Cornwall news The story of a child left to starve in a Cornish dungeon UK news
MetiNews.Com - The three-year-old was discovered in a dungeon fifteen feet below the ground
Breaking News ! Cornwall and beyond was left shocked by the discovery of a helpless young child left to starve in an underground chamber of Pendennis Castle. The boy, who was only three and a half years old, had been kept in a dungeon in the Falmouth castle by his foster parents. He was found by a sergeant, who described him as "a terrible sight, being simply skin and bone". The horrific events took place in September 1906. John Henry Wynne had been adopted by the Emerys, a couple who lived at Pendennis Castle with the 105th Company of the Royal Garrison Artillery. He was described as happy and cheerful and was loved by the soldiers. But the child began to become skinnier and skinnier. The soldiers and their families also noticed that he was becoming unhappy. Until, one day, he vanished. (Image: Getty Images) The terrible tale made the news across the pond. The Washington Post reported on the court case on Sunday, September 9, 1906, in an article titled ‘Adoptive mother imprisons child in castle’s dungeon’. “The incarceration of a child in a subterranean chamber of Pendennis Castle and his ill-treatment by his foster mother has been the subject of a charge investigated at Falmouth Police Court," the story reads. “Pendennis Castle, built by Henry VIII, crowns a headland overlooking Falmouth Bay, and in the civil war was besieged by the parliamentary forces for six months, being the last of the royalist strongholds to capitulate. “Its secret room afforded shelter to Queen Henrietta Maria and Prince Charles in their flight to the continent, and in its subterranean dungeons has been incarcerated many a high personae who had incurred royal displeasure. Now the castle affords quarters for the 105th Company of the Royal Garrison Artillery, and its underground chambers are not supposed to be used for punitive purposes. You can stay up-to-date on the top news near you with CornwallLive's FREE newsletters – find out more about our range of daily and weekly bulletins and sign up here or enter your email address at the top of the page. “There have been living at the castle an army pensioner and his wife, named Emery, the former engaged as barrack labourer. “Some time ago they adopted a child named John Henry Wynne, a pretty dark-eyed little fellow, now aged three and a half years, who soon became a general favourite with the soldiers. “The child, it was noticed, became thin and had an unhappy appearance, and then he disappeared altogether. The suspicions of a soldier’s wife were aroused, and her inquiries resulted in the child being discovered in an old room fifteen feet below the surface of the ground." The discovery was described at the police court, where Mrs Tallack and a local sergeant gave evidence. The story continues: "Mrs Tallack, the wife of a gunner, said she had missed the child, and spoke to the foster mother, asking what she had done with little Harry. The reply was ‘I have stowed him away’. “Witness asked where, and the reply was, ‘He is all right, he is in a bedroom’.
The entrance to a holding cell at Pendennis Castle
(Image: Sally Adams)
"(...) He said that when the child was first brought to the castle it was in a good condition, and seemed happy and cheerful, and no one could wish for a better boy. “He missed the boy for some time, but caught a glimpse of him on July 11, when he looked very sick and unhappy, and seemed as if he had had no food for a week. “On August 4, in consequence of what Mrs Tallack told him, he went to an underground chamber, now used as a wash kitchen. He called the boy’s name, but could not get an answer. The door was locked. “As the boy was not seen about on the following day, he again went to the chamber. Looking through a window, he could discern in the dim light the form of the child crouching beneath a table."
A holding cell
(Image: Sally Adams)
Sgt Bland went to little John's foster mother for the key, and together they went inside the underground chamber."The child evaded the woman, as if frightened, and crawled to witness for protection," the report continues. "The child did not seem to have strength to run, and presented a terrible sight, being simply skin and bone. “Dr Coates said he found bruises on the lad’s head and scars on the shoulders. Brutal violence had evidently been used. Dr Bullmore gave a terrible catalogue of the injuries he had found on the child, including twenty-one elongated bruises on the back. “Inspector Wall said the woman excused herself by saying that she had a vile temper, and told him she thrashed the child with a stick, on the end of which was a piece of dried seaweed." The article reports that the couple held two insurance policies on John's life.
“The magistrates fined the male prisoner £5, with £3 12s 6d costs, and sentenced the female prisoner to four months’ hard labor," it continues. “An enormous crowd of infuriated women assembled outside the police court, and endeavoured to attack Mrs Emery. “The police secured a cab, in which she was placed and driven rapidly to the station, but the women gave chance, uttering threats and attempting to drag the prisoner from the cab.”
Source = MetiNews.Com - Cornwall