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Peek into family ties reveals a sinister side
THE intriguing story of a Victorian detective made famous for his investigation into a Lymm murder has been turned into a book.
George Clarke, an inspector with the Met Police in London, became even more notorious when he was acquitted in the so-called Trial of the Detectives in 1877.
So when his great great grandson Chris Payne was looking into his family tree, he soon realised that in The Chieftain, he had an ancestor more interesting than the average.
And the 65-year-old research scientist has now turned it into a new book.
He said: “I was lucky enough to discover that I had an interesting ancestor who, as a detective at Scotland Yard, had an interesting track record (several sensational cases including his own trial for corruption), and a questionable end to his career.
“Basically, I couldn't believe my luck!”
Mr Payne, from Kendal, spent time in Warrington researching the archives at Warrington Library for information.
There he found copies of the Warrington Guardian from November 21, 1877, describing the last day of the Trial of the Detectives – a case covered by every newspaper up and down the land.
DCI George Clarke was acquitted of charges of corruption while his three Scotland Yard colleagues were convicted.
Clarke was already well known to the Guardian and to residents of Lymm from his investigations in 1868, and again in 1876, of the suspicious death, or murder, of Elizabeth Brigham at Foxley Hall, Lymm.
Initially the inquest jury reported a verdict of ‘accidental death’ but further inquiries by Clarke (who became involved only after the inquest verdict had been given) eventually suggested that murder was involved.
The Guardian happily reported the final conviction in July 1877 (on trial for a second murder in Austria) of Henri de Tourville, Mrs Brigham’s son-in-law.
Clarke’s evidence on the Brigham death played an important part in de Tourville’s conviction.
For more information and to buy the book e-mail chrispaynebooks.com.