Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

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Tied to His Work

Map of England with Brighton Locator
Map of England with Brighton Locator

In 1836, six years after a police force was first established in Brighton, England, to replace the watchmen system, Henry Solomon became its Chief Constable.  He served in this post for eight years, until the day he died.  His office was in the town hall, built in 1830, and one day when he was interrogating young John Lawrence about his part in the theft of a roll of carpeting from an area shop, the twenty-three-year-old suspect reacted.  He was left alone for a moment, and he seized the opportunity to go over to the fireplace to grab a poke from the set of tools.  Lawrence then used it to strike Solomon on the head.  The blow was hard enough to bend the poker and leave a life-threatening wound.  Chief Solomon died.

The Murder Site of Henry Solomon
The Murder Site of Henry Solomon

Since it was known that Lawrence had been with Solomon that day, and there were in fact three witnesses to the attack, Lawrence was arrested. Eventually he was convicted and hanged.  Nevertheless, people say that the spirit of the chief constable has been spotted in the building's cellar, where his office had been.  It's the only police station in the UK where a police chief has been murdered.  In fact, the incident is mentioned in the Sussex Police Museum, opened in that building in May 2005.  Tours are offered, and eager ghost hunters always ask if the specter has been seen lately.  No one seems to know why he would appear, unless he simply loved his work so much he's reluctant to leave.  In any event, the people of Brighton are aware of the building's paranormal reputation.

Similarly, curiosity about a ghost in Montreal remains constant.

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