Ann Spinton.
11th September 1771
Reference Numbert17710911-63
VerdictNot Guilty

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609. Ann Spinton , single woman , was indicted for the wilful murder of her female bastard child , May 17th . ++

Sarah Bailey . I live at the Bell Savage Inn, on Ludgate-hill . The prisoner came to our house, and wanted to go in the Epsom coach. I shewed her a room; she wanted to go to bed between five and six; I don't know the exact time; it is about three months ago. I saw her again a little before six in the morning, down stairs; I asked her what made her get up so soon, she said she had been very ill, which made her get up. She got into the coach about seven o'clock.

Q. Did you observe any bundle?

Baily. Yes; I asked her if I should carry her bundle for her; she said she could carry it herself; I believe she went up stairs for her bundle.

Cross Examination.

Q. I believe it is a common thing for people to chuse to take care of their own bundles?

Bailey. Yes.

Q. And I believe it is not an unusual thing to go into the coach before it sets off?

Bailey. Yes: to chuse their places.

Q. And not unusual for people that go in the stage to go to bed early over night?

Bailey. No.

Council for the crown. Did you observe a particular appearance about the room?

Baily. Yes; there was some blood on the floor, by the bed-side; she told me her nose had bled; she seemed to be very weak.

Q. What quantity of blood was there?

Bailey. About the breadth of a handkerchief; and ran down.

Daniel Everett . I drive the Epsom stage. On the 8th of May, which is our race week, I saw a woman sitting in the coach; I asked her if she had sat there ever since I had come in; she said no; she laid at the Bell Savage, and she came up by the Norfolk stage. She had two bundles lay on the fore seat of the coach, one a large bundle, tied up in a check apron, the other seemed to be a handkerchief. I said I would put them in the coach seat, or the boot; she said no, she would take them in her lap. I set her down at the King's Head at Epsom.

- Cole. I live at Epsom. I look after Mr. Nelson's business as his bailiff. The prisoner lived under me at Mr. Nelson's; we had a suspicion of her being with child. I taxed her with it several times; she denied it; I told her she should go away: she went away almost immediately. I went to Epsom on the 8th of May, to meet a friend; he said here is Nan, your servant that was, how came you to turn her away; I said because I had a suspicion she is with child; he laughed, and said no, she was not with child; for I understand she has miscaried at the Bell Savage last night. I had not seen the prisoner; I said, she must go to the work-house; he said it is a pity she should go to the work-house, for in three or four days she would be fit to go to service again. I said I would go and speak to her, and if she owned who was the father of the child, where she miscarried, and what she did with it, I would get her a place. I went to herin one of the rooms at the King's head. After some little conversation, she said one Barnaby Bright , who was footman to Mr. Nelson, was father of the child; that she miscarried at the Bell Savage the last night, and that what came from her dropt into the pot, and she threw it down the necessary. I went to Mr. Potter, a painter and glazier, that worked for Mr. Nelson, to get him to take her in for a few days. The next day I was told there was a child in her bundle. I went on Friday morning, she was very uneasy;

I was afraid she would make away with herself. I asked if she had a knife, and she gave me this; (producing a small clasp knife.) there was some specks of blood on the blade; but I have carried it in my pocket and it is worn off. I went up with the doctor, and saw a child taken out of the bundle, but I was not near it. He said, on his cross examination, that he had known the prisoner many years, and that she had an extreme good character.

John Potter . I live at Epsom. I agreed, at Mr. Cole's request, to lodge the prisoner a few days; she came in with two bundles, and went up stairs; I did not take any notice of the bundles.

Susanna Potter . The prisoner brought a bundle and a box with her; she went into my own room up stairs; I saw some blood, about as broad as a halfpenny on the bundle, when it was on the bed; I chose to have it opened; she put it under the bed; I opened the bundle and found a new-born female infant dead, wrapped up in a woman's flannel petticoat; Mrs. Cole was present when I opened it.

Sarah Cole . Mrs. Potter sent for me on the 9th of May; I went about eight or nine at night; the prisoner was in bed; Mrs. Potter opened a bundle that lay upon a chair, and took a child out; I was at a distance; I thought I saw a red place on the child's neck.

"On her cross examination she said the prisoner lived servant with her, that she behaved very well, and was subject to fits."

Hugh Penfold . On the 24th and 25th of last March, I was sent for to the prisoner, at Mr. Nelson's: she was in bed; I asked her several questions; I told the family I suspected she was with child. I took her into another room, and told her my suspicion. She denied it. I was sent for on Friday, the 10th of May, about eleven o'clock, Mr. Cole came for me; we went up stairs; a bundle was laid on the bed. I desired the prisoner to open it; she began and pulled out a few things; she was in great confusion: I assisted her in opening it, and discovered a dead female child, in appearance at its maturity. I examined the child, and on the head lay a large pin, flat, the point stuck in the skull, it did not go in to the cavity of the head. The prisoner said she did not do that. The skull was not penetrated; it might have been by accident. I lifted up the child's head, and I saw three large stabs in its throat, and a large wound across the throat; that wound divided the right internal jugular; that of course must have occasioned a great effusion of blood. That wound was certainly mortal. I opened the body, the lungs appeared in a sound state, and on throwing them into water, they swam.

Court. I think it is the modern theory, that that experiment is not decisive.

Penfold. It is held that this experiment is not decisive.

Q. Did you ask the prisoner any question about these wounds?

Penfold. None at all.

"On his cross examination he said she was subject to very strong fits; that he could not say how long the child had been born, and he did not examine the prisoner."

Prisoner's Defence.

I leave it to my council.

"The council, in behalf of the prisoner, observed, that it was doubtful were the murder was committed, whether in London or not; which the court said must be left to the jury to determine."

Acquitted .


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