Samuel Hill, Killing > murder, 16th January 1752.

Reference Number: t17520116-19
Offence: Killing > murder
Verdict: Guilty
Punishment: Death

99. Samuel Hill , was indicted for the wilful murder of Susannah Crabtree . He also stood charged on the Coroner's Inquest, for the said murder, Dec 17 . +

Elizabeth Dickerson . I am an apprentice of the deceased's; I came down in the morning about eight o'clock; I don't know the day of the month, but it was not long before Christmas, in order to light a fire, all the doors were open; I went into the shop to find a candle, and could not get by; there was the prisoner's candle standing in a little room by the shop; there I found the deceased lying, with her head under the bench, with a gown, one stannel petticoat, and an apron on: I went up stairs to a lodger, a Butcher, who lies in the prisoner's room, and I said, Oh, Lord! my mistress is dead! he came down with me, and saw her, and said, so she is !

Then we called in people, and they came stocking in like a fair.

Q. What time did the prisoner go to bed over night ?

E. Dickerson. I believe he went to bed about half an hour after nine; I went to bed about ten, at which time I left two butchers below as merry as could be: I found the prisoner's cloaths in the parlour where the candle was.

Q. What room had your mistress used to lie in?

E. Dickerson. She used to lie in the fore chamber.

Q. Was there a bed in the shop?

E. Dickerson. No, there was not.

Q. Was her bed made in the morning?

E. Dickerson. No, it was as it us'd to be when she gets out of it. I never was in the room before she was dead.

George Lewis . The prisoner said to me in Newgate, the day after Christmas-day, that when he was committing the murder, he saw the light of Monk's lanthorn, as he was passing by, thro' the slits of the door. We asked him in what manner he began this barbarous murder? he said, he first tied her legs; after which she asked him several questions, as, what business had he there? do you want to lie with me? saying, if you do, you are welcome; that he said, I don't want to hurt a hair of your head, mistress; then he desired the money she had got, and the keys to get some cloaths belonging to a baker that had lodged in the house, and is gone to sea; that she denied him very strongly, and said he should have no such thing; that then he began with violence, with one hand over her nose and the other on her throat: that this was below stairs, between four and five in the morning.

Mr. Hasler. I am the constable. I did not hear of this till ten o'clock; I went to the house, of the deceased, the sign of the Sarah Galley , a publick-house; there was Mr. Purchase, who said he would go and take the prisoner, if any body would bear his charges: I gave him orders to pursue him, and had instructions to tell him his charges should be paid. As we were arguing about going to Gravesend, there came a waterman, named Veal, who had carried him up the water to Billingsgate; he shewed us a hat, which was known to be the prisoner's, saying, the prisoner had bought a new one at a shop.

Mr. Lewis. I had given him that old hat some time before.

Hasler continues. We agreed to make a galley: and row after him; we did, and we went by all the Gravesend boats, till we came to the first, which we boarded, and there found the prisoner ; we put him into our vessel, and took a silver table spoon, nine half crowns, one silver buckle, an old chain, a crooked shilling, a silver groat, a silver two pence or three-pence, a bag of halfpence, and ten shillings and one penny in king Charles's farthings, out of his pocket; also a silver watch. I took a gold rin g off his finger. He had on his back a coat, green waistcoat, and breeches; which cloaths belong to one Cocker, who is gone to sea, and were pawned to the deceased for three pounds. He had also a piece of Holland, which we took. All produced in court. He told me coming up in the boat, that he asked for the cloaths and she denied him; that he then put his thumb behind her wind-pipe, and his other hand on her nose and mouth, and in three minutes she gave over struggling, and was quite dead. I carried the prisoner and things before Justice Berry, who sealed up all the things; when we took the prisoner out of the boat, he said I am glad I am taken, for I am weary of my life, and am willing to die. He produced a piece of waxed thread eight times doubled; this was about the woman's neck. The prisoner is a Shoemaker by trade.

John Purchase . Coming from Limehouse I heard there was a woman killed. I came to Poplar, and saw her lying dead at the coming in at a door in a little shop on her back, with her legs tied with a cord. I told the people I thought I could take the prisoner before the next Night, then came the waterman with his hat (the rest as the former witness, being at the taking the prisoner, with this addition) that the prisoner put his own fingers on each side his own nose, with the palm of his hand on his mouth, to shew them how he stopp'd her breath; that he put a wax thread about her neck first; and that it stuck and would not stide, and then he proceeded to stop her mouth.

William Stock . When we took this man into our boat, he asked if she was dead; I said I did not know, but the people said she was; he said he did not expect she could live above two minutes after he left her; he said he was a dead man, and desired to die for it. The rest as the others.

John Jones . I am a waterman, I belong to the wherry : after the prisoner was brought into her I heard him say he did the murder. The rest as the former Witnesses.

Mr. Brown. I live right opposite to the deceased's

house. On Tuesday the 17th day of Dec. I had been ill of the goat, my servant came up to me, and said Mrs. Craberee was murdered, and that it was reported that Hill had murdered her. I with difficulty got over the way; I found she was dead ; the prisoner had before told me, he had a design to go to Dunkirk, to one Curtis, a smuggler, who had sent for him there: while we were settling the rout came a waterman, who told us he had carried the prisoner up to Billingsgate; he described him in the cloaths that are produced here: I knowing the cloaths were left in Mrs. Craberee's house, they pursued and brought him back to Poplar ; I was not able to go. I asked him how he came to do the murder; he answered it was too late, he did do it, and that he was willing to die for it. We took him into the room where he had left his old cloaths, there we made him pull off the cloaths he had on, and put on his own again.

William Monk . I am servant to Mr. Brown. On the Morning the Murder was committed, I came down as usual, and saw a light in the deceased's house a little after three o'clock, in the prisoner's room. and also I saw a light in that room where he stript and left his cloaths: about eight the girl got up and opened the door, and said her mistress was dead. Lewis and I went in and found her in that condition he has mentioned. I took the waxed thread from off her neck; it was not tight, it was crossed behind her neck, to draw each way. I saw her legs tied, but did not take that string off; that was with wax'd thread also. He told me in Newgate, the day after Christmas day, that he saw me go by with my candle and lanthorn, to call the men to the brew-house, through the cracks of the door, when he was committing the murder.

His confession produced in court and read, to this purport.

Middlesex. The free and voluntary confession of Samuel Hill of Poplar, Blackwall, before me one of his Majesty's justices of the peace, Dec. 17, 1751.

'' That he was a lodger in the house of Susannah Crabtree ; that this morning about five or six o'clock, he came down stairs out of his room, and struck a light, and went into a little room, and saw the deceased lying on the floor, that he tied her legs, and put a waxed thread round her neck, and put one hand on her throat and the other on her mouth, &c. and took out the things and money found upon him.''

Signed William Hasler .

Hasler declared this confession was read to the prisoner before he made his mark to it, and that he saw the Justice sign it.

Prisoner's defence.

I was taken in the boat, when I was asked for I said here am I; they laid hold on me and pulled me out, I thought they were going to tare me to pieces ; one had hold on one arm, and another, another, and others to my legs ; I did not know what I said or did; I declare they tied my legs, when I came up to Poplar, there they said hang him, hang him; I was so terrified I did not know what to do; I never wronged any body of money, (thank God.) Before the justice, I being a stranger, one said one thing, another, another; I was in liquor, I did not know what I said; I have lived in good circumstances, and have suffered hardship, that I did not care what became of my life; I desire any of the gentlemen would speak what they know of my behaviour.

Mr. Brown to the question. He has been an idle fellow; the woman's husband was a shoe-maker, he had worked with him; he always spent his money as fast as he got it; I have another indictment against him, and witnesses to prove the cloaths to be the property of Cocker, and the watch the property of the widow.

Q. to Hasler. Was he in liquor when before the justice ?

Hasler. I believe he was a little in liquor, but not so far as to have lost his understanding.

Guilty , Death .


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