Tuesday, 9 October 2012

I have no doubt that soot is mine!

On many occasion we have come across policeman comparing footmarks, left at the scene of a crime, to the boots worn by the prisoners.   An early document of the month from the Bedfordshire & Luton Archives & Record Service offered a good description.

However the detective work of the police frequently goes even beyond that.  For example, in the cases of stolen crops, samples are taken from the original source and compared with the stolen loot.  A factor such as the number of times the wheat is dressed becomes relevant.  Often in the case of crops, such as potatoes, a cultivator can recognise the goods stolen from him as he is the only grower of that variety in the area. Sometimes it hard to believe that a chimney sweep would recognise the soot stolen from him, but allegedly the quality and colour did vary!

Already this current session, Epiphany QSR1855, has given us another couple of examples.  John Green, the keeper of the White Hart at Hockcliffe, discovered 2 of his flock of sheep missing. In a near ditch he found blood, sheepskins, heads, entrails and feet.  Police Sergeant Clough took away the neck bones and feet of the sheep.  On discovering a number of bones in the house of James Stone, he was able to compare the cuts and break in the bones.  This proved that the bones found in the ditch were from the same animal as those found in Stone’s home. 

James Addison Taylor, a poulterer and game dealer lived in Park Street West, Luton and had several dozen larks hanging by his door.  They were tied in dozen by string through their beaks. When he went to take them in and found 4 larks and 6 heads left in one of the dozens and 2 were gone, heads and all.  There were 8 gone altogether.  When the stolen larks were located he took with him the heads left on the string.  He was able to compare them with the bodies found.  An added detail stated that one of the birds tongues was left in the body, drawn out of the head, and one of the heads left at the shop had no tongue in it.  It was gory stuff to read but was compelling evidence.


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