The Conisborough Tragedy – Inquest and Verdict

August 1890

Mexborough & Swinton Times – Friday 29 August 1890

The Conisborough Tragedy.

Inquest and Verdict.

Closing Scenes.

Still Shrouded In Mystery.

The Deputy Coroner observed that he did not propose to waste the time of the jury by giving them an outline of the case, as most of them probably knew more of it than he did. He only intended to sufficient evidence to enable them to return a verdict.

Rebecca Beckett, deceased’s grandmother, said she was the wife of John Beckett, quarryman, of Levett Hagg. She identified the body. Deceased lived with John Linley, a miner, as his wife. Witness was with deceased when she died the previous day. Witness wished to mention that Dr. Hills had given the deceased every possible care and attention.

Edith Hardy, stepdaughter to Wm. Tye, Glass founder, said she assisted in household duties for John Linley. The deceased lived in the same house. On Saturday, the 16th inst., witness went to work about eight o’clock in morning. There were in the house Jesse Hoye, the deceased, Rebecca Beckett, and another lodger. Jesse Hoye  kept going in and out of the house, and she believed that he went into the Star Inn adjoining several times. The other lodger went to work, leaving the deceased and Hoye in the house, along with witness, who was nursing deceased’s baby. They afterwards had dinner, but previously they had had no angry words. After dinner Hoye went out again. Ilie shortly returned, just before two o’clock, and said to the deceased that he was going to have another pint. He pulled out his purse as if to count his money, and the deceased came out of the back kitchen, when she had been washing the baby’s bottle. Witness then saw Hoye point something at deceased, who cried out, “Don’t, Jessie, don’t.” He made no reply, but shot at deceased twice with a pistol which witness then saw in his hand. Witness was alarmed, and ran out of the house with the baby in her arms and told a neighbour, Mrs. Harmon, what had happened. The deceased followed her out, blood streaming from her head and neck. She had never heard the deceased and Hoye quarrelling before and so far as she was aware there was no quarrelling that day.

By a Juryman : The other two shots were need after witness ran out of the house. There was another lodger in bed at the time.

Mary Harrison, wife of John Harrison, stated that on the Saturday afternoon in question, about two o’clock, the deceased ran into her house bleeding, but from what cause witness did not then know. She did the best she could do for her. Witness did not hear any pistol tiring. When deceased entered the doorway she put her hands up and cried “ Oh, my bairn, my bairn.” Mr. Gibbs and Dr. Hills afterwards came.

John Linley, miner, employed at Denaby Main Colliery, said the deceased lived with him as his wife. Jesse Hoye lodged with witness for about twelve months, and was under notice to leave on the day in question. Witness had told deceased to tell Hoye. He was to have left that day.

The Deputy-Coroner: What was the reason you gave him notice to leave?—Well, I gave him notice to leave—at least she did—because I was “stalled” of him. I did not care for him. He was quarrelsome when lie was in beer.

Was he frequently in beer?—Yes. Since he went to the brewery.

Can you point to any particular occasion when he was quarrelsome?—No, sir, not in a general way, but when he was in drink, and I was in the house and said nothing, he would start a quarrel at any minute.

But at the previous inquest did not you give evidence that he struck you?—Witness then related the circumstances, which have already appeased in the Times under which Hoye struck him, about a month ago The quarrel was caused by Hoye’s refusal to go to bed when asked to do so.

But cannot you account for it in any other way, why he should have resented it as he did, so to make him buy a revolver ?—No. sir, except that I gave him notice. That is the only reason that I have.

Were you present when Beckett told him to leave —No. sir.

And she did not tell you what he said in reply? —No, sir.

Did you get on good terms again after this quarrel you speak of ?—Yes.

Were you on good terms the night before the affair happened?—Yes, sir.

Has anything struck you since the last inquest how to account for the affair ?—No, sir, no more than what I said then.

You have heats’ of nothing ?—No, sir.

Witness here stated that he wished to say a word two.

The Deputy-Coroner, interposing, said it was no use making any statement unless it was pertinent to the Inquiry. —lt afterwards transpired that Linley wished to publicly thank Mrs. Hills, wife of Dr. Hills fur the attention she had bestowed on deceased since she sustained her injuries.

Dr. Rowland Hills said that lie was called to see the deceased on Saturday. the 16th inst. He found her in a very weak condition from loss of blood. In making an examination he saw that a bullet bad penetrated the left side of the head, fracturing and splintering the skull, and embedding itself deeply in the brain. On passing a probe into the wound it was impossible to touch the bullet. A bullet had also the left site of the neck; a third bullet had entered the right side of the chest just above the right nipple. There was a wound on the right side of the back of the neck, evidently caused by a bullet.

From the first he saw that her case was a hopeless one. Dr. Sykes kindly assisted witness in his examination of the patient. Taking into consideration the collapsed condition of the woman from loss blood, and the great shock she had sustained it was not thought advisable to attempt to extract any of the bullets, all of which were very deeply seated and in the immediate neighbourhood of vital organs and important blued vessels. Witness did everything he could to relieve her. She lingered on in great agony until her death, which took place the previous day, between four and five o’clock in the afternoon.

The Deputy Coroner: Was she ever in such a state to hold any conversation with you when yon attended her?

Dr Hills: Well, at times was in a semiconscious state, but was never at any time in such a condition as to give any history of what had occurred. Three days before she died she seemed very desirous of saying something to me. She tried hard, but it was impossible for her to articulate, I gave her a pencil so that she might write down what she wanted to state, but she was unable to do this. It was quite evident however, she wanted to make some statement.

The Deputy Coroner: Were the wounds that you found on the deceased’s body such as would correspond with bullets coming from that revolver (produced)?- Yes, they exactly correspond.

The Deputy Coroner, in summing up, proceeded to give the jury the legal definition of murder. Lord Cope, the great authority, had laid it down that a murderer was a person memory and discretion who unlawfully killed any reasonable creature by any means either expressed or implied. But it was not necessary for a coroner’s jury to be convinced that the man was of unsound mind when he committed the deed.

.The jury had had it in evidence that Hoye bought the revolver for the express purpose of taking life. and having accomplished his purpose, lie could not see that the jury could return any other verdict than that laid down by the law viz. wilful murder.

I suppose it is not the business of the jury to inquire into the motive ?

The Deputy-Coroner: No ; the motive is supposed to exist, There is no good introducing extraneous matter into the case, especially when the person who took the deceased’s life is not alive, and cannot therefore, come before any tribunal on this earth. I do not think you can return any other verdict but one that the woman was murdered.

The jury, after a brief deliberation, returned a verdict of


Against Jessie Hoye. The funeral will take place today (Friday) at Warmsworth Church