Shocking Murder Near Eckington – As reported in The Yorkshire Telegraph and Star Monday Evening, December 4, 1899

Shocking Murder Near Eckington – Woman Shot by Neighbour


 On Saturday evening, a shocking tragedy was enacted at Owlthorpe, near Mosborough.


A miner named Christopher Taylor, having a fancied grievance against one of his neighbours, named Harry Bird, took his gun with the intention of shooting the man in his own house.


Mrs. Bird, seeing him coming, and divining his intention, shut the door and bolted it, when Taylor immediately fired through the door.


The woman was struck on the neck, behind the ear, and falling into her husband’s arms expired almost immediately.


Taylor then made off, reloaded the gun, and for some time terrorised the whole neighbourhood.


Police constable Adlington, stationed at Mosborough, being apprised of the occurrence, was soon on the spot, but the night pitch dark he was unable unaided to secure his man.


Soon after Superintendent Talbot, of Eckington, with some of his officers, appeared on the scene, and breaking in the door of Taylor’s cottage he was seen on the bed, with a gun in one hand and a knife in the other.


One of the officers entered the room bareheaded, and very cleverly disarmed the prisoner and secured him. he was taken to the scene of the tragedy, where he was formally charged by the Superintendent with the crime.


He seemed entirely callous, evincing no sorrow or compunction for his act, but rather glorying in it, and threatening to do the same to the husband of his victim if he got the chance.


Dr. Jones, of Eckington, and his assistant, held a post-mortem on the body yesterday afternoon.


The prisoner is a short, slightly built man, about 35 years of age, is married, and has seven young children.


.Another account says:- The village of Mosborough was the scene of a tragedy on Saturday evening, involving the instantaneous death of a woman named Bird.


It appears a man named Taylor, residing at Owlthorpe, Mosborough, felt aggrieved about a rumour which had spread, to the effect that he was in debt.


Believing the report to have originated with a neighbour named Bird, Taylor proceeded to his house early on Saturday evening and challenged him to fight.


Bird declined, whereupon Taylor walked into Bird’s garden and trampled some plants down.


Bird told him he would have to pay for the damage committed.


The dispute eventuated in Taylor’s going home and returning towards Bird’s house armed with a gun.


Bird’s wife, seeing Taylor approach, called to her husband, at the same time closing the house door.

Taylor fired at the door, and the charge penetrated Mrs. Bird’s neck.


She fell to the floor, and when her husband reached her she was dead.


Police constable Adlington was at once summoned, and on his arrival he found Taylor marching up and down the garden with the gun in one hand and a large knife in the other.


He was threatening to put lead and steel into the first person who approached him.


The constable sent for assistance, and Superintendent Talbot and Sergeant Hughes quickly arrived from Eckington.


Taylor in the meantime had left the scene for his home, where he was promptly arrested and conveyed to the lock-up at Eckington.


After his arrest Taylor stated he would “do for” Bird at the earliest opportunity.


Prisoner Before the Magistrates


This morning, at the Eckington Petty Sessions, George Taylor was brought up before Alderman J.F. Swallow and Major L.B. Bowdon.


The prisoner appeared perfectly unconcerned during the whole of the proceedings.


Bird, the dead woman’s husband, was very much affected.


A large crowd gathered outside the building, but only those having business were admitted to the court.


Superintendent Talbot asked for a remand for a week.


He said the prisoner was taken into custody on Saturday night, and was charged with feloniously, wilfully, and with malice aforethought killing Emily Bird.


About nine o’clock that night he (the superintendent) received information that a murder had been committed at Owlthorpe.


He went to the house of George Staniforth, of Owlthorpe, and there saw the body of the dead woman.


It was in a terrible sate, almost covered in blood.


There was a large pool of blood on the floor of the outer living room near the outer door.


On inspecting the body he found a large wound on the back of the neck.


The woman was quite dead.


In the outer door there was a hole made by a shotgun about 1¼ inches in diameter.


With Sergeant Hughes and Constables Adlington and Roland witness searched the prisoner’s premises, and he heard a man’s voice shouting.


Having been advised to take precautions witness got a gun.


Roland was sent to the back of the house.


Witness fired into the air, and as soon as he did so, the sergeant and Adlington burst the door open and rushed in, and witness followed.


Prisoner, who had a gun in his hands, was at once collared, and the gun and a knife were taken from him.


Prisoner was taken to Bird’s house, and after a cauti0on was charged with the murder of Emily Bird.


He replied, “You can charge me with what the (expletive) you like. They can’t do more than hang me, can they? If I don’t get hung, old Bird …” (the superintendent was unable to hear the remainder of what prisoner said).


He was again charged at the Police Office at Eckington, and said, “It was done in a quarrel. I fired through the door. I fired the gun off not with the intention of doing any harm.”


When asked by the magistrates if he wished to ask the superintendent anything, prisoner replied, “No, sir.”


A remand was granted.