|The Edalji Five and the Shadow of Sherlock Holmes|
A DYING PONY
The Great Wyrley Outrages and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s campaign to prove George Edalji innocent
The horrific Great Wyrley animal outrages of 1903 haunted the community for generations. Horses, cattle and sheep were all ripped open. Who were the perpetrators? This great Midlands crime mystery still preoccupies thousands of writers on the worldwide web.
The eighth outrage, a brutal attack on a pit-pony, led to the sensational arrest of George Edalji, the son of the Vicar of Great Wyrley. His trial and conviction at Stafford Quarter Sessions were reported by national newspapers to an engrossed public.
On his release George appealed to Britain’s most famous contemporary writer, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, to help to have him declared innocent. Through 1907 Conan Doyle led a passionate campaign on his behalf. It seemed to a fascinated audience around the world that Sherlock Holmes had come to life in a story as gripping as those in the Sherlock Holmes books themselves.
Until the 1980s every writer on the case repeated Conan Doyle’s version. Then local researcher Michael Harley investigated the previously hidden records at the Public Record Office. He suggested that the gullible author had been taken in by a scheming George Edalji.
|Copyright © Roger Oldfield 2013|