Offences: Killing > murder; Killing > murder; Killing > murder; Theft > burglary
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Sarah Malcolm , alias Mallcombe was indicted for the Murder of Ann Price , Spinster , by wilfully and maliciously giving her with a Knife one mortal Wound on the Throat, of the length of two Inches, and depth of one Inch, on the 4th of February instant, of which Wound the said Anne Price instantly died .
She was a second time indicted for the Murder of Elizabeth Harrison , Spinster , by strangling and choaking her with a Cord, on the said 4th of February ; by reason of which Strangling and Choaking the said Elizabeth Harrison instantly died .
She was a third time indicted for the Murder of Lydia Duncomb , Widow , by strangling and choaking her with a Cord, on the said 4th of February , by which Strangling and Choaking the said Lydia Duncomb instantly died .
She was likewise indicted on the Coroner's Inquisition for the said Murders.
She was again indicted for breaking and entring the Dwelling-house of Lydia Duncomb , Widow, and stealing 20 Moidores, 18 Guineas, one Broad-Piece, value 25 s. 4 Broad-Pieces, val. 23 s. each, one half Broad-Piece, value 11 s. 6 d. 25 s. in Silver, a Silver Tankard, Value 40 s. a Canvas Bag, Value 1 d. and two Smocks, Value 12 s. on the 4th Day of February instant, about the Hour of 2 in the Night of the same Day .
To all which Indictments she pleaded Not Guilty.
Then the time of her Trial was appointed to be on the Friday following, at 10 o' clock in the Morning.
On Friday February 23, 1732, Sarah Malcolm was brought to the Bar, in order to take her Trial.
Council. If your Lordship pleases, we will begin with the Indictment for the Murder of Anne Price; and if the Jury shall find the Prisoner guilty of that, we shall not give the Court any further Trouble.
Court. Proceed in your own Method, Gentlemen.
Clerk of the Arraigns. You the Prisoner at the Bar, These Men which you shall hear called, and personally appear, are to pass between our Sovereign Lord the King and you, upon Trial of your Life and Death: If you will challenge them, or any of them, your Time is to challenge them, as they come to the Book to be sworn, and before they be sworn.
Then the 12 Jurors (who tried the other Prisoners on the London Side) were sworn and counted.
She stands indicted by the Name of Sarah Mallcome , otherwise Mallcome, late of London, Spinster; for that she not having God before her Eyes, but being moved and seduced by a devilish Instigation, on the 4th Day of February, in the sixth Year of the Reign of our Sovereign Lord the King that now is, in the Inner-Temple in London aforesaid, in and upon Ann Price Spinster, in the Peace of God, and our Sovereign Lord the King then and there being, then and there she the said Sarah Malcolm did make an Assault, and with a Knife made of Iron and Steel, of the Value of three Pence, which she the said Sarah Malcolm , then and there in her right Hand held, feloniously, violently, and of her Malice afore-thought, on the Throat ofAnn Price did strike and cut; by which Striking and Cutting the said Sarah Malcolm did give to the said Ann Price one mortal Wound, of the length of two Inches, and depth of one Inch; of which mortal Wound the said Ann Price instantly died; and that so she the Sarah Malcom , in manner and form aforesaid, feloniously, violently, and of her Malice afore-thought, the said Ann Price did kill and murder, against the Peace of our Sovereign Lord the King, his Crown and Dignity.
She likewise stands charged on the Coroner's Inquisition for the said Murder: Your Charge is to enquire whether she be guilty of this Felony and Murder, whereof she stands indicted, or not guilty. If you find her guilty, you are to enquire what Goods and Chattels, Lands or Tenements she had at the time the said Felony or Murder was committed, or at any time since. If you find her not guilty, you are to enquire whether she fled for it: If you find that she did slie for it, you shall enquire of her Goods and Chattels, as if you had found her guilty. If you find her not guilty, and that she did not slie for it, say so, and no more, and hear your Evidence. But if you quit her on the Coroner's Inquest, you must find how Ann Price came by her Death.
Council. My Lord, and you Gentlemen of the Jury, this is an Indictment by which Sarah Malcolm , the Prisoner at the Bar, stands charged with the Murder of Ann Price , by cutting her Throat in the Chamber of Lydia Duncomb , in the Inner-Temple.
I shall not endeavour to aggravate a Crime in its own Nature so horrid, but shall only lay before your Lordship and the Jury some Particulars relating to the Fact.
Mrs. Lydia Duncomb was a Widow Lady, about 80 Years of Age, she had lived 40 Years, four pair of Stairs high in the Inner Temple; she had one Maid Elizabeth Harrison , who had lived with her many Years, and was grown old in her Service, for she was about 60, and very infirm withal: But tho' she was now past her Labour, the good Lady (who was Bed-rid herself) retain'd her still, in respect to her former faithful Services, and hired others to do her Work: The Prisoner had formerly been employed on such Occasions as a Chairwoman , and by that means had an Opportunity of becoming acquainted with Mrs. Duncomb's Circumstances. But about three Months ago, Mrs. Duncomb hired Ann Price (the unhappy Creature, for the Murder of whom the Prisoner stands indicted) to be a constant Servant; she was a young Maid not above 17. Mrs. Duncomb had a middling Fortune left her by her Husband; and thus she liv'd with her two Maids contented, and in Peace, till this Night, this fatal Night, the 4th of February! when (if my Instructions are right) the Prisoner entred the Chambers of this little Family, and cruelly deprived them both of their Lives and their Money.
This barbarous Fact was undiscovered till Sunday Noon, when Mrs. Love, who used to visit Mrs. Duncomb, came to dine with her. She found the Door shut, and having no Answer when she knock'd, she concluded that the old Maid was sick, and that the young one was sent out on an Errand: She waited a considerable time for her Return, but to no Purpose. She wonder'd what could be the Meaning of it, and went down to Mrs. Rhymer (who was Mrs. Duncomb's Friend, and lived in the Temple) andAnn Oliphant , a Laundress(whose Master's Chambers were opposite to Mrs. Duncomb's) they persuaded her to get out of her Master's Garret Window , and so into Mrs. Duncomb's Chambers. She did so, and opened Mrs. Duncomb's Door. They enter'd: But the Surprize, the Horrour they were in, is not to be express'd, when the first Object they fix'd their Eyes on was the poor unhappy young Maid murder'd! inhumanly murder'd! and lying weltring in her own Blood, her Hands clench'd, her Hair loose, and her Throat cut from Ear to Ear! A terrible Spectacle. But this was not all, the tragical Scene did not close here; the honest old Servant lay strangled on her Bed, and a little farther, her good old Lady robb'd of her Life in the same manner.
Those who lodge in the Temple must be under a particular Consternation on this account, when by their manner of living they are obliged to trust their Keys, their Chambers, their Properties, and even their Lives to others.
About Twelve the same Night Mr. Kerrel coming home, found the Prisoner (who was his Laundress) in his Chambers; he little expected to see her there at such an Hour. He had heard of these Murders, and that she had formerly chair'd for Mrs. Duncomb, he asked her if any body was taken up for the Murders. She said, No. He told her, it was suspected the Fact must have been done by some Body that was acquainted with the deceas'd: And as he had heard that she had formerly done Business there, she should continue no longer in his Service, and therefore bid her look up his Things and go. Upon examining he miss'd some of his Cloaths, and she confess'd she had pawned them. This made him still more uneasy, and he resolved she should stay no longer: Upon which she went down Stairs. His Suspicion caused him to search further, and in the Close-stool he found some Linen, and a Silver Tankard, with the Handle bloody. Looking under his Bed, he found a Shift and an Apron all bloody. These Discoveries gave him an extraordinary Concern; he call'd the Watch, and sent them after her: And such was the Providence of God, that she had not Power to go beyond the Inner-Temple Gate: There she was found sitting between two Watchmen; she was brought back to him; he shewed her the Tankard and the Linen bloody as they were, and asked her if they were hers; she said yes, and that the Tankard was left her by her Mother. The Officers of the Temple carried her to the Constable, by whom she was taken before Alderman Brocas.
These are the Facts, and if we can prove these things were found upon her, and that she own'd them to be hers; and if we prove that they were not hers, but Mrs. Duncomb's, I believe the Jury will have no Difficulty to find her guilty.
John Kerrel . The Prisoner has been my Laundress about a quarter of a Year. She was recommended to me as an honest. Woman by a Gentleman in the Temple. On Sunday the 4th of this Month, as I returned from Commons,
Court. What kind of Linen was it, did you open the Bundle?
N. B. The remaining Part of the Trials, for want of room, will be Published on Monday next.
Wednesday the 21st, Thursday the 22d, Friday the 23d, and Saturday the 24th of February 1733, in the Sixth Year of His MAJESTY's Reign.
NUMBER III. PART II.
Printed for J. WILFORD, behind the Chapter-House, near St. Paul's. M,DCC,XXXIII.
(Price Six Pence.)
Court. Are you positive that she own'd the Tankard and the Linen to be hers?
Mr. Kerrel. Yes; but the Linen in her Gown was left unopen'd till after she was sent to the Watch-house.
Prisoner. Was the Linen you found in the Close-stool bloody?
Mr. Kerrel. I am not sure whether it was that, or the Linen I found under my Bed that was bloody, for I was very much surprised, and I brought one Parcel down, and Mr. Gehagan brought another, and we threw them down in the Watchman's Box, and so they were mix'd together.
Court. Shew the Tankard to the Jury, and unseal the Linen, and let them see that too, and the other Things.
Mr. Kerrel. This is the green Silk-Purse, that was found upon her in the Watch-House; she said, she found it in the Street; but some Body taking Notice that it was clean, she then said, she had wash'd it since. This is the Gown, that some of the Linen was wrap'd in, and this is the bloody Apron that was found under my Bed, and which, she said, was not bloody, but the Marks of a Disorder.
Prisoner. Was the Linen wet or dry?
Mr. Kerrel. I can't say which, but it was bloody.
Prisoner. Did you take it up?
Mr. Kerrel. I took up that under the Bed, and in the Close-Stool. The clean Linen that was in the Drawers, she took out herself, and the Watchman afterwards fetch'd away that which was in the Gown.
Prisoner. Was the Gown bloody, or the Shift bloody in the Sleeves, or the Bosom, or any where but in the lower Part?
Mr. Kerrel. I cannot say.
Court. Is the Shift here?
Mr. Kerrel. Yes.
Court. Produce it then, and let some Body look on it.
Prisoner. Upon your Oath is it Blood or a Stain?
Prisoner, to Mr. K. Did you suspect me on account of finding me in your Chambers so late on Sunday Night, or was it because you saw me counting Money there on Sunday Morning?
Mr. Kerrel. I saw no Money that you had on Sunday Morning. I suspected nothing of you, till I found you so late in my Chambers.
Prisoner. Swear him if he did not see me counting Money in the Morning, or if he did not count it after me?
Mr. Kerrel. No, I did not.
Prisoner. Did not you count 90 l. in your own Bed after me?
Mr. Kerrel. No, I say I know nothing of it. If you had had so much Money, you might have fetch'd my Things out of pawn.
Prisoner. What! Did not you reckon how many Broad-Pieces and Moidores, and how much Silver there was?
Prisoner. 'Tis hard that he will deny, upon his Oath, what he did with his own Hands.
Court. What time in the Morning was this?
Prisoner. About 9 o'Clock; and he ask'd me, where I had it? And I told him, from some Relations in the Country.
Court. What Time did she come to your Chambers?
Mr. Kerrel. About 9 in the Morning. I sent her for some Tea. Mr. Gehagan breakfasted with me, and she stay'd till about 1 o'Clock, when the Horn founded for Commons.
Council. There was, you say, clean Linen taken out of the Drawers?
Mr. Kerrel. I think this is the same.
Council. Was there any Blood upon it?
Mr. Kerrel. No I should have seiz'd her presently, if I had found any Blood before she went away first.
Council. Did she own that clean Linen to be hers too?
Mr. Kerrel. Yes.
John Gehagan . I have Chambers over the Alienation-Office, 3 Pair of Stairs high. Mine are on the Left-Hand, and Mr. Kerrel's on the Right, we are very intimate together. On Sunday Morning, the 4th of February, I rose about 8 o' Clock, and saw Mr. Kerrel's Door shut. About 9, the Prisoner came up, and open'd his Door, and went in, and it was not 10 Minutes before he came to my Bed-Side, and says he, You was a good Advocate for me last Night, and I'll give you a Breakfast. He gave her a Shilling to fetch some Tea; she made it, and stay'd till the Horn blew for Commons. And after Common's he and I went out together. Going thro' Tanfield-Court, we found a Mob there, and seeing Mr. Clark, a Writer, we ask'd, what was the Matter? He told us of the Murder, and said to Mr. Kerrel, this is your Laundress's Acquaintance. We went to a Coffee-House, in Covent-Garden, where some Gentlemen talking about the Murder, said, they should suspect some of the Laundress's. We stay'd there till 8, and then went to the Horse-Shoe and Magpye, in Essex-Street, where we stay'd till 1 in the Morning, and then going home, we found his Door open, a Fire and Candle in the Room, and the Prisoner standing by the Fire-Side. Says Mr. Kerrel, Sarah, this Mrs. Duncomb was one of your Acquaintance, have you heard of any Body's being taken up for the Murder? She said, that one Mr. Knight, who had Chambers under Mrs. Duncomb's, was suspected. Well, says Mr. Kerrel, I'll have no Body stay in my Room, that was acquainted with Mrs. Duncomb. I went down to call the Watch, but there being a double Door to the Alienation-Office, I fumbled, and could not get it open; so he came down and brought the Watch up. He miss'd his Waistcoats, and
Court. How came ye to know that the Prisoner was acquainted with Mrs. Duncomb?
Mr. Gehagan. She told me so herself.
Court. Did you see the Linen that was taken out of the Close-stool?
Mr. Gehagan. Mr. Kerrel gave me that Linen and the Tankard, and I carried them down. I saw this bloody Apron and bloody Smock taken out of the Gown. The Bundle was in the Closet when Mr. Kerrel mist his Waistcoats, but it was not open'd then; the Watchman fetch'd it away afterwards.
Prisoner. Was the Blood on the Tankard dry?
Mr. Gehagan. It appear'd then to be fresh.
Prisoner. Was the Blood on the Shift and Apron wet or dry?
Mr. Gehagan. I don't know certainly.
Pris. Who took the Shift up?
Mr. Gehagan. I had it in my Hand; the Blood on it was like that on the Tankard, which I thought was wet.
Pris. It had been folded up ever since, till now, and if it was wet then, it must be damp still if no Air has come to it. - Was the Linen in the Close-stool bloody, and what Linen was it?
Mr. Gehagan. I don't know what Linen it was, nor whether it was bloody or no.
Pris. Was the Linen in the Gown delivered to me before I went to the Watch-house ?
Mr. Gehagan. No; on her saying it was indecent it was left, but the Watchman came afterwards and said the Constable thought it necessary to have the Smock and Apron.
Pris. What Gown had I on?
Mr. Gehagan. I don't know.
Pris. I would ask Mr. Kerrel the same Question.
Mr. Kerrel. You came up in that blue
Pris. Had I any Blood on my Cloaths, or was I clean drest?
Court. Why it was Monday Morning when you was taken, you had 24 Hours time to shift your Cloaths.
Pris. Had I shifted my self with clean Linen.
Mr. Kerrel. I don't know, I did not observe.
J. Mastreter. I was on my Watch in the Temple that Night the Murder was done; and nothing past but Gentlemen going to their Chambers. Next Night, or Monday Morning at past 1 o'Clock, Mr. Kerrel called Watch! I went up to him, and he bid me call another Watch, and so I brought Richard Hughs to him. Then Mr. Kerrel said, Come up, Watchmen; so we went up and he searched his Drawers, and what Linen was not his own he threw out. Then he went to search for his Cloaths in a Portmanteau-Trunk in the Closet where he mist his Waistcoats, and asked the Prisoner what was become of them? She said she had pawned them. He said he could freely forgive her for pawning them, but he suspected she was concerned in the Murder, because he had heard her talk of Mrs. Lydia Duncomb ; therefore, says he, Watch take care of her, and do not let her go. So we carried her down, and as nothing was found upon her, I and my Brother Watchman agreed to let her go, upon her promising to be forth-coming at 10 in the Morning. It was a very boisterous Night, and in 5 Minutes after she was gone Mr. Kerrel and Mr. Gehagan came down with a bloody Tankard and bloody Linen. Mr. Kerrel ask'd me where the Woman was, I said I had let her go. Says he if you don't bring her again I'll take care of you. So I call'd my Brother Watch and he found her sitting between 2 other Watchmen at the Temple-Gate. We carried her back to Mr. Kerrel. He shewed her the Tankard, and ask'd her whose it was? She said it was hers, that she had had these 5 Years, and that it was given her by her Mother. He ask'd her how the Handle came to be bloody? She said she had a Prick in her Finger, and she shewed it me. It look'd as if it was done with a rusty Nail.
Council. Did it appear to be a fresh Hurt?
Prisoner. Was the Blood on the Tankard wet or dry?
Prisoner. Mr. Gehagan swore it was wet.
Mr. Gehagan. She rub'd it, and I thought it was.
Prisoner. Was you by when the bloody Linen was taken?
Council. These Things were found after one o'Clock on Monday Morning which was 24 Hours after the Murders, and therefore I don't see of what Service it would be to the Prisoner if she could / prove that the Blood was dry; might it not very well be dry in that Time?
Court. Was it fresh Blood upon the Tankard?
Richard Hugh . It look'd much as it does now. Then I carried her to the Constable and there left her, and went away and filled my Pipe. But presently I recollected, that when I was in Mr. Kerrel's Room, I kick'd a Bundle in a Gown and ask'd what it was, and she said her Shifts and Apron were in it, and not fit to be seen. I told the Constable of it, and he sent for it; so I went and ask'd for the Bundle whereof the Shift and Apron were put.
Council. Whereof? wherein, you mean; look upon them; is that the Apron, and that the Shift?
Prisoner. Was the Blood wet or dry?
Prisoner. 'Tis hard if he open'd them and handled them, and saw they were bloody, and yet can't say whether they were wet or dry.
Ann Love . I had been acquainted with Mrs. Duncomb 30 Years. On Sunday the 4th of February I went in order to dine with her; it was exactly one a Clock when I came to her Chamber Door. I knock'd and waited a considerable Time, but no body answered; I went down to see if I could find any body that had seeen any of the Family, or knew whether the Maid was gone out or no. I met with Mrs. Oliphant, and ask'd her; she said she had seen none of them. I went up again but could make no-body hear: then I concluded that the old Maid Elizabeth Harrison was dead, andAnn Price , was gone to her Sister's to acquaint her with it. I went then to Mrs. Rhymer (who was Mrs. Duncomb's Executrix) she came with me, and I went up again with her, but we could not get the Door open; I look'd out and saw the Prisoner at my Lord Bishop of Bangor's Door; I called her up, and said, Sarah, prither go and fetch the Smith to open the Door she said she wou'd go with all speed, and so she went.
Council. Why did you call her?
Ann Love . Because I knew she was acquainted with Mrs. Duncomh. The Prisoner return'd without the Smith. Mrs. Oliphant came to us, O! says I, Mrs. Oliphant, I believe they are all dead, and the Smith is not come, What shall we do to get in ? She said, she believed she could get out of her Master's Chamber into the Gutter, and so open Mrs. Duncomb's Window; I desired her to do so by all means: She accordingly got out upon the Leads, broke a Pane of Glass in Mrs. Duncomb's Chamber Window, open'd the Casement, jumps in and opened the Door, and I and Mrs. Rhymer and the Prisoner went in.
Council. And what did you see there?
Ann Love . In the Passage, the poor young Girl Nanny lay murder'd upon her Bed, and wallowing in her Blood, with her Throat cut from Ear to Ear. In the next Room the old Maid Elizabeth Harrison lay dead, and was thought to be strangled; and in the next Room to that, Mrs. Lydia Duncomb dead too, and strangled in her Bed; and her Box where she kept her Money was broke open, and nothing left in it but some Papers.
Council. Do you know that Tankard ?
Council. Have you seen the Prisoner in Mrs. Duncomb's Chambers any time before those Murders?
Council. Do you know on what Account the Prisoner came?
Council. What time did she go away?
Council. When you went, did any Body lock the Door after you?
Ann Love . I don't know; it was a spring Lock, and there was a Bolt within-side, and I believe it was bolted when Mrs. Oliphant got in at the Window, for when she opened the Door, I thought I heard the Bolt pull'd back.
Council. Did the Prisoner ever live with Mrs. Duncomb ?
Council. Did the Prisoner use to lie there?
Council. Have you seen her there at any other time than what you have mentioned ?
Prisoner. If you saw me there when the Murder was discovered, do you know what Clothes I had on?
Council. Did you see any thing lie upon the Table ?
Ann Love . There was a Case Knife with a white Handle, but the Blade was broke short off. I did not see the Blade.
Council. What became of that broken Knife?
Ann Oliphant . Mrs. Love came to me, and said she had been knocking at Mrs. Duncomb's Door and could not get in, and that she believed Mrs. Betty (the old Maid) was dead, and that Nanny was gone to acquaint her Sister with it, and that the old Lady could not get up. This was about one a Clock, and at two she told me she had sent Sarah (the Prisoner) for a Smith to break open the Door, but he was not come, and she knew not how to get in. Says I, My Master Grisly's Chambers, you know, are opposite to Mrs. Duncomb's. He went away last Tuesday, and Mr. Twysden has left the Keys with me to let the Chambers. Now I'll see if I can't get out of his Chamber Window into the Gutter, and so into Mrs. Duncomb's Apartment. She desired me to try, and so I did: I got into the Gutter; I broke a Pane in Mrs. Duncomb's Window, opened the Casement, and went in. Here's her Window, and here's her Door; the Door was lock'd and bolted; I opened it, and Mrs. Rhymer and Mrs. Love came in: I did not then see the Prisoner; but I believe she came soon after. In the first Room we found the young Girl, Ann Price , with her Throat cut from Ear to Ear, her Hair loose, and hanging over her Eyes, and her Hands clenched thus - . In the Dining-Room we found Elizabeth Harrison lying upon a Press Bed; she was strangled, her Throat was scratch'd: Mrs. Lydia Duncomb lay across her Bed in the next Room, and she was strangled too.
Council. Was the Prisoner there then?
Council. Was not you at Mrs. Duncomb's the Night before the Murder?
Ann Oliphant . Yes, I went to see her about eight a Clock; she said she was sorry my Master was gone, because it was so lonesome. The Prisoner was then sitting by the Fire by Mrs. Betty, and Mrs. Betty said, My Mistress talks of dying, and would have me die with her. I got up to go away, and the Prisoner said she would go down with me; and so she did, and we parted in Tanfield Court.
Council. You say you open'd the Casement, and found the Door lock'd and bolted; how do you think the Persons who did the Murder could get in and out?
Ann Oliphant . I don't know. I heard some body say, they must get down the Chimney, 'tis a large Kitchen Chimney; but I could thrust the Lock back, 'tis a Spring Lock; I have often put-to the Bolt my self without Side, to save Mrs. Betty the Trouble of coming to shut the Door after me.
Council. Have you shut the Bolt, do you say, when you were without Side?
Council. Is there any way for a Person to get out and leave the Door bolted?
Council. Can't they get out at the Stair-Case Windows?
Ann Oliphant . No, they have lately been barr'd.
Council. Mr. Grisly's Chambers had been empty, you say, ever since Tuesday, could not they get into his Chambers and so into hers?
Frances Rhymer . I have known Mrs. Duncomb 30 Years; and within these 3 or 4 Years she has been very infirm, and her Memory much decay'd, and therefore, she desir'd me to receive and take care of her Money, and she made me her Executrix.
Council. Then you have seen her Box where her Money was kept?
Council. Do you know this Tankard?
Council. Have you seen any Money in the Tankard lately?
Frances Rhymer . Yes; I kept the Key of this Box, and the Thursday before her Death she ask'd me if I had got her Key? I said yes, and she said she wanted a little Money. I ask'd her how much? She said about a Guinea. So I open'd her Box, and took out a Bag; it was a 100 l. Bag, it lay at top of the other Money in the Tankard.
Council. Is this the Bag?
Council. And how much do you think was left in the Bag?
Council. You say the Bag lay upon other Money?
Frances Rhymer . Yes, besides what was in the Bag there were several Parcels, that she had seal'd up in Papers for particular Uses. There were six little Parcels seal'd up with black Wax, I believe, there was two or three Guineas in each. In another Parcel, she told me, there were 20 Guineas to be laid out in her Burying, and in another there were 18 Ludores.
Council. Moidores I suppose you mean?
Frances Rhymer . Yes, I believe they call them Moidores. These, she said, were for me, to defray any extraordinary Charges that might happen. Then there was a green Purse, with 30 or 40 Shillings in it for poor People.
Council. Look on that green Purse, do you think that's the same?
Prisoner. Will she take her Oath to every Farthing of Money that was in the Box?
Council. This, you say, was on Thursday, what did you observe in Mrs. Duncomb's Chambers on the Sunday following?
F. Rhymer. When Mrs. Oliphant let us in, the first Thing I took notice of was the poor young Creature in the Passage with her Throat cut from Ear to Ear; then in the Dining-Room there lay Mrs. Betty, strangled, and in the other Room I found Mrs. Lydia Duncomb in the same sad Condition, and her strong black Box was broke open, and all the Money and the Tankard were gone.
Prisoner. Was the Door lock'd or bolted before Mrs. Oliphant open'd it?
Prisoner. Did you see any way that a Person could possibly get out and leave the Door bolted?
Court. Some Body did get in and out too, that's plain to a Demonstration.
Frances Crowder . I knew Mrs. Duncomb 6 or 7 Years. I know this Tankard, about 5 Years ago she desir'd me to sell some Plate for her, and then she shew'd me this Tankard, but says she, I would not sell this, I intend to keep it for a particular Reason, only I would have you ask what it's worth. Her Plate was mark'd with a D and a C [ CDL. for her Husband's Name was Charles.] She made use of the Tankard to-put her Money in. And afterwards she told me, that she intended the Tankard for her Niece Keely.
Council. Look on that clean Linen. These are the Shifts that were found in Mr. Kerrel's Drawers.
Frances Crowder . Mrs. Duncomb's Shifts had a particular Cut, and I verily believe on my Oath that these were hers. I have one of hers here that is the very same in every respect. They are all darned too in a particular Manner; there is not one Piece on all her Linen but all is darned.
Prisoner. Have they any particular Mark ?
Prisoner. One Shift may be cut like another.
Frances Crowder . Mrs. Duncomb has cut Shifts for me exactly in the same Manner; these Shifts have not been wash'd, I believe, for many Years, but they were laid up in the Box with her Money and the Tankard.
Prisoner. Mrs. Rhymer took no Notice of this Linen. It was strange that she could not see it; she that open'd the Box so often must know every Trifle that was in it.
Court. She was not ask'd that Question.
Mrs. Rhymer. I have seen Linen at the bottom of the Box, but I did not open it to look at it.
Court. Can you swear to that Linen?
Mrs. Rhymer. No.
Thomas Bigg . Mr. Farlow came to me at the Rainbow Coffee-house at Temple Bar, to go with the Coroner and view the Bodies. In the first Room I found the young Maid, Ann Price , lying in Bed with her Hair loose, and only her Shift on: her Chin was fixt down, as if done with a Design to hide the Cuts in her Throat. I lifted her Chin up and found three Incisions; one of them was not mortal, but the middle one divided the Windpipe, which was cut three Parts through, and either this or the third Wound was sufficient to cause her Death. Wounds in the Windpipe, indeed, are not always mortal, for they may sometimes be cur'd; but in a Case like this, where the great Blood Vessels were cut, the unavoidable Consequence must be Death. She had no Headclothes on, and her Hair was loose, and she seem'd to have struggled hard for her Life.
Council. Did you see the Strings on the Apron?
Mr. Bigg. Yes, they were bloody at the Ends.
Prisoner. Might they have been murder'd with those Strings and no Blood appear in the Middle?
Mr. Bigg. They might have been strangled without making the Strings bloody at all. But the Strings being bloody only at the Ends, which when the Apron was ty'd on, would hang before, the Blood might come upon them in the same manner as upon the rest of the Apron, or it might be by folding the Apron up before it was dry.
Prisoner. If I had this Apron and did the Murder in it, how is it possible that my Shift should be bloody both behind and before?
Council. My Lord, we shall now shew that it was practicable for the Door to be bolted within Side by a Person who was without.
William-Farlow. Betwixt the Door and the Post there is a Vacancy, through which a Man may put his Finger; I put a Packthread over the Bolt within Side, and then went without and shut the spring Lock, and then drew the Bolt by the Packthread, and it shut very easily.
Mr. Peters. There being a Difficulty started how the Door could be left bolted within Side, I took Mr. Farlow the Porter of the Temple with me; he put a String about the Neck of the Bolt, and then I shut him out, and he pulled the Bolt to by both Ends of the String, and then letting go one End, he pulled the String out.
Prisoner. It's hard that People can swear positively to so many Things, and yet could not perceive what Cloaths I had on.
Court. They tell you their Thoughts were taken up with other Things.
Prisoner. The Watchman search'd me, but did they find any Blood about me?
Court. You have been told already, that you had 24 Hours-time to change
Roger Johnson . The Prisoner was brought to Newgate on Monday the 5th of February: I had some Knowledge of her, because she us'd to come thither to see one * Johnson, and Irishman, who was convicted for stealing a Scotchman's Pack. She saw a Room where the Debtors were, and ask'd if she might not be in that Room. I told her it would cost her a Guinea, and she did not look like one that could pay so much; she said, if it was two or three Guineas, she could send for a Friend that would raise the Money. Then she went into the Tap-house among the Felons, and talk'd very freely with them. I call'd for a Link and took her up into another Room, where there was none but she and I. Child, says I, there is Reason to suspect that you are guilty of this Murder, and therefore I have Orders to search you; (tho' indeed, I had no such Orders) and with that I begun to feel about her Hips, and under her Petticoats. She desir'd me to forbear searching under her Coats, because she was not in a Condition, and with that she shew'd me her Shift, upon which I desisted. Then I examin'd down her before, and feeling under her Arms, she started and threw her Head back: I clapt my Hand to her Head, and felt something hard in her Hair, and pulling off her Cap, I found this Bag of Money. I ask'd her how she came by it, and she said it was some of Mrs. Duncomb's Money; but Mr. Johnson, says she, I'll make you a Present of it, if you will but keep it to yourself, and let no body know any thing of the Matter, for the other Things that are against me are nothing but Circumstances, and I shall come off well enough, and therefore I'll only desire you to let me have 3 d. or 6 d. a Day till the Sessions is over, and then I shall be at Liberty to shift for myself. I told the Money over, and to the best of my Remembrance, there was twenty Moidores, eighteen Guineas, five Broad-Pieces, I think one was a 25 s. Piece, and the others 23 s. Pieces, a half Broad-Piece, five Crowns, and two or three Shillings; I seal'd them up in the Bag, and here they are.
* Alexander Johnson was try'd in July last. Vid. Sessions Paper, Numb. 6. p. 156.
Court. How did she say she came by the Money?
Johnson. She said she took this Money and this Bag from Madam Duncomb, and begg'd me to keep it secret; My Dear, says I, I would not secrete the Money for the World. She told me too, that she had hired three Men to swear the Tankard was her Grandmother's, but could not depend upon them; that the Name of one was William Denny , another was - Smith, and I have forgot the third. After I had taken the Money away she put a Piece of Mattress into her Hair, that it might appear of the same Bulk as before. Then I lock'd her up and sent to Mr. Alstone, and told him the Story; and, says I, Do you stand in a dark Place to be a Witness of what she says, and I'll go and examine her again.
Prisoner. I tied my Handkerchief over my Head to hide the Money, but
Court. Johnson, were those her Words, This is the Money and Bag that I took?
Johnson. Yes; and she desired me to make away with the Bag.
Mr. Alstone. On the Day she was committed Mr. Johnson sent for me, and said he had found a Bag of Money in her Hair; he shew'd me the Money, and would have had me to have taken it, but I refus'd. I asked him where the Bag was, he said he had left it with her. I told him he should have taken that too, because there might be some Mark upon it. He said he'd call her, and get it from her, and he desir'd me to stand out of Sight, and hear what she said. I accordingly stood in a dark Place and she came up and delivered the Bag to him, and desired him to burn it, or to destroy it some Way or other. She said she only wanted Witnesses to swear to the Tankard, and for all the rest she could do well enough. She afterwards told me, Part of the Money that was found on her was Mrs. Duncomb's, and taken out of her Chamber; that two Men and a Woman were concerned with her, and that she herself was the Contriver, and laid the Scheme of the Robbery; that she let them in, and sate upon the Stairs to watch while they committed the Fact, but that she knew nothing of the Murder; that one Will. Gibbs had been with her from the two Alexanders (the Men who she said were concerned with her) and that she had sent them 10 Guineas.
Council. My Lord, we have here her Information* upon Oath before Sir Richard Brocas.
* The Examination and Confession of Sarah Malcolm, taken on Oath, Feb. 6. 1732. before Sir Richard Brocas, Knt.
Who on her Oath faith, That on Sunday Morning last, about 2 o'Clock, she, this Examinant, was concerned with Thomas and James Alexander , Brothers, and Mary Tracey , who murder'd Elizabeth Harrison , Lydia Duncomb , and another Person, whose Name she, this Examinant, does not at present know, on or about the Time last mentioned, in the Temple in this City, which was done in the Manner following:
That she, this Examinant, had several Conferences with the abovesaid Persons concerning the robbing of Mrs. Duncomb ; and that about 10 o'Clock on Saturday Night last, James Alexander got into Mrs. Duncomb's Chambers, and concealed himself under a Bed till about 2 o'Clock, when he opened her Chamber-Door, and let the said Mary Tracey and Thomas Alexander into the said Chambers; and that she, this Examinant, stood on the Stairs as a Watch whilst they committed the said Murders, and at the same Time stole from out of the said Chambers about 300 l. in Money, a Silver Pint Tankard, and 2 Silver Spoon, with divers other Goods to a great Value; which said Money and Goods were by the abovesaid Persons brought down to her, and then distributed in equal Portions amongst them, between 4 and 5 o'Clock on Sunday Morning last past.
Court. If it is upon Oath it cannot be
Prisoner. Johnson swears he found 20 Moidores on me, and Mrs. Rhymer swore there was but 18 lost.
Court. She was not positive, but said there might be about so many.
Council. My Lord, we have gone thro' our Evidence, I shall only take Notice of a few Particulars, and then submit the Whole to your Lordship and the Jury.
Mr. Kerrel and Mr. Gehagan have given an Account, that upon searching Mr. Kerrel's Room they found some clean Linen which the Prisoner owned to be hers.
Mrs. Crowder, upon comparing the Cut and Darning of this Linen, verily believes that it was Mrs. Duncomb's, and that it was in the Box where the Money was kept.
Mrs. Rhymer too had seen some Linen there, but is not so particular.
Mr. Kerrel found a Tankard in his Close-stool with the Handle bloody; the Prisoner own'd this Tankard to be hers, but endeavours to account for the Blood by saying that she had prick'd her Finger.
Mastreter says, That her Finger indeed appeared to have been hurt, but that the Wound was not fresh. And Mrs. Rhymer and Mrs. Crowder both swear positively that the Tankard was Mrs. Duncomb's.
The bloody Linen, and especially the Apron, are strong Circumstances against her; and as to Mrs. Duncomb's Door being left bolted within-side we have shewn by two unexceptionable Witnesses how easily it might be done.
Johnson's finding the Money in her Hair, and her desiring him to conceal it and destroy the Bag, and the rest of her Conversation with him, discovers how well practised she was in Wickedness; and her confessing that the Money was Mrs. Duncomb's, and that she took it out of Mrs. Duncomb's Chambers, is a Circumstance so strong as amounts to a Proof.
Prisoner. Yes; I own'd Part of the Money to be hers, but not that I took it out of her Chambers; and it was Johnson that instigated me to burn the Bag.
Council. And the Prisoner has frequently called upon the Witnesses to declare whether the bloody Linen was wet or dry; what Cloaths she had on, and whether they were bloody or not? I know not what Service it could do her if it was allowed that the Blood was dry, and that there was no Blood on her Cloaths, when it is remembered that it was 24 Hours from the Time the Fact was committed to the Time that the Linen was found, and she was suspected; a Time sufficient for the Blood to dry, and for her to shift her Cloaths.
The Prisoner's Defence.
Prisoner. Modesty might compel a Woman to conceal her own Secrets if Necessity did not oblige her to the contrary; and 'tis Necessity that obliges me to say, that what has been taken for the Blood of the murdered Person is nothing but the free Gift of Nature.
This was all that appeared on my
If it is supposed that I kill'd her with my Cloaths on, my Apron indeed might be bloody, but how should the Blood come upon my Shift? If I did it in my Shift, how should my Apron be bloody, or the back part of my Shift? And whether I did it dress'd or undress'd, why was not the Neck and Sleeves of my Shift bloody as well as the lower Parts?
I freely own that my Crimes deserve Death; I own that I was accessary to the Robbery, but I was innocent of the Murder, and I'll give an Account of the whole Affair.
I lived with Mrs. Lydia Duncomb about three Months before she was murder'd; the Robbery was contrived by Mary Tracey , who is now in Confinement, and myself, my own vicious Inclinations agreeing with hers. We likewise propos'd to rob Mr. Oaks in Thames-street; she came to me at my Master's, Mr. Kerrel's Chambers, on the Sunday before the Murder was committed ; he not being then at Home, we talked about robbing Mrs. Duncomb; I told her I could not pretend to do it by myself, for I should be found out. No, says she, there are the two Alexanders [Thomas and James] will help us. Next Day I had 17 Pounds sent me out of the Country, which I left in Mr. Kerrel's Drawers. I met them all in Cheapside the Friday following, and we agreed on the next Night, and so parted.
Next Day being Saturday, I went between 7 and 8 in the Evening to see Mrs. Duncomb's Maid Elizabeth Harrison , she was very bad; I stayed a little while with her and went down, and Mary Tracey , and the two Alexanders came to me about 10 o'Clock according to Appointment. She would have gone about the Robbery just then, but I said it was too soon. Between 10 and 11 she said, We can do it now. I told her I would go and see, and so I went Up-stairs and they followed me; I met the young Maid on the Stairs with a blue Mug, she was going for some Milk to make a Sack-Posset; she asked me who those were that came after me; I told her they were People going to Mr. Knight's below. As soon as she was gone I said to Mary Tracey , Now do you and Tom Alexander go down, I know the Door is left a-jar, because the old Maid is ill, and can't get up to let the young Maid in when she comes back. Upon that they went down, and James Alexander , by my Order, went in and hid himself under the Bed; and as I was going down myself, I met the young Maid coming up again; she ask'd me if I had spoke to Mrs. Betty, I told her No; tho' I should have told her otherwise, but only that I was afraid she might say something to Mrs. Betty about me, and Mrs. Betty might tell her that I had not been there, and so they might have a Suspicion of me. I past her and went down, and spoke with Tracey and Alexander, and then went to my Master'sThomas Alexander sitting on Mrs. Duncomb's Stairs, and I sat down with them. At 12 a Clock we heard some People walking, and by-and-by Mr. Knight came in, and went to his Room and shut the Door. It was a very stormy Night; there was hardly any Body stirring abroad, and the Watchmen kept up close except just when they cried the Hour. At 2 o'Clock another Gentleman came and called the Watch to light his Candle, upon which I went farther Up-stairs, and soon after this I heard Mrs. Duncomb's Door open; James Alexander came out and said, Now is the Time. Then Mary Tracey and Thomas Alexander went in, but I stayed upon the Stairs to watch. I had told them where Mrs. Duncomb's Box stood; they came out between 4 and 5, and one of them call'd to me softly, and said Hip! How shall I shut the Door? Says I, 'Tis a Spring-lock; pull it to, and it will be fast ; and so one of them did. They would have shared the Money and Goods upon the Stairs, but I told them we had better go down; so we went under the Arch by Fig-Tree Court, where there was a Lamp; I ask'd them how much they had got, they said they had found 50 Guineas, and some Silver in the Maid's Purse; above 100 l. in the Chest of Drawers, besides the Silver Tankard, and the Money in the Box, and several other Things; so that in all they had got to the Value of about 300 l. in Money and Goods. They told me they had been forced to gag the People; they gave me the Tankard with what was in it, and some Linen, for my Share, and they had a Silver Spoon and a Ring, and the rest of the Money among themselves. They advised me to be cunning, and plant the Money and Goods under Ground, and not be seen to be flush; then we appointed to meet at Greenwich, but I did not go.
I was taken in the Manner as the Witnesses have sworn, and carried to the Watch-house, from whence I was sent to the Compter, and so to Newgate. I own that I said the Tankard was mine, and that it was left me by my Mother. Several Witnesses have swore what Account I gave of the Tankard being bloody; I had hurt my Finger, and that was the Occasion of it. I am sure of Death, and therefore have no Occasion to speak any thing but the Truth. When I was in the Compter I happened to see a young Man whom I knew with a Fetter on; I told him I was sorry to see him there, and I gave him a Farthing and a Shilling, and call'd for half a Quartern of Rum to make him drink. I afterwards went into my Room, and heard a Voice call me, and perceived something poking behind the Curtain, I was a little surprized, and looking to see what it was, I found a Hole in the Wall, thro' which the young Man I had given the Shilling to spoke to me, and ask'd me if I had sent for my Friends; I told him, No. He said he'd do what he could for me, and so he went away; and some time after he call'd to me again, and said Here's a Frien. I look'd thro', and saw Will. Gibbs come in; I think it was Will. Gibbs; says he, Who is there to swear against you? I told him my two Masters would be the chief Witnesses. And what can they charge you with? says he; I told him the Tankard was the only Thing, for there was nothing else that I thoughts could hurt me. Never fear then, says he, we'llRichard Brocas , they were not there. Then I found I should be sent to Newgate, and I was full of anxious Thoughts; but a young Man told me I had better go to the Whit [Newgate] than to the Compter.
When I came to Newgate I had but 18 d. in Silver, besides the Money in my Hair, and that 18 d. I paid for my Garnish; I was ordered to a high Place in the Goal. Buck, as I said before, having seen my Hair loose told Johnson of it, and Johnson ask'd me if I had got any Cole planted there; he search'd and found the Bag, and there was in it 36 Moidores, 18 Guineas, 5 Crown Pieces, 2 half Crowns, 2 Broad Pieces of 25 s. four of 23 s. and one half Broad Piece. He told me I must be cunning, and not be seen to be flush of Money; I desir'd him to keep it for me till I got clear, and only let me have a little now and then as I wanted it; then says he, Do you know any body that will swear for you? No, says I, can you help me to any? I would not do such a thing for the World, says he, if I thought you guilty; so he took the Money and we parted, but in a little Time he called me down again, and said, What have you done with the Bag? I have it, says I, but what wou'd you advise me to do with it? Why, says he, you might have thrown it down the Necessary-House or have burnt it, but give it me and I'll take care. of it; and so I gave it to him. Mr. Alstone then brought me to the Condemn'd Hold and examin'd me; I denied all, till I found he had heard of the Money, and then I knew my Life was gone; and therefore, I confess'd all that I knew; I gave him the same Account of the Robbery as I have given now. I told him I had heard my Masters were to be shot, and I desired him to send them Word. I described Tracey and the 2 Alexanders, and when they were first taken they denied that they knew Mr. Oaks, whom they and I had agreed to rob.
All that I have now declared is Fact, and I have no occasion to murder three innocent Persons by a false Accusation; for I know I am a condemn'd Woman, I know I must suffer an ignominious Death which my Crimes deserve, and I shall suffer willingly; I thank God that he has granted me Time to repent, when I might have been snatch'd off in the midst of my Crimes, and without having an Opportunity of preparing my self for another World.
My Lord, as there was more Money found upon me than belong'd to Mrs. Duncomb, I hope your Lordship will be so good as to order what was my own to be return'd me.
Court. The Court cannot determine whose Property the Money is, till the Jury have brought in their Verdict.
The Jury withdrew for about a Quarter of an Hour to consider of their Verdict, and when they return'd the Prisoner
Clerk. Gentlemen of the Jury, are you agreed on your Verdict?
Clerk. Who shall say for you?
Jury. Our Foreman.
Clerk. How say you? Is she guilty on the Coroner's Inquisition, or not guilty?
Clerk. What Goods, Chattels, Lands, or Tenements, had she at the Time of the Felony and Murder committed, or at any time since to your Knowledge?
Clerk. Hearken to your Verdict as the Court has recorded it. You say that Sarah Malcolm is guilty of the Felony and Murder whereof she stands indicted, and that she is likewise guilty on the Coroner's Inquest; and you say that she had no Goods or Chattels, Lands or Tenements, at the Time of the said Felony and Murder committed, or at any time since to your Knowledge, and so you say all.
Wednesday the 21st, Thursday the 22d, Friday the 23d, and Saturday the 24th of February 1733, in the Sixth Year of His MAJESTY's Reign.
NUMBER III. PART II.
Printed for J. WILFORD, behind the Chapter-House, near St. Paul's. M,DCC,XXXIII.
(Price Six Pence.)