Glimpses Of Our Ancestors In Sussex - online book

With Sketches Of Sussex Characters, Remarkable Incidents &c

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216               Glimpses of Our Ancestors.
pocket of his great coat—where he had been seen to place one by Mrs. Ansell at Horsham—and at that time, it will be recollected, Mr. Griffith said the other pistol, which was in a bag, was unloaded. The inference then is, that when Mr. Griffith saw he was about to be attacked, he drew forth the unloaded weapon, and that the one shot heard—for several witnesses spoke distinctly to hearing the report of one shot, and one only, at the time, half-past nine, at or about which Mr. Griffith must have reached the " Deadway's Field," and that it came from that direction—must have been that fired by his murderers. That Mr. Griffith should have made such a strange and so fatal a mistake, and that such a powerful man should have been pulled from his vehicle and have suffered a pistol to be discharged so close to him as to burn his clothes, does seem strange, and certainly bears out the conclusion of the jury that more than one person were concerned in the crime. In which case detection should have been easy, especially when the anonymous letter points to the probability, if not certainty, that the criminals were known to the writer of it, and thus brings a third party into the field. Yet neither the writer of that strange letter, nor any other party to the crime, came forward to claim the reward offered, coupled as it was with a promise of forgiveness to any except the actual murderer.
If the motive to the deed had been personal revenge, this could be understood. But the anonymous warning was against robbery, and a robbery was perpetrated, though here, again, a remarkable circumstance comes to throw additional mystery over the affair. Seven years after the death of Mr. Griffith, when all hope had died out of any further light being thrown on it, an important part of the booty—the gold watch, with a fragment of the broken chain attached to it—was found in a pond which was being "mudded" at Nutknowl, which lies by the side of the highway between Henfield and the spot where Mr. Griffith's body was found. How did it come there? Did the murderer, fearful of being found in possession of so
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