|CAMBRIDGE CHRONICLE & JOURNAL: THE SOUTHEND MURDER. The trial commenced on Monday, at Chelmsford, of James Canham Read, clerk, formerly at the Albert Docks, who was charged with murdering Florence Dennis at Southend on June 24. The Solicitor General stated the case for the prosecution. He said Read had been acquainted with the deceased young woman for some time, and had met and corresponded with her. On Sunday evening. June 24, the prisoner met Florence, and walked with her in some fields. She did not return home that night, and the next morning her body was found under a hedge with a bullet in the brain. Read disappeared, and was only discovered some time later in a house at Mitcham, where he was living with auother young woman, not his wife, who resided at Stepney. After the examination of several witnesses the trial was adjourned. On Tuesday, Miss Kempton, of Cambridge, was called, and stated that she had been a confectioner\'s assistant, and in October, 1892, she saw the prisoner at Gloucester-road Station, and they spoke, and he told her his name was Edgar Benson, of North-street, Poplar. From that time he wrote to her frequently, and she answered him. He told her he had a married sister, a Mrs. Parker, at Canterbury. The correspondence continued till Decermber, 1892, and afterwards, in December, 1892, he said was going to live with a friend named Harry Edwards, at 324, Mile-end-road, who, he said, was living with his parents and his sister ?Flo.* He asked her to go there, but she never went. Early in 1893 he said Mr. and Mrs. Parker were coming to town. In March she introduced him to a Mr and Mrs. Hunter, of Kentish Town, and a Mr. and Mrs. Cox. She remembered meeting prisoner with a person whom he introduced as \"Mr. Harry Edwards.\" (Harry Read, the prisoner?s brother, was here brought in, and the witness identified him as ?Edwards.?? The prisoner, she said, always passed under the name of ?Benson,\"and addressed his brother as ?Edwards.\" nIn May. 1893. she went to Cambridge to see her parents, and the prisoner accompanied her as \"Benson.?? He was afterwards introduced as engaged to her and went back with her to London. After that an arrangement was made for her to go with him to Wimbledon, from Saturday to Sunday, and she went there and stayed with him. She left her situation in July. She and the prisoner went to Hallingbury and stayed there as ? Mr. and Mrs. Benson.\" He told her then that the Edwards?s were not at Sheerness, but said he would have letters sent on to her from there, so that her parents should still think she was there, and she wrote letters to them dated from High Street, Sheerness, which she gave him to post. She wrote also at his direction as staying at a Mr. Johnson?s, 29, Clapham Park Road, though In fact she know no one of that name or address. Her parents lived at Cambridge, and the prisoner took her there. She had no Idea that he was married. He represented that he was a traveller. In December, 1893, she went to Hallingbury. The prisoner told her to tell her parents that she had gone to Ryde as companion to a lady, and she did so, and was supposed to be so engaged. Afterwards she went to Rose-cottage, Mitcham. While she was at Hallingbury he showed her a revolver which he carried. In February, 1894, he wrote a letter to her in which he said;? ?We have acted a drama in real life by which our only audience?even ourselves almost?have been deceived; the slightest mistake would have been fatal,\" &c. During this time he used to come down to see her every Saturday and stay till Monday morning. He gave her a pretended marriage certificate which she now knew not to be genuine. It was in bis handwriting. It purported to be a certificate of marriage at St Stephen?s, Kensington, dated March 19, 1893. between Beatrice Kempton and Edgar Benson, in the presence of Harry Edwards and Emily Johnson, signed ?J. P. Waldo, vicar.? On three Sundays, she stated, the prisoner did not come down to see her, and sent excuses for not coming. One was the Sunday, June 21, the fatal day. He continued to live with her at Rose-cottage until he was arrested, the letters she had were seized by the police. On Wednesday, the evidence of the prisoner?s brother, of the police who apprehended Read,and of several experts in writing, concluded the case for the prosecution. Mr. Cock, for the defence, said he had no witnesses to call. His speech for the prisoner dwelt mainly upon the perjuries which Mrs. Ayriss had admitted having committed; and he suggested that the deceased woman was acting as a shield between Mrs. Ayriss and her husband. The Solicitor General replied for the Crown. Yesterday (Thursday), the Solicitor-General concluded his reply for the Crown. The learned Judge then summed up. reviewing the evidence at length, and pointing out that the witnesses who had seen the prisoner with the deceased on the night of the murder were, beyond a doubt, honest and independent. After half an hour?s deliberation, the Jury found the prisoner guilty. The prisoner, being called on to say why judgment should not passed upon him, asserted that was perfectly innocent of the charge; that it was two years |
since he had seen Florence Dennis; that he had never fired a revolver In his life: and that at the time the murder was committed he was as nearly as possible 50 miles from the spot. Sentence of death was then passed in the usual form.