Still another of the episodes of this old, long unseen series. It deals with what was called "The Northumberland Street Outrage".
Anne Moody was a young woman who was connected to Major William Murray of the 97th Regiments and 10th Hussars. Apparently he was her guardian, but the relationship may have been closer. One thing that the Major was unable to accomplish was the breaking of Ms Moody's spending habits. She was up to her neck in debt, and she was beginning to use a money-lender to "alleviate" her problems. This gentleman, Stephen Roberts, was living in chambers on Northumberland Street in the middle of London. As Ms Moody visited him to pay or get extensions on her loans Roberts found he was falling in love with his pigeon. He learned of her arrangement with her guardian, and decided that without the existence of Major Murray there would be no impediments to Anne being his own.
Major Murray was surprised to meet a man named Gray who had heard that Murray was looking for investors in a hotel he was a partner in. Gray invited Murray to visit him in his rooms at 16 Nortumberland Street on a particular day. Murray agreed, as it sounded like a business meeting. The meeting occurred in July 1861, and Murray was admitted by Gray when a moment or so after he entered the chambers he heard and felt a shot. He crumpled to the floor, while "Gray" (Roberts, of course) checked to see if he looked dead or dying and to see if anyone had heard the shot. Roberts must have been too careful looking for possible witnesses popping up, for a moment later Murray had gotten onto his feet and charged him.
It was Roberts' second mistake to have chosen a military man as his target. Murray was badly wounded, but trained army personnel can fight quite well with wounds that take down most of us. The battle in those chambers was a crazy one, with Roberts grabbing various items to defend himself against an enraged Murray, armed (unfortunately for Roberts) with a fireplace poker. In the end Roberts was lying on the floor with a broken head, while the wounded Murray stumbled downstairs into a horrified street.
Roberts died of his wounds a few days later. An inquest was held that straightened out the confusions and cleared Major Murray (who, after all, was just defending himself). Murray would live for decades dying in April 1907.
As for the story, it has been the subject of a book by Professor Richard Altick, and it has been used in literature. If you read the novel by Wilkie Collins, THE MOONSTONE (1868), the main story of Sgt. Cuff's problems in investigating the mystery deal with the problems faced by Collins' friend Inspector Jonathan Whicher in revealing that young Constance Kent murdered her brother Francis at their home in Road, England in 1860 (the subject of a sequence in the movie DEAD OF NIGHT). But in the novel THE MOONSTONE, one of the characters under suspicion, Godfrey Ablewaite, is lured to a house in London and attacked, barely getting away with his life. That part is based on "the Northumberland Street Outrage".
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