The newspapers made a sensation out of the announcement of Holymead’s arrest on a charge of having murdered Sir Horace Fewbanks. They declared that the arrest of the eminent K.C. on a capital charge would come as a surprising development of the Riversbrook case. It would cause a shock to his many friends, and especially to those who knew what a close friendship had existed between the arrested man and the dead judge. The papers expatiated on the fact that Holymead had appeared for the defence when Frederick Birchill had been tried for the murder. As the public would remember, Birchill had been acquitted owing to the great ability with which his defence was conducted.
It was somewhat remarkable, said the Daily Record, that in his speech for the defence Holymead had attempted to throw suspicion on one of the witnesses for the prosecution. The journal hinted that it was the result of something which Counsel for the defence had let drop at this trial that Inspector Chippenfield had picked up the clue which had led to Holymead’s arrest. The papers had very little information to give the public about this new development of the Fewbanks mystery, but they boldly declared that some startling revelations were expected when the case came before the court.
In the absence of interesting facts apropos of the arrest of the distinguished K.C., some of the papers published summaries of his legal career, and the more famous cases with which he had been connected. These summaries would have been equally suitable to an announcement that Mr. Holymead had been promoted to the peerage or that he had been run over by a London bus.
There were people who declared without knowing anything about the evidence the police had in their possession that in arresting the famous barrister the police had made a far worse blunder than in arresting Birchill. It was even hinted that the arrest of the man who had got Birchill off was an expression of the police desire for revenge. To these people the acquittal of Holymead was a foregone conclusion. The man who had saved Birchill’s life by his brilliant forensic abilities was not likely to fail when his own life was at stake.
But when the case came before the police court and the police produced their evidence, it was seen that there was a strong case against the prisoner. The whispers as to the circumstances under which the prisoner had taken the life of a friend of many years appealed to a sentimental public. These whispers concerned the discovery by the prisoner that his friend had seduced his beautiful wife. In the police court proceedings there were no disclosures under this head, but the thing was hinted at. In view of the legal eminence of the prisoner and the fear of the police that he would prove too much for any police officer who might take charge of the prosecution, the Direction of Public Prosecutions sent Mr. Walters, K.C., to appear at the police court. The prisoner was represented by Mr. Lethbridge, K.C., an eminent barrister to whom the prisoner had been opposed in many civil cases.