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Hull Murder, 1852


SOURCE: THE GLOBE and Traveller, Wednesday, May 26, 1852.

Globe and Traveller


Two men, named John Snape and John Smith were examined yesterday, at Hull, upon the charge of murdering a young man named Mapplethorp, by strangling him, close to his own residence, and robbing him of a gold watch and chain, and eleven pounds in money.

Francis Mapplethorp deposed that he lived retired, at 19, Prospect place, Drypool. The deceased, his son was engaged in the firm of Messrs. Thomas and Co. merchants, as clerk. He was a most obedient and steady youth, and never kept late hours. His age was 21. The last time witness saw him alive was at six o'clock on Friday evening, when he left home to go to his office; he had his gold watch and chain with him and had a small bouquet in his coat. Did not know what money he had about him, but be was necessary in the habit at times of carrying with him moneys that he had collected for the firm. Was apprised by Mr. Boulter, the surgeon, of his son's death at four o'clock on Saturday morning.

Aaron Saunders, policeman, deposed that at about a quarter to three o'clock on Saturday morning he found the body as described in our former report, lying at the edge of a ditch which borders the road immediately in front of Mr. Mapplethorp's residence.

There was no watch, money, nor pocket-book upon him; but witness picked up a gold key in the road, across which there were marks as if a body had been dragged, from the pavement.

Mr. Boulter, surgeon, stated, that having been called up by the previous witness and a sergeant of police, he proceeded to the spot, which he examined minutely after ordering the body to be conveyed to his residence, near at hand. There were some scattered flowers on the pavement and marks of a struggle in the road. On the farther bank of the ditch there a freshly made footprint, as of a person scrambling through the hedge on that side. The death was occasioned by strangling or suffocation. There were several small punctured wounds on the cheeks and nose, some of which appeared as if made by human nails. Witness picked up a small tuft of fur from pavement among the scattered flowers, such as might have been torn from a woman's boa or tippet. Anything placed over the mouth and nose of a man so as to stop the breathing effectually would cause death in two or three minutes.

Watson, a detective policeman, deposed that he apprehended the prisoners in a low lodging-house in West street, at eight o'clock on Saturday morning. They were sleeping in a double-bedded room—and a woman was in bed with Snape, whose jacket and boots witness immediately took possession of. The former was covered with dirt, and the boots had mud on them similar in appearance to that of the ditch where deceased was found. Snape had two bruises on his arm, and a small wound on the back of his hand, as if made by a human nail. He said the marks been occasioned in a fight with a man in Paragon street on the previous evening, and both prisoners said that they were in bed before ten o'clock. A few shillings only were found on them.

James Spoyle, a private in the 21st Fusiliers, deposed that on Friday night he left the barracks about half past nine, and on reaching the corner of Drypool place, he observed two men. Thinking that he knew one of them, he went up to them, and saw Snape's features distinctly. The prisoner's companion he did not see so well, but from his dress and height, thought it was the prisoner Smith. Snape shunned him (the witness), so he walked on towards his house. He heard some one following him, and on looking around saw Snape with his arms folded, walking leisurely behind him. Witness then went into his house and smoked his pipe for about half an hour, when his wife asked him to close the shutters. On going out for that purpose he again saw Snape near the deceased house. Snape walked towards the end of the street and witness, on watching him, saw him return to deceased's house. Witness, having closed his shutters, went into his house and went to bed. Had been with Snape two or three weeks before in a public house in Raikes street. Was brought to the jail on Sunday and shown two men in a cell. Witness stated they were not the men he met on Friday night. Was then taken into another cell, when, unassisted by any person, he at once pointed out the prisoner Snape being one of the men, though he was then dressed in the prison uniform jacket. The prisoners were remanded for a week.