Cuddio Rhestr Erthyglau

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THE MISSING JOURNALIST. DISCOVERY OF THE BODY. The body of Mr. Archibald M' Neill, who has been "missing since Dec. 20, was found on the morning of 'Friday the 6th inst. on the western beach of the deep- sea harbour at Boulogne-sur-Mer. As will be gleaned from telegrams received during the afternoon the bo<Jy was in a condition which indicated that it had been in the water for a considerable time, probably for a couple of weeks, and it was considerably bruised, as if from contact with the rocks, or with the great wooden piles of the pier. At first sight, however, the appearance of the body afforded no justification for the suppositiion that there had been foul play, but after a more careful examination had been made the police authorities unhesitatingly declared that the un- fortunate gentleman had been murdered. Upon the neck were livid marks only too plainly due to violence, and not a single valuable or a farthing of money could be found on the body. Subjoined are the telegrams referred to: -Boulogne, 6.21.—The body of Mr. M'Neill found at eight; a.m. to-day on the sand near the new liar- oour here. No money of any kind on body, and the Only things found are telegram forms with report respecting the fight, two pencils, a pair of scissors, a pair of gloves, a French map, with the name of A. M'Neill, 139, Fleet-street, no doubt in his own hand- Writing two tickets from Boulogne to London, dated Dec. 20.—STAMMERS (Detective)." "Boulogne, 6.30.-Clothed as described nose broken severe wounds on head no money in pockets; two pencils, scissors, ticket; account of fight on tele- gragh-form map of France with his name. Stammers thinks rings taken off before death, as fingers are swollen. Post-mortem takes place to-morrow.— FARMER (Harbour Master)." Reuter's agency alse sent the appended telegrams Boulogne-sur-Mer, Jan. 6. — The body of Mr. M'Neill, who has been missing since the 20tli ult., was Washed ashore on the western sands this morning. An examination of the body has revealed marks of stran- 'gulation on the neck, which, taken together with the fact that the deceased's cash, notes, and watch are missing, renders it evident that Mr. M'N eill was the victim of foul play. The remains were in a decom- posed state, having apparently been in the water for • about eight days. A one franc piece was found on the shore at some distance from the spot to which the body had drifted. "Boulogne, Jan. 6, 10.15p.m.—A post-mortem exa- mination of the body of Mr. M'Neill will be held to- morrow morning. The discovery of the remains has Caused considerable excitement here, and forms the chief topic of conversation. Various rumours regard- ing the cause of Mr. M'Neill's death are current, but great reticence is observed by the authorities, in order 'that the course of justice may not be defeated." Mr. M'Neill was delegated by the editor of the Sportsman to proceed to Rouen upon the occasion of the international prize-fight between James Smith and Jake Kilrain, and write a descriptive account of the journey out and home, and what may be termed the outside incidents of the fight. An impression seems to have got abroad that he was sent to report 'the actual fight; but there was never any foundation for that supposition. Mr. M'Neill had no experience whatever of prize-fighting, and it would have been absurd, therefore, to have entrusted him with the duty of describing the rounds of one of the most desperate pugilistic encounters which this generation has witnessed. As a matter of fact,> the actual describing of the fight was left to a gentleman who had been present at scores of such encounters, and whose nerves would be equal to the occasion. Mr. M'rseill was certainly excited over his commission; but so far from shrinking from it he was evidently proud of it, and determined to do his best in the interests of his paper, as any journalist would wave been under the circumstances. He was per- fectly at liberty to decline the work but as a matter Of fact, he was rather fond of reporting anything to which great excitement attached. He did not think much of danger, and all his life he delighted in deeds ot daring. On one occasion he went down with an exploring party after an explosion in a fiery mine at Barnsley when he represented the Newcastle Daily isfironiclc. On another occasion he ascended in a balloon from the Dudley Castle Grounds, Worcester- shire, and made a lengthy voyage over the midland counties. Subsequently he went out on a stormy sea in an open boat to convey provisions to a beleagured party in the lighthouse on Holy Island, off the Northum- berland coast. This proves that Mr. M'NeilI was not deficient in courage: but he was a man of small stature and of little physical strength, and when de- prived of his glasses his eyesight was so poor as to amount to partial blindness. Mr. M'Neill received his instructions on Saturday, Dec. 17 last, together with a sum of X100 with which to defray the expenses of his journey and the cost of telegraphing. He left London on the Sunday evening with a large party of sportsmen and journalists, duly reached the rendezvous at Rouen, witnessed the fight, and proceeded to Paris on Monday evening, Dec. 19, whence he despatched a long message to the Sports- man. Unfortunately, the greater part of his dispatch, owing to telegraphic delays, reached London very late, and the knowledge of this had a very depressing effect upon Mr. M'Neill. The next morning he seemed in fairly good spirits, interviewed the fighters, and started for London in company with several friends and journalistic colleagues. On the journey he again became nervous and excited, and on reaching Boulogne complained of feeling unwell. He went aboard the steamer, and just before the vessel started for Dover he told a friend he would go down into the cabin and take a rest. From that moment almost all is mystery. Only one thing is certain, viz., that lie volun- tarily left the steamer—but for what reason no one nows walked into the town, whence he sent a tele- gram to the Sportsman stating that he had missed his steamer, but would come on by the next, and making some rather incoherent remarks about his health. Nothing more was seen or heard of the un- ortunate gentleman until the discovery of is body on Friday, although the French polIce have been most indefatigable in their efforts to elucidate the mystery. He was not the man to commit suicide; on the contrary, his opinion eXpressed to friends innumerable shows that he always held that mode of quitting this life to be cowardly. Mr. Wellcome's, researches at Boulogne proved conclusively that he was accompanied, during the interval of wait- ing for the second boat, by a man of ordinary appear- ance, who officiated as interpreter. This man so far has not been traced, and the French police, we under- stand, are endeavouring to find his whereabouts. Mr. M'Neill was a journalist of unusual ability. He was originally intended for the Baptist Church ministry, and received a thorough education in the college con- nected with that denomination in Birmingham, where his parents reside. He thought, however, that he had & penchant for journalism, and his first article was written for the Birmingham Daily 'j1fail in reference I q7iu to a local colliery in which coal had been found after many hopeless months of mining. He subsequently joined the staff of the Birmingham Morning News, when that journal was edited by the late Mr' Tvnv'n? Dawson, the celebrated lecturer, writer and <1^ engaged as leader Daily Chronicle "'ilf CntlCf T°n th<? Newcastle wrote for several n^-snT m 18?8' and was a highly-respected member of the Savage' and Press Clubs, of the Gallery lodge of Freemasons and was secretary of the Savage Club Freemasons' Lodge. THE POST-MORTEM EXAMINATION. The post-mortem examination of Mr. M'Neill's re- mains was made in the Humane Society's mortuary, at ten o'clock on Saturday morning, the operation last- El' fll three hours. It was conducted by Dr. of H I ^r0.' a Prench medical man, acting on behalf Dr C,al a«ties, with the assistance of ^whn ro V /"i j ^ie practitioners here, S ^Srrted?eceased'8 famil^ Dr" Fletcher, of Was also Present, Mr. •earlv e i lctlm s brother, reached here •byMr HenrvS fr°m London> accompanied had IVi ? (■"come, an intimate friend, who .J^Boulogneoniy a few days previously,' after 'the lost but unavailing inquiries respecting examination U)i f°Und at 1110 P°st-mortem ceived nuw'-1 6 alive Ml' M<Neiu h*d re- derecl him • US ,ovvs about the head, which ren- broken. A and ^hat ^is nose had been brought to noH^Qrnar^ed congestion of the brain was brain were dest* an ,the outer tissues covering the caused during insen^hVf doubtless had been indeed, might havf faiiL ?'°Jn5n- The bod>V tallen into the water, but tlie I injuries had not been self-inflicted. The body which it is proved never floated-had not been in the water less than eight or nine days, and its im- mersion is likely to have lasted since the fatal 20th of December. The black and discoloured state of the neck is attributed to the fastening of the collar, and not to strangulation. The French police were in- clined to regard the case as one of suicide, but the result of the examination shows this idea to be groundless, and the authorities are already convinced that a murder has been committed. Inquiries made by the police in conjunction with Mr. Stammers, an English detective who had been instructed to watch the case, have resulted in a discovery that the deceased, in company with a man acting in the capacity of inter- preter, went to two cafes chantants, near the Fish Market. It would appear by a statement made in one of them, which is corroborated by several of those em- ployed in the establishment, that on rising to leave Mr. M'Neill was followed out by a man. Whether the man is one named Dubois, who, it is understood, was seen with him, and who is reported to be of very bad cha- racter, remains to be seen. The name mentioned happens to be not uncommon in Boulogne, and all those known by the name of Dubois have been called on by the police. Several are indignant at the insinuation, and have come forward with disclaimers. It is now asserted that a man known as Dubois has not been seen since the journal- ist's disappearance. It may not be inopportune (says the Times correspondent) to express an opinion as to how the murder was perpetrated. I do not think it at all likely that the body was thrown off the jetties or from the quays into the harbour, or robbed, and afterwards pushed in as the traveller was on his way to the night steamer for Folkestone. The corpse would either have been cast ashore a week or ten days earlier, or have disappeared altogether out at sea. Mr. M'Neill might very well on that dark night have ac- cepted in a foreign town the proffered assistance of one acquainted with the place, and by this means been led off to some low house close to the docks. The blows found on him would not be dealt on the quay, for fear of a cry attracting the Custom House sentries; but their presence would not prevent two or three persons in the dead of night dropping or rather lowering the body into the bassigt a flot. Already a very important piece of un- solicited evidence has come to light. The Commissaire Central de Police has received an anonymous letter containing two Bank of England notes-a £20 and a £5 note. The correspondent declines to furnish his (or her) name, out of a fear of being mixed up in the matter, but states they were picked up on the Cape- cure Sands, at some distance from the spot where the remains were recovered. This story is regarded as quite false. The notes in question are very much crushed and stained, and it is suspected that they have been carried for some days in the heel of a boot. Another account states that the body of Mr. M'Neill was found at high-water mark on the western sands at a point some 200 or 300 yards west of the West Pier, and between that pier and the new harbour, shortly after half-past seven on Friday morning of last week, by two working men. Almost at the same time another Boulognais, M. Jueneuille, appeared on the scene, having been attracted to the spot by the loud barking of some dogs who accompanied him. At this hour of the morning the day was only beginning to break, and in the indifferent light it was difficult to see what was the exact condition of the body. The semi-darkness which prevailed may account for a some- what important difference which exists in the state- ments made on the one hand by the two workmen and on the other by M. Jueneuille, for while the former as- sert that they plainly saw footsteps on the sand around the body, the latter is equally certain that there was none, and that even if there had been the light was so bad as to render it impossible to trace them. All agree, however, that the body was lying face upwards, and that a casual glance at once revealed the fact that the face was much decomposed, and that the features and skull were much knocked about. According to Ducloy and Gradellethey found portions of a packet of tobacco and a pencil parted in two by the side of the deceased, while they also had the impression, from general ap- pearances, that the body had been previously discovered and the pockets searched. Subsequent events clearly prove that in this view they were mistaken. It may here be mentioned that at the time when the remains were first seen the sea was at low water-mark. Information was immediately con- veyed to the police by a mounted man in the employ of Mons. Vidor, fish salesman, of Boulogne, while at the same time Ducloy proceeded to apprise Mr. Stammers, an English detective who has been engaged by the members of the Savage Club to work up the case and ascertain the fate of Mr. M'Neill, of the discovery that had been made. Mr. Stammers, who was staying at the Hotel Castiglioni, at once drove to the spot indicated, and was able without the slightest difficulty to identify the body, both by the clothes and the features, as that of the missing man. He found the police already there, and on expressing a desire to search the pockets he was told by the sergeant in charge that that could not be permitted, and that he must wait until the Commissaire-Central arrived. Mr. Stammers stated that the face and head when he first saw the body on the sands presented a ter- rible appearance. Not only had decomposition set in, but the nose was completely smashed, the temples and the left side of the face battered and bruised, while a terrible abrasion extended behind the left ear. There was also a wound of the size of a shilling on the throat. Marks were distinguishable on either side of the neck, which at first favoured the supposition that Mr. M'Neill had been strangled. The clothes on the deceased were all buttoned up. By this time the Commissaire-Central, who is the head police authority in Boulogne, and his colleague, the Commissaire of the Second Arrondissement, had put in an appearance, and their subordinates proceeded to search the pockets of the deceased. It is stated that none of these had previously been disturbed or interfered with in any way, but no money or valuables of any kind were found on the body. It has been ascertained that M'Neill, when he started for the Continent, left his watch and chain and the turquoise ring of which so much has been said behind him at home. ME. M'NEILL'S FUNERAL. The body of the late Mr. M'Neill, accompanied by Mr. Hector M'Neill, brother, and Mr. Wellcome, arrived at Charing-cross Station from Boulogne shortly after 11 o'clock on Monday morning. Mr. M'Neill was very popular in London press circles, and a large number of his journalistic and Masonic friends who were un- able to proceed to Birmingham for the funeral took advantage of the temporary presence of his re- mains in the metropolis to pay a last tribute of respect. So large was the attendance that barriers had to be erected to prevent undue crowding on the mortuary car. The coffin, which was of oak, with brass mounting, was carried from the train to the hearse, which was in waiting on the shoulders of half- a-dozen railway employes, nearly every head in the crowd around being uncovered. The hearse was driven at once to Euston, en rottte for the Midlands. In the train by which the body was conveyed to Bir- mingham a number of the deceased's professional friends also travelled. Messrs. Chapman, Burnside, and Wellcome represented the Savage Club, and there were several members of the Gallery Lodge of Free- masons, the staff of the Sportsman, and other London and Local newspapers and press ;agencies. The service was read by the Rev. R. Green, superintendent of the Wesleyan Circuit. THE INQUIRY AT BOULOGNE. The inquiry before the Juge d' Instruction at Boulogne on Monday simply took the form of a con- sultation between the Commissaire Central, the Par- quet de Procureur, Mr. Lennard, and M. Madare, the French avocat representing the Sportsman. There is nothing fresh of any great importance. A man who has been in prison for theft since December 27 was suspected, but the witnesses confronted with him say that he is not the man who was at the cafe with Mr. M'Neill. The police, who now think a crime has been committed, are seeking for an English tout and interpreter who has gone to England with a woman. Both of their names are known, but no positive evi- dence connects them with Mr. M'Neill's disappearance. The person who returned the banknotes has not yet been discovered. The police profess to have clues, but are reticent. Witnesses from England are re- quired, including some of those who travelled from Paris and can swear to articles upon Mr. M'Neill's person. It is widely supposed that Mr. M'Neill was decoyed to the west-end of Boulogne (says a Times correspon- dent) by the man who was acting as his interpreter; that he was induced to enter one of the many houses abounding in the neighbourhood that during his stay he incautiously revealed the fact that he had a con- siderable amount of money upon his person; and that on starting at a late hour to catch the steamer he was followed, collared, and assailed near the shore, ren- dered, insensible by a succession of heavy blows inflicted with a stick or bludgeon, robbed of his money, and then carried down to the western sand and thrown into the sea. Madame Torond, the proprietress of the Cafe Forny, has a very distinct recollection of seeing Mr. M'Neill, who she at once identified by a photograph, sitting in the place some few days before Christmas. Mr. M'Neill had with him as a companion an evil-looking fellow who was very short in stature. He had on a small round hat, and was wearing a long dark-blue rough plush overcoat, which seemed to be old and worn. The first impression that struck Mdme. Torond, according to her story, was how such a gentleman as Mr. M'Neill could be in the company of such a shabby fellow ? The man had a thin oval face noticeable from the pale and sickly colour of the skin and the large dark eyes. He was a Boulognais beyond all ques- tion, and Mdme. Torond asserted in the most positive manner that if she saw him again she should recognise him at once. AN ARREST. The following letter from the Home Office, addressed to Mr. Hector M'Neill, reached Boulogne on Tuesday Whitehall, January 9. Sir,—I am directed by the Secretary of State to acknowledge the receipt of your telegram of the 7th inst., relating to the circumstances attending the death of your brother at Boulogne-sur-Mer, and I am to inform you that the Marquis of Salisbury has been requested to instruct her Majesty's Ambassador at Paris to represent to the French authorities the desir- ability of a thorough investigation of the matter, with a view to clearing up the mystery at present sur- rounding it.-I am, sir, your obedient servant, "GODFREY LUSHINGTON. Mr. Hector M'Neill, Boulogne-sur-Mer." A telegram received from Boulogne on Tuesday night said: The man who was with M'Neill at the Cafe Fourney has been found and arrested. His name is Vermersch, not Dubois. He professes not to speak English, but his acquaintances contradict this. He denies that he was with M'Neill, but Madame Veuve- Toronde, proprietress of the Cafe Fourney, is quite positive that he is the man. A correspondent at Boulogne, telegraphing on Wed- nesday night, says: The man Vermersch, who was arrested on Tuesday, is still detained in custody. He has again been subjected to an examination, but he denies all knowledge of M'Neill, and professes igno- rance of the English language. He also denied that he could write, an endeavour having been made to con- nect him with the anonymous letter. It has been proved that he is a very bad character, and a fre- quenter of the lowest haunts. It is thought here that there is a strong probability of women being concerned in the matter. The man who was supposed to be Dubois is still missing." Another correspondent telegraphs from Boulogne The inquiry into the circumstances connected with the death of Mr. M'Neill has been postponed, the wit- nesses from England not having arrived. The man who has been arrested giving the name of Vermersch, but who is also known as Dubois, still denies that he was with M'Neill at the Cafe Fourney, but witnesses from the Cafe Fourney are unanimous in declaring that he is the man. The police cannot find the man who was denounced by name in the anonymous letter, and the Commissaire of Police suspects that his letter was a blind to„ divert attention from the real criminal. The offer of a reward would be certain to produce information, but the police complain that they have no funds."





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