Murder at Riby Near Grimsby in Lincolnshire
There will be few of us who haven’t ribbed a colleague at some point or another and no shortage of people who’ve proclaimed the fanciful wish to kill somebody just as something to say.
It’s all harmless of course, nothing ever comes of it . . . well, when I say . . .
Riby is a small village close to Grimsby, every single one of you out there will no doubt know of the place because of The Battle of Riby Gap but now add to that another claim to fame . . . MURDER!
Or could it be called assassination ?!
Wind back your clocks to September 23 1870 and imagine a scene in rural Lincolnshire. The villain of the piece was a shepherd by the name of William Morris and the victim a young farm worker named Hicks.
According to the paper clipping discovered and kindly sent to me by Neville, William Morris was not altogether popular with fellow farm hands and labourers.
Hicks was already said to have been disliked by Morris as the shepherd believed young Hicks had stolen his oil cake to feed to his horses.
This situation was exacerbated by the general feeling of ill-will towards Morris, the reports suggests Hicks and his co-workers thought Morris to be a ‘tell-tale’ and they even composed a song in which they “derided his failings”.
Morris, allegedly a bad-tempered man at the best of times, became further enraged and threatened to shoot them if they did not desist - presumably they all took that to be a load of hot air . . .
Later that night William Morris lay in wait, hiding by his bedroom window and when Hicks walked by the cottage on his way home he was callously shot by the cold-blooded Morris!
I’m presuming it was a shotgun as the subsequent wound did not prove immediately fatal the paper said:
The poor fellow lingered in great agony for a few hours and then expired”
According to Mrs Morris, presumably a much tried woman with 10 children and a volatile husband, her husband did not show any remorse.
“You’ve done it, what shall you do now” she asked him
“I don’t know, it’s done” was his reply !
Morris was arrested that night, the gun still in his bedroom and reloaded!
The article tells us Morris was 45 years of age, worked for the landowner and farmer Edward Smith and was father of 10 children.
Sadly and strangely, the give the victim’s name only as Hicks and tell us he was but 18 years of age.
Surely we can do better than this, who was this poor young man, at least his full name and what became of the blackguard Morris?
Another nice little mystery for us to look . . .
All the best,