Elizabeth Deacon.
26th February 1690
Reference Numbert16900226-1
VerdictGuilty
SentenceDeath > respited for pregnancy

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Elizabeth Deacon , Wife of Francis Deacon , of the Parish of St. Michael Woodstreet Whipmaker, was arraigned and tried for the murther of her Servant maid one Mary Cox , aged about 17 years . The Tryal lasted very long, and abundance of Witnesses were called for the King, amongst which were two Apprentices, viz. Edward Newhall , and Thomas Albrook , &c. The former of which declared, that, on Monday the 20th of January last, his Mistris found the Maid to have a Shilling about her, and demanded how she came by it? The Maid confest at first, that she had one 6d. of one Mrs. Baker, and the other of one Susannah Middleton ; which her Mistriss being doubtful of, she ty'd her to the Beds-post, and whipt her very sorely, and on Wednesday following she deny'd it. Upon which, her Mistriss grew extreamly enraged at her, and struck her two or three Blows with a Whip, and proceeded further in her passion, even in causing him to tye her to the Beds-post, where she whipt her in a most violent manner, until the cry'd out Murther. To prevent which, her Mistriss stopt her Mouth with her Hand, but then on the Saturday following, she tyed her Neck and Heels, and afterwards tyed her to the Beds post, burning her with the Fire-Poker upon the Neck, Shoulders, and Back, after a most inhuman manner, and then gave her a Blow on the Head with a Hammer, until she made her confess to have been confederate with some Thieves who intended to Rob her Master's House while he was at Bristol Fair. Then she had the Maid before a Justice on the next Monday, being the day before she dyed, where she confessed the like, &c.

After which, her Mistriss grew careless of her; For when she fell sick upon it, she would not let her have those Accommodations that were fit for a person in that deplorable Condition, but was heard to say, Hang her, Hang her; And that if she had not confest, she would have kill'd her. She could no ways be prevail'd upon to take any pity upon her Servant, nor give her any sustenance: But, on the contrary, cry'd out, Who can do any thing for such a Wretch? Telling them, that she had the Pox, &c. The Surgeon said, that the Stripes and Wounds did contribute towards her Death, together with a Surfeit she had taken before.

The prisoner strived to Extenuate her Crime, saying, That her Maid had wronged her several times, by making away her Goods, and Money, and had Conversation with a parcel of Thieves, and was a Girl of a very sullen, obstinate, temper; and the reason why she Whipt her, was, for opening her Dressing-Box. She called some Witnesses, who gave a favourable account of her former Education, but none that could contradict or invalidate the King's Evidence; only one of them said, that the Maid complained of a stoppage at her stomach, and a great pain in her head, before she was so used; and that she surfeited her self by eating Ice Cakes, and Apples, &c. all which did not avail her any thing; but the Jury looking upon the Heinousness of the Fact, brought in her guilty of wilful Murther.

[Death -respited for pregnancy. See summary.]


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