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Daily Gleaner (Jamaica)
16 January 1889

The Murder of Estina Crawford

Magisterial Investigation at Spanish Town.

The inquiry into the murder of Estina Crawford was resumed at Spanish Town yesterday before H. J. Bicknell, Esq., Resident Magistrate.

The following are the depositions of the witnesses examined when our reporter left at the last investigation on Friday last.

J. G. Hewett sown, said—I am a Detective officer. I took the hat from Chambers on Friday 28th December. It looked as if it had been washed. There were several marks of blood on it. I know the spot where Rosanna Chambers says she found the hat. It is about ¾ of a mile on the Spanish Town side, from where the body was found.

Thomas Cadbury, sworn—I live at the McCook Pen—I remember 20th December. I found a tooth also. These I gave to Sergeant-Major DaCosta.

Ernest Ebenezer Chambers.—I keep and drive an omnibus. I knew the prisoner. I saw him on 29th December at Old Harbour between 11 and 12 o’clock. I asked him where he was coming from. He said from town. I asked him if he had seen the fearful occurrence on the road. He said yes. I asked him if he had been stopped. He said yes, but could they think he would do a think like that. He said he went to town on Thursday and left the woman looking after some things; that she would not be returned until midday train, and I must look out for her. Then he said he would go himself and fetch her and would come and see me. He left me saying he was going to look after his cart opposite Melhado’s place.

J.J. Bowrey sworn.—I am the Island Analytical Chemist. On Jan. 2 I received from Sergt. Major DaCosta this board, marked 1 (produced.) There are several spots of blood upon it. Another piece of board stated to be part of the cart numbered 2 (produced.) Some marks of blood on it, but some of it has been scraped off by Sergt. Major DaCosta and sent to me in a piece of paper. Another piece of wood marked 3, has a considerable amount of blood on one edge and one point. A parcel of shavings No. 4 (produced.) The shavings had marks of blood on them. No. 5 is a straw hat, I found no blood upon it. No. 6 is a parcel containing a necklace of coral; all the strings were cut. There is blood both on the ribbon with which it is tied and on the beads. A small packet containing a gold earring and a tooth, was also sent me, to all appearance it is a human tooth. A colored handkerchief, No. 7 containing stones, loose coral beads like those of the necklace, a number of dry leaves and match stick, all stained with blood, including the handkerchief. No. 8 is a bundle of torn female clothing, all more or less considerably stained with blood. On the 5th instant Sergt. Major DaCosta forwarded a parcel containing male clothing. An alpaca jacket, a colored handkerchief, a white shirt, and a pair of blue pants, all free from blood.

By Inspector Ponsomby—I did not see marks of blood on the earrings.

The prisoner asked no questions.

Mr. Bowrey signed his evidence.

By Inspector Ponsonby—If the blood was wet, it might have stained the handkerchief. (The Inspector stated that the handkerchief had nothing to do with the case. It was used simply to wrap up the articles.)

Robt. Barclay re-examined.—This is the seat of my cart. It was never fastened, it was left loose. The other board is a side piece of my cart. I found this earring on that day about a chain from where the dead body lay.

Detective Hewett—The hat produced is the one I took from Rosanna Chambers.

Mary Ann Richards—I identify the hat as the one worn by the woman in the cart.

Constable—I arrested the prisoner at Vere Race Course on Sunday, 30th Dec. I told him it was on suspicion of having murdered a woman on the Spanish Town Road. He said in Spanish and in English—“No, it was not me.” I said, never mind, if it is not you, you will be let go. He asked me to go to service with him. I consented to go, but after a little distance I again declared him my prisoner. He tried to escape. I handcuffed him. Constable Solan and I took him in a bus. I found the cart the same day at Mr. Barclay’s yard. I saw spots of blood on the inside. I put the box belonging to the prisoner taken in a house next door to the one in which I arrested prisoner into the cart. This trunk was marked with E.C. and B. Rodgers. (Box produced. It is marked with E.C. and on a piece of paper partially obliterated are the words Crawford Colon. On the end of the trunk there is a name, Miss M. So[u?]en.) When in custody he was shewed the woman’s clothing—a frock body and a piece of skirt and a coral necklace. These he recognized. I asked him in Spanish where the woman was from. He said from St. Davids, Yallahs Bay. I delivered the trunk to Sergt.-Major DaCosta unopened and locked.

Inspector Ponsonby deposed to the opening of the trunk in the presence of the prisoner, and the finding of various papers produced. Statements of moneys paid by Estina Crawford to one George Johnson; a lot of female clothing, spoons and other articles. Prisoner admitted that the dresses and things were Estina Crawford’s, and that the accounts were washing accounts, belonging to her. I brought the prisoner myself from Old Harbour on Sunday 30th, and lodged him in the County Jail.

Edward Walsingham sworn.—I am Superintendent of the Middlesex and Surrey County Jail. Prisoner was lodged with me on 31st Dec. last; on the same day he requested to be allowed to write a letter. I gave him material to write on Wednesday the 2nd. He wrote two letters on that day, one to his brother [mother?] and one to Mr. Robinson of Vere. I had copies made of them, and posted the originals. Prisoner addressed the letters in my presence, and they were both put into one envelope addressed to A. E. Robinson, Vere, Milk River Post Office. This is an exact copy of the letters. They were copied by my Chief Officer Spooner. The Magistrate instructed the originals of the letter to be obtained.

The Prisoner read the certified copies.

The prisoner, in answer to the Magistrate, said he had no witnesses to call.

Sergeant-Major DaCosta, in answer to the Magistrate, said that in a conversation when in custody on the 30th, prisoner stated that deceased had about £38 with her, with which she intended to buy wedding things in Kingston. No money was found either on the deceased or on the prisoner.

The witnesses then signed their depositions and entered into recognizance to appear at the trial at the Circuit Court on Monday 21st Jany, and the accused was remanded until Thursday next for the production of the original letters written by the prisoner whilst in jail.

Related pages:
  Jamaica Ripper
       Press Reports: Daily Gleaner - 1 January 1889 
       Press Reports: Daily Gleaner - 11 January 1889 
       Press Reports: Daily Gleaner - 14 January 1889 
       Press Reports: Daily Gleaner - 24 January 1889 
       Press Reports: Daily Gleaner - 31 December 1888 
       Press Reports: Daily Gleaner - 5 February 1889 
       Press Reports: Evening Express - 29 December 1888 
       Press Reports: Evening Express - 31 December 1888 
       Press Reports: Mitchell Daily Republican - 13 February 1889 
       Press Reports: Mitchell Daily Republican - 23 January 1889 
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       Press Reports: Tri-Weekly Budget - 29 December 1888