John Webb, Breaking Peace > wounding, 17th January 1746.

Reference Number: t17460117-2
Offence: Breaking Peace > wounding
Verdict: Guilty
Punishment: Death

37. John Webb was indicted for assaulting Herman Dock , with a large Knife, and wounding him in a desperate and cruel Manner .

Q. (to William Burt .) Do you know any Thing of the Prisoner John Webb , and of his wounding Herman Dock? Give an Account of the whole Matter?

William Burt . On Sunday Night, the 15th Day of December , about Eight o'Clock, Mrs. Webb, the Prisoner's Wife, came down crying.

Q. Where was she?

Burt. She came from her own Apartment, and said, for God's Sake let me lay with your Daughter; for he, the Prisoner, would murder her.

Q. But what do you know of this Murder?

Burt. On Monday the 16th of December the Prisoner came home between Nine and Ten o'Clock at Night, and made a great Disturbance. I desir'd him to go up Stairs and take his Tools away, and I would forgive him what he ow'd me. When my Wife and the Deceas'd came up the Stairs to him, he endeavour'd to strike them; but, by pulling off his Coat, he put out the Candle.

Q. What Business is this Webb of?

Burt. A Shoemaker. Then my Wife and the Deceas'd went down Stairs and left him by himself alone.

Q. Did Dock, the Deceas'd, go down with you and your Wife?

Burt. Yes, we all went down to be quiet.

Q. What happen'd after that?

Burt. When we came down, in about half an Hour he made such a Noise as disturb'd the Lodgers.

Q. What did you do, upon his making that Noise?

Burt. I went up Stairs and desir'd him to be quiet. I did not go up quite into his Room, but the Young Man , the Deceas'd, came to me and took the Candlestick out of my Hand, and went up by himself to desire him to be quiet. I was in the one Pair of Stairs Room; the Prisoner lodg'd up three Pair of Stairs. While I was talking with an Officer, that came to my House, I heard the Cry, Murder, Murder. I saw the Deceas'd lie near the Window of my Room, with his Guts hanging out.

Q. How long was it before you heard the Cry, Murder, after you was got down the Stairs?

Burt. About two or three Minutes.

Q. How long did the Deceas'd live after?

Burt. Two or three Days.

Q. When did this Accident happen?

Burt. On Monday Night.

Q. What, did the Deceas'd die of the Wound he receiv'd?

Burt. Yes.

Q. After you had seen the Deceas'd in this Condition, how soon after did you secure the Prisoner?

Burt. A little above a Quarter of an Hour.

Q. Was the Deceas'd able to speak, after he had been wounded ? Did he give any Account of this Matter ?

Burt. He spoke before the Justice.

Q. Had you any Discourse with the Prisoner about this Matter afterwards.

Burt. When he came down Stairs, the Prisoner look'd very white and said, the Deceas'd fell on the Knife himself.

Q. (to the Prisoner.) Have you any Questions to ask this Witness ?

Prisoner. No, my Lord.

Q. (to Frances Burt .) What do you know of this Matter?

Frances Burt . When my Husband went up Stairs he (the Prisoner) abus'd him, pull'd him about, &c. But we had not been down Stairs a Quarter of an Hour, before we heard a great Noise of Cursing and Swearing, and I said to my Husband, pray go up Stairs and pacify him: But the Young Man , the Deceas'd, went up, and had not been gone above two or three Minutes, but I heard him cry out, O God, O God! I went to meet him at my Shop Door, and said to him, what is the Matter? Mother, says he, I am stabb'd, I am kill'd! He pull'd away his Shirt, which I have here in my Apron: He shew'd me a great Hole and there hung out his Guts. Running out of the Shop, I left him leaning with his Head by the Window and crying out Murder. I ask'd him what was the Occasion; he told me he only desir'd the Prisoner to be quiet, and that without any Provocation he (the Prisoner) stabb'd him. The next Day, being Tuesday, we carry'd the Prisoner before Sir Thomas De Veil . Sir Thomas was so good as to come and hear the dying Words of the Deceas'd, who said, the Prisoner run the Knife in and took it out himself.

Q. How long did he live after?

Frances Burt . Two or three Days.

Then the Knife, the bloody Shirt and Apron were produced in Court.

Q. (to Frances Burt .) Do you know whose Knife that was?

Frances Burt . The Prisoner own'd it was his own Knife.

Q. (to Charles Dennis , Surgeon.) Mr. Dennis will you give an Account of your examining this Wound?

Charles Dennis . On Monday Night the 16th of December, Mrs. Bart cry'd out, for God's Sake come, there is a Man murder'd. When I came, I found that the Wound was below the Navel, the Guts and Caul hanging out at it: I was in Hopes that the Wound was not mortal; because the Guts seem'd not to be broke: I found by the great Effusion of Blood, there was some other Part wounded within: The Mortification encreas'd every Minute: I gave Information of the Affair to Sir Thomas: At the Coroner's Request I open'd the Body of the Deceas'd, and found the Guts cut thro' and thro', so that the Wound must have reach'd quite to the Back-Bone.

Q. (to Mr. Dennis.) Do you think this was the only Cause of Dock's Death?

Dennis. I am convinced of it, and being persuaded that the Wound would prove mortal, I gave the Deceas'd very little Hopes: I had done what Art could do for him: Upon asking the Deceas'd how it happen'd; he said he went up Stairs at the Desire of the People of the House; upon which the Prisoner immediately fell upon him: That the Deceas'd did return the Blow, or struggle with him, or something to that Purpose, and that afterwards the Prisoner took up the Knife and gave him the Wound.

Sir Thomas De Veil 's Letter produced in Court ran thus.

' That the Deceas'd declard, that he went up to ' pacify the Prisoner: But that of a Sudden turning ' a little round, and snatching up a large Shoe-maker's ' Knife, he thrust it into the Deceased's Body, ' of which Wound he lies in a dying Condition.'

Q. (to the Prisoner.) You hear the Evidence given against you, what have you to say for yourself.

Prisoner. I had been out about a little Business; when I came Home, William Burt , my Landlord, asked me to play at Cards, &c. I walk'd up Stairs; my Landlord and this young Fellow follow'd me: I desir'd they would walk down; but they insisted on my going out that Night: My Landlord and I were ready to come to Blows: At last I got them down Stairs and fastened my Door: What Noise I made, was my breaking my Coals; &c. As I was at Supper, eating Bread and Cheese, in came the Deceas'd; I ask'd him why he broke open my Door: He came behind me and fell upon me, and knock'd me down: He ran down Stairs, and I did not know he was hurt at all, and 'till the People came up to me, I did not know what was the Matter. He knock'd me down with a Knife in my Hand, and I did not know that he was hurt.

Q. Was your Room lock'd, or did he do any Thing more than lift up the Latch of your Door? How did he break it?

Prisoner. He put his Knees against the Door.

Q. What did he do to you when he came into the Room?

Prisoner. He ask'd what meant the Noise I had made. I told him, I had been breaking of Coals. Upon this he knock'd me out of my Chair and fell

upon me, but I did not know which Way he was hurt, when he knock'd me down. I had a Knife in my Hand, eating my Bread and Cheese, and I was upon my Pack when he run down Stairs.

Q. have you any Witnesses?

Q. (to William Arnold .) What have you to say of the Prisoner?

William Arnold . I have known the Prisoner from a Child, and I never heard any ill Report of him; But I have not seen the Prisoner since he has been in London.

John Hope . I have known the Prisoner many Years, and never known him to wrong Man, Woman or Child, or come into any Quarrel.

- Perriman. I have known the Prisoner 14 Years, was born and bred in the same Town with him, never heard he was any other than a very inoffensive Man.

Q. (to Burt and his Wife.) Was the Lock of the Door broke or strain'd in any Manner?

Burt and his Wife. Not at all, my Lord.

He was charg'd for the same Crime by the Coronel's-Inquest. Guilty , Death


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