Offence: Killing > murder
Punishment: Death > death and dissection
William Pearson . I live at the corner of Cavendish-Street, Oxford-Road ; on the 20th of the instant, between 7 and 8 o'clock, I happen'd to be at the sign of the Green-man, in High-street St. Giles's ; there was Dennis Bourne , William Gee , John Rabbit , Robert Biggs , the deceased, and myself, in company together: The prisoner is an oyster-man , he came in to offer his oysters to sell, the landlord of the house, William Gee , brought a penny worth of the prisoner; after he had open'd his, I asked him to open me a penny-worth, I took them up in my hand, he then said, he would not open me any, upon which I threw them into his basket again; he said, I ow'd him a penny, I told him I did not know that I ow'd any man in the world a penny for oysters, I told him, he ought to have a lick of the head, for challenging men with owing money to him which they did not ; he then catch'd up the knife that hung by his side to open the oysters with, and said, how would you like that to be in your gutts, (he produced the knife, which was a Dutch knife, sharp pointed, and all bloody up to the handle,) the deceased at this time sat on a coal box by the fire side, very near me and the prisoner, and said, to the prisoner, you scoundrell, how dare you draw a knife upon another man, upon which the deceased endeavour'd to strike the knife out of the prisoner's hand, the prisoner then struck the deceased on the right side of his head with his left hand, upon which the deceased rose up from his seat, and there was some blows ensued, there was one fall, they both fell together, and the deceased was uppermost, upon which Mr. Gee took up the deceased off from the prisoner, and said, don't let me have any disturbance in my house; the deceased then said, in a very faint tone, Lord, what would you have me do. He then stagger'd like a drunken man, fell flat upon his back, and never spoke another word: Mr. Gee took the deceased up from the ground again, upon which the prisoner at the bar tried to make off, out of the door as fast as he could; then Mr. Gee call'd out to me, and the other people that was there, and said, Stop him! hold him!
Q. Did the deceased strike the prisoner first before he stabb'd him?
Pearson. No, he did not, he only catch'd at the knife, but did not make any blow at him at all.
Q. Had the deceased any weapon in his hand?
Pearson. He had no more than I have at present, indeed my lord.
Q. from the prisoner. Did not some of the company pull me by the hair and make game of me?
Pearson. There was no such thing that I saw.
William Gee . I keep the Green Man where this unfortunate accident happen'd, (he goes on and repeats every particular circumstance with Mr. Pearson, down to his seeing the deceased reel like a drunken man, and saying, Lord, what would you have me do, and then goes on and says ) I took him up and put him between my legs, and desired to have some water, for I thought he had been in a fit ; as I held him I felt something very warm against my right hand, I look'd and found it was blood, upon which I cried out, stop the rogue, he has stabb'd the man.
Q. Was the deceased a quiet inoffensive man?
Gee. He was as ever I knew in my life.
Q. Was there any weapon in the deceased's hand ?
Gee. No, there was not.
Q. Was the prisoner struck with any weapon by any body in the house ?
Gee. No, he was not struck with any thing at al, but Pearson's hand when he brought him in.
John Rabbit . The night this affair happen'd I was going into the Green Man, (I was not there at first) and just as I entered the door I saw the prisoner and the deceased fall, I made up to them as fast as I could, and as soon as I got up to them, I observed the deceased was uppermost, endeavouring to get from the prisoner, but could not, because he held him down with his left hand; somebody standing by said to the deceased, what are you at, why don't you get up? his answer was, he won't let me. While the prisoner held the deceased by the collar with his left hand, I saw a motion of pushing with the prisoner's right hand, (I did not mind that there was any thing in his hand) the deceased was still endeavouring to get up, which kept his body at a good distance from the prisoner; but the deceased had no sooner uttered the words, let me get up, but I saw an uncommon shivering all over the deceased's body, such as I never saw any thing of the kind before in my life, it was as though he was endeavouring to get from the fatal blow, the prisoner then took his hand from the deceased's collar, and Mr. Gee took him up and set his back against the bar. I then heard somebody say, (but who it was I cannot tell) Turney ! what do you die dunghill? he then clapp'd his two hands to his breast and said, What would you have me do? and dropp'd down dead immediately, then Mr. Gee call'd out, Stop the rogue, he has stabb'd the man. I was one that endeavoured to secure him.
Robert Biggs was call'd, and deposed to the same purport as the last witness.
Mr. Smith. I am constable, I had this knife delivered to me (looking at it) by Mr. Gee the landlord of the house ( the knife was shown to all the other witnesses who all deposed that it was the very knife that was taken away from the prisoner.)
James Mophett , surgeon, deposed, that he examin'd the wound, which was of the depth of between three and four inches; that the bag which contains the heart was pierced, and upon opening that found the heart itself was wounded ; and that he dared take upon him to say, that that wound was the cause of his death.
Q. from Mr. Mophett to Rabbit. Sir, please to give an exact account how the deceased and the prisoner lay?
Rabbit describes the position by himself and another person, supposing himself to be the prisoner and undermost; he takes hold on the others shoulder, the other endeavouring to rise from him at the same time, which made so large a vacancy between them, that
Mr. Mophett. Indeed, my lord, the wound seems to be given exactly in that position, tho' there is a great possibility the wound might be given by accident, by means of the knife having such a long string, it might entangle with the cloaths, and his weight might have thrust the knife into his body, possibly the string might have turn'd the knife upwards so as to run into his breast.
After I had been in the house and was going out, one of them came behind me and took my hat and threw it down, he then took away my wig, I turn'd back again and desired him to give me my wig, but he would not, I cannot tell which it was.
Q. to all the witnesses. Did you see him with a wig on?
They every one said they did not.
Prisoner continues. He call'd me son of a b - h, and kept pulling me by the hair, then some of them said bring him back again, with that the man that is dead ran and took up a little pocket, or some iron thing, and struck me: Gentlemen, says I, if I was where I was known, you would not use me so, then one d - d me, and another d - d me, then the deceased asked me if I would fight; they were all strangers to me except the landlord of the house; I never took the knife to stick the man since the hour I was born.
For the Prisoner.
William Durham . I was in the house when this accident happen'd, the prisoner at the bar came in with his basket of oysters, and asked if any in the house wanted any; the landlord Mr. Gee had a pennyworth of him, then one Mr. Pearson asked him to open him a pennyworth, he goes on and repeats every particular as the former witnesses had done before : and when he was asked which struck first, the prisoner or the deceased; he said, after the knife was struck out of the prisoner's hand, to the best of my knowledge, the deceased struck first; but being asked the same question again, he said he could not be positive which struck first.
Guilty , Death .
This being Saturday he received sentence immediately, to be executed on the Monday following, and his body to be dissected and anatomiz'd.