Page:Yorkshire Oddities, Incidents and Strange Events.djvu/427

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415
Mary Bateman, Witch.

property was taken out, the family of Snowden was to take a dose, which was at that time in preparation for them, and was to have been administered about the end of October, 1808. Happily for them this dose was never taken.

At this juncture, so critical to the family in question, Mary Bateman was apprehended for the frauds committed on William Perigo's family, and the wilful murder of Perigo's wife, by administering poison, of which she had died nearly two years before. This event naturally created a good deal of interest, and a narrative of the transaction was published in the Leeds Mercury of the 22nd of October. On the evening of that day Snowden was sitting in a public-house at Bradford when the Mercury was produced, and the narrative read by some person in the company. Snowden heard the relation with violent emotion, and as soon as it was finished, started from his chair and hurried home with all possible expedition. His first care was to give his wife a hasty and confused notion of the imposition that had been practised upon them, and next to unrip the folds of the bed; when, instead of watch and money, he discovered—a coal! He then went to Leeds, and found his house, which he had left in the care of Mary Bateman, plundered of almost everything it had contained, and on a search-warrant being procured, part of the property was found in Bateman's house.

John Bateman, the husband, was in consequence apprehended and committed to prison, to take his trial for the offence, either as a principal or as an accomplice. At the following Sessions his trial came on, and he was acquitted.

A brother of Mary Bateman, who had deserted from his Majesty's navy, had come with his wife to live in Leeds, and lodged with Bateman. Mary finding that her lodgers were a restraint upon her, determined to be quit of them. For this purpose she wrote, or procured to be written, a letter to her sister-in-law, stating that her father was on the