Thomas Bridge, Killing > other, 18th July 1739.

Reference Number: t17390718-16
Offence: Killing > other
Verdict: Guilty
Punishment: Death

403. Thomas Bridge , of St. Andrews, Holbourn , was indicted for that he not having God before his Eyes, &c. on the 5th of June , in and upon Elizabeth, his Wife , did make an Assault, and with a certain Knife, made of Iron and Steal, value 1 d. her the said Elizabeth, in and upon the left Part of the Breast, near the left Pap, feloniously, &c. did strike and stab, giving her a mortal Wound of the Breadth of one Inch, and the Depth of three Inches, of which Wound she instantly died .

John Wilsted . The Prisoner, on the 5th of June, came to me, and told me, That his Wife was murdered, and that he had stabbed her in the Breast with a Knife, and that she was dead. I asked him if his Wife was dead? He said yes, and lay dead on the Floor. He told me, he was eating a Piece of Bread and Cheese, and held his Knife against his Breast; with the Point outwards, and she flew at him in a violent Passion, and stabbed the Knife into her Breast. I asked him what Knife she was killed with? And if it was with the Clasp-Knife which he carried in his Pocket? He said, no, it was with a Butcher's sharp-pointed Knife with a white Handle, or an Ivory Handle, and he could not find the Knife, nor half a Crown which she had in her Pocket. He seemed to me to be very much in Liquor, and was all over bloody. There was a large Patch of Blood on his Back, and another on his right Leg. I told him, he had either been doing Murder, or had been fighting, and he told me he had not been fighting, - his Wife was murdered. I went with him to the House where he lodg'd, and asked the Man of the House where the Prisoner's Wife was? He told me, she had not been at Home all Night; why says I, her Husband tells me she is murdered, and lies dead upon the Floor. The Prisoner then told the Man, that his Wife lay dead upon the Floor, but the Chamber-door was lock'd, and the Prisoner either would not, - or could not find the Key; so we got a Ladder, and set it up to the Window, and a little Boy went up, and look'd in, and said, - she was dead upon the Floor. After this I went up, and found it true. I observed the Skin was off his Nose, and off some Part of his Eye-brow.

Jury. We desire he may be ask'd, how long he imagin'd the Woman had been dead?

Wilsted. She seem'd to me not to have been long dead.

Prisoner. Did not you desire me to go off, and I said I would not, but would go with you, and stay till a Constable came, because I knew myself innocent?

Wilsted. Yes; I did advise him to go off, and I believe it would have been better for him if he had; but he insisted upon taking a Trial for it.

Jury. Did you ask him for the Key of the Room?

Wilsted. Yes; and he either would not, or could not produce it; but it was produced before the Justice.

Prisoner. If the Key had been found, they could not have got into the Room; for there's an Iron Bar, which runs cross the Back of the Door, and when the Door is shut, and that Bar not taken off, (which falls into a Hook) no one can get in, but through the Window.

John Thomas . On the 4th of June I was sitting at my own Door, and saw the Prisoner and the Deceased pass by me; he was in Liquor, and she was not sober. The Prisoner was led home by another Woman, between Eight and Nine at Night. I saw nothing more of them that Night, but the next Morning, about Nine, I saw him come past my House with Mr. Wilsted, and I said, I believed he had been upon the Rake all Night, for he did not seem sober then. After this I saw a Ladder set up, and a Boy went up the Ladder, and told the People the Woman was dead upon the Floor, and lay in her Blood; then a Woman went up, and got in at the Window, and declar'd Mrs. Bridge was murder'd. When the Door was open'd, I went up, and saw the Woman lying on the Middle of the Floor, - dead, - and cold, - in her Blood. I have liv'd next Door to them these six Years.

Jury. What Character had the Deceased?

Thomas. I never heard any Ill of either of them.

Lucretia Eades . On the 4th of June, between Seven and Eight in the Evening, I saw the Prisoner and his Wife come into the House where I live. He was so much in Liquor, that he had like to have fallen down in attempting to sit: A Neighbour that was then in the House told him, if he would go home, she would go with him, which he agreed to, and his Wife, and he, and the Woman went home together. Sometime after this, the Deceased came down Stairs again, and went to the White Horse in Baldwin's Gardens for two Pots of Beer, which were carry'd up to their Lodging. I saw no more of them till next Morning, and then, after the Boy that went up the Ladder had told us the Woman was dead, I went up, and found the Deceased on the Floor; the left Side of her Forehead was blue, there was a little Mark on her right Temple, and a Stab above her right Breast, and her Fingers were all bloody. There were several Knives lying upon the Table, all which were carry'd before Mr. Poulson.

Jury. We ask, whether the Wound went upwards, - or downwards?

Eades. The Wound was above her left Breast, and went downwards.

Prisoner. She says she saw us come by between Seven and Eight; - the former Witness says, - between Eight and Nine; and as for Beer, we had none that Night.

Richard Slakman . Between Eight and Nine at Night, July the 4th, the Prisoner came to me with the Deceased: He was in Liquor, and in attempting to sit, he fell down. The Deceased desired my Wife to get the Prisoner home; accordingly she led him home, and I follow'd them in four or five Minutes. The Prisoner asked me to stay and sup with him; I refused, and he said, - then I should drink with him, and he would have sent for two full Pots of Beer, but I oppos'd it; then the Prisoner storm'd at the Deceased, stamping with his Feet in an angry Manner, and bid her fetch him Half a Pint; the Deceased ran in great Haste, and fetched half a Pint of Gin and we drank a Dram a-piece out of a broken Tea Cup: There was a Quarter of a Pint left in the Bottle when we went away. 'Twas about Half an Hour after Nine when I left them, and they then seem'd to be in Friendship together.

Sarah Mauden . On the 5th of June the Prisoner came to our Shop about Seven o'Clock in the Morning, to buy a Shirt: My Mother keepeth a Cloaths Shop: He pitched upon one, and agreed to give me 16 d. for it: Then he desired he might have the Liberty to put it on in the Entry When he had put it on, he desired me to give him a Bit of Tape to tie the Sleeves: I ty'd them for him, and then he desired me to cut the Ends of the Tape even, and he told me, - he should be hang'd in that Shirt. I ask'd him why? Not for wronging any body, said he, - for My Case is worse than a Thief's. I observed the Shirt he pulled off was bloody at the Hands.

Prisoner. I remember I went to her Shop, and bought a Shirt, because that which I had on was torn at the Wrists; but I don't remember my speaking such Words.

Mary Shields . I am a Lodger in the House where this Thing happen'd: I saw the Prisoner and the Deceased come Home together between Eight and Nine in the Evening: Mrs. Slackman led him Home, for he was very much in Liquor. They had not been long at Home, before I saw the Deceased go out for Half a Pint of Gin, and a Half-penny Candle, and I saw no more of them till Ten o'Clock at Night, and then I saw him, with a Stick in his Hand, carry out his Child, which was dropp'd that Night near my Daughter's House.

Jury. How old was the Child?

Shields. About Six Years old.

Jury. What do you mean by dropping a Child of Six Years old?

Shields. The Child did tell the People (who found it) where it lived. That Night I saw no

more of him; but about Twelve at Night I heard the Bar of his Chamber-Door fall, and the Door shut, and I heard somebody go out of the Room. The Reason I have to believe it was the Prisoner who went out, is this; I heard his Voice when he got in at the Window by a Ladder at Eleven o'Clock, which was an Hour before I heard somebody go out of his Room, and at Twelve I heard the Bar behind the Door fall into the Latch, and somebody went out. The next Morning I met him coming up Stairs; he was then not sober, and as I pass'd him upon the Stairs, I saw the Calf of his Leg bloody, and the back of his Coat. The Child was dropp'd in St. Clement's Parish (in the Strand) and was brought before the Justice when the Prisoner was examined by him. This is the Shirt that was taken from him.

Sarah Mauden . I believe this is the Shirt he pull'd off in our House.

A former Witness. He own'd it was the same, - before Mr. Poulson.

The Shirt was produced, but it was so much torn, and was so very foul, that it could not be thoroughly inspected.

Hannah Coles . The Prisoner and the Deceased came home that Night, (I think) pretty much in Liquor. I lodge in the same House, and not haveing been well, I had taken a Sweat, and went pretty soon to Bed. My Room is over the Prisoner's, and between Nine and Ten, I heard a Noise in their Room, but not a Noise with Talking, - no Noise of Murder, nor any Groaning, but a Thumping about. There were two or three great Bumpings, which made my Bed shake under me, and I thought the Things upon the Shelves in my Room would have been shook down. I supposed they were fighting, for they were given to quarrel, but I never had any Concerns with them, and I thought 'twas no Business of mine. Sometimes they would quarrel, and sometimes they'd be good Friends. When the Man was sober, he'd be pretty well, - when he was drunk, he'd abuse every body, and she was a very passionate Woman. I did not see the Prisoner after this, (Noise,) till next Morning, and then he had confess'd, and had brought People home with him, The Woman was kill'd, - I saw; but I did not kill her, and I have no more to say.

George Reader . The Morning after the Murder, I was standing at my Door about Eight o'Clock, and saw the Prisoner and Mr. Wilsted come by. I took him to be a Constable, and imagined there had been some Quarrel among the Lodgers. I saw Wilsted go in, and the Prisoner stood at the Door: I having some slender Knowledge of him, he beckon'd to me; I went to him and he took me by the Button, (of my Coat,) and said, - She's dead! Who's dead, said I! My Wife, said he! God forbid, said I! 'Tis true, reply'd he, and she lies weltring in her Blood, - You'll come and give me a Pot when I am in Newgate. I took the Prisoner to be a quiet peaceable Man. I am sorry I have so much to say against him.

Sarah Miller . The Prisoner has lodged in my House about 16 or 17 Months. I have often heard him and the Deceased quarrel - by way of Words; but I never saw them fight. She once, indeed, had a black Eye; but how she came by it, I can't tell. On the 4th of June, I saw the Prisoner go out early in the Morning, and I saw him no more that Day, till he was led home by a Woman, very much in Liquor, and his Wife walk'd before him. A little after Nine (the same Evening) he came down Stairs into my Shop, with his Child, and said, Landlady, - Shall I leave my Candle upon the Counter? I ask'd him where he was going at that time o'Night with the Child? He said, he was going to carry the Child to its Mother, who was at the Child's Aunt's, and he was then going to her. I desired him not to stay, for I should shut up Shop at Eleven, and he told me, he should return immediately.

Jury. How did he appear, when he came down with the Child?

Miller. Very brisk; - but he was in Liquor.

Jury. Did not you know that his Wife was then at Home?

Miller. No; I did not know but she might have gone out again. About Eleven he return'd, and took his Candle; I ask'd him, what he had done with the Child? He told me, he had left it with his Wife, and asked me if I had any Key that would open his Door; - for he hadleft the Key of his Room, (he said) with his Wife. I told him I had no Key that would do; so he got a Ladder, and set it up against the Window, and went in; He was then in Liquor, and I was afraid he would have tumbled; for he work'd the Ladder among the Sugar-Loaves at the Top of the Window, and I was forced to hold it, left it should tilt. When he got to the Top of the Ladder, he threw up the Sash, and tumbled in at the Window, Head over Heels; which made the Neighbours laugh, and say he had got a Fall. When

I went in Doors, my Husband said, - 'twas a little odd that his Wife should be gone, and his Child gone, and that he should get in at the Window; I am afraid he has some Design to rob the Lodging (for it was ready furnished); I told him, we would go to Bed, and I would keep awake. About Twelve, or a little before, I heard his Door go, and somebody come out of his Room, and open the Street Door, and go out; upon which I got up, and fasten'd it, that he should come in no more that Night. I heard no more of him 'till next Morning, when he came with Wilsted (the first Witness), and then a Woman got in at the Window.

Prisoner's DEFENCE.

Prisoner. My Lord, I had been out with my Wife the best Part of that Day, on some Affairs of her own, and we went to several Places, where we drank pretty much: Between Eight and Nine in the Evening we came home, as the Witnesses have said. That Man's Wife, ( Slackman's ) came Home with me, and he followed. I ask'd him to stay and sup with me upon some Roast-Beef, which we had had for Dinner on Sunday: He refused, and then I press'd him to drink, but he would not: May be, says I, you don't chuse to drink Beer; fetch me, says I, (to my Wife) Half a Pint of Geneva; she did, and had like to have tumbled down Stairs at the same time. When Slackman and his Wife were gone, I told my Wife she had drank a great deal, and she had better eat something. No, - she would not eat, but would have another Dram: Won't it be too much for you? No, she said, She'd drink t'other Dram, and would then go to Bed. Well, says I, if you wont eat, I and the Child will. The Child would have Bread and Cheese; so I cut a Slice for it, and another for my self. She was then standing at the End of the Table; I was standing at some Distance from it, and we were talking together, without Passion. At last she began to mention a Difference she had had with one of the Witnesses, and I was for mitigating the Matter; upon which she grew uneasy, and I seeing that, said, Well, we'll omit talking of this till To-morrow. I stood, my Lord, in this Posture - 'tis my usual Posture, with my Knife in one Hand, resting on my Breast, and my Bread and Cheese in the other, - 'tis my usual Way of standing - I saw her Countenance change, and bid her go to Bed, but she stepp'd forward, and fell like a Lump of Lead upon me, and her Head came under my Chin. She was a short Woman, and my Knife took her just above her Stays; had I been farther from her, she would have fallen on her Face. 'Twas about 10 o'Clock when she fell on my Knife and after that, I carry'd out my Child.

Jury. Was the Child produced before the Justice?

Prisoner. Yes, it was before Mr. Poulson, but it is not seven Years old. - After my Wife had received the Wound, she fell from me; I withdrew the Knife, and put it into the Sheath, and clapp'd it into the Bosom of my Waistcoat. She fell from me on her Temple, and I clapp'd my Hand to her Mouth, and found she was dead, without either a Sigh or a Groan. As she fell, her Cloaths flew up to her Head, so I laid her strait, and then the Child crying out, - O my Mammy! - my Mammy! I took him up in my Arms, and carry'd him to my Brother's Door, in Arundel street, where I knock'd at the Door, and left him, before any body came to the Door, because I did not care any of the People there should see me. When I left the Child at the Door, I told him, I would only go and get a Pint of Beer, and then would come to him again. Then I went home, and got a Ladder, and having got in at the Window, I took what Money there was in the Room, and went out again. Then I went to the Watch-house, and told them what had happen'd, but they would not take me into Custody, but bid me go home to Bed. I rambled about all Night very unneasy, and could not rest: Had I had any Mind to have escap'd, I could have gone down to Gravesend, and have got Employment, but knowing myself innocent, I resolved to take a Trial. After this, I bought me a Shirt, and went to Mr. Wilsted's, and told him what had happen'd; and I desired him to go home with me, and acquaint the People of it, and that an Officer might be got to apprehend me: He advis'd me to get off, but I would not; I went with him, and waited till I was took into Custody. I never us'd her ill, nor gave her Blows; - 'tis my Nature to be quiet with all who will be quiet with me. I did not drink a Drop of the Geneva that was sent for, and what was left of it, was found by those who went into the Room. Beer is what I like at all Times.

Jury. One would think it more natural for the Prisoner to have dropp'd the Knife, after the Accident, than to have put it first into the Sheath, and then into his Bosom.

Prisoner. It was as quickly put there as any where.

The Surgeon was call'd, but Mr. Poulson's Clerk inform'd the Court, that he was subpaena'd to Westminster upon a Trial there.

John Reader . I have known the Prisoner about two Months, and during that Time he had a general good Character. As for his Wife, I think I never saw so turbulent, passionate a Woman in my Life: I have heard her say to the Child, damn you, you little Hell cat Dog, - curse your Blood, - and such Expressions I have heard her use, two or three Days before the Accident.

Samuel Freeman . The Prisoner has work'd for me many Years: He is a Razor and Penknife Maker , and alwas behaved well. Since this Accident, I have heard that he had another Wife.

George Lewis had known him 16 or 17 Years, and always behaved civilly. He had heard of his having another Wife.

Guilty , Death .


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