Monday 2nd April 1832
The owner of The Moorcock Inn, William Bradbury (Bill), was joined by his son Thomas Bradbury (Tom) and friend Reuben Platt (63) for an evening drink at his pub.
Shortly after, Tom and Reuben set off on a 2 mile walk into Greenfield village – Tom to pick up some supplies at the village store, and Reuben to go home. Bill was left on his own at The Moorcock Inn.
Half a mile down the road, they encountered three men. In an Irish accent, one of them asked how far it was to Holmfirth. They told the men it was 8 miles or so.
According to Reuben, Tom felt uneasy: “I don’t like to leave my father as he is. I don’t like these men; they are a bad-looking set: they are Irishmen.” He also knew one of the men to be a thief who previously stole stockings from his father.
Tom and Reuben watched and waited until the men had walked on, up the path and beyond the pub. Only then did they continue walking to the village, parting company at Road End, Greenfield, to go their own separate ways.
Reuben went for a drink at the beerhouse in nearby Uppermill, owned by James Bowker, before going home at Primrose, near St. Chad’s Church
Tom bought coffee, sugar, and half a pound of candles at Daniel Whitehead’s shop at Spring Grove
He then made his way back along Holmfirth Road to his family home at Sidebank. It’s possible he called in to see his estranged wife.
As the night closed in, Tom set off back to the pub.
Tuesday 3rd April 1832
Amelia Winterbottom, Bill’s 12 year-old granddaughter and Tom’s niece, arrived at the pub to fetch some yeast for her mother. Instead, she made a gruesome discovery.
She saw a man lying on the floor covered in blood, barely alive. Only later would she learn it was her uncle Tom.
Amelia left to get help, running half a mile to the nearest house of James Whitehead at Binn Green. Having told James what she found, he and his wife rushed to the scene. Nothing could prepare them for the horror that awaited.
James and his wife arrived at the scene, identifying the man as Thomas Bradbury, who was lying in a congealed pool of blood. His body was a mangled mass of bruises and wounds, and his head badly crushed, with 16 deep gashes into it – two fracturing his skull. The candles he’d bought only hours earlier were still in his coat pocket.
The Whiteheads followed the trail of blood upstairs, where they found Bill lying in a bed he’d seemingly dragged himself to. He was equally beaten and bloodied – his left hand and arm shredded and broken, and his head severely crushed.
James sent for Mr Higginbottom, a surgeon from Uppermill. But it was clear there was very little he or anyone could do for the pair. They were both nearing the end of what was a slow and agonising death.
All present recall Tom’s harrowing groans as he tried hopelessly to prop himself up only to collapse to the floor, while Bill moaned and murmured incoherently. Some say he said nothing, while others were certain he uttered the words “pats, pats”.
All they could do was move Tom to the bed to be near his father.
Thomas Bradbury, aged 46, succumbed to his injuries, pronounced dead at approximately 3.00pm.
Wednesday 3rd April 1832
William (Bill) Bradbury, aged 84, passed away in the early hours the following morning, pronounced dead at approximately 1.00am.