Ferdinando Paleotti, Killing > murder, 27th February 1718.

Reference Number: t17180227-44
Offence: Killing > murder
Verdict: Guilty
Punishment: Death

Ferdinando Paleotti, Esq; alias Ferdinando Marquess de Paleotti , was indicted for the Murther of John Niccolo alias John the Italian, the 11th Day of February last; he was indicted likewise for Manslaughter upon the Coroner's Inquest; and also on the Statute of Stabbing. After the Council for the King had opened the Cause, the Evidences gave the Accounts following:

John Johnson deposed, That he having been out was come home and knocking at his Master's (Esq; Ballasis ) Door in Lisle-Street , between nine and ten a-Clock at Night; he saw the Marquels and the Deceased pass by and heard Niccolo say, Tous les Jours ; and having passed him while he stood knocking, he perceived the Prisoner pursue the Deceased with something in his Hand held up, and heard the Servant in a violent manner cry out, Garde, Garde, Garde, near ten times, and then took hold of a Post; and the Prisoner walked by with something under his Arm, but whether Stick or Sword he could not say positively, but did believe it to be a Sword; and the Marquess being gone past him, Niccolo never spoke more, but fell to the Ground; and then the Marquess took to his heels and made up Gerard-Street; upon which he and Thomas Corbridge , who came upon the Out-cry, examin'd the Street, and were positive that there were no Persons in the Street at that time but the Marquess and Niccols, and himself knocking at his Master's Door; and that there being some Lights reflecting, and himself being in the Dark, he had so perfect a view of the Marquess's Face, that he was sure he was the very same Person, and swore postively to it. He added likewise, that as well as he could then distinsguish, he had on a Red Coat.

The Prisoner pretending he could not speak or understand English, had an Interpreter allow'd him, who being sworn. told the Marquess in French what the Evidence said in English; and the Court bid him ask the Marquess if he would ask the Witnesses any Questions; whereupon he ask'd him what colour'd Clothes he had one who said to the best of his Judgment, Scarlet. To which he reply'd very angrily, That whatsoever he had deposed was all Lies; for he had no Red Coat on that Day, and that he would anon disprove all he had said.

The next Evidence was Thomas Cambridge , who deposed, That as he was knocking at a Door in Leicester-street he heard an Out-cry, which he took to be Mother; and running to Lisle-street he saw a Person of the same Stature with the Prisoner pass by him, but he could not swear to his Face, but by his Stature and make of his Body (which was pretty remarkable, he being a tall Man) he did verily believe it was the Marquess: that seeing the Man dead, they look'd and saw no body in the Street at that time but the Marquess, the Deceased and themselves.

Margaret Clay deposed, that She being at a Window that looked into Lisle-Street, Saw a Gentleman and his Servant pass along, and immediately heard the Footman cry out violently, and immediately the Footman fell down dead near the Lady Bellasis's Door.

John Rucks deposed, That as he was at his Master's (Esq; Elmys) House in Lisle-Street, he heard a Noise and Out-cry in the Street, and running up Stairs heard a Man groan at Esquire Bellasis's Door, and saw a tall Man pass by him, and no other Person in the Street; and that by Shape and Stature he did verily believe it was the Prisoner the Marquess; and that when he passed by, Niccolo was fallen on the Ground.

Benjamin Forster deposed, That he hearing the Out-cry as he was at home in Lisle-Street, ran out, and that then there was no body to be seen in the Street, but a Gentleman that came down the Street keeping the Coach-way, and that he had either a Sword or Stick under his Left Arm, and his Right Hand upon it; and that he was in Red Clothes, and that as he passed along hastily he turned back several times looking behind him as it were, to see if any Body followed him, and turned up Gerard-Street; that by his Stature and Shape he verily believed the Marquess to be the Person; that then stepping to the Deceased, be and another found him dead, and opened him to find his Wounds; and examining his Pockets, they found some Papers by which they discover he belonged to the Marquess de Paleotti; and that the Deceased had in his Pocket one Shilling and one Penny.

William Spicer deposed, that he living at St. James's kept a Sutler's House, and that the Marquess had for some time been his Lodger, and that he was always want to come Home pretty late, and have a Supper and much Attendance, and his Room illuminated and a Fire in it; but that Night he did not see him come in; but was told by the Maid, who went up Stairs between ten and eleven a-Clock, that the Marquess was in Bed, though none in the House knew he was at Home.

Elizabeth Newman confirmed what her Master had said; adding, that she going through the Marquess's Room to put her Master's Grandchild to Bed, she not thinking the Marquess to be there, he put back the Curtains and ask'd for his Man Niccols; to which she answer'd he was not come home; and that he reply'd that he was, for he had put him to Bed; and told her several times that he was asleep in some Chair in the Room. She added, that neither she, nor any of the Family, knew he was come in; and that he got into Bed without the Bed being made, without any Candle, or any Fire that could give any Light.

Mr. Spicer added, That the next Morning the Marquess got out of Bed, and knocking he went, and when he came the Marquess asked him for his Man Niccolo; to which he reply'd, he did not come in that Night. And that just about that time one Mr. Belon came and told the Marquess that Niccolo was found murthered; upon which in a sort of hurry of Mind , he went to dress him, and called for his Grey Clothes, which he fetched him; then he dressed himself and went out: and as it appeared, went to the Bilhop of Salisbury's (very probably thinking to find Sanctuary in the Bishop's House, as in a Church or Cloyster in Popish Countries) where it seems he behaved himself so rudely, making a sort of a Riot. that his Sword was taken from him, and sent to Justice Gore's; which Sword was produced in Court by John Martin the Constable, who had received it of Justice Gors.

John Wilkinson deposed, That he had lived four Months with the Marquess as his Interpreter; that the Marquess that Day went out in the Forenoon with Niccolo, and that he had on Scarlet Clothes turn'd up with Blue, and that Sword which was produced in Court; and said that he had not had while he was with him any other Sword but that .

Mr. Dubasamel deposed , that after the apprehending of the Marquess de Paleotti, be discoursing with him in the Guard-Chamber, he told him that on the 11th Day of February his Servant John Niccolo was

with him on the other side of the Water, and that they returning in the Afternoon he went to see a Lady and supp'd with her, and his Man Nicccalo waited on them at Supper, and that he went to wait on the Lady home, and she would go through a dark Alley, and he would not go with her: that Niccalo went with him almost home, and that then he lost him; and that he went into his Lodging and went to Bed by 10 of the Clock. Mr. Dubasamel said, upon this he told the Marquess, that the Account he had given his Landlord, &c. which differ'd from what he then said, would be made use of in Court against him: upon which the Marquess chased, and in a Haughty Air reply'd, What, did he suffer himself to be interrogated by such a one as he? and fell to kicking of him.

John Stephens , the Surgeon, depos'd. That being sent for to view the Deceas'd he found the Wound was 7 Inches deep and a quarter of an Inch broad; that it penetrated into the Left Lobe of his Lungs and into the Heart, and was satisfied it was the Cause of his Death, and that the Wound was not given with a hollow Blade, but with such a Sword as was produced in Court, and sworn to be the Prisoner's.

The Marquess when he came to make his Defence, having an Interpreter allow'd him (who was sworn for that purpose) pleaded total Innocence as to the Murder of John Niccalo, saying, he had no Ill-will against him, nor had any Cause; and if he had, he had another way of punishing him, which was by Martial Law, he being his Servant and a Soldier of his own Troop. He then owned they did go out together in the Morning; that they went to the other side of the Water, and coming back in the Evening went to a Tavern near Lincolns Inn Fields and supped, about 8 of the Clock; that they went away together, and Niccalo went along with him as far as home, and asked him at the Door to let him step some where and he would return presently, so he went to bed without Niccalo's putting him to bed, and never saw him since. Being ask'd by the Court, why he told the Maid that Niccalo put him to bed? He denied he ever said so. Being ask'd by the Court how he came to go so suddenly to bed without Attendance, Light, Fire, or his Bed made? He answer'd there was a Fire that gave him Light, and that the Bed was made. Tho' the Maid being examined again as to that Matter, she swore the Bed wasnot made, nor was there any Fire that gave any manner of Light. But at last he grew unsatisfied with his Interpreter, affronting him, so that he frequently desired the Court to excuse him from the Office, saying, that he did not like him because he did not make an Appearance great enough for him. But the Court being very well satisfied with his Capacity for the Office, thought it needless to do, till at last by the unhandsome Carriage of the Prisoner, and the frequent Request of the Gentleman who they had appointed to be his Interpreter, they did condescend to gratify them both, and prevailed with a Worthy Justice of the Peace to humour the Marquess so far as to be his Interpreter, with whom he seemed to be a little better pleased, and made the Defence following. That had he not been innocent of the Murther of Niccalo, he would not have staid to be taken, for that his Sister the Dutchess of Shrewsbury sent him 50 Guineas and some Jewels to have made his Escape, and added, that when he and his Man came from the other side of the Water they went to the Tavern in Lincolns Inn Fields, and that there he sent out for some Gentlewomen, and that he went along with them in a Coach, and being about half way his Man Niccalo desired him to let him go somewhere and he gave him leave, and he never saw him since. And some other Questions being put to him by the Court, he said he did not know what became of his Man; for the People of the Tavern in Lincolns Inn Fields well knew that his Man Niccalo was enquired for there, and went away, and they knew better what became of him than he did. And thus he contradicted himself three or four several times. At last he would have and his Tryal put off, saying, he had not had time enough to produce Evidences, but was answered by the Court he had sufficient Notice, having been committed fourteen Days, and that he himself had desired the Court by Mr. Lorrain that his Tryal might be brought on at that time. Upon the whole. his Defence being trifling and contradictious, the Jury considering the matter, brought him in Guilty of wilful Murder, the Coroner's Inquest, and Statute of Stabbing .

[Death. See summary.]


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