Robert Baker.
28th June 1758
Reference Numbert17580628-27
VerdictGuilty > lesser offence
SentenceMiscellaneous > branding

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246. (M.) Robert Baker was indicted for the wilful murder of Thomas Bushby , May 7 . ++

Henry Townley . The deceased lived in Diot-street, St. George's, Bloomsbury; this Robert Baker lodged in my house for some years.

Q. What is his business?

Townley. He gets mushrooms, and does them up and sells them . On Sunday the 7th of May last the deceased came to my house, and asked for Robert Baker , my wife said he was just gone out, and wondered he did not meet him; she said he was gone to St. Anne's-church; he said he would go and see if he could find him.

Q. What time of the day was this?

Townley. This was about one o'clock. After dinner I lay down on my bed, and between four and five was called up, and told that Baker the prisoner had killed a man. As I was coming out of my room, I saw Baker coming down stairs; O Lord, said he, what have I done! putting his hands together; I said he had done badly indeed, if he had killed a man, as I had been told.

Q. What had you been told?

Townley. There had been a messenger with me, and told me he had seen the man lying dead on a bed, that is in the same room that Baker lies in, in my house. I went for a constable, and went up with him, and saw the deceased lying dead on the floor.

Q. Was you present when the prisoner was before the justice?

Townley. I was.

Q. What did he say there ?

Townley. He said he had not struck the man. He told his worship that Bushby had pushed his head against him, and had flung him on the bed, and beat him. The justice asked him how he got from him, as if the man did not run after him, he made little or no answer.

Q. What did he say they quarrel'd about?

Townley. He said it was about a little catchup, and that he would not let the deceased have it.

John Paget . I was at Mr. Townley's about a quarter of an hour before Mr. Baker came down. He came and called for Mr. Townley, he came down open breasted, without a hat. As he called out Townley, I said to him, Mr. Baker, what do you want with him, he answered it was upon life and death; I said to a man that was with me, let us go up. Baker said to me, the man is drunk. We went up, there I saw the deceased lying dead on his back on a bed. I said I will see whether he is drunk or not. I took him up, and said you have killed the man; he said then, if I had not killed him, he would have killed me. I live at Mr. Townley's.

Faith Henly . I live at Mr. Townley's; I went up stairs and saw Bushby lie dead in the prisoner's room, on a bed, how he died I do not know.

William Eld ridge. I was at Mr. Townley's, and the prisoner came down, and said for God's sake come up stairs, for it is life and death. I went up stairs, and saw the deceased lying cross a bed dead: Baker said he was drunk; I never saw the deceased before, I know not how he came by his death.

Prisoner's defence.

This Thomas Bushby has been with me several times; he came one night, and brought a bottle, and asked me if I would give him some catchup; he fill'd it; I asked him six-pence for it, he said he would have it for nothing , and because I would not let him have it for nothing, he tumbled me down. I fell backwards, and he lay on me, he beat me, I had much ado to get from under him, he was always a notorious drunken man.

Guilty of Manslaughter .

[Branding. See summary.]

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