Crime novelist Richard Osman discovers ancestors at the center of a macabre murder case

Unknown star and detective novelist Richard Osman discovered ‘extraordinary’ similarities between his ancestors and intrepid villains in his book series, when you screened the show You Think You Who is?

Richard Osman to appear in an episode of Who Do You Think You Are?
Richard Osman to appear in an episode of Who Do You Think You Are?

Richard Osman did some detective work and discovered his ancestors were amateur killers like the characters in his crime novels.

Osman, whose debut Thursday Murders Club sold a million copies, knew that it was his relatives who were at the center of one of Brighton’s most notorious murders in 1831.

While performing Who do you think you are? he found news reports that his four-time great-grandfather Gabriel Gillam had discovered clothes and a body about two miles outside of Brighton.

Initially unsure of what they had found, Gabriel and another man, David Maskell, visited the site several times before realizing what they discovered was the mutilated body of a women from town.

Richard Osman is a best-selling author and television personality

Gabriel, his wife Mary, and mother Elizabeth also visited the site before notifying a peace officer who was the closest equivalent to the person in charge of law and order prior to the introduction of the police force in the country. Brighton.

“So it was an intrepid little band that set off in the fields perhaps to solve a crime,” Osman said. You can imagine the three of them sitting around a table talking this over the speakers.

“I find that extraordinary. I write about a gang that specializes in investigating everything.

“It was my great-grandmother and great-grandfather of four and five-time great-grandmother who was investigating.

Richard’s novel The Thursday Murders is about a group of murderers living in a retirement home



“I find that extraordinary,” Richard said.


Ken McKay / ITV / REX / Shutterstock)

“It makes everything around my neck stand on end.

“I wrote about naked amateur racers. Suddenly there was a real case with Gabriel right at the heart of it. “

After digging at the site on the Lovers’ Walk, then farmland, north of Brighton, Gabriel and the peacekeeper discovered the remains of a woman, named Celia Holloway.

Gabriel gave evidence at an interrogation at a local pub the next day and was a witness in the case that led to Celia’s husband John being found guilty of murder.

Osman will appear on the TV series Who Do You Think You Are?



He was sentenced to death in Lewes, East Sussex, in December 1831.

Osman was shocked and delighted at his discovery. He said: “Gabriel and his wife, Mary and his mother, Elizabeth, they were the poorest of the poor fishermen from Brighton. And it was such a wonderful circus that they suddenly became the focal point of it. To think they are the detective of the day. And their investigations essentially lead to justice.

“I wanted to write a detective duo Gabriel Gillam and his mother, Elizabeth, solving crimes in Brighton in the 1830s – it wasn’t a bad idea.”

Pointless creator and co-host Osman recently announced that he will be taking a break from his television role to focus on writing following the success of The Saturday Murder Club and its sequel The Man Who Died Twice. .

In Who Do You Think You Are?, he also learns his family is a 19th century fisherman and can be traced back to 1757 in Brighton.

Osman, who was born and raised in Brighton, said: “I don’t think we’re going too far beyond Brighton. The place is very close to my heart.

Who do you think You Are? Featuring Richard Osman to air on BBC One, 9 June.

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