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An inquest on the body was opened yesterday week but adjourned till yesterday. It appeared from the evidence taken on that occasion that William Graham, when tipsy, went into a shop at Ainstable and bought a pound of shot, some powder and caps; he then went to Langdale, where after some quarrelling with his father, he took down the gun, went into Robin Hogarth’s about 7 o’clock, fell asleep, laid till about ten when he got up and went out, taking the gun with him. He proceeded in the direction of his own house, which is also in the direction of the place where the murder was committed.

William Graham, one of the parties in custody, had a game certificate out about two years ago. He has always had the name of a notorious poacher. He committed a very violent assault against Clem Richardson, Mr Fetherstonhaugh’s former gamekeeper, about ten or twelve weeks ago, for which he was obliged for a time to keep out of the way.

Henry Graham was a youth who worked in bits and poached bits. During the summer he was generally employed in husbandry labour. Last autumn he was engaged for some time in draining at Low Barrans near Penrith. Joseph Graham a younger brother has also been taken into custody. It appears he was at home on the night the murder was committed, but that he went to his place at Wetherall on Monday. Joseph it seems has been at service before but William and Henry have been for the most part at a “loose end”.


November 28th 1856 Carlisle Journal

(Before E W Hasell, Esq. and a full bench of Magistrates)

Violent Assault – William Graham, one of the men who is in custody on a charge of murdering Simpson, the gamekeeper, was charged by Clem Richardson, Mr Fetherstonhaugh’s previous gamekeeper, with a violent assault committed upon him on a Saturday night in June last. Richardson had met with Graham and another man, with whom he had walked along the road until he came opposite his own house, when he left them. After he had done so he observed them standing, so he went secretly back to see what they were doing, and as he was going over a hedge Graham went up to him and said, “D- -n your soul, what are you doing here?” Complainant said, “I am watching you and such as you.”  Graham immediately lifted a heavy bludgeon and struck him above the right eye, the blow letting his eyelid down and laying him on the ground in a state of insensibility. When he came to himself he found that his lip was cut through in two places, three of his teeth were knocked out and that he had a pair of black eyes. Graham made no defence and was remanded on the charge in order that the man who was with him might be brought up to give evidence. Graham has since said to another prisoner that his only regret was that he had not done more to Richardson.


The Staffield Murder – Henry Graham, William Graham and Joseph Graham were brought up in custody, and charged with the murder of Thomas Simpson. The case was not entered into. The prisoners were merely remanded till next Tuesday. Mr Superintendent Robinson applied to have the prisoners remanded for safe keeping to the county gaol. The application was immediately granted by the bench, and the prisoners were conveyed to Carlisle the same night. (The popular feeling is beginning to be very strong against the prisoners in Penrith. There was considerable excitement in the streets on Tuesday as they were passing to and from the Magistrates’ office. The horrid details of the murder have made an impression on the public mind.)