James Mutter.
16th October 1751
Reference Numbert17511016-19
VerdictGuilty > manslaughter
SentenceMiscellaneous > branding

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566. (M.) James Mutter , was indicted for the murder of John Anderson Sept. 1 ; he also stood charged on the coroner's inquisition for the said murder.*

William Tompson . On the 31st of August, about eight at night, James Anderson , the prisoner, and I, went to Mr. Black's house, an alehouse in Round Court in the Strand ; the deceased, John Anderson , came in about 10 the prisoner and the deceased wagered of 3d. about their height; the prisoner lost and refused to pay; the deceased insisted upon it he should pay, but he did not; we came all out of the house to go home about 12 o'clock; going along there were several jarring words betwixt them two; the prisoner told the deceased he would not be abused that way, but that he was his man at any time; the deceased replied, that now was the time ; the prisoner then turned from near the shops towards the middle of the street; I thought he seemed to be flying from him; this was after we had passed the corner of May's buildings; I was before them about three or four yards; I turned back and saw the prisoner strike at the deceased; the deceased called out to his kinsman, James Anderson , and said Mutter had cut him. He came home leaning on his kinsman's shoulders. We had but a little way home, for we all lodged at Mr. Wadle's, a peruke-maker in St. Martin's Lane. A surgeon was sent for, and there was found a wound on the left side of his head through his scull, which bled very much; he had also a wound on his left arm, and another on his left thumb.

Q. Did you see any weapon in the prisoner's hand when he struck the deceased?

Tompson. I did not, my Lord. The deceased died on the nineteenth of September, and this was done on the 31st of August. I think he did not keep his bed the first and second days, but he never was out of the house after.

Q. Was he on his legs when he received these blows?

Tompson. He was not down at all.

Q. Did the prisoner strike the deceased above once?

Tompson. He did, and they seemed to be levelled at his head.

Q. Did you see the deceased strike the prisoner?

Tompson. No, my Lord, I did not.

Q. Was it a light night?

Tompson. It was not, but I saw this by the light of the lamp. I turned back at the time the deceased called out.

Q. What sort of wounds were there?

Tompson. They were all cuts.

On his cross-examination he said, The prisoner and the deceased seemed always to be very friendly to each other; that he could not tell but the deceased might have struck the prisoner before he turned back; that the deceased was standing in the same place he did when the prisoner went into the middle of the street.

James Anderson . The deceased and I were first cousins. On the last day of August, about eight at night, Mr. Tompson and I went to Mr. Black's in Round-Court, to see for one Mr. Bonner, a painter, for Mr. Tompson to deliver a letter to him, but not finding him I came out again, meeting the prisoner at the bar just without the door; upon which we went up stairs, and had some steaks together. About ten o'clock the deceased came into our company; we were then drinking

the third pot of beer. There was a wager laid about the height of twelve new halfpence, when laid one upon another, for a pot of beer, and Tompson lost. Then the deceased and the prisoner wagered about their heights; the prisoner laid that the deceased was not an inch taller than he was; they were measured, and the deceased was taller by an inch and a half, so the prisoner lost. We had six pennyworth of rum and water for the two threepences lost; Tompson paid his, but the prisoner refused to pay his threepence, so the deceased paid it for him. They had words; the prisoner put down half a crown, saying he would not pay the wager, but would spend half a crown with any man, and desired any of us to cover it; but as we did not chuse to spend any more, we all four went out to go home. It struck twelve just as we were going out of the house; we went on till we came to Chandos-street, there they had words, and the deceased called the prisoner scoundrel ; the prisoner said he was no more a scoundrel than he was, and that he was his man at any time; to which the deceased replied, Nothing like the time present. I smiled and said, I hope, gentlemen, you will not quarrel about so small a matter as threepence. I walked pretty hard on towards May's Buildings; being about seven yards before them, I looked behind me, and saw the prisoner give the deceased three or four blows towards the head. I saw no weapon in his hand. I saw the deceased hold up his hands to guard his face, but made no resistance as I saw. I turned back a step or two, and the deceased said, James, I believe Mutter has cut me with something or other; then I saw the blood run much. We walked pretty hard home; when we came there a light was brought immediately, and there was found a large wound on the deceased's left temple, which seemed to be cut. A surgeon was sent for, and upon searching him farther, we found a wound on the prisoner's left arm; it was a cut about an inch and a half long: there was another cut on his left thumb, and a little wound below his eye: they all seemed to be done with a sharp pointed instrument. The prisoner came home with us, and the deceased ordered the watch to be called, to take him into custody.

On his cross-examination he said, The prisoner and the deceased lived together in a friendly manner; that he knew of no malice betwixt them; that he turned about on his own account, not upon the calling out; that it was possible there might have been blows before he turned, &c. that the deceased said, before he died, he was sorry for poor Mutter; that as the deceased was going to be put to bed, (there was Mutter in his own bed) he shewed him his blood on his sleeve, saying, Mutter, do you see your own handy works? Mutter answered, It was all your own fault, you was the first aggressor; then the deceased ordered the watch to be called, to take care of the prisoner: that it was about two or three minutes after the word scoundrel, that he saw the blows; that he had used to look upon the prisoner to be a good natured man, and the deceased likewise; that they were facing each other at the time of the blows; and that he thought the wounds were the cause of his death.

William Wadle . They all four lodged in my house. They came in on the first of September, a little after twelve in the morning, and the deceased was bleeding at the left temple very much; my wife held her apron to it, and the blood ran down on the floor; he said, Take care of Mutter, for he has cut me, and I shall die; so his kinsman went and called the watch.

Q. Did he say what he was cut with?

Wadle. He did not, my Lord. When the watch came, the surgeon said, Perhaps the wound may not be dangerous, you had better not take Mutter up with the watch yet; to which the deceased replied, No, I will not hurt poor Mutter, for I do not know what ailed him to hurt me, but I was afraid he would do mischief with the knife. I gave a man a small sword to threaten the prisoner, if he should come down stairs, fearing he might be mad. After that I went up to the room where he was, saying, You have cut Anderson. It is his own fault, replied he, for he struck me on the temples first; then shewed me a little place on his forehead, where he said the deceased struck him. I said he ought not to have taken a knife to him for that, desiring him to give the knife to me; he said he would not: then I said to one Steward, who was in bed with him, Get out of bed, and went to Mutter again, saying, Give me the knife; he replied he would not: then said I, Throw it out of the window, he said he would. Upon which he threw up the window, making a faint motion with his hand, but I did not see any thing thrown away. He did not deny cutting him, but did not say whether he had, or had not a knife.

Q. What sort of a place was that on his forehead?

Wadle. It was a little red, and a little rising, but I took very little notice of it. After that the deceased insisted upon our taking care of Mutter, so the watch was sent for again.

On his cross-examination he said, They two lived in great friendship together; that he judged the small place on the prisoner's face was not done with a hand, except it was done with one nuckle; that it was very small, if given at all; that the prisoner was as sober a lad as could be in any body's house; and that they all lived together in friendship like brethren.

Mr. Steward. I was the prisoner's bedfellow, but was asleep when he came to bed; they awaked me, and I saw him sitting in the room: I asked him what was the occasion of that noise? he said he and Anderson had quarrelled about a wager, &c. that he had lost, and that he had refused to pay it in the publick house. Coming out in the street, the deceased called him scoundrel; that he answered, I am no more a scoundrel than you are; and that at the end of the quarrel he believed he had cut him. I asked him what he had in his hand, but he made no answer. Presently after the landlord came into the room, and taxed him with cutting the deceased with a knife, desiring him to give it him, which he refused; then, at his desire, he made a seint, as if he threw it out of the window, but whether he did, or did not, I cannot tell. When the surgeon had dressed the deceased, the deceased came up and said, How could you use me so? the prisoner replied, You struck me first, but the other denied that he ever struck him at all; then he went down, and the watchmen were sent for, who came and took the prisoner away.

Mr. Kelley. I am a surgeon. I was called to the deceased between twelve and one in the morning on the first of September, and found him bleeding from three several wounds; I dressed them, and attended him to the day of his death. During the course of my treating him, I found none of the wounds in any danger, except that on his temple, and that I believe was the cause of his death. I found the instrument, which must be sharp pointed, had penetrated the scull, and wounded the brain.

Q. Was the deceased sensible ?

Kelley. He was not delirious at first, but was afterwards at times.

Q. When did he die?

Kelley. He died on the nineteenth of September. His other wounds were one upon the back part of his left arm, the other on the left thumb, and a little scratch under his eye; they all appeared to be done with a sharp pointed instrument; the flesh was raised on his thumb, but not cut intirely off, it being only divided from the part; that on his head was on the temperal bone. I was with him the night before he died, about the hour of ten, he was then insensible, and he died about two the morning following.

Q. Did he ever say any thing to you about this quarrel?

Kelley. Sometimes he would exclaim against the prisoner, saying, he could not think how he came to do so bad a thing.

Q. Did he say what he struck him with?

Kelley. He said he did not know he had struck him with any thing but his fist, till he found the blood running down.

Q. Did he say he had struck the prisoner?

Kelley. He said he did not strike him; but he did not tell me the particulars of what passed in the street, as I remember.

Q. Was he in his senses when he said he did not strike the prisoner?

Kelley. He seemed as if he was quite master of his senses at that time.

Prisoner's Defence.

On the 31st of August the deceased and I came out of this house in Round-Court in the Strand; we had some words about a wager for a pot of beer. When we came to Chandos street, he called me scoundrel, and said he would kick me, but on my saying I would not allow it, his cousin came and prevented him. After that, he said he would fight me for a guinea, then for a crown; he also struck me on the forehead, which caused a bump.

To his Character.

John Scott . I have known the prisoner from his infancy. I went to school with him. He is of a peaceable disposition.

Robert Tompson . I have known him from his infancy; he was always peaceable, sober, and discreet. I never heard that he was given to quarrel.

Alexander Comming . I have known him about a year. I never heard him called a quarrelsome man. He always behaved himself quietly.

James Reney . I have known him some time; he was always peaceable, and not a person of a rankorous disposition on any consideration.

Mrs. Cleland. He once lodged with me, and always behaved quietly.

James Young . I have known him from about the time he came to London, which is about a year ago, and he appeared always to me to be a

sober young man, for I never saw him addicted to any passion whatsoever.

Margaret Green. I have known him about a year, when he lodged with Mrs. Cleland. I never took him to be of a quarrelsome disposition, but of a mild good natured temper. I lived in the house he lodged in, and never saw him disguised in liquor.

William Williamson . I was servant in a house where he lived. I have known him about half a year. He has a very good character; he is not a quarrelsome man.

Guilty of Manslaughter .

[Branding. See summary.]

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