James "Jemmy" Atkinson was the paymaster and armory clerk at Carlisle Castle. He despised his wife, Kate. He lived with his family in a two-story house adjacent to a virtually identical house owned by John Leigh and Leigh's wife Matilda, who was Jemmy's half-sister.
Robert Carey dismissed Atkinson from his post as paymaster and wanted to dismiss him as armory clerk, but could not.
Atkinson arranged for three men (who were helped by a fourth) to beat Andy Nixon because Nixon was having an affair with Atkinson's wife Kate. The next morning, Atkinson was found dead in his bed by Kate. Atkinson's body was dumped in an alley in a manner that made it obvious that he did not die there. A knife belonging to Barnabus Cooke and a glove belonging to Robert Carey were found on the body.