The last train for the night had just left Lintz Green station, between Consett and Newcastle, County Durham, on Saturday, October 7th, 1911, when someone threw sand into the eyes of stationmaster Joseph Wilson, 60, and shot him dead.

The police believed that robbery was the motive, although the day’s takings were untouched in the station safe. They also believed that the murder was committed by Samuel Atkinson, 25, a part-time porter at the station. They woke him up at his home and arrested him.

Atkinson was put on an identity parade and identified by three witnesses as having been seen hanging around the station long after he claimed to have left work and gone home. He was questioned and made a statement, but Consett magistrates ruled the statement inadmissible because the police forgot to caution him.

Later, at Durham Assizes the prosecution decided to offer no evidence against him and he was discharged.