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Last Updated:  Sunday, 23 February, 2003, 12:57 GMT
Memorial for murdered officers
PC George Mussell and Sergeant Andrew Barton
Pc George Mussell and Sergeant Andrew Barton were shot
The shooting of two police officers in a Northumberland town 90 years ago is to be remembered at a special service of dedication.

Police are also trying to trace relatives of the two men so they can be at the ceremony in April.

Pc George Mussell and Sergeant Andrew Barton were killed on duty in 1913 at a Bedlington pub, in a crime which shocked the area and led to the hanging of the murderer.

A rededication service is to be held at the cemetery where the officers were buried on 13 April - the 90th anniversary of the shootings.

Pub owner John Vickers Amos, who owned the Sun Inn, Bedlington, was convicted of the murder of the two officers.

The service will be attended by local dignitaries, including Northumbria Chief Constable Crispian Strachan, as well as surviving relatives of the two men.

Heated argument

A well-known figure, Amos was also a poor book-keeper and on 6 April 1913, the owner of the pub noticed 45 was missing from the accounts.

On 15 a heated argument over the money led to police being called.

Pc George Mussell, 32, from Bedlington police station was sent to resolve the matter. Although he was meant to be off duty he was doing an extra shift as a favour.

At the pub the disturbance escalated and Amos produced a shotgun and shot Pc Mussell twice.

Sergeant Andrew Barton, on patrol nearby, heard the gunfire and rushed to the scene.

Sergeant Barton knew Amos well and tried to reason with him, but was then shot twice himself.

A third person, the wife of the pub's new manager, was also shot dead by Amos.

Rededication service

At his trial he pleaded temporary insanity but was sentenced to death.

He was hanged at Newcastle Gaol on July 22, 1913.

A spokesman for Northumbria Police said: "The fallen officers were buried in Bedlington Cemetery and a memorial erected.

"Over the years it has become run down, but the North Eastern Police History Society is now getting the memorial refurbished to its former glory.

"A rededication service will be held at the cemetery at 1430 GMT on 13 April.

"Efforts are under way to trace relatives of the two officers. Two grandsons of Sgt Barton have been found but no relatives of Pc Mussell have yet been traced.

"Anyone with information about relatives of either officer should contact Chief Inspector John Lingwood on (01661) 868009, who will pass details on to the North Eastern Police History Society."



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