John Dempsey, John Donivan, Killing > murder, Killing > murder, 10th September 1760.

Reference Number: t17600910-14
Offences: Killing > murder; Killing > murder
Verdicts: Guilty; Not Guilty
Punishments: Death > death and dissection

256. John Dempsey , was indicted for the wilful murder of John Parry .

And John Donivan , for being accessary, in feloniously and wilfully being present, aiding, abetting, comforting and assisting the said Dampsey in committing the said murder , July 21 .*

They likewise stood charg'd on the coroner's inquest for the said murder.

Mary Putenham . I think it was the 21st of July, that I saw the two prisoners between 10 and 11 in the forenoon at the Blue Anchor door, and at the prince of Wale's head in the back lane by Wellclose square, there had been a sailor's wedding there on the sunday, and this was on the monday. (The prisoners are sailors ) they were drinking wine (it look'd yellowish) out of glasses at the door; there came two Venetian Sailors by, on the opposite side to me, and John Dempsey went up to one of them, and collar'd him, and pretended to press him, the Venetian had a stick in his hand.

Q. What was said?

M. Putenham. I was not so near as to hear the words; the Venetian held his stick up out of Dempsey's reach, because Dempsey should not get it out of his hand; Dempsey turn'd round with his face towards the Blue Anchor, and cry'd, D - n your eyes, will no body bring us no sticks; upon that 14 or 15 sailors all ran up in a body, and presently I saw sticks enough fighting one among another; the Venetian men resented their blows when they were beat, and they fought again; I saw the Venetian man afterwards run under Mr. Parry's arm, he had no stick in his hand then, Mr. Parry was leaning against his own door at that time.

Q. What sort of a stick was it you saw in his hand when he held it up?

M. Putenham. It was a sort of a broomstick; the Venetian ran past me to get into Mr. Parry's house, and throw'd me down, and he was got out of sight in Mr. Parry's passage.

Q. Had Mr. Parry any weapon in his hand?

M. Putenham. No, he had no stick, nor offer'd to strike; all I heard him say was, don't come here, I'll have no mob about my door. I saw Dempsey strike him a blow on the side of his head, a very hard blow; I saw the blood run, and somebody came and took him under his arms, and carry'd him into his room, which had been his tap room, when he kept a public house, there was blood fell at the door.

Q. Did you speak to Dempsey?

M. Putenham. No, I did not, but turn'd to my own room.

Q. Did you see Donivan do any thing?

M. Putenham. No, I did not; he was in company with them, but I did not see him strike any.

Q. How was Mr. Parry for health before?

M. Putenham. He was in very good health before this.

Q. How old might be he?

M. Putenham. About 60, or upwards.

Q. How long did he live afterwards?

M. Putenham. I cannot say how long, whether seven or eight days.

Q. Did you see the wound afterwards?

M. Putenham. No, I never saw the wound at all.

Q. How were the Venetians going along?

M. Putenham. One of them was going by the side of the other, talking their own language, they did not trouble their heads with any body.

Q. Do you know what became of Donivan?

M. Putenham. I did not see what became of him, they were all gone in a minute.

Q. How many Venetians were there at this time?

M. Putenham. I saw then but two, I saw more afterwards,

Q. Did the other Venetians that came, come before or after Mr. Parry had receiv'd his hurt?

M. Putenham. They came after; the sailors all dispers'd, some one way, and some another immediately.

Sarah Taylor . I was at Mr. Parry's door; I live in his rents, my husband had shaved him about 5 or 6 minutes before, Mr. Parry was standing leaning between the threshold and his door, the prisoner was beating a Venetian sailor; he seeing Mr. Parry's door open, ran over the way for shelter under Mr. Parry's arm; Dempsey came up with a broomstick like, with four crooked nails in it Mr. Parry said to him, young man do not come here, I sell no liquor now, and I'll have no noise, nor no cabals about my house. Dempsey struck him a blow on the left side of his head.

Q. Whether the deceased Parry had struck or offered to strike Dempsey before that?

S. Taylor. No, he had not at all; he kept his hand on his own post of the door, I went up to Dempsey in the highway, and said you have killed the man of the house; said he, d - n him, serve him right, and you to for a bitch, and up with his stick, but did not strike me, he mentioned them words twice over.

Q. Did he give any reason why?

S. Taylor. Sir, he gave no reason; I went into Mr. Parry's house, and wash'd his wound with chamber-lie, the flesh of his head was torne 4 ways; a surgeon was sent for, and I came away.

Q. What was the surgeon's name?

S. Taylor. His name was Mr. Hosford.

Q. Had Parry offer'd any blow or injury to the prisoner?

S. Taylor. No, none at all; he spoke no other words than what I say.

Q. Had he a stick in his hand?

S. Taylor. No, he had not.

Q. Do you know how Dempsey came by that stick?

S. Taylor. I cannot tell that, he had one, but where he got it I do not know.

Q. What did he do to the Venetian man?

S. Taylor. He beat him.

Q. Had he that stick from the Venetian;

S. Taylor. I don't know that he had.

Q. How was Parry for health before?

S. Taylor. He was in good health, as you are (to the counsel.)

Q. How long did he live after this?

S. Taylor. He lived 10 days after.

Q. Did you see the prisoner Donivan do any thing?

S. Taylor. No, I did not.

Q. from Dempsey, Whether I had a stick in my hand at the first beginning of it.

S. Taylor. He went over the way, and struck the outlandish man with a stick, where he got it I don't know.

Q. to Putenham. Did you see a stick in Dempsey's hand?

Putenham. I did not see any stick in his hand at first, when he took hold of the Venetian.

Q. Was that the same stick that the Venetian held up?

Putenham. That I cannot tell, it resembled a broomstick.

Q. to Taylor. How many Venetians did you see?

S. Taylor. There were seven Venetians together when Dempsey struck Parry; there were four coming along at first, and they turned back again, and went into the Blue Bell, and fetched three more out, and they were coming out very civily talking there own language; then Dempsey collar'd one of them, there were seven then, and there came more out after the blow was struck.

Margaret Otway . Dempsey came up to my door after a foreigner, and laid hold on him by the left arm, and from under the foreigners coat he took a piece of wood, with four nails in it. The sailors had had some trifling words together, that morning, the English sailors touch'd the foreigners coats, I had seen them there several times before the thing happened, (she shews by a broomstick the length of the stick with four nails in it, to be about two feet and half long) the foreigners can't speak English, and our sailors by lifting the lappets of their cloths up, I took to be done in a sort of an affront to the foreigners.

Q. What had they done to the English?

M. Otway. I don't know that they did any thing to them, but I saw Dempsey lift up their coats four separate times, in a way of making game of them.

Q. What time of the day was this?

M. Otway. This was about 9 or 10 in the morning, and between 11 and 12 came up one single man, just at the threshold of my door; then Dempsey came up and laid hold of his arm, and lifted up his coat, and from under it took out that stick with four nails in it. I said, Sir, do not go to strike with that stick, because it may be very prejudicial, there is nails in it; and he d - d me, and struck me a blow on my stomach, and I fell down.

Q. Did you see the prisoner strike the deceased?

M. Otway. I can't say I saw Mr. Parry receive the blow, I was rendered senseless for some minutes, the people help'd me up.

Q. Did you see Mr. Parry?

M. Otway. I did, he was standing leaning with his hand upon the inside of his own door.

Q. How was he for health at that time?

M. Otway. He was in perfect health.

Q. Had he any weapon in his hand at that time?

M. Otway. No, he had not, he was a peaceable man.

Q. How soon after he received the blow did you see him?

M. Otway. I saw him within a quarter of an hour after, he was all over blood, and from the place where he stood at the door to the chair,

where he was sitting, was all blood, like as if a pig had been stuck; on the left side of the head were four holes, I saw them dress'd, he seemed to me as if he was in great agony.

Q. When did he die?

M. Otway. This was on monday the 21st of July, and he died the 2d of the following month.

Q. from Dempsey. Whether the English sailors or the outlandish sailors began the quarrel?

M. Otway. The outlandish sailors were going along very quietly, till Dempsey began with them several times before that day.

Eliz. Fulbrook. I saw Dempsey begin with the foreigners first, I saw him knock one of them down.

Q. How many foreigners were there?

E. Fulbrook. There were six or seven of them in company. Dempsey ran up to the last witness's house, and knock'd an outlandish man down with his fist.

Q. What had the outlandish man done to him?

E. Fulbrook. He had said nothing to him, they were walking along very quiet; I saw a stick in Dempsey's hand soon after, but I saw nothing in his hand at first.

Q. Did you see any thing in the outlandish man's hand?

E. Fulbrook. No, I did not see any thing in his hand; I saw Donivan with a stick in his hand, that he had taken out of Dempsey's hand, it was a square stick, with four nails at the end of it. I saw Dempsey strike several of the outlandish men, and I saw several of the outlandish men strive to run away from the two prisoners. Donivan pursued one of them; I saw one of them run into Mr. Parry's house, and Dempsey pursued him; the Venetian ran under Mr. Parry's arm into his house.

Q. Had Mr. Parry a stick in his hand?

E. Fulbrook. No, he had nothing in his hand, he stood leaning against his door, and said, he would have no words in his house, he sold no. liquors, and he would have no noise in his house.

Q. How was Parry for health?

E. Fulbrook. He was very well in health.

Q. Did you see Dempsey strike Parry?

E. Fulbrook. No, I did not, I was stooping to take up a gregoe.

Q. What is that?

E. Fulbrook. That is a sort of a great coat.

Q. Was any body near Parry besides Dempsey at that time?

E. Fulbrook. No, no one was near him besides Dempsey.

Q. Did you see Parry afterwards?

E. Fulbrook. I did. I believe it was within about a quarter of an hour after.

John Hosford . On monday the 21st of July a messenger came for me in great haste to come to Mr. Parry, saying he was knock'd down and murdered.

Q. What time of the day was this?

Hosford. This was in the forenoon. I went and found a very large wound; the wound extended cross the left side of the head, he had lost a deal of blood, the wound was about three or four inches long; an angular part separated from the cranium; I examin'd it to see if I could perceive a fracture, but I found none; I took notice at that time he did not complain of any pain, he was quite numbed all over his head; from that monday to friday I found no bad symptoms except that numbness; then a messenger came to me in a great hurry, and told me Mr. Parry had fell down in a fit: when I came, I perceiv'd he had an apoplectic fit; they had convey'd him to bed; that fit was succeeded with a universal tremor all over him, both his arms were paralitick, and a numbness and lethargy attended it; he died on the saturday was se'nnight after the wound was given.

Q. Upon your oath, do you think his death was owing to the blow he received on his head?

Hosford. I apprehended, that that numbness and universal tremor to be from the concussion of the blow; he was trepan'd afterwards; there was a great quantity of extravers'd blood that lay upon the brain, that came out as soon as the piece of bone was extracted, which was occasioned by some external force.

Q. Have you any doubt upon what appeared upon opening his head, that this man died from that cause?

Hosford. I have no doubt at all.

Dempsey's Defence.

I did not begin the quarrel, I was struck by one of the outlandish men, all the rest of the men ran away, and I staid to take him up for it. I went to Mr. Parry's house two days after, as they told me I was accus'd with it; I ask'd him if I was the man that struck him; they said the man that struck him was taller than I was, please to call Mr. Wisley.

For the prisoner.

Tho Wisley . I am a publican; I was with Mr. Parry after the blow was struck; he said he was

struck by some of the man of war's mn, that belong to the Amizon; that the man had leather breeches on; I said I'll go and see for him, and bring him to you; I brought one or two.

Q. Did you bring the prisoner Dempsey?

Wisley. I did, and said is this one? said he, I can't justly sware to the man, whether it was him or not, but it may be like the man; I carry'd Donivan, but he did not examine him, he then being very ill.

Q. Did you see this affair happen?

Wisley. No, I saw the sailors all fighting, bigildy pigildy, one among another.

Q. When did you carry Dempsey to the decased?

Wisley. It was about two days after the affair happened, Dempsey was let go, and he came about there for six days after every day.

Dempsey guilty Death .

Donivan Acquitted .


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