The Last Man In England To Be Gibbeted, James Cook.

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A fire at James Cook’s workshop.

At about 11 p.m. the following evening a woman observed a huge fire blazing in James Cook’s workshop and gave the alarm.

The neighbours, as they hurried to the scene, could not help but notice the strange smell created by the flames.

One man ran to fetch Cook at his home in Wharf Street and another to the constable, who forced an entry. Cook came at once. And despite the fact he was annoyed that his shop had been broken into, explained to the constable, whilst kicking out the ashes, that it was all alright. He reported that he was burning some meat which he had purchased for a new dog which had not arrived.

The constable, however, was not entirely satisfied and took the charred flesh with him along with some small bones which he found in the ashes below. He did not detain Cook, though he made his father stand surety for his person.

The doctors to whom the relics were submitted were unanimous. The flesh might be too charred to identify with certainty, but the bones were certainly those of human fingers. Murder!

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