7th September 1774
Reference Numbert17740907-84
VerdictGuilty > manslaughter
SentenceMiscellaneous > branding; Imprisonment

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656. (L.) JOHN COTTON was indicted for the wilful murder of William Saddler , June 22d .

Ann Sadler . I am the widow of the deceased; I keep the Red Lion, on Musswell-hill; Cotton, the prisoner, worked opposite our house; he owed us fifteen pence; my husband went over and asked him for it, but did not get it; about five o'clock the prisoner set out for London, and my husband followed him; a little before six my husband returned, and a great many people with him; he was then wounded; they went with him to a surgeon at Highgate; he died on the 9th of July.

Henry Wilmot . I live at Tottenham; I saw the deceased the day he received his wound at Crouch-end ; I was almost opposite the Queen's-head, on horseback, standing at the blacksmith's; I saw the deceased and the prisoner coming up the road just by the King's-head; the deceased laid hold of the prisoner by the collar, or coat; they were then about a hundred yards from me; he let him go again; they came about fifty or sixty yards further, and then laid hold of one another by the collar; I was about thirty yards from them; I stood still all the time; there were no blows on either side; I saw they were shoving one another about, and the deceased being the strongest, when they came close to me, shoved the bricklayer across a little bit of a drain, or ditch, about twelve inches deep, and two feet wide; then I saw the prisoner strike the deceased on the left side of the head; they were both on their legs at that time; on the prisoner striking him, he let him go, and then they got out of the ditch; they got into the road, and had a little kind of a fight; there were blows struck on both sides, and a fall, and the bricklayer seemed to strike at the place of the head where it was bloody, with his fist; there was but one blow with the hammer; they got up, and the publican cryed out, will n body lay hold of him! will nobody lay hold of him! or something of that kind, bleeding very bad.

William King , a blacksmith at Crouch end, who was standing with the last witness, confirmed his evidence.

Mr. Young. I am surgeon; I saw the deceased while he was sick in the hospital; I saw the wound on the left side of his head; I found the skull fractured.

Q. Did that wound occasion the death?

Young. Most certainly.

Prisoner's Defence.

As I was returning to London from my work the deceased followed me, and overtook me

when I had got a quarter of a mile; he asked me if I would sight; I told him I was not able; he then left me; he overtook me again by Crouch-end; he charged me with owing him fifteen pence I did not owe him; he asked me for it; and because I would not pay it he said he would lick me out of it; he knocked me down in a ditch; I got up, and he knocked me down again; he was going to strike me a third time, and not being able to stand against him I struck him in my own defence.

For the Prisoner.

John Cheek . The prisoner is a bricklayer and worked for my father; when the men had finished their job, I ordered them half a gallon of beer to treat the men; when it was brought over the deceased said Cotton owed him thirteen-pence; I had paid sixteen pence for him that day, which was all that he then charged him with; the deceased laid hold of his collar and shoved him about very much, and said he should not go till he paid it; it was at Crouch-end.

George Gillet . I saw all that happened at Crouch end; when we had done our job the deceased came over and charged the prisoner with owing him thirteen pence, and said he should not go till he paid it; he went home and got a stick five feet long, and followed the prisoner; he overtook him at Crouch-end and knocked up his heels, and threw him into a ditch, and struck him twice; while he was in the ditch he was going to strike him the third time, and the prisoner struck him with the hammer; then they came out of the ditch together, and had an engagement by the turnpike, in the road, and gave each other a fall; the prisoner seeing the blood come said, if he would kill him he might, he would fight no longer.

Not guilty of the murder but guilty of manslaughter . B . and Imp. six months .

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