16th April 1806
Reference Numbert18060416-63
VerdictNot Guilty

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274. HENRY WILLIAM WYATT was indicted for, that he being a person of wicked mind, feloniously did intend to poison, kill, and murder, one James Goldsmith, and Maria, his wife , and Louisa Goldsmith, spinster , on the 6th of April , with force and arms, feloniously, and unlawfully, did administer to the said James Goldsmith , Maria Goldsmith , and Louisa Goldsmith , and caused to be administered, and taken by them a certain deadly poison, to wit, white arsenic, intending thereby, to kill and murder them , against the statute, and against the king's peace; and

Three other Counts for like offence, with like intention.

JAMES GOLDSMITH sworn. I am a watch wheel finisher , I live at No. 9, Pear Tree-street, Goswell-street ; the prisoner was my apprentice , he had been with me about nine months.

Q. How old is he. - A. He is near fifteen years old.

Q. Had you done any thing to him. - A. There was nothing to affront him as I know of.

Q. What happened to you yesterday se'nnight. - A. On yesterday se'nnight, I sat down on that Sunday morning, as I usually do, to breakfast with some coffee.

Q. Had you sent the prisoner out. - A. I was not at home, my wife had.

Q. How many does your family consist of. - A. My wife and three children.

Q. What is your wife's name. - A. Maria.

Q. Is your daughter's name Louisa. - A. Yes, she is four years old.

Q. You drank your coffee, did you find yourself very ill afterwards. - A. I found myself very ill afterwards, after the first cup that I drank.

Q. Did you see the prisoner drink any coffee. - A. I did not, my wife did, he was down stairs.

Q. Did you drink any more afterwards. - A. I drank two cups afterwards; I began to complain after I drank the first cup of my inside being very bad and my head.

Q. Your wife went out. - A. Yes, she went out to fetch some spinach, just before church time.

Q. What time did she go out. - A. Near eleven o'clock.

Q. What time did you breakfast. - A. A little after ten o'clock.

Q. Your wife returned again. - A. Yes; while she was gone I was taken very sick, and when she returned, she was taken very sick.

Q. Was either of your little children ill. - A. My little girl said she was very sick indeed, she said, daddy, daddy, I then said to my wife, I suppose the child is sick.

Q. On seeing her sick, do you know whether there was any thing in the coffee. - A. I went over the way to the chandler's shop where we have the coffee.

Q. Did you examine the coffee pot. - A. I examined it, and took it to the doctor's, in Wilderness-row; I saw two or three white specks at the bottom of the saucers.

Q. Did you find any thing at the bottom of the coffee pot. - A. Yes, I took out all I could find with a knife, and carried it to Mr. Field, the apothecary.

Q. You did not carry the coffee pot to Mr. Field, - A. No.

Q. What did you find at the bottom of the coffee pot. - A. White arsenic; I knew it was arsenic, because I had some in my shop myself; my shop was about ten yards from my house, at the bottom of the garden.

Q. Was it locked up. - A. No, the arsenic was in a drawer where I am always using things for my business.

Q. Was your shop locked up then. - A. Yes, on Sunday morning it was locked up, but if any person got into the shop, they could get at the drawer, where the arsenic was; the drawer was not locked, but I forewarned him of it, when he first came apprentice to me, and my errand boy and all, I told them it was poison, and never to touch it; it was what I had to kill rats.

Q. Did you perceive any difference in this arsenic, it was in a lump. - A. Yes.

Q. Did you find any part of it gone when you looked at it. - A. Yes, one third of it nearly.

Q. How big was the piece of arsenic, have you got it here. - A. Yes, (witness producing it).

Q. There had been a piece taken from this. - A. Yes, I had it in my shop for two or three years.

Q. How long was it since you had seen it before. - A. I had not looked at it since I told the two boys of it, that is near nine months ago.

Q. So that when it was broken off you cannot tell. - A. No.

Cross-examined by Mr. Alley.

Q. How many boys have you in the house. - A. Two, this little boy has been with me the same time as the other.

Q. You say it was nine months since you saw the arsenic. - A. Yes.

Q. The boy went home to his mother, he did not come to you the next day. - A. No.

Q. Did you see the boy sick. - A. He told me he was sick; I did not see him sick.

MARIA GOLDSMITH sworn. Q. You are the wife of James Goldsmith . - A. Yes.

Q. You drank of the coffee, so did your daughter Louisa. - A. Yes, I was taken ill.

Q. Did the prisoner drink any. - A. About half a cup, or rather better, of a middling sized cup.

Q. Did he drink it at the same time that you did. - A. Afterwards.

Q. Was it after you was taken ill. - A. Before I was taken ill.

Q. Your husband was taken ill immediately. - A. He was taken ill while I was gone for some spinach for dinner.

Q. Your boy was not ill with you, but after he left you. - A. Yes.

Q. Was your daughter taken ill before the prisoner drank. - A. No, after.

Q. Then the boy was not aware that any of you were ill when he drank it. - A. No, he drank the bottom of the coffee, what was left, I put some more water in it, and boiled it up.

Q. Did he drink as much as usual. - A. He never drank as much as one cup.

Q. Did he drink as much as you poured out. - A. No, he left about a quarter of it.

Q. That quarter that he left there was a great deal of grounds in. - A. Yes.

Q. Did he drink as much as might be expected leaving the grouts. - A. No, he left a little coffee in with the grouts.

Q. A midling sized cup, you say. - A. Yes.

Q. Was the boy taken ill. - A. Yes.

Q. How soon. - A. He went down stairs, my husband called me up, when I went down again, he said he had been exceeding sick.

Q. You turned something out of the coffee pot, and found something white. - A. No, I did not

Q. Then you did not turn out the grounds of the coffee pot. - A. No, my husband did.

Cross-examined by Mr. Reynolds.

Q. You saw the boy the next day. - A. No, his mother sent word the next day that he was very ill he could not come.

Q. He seldom drank any more than one cup. - A. No.

Q. He drank out of the same pot that you drank out off. - A. Yes.

FRANCES LEE sworn. Where do you live. - A. In Benjamin-street, I keep a chandler's shop.

Q. Do you know the prisoner at the bar. - A. Yes.

Q. Did he come and buy coffee of you. - A. Yes, a little after nine on the Sunday morning.

Q. What did you sell him. - A. Half an ounce of coffee.

Q. You gave it him, did you. - A. Yes.

Q. Did you grind it. - A. Yes.

Q. Do you know whether there was any thing but coffee in it. - A. There was nothing else in it but coffee.

Q. Had you ground any other coffee at that mill that morning. - A. No. nothing before.

Q. Did you afterwards. - A. Yes.

Q. Did you grind this for the prisoner while he was in the shop. - A. Yes.

Q. And you had not used the mill before that morning. - A. No.

Q. How lately before had you used that mill. - A. On the Saturday morning.

Q. To grind what. - A. Coffee.

Q. Are you the only person that attends the shop. - A. My sister does.

Q. Is she here. - A. No.

Q. Then you cannot tell what was ground in the mill. - A. I was not out of the shop.

Q. Are you sure there was nothing ground in the mill before, on Sunday morning. - A. There was nothing on Sunday morning.

Q. Any other person in the shop. - A. My father, he never does any thing in the shop.

Q. Is he here. - A. No.

Q. Then you ground this coffee first. - A. Yes.

Q. Did you grind any thing after on that day. - A. Only some coffee for our own breakfast, that I ground at the same time.

Q. Did you find any bad effects from the coffee. - A. No.

Q. Did you drink any. - A. Four cups, and my sister drank four cups.

Q. You all breakfasted on coffee. - A. Yes.

Q. You had some left, had you. - A. Yes, in the mill.

Q. Then when this boy came for half an ounce, how came you to grind so much. - A. We wanted some for our own breakfast.

Q. You ground more than enough for that. - A. Yes, there was some in the mill afterwards.

Q. How came you to leave any in the mill. - A. We mostly do.

Q. Then when the prisoner came in the morning there might be some in the mill. - A. No, there was none at all.

Q. How came that about, you commonly leave coffee in the mill. - A. No.

Q. You tell me you do. - A. We did on the Sunday morning.

Q. Do you commonly leave it in on Sunday morning, or on every morning. - A. On Sunday morning we generally have customers come in one after another.

Q. And there was some left. - A. Yes.

THOMAS FIELD sworn. Q. You are an apothecary, living in Clerkenwell. - A. Yes.

Q. The witness brought you some coffee. - A. Yes, in the morning of the 6th of April, about half after eleven o'clock, he brought some coffee grouts mixed with a white substance.

Q. Did you examine it. - A. I examined it at the time, it was in such a situation as is unusually to be met with, it is generally in a large mass, as you may have seen it, it was irregularly powdered.

Q. What was it. - A. White arsenic, it is generally made use of in a fine powder.

Q. Mr. Goldsmith, and his wife, and child were all very ill. - A. They were all very ill and sick.

Q. What quantity of white arsenic did you see. - A. I saw six or eight grains in irregular lumps.

Q. Was the quantity that you saw sufficient to make the people sick. - A. It was more than sufficient to make them ill, that which I saw in the saucer.

Q. You tell us it is white arsenic, how do you know that. - A. I examined it on a burning iron, which is one of the best tests, it evaporates in a white same, with a strong garlic smell.

Q. Then have you any doubt of its being arsenic. - A. Not any.

Q. You impute the sickness from this arsenic to these persons. - A. To the suspending of the arsenic that they drank; when you boil arsenic up, it impregnates the water, the arsenic itself is not soluble in water.

Q. If this arsenic was boiled up again and again, it would have been the same to all the water. - A. Not if it was not suspended, held up in the water.

- sworn. I live with my mother, who lodges on the ground floor in the same house.

Q. Do you remember when the prisoner returned with the coffee. - A. Yes, I suppose then it was about half past nine o'clock, after the breakfast I met Mr. Goldsmith on the stairs, he looked very bad, I asked him if he was not well, he said no, he believed he was poisoned with the coffee, and his wife and child too; he requested me to go up stairs, which I did; I found Mrs. Goldsmith and his daughter retching very much; afterwards Mrs. Goldsmith desired me to look at the coffee, and I did, I observed a white substance.

JONATHAN THORN sworn. Q. How old are you. - A. I am twelve on the 5th of August.

Q. You are errand boy to Mr. Goldsmith. - A. Yes, I have been with him very near a year.

Q. Do you remember the prisoner asking you what was in the drawer. - A. Yes.

Q. Was that before or since he was taken ill. - A. A week almost before that.

Q. How lately were they all taken so ill. - A. Yesterday se'night.

Q. How long was it before that. - A. Three days; he said he wondered what stuff that was master called poison.

Q. Did you tell him. - A. I said I did not know what stuff he called it; he asked me what it would kill, or poison, I said it would kill rats or any thing.

Q. Is that all that passed. - A. Yes.

Q. Did you see the stuff in the drawer then. - A. Master shewed it us both about nine months ago, and told us never to touch it, it was poison.

Cross-examined by Mr. Alley.

Q. Do you know the nature of an oath. - A. No.

Q. Were you ever examined before in a court. - A. No.


First Middlesex Jury, before Mr. Justice Rooke.

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