Edmund Gilbert, Killing > murder, 24th April 1745.

Reference Number: t17450424-33
Offence: Killing > murder
Verdict: Guilty
Punishment: Death

230. + Edmund Gilbert , of the Hamlet of Bethnal Green , in the County of Middlesex, was indicted for feloniously, wilfully, and of his malice aforethought, assaulting Thomas Salter , and with a certain wooden stick, of the value of one penny, which he had, and held in his right hand, giving him several mortal bruises on the head, back, belly and sides, on the 20th day of February last, of which he languished from the said 20th day of February, to the 24th day of the said month, and then of the said mortal bruises died, and therefore, that he, the said Edmund Gilbert , the said Thomas Salter , feloniously, wilfully, and of his malice aforethought, did kill and murder .

He was a second time charged on the coroner's inquisition, for feloniously slaying the said Thomas Salter .

Richard Cole . I am apprentice to Edmund Gilbert ; the prisoner has beat the deceased with sticks and ropes.

Q. Do you know any thing of his striking him at any particular time?

Cole. Yes.

Q. What did he strike him with?

Cole. He hit him either with his fist , or else with a hearth brush, I can't tell which.

Q. What was the deceased?

Cole. He was apprentice to Mr. Gilbert.

Q. When was this done?

Cole. It was done on a Wednesday night, the Wednesday before he died.

Q. How long is it ago?

Cole. I believe it is about 9 weeks.

Q. Where did he hit him?

Cole. He hit him on the side, and on the forehead, and there was a great black place on his side.

Q. What age was the boy?

Cole. About fifteen.

Q. What business is Gilbert?

Cole. He is a draught weaver .

Q. What was the occasion of his hitting him in this manner?

Cole. Because he did not do his work well. He did not hold up his lash and missed potlaths. I believe he was not well before, because he had not done his work: and the next morning he came down to do his work, and he could not stand, and my master sent him up to bed again, and he died on the Sunday morning between three and four o' clock. - There was a mark on his side.

Q. When did you see the mark?

Cole. I saw it after he was dead.

Q. Did he complain of it?

Cole. His tongue was so swelled that he could not speak.

Q. What was the illness he complained of?

Cole. He was not ill before.

Q. You said he was ill before?

Cole. I thought he was ill, because he had not strength to hold up a lash.

Q. What time was this blow given?

Cole . At ten o'clock at night.

Q. Did he go to bed presently after he received this blow?

Cole. He went up to bed immediately after; he was going up before.

Q. When did you see him again?

Cole. I did not see him till the next morning.

Q. Did he complain he was hurt?

Cole. He said nothing to me.

[There were three whips produced, one was a platted thong, and the other two had eight or nine single cords in each, with three or four knots in each lash; the sticks and the lashes were each about sixteen inches long.]

Q. Did the prisoner use to whip him with these?

Cole . Yes.

Q. Did he whip him naked or his clothes on?

Cole . He never whipped him naked that I saw, that night he whipped him with this [one of the three whips.]

Q. Did you see him whipped?

Cole. I heard the noise of the blows.

Q. Was you ever whipped with any of these?

Cole. With the breaded one, I was once.

Q. Was your clothes on, or was you naked?

Cole. I had my clothes on.

John Elks . I worked with the prisoner as a journeyman, and the deceased worked under me, as a draw boy. He had an inward weakness, one day he would do a pretty good day's work, and sometimes he would not do any thing: he could do so little, that I could not maintain my self with him, and I was forced to turn him away.

Q. Did you ever see the prisoner strike the deceased?

Elks. I have seen him strike him with a whip now and then, but not any thing to hurt him. I did not see any thing of this blow that the boy speaks of, either with his fist , or with the brush.

Q. What was the reason he did not do his work?

Elks. He was either lazy, slothful or weak; I I could not get my bread with him, and I told him I must have another drawer.

Elizabeth Salter . About eleven weeks befor e the deceased died he came to see us: and said, Oh uncle! I am killed, I am killed, I am murdered; I said to him, I never heard a dead body speak; and he said aunt, I am perished and starved and beat to death. I gave him some beer and he drank it, and his ordure came from him he was so weak. There were marks in his face of the prisoner's thumbs and fingers, that he had pinched his jaw with; there was a blackness under the jaw. I stripped him, and lookt at his body, he had some blood started out of his shoulder, and he had eight or nine marks of violence about his side, and back, and was bruised in a violent manner: his left side was turned yellow and green.

Q. What did the blow seem to be given with?

Salter. They were bruises and violent blows, they were not given with a rod or whip.

Henry Salter . About eleven or twelve weeks before the deceased died he came to my house; I thought he might be run away from his master, and he said, Oh uncle, I am dead, I am killed, I am murdered ; my wife said, I never heard a dead person speak ; he said, his master had beat and abused him, and starved him, so that he could not live; he drank part of a pint of beer; I asked him to eat some cold beef, but he could not eat any; he drank a second draught, and as soon as he had drank it, his ordure came from him: as he complained so of being beat, my wife stripped him, and looked at his body; he was very much bruised, and his left side was turned yellow, and about his lower rib on the right side it was as black as my hat, and in some places yellow. I went to the prisoner's house with the boy, and his wife opened the door; the boy was afraid to go in: I said to the boy, don't be afraid to come in, and she said, what is this the rogue your uncle, you called so many names. I went up to the prisoner, and told him how he had abused him, and he said, he had never beat him, but with such a thing as that, and shewed me one of these; and said he never did him any more hurt; I said, that could never make those bruises about him; I said, Mr. Gilbert, I hope he will prove a good boy: so I came away and never saw him after till he was dead.

Q. When was this?

Salter . This was the latter end of November last.

Q. Do you know when he died?

Salter . No otherwise than as I was told; they said he died on a Sunday, about eleven or twelve weeks after this. He had been dead seven or eight days before I saw him, and I don't suppose I should have known any thing of it, if he had known where to bury him.

Elizabeth Hackett . I live at Newington-Butts, I am the deceased's Godmother; his father and mother died within a fortnight of one another, and he was taken into Newington workhouse, and was put out apprentice from thence. The prisoner beat him and abused him sadly, and bruised him from head to foot.

Q. When did you see the deceased?

Hackett. About ten weeks ago, I think it was in Christmas holidays that he was with me, he complained of being beat and abused. I went to Gilbert's, to ask him the reason why he used him so, and he called me old b - h, and threatened me, if ever I came there again.

Q. In what manner was he abused?

Hackett. He was bruised sadly upon his ribs, and his jaws were torn almost asunder, and the sides of his jaws were as black as ink.

Q. What age was he?

Hackett. If he had lived, he would have been fifteen years old to-morrow.

Jane Tinsell . I live in a room underneath Gilbert's. About eleven or twelve weeks before the boy died, I heard Gilbert beating him most unaccountably on a Sunday in sermon time; I said for the Lord's sake, don't beat him so; and the boy said, don't beat me so, if you do you will kill me, and he said, d - n you, you dog, I will kill you; and he said, if beating would have killed him, he should have killed him before now, and it was a pity he had not killed him. The boy had a sore leg, and he beat him upon his legs; the boy cried out to him, not to beat him upon his legs, and he said he would, and the more the boy cried out, the more he beat him.

Q. Have you any thing more to say?

Tinsell. I have heard him beating him since two or three times in a day, and on the Wednesday before Salter died he beat him.

Q. Did you see him beat him?

Tinsell. No, I never saw him beat him; I only heard him.

Q. Then how are you sure it was the boy that was beat.

Tinsell. I knew him by his voice and his crying, and by that I could swear to him.

Q. In what manner did he cry?

Tinsell. He cried pretty loud, and I heard the prisoner tumbling and beating him about.

Prisoner to Cole. Did not I beat you more than I did the other?

Cole. Yes, more sometimes.

Q. Have you been cruelly used by the prisoner?

Cole. Yes, I have been beat till my back was all bloody, only for over shooting a drop Lee, which is of no signification at all.

Sarah Brown . I live over against the prisoner's, he has beat his apprentices two or three times in a day; the Wednesday before the deceased died, he beat him in a violent manner .

Q. How do you know that it was Salter that was beat?

Brown. Because Cole. said, it was not him that was beat.

Q. Did you know his voice?

Brown. Yes, I knew his voice from the others?

Q. When did he die?

Brown. He died on the Sunday morning.

Q. Did you see him after he was dead?

Brown . I saw him on the Monday morning, dead in his coffin.

Q. Was his body bruised?

Brown. Yes, it was bruised in a barbarous manner from head to foot; there was a bruise on his right side, under his breast, as big as the palm or my hand; and his arms down to his fingers ends , were bruised all to a mummy. There were two great holes in his right leg, supposed to come by kicks.

Q. Did you see any marks about his face?

Brown . The lower part of it was black; but they said, that was occasioned by the swelling of his tongue; in closing his mouth to get his tongue in.

Ann Landey . I am one of the searchers. The prisoner desired me to search the body of the deceased, and upon searching the body, I found it was bruised very barbarously; there was not a free place about him.

Q. In what manner did he appear to be bruised?

Landey. In a very barbarous manner. Both his hips, and one of his knees were bruised. There were about a dozen places that were very black. I turned him all round, and he was bruised from head to foot. The prisoner wanted me to give him a note to bury the body, and I told him I would not; for the thing should be looked into.

Elizabeth Bettule . I am one of the searchers, I examined the body, and there was a great bruise on the right side, and bruises on the left side, and on his arms, which is uncommon to see in a dead corps. I asked Mrs Gilbert the reason of it, and she told me he tumbled over the bed post.

Mary Paine . I live next door to the prisoner. I have heard blows and cries almost for ever.

Q. Who was it that cried out?

Paine. It was Salter.

Q. How long was that before he died?

Paine. Three or four weeks, I can't say justly how long. I have often quarrelled with the prisoner's wife about it, (for she would beat him too) and asked her how she could use the poor boy so; and she said, I had no business to trouble my head with it, for the more I spoke, the more she

would beat him . I have seen Mr. Gilbert knock him about the yard . His body was bruised on both sides, and one of his legs was quite mortified .

Q. Had not he a sore about him?

Paine. I never knew that he had.

Mary Goodine . I live next door but one to the prisoner; I have heard Salter vastly beat and abused.

Q. Who was he beat by?

Goodine. He was beat by his master. And there were such outcries, shrieks, and lamentations, that made our hearts bleed to hear them.

Q. Was that occasioned by any blows that he received from the prisoner?

Goodine. Yes, and I have heard the blows in our yard, and I often used to have words with Mrs. Gilbert about it, and she used to make complaints of the boy's fouling himself.

[One of the witnesses said, that in the cold frosty weather, Mrs. Gilbert made the deceased go out into the yard, and break the ice, and wash his own shirt that he had souled.]

Thomas Day . I was desired by the surgeon of Bethnal Green Hamlet, to assist him in opening the body of the deceased, upon a supposition that his death was occasioned by the cruelty and severity of his master: and upon taking a view of the body, I observed several bruises upon the trunk and limbs, and one upon his face. There was a very large bruise on his right side under his lower rib.

Q. How do you apprehend that might come?

Day. I apprehend by a blow. Seeing this very large bruise, we judged it advisable to have the body opened, we opened the body five days after his death, and upon examination, I found the internal viscera found; only there were two very large adhesions, one of the lungs to the pleura, and the other of the liver to the diaphragma. Upon farther search it did appear by other symptoms that the boy had an inflammation in the throat, which I apprehend brought on convulsions, and put an end to his life; for his fingers were all contracted, and his nails were black: his lower jaw was locked up, and the lower maxillary glands were larger than common; and that was the antecedent cause of this inflammation in his throat. Whether this came merely and absolutely from that cause without some other cause, or whether it was attended with other circumstances, is doubtful. But my humble opinion is, that this violent inflammation brought on a symptomatic fever, and this got the ascendancy over him, and occasioned his death. Violent blows do always occasion symptomatic fevers, and these fevers do occasion inflammations. And the boy suffered a great deal by cold, for it was a most severe season, and there was a succession of illness from the time of beating to the time of his death.

Q. Then you think there was a symptomatic fever occasioned by the blows, and that occasioned the inflammation in his throat?

Day. I say, that, together with the cold the boy endured, might occasion it. But in my humble opinion, the case is something doubtful, whether it was the cold absolutely, or the symptomatic fever which concurred with it, that occasioned this inflammation; for this examination of the body was five days after his death, and a corps may alter very much in that time.

Q. What was the immediate cause of his death?

Day. The convulsions were, and they were occasioned by the inflammation; but whether the inflammation came absolutely from the cold, or from the symptomatic fever, I cannot positively say. There was the adhesion of the lungs to the pleura; which proceeded from some other inflammation , and the adhesion of the liver to the diaphragma, and that might be occasioned by some former inflammation, that had seized this person, and terminated that way.

Q. Might this inflammation proceed from violent blows?

Day. It might proceed from them.

Q. Do you think this boy's death was occasioned by the blows he received from his master?

Day. The boy was a poor emaciated creature, and not fit to be used as he was, if he had been a person of an athletic body, he might have bore this. I will always make a difference in subjects; but he was a poor emaciated subject, and was not able to bear it. I never saw him when he was living.

James Cobb . I received an order from an officer of Bethnal Green Hamlet, to view the body of Salter, on account of its being supposed that he died by the severe usage of his master. There were several bruises on the trunk of the body, and the limbs: there were some bruises upon his face, and there was a bruise under the lower rib on the right side. I wanted to know how far the bruises had affected the internal viscera, and upon opening the body, I found the internal viscera to be found; but there were two adhesions, one of the right lobe of the lungs to the pleura, and the other of the liver to the diaphragma, which I apprehend proceeded from some former inflammation, and there was an inflammation in the throat, which might be the occasion of the boy's death: but it is a difficulty with me to determine whether this inflammation

proceeded from the fever only, or from the cold, or some other cause , or concurring causes; such as frequent violent beatings; and I do think they might occasion the symptomatic fever; and that with the coldness of the season, might have produced such an inflammation that occasioned the boy's death. And if proper remedies had been applied, I apprehend it would not have been attended with such consequences.

The PRISONER'S DEFENCE.

Prisoner. There was a great stick lay upon the side of the loom, and that boy, Cole, struck the deceased several blows with it, and I took the stick away, and did beat him pretty well for it; and I understand by my wife, that he beat him every day that I was out. His talk was to work but 9 hours a day, and there was not half his work done. I used to complain, and say, Tom, what are you at? He was well enough on the wednesday morning before he died, and was taken ill at night.

John Elks . I worked as a journeyman to the prisoner, the deceased worked with me, and on the wednesday before he died he had neglected his work, and I asked him in the evening why he did not work; he said, he could not stand upon his legs; and the prisoner said, if he could not stand upon his legs, I must get somebody else to draw.

Q. Do you know any thing of Cole's beating him?

Elks. Yes, many a time.

Prisoner. He beat him ten times more than ever I did.

Q. What did Cole lick him with?

Elks . With a stick, or any thing he could get.

[The prosecution was carried on at the expence of the parish, Justice Mussell of Bethnal Green being church-warden, Mr. John Woolveridge , overseer of the poor of the Hamlet of Bethnal green, attended as prosecutor; and had leave granted him to ask the witnesses any questions he thought material.]

Woolveridge, to Elks. Who beat the deceased on the Wednesday night before he died?

Elks. His master did.

Prisoner. Who beat him that night?

Elks. You did, and I lighted you. I would not tell my master what little work the boy had done that day, because he was a little in liquor; and I told him how ill the boy was; but however, he went up stairs, and hit him two or three blows with that one lashed whip; but not blows that could hurt him I am sure.

Q. How can you tell that?

Elks. Because I lighted him to do it.

Woolveridge . I ask you whether, when the apprentice beat him, it was not by his master's order?

Prisoner. I wonder you don't swear it.

Elks. Yes, I have heard him bid Cole beat him.

Q. Did you never see Cole beat the deceased , but when his master bid him?

Elks. No, and I have heard my master say, when he went out in the morning, rib him.

Cole. I have seen my master pinch him, and hit him such blows with the handle of a hammer on the head, enough to knock him down. He never let us go out; and when he went out, he would lock us into the house.

Q. What clothes had you?

Cole. We had only our old clothes in the house. which would hardly hang upon our backs.

Q. What covering had you to the bed?

Cole. We had only our own clothes, and an old blanket upon the bed.

Prisoner. Did you ever want victuals?

Cole. Yes, sometimes.

Justice Ricards. When the prisoner was brought before me, there was no other witness to examine, than that boy who is his fellow apprentice. I examined him very carefully, and bid him not be afraid of his master, or any body; and told him he should suffer nothing from any body. I asked him whether the prisoner beat the deceased with any unlawful weapon; he said he beat him with a little stick. I asked him what was the reason of his beating him; he said, because he would not work. I asked him again what he used to beat him with, and he said, only with a little stick, and that only when he would not work. I found he was very unwilling to discover any thing, and that he was in a terror. I would have persuaded him to have spoke more freely, but I could not.

Prisoner. That honest man I suppose, has been tutoring my apprentice.

Woolveridge. I saw the body on the Thursday and viewed it from head to foot, and it was such a spectacle, as I never saw in my life; I gave orders for the coroner to be sent for, and he ordered the body to be opened. I got two surgeons, Mr. Day and Mr. Cobb, to open the body, and I desired Mr. Gilbert to get another surgeon for him, that nothing might be thought to be done in a clandestine manner, and he got a gentleman, who is in court. I carried the prisoner before Justice Ricards, and the boy was examined; and in order for the security of the boy, that he might be forth-coming as a witness upon the trial, by the approbation of Justice Ricards, I took him home to my workhouse: I told the Justice that I would take care of him, that no body should say any thing to tutor the

boy. And I have taken as much care of him as I could, to do justice on both sides.

Samuel Wathen . I was sent for, on Friday the 1st of March, to be present with the two other surgeons, to examine the body of the apprentice, who it was supposed had lost his life by bad usage. There were several bruises on the outside of the body, but none of these bruises were the occasion of his death; the principal bruise was on the lower part of the right side, under the lower rib. I examined the interior part of the body, and found all the viscera found, and in good order. There was an adhesion of the lungs, which I impute to some former inflammation: and I apprehend the boy's death was not occasioned by the bruises on the skin, which was demonstrated not to extend farther than the flesh.

Q. Do you think that any of the bruises were the occasion of the death of the boy?

Wathen . By no means, for they extended no farther than the skin, as I demonstrated to several on the coroner's jury.

Q. What do you take to be the occasion of his death?

Wathen . He had laboured under the disorder of a quincey, and all the glands were greatly swelled above the common size; and in my opinion this quincey, and the inflammation which was occasioned by it, was the cause of his death.

Woolveridge. I desire to know upon your oath, whether you did not say at the opening of the body, that the bruises the boy had received accelerated his death.

Wathen. I believe the bruises and blows might have hastened his death, but the quincey was the occasion of his death.

Q. Did you or did you not say these words, that these blows accelerated his death?

Wathen. I did say those words; but I do not think that those blows had any effect upon the interior part of the body, so as to occasion his death.

John Oake . I am a butcher; I have served the prisoner with meat about a year and an half, and have commonly taken six or seven shillings a week of him, for beef, and he would very often buy prime pieces. Guilty Death .


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