John Lowdey.
26th October 1752
Reference Numbert17521026-46
VerdictNot Guilty

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550. (M.) John Lowdey , was indicted for the murder of Joseph Davise , September 26 . ++

Thomas Davise . I am father to the deceased, and live near the Broad-way, Westminster. I was out on the 26th of September, and when I came home in the evening I was told, my son had received a very bad cut on his head. On the second day he did not appear to be so bad, so that I did not take so much notice of it. In three or four days he began to complain of having a violent pain where he had the cut on his head, and was very bad; he also complained of sickness. I did not see the wound till about five days after it was given.

Q. How old was he?

T. Davise. He was fourteen years of age. He was dressed in bed on Sunday morning, and never got out of bed afterwards. He died the twelfth of October of that blow he received, I apprehend, being in perfect health before, and as fine a youth as ever stood upon the earth.

Thomas Robertson . I am almost sixteen years of age. Lowdey and I were playing at top on the 26th of September, about eleven or twelve o'clock at noon, in the Swish-yard. After he had taken his spin he took up a piece of tyle, and said, which of them can I hit, meaning two or three children with Davise at play in a different company from us. Davise was winding up his top going to spin it, Lowdey threw the tyle directly and it hit Davise on the forehead.

Q. Did he declare at the time who he threw it at?

Robertson. No, he did not.

Q. Did you observe whether he aimed at any particular person ?

Robertson. No, I did not, but to see which he could hit. As soon as it hit him, Davise put his hand to his forehead and ran home. I saw Davise the day after that looking out at the window, and I saw him the day after out in the street going of an errand. I asked him how his wound did, and he said, he thought a little better. I did not see him after till he was dead. The piece of tyle was produced in court, and was almost with three equal angles, each angle about an inch and a half long.

Q. How far distance was the prisoner from the deceased when he threw the tyle.

Robertson. About twenty yards, or a little better. As he was a youth and might not well understand how to describe it by yards, he was asked to describe it by directing from the bench to the court-yard, he made choice of a distance seemin gly near the same number of yards.

Robert Wood . I am fourteen years of age come the fourth of April. I was at play with Lowdey, when he had had his spin he took up a tyle, and said, which of them can I hit, there were Davise and two or three more together. He threw it, as soon as it hit Davise, Lowdey left his half-penny on the ground to Robertson and I, so ran home, and bid us say nothing. We three were playing for a halfpenny a game. I did not see Davise after till I saw him dead.

James Babby . I shall be 14 years old in July. I was in company with Lowdey, Robertson, and Wood, I did not see Davise come into the yard, but I saw him in the yard. As soon as Lowdey had had his spin he took up a tyle that lay just by him, and said, which of them can I hit. He flung the tyle, I did not see it hit Davise, but I saw him put his hand to his forehead and run home directly.

Q. Did he sling it in anger?

Babby. No, Sir, there were two or three with Davise.

Q. Have you seen Davise and Lowdey play together?

Babby. No, never in my life. Lowdey left a halfpenny, and said, don't tell any body and I will leave that for you, meaning Robertson and Wood. I saw Davise the next day in the street, he play'd, but he did not look so well as before. I never saw him after that till he was dead.

Q. Was it thrown in anger ?

Babby. No, I don't think he went to hurt Davise any more than any body else.

Mr. Hethfield. I think it was on the 26th of September, the deceased came to my house with a small wound, not above half an inch in length, on the left side of his forehead a little above the temples, about twelve o'clock. I searched it with my probe, and at that time I thought there was very little danger in it (but wounds in the head are always in danger). He was at my house the Tuesday was se'nnight after the wound was given, or the Wednesday, to be dressed. I know in which time the wound looked excessive well, and I imagined it would do very well. It was about eight or nine days before I saw any symptoms that was dangerous. I was sent for to him, he was then in bed, but even then the wound looked well, his pulse was a little quick and disordered. I found the membrane that covered the bone had been wounded and putrified, and left some part of the bone bare. I did not perceive the wound on the bone when I first prob'd it, but the ninth day I plainly could perceive the wound had penetrated to the bone, and I could feel a little indention, an unevenness, or roughness, as if the bone had been wounded.

Q. Do you imagine that was the original wound, or subsequent?

Hethfield. I am pretty well assured it came from the original blow. The blow did not go oblique but downright. I believe originally all was cut through. I attended him to his death. I was desired before the justice to give my opinion, which I did, that he would do well, but at that time would not take upon me to swear that he would ; upon which the boy was committed to Bridewell. In about four or five days after he took to his bed

and grew very bad. Then I apprehended him to be in great danger, and called in some assistance in the profession, Mr. Baker and Mr. Westbrook. It was their and my opinion, that the deceased should be trepan'd, and I performed the operation. He produced a piece of the scull, on which appeared a little scratch. This I suppose to be done with the tyle, I perceiv'd it when it was in the head, it was immediately under the wound. He lived about four or five days after this, but afterwards I could see but little hopes of his recovery, for between the scull and the dura mater there was a quantity of matter. Two days after it was thought necessary to trepan him a second time. I took another piece of the scull out, where that matter came from. He produces that. This had received no wound; it was the opinion of us three to cut through the dura mater, and lay the brain bare. We did so, and got a great quantity of matter out. He lived about three days after this, and then died; upon which the coroner's inquest sat on the body. Then I sawed off part of the scull, and opening the head, found immediately under where the wound was. There was a great deal of matter congealed between the brain and the dura mater. The other side of the brain was quite clear, and had no inflammation.

Q. Upon the whole, what is your opinion was the occasion of his death?

Heathfield. I believe the original wound was the occasion of it; this might occasion a concussion of the brain by the smartness of the blow. I have seen numbers of instances, where, tho' there were no fractures on the head, people have died, and have had no symptoms for three weeks after receiving the blow.

Prisoner's defence.

The tile was not half so big as that.

William Lowdey, his father, said he would be but fourteen years old next New Year's Day, and called John Steed , Christopher Hand , John Busey , John Nailor , and Henry Bell , (the master where he went to school) who gave him the character of a peaceable, good temper'd lad.

Acq .

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