SAMUEL WALKER.
10th January 1810
Reference Numbert18100110-1
VerdictGuilty
SentenceDeath

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73. SAMUEL WALKER was indicted for that he, feloniously, wilfully, maliciously, and unlawfully, on the 23rd of December , did present a pistol loaded with gunpowder and divers leaden shots, at Thomas Boswell , a subject of our lord the king, and did attempt, by drawing the trigger thereof, to shoot and fire at him ; - and

THREE OTHER COUNTS for like offence, only varying the manner of charging them.

THOMAS BOSWELL . I live at Enfield chase, near Cattle-gate , in the county of Middlesex, about four miles from Enfield, on the border of the county of Hertford.

Q. On the evening of the 23d of December last did the prisoner come to your cottage - A. Yes; about half past five in the evening; it was dark; he knocked at the door and called me by name, and on my opening the door he asked me if I sold potatoes; I told him I had none; he afterwards asked for a drink of water, which I gave him; my wife was broiling some sprats for the children's supper, he said you have got sprats. Boswell; my wife said, would you like to have any, and I joined in the invitation; after some solicitation he came in, and on further solicitation he sat down, while my wife was dressing the sprats; he are about a couple of sprats; he then enquired what was o'clock, I told him I thought it was near six o'clock; he then stood up and made a bow; I thank you for my sprats; he then said I thank you mistress for my sprats, and made another bow; I said they are not worth the thanks; he then stepped up to a young child of mine about two years old, he said, I will give the child a halfpenny; the child, said I, do not need any money, nor does he know the use of it, do not give him any; he turned round to the child to give him a halfpenny, as I thought; his back was towards me; he turned round again and presented a pistol at my face, it was about nine inches from my face; he said your money or your life; what do you mean, said I? - your money or your life, he again repeated; - damn you, said I, where do you think a man like me gets money; I took the chair by the back that Walker had sat on and dashed it full length at him; the pistol flashed.

COURT. You dashed the chair at him to hit him I suppose - A. Yes; I struck him, and he pointed the pistol at me with his two hands.

Q. How soon after you had hit him with the chair was it that the pistol flashed - A. Almost instantly.

Q. Did it appear to you that the flashing of the pistol was owing to your striking him, or was it any act of him - A. I imagine it was his purpose.

Q. That you believe, do you - A. Yes; and not with my striking him.

Q. Where did the chair strike him - A. In his face.

Mr. Gurney. Was the chair above the pistol - A. Just at the point of the pistol; I hit his face just above it; he seized the chair with his right hand, and immediately flashed another pistol with his left.

Q. At the time that he so flashed the pistol with his left hand was it presented to you - A. It was presented at my right eye. I think he dashed or threw the chair at me in the same manner as I did at him; he then struck me with his stick at the back of my head, and made the blood flow; he struck me another blow on the temple and another on the eye; I then collared him with the left hand, I struck him some blows in the face with my right hand, and his stick dropped; I called several times for a stick, my wife and children were in the room; my eldest boy put his stick into my hand, he then strove to wrest the stick from me; the scuffle increased, and he strove to overpower me; he kicked me, and bit my thumb; he got on the bed, I dragged him down, and he fell on my wife.

Q. Did you and your wife at last overpower him - A. Yes; I overpowered him; my wife tied his hands behind his back, and I ordered him to be tied to the legs of the bedstead; I put a chair across his breast and some cords round his body and legs and kept him in that all night. Mine is an alone house, about a quarter of a mile from any other house. In the morning I sent my son for assistance; he was conveyed to a justice, and he was taken from there to the office in Hatton Garden, and the pistols were taken to the same office.

Q. Were they, when taken to the office, in the same condition which they were when you took them away from the prisoner - A. They were; I gave them to Mr. Hale in my house, and he took them to Hatton Garden office.

Q. When you delivered them to Mr. Hale had you put any shots in them - A. No.

Q. At the time that you gave them to Mr. Hale did you and he examine them to see whether they were loaded - A. I look at them and observed the muzzles full, within about three quarters of an inch of both of them.

Q. At the time that he flashed the second pistol, was there any thing but his purpose to occasion that - A. There was nothing. It was then presented to my face.

COURT. There was nothing could make it go off but his purpose - A. Yes; I am sure it was intended by him, and the first also.

Prisoner. Did I ever offer to fire a pistol at you - A. Yes, you did, two pistols.

Q. Did I tell you that I had a partner on the road with a horse - A. You did.

HANNAH BOSWELL. Q. You are the wife of the last witness, Thomas Boswell - A. Yes.

Q. On the 23d of December last did the prisoner come to your house - A. He did; he asked my husband if any potatoes were to be sold there; he said no; he then asked for a drink of water, which my husband gave him, and said he was sorry he had nothing better to offer him. I was getting my children's supper ready, he said you have some sprats, mistress; I said yes; I asked him if he wished to have any, and that he was very welcome to have them; he said he was very fond of sprats, he had not had any this year; I asked him to sit down, he did; he seemed loth to sit down.

Q. He required pressing - A. Yes. He sat down at the lower end of the table, I set some sprats before him, he ate a few of them; he said, you need not dress any more, he had more than he should eat; he

said he would give my child an halfpenny; he stood up; instead of giving the child an halfpenny he drawed out a pistol and turned round upon his heel and presented it at arms length at my husband's face, and said your money or your life; my husband said what do you mean; he said, I mean your money or your life; my husband took the chair that he sat upon and pushed it at him, straight foremost, and said, where should I get money, and instantly the pistol flashed.

Q. Could you judge at the time it flashed whether it was presented to your husband, or in any other direction - A. It was presented to his face.

Q. Did it appear to you that the going off of the pistol was occasioned by the shock of the chair, or was it done by the prisoner - A. I believe it was done before the chair reached him; I saw the pistol go off before the chair reached him.

COURT. Did you see the direction of the prisoner's arm before the chair was presented - A. It was presented strait forward at him; I do believe that his arm went straight to his face before the chair was put.

Mr. Gurney. So that there was no difference in the direction of the arm when the chair was put - A. No difference; it was straight at his face. The prisoner let the pistol drop and seized the chair with his right hand and then flashed another pistol in my husband's face with his left hand; I had the baby at my breast, when I saw him present the pistol I stood up and gave the baby into the hands of another child, to hold; my husband closed in upon him; he struck my husband with the stick on the back of his head; that is the stick that my husband has produced in court. I ran over to my husband that he should not get him down; I thought I would hang on the fellows arm; he saw me coming; he kicked me at the bottom of my back.

Q. At last he was conquered and secured - A. Yes; I received a blow in my face, on the side of my head, and on my shoulders; I was bruised all over.

Q. At last he was confined and kept there till the morning - A. Yes; 'till Mr. Hale come.

Prisoner. Did I offer to pull out any pistol and fire at your husband - A. You did.

Q. Did I tell you that there was a man at the gate with the horse - A. You did.

STEPHEN HALE . I am a farmer.

Q. Do you live near Boswell - A. Yes.

Q. On the morning of the 24th of December were you sent for by his little boy - A. Yes; I went to his house and there I saw the prisoner, his legs were tied together, and his thighs, and a chain round on his body, and several cords. I searched him, I found upon him some gunpowder. The pistols I found in the house, the pistol cases were found out of doors in a bundle; there were two coats and waistcoats. As soon as I brought him out of the house, as he was coming out of the gate, he said let me have my clothes; in that bundle of clothes I saw my man take the cases out; these are the cases, they are woollen cases; and these are the pistols, and here is a pistol screw; they were delivered to me by Mr. Boswell; I examined the pistols at the time they were nearly full; I took them to the police office.

Q. Did you there see the charges taken out - A. I did; they were both loaded with powder and snot. The pan of that pistol is broken, it could not go off; through the fall or the blow afterwards some injury must have been done to it; it must have flashed first before the fall; the injury seems to have been done by the fall. Here is some gunpowder in this pistol case, and in the great coat pocket there is some loose shot. I conveyed him to the office and he was committed.

JAMES HANCOCK. I am an officer of Hatton Garden office.

Q. When these pistols were produced by Mr. Hale at Hatton Garden office, did you, by the direction of the magistrate, unload them - A. I did. I have the charges here separate.

Q.How many shots were there in each - A. I did not count them; I suppose there is pretty near an hundred, and about the same in the other.

COURT. About a common charge was it not - A. Yes, about a common charge.

Prisoner's Defence. I never offered to fire any pistols at him. I went to this man's house, I was informed that he wanted to buy pistols; I went there on purpose to ask him; I knocked at the door, they opened it; I went in, they asked me to have a bit of supper; I got one of these pistols out of my pocket to shew him, meaning to ask him to buy it; he took one of the chairs up; I never offered to fire at all, nor held my arms out; this man put the chair and struck at me; I dropped the pistol out of my hands; I took hold of the chair, I said, what do you want by this; he said, d - n you, I will kill you; I struck at him with the chair. I stood in my own defence: his wife ran and locked the door; they swore they would kill me among them, so therefore I hit them again with the stick; he got a fork and swore he would run it through me; then he knocked me down and overpowered me; I only stood in my own defence all the while.

COURT to Mr. Hale. When you took hold of the prisoner in the morning did he mention any thing of his being in danger himself - A. No; he said nothing of that; I asked him his name, he told me he did not know his name.

Q. He told you nothing of this that he has said now - A. No.

Jury to prosecutor. Which pocket did he take the pistol from - A. I could not tell; he turned his back towards me to give the child a halfpenny.

Q. Did you observe where he took the second pistol from - A. No; I did not see it till he presented it and flashed it at me.

Prisoner. It is a thing quite impossible.

Jury. I have seen such a thing done.

GUILTY - DEATH , aged 20.

First Middlesex jury, before the Lord Chief Baron.


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