Richard Cooper, Killing > murder, 28th April 1731.

Reference Number: t17310428-73
Offence: Killing > murder
Verdict: Guilty
Punishment: Death

Richard Cooper , of St. Catharine Creed-Church , was indicted for the Murther of Margaret Harle , alias Hall , by giving her one mortal Wound with a Pistol and leaden Bullet upon the right part of the Back, of the Depth of five Inches, of which she instantly died , the 16th of April last.

He was likewise indicted a second time on the Coroner's Inquest for the same.

Mr. Day, the Master, depos'd, That about half an Hour after Three o'Clock, he heard the report of a Pistol, and immediately the Maid cried out, and came into the Shop stooping almost double, holding her Hands at her Back, saying, O Lord, Dick has killed me , I am shot, I am shot, and fell down; that the Neighbours coming in, they got her up, setting her in a Chair, attempting to give her a Cordial, and sent immediately for a Surgeon. That he went into the Kitchin, and found the Prisoner sitting at the End of a Table , and saying to him, have you kill'd the Maid? But he made no answer. Did you fire the Pistol? He reply'd, I did shoot; and putting his Hand in his Pocket, gave him the Pistol . That he ask'd the Occasion of his doing it, but he gave no answer; and that the Maid did not live above 10 Minutes. This Evidence being ask'd, if there had before been any Quarrel between them? He reply'd, some Words might have pass'd, but he had heard that he had kick'd her once or twice two or three Months before.

Joseph Wild depos'd, That he going to Mr. Day's Shop, help'd to lift the Deceas'd up, and afterwards went into the Kitchin, and telling the Prisoner he had kill'd the Maid , he reply'd, he could not help it; and asking him, has there been any Quarrel betwixt you? He reply'd, she made Mischief in the Family.

Alexander Wood depos'd, That the Wound was near the Kidneys, and that probing the Wound, could find no Ball. That the Prisoner had kick'd the Deceas'd 3 Months before, and that he was present in the Kitchin when they had had some Words, and the Prisoner said to the Deceas'd, you know my Temper, why do you provoke me? That the Deceas'd answer'd, must I be subject to your Humour? That she complain'd he had cut her with a Knife cross the Arm; that the Prisoner said, he did it accidentally; but the Deceas'd said, he did it wilfully. That at another time they had some Words, he using to clean the Knives, found fault that she always took a clean Knife to eat her Dinner, upon which the Prisoner said, she must be taken down. This Evidence being ask'd concerning the Pistol, said, the Prisoner had had it several Years, and us'd to carry it when he went to Highgate and Hampstead, when he liv'd with Mr. Thornton.

Sarah Harle depos'd, That the Deceas'd, her Sister, had complain'd to her, that Richard had beat her several times, and that he was a very subtil Fellow, and that she had given him 6 d. to make him good humour'd , and at another time 18 d. for carrying 2 Boxes for her on the same Account.

Sarah Dixon depos'd, That about 6 Weeks before there had been some Words about the making some Water-Gruel, the Deceas'd saying she was busy, bidding him do it himself ; that Mr. Day saying, did he thus reward the Deceas'd for nursing him two Weeks? That the Prisoner D - n'd her for a Bitch, and said, he would give her nothing.

The Surgeon depos'd, That the Wound was Mortal.

The Prisoner, in his Defence, pleaded, That he had been out of Order at Times in his Head and Mind , and would insinuate as if he had charg'd the Pistol to have shot himself; and that he had a Day or two before ask'd the Apprentice for Landanum for that

Purpose; upon which Mr. Day being interrogated , said, the Prisoner had indeed been cut of Order, as he apprehended , from a Cold, and he had given him Things proper, but he perceiv'd no Disorder in his Mind or Head, or any Signs of Lunacy the Day he committed the Fact, and that he did his Business as usual.

The Apprentice own'd he had ask'd him for 5 Grains of Opium, that he thereupon said to him, have you a Mind to kill your self; but did not apprehend that he had any such Design, and that he said he wanted something to make him Sleep.

John Humphreys depos'd, That about 12 or 14 Years since, when he liv'd in Henrietta-street , he had attempted to drown himself, and was taken out of the Thames.

Jane Saunders and Mary Ray depos'd, That about two Months since, he had told them, he had been Light-headed, and that they thought he look'd Melancholy. After a full hearing of the Matter, the Jury found him guilty of the Indictment. Death .


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