Throughout the 19th century, the newspapers brought their readers many accounts of deeds of murder that had taken place in the days, or sometimes weeks, prior to their publication.
In January 1856, Londoners were shocked by the cold-blooded murder of a solicitor as he entered his chambers in Bedford Row Holborn one morning.
Lloyd’s Weekly Newspaper provided readers with an account of what had occurred in its edition of Sunday the 26th of January 1856:-
MURDER OF A SOLICITOR
On Wednesday morning, about half-past ten, the inhabitants of Bedford-row, Holborn, were thrown into a state of the most painful alarm, occasioned by the rumour that Mr. George Waugh, solicitor, of 5, Great James-street, Bedford-row, had been murdered by a client whilst entering his office for business.
Upon inquiry, it turned out to be too true, and the particulars, as nearly as can be ascertained, are as follows:-
For some time past Mr. Waugh had been concerned for a man named Westron, residing at 23, Newland- street, Kensington, in the matter of some property.
Some unpleasantness had lately arisen, and at the time indicated above, Westron met Mr. Waugh a few doors from his own house, and, presenting a pistol to his breast, shot him dead on the spot, the ball entering the body near the heart.
HE DIED IN HIS CHAMBERS
As soon as the report was heard, the deceased was seen to stagger and fall, and Mr. Abrahams, of 51 in the same street, saw the occurrence, and rushed out of his office, in conjunction with several other persons, when the murderer was immediately secured.
He had another pistol in his breast pocket, which was also capped and loaded and in full cock.
Hutchinson, the street-keeper, was very close to the prisoner when the shot was fired, and immediately seized him.
The deceased, Mr. Waugh, was conveyed into his chambers, and medical assistance was sent for with all haste. Several surgeons soon arrived, but the poor gentleman had expired.
A LOW-SIZED MAN
A number of persons soon collected, and Hutchinson hurried off with his prisoner to Judd-street police station.
He is a low-sized deformed man, about five feet three or four inches high, humpbacked, and otherwise deformed. He was dressed in a dark brown coat, and he appears to be a person possessing property, and in easy circumstances.
He did not seem after firing the shot to make the least attempt to get away.
TAKEN TO THE POLICE STATION
A large concourse of persons followed him up to the police-station, while crowds flocked to the scene of the murder.
Upon arriving at the station he was put in the dock, and Inspector Hayes asked him his name. He stated it to be Charles Broadfoot Westron, aged twenty-five, and that he resided at 23, Newland-street, Kensington.
He said he was of no occupation, and lived upon his means, but had been a clerk about two years ago.
The charge of murdering Mr. Waugh, by shooting him with a pistol, was entered against him.
AWARE OF WHAT HE HAD DONE
After some minutes’ silence, he seemed to be aware of what he had done and the position in which he stood, and he began to cry.
He then stated that Mr. Waugh had married his aunt, and had an estate of some thirty acres of freehold land belonging to him, which he would neither sell, nor permit him, the prisoner, to sell, and that was what caused him to make up his mind to do what he had done.
Upon searching him the fol- lowing articles were found:- A large new spring-back knife, like those used in boar-hunting; the half of a £5 note, and the half of a ten shilling note, besides a silver watch, a purse containing a sovereign, a half-sovereign, some silver, and four keys.
Several persons came into the station to identify him, and one gentleman had seen him watching Mr. Waugh’s door the whole of the morning.
After firing the pistol, he threw it on the ground.
WAS IT FOR THE NEWSPAPERS?
On observing a gentleman writing in the station-house, he seemed very anxious to learn if it was for the newspapers, and on receiving a negative answer seemed satisfied.
A COURT SUMMONS
On the 11th of October last, it appears, the deceased summoned the prisoner, who was then residing at No. 16, Catherine-street, Caledonian-road, at the Clerkenwell police-court, “for that you (the prisoner), did unlawfully use menacing and threatening language towards the said George Waugh, whereby he apprehends he goes in danger of his life, and of some bodily harm that you will do or cause to be done unto him against the peace,”
When this summons was heard, the prisoner said he would not further molest Mr. Waugh, that he would consult another solicitor about his property, and upon that understanding the prisoner was discharged, but was bound over, in his own recognisance, to keep the peace.
Ever since that period, the prisoner has entertained an ill-feeling towards the deceased, and, on Wednesday morning, as Mr. Waugh was near Hand-court, on his way to the office, the prisoner ran up to him, and, when he was within a couple of yards of the deceased, committed the murder.
NEWS SPREAD WITH RAPIDITY
The news of this terrible and cold-blooded assassination spread throughout the metropolis with great rapidity.
Crowds of persons immediately hurried to the scene of the murder.
In Holborn, the omnibuses were scarcely able to pass along for the people.
Cabs were arriving at the deceased’s house, the report having reached the remotest parts of London, and. where the poor gentleman fell, the pavement was stained with his blood.
THE PISTOLS DESCRIBED
The pistols, with one of which Westron committed the murder, are a pair of old-fashioned brass, barrelled ones, the percussion lock having been apparently attached since they were made.
The stocks are rounded ones, and are inlaid with a kind of ornamental brass stud-work, and are of a large pocket size, apparently of foreign manufacture.
When at the police-station, Judd-street, Brunswick-square, the prisoner, seeing Inspector Hayes handling the pistol that was taken from his breast coat pocket, called out suddenly, and with some anxiety, “to mind what he was doing with it, as it was capped and loaded.”
A KIND RELATIVE
On hearing’ that Mr. Waugh was dead, he cried a little, but he seemed to think that he had received justifiable provocation.
Mr. Waugh, the deceased, was represented as a kind and indulgent relative, and the property about which he disputed would not have legally come into his possession for some time, nevertheless, the deceased gentleman always supplied him with money.
Inspector Checkley, of the B division, has charge of the case.