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  1. Ida Mary Breton, 33 years old, was staying with her uncle Arthur Isbell (later Arthur Isbell-Oldham of Strawbridge) at Claremont House. Miss Breton, a former church worker from Southampton, and engaged to marry a clergyman, had been painting a landscape down by the river Lew, but was found dead and covered in blood in the evening of Monday May 15, 1905 by her uncle and his cousin, Henry Mallet Veale of Passaford House. At first it was thought that she might have been killed by one of the bullocks on the other side of the river. Forensics were conducted, but there was no trace of blood on the horns of the 15 bullocks tested in the meadow on the other side, and no hoof prints on Miss Breton’s side of the river. She had not been “violated” and her easel and stool were still standing undisturbed. It was later determined that she had probably been murdered while resisting the advances of a 25 year old man named John Ware, a former resident of Hatherleigh who had been in jail for nine months previously for an assault on a young girl in Doddiscombsleigh. Ware had been working barking trees nearby. After some suspicious behavior and finding blood on his clothes, Ware was put in a jail cell in Hatherleigh, where he apparently strangled himself with a silk handkerchief and struck his head on the stone floor of his cell, killing himself.

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