Friday, March 28, 2008

Llangibby Massacre-A little more.....


The INQUEST was held at the White Hart Inn. The centre picture show's the Priest's Hole, where Father David and Father Philip doubtless hid, when soldiers were near.The gentry, people, magistrates, and justices all combined to keep the Faith alive.Photographs taken Christmas Day 2007.The pub is a lovely warm and comfortable place, full of history.

Someone asked me about these Llangibby murders, and so I have a little more information, as I confess I had never heard of this before. It appears the murderer Salvador Joseph Garcia, was a young Spaniard, a thief, who arrived in Newport on an iron ore ship and then decided to stay and enjoy the delights of the town. He became well known locally and began a life of crime to pay for his extravagances with wine and women. On September 25 1878 he burgled someones home and was caught in the act. This was in St Brides' Wentloog. October 17 1877 he was sent for trial and he protested he was innocent, but the case against him damning. He was sentenced to nine months in gaol. with hard labour. He was sent to Usk prison and protested saying 'Me no gaol',July 1878 he was released from gaol and put in the custody of two warders who were supposed to take him to Usk Railway Station . He was supposed to go back to Newport and then be deported. But he managed to get away into the countryside. ON July 17 1768, the name Llangibby, a small quiet village on the road between Newport and Usk was on everyone's lips because of the Murder.

It was a Wednesday when they were found by Frank James, a local boy, who knew the family. When he got into the garden he saw the bodies of the cuple, William and Elizabeth whose throats were cut after they had been stunned. It was very savage. John Morgan , another friend made the gruesome discovery of the children, they had been attqacked with a knife with terrible savagery.The children were eight, five and only four and it appeared Charlotte the eldest had tried to summon help from the neighbours, and had been repeatedly stabbed in the back.Also the murderer had set fire to the bed on which all three bodies had been put,Various witnesses said they had seen the swarthy foreigner and he had tried to hitch a lift from the post at Llantarnum.He did get to Newport, where he was arrested.He had on him several items of Mrs watkins' clothing and her mantle clock. He had little else on him. His shirt was bloodstained and he was wearing two paris of trousers. He was charged and the town was in a 'lynching mood' when the details of the crime were known.

There are photos of the White Hart Inn below where the priest hole was and where the inquest was held. People sobbed and wept at the inquest.People could not believe the doctors accounts of the terrible wounds and the Jury named Garcia as their suspect.He was tried, found guilty and sentenced in the Four County Assizes in the Shire Hall, Gloucester before Lord Justice Barnwell. Mary Ann Watkins, an older daughter of the Watkins gave evidence She identified his boots as belonging to her father and the famale clothing as he mother's.He had bread with him that carried a dent identical to a baking tin at the cottage. The watchmaker confirmed the mantle clockl belonged to the Watkins family.

But Garcia had no defence and did not really understand what was going on He had no explanation for the stuff found on him and there was no motive (or indeed history) of his ever having committed such a bizarre and savage murder for so little.He had been seen earlier in the company of another man , with whom he appeared to be friendly.He was sentenced to hang, and this sentence carried out on Nov 18 1878. He tried to escape again, but failed.There were doubts about his guilt but the evidence overwhelming, but no real effort made to investigate from the point of view of a frame up.

May 1994 there was an article in the South Wales Argus which gave another theory-the originator of the story said he was the grandson of an illegitimate child born of a love affair between Mary Ann Watkins and Garcia. He claims Garcia was desperate to get money to support Mary Ann and burgled but got caught. He returned to the Wakins house, to reconcile himself with the family. He was shouted at, lost his temper and went mad and murdered the whole family. Mary Ann was fifteen and away in service at the time. At the trial it was said he did not know the Watkinses and had no reason to kill them. However the evidence against him was overwhelming , especially the bloodstained shirt and stolen goods.It was also strange that Mary Ann herself said nothing about it, but then she was probably trying to keep her situation quiet. The cottage was demolished soon after.

For a full account of the above, which carefully researched details refer to @Their Deadly Trade (Murders in Monmouthshire) by Roger Williams pub Gomer avail Amazon uk

What a very very sad tale. There in St Cybi's Church, a large grave stone was raised to the family by public subscription, close to the White Hart Inn.

Haut de la GarenneLatest.

Investigations are ongoing.A third and fourth chamber has been found, people have been coming forwards and telling their stories and files are being written up. It like the above is a sad tale, and it is good that at lkeast now, some re finding closure and Justice.

Kate and Gerry McCann on ITV

Gave a detailed film about looking for Madeleine. You can only imagine what they are going through, and are also looking into other ways of helping exploited and trafficked children. Good on them and here'sm hoping someone will act according to their conscience and give her back, She can never truly be theirs.

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