Death On the Beat

Death On the Beat- Police Constable Murdered
n the hedge on the right hand side of Icknield Street, low down you will find a stone inscribed J.D. 1885. In that year at 2.15 am on the dark morning of February 28th.. P.C.Davies of Beoley made a routine contact with P.C. Whitehouse of Wythall. They compared watches. He was never seen again.

At 8.30 am John Twigg of Rowley Green was on his way to work in Weatheroak. He found P.C. Davies lying down in a pool of blood foully murdered with many terrible knife wounds.

When P.C.Davies left P.C.Whitehouse that night he was making for Stecham Farm and his 4 am rendezvous with P.C.Sheppard of Alvechurch, but Sheppard was at home ill, so Davies was not missed as quick as he would have been normally. During the fatal night a fowl house of a nearby farm had been entered and 6 fowl stolen. It was thought that Davies had come upon the thief as he (the thief) was making for Reddich Station.

As the constables whistle and an oak stick were found 200 yards from the body and his handcuffs were still in his pocket it was assumed that the thief had gone quietly for 200 yards before turning on his captor with a knife. Davies`s hands were severely cut where he defended himself, but he had finally succumbed to a gash across the throat.

No cries were heard at Newbould Farm the nearest dwelling though the dog barked fiercely between 3.30 and 4 am.

Superintendent Tyler, of Kings Heath Police, when informed about the murder at once suspected the notorious poacher, one Moses Shrimpton, the terror of Eastern Worcestershire, who despite his 65 years of age, had already committed a brutal assault on a game keeper and had done seven years penal servitude for attacking a policeman.

Recently released from gaol Shrimpton was living in Bartholomew Street Birmingham and there, on 29 February, Superintendent Tyler found him with cuts on his face. His woman companion was found to have a large knife with two blades, this knife had been newly washed and bore traces of blood as did Shrimpton`s clothing.

Enquiries proved that Shrimpton had been out all night. Shrimpton was arrested and charged with the murder. He protested his innocence but was duly sentenced to death and hanged at Worcester Gaol on Whit Monday 25 May 1885.

The story is told that a confession was found in Shrimpton`s snuff box.

Meanwhile Davies had been buried on Tuesday 5 March 1885 in Beoley Churchyard on the hillside overlooking the countryside he had tramped on his beat. His widow was granted the maximum gratuity of .18.8d. The public were more generous in subscribing 408-1-8d was raised for the murdered constables dependants.