AS part of our weekly Crime Files series, we are taking a look back at the archives to bring you stories from Herefordshire's history.

The following story dates from 1898.

A HEREFORD labourer was charged with murder after a man was found dead at the Castle Green.

Albert Lane appeared before Hereford City Police Court charged with the murder of a man at Hereford's Castle Green in September 1898.

The court heard Harry Bengough, of St Martin Street, had been found dead at the Castle Green in Hereford the morning after Whit Monday.

An inquest jury had returned a verdict of death from natural causes, but rumours were soon flying around the town, and Lane had made certain statements, resulting in his being connected with the death, the court has heard.

Lane surrendered himself to the police station in August, and evidence would show that he and a young woman named Dunning had been at the Castle Green on the day of Mr Bengough's death.

Mr Bengough, who had spent the evening in the Volunteer Inn, had approached the couple as they sat on a bench and asked for money, but 'words were passed' and blows exchanged, with Mr Bengough being knocked to the ground, where they left him.


He was found dead in the early hours of the next morning with a badly bruised nose, cut lip, graze to his cheek, and marks behind his ear and on his throat.

Lane had told others, it was reported, that he had had a row with Mr Bengough, telling them he was sorry he had killed him but glad he had hit him "because he deserved it."

The charge was reduced to one of manslaughter after the court heard from Dr Mathew that the marks on the man could have been caused by his struggle in an apoplectic fit.

Mr Wallis, defending, said Mr Bengough had been concealed in bushes in the park before approaching the couple in a bid to extort money from them, telling the court that Bengough had been committing an assault on Lane and preparing an indictment of many counts against himself.

"He died of haemorrhage of the brain and of diseased kidneys," Mr Wallis said.

Lane said he had never said that he had hit Mr Bengough in the face and that he was sorry he had not attended the inquest, and that he had given himself up to the police in order to clear himself.

The case was sent to the Hereford Assizes, where the grand jury threw out the bill against 30-year-old labourer Lane.

The judge said the jury believed the medical evidence that death was attributable not to a blow but to natural causes and that there was no case to answer.

There was loud applause in the court on the decision, it was reported.