Grave robbing in Southwark

As a policeman on his beat passed St Olave’s church in Southwark he heard noises in the graveyard. On investigation he found a man digging a grave. As it was one in the morning the policeman approached the man and asked him to stop what he was doing.

The grave digger carried on digging what had been the grave of a child that had recently died in the parish. The policeman questioned him about it and the man, ‘a tall gaunt-looking fellow’ said he was dis-entering the body of a child ‘for anatomical purposes’. He added that he was employed to do the job. Employed by whom one wonders?

However, having given such a wealth of information the man (named Edmund Williams) clammed up and refused to answer any further questions, even when he was taken to the police station.

He was similarly uncommunicative when brought before the magistrate at Union Hall and so the justice sent him to the house of correction for six weeks.

[From The Morning Post, Saturday, August 15, 1835]

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