The Times, 11 January 1897 (page 4, column B)


At the County Magistrate's Office at Carlisle, on Saturday, Joseph BELL, a
mason or miner, aged 41, was brought up charged with having changed his
residence without notifying the fact to the police as he was bound as a
ticket-of-leave man to do; also with carrying firearms with intent to
murder. The prisoner was convicted at the Cumberland Assizes in October,
1882, of attempting to murder his brother John BELL, grocer, Dalston, near
Carlisle, and his brother's wife, by the use of dynamite or tonite. The
prisoner had gone to Dalston in the summer of 1882, and at night had thrown
an explosive missile into a room which he believed to be occupied by John
BELL and his wife. He had, however, mistaken the house. The occupant of the
room into which the missile fell was a Miss BROWN, who, on being awakened by
the hissing of the fuse, called out that the house was on fire. Her nephew
on hearing the cry of alarm ran into her bed room. He saw the missile on the
floor - it was an india-rubber tube a yard and a half long, with a hard ball
at the end - and, picking it up, he threw it out of the room into a lobby.
There it exploded and did great damage to the building. Mr Justice DAY
characterized the prisoner's crime as a diabolical and carefully-planned
attempt to gratify his feelings of revenge against his sister-in-law Martha
BELL for some fancied wrong, and sentenced him to 20 years' penal servitude.
Last September, when he had served between 14 and 15 years of his sentence,
he was liberated on licence by Sir Matthew White RIDLEY, Home Secretary, in
compliance with a local memorial which had been presented to him. On
December 26 the released convict went to Dalston and visited his brother,
who offered him supper, which he declined. The prisoner seemed friendly, but
refused to say why he was in the neighbourhood. The brother accompanied him
part of the way towards Carlisle, and before they parted the prisoner showed
him a revolver and remarked, "I would be the end of your missus if it was
not for you." On January 2 Police-constable FISHER apprehended the prisoner
for failing to report himself. He had a revolver in his pocket and 25 ball
cartridges for it. To the officer he remarked, when at the police-station,
"I'll do for the old woman Martha, at Dalston." The magistrates said they
must forfeit the prisoner's licence, and BELL was sent to complete the
unexpired portion of his sentence of 20 years' penal servitude.