Attempted Kidnap in Elnor Lane, Whaley Bridge - December 1912

Many thanks to Jane Coop for this article




Deep Laid Plot Frustrated

In a little rustic, white-washed cottage in Elnor Lane, Whaley Bridge, there reside Mr. and Mrs. John TURNER and their family.  Sharing their home comforts is Mr. John Saml COOPER, son of the late Mr. Wm COOPER of Whaley Bridge.  John Samuel is a delicate young fellow, unable to follow any employment, but his father left him well provided for.  A sum of £200 is invested on trust, and there is a further £600 not so vested.  The interest of these monies is enough to give him all that he requires, and his father stipulated that he should have absolute freedom as to his choice of a home.  He elected to live with his cousins, Mr. & Mrs. TURNER, and his choice is a wise one, for he receives as much care, love, and attention as if he were one of Mr. and Mrs. TURNER`s own sons.  It would appear that others would like to have charge of John Samuel, and receive his income, and this motive is alleged to have governed a most daring and dramatic attempt to kidnap him, in broad daylight, on Wednesday afternoon, under circumstances which savour more of romance than actual fact.


The plot was deeply laid.  Mr. TURNER is the gardener for Mr. J. J. JACKSON, who resides higher up Elnor Lane, and was at work there.  Wednesday afternoon happened to be rent(?) audit for the Jodrell estate at the Royal Oak, Taxal, and Mr. TURNER had proceeded there to pay the rent.  John Samuel was left quietly alone in the house.  About three o`clock a taxi-cab, the property of an Oldham company, came along Elnor Lane, stopping before it reached Mr. TURNER`s house.  Two men, one a broad-shouldered, strapping young fellow, and the other of smaller stature, stepped out and proceeded to Mr. TURNER`s house.  They opened the door and walked in, and asked for John, meaning Mr. TURNER.  John Samuel told them that John was not in, whereupon they seized the young fellow and overpowered him.


Whilst this scene was being enacted, Mr. Wm. MELLOR, who resides at Sunny Lea, further up the lane, decided upon a visit to Horwich End.  Mr. MELLOR has not been well for some months, and only recently came out of the Infirmary.  He saw a lad named Jack WILD driving a trap down Elnor Lane, and asked for a lift.  He got in the trap, and when they got to the bottom of the lane Mr. MELLOR observed a strange man waving at the door of Mr. TURNER`s house, and beckoning someone else towards him.  He was wondering what this could mean, when the lad who was driving the tray (sic) exclaimed, "It`s a motor."  The lad was a bit bothered, and drew the horse to the road which branches off to the Mevril Bleach-works, to allow the motor to pass.  Mr. MELLOR was still puzzled about the motor, and wondered whether it was a doctor or was going to Shallcross Hall.  His doubts were soon solved, however, for he saw two men coming out of Mr. TURNER`s house carrying John Samuel, who was struggling.  They took him to the taxi, thrust him in, and closed the door.


"I got down from the cart as well as I could," said Mr. MELLOR &ldots;.. "but they had closed the door before I could get there, for I could not run, and that vexed me.  I got hold of the door of the car, however, and pulled it open.  They told me I had nothing to do with it, and began threatening me.  Seeing I could do nothing by myself, I shouted with all my might.  One of the men told the chauffeur to start the car, but it had not been turned round and they could not start up a brow, or turn the car round with ease.  I kept shouting and opening the door, my object being to cause delay.  The men had had some drink, and they threatened to hit me.  The chauffeur attempted to turn the car, but got into a hole, and every time it got a bit forward it slipped backwards.


"My shouting brought Mrs DEPLEDGE and Mrs JODRELL, who live in cottages opposite the TURNERS, on to the scene, and some more women came running along.  Just as we were wondering what to do next Mr. TURNER came running down the lane, having heard John Samuel shouting out of the car.  One of the men had got out of the car, but Mr. TURNER went to it and fetched both the other men and John Samuel out again.  Mrs. DEPLEDGE got hold of John Samuel, and in a minute had him safely locked in her house.  Mr. TURNER asked what they wanted to do with him, and they said they wanted to take him to a doctor in Stockport.  The men were most angry at the non-success of their plot; they threatened a great deal but no blows were struck.  When they asked me what I had to do with it, I told them that they were trying to take away a man against his will, and that I should say at the proper time and place.  The men got away in the car afterwards."

"Was there no one to arrest them?"  "No.  There was none about to do that."


This is a remarkable story, truly, and nobody can recall anything of the kind in Whaley Bridge.  Mr. MELLOR deserves the greatest credit for his prompt and timely action.  Suffering as he was from an internal malady which gives him excruciating pain, he displayed a rare courage, and had it not been for him, John Samuel would assuredly have been kidnapped, for the poor fellow was helpless between two powerful men.  He could only struggle and shout, and it was his voice happly that brought Mr. TURNER to his rescue .... that show the tender care &ldots;&ldots;.. for Mr. TURNER was a considerable distance away and John Samuel was in the cab.  The would-be kidnappers had given him rough usage.  He was turned almost upside down, the guiders of his legs were strained (?), and he was so upset and ill that the doctor had to be called in.

Mr. TURNER is confident in his own mind as to the instigator of the plot, although those who tried to carry it into effect are quite unknown to him.  The matter has, of course, been placed in the hands of the Derbyshire police, and no effort will be spared to bring the offenders to justice.  What makes the clue more certain is that Mr. and Mrs. TURNER had been told that something of this kind would probably be attempted.