Dean Briant, Killing > murder, 6th September 1738.

Reference Number: t17380906-10
Offence: Killing > murder
Verdict: Guilty
Punishment: Death

11. Dean Briant , of St. Botolph Aldgate , was indicted for the Murder of Mary his Wife, by giving her (with a Clasp Knife) on the left Part of the Back, near the left Hip, a mortal Wound, of the Breadth of one Inch, and Depth of one Inch, of which Wound she instantly died , July 7 .

He was a 2d Time indicted for the said Murder, by Vertue of the Coroner's Inquest.

Lydia Cole . On the 7th of July in the Night, I was very ill with the Tooth-Ach, and an Ague in my Head, and not being able to sleep, I walked about my Chamber, which is a Ground Room, and joins to the Prisoner's. About half an Hour after One, I heard somebody knock at his Door once or twice, and cry softly in a Man's Voice, - Molly! Molly! Molly! three Times. The Door was immediately open'd, and he was let into the Room that joins with mine. No sooner was he got in, but Words arose; then I heard a Blow given. Then Words, - then a Blow. At last I heard a Woman in a soft Voice cry, - don't! don't! don't! hurt me! And the Man's Voice answer'd, - then d - mn your Blood you Bitch, don't follow me. After this there were many Words pass'd; and the Woman talk'd to him in a very moving Manner. When the Watchman came Two o'Clock, I heard no Noise, so I lay'd myself down on my Bed; but I had not lain long, before I heard the Woman either crying or squeeling. I jump'd from the Bed again, and heard her groan, for a Quarter of an Hour, and every groan, grew fainter and fainter, 'till I could not hear it at all. From this Time, I heard no Noise, but only a dragging of something along the Floor, and then I imagin'd the Man went out of the House again.

Margaret Carter . I know nothing of the Murder; but I can speak to the Prisoner's Behaviour to his Wife at other Times. The Prisoner, the Deceased, and I, have been acquainted many Years. He always has been very vile in his Behaviour to her: beating and abusing her frequently, though she always behav'd very mildly to him. The worst Words I ever heard her use to him, were, - why do you use me so? 'tis worse usage than I deserve I have seen her fall on her Knees and entreat him not to abuse her, and instead of being mov'd with Compassion, he has beat her 'till she has bled. On the first of February last, she sent for me; I found her darning, or running the Heels of his Stockings. As soon as she saw me, she burst out a crying, and said, she was now at a Distance from every Friend, and had no one to ease her Mind to. Her Husband (she said) was gone abroad in a great Passion; and had told her, that he would neither bed with her, nor ever eat or drink with her more, and that if he met her in the Street, he would certainly kill her; nor

would he ever be Friends with her, unless she would own, she took a Guinea and a Half out of his Pocket, which she profess'd she had never touch'd. I was concern'd at her Tale, and went down to the Waterside to see for him, but not finding him, I returned again to the Deceased. While I was with her, the Prisoner came in, and to get him into a good Humour, I invited him to come a House-warming to my House, but he refuss'd: The poor Woman burst out a crying again, and told him she had made him some Broth, and beg'd him to eat some; he reply'd, - no, d - mn you for a Bitch, I won't touch it, nor ever eat any Thing with you, 'till you have acknowledged you took the Money. She fell on her Knees, and hung about his Knees, declaring with a great many Tears, that she was Innocent; but he up with his Fist, and dash'd her away from him with such Violence, as to set her a bleeding.

(This Witness confirm'd Mrs. Cole's Evidence, with Regard to the Scituation of Cole's Chamber and the Prisoner's.)

William Brown . The Morning the Deceas'd was murder'd, I ran into the House, and found the Woman bleeding upon the Floor. The Prisoner sat in a Chair by the Table, and cry'd, and said - Lord! what have I done!

Samuel Cooling , Surgeon. I examin'd the Wound; It was about an Inch and a Half above the Hip; and was about an Inch in Breadth, and an Inch and a Half deep. I pass'd my Finger into the Orifice; 'tis my Opinion it was the Occasion of her Death, and that it was made with that Clasp Knife. (A thick Clasp Knife was produc'd in Court.)

The Constable This Knife I took from the Prisoner: 'tis the very same.

Mr. Cooling. I believe the Wound was given with this Knife, for it tallies exactly, both with the Hole in her Stays, and with the Wound.

Q. Would that Knife have wounded her thro' her Stays.

A former Witness. Yes it would: and the Hole in the Stays tallies exactly with the Knife?

Jury. Was the Deceased found dead in the Room where Mrs. Cole imagin'd she heard the Noise?

Mrs. Cole. Yes; I saw the Prisoner in the Morning about Eight o'Clock going in at the Window up Stairs, by a Ladder; when we was got in, I heard him say, - She is not here! When he came down into the Kitchen, he cry'd - O God! O God! my Wife is dead! As soon as the Door was open'd, an elderly Woman ran in. I went in after her, saw the Deceased lying upon the Ground, and a vast Quantity of Blood had run from the Wound. O Lord (I cry'd) the Woman is murder'd.

Woollgar James Oseland . The Night this happen'd, I went to do some Business at Mr. Bishop's, in East Smithfield. Mr. Bishop was going to East Beccles, so he and his Wife and I went out together to see if he could get a Passage in the Ipswich Coach. It was about a Quarter or half an Hour after, when we went from Mr. Bishop's Door; before we had left the Door, the Prisoner came by; Mr. Bishop asked the Prisoner where he was going at that Time o'Night; I am going (says he) to the Strong Man's, to see for my Wife; for I have been Home, and though I see a Light in the House, I can't get in. - Pray where are you going? My Master told the Prisoner, he was going to wait the coming by of the Ipswich Coach. Says he, I will go with you, and will pass my Time away 'till Morning. Accordingly he went with us as far as the Artichoke at Milend, where he laid himself down on a Bench, and said his Nose bled. While we waited for the Coach, he fell asleep, and when my Master had taken Coach, it was with difficulty we wak'd him to come back with us. I took Notice that he was very melancholly, and loiter'd behind my Mistress and me; Lord (says I to my Mistress, in Stepney Church-Yard) what can be the meaning of Brian's being so melancholy? When we came to the Half-way-House, he went up to the Side of a Pond, and there he stood while we walked 20 or 30 Yards onwards. Surely (says I to my Mistress) the Man is not going to make away with himself! However, he came up to us in Nightingale-Lane, and asked my Mistress to go round with him to his House, to see if his Wife was got up; but she, wanted to go to her Sister's to get a Dram, and would not go with him, so we left him and came Home. Just after Four o'Clock, he came to our House, and staid till Eight in the Morning; then he went out, and he had not been gone above a Quarter of an Hour, before it was blown about, that he had murder'd his Wife.

The Prisoner in his Defence said, that he was employ'd by one Harvey, to go Master of a small Vessel , and that he had been that Night with him, from Twelve or One o'Clock, till Two. That he came to his House about half an Hour after One, or near Two, but could not get in; therefore he intended to have gone to the Sign of the Strong Man, but meeting with Bishop, his Wife, and Oseland, he went with them to the Artichoke, at Milend; that from thence he came Home again,

but still could not get in, therefore he return'd to Bishop's, and staid there till nine o'Clock; then he went home again, and got in at the Window by a Ladder, and found by the Bed, that no one had lain in it that Night; and that upon coming down Stairs he found somebody had murder'd his Wife, but there were none of his Goods missing, nor had he been robb'd of any Thing.

Mr. Harvey depos'd, That the Prisoner, on the 7th of July at Night, left him about One of the Clock, and that he saw no more of him.

Mrs. Cole added, that it was near half an Hour after One when she heard the knocking and calling at the Door. Guilty . Death .


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