Sussex Tragedies and Romances. 215
of the rupture, and a gold mourning ring was still on his finger.
The excitement caused by the event in Brighton and in the county generally, when made known, cannot easily be described. If such a man, so armed and forewarned, could thus be attacked and murdered on a highway so much frequented as that between Dale Gate and Henfield, who could be safe ? A reward of £300 was offered—£100 by the Government and £200 by private subscription—to anyone who could give evidence that would lead to the conviction of the murderers, and a free pardon to any party who did not actually commit the crime. Both the East Sussex and the Brighton Constabularies put forth their utmost efforts to obtain some clue. But without avail. The Coroner's Inquest, held at the Plough Inn, at Piecombe, brought out the above facts, and ended in a verdict of " Wilful murder against some persons unknown," the jury giving it as their decided opinion that more than one person must have been concerned in the crime. But not the slightest evidence was forthcoming as to the guilty parties. The question was asked by a juror whether the fatal shot might not have been fired by deceased himself, either in a struggle or otherwise? But to this a decided negative was given by Mr. Blaker. It was impossible, he said, that deceased could have inflicted such a wound on himself. The bullet came straight from the orifice of the pistol. This put the hypothesis of a suicide out of Court, and it was never raised by the parties whom it most concerned to do so: the Insurance office.
It has been named that one of Mr. Griffith's pistols was found lying near him on the road. The pan was open and the trigger down, so that it had been pulled. But, upon being examined by the police, it was found that the barrel was clean, and the constable who took charge of it after it was picked up expressed his belief that it had not been discharged, and, therefore, could not have been loaded by Mr. Griffith. A loaded pistol was found in the right hand