Cunningham Arrested For Explosion At The Tower

Posted: September 18, 2009 in Inspector Frederick Abberline
The man Gilbert, alias Cunningham, who was arrested on a charge of having caused the explosion at the Tower, was brought up again at Bow street on Feb. 2. It was shown that he arrived in Liverpool in November from the United States, and came to London on Christmas Eve, when he conveyed an American trunk and a bag to lodgings which he had taken in Great Prescot street, Whitechapel. On Jan. 14 he left those lodgings for others in the same district, and between the two lodgings the trunk disappeared, and the police have not been able to trace it. When he was apprehended at the Tower he gave an account of himself which was shown to be untrue, and he denied having possessed a trunk. The police, on examining his wearing apparel at his lodgings, shook out of some socks a charged detonator, such as is only used for exploding dynamite. Mr. Poland, who conducted the prosecution, said the prisoner might be charged under an Act of George III., which constitutes an attempt to explode any of her Majesty’s armouries the crime of high treason, punishable with death. The prisoner was remanded for a week.
Circumstances have, it is understood, come to the knowledge of the police which will, in all probability, lead to a further charge being preferred against the prisoner Cunningham for being concerned in, if not actually causing, the explosion on the Underground Railway on Jan. 2. It will be remembered that on the occasion of the explosion the train from which the dynamite was dropped was proceeding towards Gower street. Almost immediately the explosion occurred the police took possession of the platform at the station and awaited the arrival there of the train, upon which the carriages were cleared, and in as many cases as possible the names and addresses of travellers were taken. Attention was particularly drawn to three men who had travelled in the guard’s brake van, and they were suspected of being the perpetrators of the outrage. By some means, however, they evaded the precautionary measures that had been instituted, and succeeded in escaping, not, however, before an opportunity had been given to the police and the guard of scrutinising the suspicious travellers. As a consequence a sergeant of police and the guard of the train attended at Bow street Police Court on Feb. 2 last, and at the conclusion of the prisoner Cunningham’s examination he was placed amongst a number of other men in one of the rooms adjoining the Court, with a view of ascertaining whether he could be identified as one of the men in question. The guard in charge of the train very carefully examined each individual placed before him, and pointed out Cunningham as being one of the suspected men travelling in the guard’s brake on the night of the explosion. The sergeant of police also entertained a similar belief. During the scrutiny the prisoner betrayed signs of great uneasiness, holding his head down and keeping his hat well over his eyes. He attempted to evade recognition. It is hoped that during future examinations other persons who were travelling by the train, and saw the men referred to, may be able to give evidence of identification.
Another important arrest and discovery were made very soon after this by the police on Feb. 3 in connection with the dynamite explosion at the Tower. Inspectors Jarvis and Abberline acting on information received, proceeded shortly after 5 o’clock to a house in Whitechapel, and took into custody a man whose name has not transpired, but who is believed to be an accomplice of the prisoner Cunningham, at present under remand. In the man’s possession was found a brown box, heavily weighted, which, there is little doubt, is the box that, according to the evidence given before the magistrates, was removed from Cunningham’s lodgings. The police regard the arrest as of great importance, and inquiries have been actively made, with the result, it is understood, that further evidence in the case has been obtained. – European Mail
Source: Star, Issue 5269, 26 March 1885, Page 4

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