, Wigan with his 73-year-old mother. He had worked at Messrs Pearson and Knowles.

He had been to a public-house with his brother on 28 February 1903 where a quarrel commenced and they went into the yard to have a fight but were separated by a man.

However, later that night at about 9pm Thomas Anglesea went to see a doctor and complained of being kicked and the doctor told him to go to the infirmary but he came back. He returned home but was taken to the Infirmary the following day where he died on the Friday 6 March 1903.

However, the police said that they had tried to get to the bottom of the matter and that they had seen Thomas Anglesea who had told him that he had told them that his injuries were the result of a fall and that he had not been kicked.

His mother said that she saw Thomas Anglesea on 28 February 1903 at his brother’s house at which time he was in drink, and said that he told her that he had hurt himself by falling downstairs the night before. She noted that Thomas Anglesea had fallen the previous night and that on the Saturday afternoon he had fallen against the squeezers and hurt his face.

A doctor that gave evidence at the inquest said that when he carried out the post mortem he found a large abscess on the lower part of Thomas Anglesea's body that had been caused by external violence. He added that his cause of death was a laceration that had caused the abscess, and exhaustion.

When the doctor was asked how he thought that injury might have been caused the doctor, given the choice of a kick or a fall against some hard substance, the doctor said, 'I think the most probable explanation would be a kick', agreeing that he thought it was what he would expect to find from the result of a kick in that portion of the body.

When the doctor was asked by the Coroner whether he thought that he might have caused the same injury by falling against a prominent object, the doctor replied, 'One has to stretch one's imagination to a very considerable extent to imagine a condition of affairs where the object could be in such a position that by falling on it this would be caused'.

When he was asked by a Chief Constable where the injury might be caused if he had been straddled on a rail the doctor said that he would have expected the laceration to have been in a different position if that were the case.

When he was asked whether Thomas Anglesea might have received his injury by falling downstairs onto a wringing machine, the doctor said, 'It would be quite possible, but one would have to assume that the man fell in a particular position, and that the wringing machine was in a particular position. Although it is possible, it is very improbable.

However, when the Coroner asked the doctor whether people did fall in extraordinary positions at times, he said yes, and when he was asked whether there was a possibility that Thomas Anglesea's injury might have been caused by the fall, he replied, yes.

He also agreed that Thomas Anglesea's injury might have been caused if he fell on the handle of the wheel.

The chief Constable then asked the doctor that providing Thomas Anglesea had been injured on the Friday night, whether he would have been able to walk about on the Saturday as he did and the doctor said that he would have been in tremendous pain.

A house surgeon at the Infirmary said that Thomas Anglesea had been admitted on 1 March 1903 with a wound that was not many hours old on the lower part of his body. He said that Thomas Anglesea was treated immediately upon admission and for a few days the wound was moderately healthy, but that in spite of the treatment the part that was wounded was absolutely dead and that blood poisoning subsequently supervened and he died on the Friday.

He said that he considered that the probable cause ot the wound had been a kick, but added that it was possible that it could have been caused by a fall against a blunt object.

When the house surgeon was asked whether he thought, based on the condition that he had seen Thomas Anglesea in when he entered the Infirmary, whether his injury might have been caused on the Friday night and that he had walked about on the Saturday, he replied, 'I should say certainly not'. When he asked the house surgeon whether he felt certain that his injury must have been inflicted within a few hours of his admission, the house surgeon replied, 'I should say within 24 hours'.

When the Chief Constable was asked whether Thomas Anglesea had said anything to him when he saw him, he said, 'Anglesea did not volunteer anything, but when I made inquiries he told me that he was leaving a public-house when a man, whom he did not know and who was entering, dealt him a kick, though he did not know for what reason'.  He added that he didn't get any more out of Thomas Anglesea.

Thomas Anglesea's mother said that she saw Thomas Anglesea at about 11.10pm on the night of 28 February 1903 at the house of another son who lived in James Street off Chapel Lane. She said that Thomas Anglesea said to her, 'Mother, I have hurt myself by falling'. She noted that the previous night Thomas Anglesea had fallen from the top of the stairs to the bottom at his home and that on the Saturday afternoon he had fallen against the squeezers, bursting his nose. She said that on the latter occasion he had collided with the squeezers whilst chasing a man into the house and that on both occasions he had been in drink.

She said that she had not been in the house when Thomas Anglesea had ran against the squeezers but had been told about it afterwards.

She noted that when she saw him at 11.10pm on the Saturday night that he had not been sober.

She said that Thomas Anglesea had gone to bed at her daughter's place in Marsh's Court on the Saturday afternoon and understood that he had been in bed for about an hour. She said that he was there again that night and remained there until the following morning when he was conveyed in a cab to the Infirmary.

When she was asked about Thomas Anglesea's fall down the stairs on the Friday night she said that there had been a wooden cradle at the bottom of the stairs but that she didn't know whether he had hurt himself on it. She said that he simply rolled over and went to bed, noting that it was at about 11pm. She said that he had been going upstairs to bed when he fell and that he had been in drink.

When she was asked about Thomas Anglesea's relationship with his brother, she said that they had never been 'unfriends' and that although she had seen them quarrel she had never seen them strike each other before.

She said that he had worked at Messrs Pearson and Knowles but that he had not worked all that week and had been drinking all week, adding that he had been drinking for close on a fortnight.

The doctor that Thomas Anglesea had seen on the Saturday night said that Thomas Anglesea had come to his surgery in Wallgate at about 9pm and told him that he had been kicked that night on the lower part of his body. He said that he examined Thomas Anglesea and found him bleeding and treated him for the wound. He said that after Thomas Anglesea left that he returned at about 10.55pm and made a second statement about having been kicked and he said that he told Thomas Anglesea that if he didn't go to the Infirmary that he would die.

When the doctor was questioned he said that Thomas Anglesea had told him that he had been kicked that night and added that he had been walking with ease and had not been suffering very great pain.

The Licensee of the Bridge Tavern in Cross Street said that he had known Thomas Anglesea for between seven and eight years and said that he came into his house sober at about 8pm on  Saturday 28 February 1903 alone and went into the vault where there were seven or eight other people. He said that Thomas Anglesea's brother entered the house almost immediately afterwards and bought Thomas Anglesea a glass of beer. He said that they were sat together but then started quarrelling and then stood up and seized each other. However, the landlord said that he went to them before blows were struck and put Thomas Anglesea out at the vault door and his brother out at the main entrance.

However, he said that about seven or eight minutes later that he heard a scuffle at the back door and when he went into the back yard he saw Thomas Anglesea holding one of his brother's legs whilst his brother was trying to escape. He noted that he never saw any blows struck. He noted that there was a door into the back yard and that they might have got into the yard by that means. He noted that neither of the brothers had been on the ground when he saw them.

He said that about twenty minutes after that that a collier told him that Thomas Anglesea's brother had given him sixpence to go and see a doctor.

The collier, who had lived at 12 Hill's yard in Bridge Street, said that he had gone into the Bridge Tavern at 6pm and saw Thomas Anglesea and his brother there. He said that he didn't see any quarrel then and that he himself then left the house but that at about 8.30pm he met Thomas Anglesea at the corner of Bridge Street who he said told him he was hurt owing to having fallen 'in Peet's backyard'. He said that whilst he was with him that Thomas Anglesea's brother came along and said that he told him that Thomas Anglesea had said that he was hurt and said that Thomas Anglesea's brother then gave Thomas Anglesea sixpence to go and see a doctor.

He said that after Thomas Anglesea went to see the doctor that he left Thomas Anglesea and later saw him again at his sister's at about 10.30pm.

After hearing the colliers evidence the Coroner noted that it was rather peculiar that Thomas Anglesea should tell him that he fell but tell the doctor that he had been kicked.

Thomas Anglesea's sister who lived at 2 Marsh's Court in Chapel Lane said that Thomas Anglesea came to her house drunk on the Saturday afternoon and that after sleeping for a short time that he left at about 7pm, although noted that he was not then properly sober. She said that he returned the same night and went to bed and that the following morning he told her that he had fallen in 'Peet's yard' and was then conveyed to the Infirmary.

When Thomas Anglesea's brother was asked whether he was prepared to give evidence at the inquest he said that he was prepared to say how Thomas Anglesea told him it had been done and that that was all he could tell. When he was asked whether he would give evidence he said that he would if he wanted it and he then started to go towards the witness chair but then decided that he would not give his version.

When the Coroner summed up he said that it was quite clear that Thomas Anglesea died from violence and that it was for the jury to decide whether it was an accident or not. He said that the question was how the violence had arisen. He said that it was either by a fall or a kick, noting that the medical gentlemen thought that the probability was the latter although they were satisfied that a fall could have caused it if he had fallen in a particular way. 

He added that the evidence was very unreliable in many points as the witnesses contradicted themselves in several places. He said that it seemed strange that they could not get to the bottom of it, whether it was a kick or a fall. However, he added that the evidence would certainly not justify the jury in bringing in a definite verdict against Thomas Anglesea's brother. He noted that Thomas Anglesea's brother had been present at the inquest and had been given the opportunity of saying what he desired but that, not being represented, he had given him the best advice under the circumstances because if he made a statement he would have been liable to be cross-examined and that he thought it better that he did not give evidence.

The Coroner then advised the jury to bring in an open verdict that Thomas Anglesea died in consequence of his injuries but that there was not sufficient evidence to show how they had been caused.

He added that he hoped that if there was any truth in the story of him being kicked that the police would be able to find the necessary witnesses to prove it.

The jury then 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 Wigan Observer and District Advertiser - Friday 24 April 1903

see National Library of Scotland