Lytham St.Annes Coat of Arms
Lytham St.Annes, Lancashire, England

Manchester Times, Saturday, April 23, 1853


On Monday evening last, another appalling murder was committed in the township of Hambleton, situated between Garstang and Fleetwood, and, coming so soon after the murder at the fomer place, has excited the greatest consternation in she minds of the inhabitants of the district. The murderer is a labourer, named Richard Pedder, residing in the village; and the victim of his violence was his own wife, whom he shot through the head, in the garden behind his own house, about six o'clock. It is said that Pedder had been often heard to say that he would shoot her, and that he went and got purposely drunk on the Monday prior to putting his horrid design into execution.

An inquest was held at the house of Mr. Richard Thompson, Shovels Inn, Hambleton, on Wednesday, before Mr. John Cunliffe, one of the coroners for the county, and after hearing the evidence, the jury returned a verdict of " Wilful murder" against Richard Pedder.

We subjoin the principal portion of the evidence. George Blackburn, labourer, Hambleton, was the first witness called; He stated that on Monday night, about half-past six o'clock, as he was returning from his work along with William Swarbrick, they called at the Shovels Inn and got a pint of ale.

Shortly after they had sat down, Richard Pedder came in, and after calling. for a glass of ale, he sat down beside them, and said, "I've killed our Bet."

Witness replied, " Oh, Dick! never; hast thou ? Then he said, "I have killed her."

Witness and Swarbrick then went to Pedder's house, and shouted " Heigh, Bet!' but they received no reply.

They then looked through the window, but as they could see no one they went to the back of the house, and in the garden, about ten yards from the gate, they found Betty Pedder lying on ber back quite cold and dead. Witness then left Swarbrick with the body, and returned to the Shovels Inn and informed the landlord of the circumstance, when a messenger was sent to Stalmine for the police.

As witness was returning he met Pedder going towards his own house, but he did not speak to him. When Pedder first called at they Shovels Inn he was fresh in liquor, but he could walk well enough. When he told them he had shot his wife, he did not say how it happened, or why be had done it.

Mr. Swarbrick was next called, and, having corroborated the first part of Blackburn's evidence, said he observed blood on the left cheek of deceased when they found her; After Blackburn left him, Pedder came up the lane towards the house, and when be came witness asked him how he bad done it. He replied, " I shot her." He added that he would shoot himself, and said he had a gun loaded on the. table.

He then went into the house and brought out a gun, and having stuck some potato forks  the ground near the dead body of his wife, he laid the gun across them with the muzzle towards himself. Witness had then left the garden, being frightened when he saw Pedder bringing out the gun, and went into a Meadow adjoining to watch his proceedings.

After having laid the gun across the forks, he took it by the muzzle, and pointing it towards his body, he thrust the stock twice into a bush, but it did not go off: and he then reared it up against the bush, and went again into the house.

Wituess immediately went into the garden, and taking the gun into the meadow, he found that it was loaded with powder and No. 2 shot. He then drew the charge, and when be had done so he saw Pedder again come out, and, after looking for a minute or two at the dead body of his wife, he lay down beside her, crying.

In about five minutes be got up and returned into the house; and two men, named Jackson and Hull, having come up, they accompanied witness into the house, where they saw Pedder loading another gun. Hull went up to him, and took the gun from him, when be went again into the garden, and lifting the body, he carried it into the house and laid it on a sofa, observing,
" She must not lie in the garden all night." He then eat down beside the body, and they remained with him until the arrival of a policeman. During the interval, all they could get him to say was, that he had shot her, and he would not deny it.

Police-constable Henry Cooper, stationed at Stalmine, stated that he took the prisoner into custody on Monday evening, about half-Past eleven o'clock. On examining, the body of the deceased be found a number of shot marks on the left side of the head and face, bleeding, and her clothes were saturated with blood. He also found a cap in the garden full of shot holes, and soaked with blood.

When he took the prisoner into custody he charged him with shooting his wife. He replied, "I did it; I'll go with you quietly." On the way to the police station he began to tell Lawrence Hull, who accompanied them, how he did it. He said he had shot her out of the kitchen window. He said, "Policeman, I took good aim; I am a capital shot;" and be added, "I am happy that I have done it.' Witness then asked him what he had done it for; when be replied that be did not know.

On being examined at the police station, blood was found on his face, hands, and waistcoat. Lawrence Hull was next called and examined; but his evidence was only corroborative of that of the preceding witnesses;

The jury then retired, and after a brief consultation returned a verdict of "Wilful murder against Richard Pedder."
The prisoner was then committed, under the coroner's warrant, for trial at the Lancaster assizes.