Copyright 2014 Hidden Wirral
Wigan Observer and District Advertiser - Saturday 10 October 1857
MURDER AT BIRKENHEAD. On Sunday night tho Birkenhead Dock Cottages, near Bidston, were the scene of a bloody affray between number of Irish navvies, in which two men—John Drary and John Dunn—wero frightfully stabbed, the former mortally, and tho latter lies precarious state in the hospital in Uaimlton-street. Tho case at present is involved in some mystery, the evidence does not appear to bring clearly home to the parties in custody the guilt of tho murder. Tho men charged with the offonco are named Francis Smith, John Smith, and Peter Gallagher, all navvies, apparently 30 or years of age each. Gallagher ia blind of one eye, and has very repulsive appearance. The fearful event has thrown the township into state of considerable excitement. It seems that the prisoners and some other men had been drinking in tho public house commonly known as tha Egg and Ha n Shop,” Bidslon, where they remained until closing time. They were all more or less in liquor, but were quite capable of walking to the Dock Cottages, where they reside d. At about eleven o'clock a scuffle was beaid outside the pile of buildines by some women, who raised an alarm. Constables Clarke and Graham were on duty in Stanley-street, and upon bearing tho disturbance they were proceeding towards the place, when they were met by John Dunn, who said had been stabbed in the left side. He said ho knew person who inflicted the wound, but he could not tell his name. The officers, on examining him, found largo hole in tho man’s aide, apparently made by a knife, and his trousers and boots saturated with blood. Whilst police officer Clarke was procuring a cab to convey the wounded man to tho township hospital, officer Graham pro* ceeded to ono of the avenues leading to I Block at the Dock Cottages. Here found John Drury lying in pool of blood, quite dead. had received three terrible stabs—one in the heart, another iu tho right tide, and third under the left jaw. Death must have bceu almost instantaneous. Alongside the body there was found a large sharp-pointed knife, with spring back, besmeared with blood. Tho body was removed the lodgings of tho deceased, in 37, K Block. The murdered man was monied, and has left widow and three children, who are present at Prescot. The police were n*l long in apprehending the supposed murderers. The several avenues to tho Dock Cottages were watched some women, whilst the officers went in search. In No. 7,1 Block, they found the three men, Francis Smith, John Smith, and Peter Gallagher, in bed. Tbo two Smiths oceapied one apartment, and Gallagher was in another room. All their clothes were stained with blood. They wero immediately token into custody, and conveyed bridewell. On Monday afternoon, Mr. H. Churton, coroner, swore in jury, and after viewing the body, adjourned the inquest till Thursday. On Tuesday inquiry commenced at the Police Court, where tho statement of John Dunn, who was in very weak state, was reduced writing. After two or threo witnesses were examined, the inquiry was adjourned until Saturday.
Accessed 20th March 2018