Thomas Edward Kissack

Recently able to read some of the on-line Manx papers, I came across what looks to be a sad story of Thomas Edward Kissack (born abt 1895) it begins with a serious accident.

The Isle of Man Examiner (Saturday, 2nd June 1900) reports: " A lad named Thomas Edward Kissack, aged 15, and belonging to Baldrine, Lonan, was found on the rocks below Clay Head, on Tuesday, suffering from severe wounds on the head. He left home on Monday afternoon, and went after birds' nests. As he did not return a search was made in a boat along the seashore. He was removed to Noble's Hospital , where it was found that hi leg was broken."

I surmise that the serious head injuries may have caused some brain damage as we see from the later newspaper reports of his life that it is a less than normal one.

Manx Sun (1905) reports a gun theft an court appearance. Ramsey Courier 2nd Oct 1914 reports "STEALING A GUN - PRISONER COMMITTED FOR TRIAL - In Ramsey, on Wednesday, Thomas Edward Kissack, of Lonan, was charged before Deemster Callow and a jury of six at a criminal Court, with having broken into premises of his former employer, Mr W.E. Quirk, Ballacoar, Lonan, and stealing therefrom a gun, a jar of jam, a loaf of bread, and some beef, on August Last. The jurymen sworn were: E.J Cowley, Ballacollisere, Lonan; P.E Cowley, Bank House, Laxey; T.B Cowley, merchant Ramsey; Jos. Cowin, North Baldrine, Laxey; John Criggal, Ramsey; and Wm. Thos. Cubbon, Ramsey. Mr R.B Moore, for the crown, briefly outlined the charge, and said unfortunately enquiries of that kind had still to be held, although the statement the defendant had made and the way he had conducted himself since was such as to put the matter beyond dispute. Wm. Evan Quirk, farmer of Ballacoar, Lonan, said that on the 1st August he left home at six o'clock in the morning to go to Douglas, and his wife followed him later."Isle of Man examiner (Saturday, 19th August 1916) - "Kissack THE GUNMAN. - Again arrested. - Charge if breaking and entering. - Thomas Edward Kissack (30), farm labourer, and ex-soldier, who has a sort of mania for roaming the countryside of the island armed with a gun of some sort, to the exceeding terror and discomfort of dwellers in lonely places, is in trouble again. He appears before Messrs G Drinkwater and J Boyd on Saturday, on a charge of breaking and entering a house at Clyclough, Lonan. and stealing two loaves of bread, the contents of two pots of jam, and part of a tin of condensed milk, the property of Thomas Kaneen. Defendant came out gaol in May , and in accordance with his usual practice, procured a weapon - on this occasion a large horse-pistol of ancient pattern. This he attached to a stock made of wood, secured from a packing case. Thomas Kaneen, who lives at Clyclough, deposed that on the morning of August 7th, he left home at seven o'clock to go to work on Snaefell Mountain, and returned about six in the evening. He found the window had been forced, and the articles mention in the charge stolen. Police Sergt Gale, who is stationed at St John's deposed that on the previous day he arrested defendant on the Sony Mountain, where he was hunting. Witness brought him to St John's, where he cautioned and charged him. In reply, defendant said, "That is right. I did not break the window. It was very tight, but I lifted it up" He had in his possession the horse-pistol produced, with powder, caps and shot. He told the witness he slept on the mountain most of the day, and went hunting at night. People when he was in the neighbourhood were terrified, especially women. Defendant, who had nothing to say to the charge, was committed for trial."

Ramsey Courier 25th Aug 1916, begins: "AN OUTCAST OF THE HILLS - Thomas Edward Kissack, a man of 30, who spends his time between serving terms of imprisonment and rambling on the mountains between Lonan and South Barrule, hunting, and who has no home address, was last week, charge before Douglas magistrates with braking and entering a house at Clyclough, Lonan........"

Ramsey Courier(28 November 1930) -" THE SULBY GLEN MURDER - TRIAL OF THOMAS EDWARD Kissack - STORY OF MOUNTAIN TRAGEDY - STRONG MEDICAL EVIDENCE OF PRISONER'S INSANITY - UTTERLY RESPONSIBLE - NO REMORSE OR SHAME FOR THE CRIME - PRISONER'S ASYLUM RECORD - Thomas Edward Kissack was today (Friday) brought up at General Gaol charged with the murder of Percy William Brooke, at Lhergyrhenny Farm, Lazaryre, on October 13th 1930 - THE STORY OF THE TRAGEDY - The scene of the murder was a lonely spot at Lhergyrhenny, a mile above Tholt-e-Will, at the head of Sulby Glen. The farm house was unoccupied, but Mr Brooke kept a number of sporting guns there for the purpose of shooting rabbits and game, on Monday the 13th October, he visited the house about noon. But when he got there he found there was a wire in the lock , and he could not open the door. A man of 72, named William Kinrade, who was ferreting for rabbits in an adjoining field was asked by Mr Brooke to go with him to the house, as he thought there was someone there. When they got to the house they found one of the windows broken and Mr Brooke took the catch off and got inside. He opened the front door, and Kinrade then went in. The kitchen had been ransacked and a gun was missing. Mr Brooke called upstairs, but no one answered, so he commenced to walk upstairs. Just as he got to a landing a shot rang out, and Mr Brooke dropped down the stairs, dead. Mr Kinrade stepped into the pantry about three feet from where Mr Brooke lay, It was evident that he was quiet dead, so Kinrade slipped from the house and ran about a mile, where he informed some highroad men. The police arrived, but there was no one in the house, though a gun was missing. Kissack had on the previous Saturday escaped from a Mental Home, of which he had been an inmate for a number of years. All night a watch was kept on the house of the tragedy, and the mountains searched and much public alarm was felt in the district in consequence of the asylum inmate being at large. Next day the search was continued in pelting rain. It was taken part in by police and civilians who were alarmed, but it was late on the following afternoon before Kissack was discovered in a ruined farm house about a mile from the scene of he crime, by Sergeant Watterson, who called upon him to put his hands up. This the prisoner promptly did, being undoubtedly taken by surprise. He had the missing gun from Mr Brooke's cottage, a number of cartridges, a rabbit he had killed, and a pair of rubber thigh boots which had also been stolen from Lhergyhenny. When Kissack was charged with the crime at the Douglas station, he said ' I just levelled the gun to frighten him, because if I had any intention of killing I would have killed the two of them' - THE TRIAL - Deemster Farrant was on the bench, and the jury was empanelled as follows: The Attorney-General, then Mr George E Moore, prosecuted no behalf of the Crown, and Kissack was defended by Mr JHL Cowin, assisted by Mr Howard Lay. Mr M McWhannell, of Ramsey, held a watching brief for Mrs Brooke. Professor Hanby Hay, a friend of the Deemster occupied a seat on the bench. The court was crowded, and great interest was taken in the trial. The prisoner, wearing a light jacket, was brought into the court in the custody of the gaoler. He looked pale, but appeared to take an interest in the proceedings. Deemster Farrant read the charge over to the prisoner, and put the formal question: 'How say you, Guilty or Not Guilty?'. The prisoner in a low voice replied 'Not guilty. It was an accident.' Deemster Farrant pointed out to the prisoner that he had the right to challenge the jurors, who were to try him 'for his life or death.' The usual system of challenge was then proceeded with. The jury were empanelled as follows: John Earnshaw, Douglas; RS Kelly, Minorca; W Hoggart, Port Erin; Gilbert Corteen, Maughold; J Corlett, Douglas; W Ducker, Douglas; Jas Gelling, Marown; HS Ekins, Douglas; T Frost, Peel; A Dungworth, Douglas; AJ Grant, Malew; C Hudson, Port St Mary. - ATTORNEY-GENERAL's OPENING SPEECH - The Attorney-General, for the crown ..."

The Isle of Man Examiner (19th December 1930) "Kissack SENT TO BROADMOOR - Thomas Edward Kissack who was recently tried for the murder of Mr Percy William Brooke and found guilty, but insane, was taken from the Island on Wednesday to Broadmoor Criminal Lunatic Asylum where he will spend the rest of his life. Kissack left the Island in charge of Police-Sergt. Watterson who arrested him after the murder and a warder from the Isle of Man Prison."

Sergeant Phillip Henry Watterson would later receive the King's medal for gallantry, in the New Years' Honours list 1932, for his part in the arrest of Thomas. He retired in 1937 as an Inspector

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