Posts Tagged ‘england’

This case is interesting because it was in 1804 and set out a legal precedent in the UK about self-defense; could someone be held liable for their actions even if they were the consequence of a mistaken/misguided belief…

Near the end of summer in 1803 a number of people claimed to have seen and even been attacked by a ghost in the Hammersmith area, London. It was believed that the ghost was a man who committed suicide the year before and was buried in the Hammersmith churchyard. It was believed he should not be buried in consecrated grounds, it was thought that suicide victims would not find rest if that happened.

3rd January, 1804 and a member of the armed patrols set up in response shot and killed a plasterer, Thomas Millwood. The man mistook the white clothes of Millwoods trade for the ghost and 29 year old Francis Smith was found guilty of murder. Mr Smith was tried for willful murder, and a witness stated she had warned the victim he might want to put on something that stopped him being all white, she had said he had already been mistaken for the ghost on a previous occasion.

Millwood’s sister testified that Smith had called on her brother to sop or he would shoot but he then fired almost immediately. The Lord Chief Baron Macdonald advised the jury that Smith’s character before may well have been good and there may have been no malice but the question was more if he had at that point shot with intent to kill.

Smith had not been provoked and had not made any attempt to apprehend the ghost, therefore he felt that the jury should be directed to find him guilty if they believed the facts presented. It took an hour for the jury to come back with a verdict of manslaughter. MacDonald said they could not deliver that response, it must be either guilty or acquittal, the belief that he was a ghost was to him irrelevant to the case. The jury then came back with guilt… MacDonald stated he intended to pass the case to the king, who had the power to commute the sentence.

Initially the trial stated that it was a sentence of hanging and dissection. It was commuted to a year’s hard labour. The publicity meant that the true culprit of the ghostly encounters came forwards, John Graham had been pretending to be the ghost so that he could frighten his apprentice, and his apprentice had been scaring the local children with stories of ghosts.

The impact on the law was that a question arose about whether the action taken under a mistaken self-defense would be chargeable, and it went to the Court of Appeal. It wasn’t clarified until 1984, when appellant, Gladstone Williams, had seen a man dragging a younger man along the street, the younger man was shouting for help. Williams thought that an assault was taking place and intervened, Williams had not known but the person being dragged had been caught trying to commit theft. Williams was then convicted of assault with actual bodily harm, and the Lord Chief Justice Lane referred to the debate when the appeal came up.

It was a problematic issue, Williams was trying to help albeit without understanding the situation he had seen someone in peril and thought he was doing the right thing. It was not unreasonable perhaps, that he stepped in trying to assist, the man was crying out for help. So in the end for Williams an appeal was allowed and his conviction was quashed… the decision was also later written into a more concise reference for law, Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008, section 76.

And all this because a man dressed up in a white sheet and tried to scare his apprentice!

Hammersmith Ghost.PNG
Public Domain, Link

 

The title meaning ‘shared psychosis’ and is a rare disorder when seemingly delusional beliefs are somehow transmitted from one person to another.

A case of this may be cited as that of Ursula and Sabina Eriksson, Swedish twin sisters, born in 1967 who were involved in strange events on the M6 motorway and the subsequent murder of Glen Hollinshead from Fenton, Staffordshire, U.K.

The women had been travelling in Ireland before they came to England, they got on a coach in Liverpool to go to London. Their behavior was odd and the coach driver would not allow them to get on again after exiting it at a service station on the M6.

Highways Agency Traffic officers were called out, the two were seen at the central reservation on the M6 and they ran across the motorway, Ursula dodged traffic but Sabina was struck and the police arrived. Shortly after they did the woman again ran out into the motorway. They now had Ursula with serious leg injuries and Sabina who was unconscious for several minutes due to head injuries. They were both treated by paramedics but both were resisting treatment.

Sabina was shouting out “they’re going to steal your organs” and “I recognize you – I know you’re not real” amongst a stream of profanities. Sabina refused to lay still and even struck a female officer before the public, police and emergency workers all managed to get her and she could be sedated and taken to hospital. Ursula stayed in hospital for several weeks.

Here is where it really seems to have fallen apart, 19th May 2008 Sabina was allowed to go. She was not given a full psychiatric evaluation and she pleaded guilty to her actions, she had been detained long enough supposedly and then headed out with her possessions in clear plastic bag, she was around Stoke-On-Trent and it was assumed she was off to rejoin her sister.

At 7pm that evening she was seen by two local men whilst they were walking a dog. Glenn Hollinshead was a 54 year old welder, he was also a qualified paramedic and former RAF worker. The other man was his best friend Peter Molloy, she seemed friendly enough as they talked but her behaviour seemed odd and so Molloy was uneasy about her.

She asked about a bed and breakfast but Hollinshead took pity on her and offered to let her stay at his place on Duke Street. She explained to them that she was trying to find her sister who had been hospitalized. At the house her strange ways continued, she offered them cigarettes and when they took them to smoke she snatched them back, saying that they were poisonous. She also had multiple phones and a laptop. Her behaviour was very paranoid and Molloy thought that maybe she was trying to flee an abusive partner.

Molloy left just before midnight, Sabina stayed for the evening and the following day he called hospitals to find Ursula. At 19:40 the next evening he borrowed tea bags from his neighbour, Frank Booth, and went back inside. A minute later he staggered back out saying that he had been stabbed by Sabina and Booth called 999.

Sabina had stabbed him five times and fled, she had murdered the person that had given her shelter for seemingly no reason at all. She had, herself, ran from the house in possession of a hammer which she hit herself over the head with and was seen by a passing motorist. The motorist was Joshua Grattage who tried to stop her, Sabina then pulled a roof tile from her pocket and hit him over the head with it. By this time the paramedics had found her and were taking chase, she then jumped 40 feet down from a bridge on to the A50, with broken ones she was finally taken to hospital.

She was arrested 6th June 2008 and charged with murder. The trial was scheduled for February 2009 and had to be adjourned as they had difficulty getting hold of her medical records from Sweden. On 2nd September 2009 Sabina plead guilty with diminished responsibility. There was never an explanation for her actions provided. Whilst seemingly sane in appearance the prosecution and defense used insanity for their case and whilst in prison she turned to Christianity. Ursula went back to Sweden and then went to the USA.

There is a suggestion that the incident was also worsened by the police arrival, the officer is there telling her that he is there to help and even with the damage to her legs Ursula was still trying to get up, she was repeatedly saying that they were not real. Once sedated it seems that Sabina was calmer and more rational, what was found out is that Ursula was the one with the history of mental illness and some wonder if that was transferred to Sabina somehow.

PCP has been put forwards as a possible explanation, a paramedic said that this is not entirely unusual behaviour for the pathology of the drug but that the case is very extreme. A urine test had a potential to pick up the drug but there is no more information for this to go by.

Sabina was released, or at least the Prisoner Location Service states there is no one of that name in custody. This is most likely to have been to protect her so she could be released quietly and resume her life.

The case was also put forwards as evidence for the super soldiers of the MK ULTRA program.

With a lack of information no more is likely to be given about the whole case, what we should remember is that a man died who may not have been if there had been a proper psychiatric evaluation.

 

It is know as the Tunnel Railway, Ramsgate Cliff Railway and other variations, it is located in Ramsgate, England. It was a 2 foot narrow gauge underground railway and was closed in 1926 as part of a restructure, however it was then opened again in 1936 to connect tourist attractions near Ramsgate Harbour with the new mainline at Dumpton Park.

Other than the two stations it ran entirely underground and the line through was built in only three months, it was then converted to an air-raid shelter during the second world war, it was not handed over to the Nationalisation of Railways and remained in private hands. Make-shift homes were made in the area, it was a dark but safe place, despite regular bombing the total civilian death only amounted to 29 for the town.

In 1946 it was back to being used normally and was illuminated with floodlights to the sides of the trains. In 1957 part of the chalk cliff near the lower terminus collapsed and this meant it was closed whilst they reinforced the tunnel.

Passenger numbers began to fall during the 60’s and it was becoming unviable to use. 1st July 1965 there was an accident, the driver was 74-year-old Ernest Brown, he was trapped it the cab and suffered pelvic injuries, whilst a number of passengers suffered minor injuries. The line was finally stopped in September 1965.

The tunnel was then left empty and unused, but after being renovated it has been handed to Prince Edward, Duke of Kent in a ceremony on 27th May 2014. Now they are open it seems that the Paranormal Teams are flocking to the place!

One tells everyone that the tunnels were badly sanitised, that people were injured and a lack of healthcare claimed the lives of many (somewhat more sensational than the 29 listed huh?) and that residents that died in there still haunt the place. Already they say that many sightings have been witnessed, along with the cries of people rushing around… I am sure at £46.50 a night for a seat someone will get something out of it… I think I’ll just keep my cash thanks.

Ramsgate Tunnel Railway entrance at Beach Station.jpg
By Source, Fair use, Link

 

‘It is a cause of unmitigated and disappointment and vexation’ Lord Overstone.

Overstone Hall in Northamptonshire is a 114 room mansion that has been up for sale for one million pounds and is going to be some sort of epic project for anyone taking it on. It has 114 rooms, it’s 20,000 square foot and covers 50 acres of land. It went up for sale in 2011 for that price and did not sell, and the New Testament Church of God are still asking for the same price now.

1832 Overstone Park was acquired by Lewis Loyd for £117,500. Upon his death in 1858 the 10,000 acres of land became Lord Overstone’s. 1860 Lady Overstone commissioned the hall through architect William Milford Teulon; it was to replace the existing house with something more akin to her taste and more lavish to reflect their status. Lord Overstone was reported to have hated the thing since the very start, his wife commissioned a strange mix of Victorian and Renaissance architecture but didn’t live to see it finished She died in November 1864 and in return he left a letter to a friend about the place – ‘The New House, I regret to say, is a cause of unmitigated disappointment and vexation. It is an utter failure although very large and full of pretension, it has neither taste, comfort, nor convenience.’ He refused to live there.

1883 Lord Overstone hated the place that his wife designed and gave it to his daughter Lady Wantage upon his death. She was a philanthropist well known for her interest in hospital and nursing work, she married Robert

James Lindsay, the resided primarily at Lockinge House in Wantage. Lady Wantage was rarely there either, she used it on occasion for winter hunting parties and it was sold to Sir Philip Stott after she died in 1920.

1920’s the building was used by owner Sir Philip Stott who used it as a base for Conservative party members.

He disliked the imposing building and his project there was deemed as a failure in 1928. In 1929 he sold it to the Charlotte Mason Schools Company. They used part of the large building as a girl’s only boarding school.

1979 the school was closed and the building sold privately for £701,000. It was then used by the New Testament Church of God as it’s UK headquarters. 2001 a fire ripped through the building. It came from the top floor and ripped through the principle rooms and carved staircase.

A photographer called Mathew Growcoot went to see the place and described the whole experience as both surreal and haunting, most of the place is slowly being reclaimed by nature. He said: ‘I’ve never been to anywhere like it, it is such an enormous, imposing house that has been reclaimed by nature. He said that the main tower looked unfriendly and that it was very hard to judge it in the current derelict state but that the remains had rooms that looked like they would be far too big and would be draft riddled. He felt on edge the whole time he was there to to noises that surrounded him.

It is worth noting that despite the comments about this building it was advanced for its time. It had cavity wall insulation and even had a heating system, called Mr Price’s Apparatus. The building also had gas lighting and a butler’s lift.

Daventry District Council have said that they are concerned about it’s state, it is in a perilous condition. It seems a shame to let something like this building go to waste, and invariably it’s become a hotspot for ghost hunting though I cannot ascertain why.

http://www.overstoneschool.co.uk/

I have often wondered – if I was to put together a little book (Ebook or paperback) with some of my top performing articles would you be interested?

My thoughts are that I would put them together with more information than the online articles, tidy them up a lot and then make the book as literally cheap as possible so that I really won’t make any profit per-say just something that people might like for a tea read?

What would you say? If you would be remotely interested would you leave a like? Even a couple might inspire me to think it was a good idea!

Thanks to all who keep reading these too, and if you do subscribe I thank you for that too.

Picture was taken at the Yorvik Centre, York, England.  We visited and it was a very good couple of hours spent.

https://www.jorvikvikingcentre.co.uk/

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