25th April 1781
Reference Numbert17810425-65
VerdictNot Guilty

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261. FIELDING EMPSON was indicted, for that he, with a certain gun, loaded and charged with gunpowder, maliciously and feloniously did shoot at Richard Cook , in a certain close, called Willian's Field .

Second Count. That he, with a certain gun, did shoot at the said Richard Cook , he being in a certain close, called Willan's Field, against the statute, January 18th .

(The witnesses were examined apart, at the request of the prisoner.


I have a small house near Mr. Willan's, in Mary bone-fields. near the Jews-harp. The prisoner, Mr. Empson, lived in my house; he was put in by another person, who took the house of me; I asked him for the rent a great many times; he set me at defiance: at last he said, I might get it how I could, I might take my own methods: so I was obliged to seize, and put a man in possession. I used to carry the man professions in the evening, because he could not get any in such a private place; he was there from the 16th to the 18th of January; upon that evening, between seven and eight o'clock, I went up to the gate, and asked for admittance; somebody stood at the door, but made no answer; I called Green, (that was the man's name who was in possession;) nobody answered; I called Green again, and nobody answered: then I got over the pales, as I had done the night before, for they never would give me admittance; as soon as I was over, I took up my lanthorn; Mr. Empson came behind me, with a sword; I saw him when I turned round; I was putting my hand through the gate to take up my lanthorn; it was on the other side: he beat me with the sword; he came behind, and said, You scoundrel, I will give it you, for seizing upon me! I turned round to him; I said, Mr. Empson, you ought to suffer for this, or pay for it, I don't know which. At first I did not know whether the sword was drawn, or not; but afterwards he stabbed me; You scoundrel! says he, I will murder you.

Did you say any thing then? - No, I saw the danger I was in; I got round him, and got hold of him, thinking the man in possession would come to my assistance; he did not come; but the Nurse, who was in the house, came, and took him by the arm, and said, Pray, Mr. Empson, do not murder him; I looked at the nurse, and asked her, where Green was; she said, He was gone; Mr. Empson said, I have paid him, you scoundrel, and he is gone. I disentangled myself from him as soon as I could, and got away; in getting away, I did not think proper to go over the place I had got in at; I thought he would follow me; I turned to the right, to go to another place; and it was lucky I did; for he came out with a gun, which he levelled at the place I came in at, and fired it off. I was about three or four yards from him, and from the place where he fired.

Was it a light night? - No, it was a dark night.

How could you see how he levelled the gun then? - There was a light from the door.

Where abouts was the place you had got over at? was it opposite the door? - Yes.

Where did you stand when you saw him do this? - I got on one side, in another part of the yard.

After you had disengaged yourself from him, did he go into the house? - Yes.

How long was he in the house before he came out again? - I do not believe he was a minute; I had not time to get out of the yard; I hurried all I could; I guessed he would be after me.

When he came out, did he say any thing? - He said something, but I cannot tell what it was.

If you was so near him as you say, you might have heard what it was. - Yes, but I forget what it was.

How long was it before he fired off the gun? - He fired as soon as he came out, instantly.

How far is it from the door, where he

stood, to the pales? - May be nine foot from the place where he stood when he fired, to the pales. I got my things, and I took up my provisions, and was going away from the place; he came out again, with something in his hand, I do not know what, and said, You scoundrel, are you gone? I was got on the outside of the pales then.

What was it he fetched out then? - My candle was out; I cannot tell what it was.

When he pointed the gun, he did not point it to the place where you was standing? - No, because he did not know where I was; he pointed it at the place where I came in. Going along, I found something run down my hand; I looked at it, as well as I could, and found it was blood. I went to the Jews-harp, and found myself wounded in two places in my arm.

Not with shot, or bullet? - No, I was stabbed. I got a warrant that night to take him up.

When you saw him again, did he say any thing about this business? - I had no discourse with him at all.

Have you no other evidence of the fact? - None.

Court. Gentlemen of the jury, there is no evidence of a shooting at the person of the prosecutor: there must be a shooting at the person, to constitute the offence charged in the indictment.


Tried by the First Middlesex Jury, before Mr. RECORDER.

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