John Foster, Killing > murder, 9th July 1740.

Reference Number: t17400709-32
Offence: Killing > murder
Verdict: Guilty
Punishment: Death

322.+ John Foster (a Chimney Sweeper ) was indicted for that he not having God before his Eyes,&c. in the Parish of St Giles's Cripplegate , June 25 , in and upon Margaret Shovel , otherwise Garret , did make an Assault; and with a certain Hair-Broom, val.1 d. which he, the said Foster, had and held in both his Hands, her the said Margaret with the Hair-Broom did strike and beat, giving her on the right side of the

Head a mortal contused Wound, of which she languished from the said 25th of June to the 1st of July, and then died .

He was a second time charged by Virtue of the Coroner's Inquisition for the said Murder.

Ann Vawdrey . The Prisoner lived in Golden-Lane, in Coxhead-Court , in a House there up two Pair of Stairs. The Prisoner and his Wife, and the Woman who lodged there, had been drinking in the Lodger's Room, and being all very much in Drink, they all 3 fell fast asleep on the Floor. The deceas'd used to borrow Money of the Woman that owned the Room, to go to Market with, and having borrowed 10 d. of her, she came last Wednesday was a seven-night to pay her: and she brought in some Onions and Cucumbers, and such Things as she used to sell, in her Basket with her. She asked me to help her to make two Bunches into three; and while I was doing it, the Prisoner who had been fast asleep upon the Floor, got up upon his Knees, and said to me,- Pray Vawdrey lend me the Chamber-Pot, to make Water. I gave him the Pot, and the deceas'd said to me,- How can you lend such a black-guard Fellow the Chamber-Pot, when you have had better to wipe your Shoes. But I had lent it him, and thought he was setting it down under the Bed,- for there was a Bed in the Room, tho' they all lay on the Ground: and when he had put the Pot under the Bed, he took up the Broom and struck the deceased (with the but-end) upon the Head. Lord, Foster, said she,- I believe you have murdered me. He set the Pot down first; and I thought he was going to lay himself down again, but as soon as he had set down the Pot. he took up the Broom, and hit her over the Head,- on the right side of the top of the Head; and she immediately cried out, Lord have Mercy, I believe you have been my Butcher! And then he up with the other end of the Broom (the Handle) and hit her again on one of her Shoulders, I am not positive, whether the Blow was on her right Shoulder or her left. He struck first with the but-end of the Broom on the Head, and afterwards on the shoulder with the other end. The Blow on the Head was a violent one; it proved so; and I saw the Blood run. She lived 5 Days after it, but the 2d Day she had such Fits that no body could hold her. She had 6 Fits one after another, and 'tis my Opinion she died of the Wound. She went to one Surgeon, and to another, but they would not meddle with it,- They said it would be her Death's Wound: at last she was got in St Bartholomew's Hospital.

Prisoner. I ask her who was in the Room, and whether she did not hit me 2 Slaps in the Face, and take up the Broom, and say she would dash my Brains out?

Vawdrey. There were in the Room with the Prisoner, the Deceased, his Wife, the Woman of the House, myself, and the Prisoner's Child about 5 Years old. The deceas'd never touched him; I am sure of it.

Prisoner. Had not the deceas'd a Broom in her Hand?

Vawdrey. No; I am sure she had not.

Prisoner. Ask her if she did not say before Sir John Thompson , that the deceas'd had the Broom in her Hand, and hit me two Slaps on the Face?

Vawdrey. No; I declared before the Alderman, as I have done now: I made no such declaration as the Prisoner says I did.

Ann Foster . I did not see the Fact committed, but the deceas'd was my Sister; and she knocked at my Door at 6 o'Clock in the Morning, and I asked her, what was the Matter? She asked me if my Husband was at home?- I told her no, he was gone out to work. As soon as I had opened the Door, she told me she had got her Death's-Wound. I said, I hoped not, and asked her, by whom she got it. She told me, by a Chimney-Sweeper in Golden-Lane, and that he had done it with a Broom. I went with her thither, and she shewed me the Room it was done in, and the Broom, and Prisoner's Wife. I desired her to apply to the Church-Wardens, and they got her into the Hospital. The Thing was done on the Wednesday, and on the Saturday following she was got into the Hospital; but the Wound had been dressed before she went thither. I never was in the Prisoner's Room, till she carried me thither, and shewed me the Woman (Vawdrey) who saw it done.

Samuel Lee . The deceas'd came to me, about an Hour after the mortal Wound was given by the Prisoner;'twas about 6 o'Clock, and I was abed. For Christ's sake, said she, get up, and go with me to a Surgeon, for Foster has given me my Death's wound! I hope not, says I; she said, yes he had, and the Blood ran all about her Head. The deceas'd lived in the same House where I live,- here are 3 of her Caps;[they were all very bloody] and she told me John Foster, had done it with the Hair-Broom.

Vawdry. The Woman's Name that lodged in the Room, is Storey; but she has moved away from thence, on this Account, for fear she should come into Trouble.

The Coroner, I enquired after her, and could hear nothing of her .

Mr Manaton (Surgeon) I saw the deceas'd on Saturday, between 11 and 12. On the right side of the Head, was a large Wound, quite to the Scull, an Inch in Length. Upon examination, I found the Scull fractured, about the Breadth of half a Crown; and depressed about half an Inch upon the Brain: and on trepanning her, and moving the fractured Parts of the Scull, I found the Membranes of the Brain wounded, and some small Portion of the Brain oozed from thence, about the Bigness of a Pea. She was at that Time, to admiration, sensible. The Accident happened on Wednesday, and this was on the Saturday following; and there had been nothing more than a small piece of Lint applied to it. She lived to the Tuesday following; then she died; and without doubt, the Wound was the Occasion of her Death. I did not observe any Bruise on her Shoulder, nor was it represented to me, that she had any. She told me she had had Vomitings, and Fits, but she had none of them, during the Time I attended her. I asked her how the Accident happened? and she said she was wounded by a Chimney-Sweeper, with a Hair-Broom, and represented the Thing to me, so strongly, that I had a perfect Idea of the Instrument, with which the Wound was given: and she farther said, it was done without Provocation.

Vawdrey. I am positive she cried out, Lord have Mercy, you have been my Butcher, before the Prisoner hit her the second Blow, but that was not violent, I believe.

Foster, the deceased's sister. The deceased's Maiden-Name was Shovel : She afterwards married Capt. Garret's Son, but he was taken up, for having two Wives. Guilty , Death .


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