True crime podcast delves into the case of Byker gunman as new details emerge

Gateshead historian and TV presenter David Olusoga appears in the new Harry & Meghan documentary on Netflix.
-Credit: (Image: Bristol Post)


New details have emerged about a gunman who shot a man dead in Newcastle over a century ago as his case features in a true crime podcast.

George Ewart, 64, gunned down Daniel Gray, 42, in broad daylight on September 10, 1896. He approached Daniel on the corner of Dalton Street, in Byker, and shot him at close range with a revolver. Daniel died of his injuries the same day and George was tried for his murder.

But now historian David Olusoga, George's great-great-grandson, has worked with Findmypast subscription service, which has access to some of the world's most renowned historical databases, to reveal new details of the story of his relative and insights into the early recognition of mental health as a driver in major crime.

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David's findings suggest that the case tragically began a decade before, when George was violently assaulted by Daniel over a petty misunderstanding, causing him to lose his sight, livelihood and ability to provide for his family. As a result, George's mental health deteriorated steadily over the next 10 years, fixating on revenge against Daniel.

And now the case is being explored in a new podcast series from Findmypast, named 'Was Justice Served?' The podcast offers a refreshing twist on the true crime format. By giving free access to case files for each crime – a set of historical records detailing events as they happened – listeners can become jurors and decide for themselves whether justice was served.

In episode one, available now to listen in full, listeners are walked through the evidence by David Olusoga, alongside co-hosts criminologist Professor David Wilson and professional genealogist Jen Baldwin from Findmypast, before being asked to decide for themselves – Was Justice Served?

Remaining episodes for the podcast will go live weekly following the launch episode on Wednesday 19th June and will be diving into four interesting crimes from history with big twists and turns along the way.

The crimes covered include a double poisoning which happened in the home of a gardener at the height of the Victorian ‘Poison Panic’, a young woman found brutally murdered to cover an illicit affair, a 50-year-old woman found dead in her bedroom without a scratch on her body, and a gentleman killed during a freak shotgun incident while hunting in Scotland.

Episode list for Season 1:

  • Episode 1: Murder in my family, with David Olusoga (Pilot)

  • Episode 2: The Camberley Poisoning

  • Episode 3: A Murderous Affair in Peasenhall

  • Episode 4: Sudden Death in Southend

  • Episode 5: Shotguns and Scandal at Ardlamont

Historical newspapers detailing the crime, subsequent events, and the ups and downs of the trial provided to listeners are gathered into ‘case files' using Findmypast’s new Collections feature. These allow listeners to build up a detailed picture of how events unfolded and are available for free at www.findmypast.co.uk/wasjusticeserved. Wannabe jurors and detectives can then share their own verdict on social media via the hashtag #wasjusticeserved.

Was Justice Served? can be downloaded via Apple Podcasts, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts. Discover more at www.findmypast.co.uk/wasjusticeserved.