Preston Murders and Misdemeanours
Series: Murders & Misdemeanours
- Keith Johnson
15th March 2020
A Preston Chronicle newspaper headline in 1866 of ‘Thievery, Knavery & Harlotry in Preston’ described a town struggling with crime and its consequences. Justice had been swift from the days of horse thieves and highwaymen, when the gloom of the gallows or transportation brought fear to the less fortunate who lived among poverty and pestilence. Some would earn notoriety for their dreadful deeds, while others received pity for their plight.
In Preston Murders and Misdemeanours, local author Keith Johnson brings together a collection of tales from the court archives to chronicle the events that occupied the courts and brought criminals to justice. Judges and justices, coroners and court clerks, barristers and briefs all played their part in a time when justice was swift and often delivered harshly with unflinching retribution. The poacher, the pickpocket, the prostitute and the pilfering thief were all punished for their crimes – whether petty or paramount.
Keith Johnson tells of those who were murdered, poisoned, mistreated or cheated. He reveals the killers, thieves, swindlers and fraudsters who faced the glare of the courtroom and felt the long arm of the law. This journey through the justice system in this Lancashire city exposes the harsh realities of life and the curiosities of the past that are both compelling and thought-provoking.