John Wolley.
11th July 1770
Reference Numbert17700711-39
VerdictGuilty > manslaughter
SentenceMiscellaneous > branding

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468. (M) John Wolley was indicted for the wilful murder of Catherine Thorn , an infant, about three years old , by wilfully and maliciously driving his cart over her, by which she received several mortal bruises, of which she died . He stood charged on the coroner's inquisition for manslaughter. June 15th . ++

Thomas Bellamy . On the 15th of June last, between five and six o'clock in the evening, I heard a screaming; I was informed the cart that was going on had ran over a child; I took the number of the cart; when I returned and saw the condition the child was in, I ran after the carman and told him what he had done; I went with him to his mistress at Battle-bridge, and I brought him back along with me to the Queen's-head in Bath-street; whilst I went to get a constable, they let him go, but I stopt him again at Mr. Bishop's, the constable's door.

Q. In what condition was the prisoner?

Bellamy. He was not very sober.

Samuel Grazier . I live in Great Bath-street, Cold-bath-fields; I heard some-body scream, I look'd and saw two children hand in hand, they were about 20 yards from me; a young woman with a child in her arms endeavour'd to stop the horses; I called to her to let them go, as I saw she would be run over else; the wheel took the child off its legs and ran over its back and head, the other child tumbled within the wheel, and was not hurt: I did not see the driver till the last witness brought him back, about a quarter of an hour after the child was ran over; a surgeon was sent for, who desired the child to be sent to the hospital immediately; the justice asked him whether he was sober; he said no, he was not rightly sober; the justice asked him what he had been drinking; he said he had drank one or two horns of ale at a gentleman's where he had been about business; he was asked about driving over the child; he said he believed he was about twenty yards from his cart, but could not tell.

This account, as to the fact, was confirmed by Samuel Turner , Elizabeth Raymond , John Perry , and Mary Martin , who all said he appeared to be in liquor. Mr. Stratton, the surgeon, swore that he examined the child, and had no doubt but these wounds were the cause of her death.

Prisoner's Defence.

I was coming down Hare-street hill; it is very steep; I had the till horse in my hand at the brow of the hill; the cart went so fast that I tumbled down; before I could get up to it again it had run over the child; the justice asked me

how far I was behind the cart; I told him I might be ten or fifteen yards.

Mary Martin . It is a very sleep hill; a customer of mine that lives upon the hill, told me she saw him so much in liquor, that she was afraid he would have been under the wheels himself.

For the Prisoner.

Joseph Roder . I have known him about three years; he always bore a good character; I have seen him in liquor, but it is but by chance that he is so; I believe he is as sober a man as they generally are.

Elizabeth Knoneles . He is a sober, honest, quiet man, as ever lived in the world.

Elizabeth Arthur . He lodged in my house; he has a wife and children; he takes care for his family; he is as honest and sober a man as ever broke bread.

Guilty of Manslaughter . B .

The Coroner. I hope your lordship will order the officers of the parish to satisfy the witnesses for their time. I never knew such behaviour in a parish in my life; Bellamy the first witness is a poor man, who is very ill, and is brought from the hospital to give evidence, and we had the greatest difficulty to persuade the officers of the parish to allow him a coach here.

Court. I don't understand such inhumanity; that poor man has behaved very properly; I will not discharge the officers recognizance till the witnesses are reasonably satisfied.


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