The Murder Of Mr Dugdale

On Friday, 3rd October 1884, a commercial traveller by the name of Richard Dugdale went drinking with several men in Bolton. Later that night, his body was found on some waste land.

The Manchester Evening News, broke the news of his death in its next day’s edition of Saturday 4th October, 1884:-


“What is expected to prove terrible murder was committed at Bolton last night.

The dead body of a commercial traveller named R. Dugdale, who was employed by Messrs. Austin Bros., maltsters, Castleford, was found on a waste piece of ground behind a warehouse, with his throat terribly gashed. first it was thought he had committed suicide, but the circumstances point to murder.

He left an hotel in the town at seven o’clock quite sober, with several pounds in his possession. When found, his money was gone, and his watch and chain, but a sovereign was underneath him.


A knife, not such as the deceased gentleman would carry, was in his right hand; whereas, the wounds were self-inflicted, they must have been made with the left hand.

In his pocket-book there were a few lines in different handwriting to the deceased’s stating that he had committed suicide.

The body was taken to the mortuary, and there identified.”

Illustrations depicting the murder of Richard Dugdale.
From The Illustrated Police News, Saturday, 18th October, 1884. Copyright, The British Library Board and Richard Jones.


The Manchester Evening News, continued with the story of the murder in its edition of Monday, 6th October, 1884:-

“The murder at Bolton, briefly reported on Saturday, has caused much excitement in Wakefield; the victim of the crime, Richard Lee Dugdale, having lately resided at No. 3, Wesley-street, Belle Vue, in the suburbs of that town.

Mr. Dugdale, who was a married gentleman, leaves a widow and six children, the eldest of whom is 13 years of age, and the youngest about ten months.

Some time ago he was in the service of Mr. Glossop, maltster, Hull, and subsequently he entered the employ of Mr. John Locke, maltster, Barnsley.

About a year ago, the deceased became a traveller for Mr. John Austin, a West Riding magistrate, who resides at Red Hill House, Castleford, and carries on an extensive malting business Wakefield, Castleford, Kippax, Allerton-Bywater, and other places under the style or firm of Austin Brothers, although Mr. William Austin, the partner and brother of Mr. John Austin, died some time ago.

Mr. Dugdale should have started on a round through Lancashire early last week, but being the plaintiff in a County Court action at Wakefield on Tuesday, he was unable to start his round until Wednesday morning.


On Thursday he was at Bolton, and called upon several customers.

He should have returned to Wakefield the same evening in order to attend the Wakefield corn market on Friday, but not having completed his round, owing to a late start, he remained at Bolton on Friday, and forwarded some urgent orders to the kilns at Wakefield by telegram.


The same afternoon he was at the Crown and Cushion in an intoxicated state, and a man named Kay Haworth, who has recently returned from America, was requested by a friend to take Dugdale to the Wheat Sheaf Inn, and they left together.

About two hours later, Haworth returned to the Wheat Sheaf, and represented that had left Dugdale at the Balmoral Hotel.

Subsequently the body of Mr. Dugdala was found on a waste piece of ground behind a warehouse, not far from the Balmoral. His throat was terribly gashed, and his watch and guard and a sum of money which he was known to have had in his possession were gone, with the exception of a sovereign, which was found under him.

More illustrations showing the murder of Richard Dugdale.
From The Illustrated Police News, Saturday, 25th October, 1884. Copyright The British Library Board and Richard Jones.


The police apprehended Haworth, who had been spending money freely, and in his possession was found the deceased’s watch, a cheque, and £32 in gold.

Haworth was brought before the Bolton magistrates on Saturday. He protested his innocence, and declared that he was at the theatre on the previous night. He was remanded until Thursday.


A Bolton correspondent says:- On Friday Mr. Dugdale was in the town, and visited a number of places on business, obtaining in one instance a large order from a local brewer.

At half-past nine o’clock at night, he was discovered lying dead, with his throat cut, on a waste piece of land off Bradshaw Gate, one of the principal thoroughfares in the town. He was lying with his arms stretched out over his head, an old pocket-knife in his right hand, and his coat and vest unbuttoned.

The body was quite cold; the face was smeared with blood; the eyes, especially the right, had the appearance of having recently received blows, being cut and swollen; the knife was held, as stated, in his right hand, but the wounds must have been caused by the left if self-inflicted.

The left hand, however, was firmly clenched, whilst the right was loose. The wounds the throat were of a terrible nature, there being one or two stabs in addition to a cut completely severing the windpipe. The shirt and clothing are almost untouched by blood, whilst the face and head were so deluged as to indicate almost that the deceased had been held head downmost after the infliction of the fatal wounds.

No money was found, except a few coppers, but a sovereign was found on the ground beneath him.

In his pocket-book, in entirely different writing to the deceased’s numerous entries, were a few words badly spelt, to the effect that he had committed suicide.

The body was removed to the mortuary where it was shortly afterwards recognised.

Subsequent inquiries disclose that during the day he had been in the company of a young man named Kay Haworth, who resides in Bolton, but recently returned from America, and in his presence the deceased displayed a cheque for £8.

At six o’clock, a friend of Mr. Dugdale’s asked Haworth to accompany the deceased to the Wheat Sheaf Hotel, as he was rather the worse for liquor. Two hours afterwards Haworth told this friend that he had left Dugdale at the Balmoral Hotel, which is near the scene of the murder, and not at the Wheat Sheaf.


Haworth was arrested at his residence early on Saturday morning, and there was discovered in his possession £38. 10s. in gold, 18s. in silver, a cheque, and a watch and guard, the property of the murdered man. He gave no explanation for the possession of this property, but strongly asserted his innocence.

During the forenoon, the magistrates remanded him until Thursday next, the inquest being fixed for Monday.

Haworth, late on Friday night, was spending money freely in a public-house, and he remarked that he had had a jolly day.”