Francis Stoner.
12th December 1764
Reference Numbert17641212-57
SentenceDeath > death and dissection; Death > executed

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62. (M.) Francis Stoner was indicted for the wilful murder of Elizabeth Antweezle , spinster : he stood charged on the coroner's inquest for the said murder, December 1 . +

Catharine Evans . I live in Ward's-rents, Mutton-lane . The prisoner and Elizabeth Antweezle used to cohabit together: about a fortnight ago, on a Saturday, about five in the morning, the woman (the deceased) came to our house; my husband got up, and let her in; she had nothing on but her shift, and a handkerchief tied over her head: I asked her what was the matter? she said Stoner was using her very ill, and she lay down behind me. After that, I went to the prisoner for her cloaths; he would not let me have them, and swore, if he could lay hold of her, he would have his revenge on her, he would kill her, and that she should never come within the door any more. After that, Mr. Holt went over, and the prisoner sent two petticoats, an apron, and handkerchief; she got up, and dressed herself. I went to the door, and saw the prisoner coming, and said to her he was coming: she ran into the backyard (this was between 10 and 11 o'clock): he ran after her, and took his knife out of his pocket; ( producing a small clasp knife) this is it; he ran it against her side: I strove to hinder him; but the point being broke before, it did not hurt her.

Q. What did he say at the time?

Evans. He swore he would run that knife through her. While I had hold of him, she ran out into the street; he shut the knife, and put it into his pocket: in a little time, he followed her out, and took up a brick-bat, and threw it at her, but miss'd her; she ran towards Mr. Bullock's house, the sign of the two brewers, and he followed her down the court. Soon after, I he

had killed her; I went to their lodgings, and just saw her before she was dead: she drew her breath about four or five times, and died: there was then only the prisoner, Edward Gibson , and myself in the room. I was afraid the prisoner would do some hurt to himself, so I took this knife out of his pocket, and gave it to the constable: I saw the wound on the deceased; it was between her two breasts.

Prisoner. I know I am a dying man, on this witness's words, but I did not know I had that knife (she produced) in my pocket; the deceased woman gave me that knife that morning, to cut a toe nail of mine that grew in.

Sarah Timonds . I am servant to Mr. Bullock, at the Two Brewers, in Vine-street, on Saffron-hill. On the first of this month, the deceased came into the kitchen (it was near 11 o'clock): she sat down fronting the fire, and called for a pennyworth of warm two-penny; my master warmed it, and in the mean time, the prisoner came in: he bid her go home several times; she said she would never go home any more; he had a key in his hand, with which he hit her a blow over the arm: she begged of him to let her alone: he stood by looking at her, and bid her go home; she said she never would. He put the key in his pocket, and I saw him snatch something from the dresser, but what it was, I could not tell; he ran with great force up to her, as she was sitting; I saw him make at her breast, and saw a motion of his arm, but did not see a knife.

Q. Did he say any thing?

Timonds. I did not hear him speak. She never after that cried out or spoke; I screamed out: she fell out of her chair, upon her right arm.

Q. How long after you saw that motion, was it that she fell?

Timonds. She fell in about two minutes, or not so long.

Q. What made you scream out?

Timonds. I thought he was going to beat her: after that, he drew back, and stood in the kitchen; my master hearing me, ran in, out of the taproom; the deceased was not then fell down, but her eyes were working: while my master was gone to the door to call Mr. Gibson, she fell down; there was a case knife, with a long blade, sharp pointed, lying on the dresser: my master had just cut a piece of bread with it, for me to toast; the same was found upon the dresser, with blood upon it (produced in court): when Mr. Gibson came in, she was lying on her right side: my master helped her up upon his back, and he took her to her lodgings.

William Bullock . I keep the Two Brewers. On the first of December, about two or three minutes before eleven o'clock, the deceased came into my house, and went directly through the tap-room into the kitchen, and sat down; she said, bring me a pennyworth of warm two-penny, I am very cold: there are two dressers join, and she sat between them, in a chair. After I gave her the twopenny, I went back into the tap-room: the prisoner came in, in about three or four minutes, and walked round the tap-room, and went out again, with a key in his hand. I said to him, why do you put yourself in such passions, for to expose yourself and wife? I do'nt remember any answer he made. In less than two minutes, he came in again, and went directly into the kitchen, to the deceased: somebody screamed; I ran into the kitchen, and saw the woman's breast open, and a little issuing of blood; I said, I am afraid you have killed your wife, Stoner; I don't know that he made any answer. I ran to the door, and saw Mr. Gibson, and said, I was afraid Stoner had killed his wife. He came in: I said, for God's sake, let us take her home: I helped her on his back, and he carried her home. My main care was to see that Stoner did not get away: I said to him, you must not go away; he said he would not; he went out into the street, and staid there a little while, and after that, he went to his own apartment. I sent for a constable, as soon as I had word that she was dead: after we had been at the justice's, we examined for the knife, and found this on the dresser (here produced) all bloody.

Edward Gibson . On the first of December, I was at my own door, when the last evidence called me; I went in, and saw the deceased lying on the floor, in the kitchen, on her right side; he said Stoner was in the passage: I took and carried the deceased home, and laid her on her bed: I turned her handkerchief aside, and saw it was a fatal blow. I ran down stairs, and saw Stoner at the end of the court: I said, Stoner, good man, come up; he came into the room; after he was in the room, she fetched four or five fighs, but never spoke. Said I, O Stoner, she is a dead woman! He said, O Bett, shall I die for you? turning round, stooped down and buss'd her; after she was dead, he turned round in a sort of a passion, opened his cloaths, and whip'd his hand in his pocket, I thought, with intent to kill himself, by the motion he had: I said, hold, Stoner, one life, not two; and catched hold of him. I put my hand in his right hand pocket, and Mrs. Evans put her hand in his left, and she took that

small clasp knife out of it: he opened the casement, that looks plumb on the deceased's mother's, and said, this is all through that snub-nose b - h, the sister, and that old b - h, the mother: when I go in the cart, I shall lay it all to their charge. There came assistance, and we took him before Justice Girdler, and he committed him to New Prison. The justice ordered me to go to see the prisoner: I went the next day, which was Sunday; there was one of the runners there; I told him, I came by the justice's order, to see the prisoner had no knives about him, and take off his garters; and about a quarter of an hour after he was locked up. I put my head to him, as he was sitting at the lodge fire, and said, Stoner, tell me true, Was that the knife that lay on Mr. Bullock's dresser? he said, yes, and all wicked people together: God knows the meaning of those words, for I do not. On the Monday, I went again, and Mr. Coleman with me; the prisoner was in the yard, making water: said I, this is a sad accident; you remember you told me you owned to the knife; he did not then deny it, but made no answer.

Prisoner. I said that was the knife it was done with, but whether she took it up to stab me, or how it was done, I know not.

Charles Coleman . I went with Mr. Gibson, on the Monday, and saw the prisoner in the yard: Mr. Gibson asked him whether he had killed the woman or not? he said, yes, and the occasion was through the sister-in-law.

Q. Mention the words as near as you can.

Coleman. To the best of my knowledge, Mr. Gibson asked him whether that was the knife that lay on the dresser? and he told him that was the knife.

Q. Did Mr. Gibson make use of the words, killed her?

Coleman. He did; and the other said it was through the sister-in-law.

Nathaniel Hart . I am a surgeon. I was called in to examine the deceased, when the coroner sat upon the body: I examined it, and found a wound in the superior part of the sternum, or breastbone; but upon raising the sternum, I found a great quantity of blood under it; in making farther search, I found the pericardium wounded, and a great quantity of blood likewise; and upon farther enquiry, I found a wound in the right ventricle of the heart, where I believe the major part of the blood came from: I pass'd my finger into the heart, and that satisfied me, without making any farther enquiry: no person could live after receiving such a wound; it seemed to have been done with a picked pointed instrument: I compared this case-knife here with the wound, and it fitted exactly; it went through the sternum.

Q. to S. Timonds. Do you recollect how far the deceased was fitting from that part of the dresser where the knife was found?

S. Timonds. I think she could not reach to where the knife lay.

Prisoner's Defence.

When I first went into Evans's house, I desired her to go home, and she said she would not: the night before she had lain out all night. I said, where you have been, you may go there again: I then walked down to Black-lion-stairs, to my boat. (I am a waterman). I had the key in my hand: when I returned, I went into Mr. Bullock's house; I said, Madam, do you please to go home? No, d - n my eyes, said she, if I do, and began to bridle her head at me, in a whore's fashion. I said, you have been whoring all night, and hit her with the key: she took up the knife, and said, d - n you, you dog, I'll be the butcher of you. I took hold of her arm, and whether she did it herself, or what not, I know not; but her design was for me: she tried to poison me within these two months; but as for doing it myself, before God and man I did not. Fourteen years ago, she has strove to do the same; she has hit me over the face and eyes with pots. When Mr. Gibson took her up, I helped her on his back; and before he came in, she haul'd me to her, and kiss'd me; and when I came into the room to her, Gibson said, she is dead: then I said, I'll die too. She has been a woman of the town twenty years, and I wanted to break her of it, but could not.

Guilty . Death .

This being Saturday, he received sentence immediately, to be executed on the Monday following , and his body to be dissected and anatomized.

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