Beneath a Heap of Stones

The corpse might have remained hidden even longer but for a road mender who had begun operations on the Northside highway close to Workington Bridge Railway Station md not too far from the West Cumberland Ironworks. Requiring material for his task he went to a heap of stones by the roadside and removed several of them, then recoiled in horror at the sight of a human foot. He promptly raised the alarm. The stones were cleared away. The corpse which was to be identified as that of Lucy Sands was revealed, laid straight out with the hands by the sides and the head turned to the left.

Since there were no boots on the girl's feet, these were already beginning to rot away. But wounds were still just discernible on the head and face. A full-scale enquiry ensued following identification and it did not take the police long to focus their full attention on Maynard James Harrison. The body had been discovered on 1st March, 1882. Harrison was questioned closely within days. He confirmed that Lucy Sands had visited him with Jane Shannon and Margaret Cranney on the evening of her disappearance but denied seeing her again after the trio had all gone.

He spoke of reporting a faulty furnace to his father before going to bed at ten thirty p.m. and of not being out of the house again that night. He afforded a full description of the victim's clothing on the fatal evening, including her navy blue stockings. Superintendent Taylor of Cockermouth at once picked him up on this - how had he known the colour of the stockings? For in 1881, dresses were still below ankle length. Harrison quickly explained that he had playfully grabbed the victim by the leg while they had all been in the garden.


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