William Whurrier, Killing > murder, 24th February 1748.

Reference Number: t17480224-31
Offence: Killing > murder
Verdict: Guilty
Punishment: Death

153. + William Whurrier , of Finchley , in the county of Middlesex , was indicted for the murder of Henry Rogers , on the 11th day of February, in the 21st year of his Majesty's reign , by striking him with a sword made of iron and steel, of the value of 12 d. and giving the said Henry one mortal wound on the forehead, near the left eye, of the length of one inch and three quarters, and the depth of half an inch, of which he languished, from the said 11th day of February to the 14th day of the said month, and then died . He was a second time indicted on the Coroner's Inquisition, for the murder of the said Henry Rogers .

Randolph Marsh . Four sailors came to our house.

Q. Whose house?

Marsh. One Page's, a farmer, on Finchley-Common .

Q. When was this done?

Marsh . Yesterday was fortnight .

Q. That was the eleventh of this month?

Marsh . Yes, Sir.

Q. What did they come to your house for?

Marsh . For relief.

Q. What is Mr. Page?

Marsh . He is one of the overseers of the poor. My master was not at home, and my mistress sent me with these sailors to another overseer, and one of the sailors said, I will go and bid our shipmates go along. There was a woman going along the road.

Q. When was this that you first saw the woman?

Marsh . It was when she was with a soldier .

Q. What time was that?

Marsh. About five o'clock.

Q. You say, one of the four sailor s said he would go and bid his ship-mates go along; so he parted from you, and you and the other three went on.

Marsh. I went along with them to shew them the way, and I saw a soldier preventing the woman's going along.

Q. What did he do?

Marsh . Nothing, but prevented the woman from going along.

Q. Look at the Prisoner, is that the soldier ?

Marsh. Yes.

Q. Was this to prevent her going with the sailors?

Marsh. Yes; and they went up to the soldier.

Q. What passed between them ?

Marsh . I could not well understand their language, but I understood that they said, if one could not lick him they all could, and they set up a run as fast as they could; and as soon as they came up to him he drew his sword, and said, if they did not go away he would stick them.

Q. Look at the Prisoner, was he the man that drew his sword?

Marsh. Yes.

Q. What then?

Marsh . The sailors stepped back, but they did not offer to run away.

Q. How came the soldier to draw his sword, had any words passed between them?

Marsh . Not that I know of.

Q. When they came up close together, did you hear what they said?

Marsh . No, I did not.

Q. You heard words spoke, though you did not know what they said?

Marsh . Yes. When the soldier drew his sword, they stepped oack , and t hen the Prisoner put up his sword. There was another soldier in the road, said the Prisoner to the other soldier, as he was coming along, they have misused me, and then the other soldier got off his horse and run after them with a stick; then the Prisoner drew his sword again and run after them, and as the sailors were running along, one of them fell down, and then the Prisoner fell a cutting him as fast as he could?

Q. Did the sailors run away?

Marsh . Yes, they run away as fast as they could.

Q. What, did all the four sailors run away?

Marsh. Yes, they all run, but Henry Rogers could not run so fast as the rest, and he fell down. I saw him tumble down, but I do not know what was the occasion of it .

Q. Did the Prisoner cut him first, or did he tumble first?

Marsh. I believe he tumbled down before the Prisoner struck him , and when he was down the Prisoner cut him, and laid on as hard as he could, and did not mind where he hit him.

Q. How many cuts did he give him?

Marsh. I cannot tell.

Q. Did he give him two, three, or four?

Marsh . Oh! several; he kept cutting him for some time.

Q. How long?

Marsh. Until the other soldier came back.

Q. How far was he from the other soldier ?

Marsh . But a very little way.

Q. How long might that be that he was cutting him?

Marsh . About a minute or better.

Q. How came he to leave off then?

Marsh . This lad, [ pointing to the next witness ] who was along with the other soldier, said he believed the Prisoner would kill the man, and desired him to assist him.

Q. How came he to leave off then?

Marsh . Why, the other soldier struck him two or three times on the head, in order to make him leave off.

Q. And did he leave off then ?

Marsh. No.

Q. Have you got the sword here?

Marsh. No.

Coroner . His comrade carried off the sword?

Q. What sword was it?

Marsh. It was a broad sword.

Q. Did he cut him with a broad sword?

Marsh. Yes.

Q. You say he was cutting him a minute, how many strokes did he give him in that minute?

Marsh . I cannot tell.

Q. Did you see at any time any of the sailors strike him?

Marsh. No.

Q. What, never a one of them?

Marsh. No.

Q. Did you see the deceased do any thing to him?

Marsh, No , I did not see him do any thing at all to the Prisoner.

Q. What did they say?

Marsh. They talked pretty much, but what they said I cannot tell.

Q. Can you tell whether any of the sailors did or did not give him a stroke?

Marsh. I cannot tell indeed, they might, for they were all round him.

Coroner. The deceased had but one arm, his right arm was cut off.

Q. Can you swear you did not see any one of the sailors strike the Prisoner at the bar?

Marsh . No. I did not see any one of them strike him.

Q. You say the Prisoner did not leave off striking him, till the other soldier struck him on the head with a stick to make him leave off?

Marsh . Yes; and then the other soldier got upon his horse.

Q. What did the Prisoner do then?

Marsh. He took up his sword again, and went to the house.

Q. What house?

Marsh. To Brown's Well, an alehouse on Finchley-Common .

Q. Was he quartered there ?

Marsh. No.

Q. What did he go there for?

Marsh. It was in his way home.

Q. Where was he going then?

Marsh. To Barnet.

Q. What became of this poor man that was cut?

Marsh . He lay there till such time as Mr. Newsham's man came.

Q. And did he lie there till he got assistance?

Marsh . Yes.

Q. What, after the Prisoner was gone away?

Marsh. Yes.

Q. How long?

Marsh . A couple of minutes. He lay in the place where he was cut.

Q. How came he to lie there so long?

Marsh. Indeed I cannot tell; perhaps he could not get up any sooner.

Q. How came he to get up then?

Marsh. Mr. Newsham's man that keeps the alehouse came up to him, I ran down to the house along with one of the sailors.

Q. Did you leave the deceased there?

Marsh. Yes.

Q. Did you go to get help?

Marsh. I believe the sailors did.

Q. Did the deceased get up himself?

Marsh . I cannot tell, but Mr. Newsham's man came up to him first.

Q. Did he get up himself?

Marsh. I do not know whether he could get up himself, but he walked down to Brown's Well himself .

Q. What happened to him afterwards?

Marsh. I do not know.

Q. What do you know of his death?

Marsh. I know nothing of his death.

Q. What time of the day was this done?

Marsh. About five o'clock in the afternoon.

Q. How long did this man live after this?

Marsh. He died on the Sunday following, but I cannot tell what time he died.

Q. Where did he die?

Marsh. At Brown's Well.

Q. Do you know what was the cause of his death?

Marsh. No.

Q. Did you ever see these wounds afterwards ?

Marsh. I saw three wounds after he was in the house, but they were dressed that night.

Q. Where were these wounds?

Marsh. There was one upon his left arm, one upon his left eye , and the other upon the back part of his head.

Q. Did you see what sort of wounds they were?

Marsh. They were all very great ones, and all bloody.

Q. Did you see them dressed?

Marsh. No, I did not.

Q. Did you imagine he died of any of these wounds?

Marsh. I cannot say that.

Q. Did you see him afterwards?

Marsh. I did not see him after that night .

Q. Did you see him dressed that night ?

Marsh. No.

Q. Did you see whether any of the sailors gave the Prisoner a blow ?

Marsh . No, I saw one of them take hold of his sword .

Q. What, before he cut ?

Marsh . Yes, and then he put it up again.

Q. What did the sailor do when he laid hold of his sword?

Marsh. He did not do any thing, but only desired the Prisoner to put it up again.

Q. Was it to wrest it out of his hand, or to prevent him from doing mischief?

Marsh . No, it was not to get it out of his hand, but to prevent him from doing mischief.

Prisoner. He swears what is not true; I would ask him, whether when one of the sailors laid hold of my sword, that it was not to wrest it out of my hand, in order to use it against me?

Marsh. No, I did not think so.

Francis Harper (a post-boy .) I was riding to Barnet between four and five o'clock in the afternoon.

Q. What did you see then?

Harper . I saw four sailors round this soldier.

Q. Where?

Harper . On the bank just by Brown's Well, on the left hand as you go from London.

Q. Is this Brown's Well upon the road?

Harper. It is a house by the road side on Finchley Common: the Prisoner's comrag desired me to go up the bank along with him; as soon as this man got up the bank he got off his horse, and said he would clear the coast of them: as soon as he lighted off his horse he lifted up his stick and ran after the sailors, and then the Prisoner (seeing him come to his assistance ) drew his sword, and then all the four sailors run away as fast as they could: this sailor that the Prisoner cut so, could not run so fast as the rest, and the Prisoner catched him; as soon as he catched him, the man that died finding he could not get away from him, turned round, and begged of him not to strike him.

Q. Was his sword drawn then?

Harper . His sword was drawn, my Lord: the Prisoner did not take any regard to what the man said to him, but he laid on him any where whereever he could strike him, under the arm or over the head.

Q. How many strokes might he give him?

Harper. I cannot tell.

Q. What was it with that he struck him?

Harper. With his naked sword; when the sailor turned round , and begged that he would not strike him . The sailor was upon his legs then.

Q. Did he fall down before the Prisoner struck him?

Harper . No, after he struck him.

Q. Were the blows the occasion of his falling down?

Harper. I cannot tell whether he fell down by the blows, or whether he fell down accidentally in turning back.

Q. What did you see more?

Harper. The deceased begged of him, while he was down, not to strike him any more, and cried out murder; but the Prisoner never minded that, but laid him on, back-stroke and fore-stroke, or any way that he could hit him.

Q. How many strokes did he give him?

Harper . He laid on as fast as he could; I could not tell the blows. Afterwards his comrag was coming up as fast as he could, and I seeing the Prisoner lay on him in this manner, desired him to go to the assistance of the deceased; his comrag came up , and struck him on the back part of the head with a stick , but the Prisoner did not leave off his blows . I desired him to leave off, but he did not mind me: Then his comrag struck him again .

Q. What did he strike him for?

Harper . He struck him, because he observed that he had used the deceased so barbarously.

Q. How long did the deceased lie upon the ground?

Harper. About two minutes.

Q. What then?

Harper. The Prisoner went to the house at Brown's Well.

Q. Then he did not endeavour to help the deceased up?

Harper. No, he left him on the ground. Then the other soldier got upon his horse again, and went with me to Brown's Well, and then he hit him again with the stick, took his sword from him, and threw it into the yard.

Q. Who came to this poor man's relief?

Harper. There was a man came up to him, whether he helped him or not I cannot tell.

Q. Then you did not endeavour to help him up?

Harper. I was on horseback all the time.

Q. Was the deceased brought down to Brown's Well?

Harper. The deceased walked down to Brown's Well, after he had received his Wounds.

Q. What became of him then?

Harper . They tied his head up with his handkerchief , and he went into the house.

Q. When did you see him again afterwards?

Harper. I did not see him till after he was dead.

Q. When was that?

Harper. The Sunday night following.

Q. What time did he die?

Harper. About six o'clock at night.

Q. Did you see his naked body?

Harper. No. I saw him after he was laid out.

Q. Did you see any of the wounds?

Harper. I saw that his arm was cut, but I did not see any of the wounds opened.

Q. Do you know how he came by his death?

Harper. I do not know whether he died of the wounds, or as it pleased God.

Q. Now I would desire you to recollect yourself, whether, when the sailors came up near him, you saw the sailors, or any body else, strike him?

Harper. I did not.

Q. Did you hear any thing that passed between them?

Harper. I did not hear any thing that passed between them.

Q. You are sure you did not see any body strike him?

Harper. I did not, to the best of my knowledge.

Q. Did you hear any ill language between them?

Harper. No.

Pris. I know that neither this witness nor the other lad were there at the beginning of it, for there were several blows passed before they came up. Did you see the beginning of it?

Harper. I speak what I saw.

Q. Did you see the Prisoner's sword twice out?

Harper. No.

Q. Did you ever see it sheathed, till you saw him give these cuts?

Harper. No.

Q. You say he laid on as fast as he could, and struck wherever he could; how many strokes might he give him? recollect yourself.

Harper. I cannot be positive; but there might be ten or a dozen for what I know.

Q. Did you hear or see any provocation given by the sailors to the Prisoner?

Harper. I did not, my Lord.

John Bailey (a surgeon .) On the 11th of this instant I had an order from one of the overseers of the poor of the parish of Finchley to go to the assistance of a poor man who was wounded.

Q. What overseer?

Bailey. One Jordan. I went to a house called

Brown's Well, on Finchley-Common . The overseers were informed, that there was a man there who was wounded in a very terrible manner, and in a very dangerous way. I received the letter between seven and eight at night. According to the account I had, as soon as I had made up proper applications , and dressings, to take with me, I went.

Q. Do you live in London?

Bailey. I live at Highgate. When I came to the house, I went into the room where the de- y, (he lay upon straw) and upon enquiry that the wounds he had were upon his head .

Q. What part of the house was he in?

Bailey. In a sort of an outhouse. I got some were in the room to assist me in get- p. (The Prisoner was in a room by under the care of a headborough.)

dress him on the straw?

got him into a chair.

wounds did you find?

first place I began to examine the principal part, and the on the frons , or fore part from the forehead below the eye , and the skull, which is (the skull is divided into two tables and sometimes the outward table shall be broke and not the other) was divided, as if a butcher had taken a chopper and divided the skull, so that the brains lay open.

Q. And did you judge this wound to be mortal?

Bailey . Yes, Sir, I judged the wound to be mortal ; and upon his head being shaved, there appeared six other wounds upon the head, which went through the skin, but not into the skull; but the bone was bare, and I dressed them all. Then I made an inspection into the arm, and I found as many wounds there, from the wrist to the scapula, as I did upon the head. Upon the back part, what we call the scapula or shoulder bone, there were two wounds more.

Q. Were these deep wounds?

Bailey. Especially three of them, and the bone of the arm was fractured by the incision, as if it had been done by a sword.

Q. What arm was this on?

Bailey . On the left arm.

Q. You did not say on which side of the forehead the wound was.

Bailey . The same side as those on the arm.

Q. What did you further observe of these wounds ?

Bailey. I then dressed all these wounds .

Q. I think you have reckoned up fifteen ?

Bailey . I believe there were fifteen, and they were all at that distance from one another, that they must all have been made by separate strokes, and from these wounds the man must be in a very weak and languishing condition, and I found him so; for he was so weak, that I thought he would not have had strength to have undergone the fatigue of dressing them. The man had no further bad symptoms, as one would suppose he might have, from a nervous part being thus wounded, for he had no convulsions. I got him to bed as soon as we could, and then I left him.

Q. When did you visit him again?

Bailey. The next morning.

Q. Did you dress the wounds the next morning ?

Bailey . Yes, all of them, and I found him stronger than he was the night before. It was concluded by the officers of the parish to send him to the Hospital, but I had a message on the Saturday, that the man was not capable of being removed, and I was desired to go to dress him. I went on the Saturday, and when I came to him he was in a violent agony; he was in such agonies, that I was forced to get three or four people to hold him down, and I dressed him as well as I could, considering the agonies he was under I carried a cordial, what we call a Nervous Cordial, to give him a little comfort in his nerves, but he was hardly capable to receive the cordial, he was so weak. I left word with Mr. Newsham, the man who keeps the house, that if he was alive on Sunday, to send me word, for I very much doubted whether he would live or not, but he did live till Sunday evening; and the people of the house thinking they might be blamed sent for me; and when I came there, I found him dying , and it would have been of no use to dress his wounds.

Q. Did you see him die?

Bailey No. I was told he lived but a very little while after I went.

Q. Now please to give the Jury an account, which of those wounds was the occasion of his death.

Bailey . The mortal wound I take to be on the forehea d, where the brains were laid open. All wounds, from pain, occasion a fluxion, and from thence arises an inflammation, which sometimes

is carried off by a digestion, or matter running; but the brain was inflamed , and I believe a mortification ensued, for on his arm there appeared a tendency to a mortification.

Q. Were there other wounds that would have been mortal?

Bailey. I do not think the wounds on his arm would have been mortal, if it had not been for the weakness of body.

Q. So you are of opinion, upon the whole, that some or other of these wounds were the occasion of his death?

Bailey. Yes, Sir, for in all other respects, except these wounds, he appeared to be in good bodily health.

Jury . Had the deceased one arm or two ?

Bailey. He had but one arm.

Q. to the Prisoner. Have you any questions to ask this witness?

Pris. I went to him the next morning , and gave him a guinea, and desired he would take all the care of him he could.

Bailey. My Lord, I did take the guinea, because I thought it would be an ease to the parish.

The Prisoner's defence.

John Parkes . I was coming from Barnet towards London.

Q. You are not the soldier who was his comrade ?

Parkes. No, I am a picture maker and cleaner; and when I came to the woman's house who keeps the Royal Waggon, I saw some sailors, who said they were going with a brief; there was a man among them with a stump arm, and there was a quarrel between them and a soldier. I saw a sword drawn, and I heard the man with the stump arm say, if I cannot do for you, I will bring three more that will , belonging to me. They were all dressed like sailors, and the soldier had a knot upon his shoulder like a corporal.

Q. Did you see the man with the stump arm do any thing?

Parkes. I saw something like a stone in his hand.

Q. Did you see any thing done?

Parkes. I did not see any thing but what I have told your Lordship , for I was frightened at them; and the soldier said, if you come upon me I will draw my sword upon you; and when the three sailors came up, he drew his sword.

Jury. Had the sailors got any sticks in their hands ?

Parkes. I did not see any.

Q. What day was this?

Parkes. I think it was about three weeks ago, but I am not certain.

Ann Adams . As I was coming from Barnet with Parkes , who was going to my aunt's with some pictures;

Q. When was this ?

Adams. I cannot say whether it was three weeks or a month ago. I was coming along.

Q. Where was you coming?

Adams . Half a mile on the other side of Highgate and I saw a man with one arm, and he had something in his hand; and I saw a soldier there , and the man with one arm followed the soldier first , and the other three followed him; there were words between them, but I could not hear them, and I saw the soldier draw his sword.

Q. Did you see the man with one arm do any thing?

Adams. I saw the man with one arm throw at him, but whether he hit him or not I cannot tell.

Q. Are you sure of that?

Adams. Yes.

Q. Look at the Prisoner, is that the man that drew his sword?

Adams. Yes, and he made a full stop, and turned round twice.

Q. When was this?

Adams. About five minutes after the man with one arm threw at him.

Q. Was it after the one armed man threw at him that he drew his sword?

Adams. Yes, it was.

Q. Are you sure he threw at him?

Adams. Yes; he threw at him, but the soldier had the heels of him.

Q. How far was the soldier off him?

Adams. The soldier might be as far before him as it is to Fleet Lane.

Q. What, when the sailor threw at him?

Adams. Yes.

Q. What arm did he throw with?

Adams . I cannot punctually say which, but I think it was his right arm.

Q. You say it was his right arm?

Adams . I cannot be positive which arm it was.

Q. Do you think, if he had thrown with his left arm he might have hit him at the distance he was from him?

Adams . Yes; he was not so far distant but what I think he might have done it?

Q. So you cannot say whether he had lost his right arm or his left?

Adams. Indeed I cannot tell.

Thomas Hodgkins called.

Q. What do you know of the matter?

Hodgkins . Nothing at all. I was sent to deliver his watch, shoe-buckles, and knee-buckles to the Prisoner. That is all I know.

[ The watch, shoe-buckles , and knee-buckles, were delivered to the Prisoner in Court the day before his trial.]

Prisoner. Our regiment lies in Flanders, I was sent there for recruits and young horses. As I was going along Finchley-Common , I met a countrywoman of mine, and as the woman and I were walking upon the green swerd, four sailors came behind me and abused me very much, and they beat all my fingers with their sticks; says she, you could cut them all in inches, and they said they would lick me; I said it is not in your power. The deceased struck me first. I did not know whether they were footpads, or what they were, and there was a great oak stick left there that they beat me with. I have been in the army several years, and have been at three battles and one fiege, and always behaved with courage. [ The Court told him, it was not a sign of courage, but cowardice, to use a naked man who had but one arm with so much barbarity.]

Jury . Where is the woman you walked along with?

Pris. I do not know.

Richard Newsham (the master of the house at Brown's Well) called by the Prisoner.

Q. Did you see any blows given to the deceased ?

Newsham. I saw no blows given to the deceased ?

Q. Nor no blows given to the Prisoner?

Newsham . None but what were given him by his comrade: He struck him over the head with an oaken stick, and I think, to the best of my knowledge, he struck him twice on the neck towards the shoulders; and he said, you rascal, you have done murder I am afraid, and therefore, says he, do what you will with him, for I will be no more concerned with him.

Q. When was this?

Newsham . On the 11th instant, pretty near five o'clock.

Pris . Was not there a stick there?

Newsham . I will speak of that afterwards. Then his comrade took his sword from him and threw it into the yard, and afterwards he gave him a back handed tip, and tripped up his heels, and laid him in the road, and did all he could to keep them apart, that no quarrel should ensue upon it; afterwards the Prisoner got up again, and went a little way, and one of the sailors said, Now, you dog, as you have not your sword with you, I will have a stroke at you, and the sailor struck him, and knocked him down; he was down upon his backside, but I do not know whether his head was upon the ground or not; he went to take his sword up again, and I took it from him, and prevented him from doing any further damage; what, said I, do you want to do more mischief? That is all I know.

Capt. John Geary . The Prisoner has been a dragoon in General Cope 's regiment (which I belong to) seven or eight years, and I always had a good character of him.

Q. Was he a peaceable quiet man?

Geary . When he was in the troop that I am in he behaved very well; he was sent over from Flanders to get recruits and horses.

[One of the Jurymen asked what became of the sailors, and it was said by one in the Court, that they were gone on board their ships.]

The Jury found him guilty of the murder, and guilty on the Coroner's Inquisition.

Death .


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