We stated last week that the body of an old man, named Stanley, the 'Gipsy King of the West', had been found in the River Dart, and that there was no doubt, from the medical evidence and other circumstances, that he had been murdered. At the inquest, which has been held before Mr. W. A. Cockey, some additional evidence was adduced.
Rhoda Stanley, the wife of the deceased, stated that her husband left the van early on tuesday morning to go to Totnes fair; she did not accompany him, but saw him in the afternoon, when they had some drink together. He left her to go to the horse fair, and she never saw him alive again.
Almost his last act was to buy a pony for his 'poor old woman to ride', as he thought she was getting up in years, and needed such help in her wanderings about the country. The witness seemed frantic with grief, as she said deceased 'was such a good old man to her'. The ostler at the Inn where deceased stopped last saw him standing in the passage in company with a 'strange man', who was repectably dressed. Mr. Haines, surgeon, deposed that death had been caused by strangulation. There was a dark red band round the neck of the deceased, which had evidently been produced by the neckcloth being tightly pressed against it. His hands were clinched, and were raised as if in self-defence, and there was a heavy frown on the countenance. It was suspected that the old man had met with foul play by some of the Gipsy tribe, but no evidence has been adduced tending to support that suspicion, inasmuch as he seems to have been popular among his fraternity.
Active exertions are being made by the police to endeavour to discover the murderer, and the inquest has been adjourned for that purpose.
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Oxford Journal - Saturday, 22nd November 1856
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