Maryport Advertiser and Weekly News, Friday, April 21 1882

Carlisle Assizes - The Workington Tragedy

At the assizes at Carlisle on Wednesday the Grand Jury ignored the bill against MAYNARD JAMES HARRISON, who was charged with having murdered LUCY SANDS at the North-side, Workington on the 1st December last. This result of the proceedings against HARRISON was generally expected, and it has created very little surprise.

No petty jury could have been found to convict the prisoner upon such slender testimony as the prosecution were able to offer against him. It is quite true that he was in the company of Lucy Sands on the night when she was last seen alive, but this fact, and the statements which he has made to several persons, certainly do not constitute a chain of evidence against him as would warrant any person in assuming that he is guilty of her murder.

The case, as it affected the prisoner, was a weak one from the beginning. The great difficulty with which the police had to contend was the length of time which had elapsed between the commission of the murder and the finding of LUCY SANDS. It was only by an accident that her body was discovered; and the cool audacity of her murderer -- whoever he may be -- in selecting such an open and exposed place for hiding the corpse of his victim, has, singular though it may appear, proved to be his best safeguard from detection and punishment.

The tragedy at Workington is as much involved in mystery as it ever was; but it is idle to suppose that with the discharge of HARRISON, the police will think they have done all that is necessary, and that they will take no further action in the matter. The crime is so horrible, its surroundings are so ghastly and revolting, that we feel certain no effort will be spared to drag from the dark the wretch who took away the life of a helpless girl.

The police must begin afresh. They were certain to fail with the evidence they had in their attempt to bring the crime home to HARRISON. The magistrates acted wisely, however, in sending the case for trial: it was if far too serious a character to be summarily disposed of. As for HARRISON himself, no right-minded person can have any sympathy with him. He is evidently an ill-conditioned lad who prides himself upon that which he ought to be ashamed of; while -- if the statements of some of the witnesses are to be relied on -- the language which he used about the dead girl after her body was discovered was simply brutal, and proves he has a great deal to learn, and a very great deal to unlearn.



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