Peter Kelly, Killing > murder, 26th February 1729.

Reference Number: t17290226-9
Offence: Killing > murder
Verdict: Guilty
Punishment: Death

Peter Kelly , alias Owen, alias Nisbitt , of Thomas-street, Drury-Lane , was indicted, for that he not having the Fear of God before his Eyes, but being led by the Malice and

Instigation of the Devil, did on the 28th of January last, kill and murder Robert Nisbitt , with a Razor, giving him a mortal Wound in the Throat, of the Length of 10 Inches and Depth of 4 Inches, of which he died .

He was a second Time indicted on the Coroner's Inquest for the aforesaid Murder, to both which Indictments he pleaded Not Guilty.

Samuel Spencer depos'd, That on the Monday before the Accident, in the Morning, the Deceas'd came into his House to heat a Glew Pot, that the next Day not seeing the Deceas'd's Door open as usual, and seeing the Key was not in the Lock, he told a Neighbour he believ'd he was dead, that finding the Door not open next Morning, which was Wednesday, he sent for the Deceas'd's Son, that his Grandson came, and they together listed up the Window, which was loose and then he went in and let in the Deceas'd's Grandson, and they found a great deal of Blood on the Floor near the Bed, and that something lay on the Bed in a Lump, but he could not say it was the Deceas'd, this was about 10 o'Clock.

Alexander Nisbitt , Grandson of the Deceas'd, depos'd, That when he went into the Deceas'd's Room on Wednesday Morning about 10 o'Clock, he found him lying upon the Bed, his Head covered, and his Breast naked, that he perceived he was dead, and saw the Blood by the Bedside, as if it had ran off the Bed, and he went and told his Father without making any further Discovery.

Mrs. Wood depos'd, That the Son of the Deceas'd sent for her to provide a Coffin for the Deceas'd, saying, he fear'd he was murder'd, that she went to the Deceas'd's Room and found him on the Bed, his Head covered, his Hands a-cross upon his Belly, his Head leaning backwards, and his Throat cut in a barbarous Manner, with the Blanket stuffed into the Wound, that presently the Prisoner came into the Room, and said, the Deceas'd was a Father to him, and taking hold of a Coat and 3 Ells of Holland, he said, they were his, that she said, she fear'd it was well if he was a dutiful Son, that the Prisoner seem'd to know the Deceas'd's Room and Circumstances very well, and said, he had a great deal of Money in that Trunk, which was found empty, and his Pockets were turn'd inside out, and his Watch taken away, and that this was between 11 and 12 o'Clock on Wednesday.

Ann Archer depos'd, That she lives in the next Room to the Deceas'd, and on the Tuesday Morning (being the Day before the Murder was discover'd) about 3 o'Clock she heard the Prisoner's Door lock and unlock twice.

William Barnes depos'd, That on the Wednesday Morning about 2 or 3 o'Clock, he being a Watchman, found the Prisoner in a publick House, who said to him, What do you think Barnes? To which he answered, I don't know what to think, why, says the Prisoner, Mr. Nisbit is dead, that when it was first found out about Ten o'Clock that Morning that he was dead, by the Circumstances mentioned by the other Witnesses, he was surpriz'd, and told the Neighbours how he heard of his Death so soon in the Morning.

Agnes Daniel depos'd, That she keeps a Cook's Shop near the Place where the Deceas'd lived, and that about a Quarter after 9 that Morning the Prisoner was found murdered (tho' a considerable Time before it was known to any but the Prisoner) the Prisoner came to her, and said, I am ruin'd and undone for ever, Mr. Nisbit is dead, and he fear'd he was murder'd, that she bid him go and learn how it was, and in half a Quarter of an Hour he return'd, and said, Mr. Nisbitt was murdered and robb'd of all he had, that they had taken his Watch and Money, his best Hat and Wig, and opened his Trunk, which had two Iron Bolts to it, and taken all the Money away and every Thing else but a Stock and Turnover, and a Razor, with which it was said he used to shave the Deceas'd, and he fear'd they would take him up upon Suspicion, that this was told her by the Prisoner before Ten o'Clock on the Wednesday Morning, that she had known the Prisoner for some Time to be an idle Fellow, going about to Alehouses with two Jows Harps, which he used to play upon; that the Deceas'd was a grave, sober, good Man, and had the Character of a true Servant of God, and that at Christmas last he came to Dine at her House, and the Prisoner coming there and seeing Mr. Nisbitt, ran out again as fast as he could, and Mr. Nisbitt seeing him, said, he might well run, for he had lent him Money to buy the Cloaths on his back, and been kind to him, and he had not made a grateful Return; these Things, she said, came fresh into her Memory, and she told the Prisoner of it, and had some Fear he was guilty.

William Thompson depos'd, That he was with William Barnes , on the Wednesday Morning about two o'Clock, when they saw the Prisoner at a Publick House, but he did not hear the Prisoner mention Mr. Nisbitt's Death, and that he was with Mr. Shalley the Constable at the Deceas'd's Room, and that he found the Razor with which the Deceas'd was murder'd.

Mr. Shelley depos'd, That about 12, or betwixt that and one of the Clock on the Wednesday, hearing of the Murder he went to the Place and found the Sheath of the Razor upon the Bolster, and about a Quarter of an Hour after, he, with William Thompson , the Watchman, look'd for the Instrument, and Thompson found the Razor behind the Deceas'd all bloody, which he shew'd to the Court, and farther said, that this Morning, i.e. the Morning the Trial was heard, one Isaac Dale had informed him in the Presence of Agnes Daniel , that the Prisoner offered two Razors to pawn or sell at a Gin Shop, on the Sunday Night before the Murder was committed, and described one of the Razors, which exactly answer'd the Description of this Razor. Mr. Shelley produc'd it in Court, it being tied at the End towards the Blade, with a Piece of Thread, the Handle of it crooked, and one side of the Rivet broke off, and this Description he gave without seeing it, or having it describ'd.

Isaac Dale depos'd, That on Sunday the 26th of January, the Prisoner came into a Gin Shop where he was drinking about eight at Night, and begg'd they would lend him 6 d. and a Quartern of Gin on 2 Razors, that he had a Mind to buy one, and look'd at it, and remember'd very well the Handle was tied at the End next the Blade with a piece of Thread, that the Handle was crack'd, and that at one End the River, or piece of Pewter which covers the Rivet, was broke off on one side, the Razor being shew'd him which was found upon the Bed behind the Deceas'd, he was positive it was the very same the Prisoner offer'd at the Gin Shop as aforementioned.

Mrs. Edwards depos'd, That she was present when the Key of the Deceas'd's Door was found on the Wednesday after the Murder was discover'd, and it lay about half a Yard from the Door, as if it had been thrust under, this was likewise observed by others, and the Key with which Mr. Spencer opened the Door, belong'd to another though it opened that.

He said in his Defence, That he knew nothing of the Matter, but confess'd that the Deceas'd had been a very good Friend to him, and lent him Money to buy Cloaths and 3 Ells of Holland, which he pawn'd, and the Deceas'd lent him Money to fetch them out of pawn, but he could give no satisfactory Account as to the Razor, nor could he deny being with the Watchmen on the Wednesday Morning, tho' he would not confess he said Mr. Nisbitt was dead.

William Graham depos'd, That the Prisoner was his Journeyman , and had been so a Year, that he was at Work on the Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday aforemention'd, that he would sometimes work, he sometimes very idle, that he had an excellent Hand at playing upon 2 Jews Harps at once, which involv'd him in bad Company and exposed him to keep ill Hours, that the Day before this Murder was discovered, he had a Wedding at his House, and the Prisoner was there, and said till 12 at Night, and further, told a long Tale, or compound of Mirth and Madness, as their throwing the Stocking, drinking, dancing, and playing upon the Jews Harps, which he said, the Prisoner had pawn'd for 3 d. and he lent him Money to fetch them, and that the Prisoner got drunk and carried the Bridegroom's Wig home, and next Morning he had lost it, that on the Wednesday Morning about 9 or 10 o' Clock he came with a Concern, and said, he had lost his best Friend Mr. Nisbitt, for his Throat was cut. He call'd other Witnesses, but none of them could say any Thing material, one indeed, with some heat pretended to invalidate the Evidence of William Barnes , the Watchman, on his saying the Prisoner told h im of Mr. Nisbitt's Death at Two o'Clock on the Morning before the Murder or his Death was found out or discovered. I heard William Barnes say, said this Deponent, That he had spoke a silly Word, which would bring him into Trouble at the Old Bailey, for he heard Peter the Irishman say, (that was a Nick-name the Prisoner went by) that Mr. Nisbitt was dead at Two o'Clock in the Morning, and he had told it to others: But this was so far from taking off the Evidence of Barnes, that it rather confirm'd it, every Circumstance being considered, and the several Incidents compar'd, the Jury found him guilty . Death .

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