Charles Stevens, Henry Holyoak, Henry Hughes, Killing > murder, 30th June 1770.

Reference Number: t17700630-47
Offence: Killing > murder
Verdict: Guilty
Punishment: Death > death and dissection; Death > executed

395, 396, 397. (M.) Charles Stevens , Henry Holyoak , and Henry Hughes , were indicted, the first, for the wilful murder of John Shaw , by shooting him in the belly with a blunderbuss loaded with gunpowder and pieces of lead, and the other two, for being present, aiding, assisting, abetting, and comforting him to do and commit the said murder . May 3 . +

Mary Leighbourn . On the 3d of May, which was on a Thursday, Mr . John Shaw and I were taking a walk about nine in the evening, in the new road to Islington ; two men came up to us and demanded our money. Holyoak was one of them, he came up first; I do not know the other. John Shaw took them from me into the road, and I believe he had a scuffle there with them; but Stevens came up with a blunderbuss in his hand, and fired it directly against John Shaw . I was then by the rails. I believe Shaw was coming towards me when Stevens fired. Shaw ran with his bowels in his hand to the Angel inn, which was about two hundred yards from us. The two first men ran away; then Stevens came up, and hit me a knock over my left breast, and knocked me down; there I lay till somebody came and took me up.

Q. Did you hear any of them make use of any expressions?

M. Leighbourn. One of them said, It is well done, after the firing; that I believe was Holyoak. Mr. Shaw sent out for me. When I came to him, he said, he was glad to see me alive. A surgeon was fetched; he lived till the Saturday morning at half an hour past three, and then died. I know Holyoak was the person that came up and showed a pistol; and I am sure Stevens is the man that fired the blunderbuss. I am more sure of Stevens than I am of Holyoak.

Q. How were they dressed?

M. Leighbourn. They had great coats on.

Q. Had you ever seen either of them before?

M. Leighbourn. No, I had not. I was examined before Justice Welch; there I knew Stevens and Holyoak the moment I came into the room. I

described Stevens before he was taken up; and I always said before the Justice, I believed Holy-oak was one; and now I believe the same.

Q. How far distant were Holyoak and the other man from you when the blunderbuss was fired?

Leighbourn. I believe they were forty yards from Stevens then; they were gone from John Shaw several yards.

Q. What sort of a man was the third person?

Leighbourn. He was a little short man, shorter than him that fired. ( Such was Hughes.)

Mr. Curtis. I am a surgeon. On the third of May in the evening, between nine and ten o'clock, I was sent for to the Angel at Islington. I found Mr. Shaw lying on the floor in great pain. He told me he had been attacked in the City Road by three men, and one of them had shot him in the belly with a blunderbuss. I opened his clothes to examine his wound; there was a very large portion of his intestines came through the wound, lying loose upon his belly. I desired he might be immediately taken up stairs to bed. I sent for Mr. Hould, another surgeon, to assist me, who came immediately after the deceased was in bed. After a great deal of difficulty we reduced the whole of the intestines into the belly again. We secured the wound with proper bandages. The next morning I went to attend him again; there was Mr. Rogers his master, who had brought Mr. Dickinson, another surgeon. The wound was dressed, and a little above the right hip I extracted a bit of lead, which I have here. In the evening I saw him again; he seemed quite easy; there was a general mortification ran all over the abdomen. He died about half an hour after three one the Saturday morning; the wound most certainly was the cause of his death. I suppose the whole contents of the blunderbuss was lodged in the abdomen. The body was so very much putrified from the mortification, we did not open it.

Henry Dickinson . There is no doubt in the world but his death was occasioned by this wound. I was before Justice Welch; Holyoak said there, that he and Hughes were the two people that came up to the deceased first, and demanded his money. This was the Wednesday after the deceased died.

Q. Was Hughes by at the t ime?

Dickinson. He was: there was a dispute between Stevens and Holyoak, whether the blunderbuss was only fired, or whether the pistol was fired afterwards. Hughes was asked the question, Whether it was the pistol or blunderbuss that shot the man? He said, he could not tell whether the pistol was fired or not; that he knew the blunderbuss was. Stevens said, It was a pistol went off. After that Stevens said, the deceased and he struggled together; and the man having a knife in his hand, they fell upon the ground, and by that fall the piece went off by accident. There was a dispute between Hughes and Stephens, whether the pistol did go off, before the Justice. The deceased said, the two little men came up first, and when he said, He had no money, they said, If you have no money, we don't want your life. It appeared one of them had a pistol, and he went away with it in his hand.

Q. Was any thing said before the Justice, how far they were gone when the blunderbuss was fired?

Dickinson. I don't recollect a word of that; I remember the deceased said, when they two had left him, he with the blunderbuss said, D - n you, I'll tip it you. The deceased told me he had a knife in his hand, and he struck at Stevens with it, in order to defend himself, and he struck the knife into the hole of the blunderbuss. (The knife (a long clasp one) produced, and the blunderbuss produced, and the mark appeared where the knife had struck against it.) The deceased was in his senses as much as I am now. Mr. Rogers his master, and I went together to him. He said, two short men came up first, and he took and shoved them into the road, and a tall one shot him. (Note, Stevens was taller than the other two.) He said, they demanded his money; he said, he would not be robbed, and took out his knife. I observed he was an active stout fellow; I dare say he would have managed all three, had they not had fire arms. He said, if any of these men are taken, I can swear to the blunderbuss, and to the man that shot me very well.

Mr. Read. On the 8th of May, about a quarter after ten, I was accidentally at the house called the Yorkshire Stingo. A person said, he apprehended there were three footpads on the road. We immediately determined to go out after them; that was, myself, Mr. Heley, Mr. Roberts and his man, and a boy of mine. In about three hundred yards from the house I met the three prisoners at the bar. I asked them where they were going? They said, they were taking a walk, and told me where they had been; taking

up a great deal of time in going a little way. I desired a little conversation with them. I drew them to the Yorkshire Stingo. I suspected they had arms. When we came there, I asked them if they had any arms? Stevens said, Yes. He unbuttoned his coat, and delivered this blunderbuss to me. Holyoak unbuttoned his coat, and delivered this pistol. ( Producing one.) Hughes said, he had no arms. He was searched; there was a scabbard of a cutlass dropped from his coat or apron. We asked him, how he came by that? He said, he had found it by the side of the road. I believe Mr. Roberts went out, and near the place brought in a naked cutlass which fitted the scabbard exactly. Upon this we conveyed them to Marybone watch-house, and the next morning to Litchfield-street, to Mr. Welch's, for examination. There they had not been long, before they were charged with another offence; and the circumstance of the arms agreeing with the description we had heard of the arms that murdered the deceased, we imagined these might be the men concerned in it. We traced out where the young woman was to be met with, that was with the man when he was shot. We sent for her; the prisoners were remanded into a back room. Some little time after, a person came into the office, and publickly declared he had overheard some conversation between the prisoners; upon which they were brought in to the bar again. Then Holyoak accused Stevens of being the person who shot the man, meaning Shaw. They entered into an altercation, charging each other with being the person that shot. Holyoak had first said it was Stevens; Stevens said it was Holyoak. Stevens endeavoured to take off the edge of the cruelty by ascribing it to accident. He admitted his blunderbuss had gone off; but said it was owing to a fall which he had in a struggle with the deceased. Then the murder was referred to Hughes, Whether he heard two reports, or not? Hughes made answer, There might have been two reports; but if there were two, they must have been so near each other, that it was impossible for him to distinguish whether there were two or not. The young woman came in after; she seemed to be very much dejected and low-spirited. I observed when the prisoners were brought to the bar, she wrung her hands, and, I think, told pretty near the same she has here. She described two shorter men came up first, and after that Stevens came up and fired. I am sure she was positive as to Stevens, but cannot charge my memory with the particulars of it.

Stevens's Defence.

The night this robbery was done I never was out of my lodging from seven till eleven at night, then I went to bed; I have my landlord to prove it. I never had a blunderbuss in my life till the night before I was taken. We were coming along the road towards Paddington; I went into a ditch to ease myself, there I saw it lying with a pistol and cutlass. We thought there might be some bad people about that might use us ill, and we took them to defend ourselves.

Holyoak's Defence.

I am innocent of the affair; I know nothing about it. Where I was that day, I cannot recollect. I never suspected to be taken up about it.

Hughes's Defence.

The night this murder was committed I went to Islington to see my father. I staid there till nine or a little after, and coming along the New River side, in order to come home with a person, when we were near the City road, we heard several people quarreling at a small distance from the river; we turned down the road, in order to see what was the matter. We had not gone above ten or a dozen steps before we heard a gun fired, upon which we turned round and went home immediately. I have known Stevens about three or four months, and the other I never saw above three or four times in my life before we were taken in custody.

For Stevens.

Mary Bourn . I live in Marygold-court in the Strand; Stevens lodged with me, I recollect the third of May, it was on a Thursday. I left the prisoner in my house at about seven in the afternoon. I did not come home till a quarter after ten, then I found him sitting by the fire, with one Mr. Grant with him; I did not know him. He did not go out that night, to my knowledge; but he might for what I know. I went to bed, and he went up to bed at the same time, about eleven.

Thomas Gore . I have known Stevens between six and seven years. His mother lodged in my house; I have seen him frequently in my house; he always behaved as a decent person.

For Holyoak.

Capt. John Allen . I have known Holyoak

from April 1767; he was a midshipman on board my ship, the CliveIndia-man. He wrote for me as clerk in my ship; he had a great trust from me. He left me in July 1768; I have known nothing of him since July 1768.

Mr. Pitt Collet. I have known him from November 1767; he came on board our ship, and went out with her to Madras, and behaved well.

James Dawson . I have known him from the time of going that voyage. No man in the world could behave better, very honest and sober.

Thomas Langham . He came to London better than four years ago, in order to get a clerk's place. I received him in my house; he could not meet with any thing to suit. I had occasion for somebody to write my accounts; I trusted him to sell goods, he never wronged me to my knowledge.

Sam. Statham . I have known him some time; he was looked upon as a very honest young man.

For Hughes.

Wil. Mould. I have known Hughes betwixt five and six years; he lodged and boarded along with me. He never wronged me; he bore a good character.

John Paine . I have known Hughes sixteen years; he always bore an honest character. He is a glass-grinder .

Wil. Morrison. I am a glass-grinder. I have known him eight or nine years; I never knew any thing dishonest by him.

Sarah Clifford . He was a lodger of mine; I know nothing dishonest by him. I had a very good character with him; I have known him three years.

All three Guilty . Death .

They received sentence immediately, this being Friday, to be executed on the Monday following, and their bodies to be dissected and anatomized.

There was an indictment against them for a robbery on the highway.

The blunderbuss was the property of the Genoese ambassador, whose house was lately broke, and that with other things stole, &c.


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