Ingleby Greenhow rocked by gruesome murder
Then in 1924 - The late afternoon
autumn sunshine cast a golden glow on the hills above the sleepy village
of Ingleby Greenhow. It was Friday tea time and the two railway men
packed away their tools and made their way homeward down the steep
Ingleby Incline rail track.
Sixty eight year old Frank Ward had worked
as a bank man on the same stretch of this Rosedale line for 40 years and
and lived at the foot of the incline in Bank Foot Cottage. He was
looking forward to starting a well earned holiday the following day.
His colleague and friend Hubert Dalton,
known to his friends as “Jerry” was platelayer on the same line. He
lived not far from Ward at Poultry House Crossing.
At the bottom of the incline the men were
met by their boss Edward Carpenter, who gave out their weekly pay
packets. Ward opened his and checked the contents -two pounds nine
shillings and sixpence. He placed the money in a small purse which he
secured in his back pocket.
He was a neat, meticulous and thrifty man,
who worried about the safety of his savings, and with good cause.
Earlier that year his cottage had been broken into and some of his money
had been stolen. He had a distrust of banks, and since the break-in,
when ever he left the house, he would always take his savings with him.
In contrast Dalton (36) was a bit of a
spend thrift and occasionally Ward had lent his friend cash to see him
through to the end of the week and a grateful Dalton always managed to
pay him back.
At the gate of his well kept cottage Ward
bid his friend good night and was greeted at the door by his daughter
and housekeeper, Violet.
After tea, Ward changed out of his working
clothes and set out along the lonely path for Ingleby Greenhow three
miles away. In one hand he had a lantern, and in the other, in keeping
with his desire to keep an eye on his money, he carried a canvas bag
containing his life savings of about one hundred pounds.
His intention was to pay his debts to the
village tradesmen with whom he dealt, and later to call in at The Dudley
Arms for a well deserved pint of beer.
In his absence, Violet began preparing for
their holiday to Whitby the following day. At eleven thirty she went
outside to see if she could see the light of her father’s lantern coming
up the rough track from the Ingelby/Battersby road. But she was rewarded
only with the black onrushing loneliness of the night. Returning to the
warmth of the cottage, she suddenly experienced an unexplained shiver of
By mid-night, and with still no sign of
him, Violet’s apprehension became acute. It was so unlike her father to
deviate from his normal Friday evening routine. By two o’clock she was
almost out of her mind with worry, and in desperation went outside again
and called his name. All night she kept her vigil until finally with the
dawn breaking, she ran to the nearby cottage of Edward Carpenter. Bleary
eyed he came to the door in response to her frantic knocking, and after
hearing her story, agreed to call the police. whose search of the area
revealed the gruesome sight of Frank Ward’s body lying near a haystack
in a pool of blood. His skull had been crushed and his throat cut and
his pockets were turned out and his money and two watches were missing.
PC Falgate, stationed at Battersby would
later describe how he also saw Hubert Dalton in the same field
staggering towards the railway embankment where he collapsed. The
constable picked him up and discovered his clothes soaked in blood from
an apparent cut to the throat. Later Inspector Prest from Thornaby would
say how a razor and a linen collar was found in a pool of blood near the
corner of the adjoining field.
Dr Robert Murray from Great Ayton was
called to attend to Dalton. He sewed up the wound and transferred him to
North Ormesby hospital.
The landlord of the Dudley Arms confirmed
that Dalton had been in the pub the previous evening playing dominoes,
and had appeared a little agitated when some of the locals had remarked
on the absence of Frank Ward. Meanwhile the police were conducting an
intensive search of Dalton’s cottage and in one of the outbuildings
discovered a black leather purse containing eleven pounds ten shillings
and a railway ticket made out to Frank Ward - his holiday ticket to
Whitby. A sack was also discovered at the far end of the field which
contained a blood stained hammer.
On December 31 Dalton was charged with
murdering his friend Frank Ward and the committal proceedings were held
in Stokesley Town Hall where an incongruous note was struck by the fact
that that the room was gaily decorated in preparation for a ball.
The evidence was heard by Major R.B.
Turton and Mr Henry Kitching and the case for the prosecution was opened
by Mr G.R. Paling. Dalton who was not represented in court, followed the
proceedings in an impassioned manner. Giving evidence Dr Murray said he
had examined the victim and found he had received seven wounds to the
head, and one of these had penetrated his skull causing a haemorrhage to
the brain. He agreed these could have been inflicted by a hammer. The
throat wound had been done with a sharp instrument and in his opinion
had been inflicted some hours after Ward had died. When asked by the
clerk - Mr Lowther Carrick if he had anything to say, the prisoner in a
husky voice replied “I want a solicitor”.
Dalton was remanded to York Assizes where
the jury were unable to agree on whether he was insane or not and the
charge was remitted to the Yorkshire Assizes at Leeds before Mr Justice
McCardie and a jury where Dalton pleaded not guilty.
Mr G.L.L.. Mortimer, KC for the
prosecution claimed that Dalton had set out to kill and rob Ward, and
later, troubled by the fact that he might not have completed his
gruesome task, returned to the body and cut the throat. Later to give
the impression that he too had been a victim, he had subjected himself
to a self inflicted wound.
In the witness box, Dalton, looking pale
and drawn, told the court that on the night in question he had seen ward
approaching his house, but at the time remembered nothing more about it.
When he got up the following morning he had a headache and when he saw
Ward’s body by the haystack he recollected that he had been “chucking a
hammer about” and that he had dragged the body there.
In answer to the prosecuting counsel,
Dalton claimed that he did not know that Ward carried his money about
with him. He admitted he he saw the body near the stack, but he did not
remember when he took the money from his pockets. Mr R.F. Burnand for
the defence told the jury that Dalton had suffered an epileptic attack
at the time which had temporarily rendered him insane. This defence cut
no ice with the jury who took just five minutes to return a verdict of
guilty. Mr Justice McCardie told Dalton that the jury had found him so
on the clearest of evidence.
The court usher placed the black cap on
the judge’s head, and Dalton listened impassively as he heard the the
dreaded words -that he was to be taken to a place where he would hang by
the neck until dead. There was no appeal and his execution took place
three weeks later.