Monday, November 7, 2011

A LADY'S FIGHT FOR LIFE –POSSIBLE LUNATIC ESCAPED FROM CHEDDLETON ASYLUM - 1904

EXCITING AFFAIR IN STAFFORDSHISRE. Society in North Staffordshire was all excitement on December 6, over an outrage committed in the Newcastle under Lyme tunnel on Miss Eva Goss, the daughter of a well-known Stoke-in-Trent manufacturer and J.P. Miss Goss was returning by an evening train to Stoke, and just before the train entered the tunnel - the second-class compartment in which, she sat alone was invaded by a man, who, after a few commonplace remarks, suddenly made a violent attack upon her.

The frightened woman, who happily for herself is a first-class athlete and possessed of more than the ordinary strength of her sex, at once made a desperate effort to pull the communication, cord. She reached it, but the ruffian tore her hand away. Again she tried, and once more pulled the cord down a little way, but was once more forced to let it go. Then, struggling with all her might against the brute's attempts to force her to the floor, she appealed piteously to him to let her alone. In reply, the fellow threatened to throw her out of the window if she resisted further. The woman's answer was that she would prefer that rather than submit, and enraged, the ruffian struck her a series of heavy blows with his fist on the head. Half insensible through his violence and with her strength rapidly going, the victim was at length forced to the floor.

The horror of her position seems to have given Miss Goss a fresh sense of vitality, for, seizing the man's neckerchief, she twisted it so as to make him gasp for breath, pleading the while that he should take all her money and jewels' and let her alone. Having discovered by this time that his victim was not likely to yield so long as her senses remained, the ruffian hearkened to the temptation held out by the young woman. Savagely demanding her purse, he snatched it from her, and, as the train came again into the open, disappeared from the carriage. Half dead with fright and her exertions, Miss Goss lay in the carriage till it pulled up at Longport station.

Then, pulling herself together, she told her tale to the station officials and then collapsed. Her face and garments bore eloquent testimony to the violence of the struggle she had gone through, and after being escorted to Stoke by an official she was taken home in a cab. For many hours Miss Goss was dangerously ill and was unable to give any description of her assailant, whom she afterwards described as a man, dressed as a labourer, of medium build, and between twenty-four and thirty years of age. Rumours were circulated that the outrage had been committed by a lunatic, who had escaped from Cheddleton Asylum, but the police have a different theory. Several similar outrages occurred during last winter, and more than once policemen were stationed at intervals along the line, though they failed to catch anyone. The police believe that Miss Goss's assailant is an ex-railway man, from his expert knowledge of the trains and the nimble way he board's and jumps off them in motion.

It has transpired that both the guard and the driver of the train in which Miss Goss was maltreated noticed that the communication cord was being pulled during the tunnel passage. Yet they not only failed to stop the train then and there, but also allowed it to run past the station between the tunnel and Longport station.

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