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Author Topic: Double Murder in Sutton At Hone  (Read 4493 times)

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Offline MartinR

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Re: Double Murder in Sutton At Hone
« Reply #4 on: January 02, 2018, 23:00:20 »
Hugh Culling Eardley Childers was Home Secretary at the time.  Could you have misread an "R" for an "E"?  See for more information.

Offline Longpockets

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Re: Double Murder in Sutton At Hone
« Reply #3 on: January 02, 2018, 09:48:53 »
From The Times, 13 January, 1886.

South Eastern Circuit.

Yesterday, before Mr. Justice Stephen, at Maidstone, Mr Dickens, for the treasury, applied that the trial of the Dartford murder case might be postponed so that inquiries might be made by competent persons into the state of the prisoner’s mind. The prisoner, John Knocker, offering no objection, the application was granted. The case will therefore be tried at the alternate Spring Assizes to be held at Lewes.


I found an entry in the Criminal Registers
County of Kent
Spring Assize held at Lewes 24th. May 1886
John Knocker – Offence Murder – Insane when act was (unreadable best guess done) to be kept in strict custody
Warrant of removal of a Criminal Lunatic, ordered to be detained during her Majesty’s pleasure, from Prison to Broadmoor.
Registered number of Criminal lunatic X 10441
Court Lewes assizes
Order of Court - To be detained during Her Majesty’s pleasure.
Prison in which confined at date of Warrant – Lewes
Signed by Hugh C. R. Childers ( I believe Home Secretary ) One of Her Majesty’s Principal Secretaries of State. Whitehall,
2 day of June 1886
To the Governor of H. M. Prison at Lewes and To the Superintendant of Broadmoor Lunatic Asylum.


From 1891 census District Broadmoor Asylum
John Knocker  - Patient - Single – 46 – Army Pensioner formerly a soldier & a labourer or boiler-man – Born Kent Chatham - Lunatic

I think this is Glen's blog
Kent Today & Yesterday

There are replies there that add more information on John Knocker which I found after I searched for the above details.


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Re: Double Murder in Sutton At Hone
« Reply #2 on: January 02, 2011, 21:29:04 »
From the tone of a Times article it does sound like he may have been declared insane and committed to an asylum.



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Double Murder in Sutton At Hone
« Reply #1 on: January 01, 2011, 01:46:45 »
Exactly 125 years ago today a horrific double murder took place at The Greyhound pub in Sutton at Hone (the pub is on the A225).

The 64 year old landlord David Smith and one of his lodgers Alfred Kemp were murdered by John Knocker (also a lodger).

Both men had their throats cut with a razor.

Knocker was arrested in Dartford the same evening and confessed immediately to the crimes and was taken into custody.

An inquest was held into the tragic events.

Knocker had been resident at The Greyhound for around five months and had previously always been on very good terms with the landlord and his fellow lodgers.

He had served in the army for 25 years and his conduct had been exemplary. The Police Constable who had made the arrest confirmed that he was not drunk.

So what had gone so terribly wrong?

At the inquest Mrs Smith told how Knocker had left The Greyhound in apparent good spirits on Christmas Eve for a short holiday but had returned the following Tuesday "a different man"....

Unfortunately I have not so far been able to find out what happened to John Knocker at trial but I can confirm that he was not hanged for his crimes.

In view of the circumstances of the case I imagine he may have been declared insane and committed to a lunatic asylum. Nowadays, he would probably be tried for manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility.

David Smith the landlord was buried in the nearby graveyard at St John the Baptist church on 10th January 1886.

If anyone knows what happened at trial I would be pleased to hear from you.



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