|The Edalji Five and the Shadow of Sherlock Holmes|
His criminal case became one of the most famous in Edwardian England
George Edalji (1876-1953), the son of an Anglo-Asian couple, was brought up in Great Wyrley in Staffordshire. He worked as a solicitor in Birmingham, but his career was blighted by his conviction for maliciously wounding a pony, the eighth of the notorious Great Wyrley animal outrages of 1903. He was released from prison after three years and appealed to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Britain’s most famous contemporary writer, to help prove his innocence. Conan Doyle’s 1907 campaign made George and his family world-famous. The Home Secretary responded to Conan Doyle’s pressure by setting up a Committee of Enquiry, which concluded that George should be given a pardon. It added, however, that he had helped bring his troubles on himself by allegedly writing anonymous letters claiming he was one of a gang involved in the outrages. The Home Secretary’s failure to grant compensation for wrongful imprisonment provoked outrage in Parliament and elsewhere. Indignation over the case was a factor behind the establishment of the Court of Criminal Appeal in 1907.
Roger Oldfield's book includes the most comprehensive biography of George Edalji ever published.
|Copyright © Roger Oldfield 2013|