Abbildungen der Seite


Murder.—The King v. Frances Clark, alias Puttavin.—This case has excited considerable interest, from the circumstance of the wretched criminal having been twice before indicted and tried for the same offence. On the first indictment she was acquitted, in consequence of the name of the child she was supposed to have murdered being stated to be George Clark, instead of George Lakeman, by which name it was proved to have been christened. The second indictment, stating the death to have been occasioned by the poison having desoended into the stomach, was thought not to have been supported by the evidence of the professional men who were examined, and who stated that no part of the poison had so descended into the stomach, but that the inflammation it caused in the throat had, in fact, occasioned the death of the child by suffocation. The present indictment charged her with the murder, by compelling the infant, on the 4th October 1817, to take a large quantity of oil of vitriol, by means whereof he became disordered in his mouth and throat, and by the disorder, choking, suffocating andstrangling occasioned thereby, died on the following day. A second count stated him to have died of a certain acid called oil of vitriol, administered by the prisoner and taken into his mouth and throat, whereby he became incapable of swallowing his food; and that his death was the consequence of the inflammation, in

jury and disorder occasioned thereby. Upon the prisoner being arraigned, she pleaded speciall her former acquittal. The cler

of assize demurred to the plea.

The prisoner joined in demurrer. Mr.Justice Best.—My own opinionis, that the plea is bad; but as the two judges at the former trial thought the evidence adduced not admissible under that indictment, I shall follow this course— I shall over-rule the plea and pronounce a judgment of respondant ouster. If she plead not guilty, she may have a writ of error to the court of King'sbench, or otherwise I will submit a case for the opinion of the 12 judges. The prisoner then pleaded “ Not Guilty.” . William Veysey was the first witness called. He stated that he was a labourer at Buckfastleigh; that the prisoner lodged at his house in the month of October 1817: that 3 weeks before the 24th, prisoner was brought to bed of a boy. Witness recollected the prisoner passing through his room into her own, about two in the afternoon of the 24th, with her child; she stayed a minute or

two and went down stairs with

out her child: returned in a minute or two at farthest; he heard her cry, “The child is dying,” a minute or so after her return: the child had not before been crying; it cried as if strangling: she repeated the child was dying; prisoner went down again with her child and returned. The child

was a liealthy child. Sarah Maddick lived with Susannah sannah Weysey, the wife of the first witness, in October 1817. Prisoner lived there at the same time. A little before, prisoner desired her to go to R. Butcher's for a pennyworth of oil of vitriol. Butcher gave her a pennyworth of oil of vitriol which she gave to prisoner: Butcher told her to tell prisoner not to drink it, or it would kill her. Witness told that to prisoner: she said, “No, no.” Prisoner told witness not to tell Susannah Weysey that she had been for oil of vitriol. When she went to the shop, she told her to say it was for the people of the house. Sarah Tapper is the daughter of the first witness; recollects seeing prisoner at six o'clock in the morning of that day; again between ten and eleven; prisoner was by the fire suckling her child, nothing was then the matter with the child. Prisoner said she had a nice bosom of milk to go a wetnursing, if her child should die : said, if her child died she would dry up her milk and go into the country: said she was going to have her order next day, but did not think the child would live long for any order. Witness went to work, returned about half past twelve. Prisoner was then sitting in the same place; witness asked prisoner why she had not j the child; she answered the child had been asleep all the forenoon; saw prisoner about two o'clock the same day; she was in the kitchen with the child in her arms in a dreadful way, crying the child was dying. . Witness observed something on the child's mouth and nose. The child was very bad, the back part of its

mouth and throat all purple; some liquor was running out of its mouth. It ran upon the whittle and apron, which was stained red. Witness asked if the child had bled. Prisoner said “Yes.” Then she saw her wipe the child's mouth with her apron, which was burned by it, , and turned the same colour as the whittle. The prisoner tried the child to suck, and she tried it too, but it would not. The child never closed its lips after; it lived twenty-two hours after. Susanna Veysey.—I am the wife of William Vesey: on Friday, 24th October, I went down into the garden near the house; on my return I heard a dreadful screeching, the screeching of the prisoner. I came in while she was screeching; she was kneeling in a chair; she had the child in her arms. She said the child was dying; upon that I said, How can the child be dying, when it was quite well, when I parted from you? I asked her to give me the child; she said she would not spare the child to any §: She ran up stairs with the child; I ran after her; she ran half wa up and came down again; I too the child from her; some liquor was boiling upon the child's mouth with froth. The back part of the mouth was purple. ... There was something on the child's nose; it turned red, then white. There was a place on the cheek, that seemed burned with the liquor that ran from the mouth. I asked what she had done it for 2 she said it was her mother's fault. I sent for the doctor. Prisoner stayed in the house. The child’s whittle seemed bloody; I put my

finger to it, and put my finger to my tongue; it burned my tongue. I said, What have you done to your child? you know you have given it oil of vitriol: where you had it I know not. Prisoner did not answer. The child was three weeks old; up to that time it was quite healthy. Child died the next day about twelve o'clock. I know about oil of vitriol. I found a bottle in the fire the Tuesday after. The bottle on taking out broke, and the liquor was spilt on a stick which was in the fire: it burned the stick. I found vitriol in the bottle. Richard Butcher, a druggist at Buckfastleigh, corroborated the evidence of Sarah Maddick, and added, that the oil of vitriol she took away was sufficient to cause death. • Thomas Rowe. —I am a surgeon at Buckfastleigh; was called to Weysey's house at a quarter after two to see the child; it looked as if it had been strangled: the mouth was burned and excoriated; some white liquid ran from the lips: remained twent minutes; attended again at half past seven, and next day the child was very bad and convulsed all over. I impute the state of the child to the application of some acid. Oil of vitriol would produce the same appearance. I ascribe the death to suffocation from swelling of the throat. Nicholas Churchill. — I am a surgeon at Buckfastleigh; was called to a child at the house of William Veysey at four o'clock in the afternoon, 24th October: found the child breathing with difficulty, unable to swallow; the whole surface of the body was

[ocr errors]

livid; the surface of the mouth destroyed by strong mineral acid: from the appearance of the nose I am convinced it was oil of vitriol. While the matter was fresh in my mind, I tried oil of vitriol on my own finger; the colour was exactly the same as that on the child. Oil of vitriol, if dropped on linen, would destroy the texture, would turn it brownish; the apron was checked, blue and white, and was turned red. The dye of the blue is indigo, and the natural effect of oil of vitriol would be to turn it red. I think a person might distinguish oil of vitriol from other acid. I think the child died from inflammation, causing swelling and suffocation, that was occasioned by application of a strong acid, which I believe to be oil of vitriol. Prisoner, put in a paper denying her guilt. Mr. Justice Best observed, that a charge of murder must be considered as proved, where the death is occasioned by the act of the prisoner, unless the evidence is sufficient to reduce it below that degree of crime. The only question here is, not the degree of guilt, but whether the child died by the act of the prisoner. If the evidence now adduced could have been adduced under the former indictment, then she has once been tried, and cannot be tried again; but this is a question to be submitted to the twelve judges. The question for the jury was, Did the poison, by the means stated, produce the death of the child? The jury, after a pause of a few minutes, pronounced a verdict of Guilty. Objections . then then taken to the indictment, which the learned judge stated should form part of the case which he intended to submit for the opinion of the twelve judges.

LEwes, AUG. 11.

The King v. Souter and Holles. This was an indictment against the defendants, for a conspiracy to obtain the condemnation of a sloop called the Judith, William Williams master, by falsely alleging that the said vessel was employed at Arundel in smuggling foreign spirits. This was one of those infamous cases in which the excise have been deceived by the mercenary statements of certain persons, for the purpose of instituting informations in the court of Exchequer for their own benefit, and ruin of the unfortunate victims of their depravity. It appeared in evidence that the defendants had given information upon affidavit efore Mr. Boddington, a commissioner, that the vessel in question had been engaged in smugling at Arundel on the 26th of une, 1816. Upon this information proceedings were instituted in the Exchequer, and the vessel was condemned. It turned out upon subsequent investigation that there was no foundation for the information, and the Excise, being satisfied of the frauds imposed upon them, made complete restitution to the injured parties and directed the present prosecution. They were all found Guilty.

Edward Broadbent, a private soldier in the 90th regiment of

foot, was indicted for the wilful murder of William Watson, a serjeant of the same regiment, by shooting him with a loaded musket, in the parish of Brighthelmstone, on the 29th of June last. When the wretched culprit was put to the bar, he excited feelings in all around very unusual on similar occasions;–pity and commiseration. When called upon for his plea to the arraignment, he exclaimed in a pathetic and wo-begone manner and gesticulation, “I am but too guilty,+I am guilty, and it would be only adding more guilt to my conscience if I were to say otherwise.” Mr. Justice Park urged him to plead Not Guilty, and take his trial, suggesting to him the inutility of the course he had taken, if he expected any mercy. The prisoner shook his head with affecting significance, and repeated that he was guilty and expected no mercy. Upon which his plea of guilty was recorded. The learned judge, however, again entreated him to plead ot Guilty, and requested the common serjeant, who led the prosecution, to speak with and recommend him to retract his lea. The common serjeant accordingly conversed with the unhappy man, and after a great deal of persuasion prevailed upon him to take his trial. ' John Shannon, a private of the 90th, stated, that on the 29th of June the prisoner was confined under arrest in the guard-house

at the Brighton barracks. Whilst

witness was in the guard-room, he he saw the prisoner priming his firelock. It frequently happened, that when a soldier wanted to light his pipe, he flashed some gunpowder in the pan of his piece to ignite some tinder; but as the prisoner did not appear to be going to smoke, witness laid hold of his firelock and asked him whether he was going to injure himself? He replied that the firelock was his own, and he was not so mad as to injure himself. Witness took the gun out of his hand, shook the powder out of the pan, and laid the piece down at a distance of about four paces from the prisoner. The prisoner never touched the piece until a non-commissioned officer came to take him to the evening parade, when he took his firelock with him. Thomas Vizer, a private in the 90th, stated that the prisoner was #. in confinement in the guardouse by the deceased between eleven and one o'clock on the 29th of June. Witness saw him in the guard-house walking up and down in a very agitated manner, flinging his hands about in a threatening and passionate manmer, and heard him say, “If I go to the evening parade this evening, it shall be worse for serjeant Watson.” John Thomas, a private of the 90th, said he had just left his barrack-room to attend the evening parade on the 29th of June, when he saw the prisoner coming out of the guard-room with his firelock. Witness was standing six or seven yards from him. The deceased was standing in front of the company with his back towards the prisoner, the latter

being at the distance of about three or four yards from him. When the deceased was in the act of turning round, the prisoner raised his firelock to his shoulder and discharged it at him. The deceased dropped to the ground, and exclaimed, “My God, my God, I am shot.” The serjeant-major came running out from the guard-room and asked “Who was it?” The prisoner answered “It was I, I am the man;" and said no more, but surrendered himself into custody. Corporal James M*Cabe said, that he came immediately to the spot after the gun was fired and lifted the deceased up; he died in about twenty minutes. Witness took the prisoner into custody, and in his way to the guardroom said to him, “Are you not a terrible man for doing such a thing as this?” The prisoner replied, “I am not, for the serjeant was always tyrannizing over me, and I was determined he should not do it any more.” When each of these witnesses were examined in chief, the prisoner, being without counsel, was asked if he would put any questions to them, but every time he shook his head in a melancholy manner, and said “ No.” Being asked what he had to say in his defence, he said nothing, but shook his head in like manner. Mr. Justice Park, in his charge to the jury, said it was always of great importance that the proceedings in cases of this description should be as public and notorious as possible, it being much more satisfactory, for the purposes of justice, that the grounds upon

« ZurückWeiter »