Michael Burchall.
24th April 1745
Reference Numbert17450424-41
VerdictNot Guilty

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238. + Michael Burchall , of St. Botolph without Aldgate , London, Gent . was indicted for the murder of James Sparkes ++, (on the 21st day of August last) by giving him a mortal wound with a wooden stick, on the back part of the head, of the breadth of one inch, and the depth of a quarter of an inch; of which he languished from the said 21st day of August, to the 7th day of September, and then, of the said mortal wound, died. And James Diamond , William Harding , Edward Morgan , and divers other persons to the Jurors unknown,

for aiding, assisting, abetting, comforting, and maintaining the said Michael Burchall , to commit the said murder. And therefore they the said Michael Burchall , William Harding , Edward Morgan , &c the said James Sparkes , feloniously, wilfully, and of their malice aforethought, did kill, and murder, against his Majesty's peace, &c .

++ Edward Morgan was tried for the murder of Sparkes [a watchman of Portsoken Ward] in October Sessions in the mayoralty of Sir Robert Westley and acquitted. See part 2d. page 257. trial 466. William Harding was tried for the same murder in December Sessions in the present mayoralty and acquitted. See Sess. paper part the 3d. page 52 trial 105.

There was no charge against him on the coroner's inquisition.

Mr. Harrison, Surgeon. Sparkes was brought into the London Infirmary, by Mr. Day, the beadle of Portsoken ward, on the 22d of August, and continued till the 7th of September, when he died.

Q. Do you know what he died of?

Harrison. He died of a wound he received upon his head.

Q. Where was the wound?

Harrison. It was on the fore part of the head, a little above the right ear.

Q. Was there any other wound upon his head?

Harrison. There was a wound on the back part of the head, which was very trifling, and did not at all contribute to his death.

Q. What do you think as to the wound by the right ear?

Harrison. I think it was the occasion of his death. The bone was laid bare, and he had all the symptoms of a concussion of the brain that could be, which was the reason of opening the head; and between the dura mater and the brain there was a large quantity of matter.

Q. Does that follow a concussion of the brain?

Harrison. very frequently, and when it does, it is generally fatal.

- Morgan, [brother of Edward Morgan .]

Q. Do you know James Sparkes , and how he came by his death?

Morgan. I don't know any thing of that.

Q. Do you know the prisoner?

Morgan. Yes.

Q. Did he kill him?

Morgan . That's what I can't tell, he came that night to a house I was a servant at, he and several more.

Q. What house was that?

Morgan. The 7 Stars in Whitechapel. The quarrel at Aldgate watch-house was that night, on Tuesday night the 21st of August.

Q. Did you see the prisoner that night?

Morgan. Yes, I saw the prisoner, and four or five more.

Q. Do you know any thing that passed in the quarrel?

Morgan. No more than what he said when he came into the house, that he had lost his hanger in the quarrel.

Q. Did the prisoner say any thing else about what happened at the quarrel?

Morgan. No.

Thomas Rawlinson . When I first heard of the quarrel, I was at some distance?

Q. What time was that?

Rawlinson. It was about 11 o'clock at night. There was an outcry of watch, and one Diamond run down Chequer yard, and some of the watchmen came to their assistance Mr. Burchall passed by me at the end of the yard, and drew his hanger , and said he would fight for his King, and his country*; but he did not go down the yard.

* Burchall was a sergeant of marines, and went out with Commodore Anson to the South Seas, and is the only marine that survived that voyage, and came back with the Commodore to England.

Q. Did you see what passed afterwards?

Rawlinson. No; I was gone before they came out of the yard.

Q. What was the running down the yard for?

Rawlinson, I heard it was for striking the watchmens lanthorn, by Diamond.

Q. What became of Diamond?

Rawlinson. I don't know, they were all of them strangers to me.

Q. Do you know any thing of Burchall's going into the yard?

Rawlinson. I did not see him go down while I was there. He drew his hanger , but I did not see him cut any body, the mischief was done in the yard.

Q. How far was that from you?

Rawlinson. It was about thirty yards down the yard; and I was at the end of the yard.

William Bagshaw . On the 21st of August at night, I was coming from the Oliver's Porter in Harrow alley, and heard a noise of murder cried; some of the watchmen came towards me, I believe there were four or five of them (I thought at first it had been a watch night) and presently I heard a noise and murder cried. I saw a man stand with a drawn hanger over his head, and crying the Centurion three times, and I saw several men come to his assistance directly, and they run down towards the watchmen.

Q. Do you know the man that had his hanger drawn?

Bagshaw. No, they said his name was Burchall.

Q. Should you know him again?

Bagshaw. I can't say that I should; 'tis some time since.

Q. Look at that man; can you say that is the man?

Bagshaw . No, I can't say that is the man.

'' The watchmen attended to give evidence (as '' they did upon the former trials) but as they could '' only speak to the fact in general, and not to the '' person of the prisoner, they were not examined.''

There being no evidence, with respect to the person of the prisoner, he was acquitted .


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