Monday, 29 October 2012

29th October 1812: The Huddersfield Solicitor, John Allison, explains how the authorities got Benjamin Walker to confess


In compliance with your Letter of this morning I have the Honor to inclose you a Copy of Walkers Examination.

There were certainly Inducement held out to Walker both by myself and Mr. Radcliffe through the medium of Walker's own relations to make the Confession and he assuredly made it upon the Faith of those Inducements, he did this too at a time when we had no evidence against either himself or Thorpe or Smith and when he had been several days in confinement for examination. It was thought at that time both by Mr. Radcliffe and myself and Mr. Lloyd who was there with me as well as by General Acland that it was the most adviseable method. Mr. Lloyd has since taken and placed Walker in a place of perfect Safety and no doubt he will have reported to you thereon. The person to whom Mr. Lloyd alludes as having been properly examined is Joseph Sowden a Copy of whose Examination I have already transmitted to Lord Sidmouth. I shall I have no Doubt confirm Walker in a very many leading circumstances and am doing my endeavours so to do and have no Doubt of succeeding. William Hall will confirm Sowden’s Testimony as to the Oath and Sowden’s Confession was quite voluntary on his part and without the least Inducement or Threat indeed the Circumstance which Sowden revealed was never dreamt of till he disclosed it.

I have the honour also to transmit Copy of the Examination of Robert Robinson a Publican at whose House Smith called soon after the murder and which is confirmatory of Walker in that Circumstance.

I shall be glad to know whether it is likely an Assize will be held prior to the 6th of January and to be favoured with an answer to my former letters relative to Mr. Radcliffes converting part of his Outhousing into a temporary prison. We have now eleven under Examination.

I have &c
(signed) John Allison:
Huddersfield 29th Oct. 1812—

A copy of this letter appears at HO 42/129.

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