James Hayler, Killing > murder, 24th October 1753.

Reference Number: t17531024-55
Offence: Killing > murder
Verdict: Guilty
Punishment: Death > death and dissection

503. (M.) James Hayler , was indicted for the wilful murder of John Proby , Sept. 26 . He stood likewise charged on the coroner's inquest for the said murder. +

Mary Moody . I live in Phoenix-street, Spittal-fields ; on the 9th day of September, between two and three o'clock in the afternoon, as I was sitting in my room, I heard the deceased cry out, Lord, lord, lord, I got up and ran to the window, there I saw the deceased striving to get away from the prisoner, but the prisoner held him. I saw the prisoner striking him on the right side of the head with a hammer ; I cried out, and my neighbour, the next witness, came to me, the deceas'd then got up, and went into the house where he lodg'd ; he went into the kitchen, and the prisoner was secured by one Mr. Field. I saw the deceased about an hour afterwards in Mrs. Reed's kitchen, where he lodged, he was very bloody, there had been no Assistance sent for, we could not prevail with him to get assistance till 5 or 6 o'clock, he then went to Dr. Simpson's, and two of our neighbours went with him, I saw them go, but did not go myself, he was then very weak, but he could walk. Dr. Simpson sent him to the Infirmary, I went to see him about a week after he was there, he said he was very weak, but hop'd he should get over it.

Q. Did he tell you what was the matter with him?

Moody. I did not ask him.

Q. Did he tell you how he came by this blow?

Moody. No, my Lord.

Q. Did he tell you of any thing that had happen'd between him and the prisoner?

Moody. No, he did not tell me any thing about it.

Q. Was there any previous quarrel, or any ill-will between them ?

Moody. I don't know that there was.

Q. Do you know how the affair begun?

Moody. I do not. He died on the Wednesday, and I saw him on the Saturday afterwards. I saw his head uncover'd, and his skull all open.

Q. Do you mean his skull was open'd by the surgeons, or by the blow of the hammer?

Moody. By both, I believe, for before he went to the infirmary, there was a cut so long that one might lay ones hand in it.

Q. Did you see any marks of the hammer?

Moody. I was not so near to examine so far as this, he was so nauseous nobody could go near him.

Cross Examined.

Q. Did you know of any quarrel between them?

Moody. No.

Q. Did you look upon the prisoner at the bar to be a person in his senses or not?

Moody. He always behaved in his senses so far as ever I saw.

Q. Do not you look upon him to be of a weak understanding ?

Moody. I do not.

Q. Did not they work together?

Moody. They did, and was seemingly good friends.

Q. Was it not the opinion of the world, that the prisoner was a weak infirm person?

Moody. Not as I know of.

Q. Was there no weapon in the deceased's hand?

Moody. No, none at all.

Phebe Hoard . I live in Phoenix-street, Spittal-fields, in the same house with Mrs. Moody. On the 9th of September, between 2 and 3 o'clock, as I was sitting in my own room, I heard an outcry

of murder, and having two rooms on a floor ran to a back window and look'd out, there I saw the prisoner laying on the deceased over the head with a hammer, just underneath the window; I saw the hammer in his hand, and spoke to the prisoner, and said, Lord Jesus! James, how can you do so ? he made no answer but kept laying him on, I saw him give five or six blows, the deceased then got away and walk'd into his landlady's kitchen, and I never saw the deceased afterwards, till he was dead, which was about a fortnight and three days, or thereabouts.

Q. When you saw him did you take any notice of his head ?

Hoard. I saw his skull open, it was saw'd off by a surgeon, it was much broke on the right side.

Q. Which side did you see the prisoner strike the deceased on, when you look'd out of your window?

Hoard. On the right side of the head, and I saw the skull broke in the same place.

Q. Had the deceased any weapon at the time the prisoner took him?

Hoard. No, he was upon the ground all in a heap, and the prisoner striking him.

Mary Reed . I live in Phoenix-street, Spittal-fields, in the same house with Mrs. Moody, and have known the prisoner about two years, and the deceased above six years; on the 9th of September, between two and three o'clock, I heard some body cry out Murder! I ran and opened the door, and saw the prisoner striking the deceased, he struck him two blows with a broad hammer; the deceased was endeavouring to open our door; he cried out, O Lord! O Lord! the prisoner then got away, and went back into his own room, but did not speak a word to me nor I to him. The deceased came into my kitchen, he was all over bloody about the head, and said to me, I cannot tell what I have done to him, meaning the prisoner, for I have not offended him ; he staid at our house till five or six o'clock, and then went to Dr. Simpson's, who sent him to the infirmary. I went and saw him there the next day, I asked him how he did, he said he was but very poorly, and further said, he had no words with the prisoner at all, I went three or four times in all, the third time I went he said, he was quite cheary and purely, and was in hopes of coming out again; the fourth time I went he was so bad he could not speak to me.

Q. Did he get at any spirituous liquors?

Reed. Not as I know of.

Q. When did he die?

Reed. On the Wednesday.

Q. Was there any previous quarrel between them?

Reed. They both fought together, and the deceased served the prisoner with a warrant, which I believe was the reason he ow'd him a grudge.

Q. In the time you say you knew the prisoner did you ever see him out of his senses?

Reed. No, I never did.

Q. What was the general opinion of the people where he liv'd, did you ever hear any body say he was out of his senses?

Reed. No, my lord, I never did.

Robert Field . I am a headborough and live in Spittal-fields, and keep a publick house; on Sunday the 9th of September one Mrs. Dupeer came to me about two o'clock in the afternoon, and said there was murder done, I went with her to Phanix-street, Spittal-fields, and found the prisoner in a room, but the deceased was not there, I believe this was the prisoner's own room, we brought him down stairs where the deceased was, there somebody asked where the hammer was that he struck the deceased with; he said it was under his bed in his room, and Mary Reed went up stairs and found it there.

Q. to Reed. Did you find the hammer under his bed?

Reed. I did, it is my hammer, (the hammer produced in court, it seem'd to be a shoe-maker's hammer with a broad face) and I am sure it is the same hammer I saw him strike the deceased with. (The hammer was shewn to the other two witnesses, who said it was the very hammer they saw the prisoner striking the deceased with.)

Q. to Field. Did the deceased say the prisoner struck him with that hammer?

Field. No, he did not, he was bleeding: I secured the prisoner, and the deceased was carried to the infirmary that night, where he remained till his death. I never saw him afterwards.

Samuel Proby . I am brother to the deceased; I saw nothing of the striking, but went to see my brother in the infirmary, he told me that he was abused with a hammer by the prisoner, and that the prisoner had broke his skull. I asked him if he had had any difference with the prisoner; he said no, not of late, that it was five or six months before; he said he had taken out a warrant against the prisoner, and carried him before Sir Samuel Gower , for beating him, and

that he thought he bore him a grudge on that account.

Q. Had your brother any other ailment upon him at that time ?

Samuel Proby . No, not any, he was a very hearty man.

Q. Is the prisoner thought to be a man out of his senses ?

Proby. No, not at all.

Q. Is he not thought to be a weak man?

S. Proby. No, he is not.

Prisoner's Defence.

He was a very quarrelsome fellow, and was always picking of quarrels; he was a very great thief, and has robb'd me of victuals, drink and cloaths. When I have been talking with persons, he has come and call'd me fool and them fools, and aggravated me very much! the day this happen'd there was none in the house but he and I, we quarrelled, and he ran up stairs and came down again with a hammer in his hand and struck at me, but he missed me ; so I took it out of his hand, and said, you old son of a b - h, I'll serve you as you would serve me.

The prisoner call'd, Peter Perry Monier , John Perry Monier , and Mr. Lawrence, to prove he was a melancholly, half-witted, or crazy person; but they could give no account of him for nine years last past.

Guilty , Death .This being Friday he received sentence immediately, to be executed on the Monday following, and his body to be dissected and anatomiz'd .

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