Rachel Beacham, Killing > murder, 4th December 1751.

Reference Number: t17511204-21
Offence: Killing > murder
Verdict: Guilty
Punishment: Death
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23. (M.) Rachel wife of Joseph Beacham , was indicted for the murder of Henrietta Dawes , spinster , Oct. 25 . She also stood charged on the coroner's inquisition for the said murder. *

Mary Hyde. I lodge in the prisoner's house in Tittymouse-alley . I am mother of the deceased. Betwixt eleven and twelve, on the 25th of Oct. the prisoner sent me to Mrs. Pollard's for a peck of coals; I was gone about half an hour, when I came back, the prisoner was below, rubbing her hands all over bloody; I ask'd her what she had done? she made me no answer; Mrs. Pollard followed me directly; she asked the prisoner, what she had been doing? she answered, she had kill'd Henney, then I went up into her room, and saw my babe lying all in its gore upon the floor.

Q. Upon what account did Mrs. Pollard go with you ?

M. Hyde. I heard a person say in the street, where is Henney's mother, she was murder'd. So Mrs. Pollard hearing it, went with me.

Q. Did you examine the child?

M. Hyde. I had not power, Mrs. Pollard went up with me; it was cut round its throat, and a stab on the side of its breast.

Q. How old was she?

M. Hyde. She would have been six years old the 12th of next January .

Isabella Pollard. The child had been at my house about three quarters of an hour before it was murder'd. I sent her to fetch me half a pint of beer, which she did; after which, her mother came for a peck of coals; while she was there, a young woman came, and said, where is the child's mother? it is murdered. I called to the mother, she was gone from my house to the next door. I told her, she ran, and I after her, to the prisoner's house; when I came in, I saw the prisoner rubbing her hands all over blood. I asked her what she had done? she said, she had kil l'd Henney. I ask'd her what she did it for? she said, what was that to me? she went into the yard; I went up stairs, and saw the babe lying dead all in its gore upon the floor; it was cut from ear to ear.

Q. to M. Hyde. How had she used to behave to the child before this?

M. Hyde. She behaved in my sight very well to her.

Q. Did she behave amiss to her, out of your sight?

M. Hyde. I never asked the child any questions about her behaviour to her.

Sarah Wickham . I live over against the prisoner. I was in my own house and heard a great noise. After which the prisoner came out with her right hand above her wrist all bloody; somebody said they thought there was murder committed, I called to Mrs. Pollard, who came with the mother as beforementioned.

Sarah Johnson . I heard a great noise in our back wash-house. My sister and I opened the back gate, there we saw the prisoner almost to the elbows in blood.

Q. to M. Hyde. Is the prisoner out of her senses at times?

M. Hyde, I have known her fifteen or sixteen years; I never knowed her any otherwise than in her senses, I wind silk, the prisoner clear'd my bobbin for me that very morning my child was murdered.

Q. What do you imagine could induce her to do it?

M. Hyde. I cannot imagine what, no more than any one here.

Arthur Featherly . I am headborough, I was sent for and told a child's head was cut off. When I came to the house, there were many people there, and the prisoner standing in the yard. I took her before the justice, all she said before and at the justice's was: She did not know. At last she said a man ni black came in and did it. He produced a case knife. This knife was delivered to me all over blood, blade and handle both, the forepart of her gown was as if it had been dipped in a tub of blood.

Mary Deal . I found the knife in the next yard to the prisoner's, at the time she was taken up. There were many people saw it lie.

The prisoner was called to make her Defence.

Who said she did kill the child. She was asked if she upon any account bore any grudge or ill-will to it, answered no, she had none against it. She was asked why she did? she answered she was tempted to do it.

Q. How tempted ?

Prisoner. I don't know.

Q. to Mrs. Pollard. Have you ever observed the prisoner to have been out of her senses?

Mrs. Pollard. I have known her a great many years; I never saw or heard she was any other than in her senses.

Q. Is she given to drink?

Mrs. Pollard. I never saw her in liquor in my life.

Guilty , Death .

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