RICHARD STARK.
28th October 1801
Reference Numbert18011028-40
VerdictGuilty
SentenceDeath

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799. RICHARD STARK was indicted for the wilful murder of Mary , his wife , on the 17th of October .(The case was opened by Mr. Knapp.)

SARAH PASKINS sworn. - Examined by Mr. Knapp. Q.Where do you live? - A. No. 1, the bottom of Clement's-lane , in the two pair of stairs right-hand room; the prisoner and his wife lodged in the three pair of stairs left-hand room.

Q. Do you remember on Saturday, the 17th of October, the deceased being at home? - A. I came home about a quarter before eight at night, and just after Mrs. Stark came into me.

Q. Was she sober? - A. For what I know; she came in and out as usual; she did not appear to be drunk.

Q. In what state of health was she? - A. She said something laid very heavy on her; she was very low in spirits.

Q. For what you know she was very well in health? - A. Yes, for what I know; the afterwards went up stairs.

Q. How soon did the prisoner come home? - A. I believe about twelve o'clock at night.

Q. When he came home, what was his appearance? - A. He was very sober.

Q. Had the deceased any child? - A. Yes, she was laying upon the bed with the child at half past eleven o'clock, when I went to hang up a frock and other things.

Q. Had she her clothes on? - A. Yes, she was laying outside of the bed next the door, and her child by her.

Q. Was she asleep? - A. Yes, she was found asleep, and her child too.

Q. Tell us all that passed when Stark came home? - A. Mr. Stark went up stairs, and saw no light; he came and asked me for a bit of candle; I gave it him, and he went up stairs to his own room; in a short time after I heard the child and she cry out; the child is about sixteen months old; it was nothing new to me, as I heard them cry very often; I continued at my work, but hearing it for some minutes, I went up stairs to ask what was the matter.

Q. What sort of noise was it? - A. She was crying out not to be beat so; he was beating her; the door was shut too; I asked him to open it.

Q.Recollect what you heard the prisoner or deceased say? - A.Only his swearing at her; I cannot tell the precise words; I told him to open

the door, which he did directly; I went in, and begged him not to beat his wife so; after he opened the door, he was at her again.

Q. At the time you went into the room, was he beating her? - A. Yes.

Court. Q. Did you see him beating her? - A. Yes.

Q. Where was she? - A. In the room, but I don't know whether she was sitting on the bed or not, I was so frightened.

Q. How was he beating her? - A. With his hands, but I cannot say whether open or shut; I asked him what was the matter? and he said,"she has pawned my breeches, Mrs. Paskins;" she begged him not to beat her, and she would talk to him in the morning; and I told him to look over it; I asked her to come down stairs with me, which she did, and he came after us directly; she just entered my room, when he knocked her down with his fist on her head; I said, for God's sake! don't beat your wife in my place, for I won't have it done; then he told me to turn her out; when she was down, he began kicking her; I took her up by the two shoulders, as well as I could, but she went on in so shocking a manner, making faces, that it shocked me very much; and I begged of him to take her up stairs; she had a curly head, and no cap on, and he came directly, and took hold by the hair, and dashed her out upon her head, very badly indeed.

Q. Did he do that more than once? - A. Once or twice by the hair of the head, and kicked her very much on the floor; I begged her to go up stairs; she got up by some means or other, but I don't know how; I called for assistance, but nobody came; she got up stairs some how or other, and I went up after, and the prisoner too; when I got her up stairs, I put her on the bed; she fell rather heavy, and the child cried; I beaved her legs on the bed, and covered her up; I begged the prisoner not to strike her any more, for that I would not come up any more, but would call the watch; I then came down, as I heard no more at that time, and I went to washing again; the child cried, but I imagined it wanted the breast.

Q.When did you see the prisoner again? - A. I saw him in the morning; I went to bed about two or three o'clock for an hour, and was ironing when he came down, a quarter before six, or a quarter after; he passed my door, and said, "Good morning." About half past seven o'clock, I sent my little girl, about eleven or twelve years old, to ask Mrs. Stark for six-pence.

Q. In consequence of what she told you, what did you do? - A. I went up to the door, and called twice, but nobody answered me; the door was open, and I thought she might be asleep; I looked in, and saw her on the bed; it is a large room; I came down to Mrs. Terry's room, who lodges on the same floor with me, under Stark's room; I did not see the deceased again till she was dead, and the surgeon had been there.

Cross-examined by Mr. Alley. Q.You are a lone woman? - A. Yes, my husband is in the army, and has been gone from me a great while.

Q. You are in a state of voluntary separation? - A. Yes.

Q. How many lodgers are there in the house? - A. There is myself, Mrs. Terry, and a man lodger underneath.

Q. You said, when you saw her about eight o'clock, you cannot say whether she was sober? - A. I being in a hurry did not take much notice of her.

Q. You did not see her again till half past eleven? - A. No.

Q. In the interim there was abundance of opportunity for her going in and out? - A. Yes.

Q. Was she in the habit of drinking? - A. I cannot say any thing about it.

Q. How long have you lived in the house? - A. Four or five months.

Q. I ask you, upon your oath, do you not know she was in the habit of drinking? - A. I suppose sometimes she would have a drop.

Q. Do you not know she was frequently and continually in the habit of getting drunk? - A. I cannot say any such thing, because I don't think she had money to do it, and I am out a great deal.

Q. Have you not seen her repeatedly drunk? - A. No, I cannot say that.

Q. What did you mean by saying she had a drop or so? - A. She might; I cannot say, I am not much at home.

Q. Was she laying on the bed as a sober woman would? - A. She was laying on the side of the bed with the child.

Q. Not laying across the bed? - A. No.

Q. Have you never said, that when you went up, before the husband returned, that, from the posture in which she lay, she appeared to be drunk? - A. No, I never said so.

Q. Do you know Mr. Barlett? - A. I know nothing more than his coming to my master's.

Q. Had you any conversation with him about this business? - A. No.

Q.Recollect yourself whether you had not? - A. No, because he was no acquaintance of mine; he was talking at my landlord's.

Q. Have you not said, you were confident of your husband's return, and if you did not prosecute this man, husbands would treat their wives in any manner they pleased? - A. No, never; my husband never treated me ill.

Q. Have you told us all that passed when he came down? - A. Yes.

Q. Have you never said, that she came into

your room, and tumbled against your bedstead? - A. No; her husband said so.

Q. Have you never said, she threw herself with violence upon it, and hurt her side? - A. No, I never did.

Q. After the deceased was gone up stairs, did not you and the prisoner drink together? - A. The prisoner says so.

Q. Had you been drinking? - A. Only a pint of porter with my supper and children before they went to bed.

Q. Had you not drank some gin with the prisoner after all this business? - A. I don't know that I did.

Q. Do you drink gin and not know it? - A. I don't know that I did.

Q. Did you not yourself give him some money, and send him for gin; and did not you and he drink it? - A. I don't know as I did; I said,"you have frightened me almost to death."

Q. You cannot tell whether you sent money for gin? - A. I don't know; but I know very well there was a bottle on my table.

Q. Had not that had gin in? - A. I really don't know; for when she was taken in that manner, I scarce could stand.

Q. Do you mean to swear, although you say you were sober, that you don't know whether you put your hand in your pocket for money for the gin? - A. If I was to swear to it, I should swear that I did not; but I said, I wish to God I had something, for you really frighten me to death.

Q. In consequence of that, did you not desire him to go for the gin? - A. I cannot tell.

Q. Who brought the gin? - A. I cannot tell, I was so bad; I set on my low chair, and was ready to drop; it was my bottle.

Q. Where do you usually keep that bottle? - A. Not in any place in particular; it is the bottle my boy carries his tea in to school in the morning.

Mr. Knapp. Q. Does your want of recollection, whether you gave money for gin or drinking gin, arise from being drunk or from a confused situation? - A.From confusion.

Q. Did that arise from what you had witnessed between that man and his wife? - A. Yes.

Q. You say there was a man lodger in the lower part of the house during the time you were in the room up stairs, in the deceased's room, in your own room, or when she was dragged into the passage, did you see that man? - A. No, he is a clerk, and goes out, and we hardly ever see him.

Court. Q.What part of the transaction was it you said you wished to God you had something, for he had frightened you to death? - A. I don't know whether it was when she was so violently ill in my room or afterwards.

Q. Can you swear you were perfectly sober? - A. Yes, I can with a clear and safe conscience.

MARY TERRY sworn. - Examined by Mr. Knapp.

Q. Did you lodge in the same house with the prisoner on the 17th of October? - A. Yes, on the floor underneath.

Q. Did you see the deceased on that night? - A. Yes, in the evening at six o'clock, she drank tea with me after she had been out at a day's work in Newcastle-court.

Q. Did you observe whether she was sober? - A. She was very sober.

Q. Did you see her again? - A. At a quarter before ten she came into my room, and I lent her one shilling and six-pence; she was very sober then; she went up stairs, and I never saw her again till she was dead; I went to market, and returned about eleven o'clock; the prisoner came home at twelve o'clock exactly, but I did not see him; I heard him say very bad words; I knew him by his loud voice, but could not hear what he said; I heard, by the sound of the room, that he was beating and dragging her off the bed; I heard Mrs. Paskins go up, and say, what are you doing, Stark, but did not hear the reply; I then heard the deceased and Mrs. Paskins go down together, and the husband follow them; he began beating her again very much in the passage, and I heard him repeat very bad words; whether he pushed or beat her I don't know, but he knocked her against my door so, that I thought it would burst open; I did not hear her speak, but the same noise continued of his still beating or kicking her; then they all went up stairs together, Mrs. Paskins shut the door, and came down; and then I heard, by the sound, that Stark was beating his wife again; I heard her say,"Stark, beat me no more to-night, for God's sake! if I have done a fault, I will own it to-morrow." I heard no more, and thought they went to bed; between five and six, I heard him walking about in the room, for he gets up at that time to go blacking shoes, in Holborn, and I heard him go down a quarter before seven; in consequence of what I heard, I went into the room at ten o'clock, and saw her with one hand over her head, and the other under it, rather on her left side, and the child sucking the left breast, with a bit of bread and cheese in its hand; it was speaking to its mother; I put my hand to her cheek, and found she was dead and cold; I went down stairs, and the surgeon was sent for; she had her gown, petticoat, and stays on, but no cap, handkerchief, shoes, or stockings; she was on the bed covered over with a blanket; I afterwards saw the state of her body; there appeared to be a kick with the edge of a shoe on the side of her temple the length of my finger almost; her right foot was marked very much, very black all over; her left knee was black all over, and both of her shins had the skin kicked off; the tip of her nose was almost bit off, and there was the mark of two teeth on each side

of it; her arms, legs, face, and neck, and where I saw, was bruised; her arms were bruised all over, so that there was not a place so big as the palm of my hand without.

Q. Upon your oath, was she at six o'clock or half past ten, sober? - A. She was to my knowledge.

Q. Did any thing lead you to believe she was not? - A. No, she was at work all day; she asked me at twelve o'clock if I would lend her a farthing, for she had only a penny to get her a half pint of beer.

Q. Was Mrs. Paskins drunk? - A. No, for she had been at work at the cook's shop all day.

Q. You are sure of that? - A. I am.

Q. Were you perfectly sober? - A. I was, for I had neither victuals nor money.

Cross-examined by Mr. Alley. Q. You had neither victuals nor money, and yet you lent her one shilling and six pence? - A. That was as soon as I got my husband's wages.

Mr. CROWTHER sworn. - Examined by Mr. Knapp. I am a surgeon, and was called in to the unfortunate woman on Sunday morning; I saw her with her arms up, and with many bruises about the head and face; I went again on the Monday to inspect the body, and Mr. Andre helped me; on opening the belly, I observed a great quantity of blood had been shed into that cavity, and on removing which blood, which in quantity exceeded above two quarts, we found the spleen had been ruptured in two places, and that the external bruises corresponded with the injury done to the spleen; we opened the head and chest also, and, excepting some external bruises, the contents of both those cavities were in their natural healthy state.

Q. From those bruises about the head and face, you are not of opinion those could cause death? - A.Certainly not.

Q. We come now then to the spleen and the outside bruises - are you of opinion that those bruises, externally corresponding with the injury of the spleen, occasioned death? - A.Clearly so; I do not know what caused the rupture of the spleen, but the injury done to the spleen was the cause of shedding so much blood.

Q.Supposing that external injury, which corresponded with the rupture of the spleen internally, should have been occasioned by kicking or dragging about the floor, would they have those appearances? - A. If done with sufficient violence to produce the effect.

Mr. ANDRE sworn. - I was with Mr. Crowther, and concur in what he has said.

JAMES SHARPE sworn. - I apprehended the prisoner on Sunday morning, and asked him how he came to use his wife in that violent manner; he said, he did not intend to kill her, but did not deny kicking or beating her.

Prisoner's defence. On Saturday, when I went home to dinner, my wife desired me to pull off my breeches and stockings, and she would wash them for me against Sunday morning, to put on; I accordingly did so, and went to my work as usual, till near twelve o'clock at night; when I came home, I found my bed-room in darkness; I went to Mrs. Paskins for a light, which she lent me, and I found my wife laying across the side of the bed asleep; I waked her, and she got up, and went to the other side of the room; I asked her why she did not wash the few things, as she told me she would, ready to put on; she says,"Stark, make up the bed." I accordingly did, and set the child on the floor, who was crying; on my making it up, I found my breeches and stockings gone; I asked her again; she said, "Stark, I have pawned your clothes, and spent the money." I put the child on the bed, and said, Mary, you cannot bide any longer with me, for I cannot support your pawning my clothes, and spending all my money as you do; I saw she was much in liquor; I goes to her to take her by the shoulders to turn her out of the room, and did not strike her, but she fell against the post of the door; she got up very fast, as soon as possible, and run into Mrs. Paskins's room, and fell across the side of the bed, and broke it; Mrs. Paskins then called to me, "Stark, come down, and pull your wife off, for she will kill herself, for she has broke down the side of the bed to the floor." I then came down to pull her up; I am not sure which way I pulled her out, whether by the hair, shoulders, clothes, or how, but I got her out, and I believe I struck her, but with no bad intention or design, for I had no malice; I took her in my arms, but was not able to carry her up, and she fell out of my arms on the floor in the passage. Mrs. Paskins there said, don't beat her any more, here go and get a quartern of gin for you and me; I did, and I took the bottle, and went and got a quartern of gin at that time; when I went out, my wife was laying on the floor where I let her fall, but when I came back, she was gone up stairs; I cannot tell whether Mrs. Paskins had helped her or not; I brought the gin home, and Mrs. Paskins and I drank it ourselves; I set down on the chair, and put the bottle on the table; I then went up stairs, and my wife said, "Stark, don't kill me!" says I, I will not; and I went to bed, with my baby crying, and then I went to sleep; what time my wife came to bed, I don't know; but at five o'clock she got out of bed, and then got in again, and took the child to give it suck; I said by her side till half past six; then I got up, the child was awake, and I gave it a bit of bread and cheese, and laid another bit on the table for the child, as it could get it itself; I put the child into bed, and she turned from her

right side to her left, and gave the child suck; then, at half past six, I said to her, Mary, where is the little stool I sit on; she said, look on the other side of the room, and there I found it, and went and took it up; then she was suckling the child, and turned round again from her left side to her right; I went away when it wanted a quarter of seven, and did not see her after.

GUILTY , Death .

First Middlesex Jury, before Mr. Baron Thompson.


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