Click here for the Glossary page
Click here for the main index of the Burton Latimer Heritage Society site
Click here to return to the previous page
Article compiled from material currently held at the museum.

Fatal Stabbing 1875

Scene of Josiah Dent's stabbing.
This 1890s photograph shows The Thatcher's Arms and
Mr James' garden wall mentioned in the account below.

On Tuesday 21st September 1875 a fight took place near the Thatchers Arms, Meeting Lane, which resulted in the death, four days later, of Josiah Dent, a 29 year old labourer. He was fatally stabbed during a scuffle that took place across the road from the pub, near the garden wall of "Rosebank".

A group of four men,Thomas and John Wood, Dent and his assailant George Westly, had been drinking and making music in the bar with a tambourine, tin whisle and bones but had quarrelled, resulting in the tambourine being slashed with a knife by Westly. The quarrel continued outside where Dent was stabbed in the stomach and thigh by Westly. He was taken home and a doctor was called from Kettering.

Meanwhile, Westly had fled and was arrested at Oundle two days later, still with the knife in his possession. Josiah Dent died the following Saturday, leaving a wife and two young children.

The Leicester Chronicle published the following report of the incident;

"Mr J S Price, surgeon, Kettering said on the 21st inst, between 11 and 12 o'clock he was fetched to Josiah Dent and found a wound on him. He continued to to attend him till the Friday following, when he died. He had made a post mortem examination and found the bowels injured and a large worm inside. The wound was healing and if it had not been for the worm he might have recovered. The deceased died from the injuries received. Thomas Wood (witness) said he was at Croxton's beer house at Burton Latimer on the 21st inst. The Prisoner (George Westly) and the deceased were there. He had been playing the bones, prisoner the tambourine and deceased a tin whistle. Between nine and ten o'clock he saw the prisoner cut the tambourine. Before they went out prisoner said to deceased, " I'll let your b---- guts out."

John Croxton, the landlord's son , pushed the prisoner out. When they went out he heard prisoner say to Dent " I do not care a d--- for you." Dent went up to where the prisoner and his father were standing and Mr Croxton heard the deceased say "Take that knife out of my ribs."

Thomas Harding, rivetter, Burton Latimer, said he heard a quarrel about a tambourine. He saw prisoner cut it in two places with the pocket knife produced. Thomas Wood said to the prisoner " You shall catch it for this when you get outside." The prisoner said "You are a d--- liar." The deceased then slipped off his smock and struck the prisoner. The deceased and the prisoner then closed together. Dent called out, " Tom, take this knife out of my ribs." Witness went to Dent and felt his thigh and got some blood on his hand. Prisoners father was near and prisoner called out, "Father, take this knife."

John Barton, Burton Latimer said deceased came out, walked up to prisoner and said "What have you got to say about the tambourine and my guts?" he next heard the sound of blows and prisoner's father went to them and said "D-------, not three to one." Witness asked the deceased how he was, and heard the reply "I feel that I shall not get better; I am dying. When I got out of the Thatcher's Arms I was stabbed. I know who it was done by as well; It was George Westly." He said after this was done, to his father "Take my knife that will do, he stabbed me twice." I took the knife from him at once. It was a long white one, with a sharp point like a butcher's knife. I had not had a quarrel with Westly; never had a word with him in my life." Witness asked about a quarrel in the public house, and he said, "I know nothing of a quarrel in the public house about a tambourine, I do not know any reason for his doing this." Prisoner was commited for trial at next assizes."

At the inquest held at the Red Cow Inn on the day of Josiah's funeral, the jury returned a verdict of manslaughter against George Westly, and he was taken away to await his trial.

Click here to return to the Main Index
Click here to return to the Crime & Punishment Index