West Briton & Cornwall Advertiser June 16 1904. TERRIBLE TRAGEDY AT ST. COLUMB. YOUNG LADY FOUND SHOT
The inhabitants of St. Columb were thrown into considerable excitement on Sunday when it became known that the dead body of a young lady had been discovered at Castle-an-Dinas, situate about 2 ½ miles distant, castle and Castle-an-Dinas is a pyramidal hill at the summit of which are extensive earthworks consisting of three rings or entrenchments built of turf and rough stones, now overgrown with gorse and heather. the outer ring is about eight feet high and inside this hollow is much deeper, and the two inner rings are shaped in the same manner, each being higher than it's neighbour, the cavities between them being about equal in depth. It is supposed to be a fort of defence and the eastern and western entrances are still distinct. A magnificent view may be obtained from the top on a clear day, when both the English and Bristol Channels may be seen with the naked eye
It appears that on Saturday evening two young men named TABB who live at Blackacre, a farm situate on the south side of the Castle observed a young gentleman, accompanied by a young lady, cycling up the main road, with fringes the bottom of the Downs. On reaching the border of the wasteland they dismounted and placed their cycles in the gateway, proceed on foot to the summit of the hill, the while chatting and laughing together. No particular notice was taken of this, as frequently during the summer months visitors ascend to the hill top. On Sunday morning however the two cycles were found in the identical position in which they were left the previous evening, and after removing them to a house nearby, the brothers TABB went in the direction they had seen the couple go towards Castle Rings. After passing the first or outer ring they were horrified to find the body of a young lady which they had not much doubt in believing to be that of the person they saw on the previous evening accompanied by a young man.
A message was dispatched to the police station at st. Columb and on the arrival of Inspector NICHOLLS and P.C. COLLETT it was apparent that a terrible tragedy had been enacted. The body was found lying on it's back with the arms crossed over the breast the face horribly disfigured with bullet wounds, there being one through the throat, and two near the right eye, on bullet having penetrated through the left eye
The wounds had the appearance of having been caused by a revolver, held close to the face as the skin and portions of the hair were singed.
The body was removed to St. Columb Police station where it was identified as being that of Miss Jessie RICKARD , aged 17 or 18 years, daughter of Mr. *Pascoe RICKARD of Higher Trenowth farm, St. Columb Major, Meanwhile a search was made for any weapons in the vicinity, but without result, and without traces of the unfortunate young girl' companion.
*(Pascoe Thomas RICKARD died 30 Jan 1913, buried at St. Columb.
The RICKARD family originally came from St. Columb Minor )
The Police are pursuing their enquiries, but no arrest has yet been made, and the whereabouts of the young man are not yet known.
Great sympathy is on every side expressed towards Mr RICKARD (who is a widower) and his family, they being held in the greatest esteem throughout the whole neighbourhood.
It appears that on Saturday evening Miss RICKARD left her home saying she was going to cycle to St. Mawgan, about three miles distant, to see Miss BERRYMAN a friend. She appears to have met that lady’s brother, Charles, who was also cycling. They were seen together in the neighbourhood of Castle-an-Dinas by several persons , including Mr LYNE a School master of St. Columb, and the brothers TABB. As recorded in Mondays issue the latter saw the couple leave the road and go towards the ancient encampment of Castle-an-Dinas leaving their cycles by a hedge inside the first gate, which is approached by the beaten track of the road over some enclosed land about 300 yards distant. From there they went to the first ring of the encampment, formed by earthwork, then into the second ring where they turned to the right, eventually returning to the opening of the ring crossing and entering the ring on the left side. Nothing was seen of either until next morning between eleven and twelve o’clock when the TABBS were taking a stroll over the Castle, were horrified at seeing the dead body of a girl in a grassy spot near the opening of the ring which the couple were last seen to enter.
The poor girl was a terrible spectacle her face covered with blood and the youths were naturally much shocked at the sight , They immediately ran for their father , a farm labourer. Living about half a mile away. A messenger was dispatched to the Police St. Columb and the body was conveyed to the police-station at that place, where after some difficulty owing to the terribly disfigured features, she was identified. It was found that she had been shot by a revolver in not less than six places, once in the left arm, once in the in the left cheek, twice by the left eye, once in the neck and once behind the left ear. She could not have lived for a second with so many bullets in her face and head.
The father of the victim had in the meantime become much alarmed at the absence of his daughter . Before Miss RICKARD left home she had made arrangement to meet her father in St. Columb at ten o’clock that evening . She did not keep that appointment, and after waiting about half an hour, Mr RICKARD went home alone. When he discovered that his daughter had not returned to Trenowth , he concluded that she was staying the night with Miss BERRYMAN, but later on Sunday when she had not returned Mr. RICKARD became anxious and went to St. Mawgan and found his daughter was not there. His amazement increased on being informed that Charles BERRYMAN had also not been home since he left Mawgan on Saturday evening. The poor father’s alarm was now great and when the news of the fate of his daughter was subsequently conveyed to him his grief and distraction was intense.
The following has been issued by the police:-
Wanted for the wilful murder of Miss Jessie RICKARD at Castle-an-Dinas, St. Columb, on the 11th Inst, Charles BERRYMAN of St. Mawgan, carpenter, aged 20 years; height 5 feet 3 or 4 inches; medium build, light brown hair, full face, fait complexion, blue eyes, dressed in dark cloth suit with small white stripes running through. Grey skull cap, white linen collar turned down all round, necktie tied in sailors knot, brown boots he has a brother residing at 23 Bellevue-crescent, Cockington, Torquay, and another at 51 Melrose-road Eston, Norwich. BERRYMAN will most likely try and leave the country.
SEARCH FOR ASSAILANT
By the time her father had ascertained that Charles BERRYMAN had not returned to his home at St. Mawgan since Saturday evening when he left with his bicycle. Suspicion at once fell upon him. Throughout Sunday afternoon and evening Castle-an-Dinas had been visited by scores of people, who hurried to the hill as soon as they heard the news, and wondered over the great expanse in search of traces of BERRYMAN, but without the desired result. On Monday scouring of the hill and neighbourhood was resumed by the Police, under direction of Supt. BASSETT. About twenty members of Cornwall Constabulary went over the hill, and devoted their attention to every likely place near by.
There are numerous conjectures as to where BERRYMAN went after the tragedy. The majority of the people believe he did not go far. On Monday morning it was stated that early in the morning a man passing along the Goss moors saw a youth answering BERRYMAN’s description sitting on a milestone apparently in great distress. But small heed was paid to that rumour, or to another that the body had been found in a large pond on the Goss Moors. The belief that BERRYMAN had not left the district was based on the assertion that he went from home practically without any money. When he came downstairs, just before going out, his sister asked him if he wanted any money, putting his hand in his trousers pocket he remarked “I’ve left mine upstairs but I find I have seven pence and I shall not want anything” There was is a suggestion that BERRYMAN was jealous of the attentions paid to Miss RICKARD by a man in St. Columb, and that is given as the motive of the crime.
BERRYMAN AND HIS RELATIVES
Charles BERRYMAN is a native of St. Columb. His *Father, who died about seven years ago was for many years a solicitor’s clerk in St. Columb, and for about ten years prior to his death was also the postmaster. Charles BERRYMAN’s mother and sister with whom he lived, resided in St. Columb until about eight months ago, when the mother sold a little property she had in the town, and removed to Mawgan, a pretty little village about three miles from St. Columb, where the daughter had obtained a appointment as a post-mistress.
*(The 1881 census shows Richard BERRYMAN solicitors clerk aged 39, living in Fore St. with wife and four children. His birth place is given as Penzance)
Charles BERRYMAN served some years as a carpenter, and recently talked about going to America. Indeed, it is stated that he intended to take passage within the next week or two. Mrs BERRYMAN is at present with her son at Cockington (Devon). The whole of the BERRYMAN family are highly respected and Charles BERRYMAN was well spoken of by his acquaintances.
Up to the present time BERRYMAN has not been found dead or alive. A large number of police were scouring the country on Sunday afternoon and during the night, all day Monday, and were assisted by many persons, and it is estimated that 160 persons were engaged on Sunday evening. The land of the neighbourhood is of a wild-looking character, very open, with furze bushes and small watercourses. The site of the Castle itself is almost covered with thick furze. The scene of the crime is about a quarter of a mile from the road and half a mile from the nearest house. A Bodmin man cycling home from St. Columb on Saturday night, says he heard several shots fired in quick succession between seven and eight o’clock.
The suspicion is that BERRYMAN has not gone far. It is stated that he only had seven pence in his pocket when he left home on Saturday evening, and the fact that he left his cycle near the scene of his crime lends colour to this idea. Several persons have since asserted that they saw a person answering his description within a few miles of the spot. On Monday morning it was reported that a young man ran away when approached by some workmen between St. Columb and Roche. On Monday evening it was reported that his body had been found in a pond about a quarter of a mile from St. Dennis junction but no confirmation of the statement was forthcoming. The police notice states that BERRYMAN will most likely try and leave the country. This arises no doubt from the statement made by the man himself that he was going to America.
IN MEMORIAM (JESSIE) Rest dear maid, where kind friends have laid thee, May God forgive him who betrayed thee- To an awful, tragic doom! Mid thy young life’s early bloom.
Tillington, Sussex, June 16th 1904.
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