14th July 1861


On Friday morning, shortly before twelve o’clock, the greatest consternation was occasioned in Northumberland Chambers, 16 Northumberland-street, Strand, occupied by Mr Roberts, an army agent, and who, it appeared, had fired two pistols at a Major Murray, who was in Mr Roberts’ office at the time, and inflicted two bullet wounds in the neck.

Major Murray, although thus wounded, finding that Mr Roberts had locked the door, and was in possession of another pistol, seized the poker and tongs, and commenced a fierce onslaught on his attempted murderer inflicting the most fearful blows over the head and face, so as to thoroughly disarm him, and render him insensible.

A man named Pomfret first raised the cry of “Murder,” and Mr Ransom, who occupies offices in the same house, saw Major Murray make his escape from the back window into the yard, and as he was bleeding profusely from the wound in the neck and forehead, he at once led him off to Charing-cross hospital.

A number of policemen rushed to the house and, on going up stairs, they found the door locked but entering the room from the back window, they found the floor covered with blood, and in the corner near the door, they discovered Mr Roberts in a crouching position, bleeding profusely from numerous wounds on his head and face, they being fairly smashed, and on the floor they found the two pistols.

Mr Roberts was immediately raised up by the police, and conveyed to Charing-cross hospital, where Major Murray had previously arrived.

It appeared that the inmates of the house heard the sounds of pistols but paid no attention to it, as it was no unusual circumstance. For two months past, Mr Roberts had been in the habit of firing pistols in his rooms.

Both parties are in the charge of the police. No explanation for the affair has so far been forthcoming.

The following has been published by a contemporary as Major Murray’s statement:

“This morning, about half-past eleven, I bad come from London Bridge by the boat to Hungerford. I was going 28, Parliament-street, the office of the Grosvenor Hotel Company, of which I am a director. Mr Roberts stopped me on Hungerford Bridge, and said to me, “Major Murray, I think?” I said, “That is my name.” He said, “You are a director of the Grosvenor Hotel Company?” I replied, “I don’t know any greater shareholder than myself but one; how do you know me?” He said, “I have seen you at your meetings at the hotel in Palace-yard. I hear that you are about to borrow money.” I said, “I am not aware of it.” He said, “My office is close here, come with me; I want to speak to you on the matter.” I went with him, and sat down by the escritoire. He said, “What are your terms?” I replied, “I really can’t tell you; I don’t know that we require money, but I will come and tell you at three o’clock tomorrow.” All at once he came right behind me, fired a pistol and shot me in the back of the neck. I fell. When down he shot me again, and the ball glanced from my forehead over the temple on the left side. He stood over me several minutes, and I could feel his breath. I feigned to be dead. He went into the next room, and when I saw him come in again, I sprang up, seized the tongs, and beat him as long as I could. When he was powerless, I removed him to the front room, and finding the door locked I jumped out of the window. I never saw him before in all my life.”


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