Abraham Ward, Killing > murder, 6th December 1752.

Reference Number: t17521206-41
Offence: Killing > murder
Verdict: Guilty
Punishment: Death

49. ( M.) Abraham Ward , was indicted for the murder of Elizabeth Saunders , August 10 . +

William Simins . I never saw the prisoner all after he was taken up. I am constable of Whitechapel parish, and am bound over to prosecute; I have brought the evidences accordingly, but know nothing for my own part of the affair.

Margaret Oagle . About the latter end of July there was a quarrel between the prisoner and the deceased, who passed for his wife; he was beating her own son which she had by her first husband, I saw it; he made the boy's nose bleed: she went to take the boy's part, and tore the prisoner's skirt off his coat. He raved sadly at her, and flung her down in the court; he kicked her over the face and stomach, and beat her very violently; she was cut, and bled sadly; I and some others helped her up, and begged of him to be easy ; but he said, d - n her for a bitch, he'd do for her. Four or five days after this I was in my own room, and they sent the girl to me to come to the prisoner and her.

Q. Where do you live ?

M. Oagle. I live in Three Crowns Court, Whitechapel , and so did the prisoner. I went to their chamber (they had but one room), and the prisoner asked me if he owed me any money, and I said, no, you do not; then he cursed his wife, and said, that bitch says I owe you money; she replied, she said no such thing; he fell a raving at her, and went to the China, took a tea cup, and flung it at her head; he also flung other earthern things about the room, when she was sitting in the bed. There was a glass viol on the chimney, and I was afraid he'd fling that at her, so I took it and put it with some other things into a bason, and put the bason on the floor under the seet of the bed, and went to the prisoner and desired him to moderate his position, saying, he'd do her a mischief, and if he did he must suffer for it; I also said, see what a condition she is in (she was terribly mortified then) being bruised in her breast, neck, and eyes, from his beating her on the Sabbath Day, which I mentioned before. He cursed her and called her bitch,

saying, she should not be there, and bid her get up and go about her business; she said, you rogue, I have no where to go, you have sold my things, where must I go? and besides I am not able to move, you have beat me till I am not able to stir. He ran towards his loom, (he is weaver, and his loom stands in the same room), but what he took up I cannot tell, though he seemed to take up something; I was affrighted and ran down stairs, and troubled myself no more about it. After this, on a Tuesday in August, (I cannot swear to the day of the month), it was in the afternoon I heard several high words into my own chamber, which was almost opposite; I heard her cry murder! I looked out at my window, so I went down stairs and to the house where they lived; I saw the deceased and the prisoner, the deceased being about five steps up their stairs from the ground; she had hold of a bag under her leg, like as if she was keeping it from him; he was pummilling her on her side with his fist, saying, you b - h, let go the bag; she said, I will not, you rogue you'll murder me, you rogue, for God's sake, don't beat me so; he kept calling her several out of the way names, saying, he'd murder her, a b - h. After this, he gave her a blow on the side, then he reached his right hand towards the head of the stairs, and took down a piece of timber ; she was sitting down under him like.

Q. How many stairs do you think it was to the top into the room?

M. Oagle. I can't say how many, the room is not very high; he gave her a blow with the timber, seemingly to me on the left side of the head. (The piece of timber produced in court about two feet and a half long, three inches by two the width and breadth. ) The use of it was to lay before the fire instead of a sender to keep the coals from falling out of the fire into the room.

Q. Had the deceased a mind to fly from him either upwards or downwards?

M. Oagle. She could not, he had got his knees under her, and he was leaning over her; she was but a very little woman. I called out when he struck her with it, you nasty rogue, you'll murder your wife, are not you ashamed to serve your wife so cruelly? When he gave her the blow she let the bag fall out of her hand, and it fell to the bottom of the stairs. Then the prisoner flung the timber to the bottom of the stairs, and came down from her and took up the bag, leaving her on the stairs. I took up the piece of timber directly; and called after him as he was going away, and said, are not you ashamed to strike a woman with such a thing as this? ke kept d - g her, and said, had a b - h, have I done for her ? The stick was all bloody at one end, I shewed it to five or six neighbours in the court. When I turned my eyes round the deceased was sitting on a bench at the house door, (whether she got there herself, or was helped, I know not), she was all bloody; she swooned away, so I went to her and took her by the shoulder, telling her she would catch cold in her head, being without a cap; I asked her where her cap was; she said she did not know. Then I got a pair of scissors and cut her hair off about the wound which seemed to be about two inches long; then I took her apron and bound it about her head, and took her to a surgeon in Petticoat Lane immediately, but do not know his name, which is about as far distant as from here to Newgate.

Q. Could she walk ?

M. Oagle. She did, but she lean'd very heavy, and I help'd her along as well as I could; when she got there she sat down; when he touch'd the wound she swooned away; after she came to herself, he ask'd her if she was sick, she said, heart sick, and spoke very faint and low: He dress'd the wound, and prepared two bottles of stuff, one to take inwardly, and the other to anoint her head with ; one came to 8 d. and the other to 6 d. she had no money; I said to her you must go home and pull off that gown and pawn it; she look'd upon it, and said, it is all bloody, who will take it in; it was because I would not let him pawn this gown to-day that he beat me so. I help'd her home, she said several times going along that she was very sick, and her head was very bad; I left her with the neighbours at the second step going into the court where we live, and went to my own door, she was about 10 or 12 yards from her home. On the Sunday before she had this wound, I saw them going down the court in peace, and I ask'd her how she did, she said (meaning the former time of his beating her) that was one of his mad fears, but she hop'd he would be a good boy, and go to work and get it up again.

Q. from the Prisoner. Where was you when the deceas'd cut my work out of my loom?

M. Oagle. I don't know when it was cut out, I knew it was cut, and that was a fortnight or better before this wound was given; they had parted about that time, and came together again, it was cut but about two inches in on the left side.

Q. from Prisoner. Did you see her strike me first?

M. Oagle No, I never saw her strike you, I have seen her tear your coat and shirt in her own defence.

Elizabeth Elice . I liv'd next door to the prisoner, and hearing a noise, I went to look into the house to see what was the matter; after that, in the afternoon, on a Tuesday in August, I saw the deceased on the stairs, and the prisoner standing over her and beating her; I ran back again, for I could not bear to see it ; then I went to my own door, and after I had been there a short space of time he came out with a long bag on his back and went down the court; soon after that she came with her head all bloody, and running down her face, calling out, Stop the rogue, for he has murdered me! he turn'd round at the end of the court and said, Ah, you B - h, I'll murder you! and away he went. She sat down on a bench, and Mrs. Oagle got a pair of scissors and cut the hair off her head, and while she was doing it the deceased fainted away; I did not choose to see the wound; Mrs. Oagle wash'd it with chamber-lie, and bound it up and went with her to a surgeon; and when the deceas'd came back she sat down on the same bench, I went to her and ask'd her how she found herself, she with a very slow voice answered, very bad, leaning her head against the wall, and said no more.

Edward Benns . The deceas'd was brought to the London-Hospital about the 13th of August; I am a surgeon and pupil there, and was there when she was brought in; she had a large wound on her head, and I dress'd it several times.

Q. Whereabouts on the head?

Benns. On the back part of her head; she had no bad symptoms at first.

Q. Had she any other wound?

Benns. No, none but that; in a few days after she was seized with convulsions and other bad symptoms, which indicated extravasated blood lying on the brain, and the surgeons thought proper to trapan her, which they did; I saw the operation, and a small quantity of matter discharg'd from the opening which was made in her scull; and notwithstanding all the care taken to preserve her life, she died about the 27th of the same month. She liv'd about a fortnight there, and upon opening the scull after she was dead, a large portion of the brain was mortified, which confirm'd the surgeons, Mr. Harrison and Mr. Dodson, in their opinion; that the wound she had received was the Cause of her death.

Q. Was it your opinion ?

Benns. It was, my lord, there were all the bad symptoms that could be.

Jane Hambleton . The prisoner work'd at my house in Hand Alley, Bishopsgate Street, about a year or more.

Q. How long has he been gone away?

Jane Hambleton . I can't say that, I believe a year, or a year and half ; he came one day in August last, I think it was on a Tuesday in the afternoon, or Wednesday.

Q. Was it towards the beginning or latter end of August ?

Jane Hambleton . I believe it was not quite the middle of August; he said he had been doing mischief, and I ask'd what, he said he had kill'd his wife, meaning the deceas'd.

Q. What were the words he made use of?

Jane Hambleton . I think he said, I have been killing Bott ; and another time he said I have been killing my wife, and swore in a reprobate manner that he had done it, and that there were three or four lord chief justices warrants out after him, but he had got clear of them all. My husband was above stairs, and I not giving credit to what the prisoner said, I call'd to my husband and told him; what the prisoner said; and the prisoner told me he owed my husband a shilling, and was going away, but he would give my husband a pot of beer and he must forgive him the shilling, and then went away. I inquired after the deceased, and at last found she was carried to the London Infirmary, and at last found she died there. Some time after that the prisoner was coming by my door, I seized him by the arms and call'd out, a Murderer! a Murderer! he got away from me, and I followed him a little way and describ'd him to two men, who brought him to my door, and I charg'd a constable with him.

Barlow Seyer. I am a constable; the prisoner was brought to me, and I was charg'd with him; he cried very much, and behav'd well; I took him before Mr. Alderman Chitty, where Mrs. Oagle came and swore the same she has done here, and he committed him.

Prisoner's Defence.

On the Sunday morning I went out in order to take a walk to refresh myself, and coming home I

was taken very ill with a swimming in my head; about eleven o'clock up came her son, he could neither stand nor go he was so drunk; I seeing that surpriz'd me, and talk'd to him very much for getting drunk on the Sabbath day; she took it up, and they both fell upon me as I lay down on the bed, at which I got up and struck the son, this was a week before this accident happen'd; I bid him quit the room and he gone, but he would not, and she said he should not go away; I tumbled him down the stairs as well as I could, and she took hold on my cloaths and tore them, and took two of my shirts and tore them all to pieces. On the Monday following she went out of revenge and said, D - n you, you son of a b - h, I'll be reveng'd on you, and took a knife and cut about four inches in my work, then she took the main body of the silk in the cane in her hand and went to cut it across, saying. I'll do you all the injury in my power, I sent for one of our master's journeymen in order to take away the work, who came and carried it away to his own house; then I took and knock'd down the loom and sold it, and went and got work abroad. When she found I had got work, she came and made a riot about the house, and turn'd me out of bread there; after that I got work elsewhere, so that she could not find me out: She came to me one morning betimes, and said, D - n you, you dog, if you will not tell me where you work, I'll knock your brains out, and took up a hair broom from behind the door and made a blow at me, I catch'd it with my arm and clos'd in upon her and gave her two blows, but whether over the head or shoulder I cannot tell; I gave her a push from me and down stairs I went, but whether the blow she received was with the broom or the edge of the stairs I cannot tell; but as to that piece of timber I never saw nor handled it, nor that woman, Mrs. Oagle, was never in the house or see any thing of it, that us'd to lie before the fire. She was a very troublesome woman, and lov'd liquor; her last husband was transported for thieving for her, and I would not go thieving for any of them.

For the Prisoner.

John Head . I have known the prisoner almost six years, he has work'd and lodg'd with me, and behav'd himself like a just man in his way of dealing; he was as quiet a shop-mate as I have had for 18 years past.

Richard Ward . I am his brother, he has behaved exceeding well till this misfortune came, and bore a good character.

Guilty .

Death .

He receiv'd sentence immediately, this being on the Friday, to be executed on the Monday following.

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