A young farmhand, Matthew Weeks, was declared guilty yesterday and is due to be hung for a merciless, heartless, pitiless murder. To express the enlivenment roused by this trial would be nonsensical. People turned up in excess to observe the trial and seemed to have come from far and wide. Throughout the day the court was crawling with people to see the verdict. The case was of a poor, unfortunate, young farm girl who was murdered a several months ago. The gruesome event took place on
Sunday 14th April last, when the convicted and the deceased went for a walk together on the moor. Charlotte, the deceased, told Mrs. Philipa Peters, the owner of the farm that both she and Matthew worked on, that she would not be home at milking time, but that Matthew would do her share of the work. It is believed that she had arranged to meet another lover, a Thomas Prout, at the chapel that evening. Mrs. Peters was concerned about Charlotte when Matthew returned home later that night.
When his stockings were found to be dirty from walking far onto the moor, he denied going onto the moor and said that he went no further than Higher Down Gate. He stated that Charlotte went onto the moor, and he bade her good day and walked the other way, towards a small village about two miles off. Then, he supposedly visited two families by the name of Westlake, but neither where in. Two days after the incident, Mrs Peters searched his coat pocket that he was wearing on the night of the disappearance. In it she found Charlotte’s green gauze handkerchief. Also, his razor appeared to be missing.
A week after the disappearance Matthew , dressed in his Sunday Best, told Mrs Peters that he would be home in time for dinner and set off. He did not return. When Charlotte’s body was found it was acknowledged that a cut-throat razor was the murder weapon, and also, the body was found at the place where she and Matthew had allegedly walked. More crucially, witnesses observed them both together, a lot further down than Higher Down Gate, at the relevant times. Summing up all these points of evidence , Mr. Justice Patteson decided that the verdict was, in fact… GUILTY!