Glimpses Of Our Ancestors In Sussex - online book

With Sketches Of Sussex Characters, Remarkable Incidents &c

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Sussex Tragedies and Romances.            213
Griffith was now skirting one of these sloping fields, called the " Deadway's Field." After leaving Terry's Cross Gate there is a strong rise in the road, up which the horse must have walked, and here, one would have thought, would have been the spot selected for a robbery, for from neither side is a habitation to be seen. This, however, was passed in safety, and then, on arriving at the top of the ascent, Newtimber Church comes into sight, and, on the same side, the left, a farm-house and a cottage. This point, too, was passed without obstruction; and now, after a short fall in the road, there is another riseónot so sharp as the former one, but still sufficient, with the heavy state of the road and the long journey of the horse, to bring it to a walking pace. Here the attack must have been made, for at this spotóabout 600 yards from Dale Gateóthe lifeless body of Mr. Griffith was found, between one and two o'clock in the morning, by a party of gentlemen returning home late from a shooting party at Newtimber, to whom Mr. Griffith was well known. He was lying on his back, with his great coat torn open (a button was off it), and the knees of his trousers and the front part of his dress stained with mud, but no other sign of violence beyond the immediate cause of death. This was a pistol shot in the centre of the chest, high up, and so close to the body when fired that it had scorched Mr. Griffith's shirt and a piece of chamois leather which he wore beneath it, and a part of the wadding had gone into the wound. This must have been instantly fatal; for the bullet, after passing the breast bone, took a side direction and went right through the heart, in which it was found lodged. The conclusion was that, after receiving it, the unfortunate gentleman fell on his back and was so suffered to remain while he was robbed, his pockets being turned inside out. But in that case he must either have alighted or been dragged from his vehicle, and then shot, for the medical man examined at the inquest, Mr. Harry Mills Blaker, was decided on the point that he was standing when shot, and immediately fell backwards and died. He might have uttered, said Mr. Blaker, one shriek or moan, and
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