William Peears.
18th July 1753
Reference Numbert17530718-30
SentenceDeath; Death > executed

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345. (M). William Peears , otherwise Pearse , was indicted for the wilful murder of Margaret his wife , July 9 . +

He stood charg'd on the coroner's inquest for the said murder.

John Alderton . Five weeks ago last Saturday, the prisoner's wife was stabb'd, I was present in the room, it was at the Whittington-and-Cat, Whitechapel , but I did not see it done. The prisoner and she were wrangling, as they had us'd to do when they got, in liquor.

Q. Do you recollect what words past?

Alderton. No, I did not take notice, he wrangl'd and jaw'd. I took a knife out of the prisoner's hand a little time after the woman fell.

Q. Was it bloody?

Alderton. It had blood upon it.

Q. What did the prisoner say?

Alderton. He said, take it John.

Q. Did he discover any concern from what had happen'd?

Alderton. No, he did not.

Q. Did you see the woman fall?

Alderton. No, I did not.

Q. Did she speak afterwards?

Alderton. No, not as I heard.

Cross Examination.

Q. Did you see them come into the room ?

Alderton. I did, they came lovingly together.

Q. Were they sober?

Alderton. They were a little in liquor. I said I am glad to see you come so lovingly together.

Q. How come you to say so, had they us'd to be so but seldom?

Alderton. I joak'd to them; they were always very lovingly so far as I know.

Elizabeth Targoose . I live at Whittington-and-Cat, Whitechapel; the prisoner and his wife had been wrangling.

Q. Can you recollect what pass'd ?

E. Targoose. I cannot, they were quarrelling like ; I went out of the room and left them quarrelling. I was just out of the room and stood by the door, when I saw the woman fall : her husband was a little distance from her at the time, (about 3 yards) I believe she spoke as she fell, but never afterwards.

Q. Did you see any wound afterwards ?

E. Targoose. No, I did not look at it.

Q. What did the prisoner say afterwards?

E. Targoose. He said, if he had kill'd her he must be hang'd for her.

Q. How long was this after she fell?

E. Targoose. It was near a quarter of an hour after. The company in the house were charging him with killing her.

Q. Did you see this knife that day. (The knife produc'd in court.)

E. Targoose. I did after the woman fell, but not before.

Nicholas Edwards . I am a surgeon, I was sent for to examine the body 3 or 4 days after the decease ; I found a wound on the upper part of the left breast very near two inches long a-cross the breast; it had penetrated through the mussels into the thorax ; I found the breast full of coagulated blood, and one of the capital vessels that had an immediate communication with the heart, was entirely separated.

Q. What is your opinion was the cause of her death ?

Edwards. I am of opinion that wound was.

Robert Stoneclift . I took the prisoner's information in writing before the justice, I read it over afterwards to him, he said it was true, and had the pen in his hand intending (I suppose) to sign it; but I suppose some-body by, persuaded him from it, so he did not sign it.

Q. What did he say before the justice?

Stoneclift. He said he was sitting on one side a box, and his wife on the other. They had some words, he was eating some bread and cheese with that knife in his hand, and by aggravating words she gave him, he stabb'd her with the knife from the other side of the box. Sir Samuel Gore ask'd him if he did not use the knife back-handed, he answer'd no, he did it fore-handed.

John Thompson. I am beadle of the parish ; I was before Sir Samuel Gore , with the prisoner : I there heard him say he was eating some bread and cheese with that knife in his hand, and his wife ask'd him to let her have some gin, he said she should not, but she insisted she would have some, then he gave her a push. I went away to summons the jury to fit on the body, and heard no more.

Cross Examination.

Q. Did he not say she had struck him?

Thompson. I did not hear him say any such thing.

Prisoner's Defence.

The beginning of the fray was this; she would have liquor, and I would not let her: I was eating bread and cheese, and had this knife in my hand. She was very much in liquor, and said, she would have half a pint of gin to treat somebody. I said you have had enough already; she drank up my beer, and gave me two blows, and came against me and knock'd me down slap-bang, and said, if I got up she'd cleave my skull ; on this she went away, and I got up, and saw her no more till she was dead.

Q. to Alderton. Did you see any blows struck, or pushing on either side?

Alderton. No, I did neither.

Q. to Elizabeth Targoose . Did you see either blows or pushing?

Targoose. No ; I did not.

To his character.

Cornwell Burchill. I have known the prisoner and his wife eight or nine years, and never heard but they lived well together.

John Basherfield . The prisoner and his wife lived very near two years in my house, they lived in good friendship together.

Daniel Eccks . I have known the prisoner about a year, he and his wife behaved very lovingly in my house, when they came there.

Guilty , Death .

He received sentence immediately (this being on the Friday) to be executed on the Monday following, and his body to be anatomiz'd and dissected .

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