3rd December 1823
Reference Numbert18231203-33
VerdictGuilty > manslaughter

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Before Mr. Baron Hullock .

33. SAMUEL SHUTER stood charged on the Coroner's Inquisition only, with the wilful murder of John Dunbar .

MR. BERNARD conducted the prosecution.

JOHN PENEN . I live in Sand-yard, Clerkenwell . The prisoner lived at No. 6. On Friday afternoon, about half-past three o'clock, I saw him and another man go down the yard, very much in liquor, He went into his own house, and in a very short time I heard screams of murder coming from his house, and saw him throwing his furniture out of his window. The neighbours went to him, and said, "You foolish man, what makes you break your furniture?" He then came down into the yard with his waistcoat and coat off, and challenged the whole of the yard to fight. He then went in, and began throwing his furniture out again, and breaking it; then came down, pulled his shirt off, and challenged the people to fight. He went up stairs, and was there half an hour; then came up the yard with his clothes on, and a weapon over his shoulder. He came up about four yards from my house, stopped all of a sudden, and flung the thing with great violence. It hit the post; glanced to the child, and immediately the child fell as if killed with a shot. He used both hands to throw it. If it had not been for the post, it must have severed the boy's head from his body. It struck him just over the right temple. I ran out, and he said to me, "Penen, what have I done?" I said, "You villain, you have murdered the child, go along with me." He said he would go any where, and made no resistance. I saw the child afterwards; it was John Dunbar; he was in a most shocking state.

Cross-examined by MR. LAW. Q. He flung it with violence against the post - A. Yes; and from the post it glanced to the boy. The women in the yard had said, "Let us take him, and fling him in a blanket." That was half an hour before. There were still boys and women in the yard in different directions. The post was nearly in a straight line with the child. The weapon came in contact with the post as soon as it left his hand, as the post was not above three yards from him. He bears the character of a humane person towards children.

COURT. Q. What sort of a weapon was it - A. The broken part of mahogany table, four or five inches wide, and about two feet long. I had not seen Dunbar before he was struck.

Q. If it had not struck the post it would have gone clear

of the child - A. No, my Lord, the boy stood rather on one side of the post, about a yard from it. I cannot say whether he aimed at the child. He was just coming out of No. 3, when he received the blow. If the post had not been in the way, it would have gone straight on.

MARY NABEUR , I live in Sand-yard. On Friday afternoon, about five o'clock, I saw a number of persons collected, and saw Shuter in his shirt-sleeves, quarrelling with a number of low women who inhabit the yard. They were remonstrating with him in their way, but it was more irritation. I went up stairs, and heard somebody call out, "Bring a blanket, and we will loss him if he comes out again." I went down afterwards, and saw him coming up the yard with part of a mahogany table over his shoulder about an inch thick. A man said to him, "What do you mean to do with that piece of wood, give it to me." He said No; if he saw his wife, he would knock it about her head. He took and threw it. This little boy stood near a door, and two others stood near; a little girl stood behind Dunbar, who fell also. I heard the blow, but whether it was striking the boy or the post I did not know. The women began to scream, every one thinking it was their own child. They seized, but could not hold him. He began to get collected, and Penen collared him. The child's name is John Dunbar .

WILLIAM WELLS . I live in the same house as the child, and saw the prisoner come down the yard, and throw the wood violently with both hands towards the boy. It hit him on the left side of his head. I picked him up, and took him on my shoulders. He was insensible. I carried him into the house, sat him on a chair. The blood came out of his mouth. He died on the Sunday.

Cross-examined. Q. Did you see the wood strike against the post - A. Yes; it glanced from the post, and hit the boy.

HENRY WHITMORE . I am a surgeon, and live in Great Bath-street. I first saw the deceased on Saturday evening, about nine o'clock, at No. 1, Sand-yard. I had his head shaved, and then found a considerable tumefaction over the left hemisphere of the brain, and considerable injury done to the skull. He died next night, I opened his head on Monday, and found a fracture five inches and a half long in the principal side-bone of the skull, and another fracture commencing along the same bone, and across the whole forehead. I found three-fourths of an ounce of extravasated blood on the dura mater, which was caused by external violence, which no doubt occasioned his death.

Cross-examined. Q. Do you think there were two blows, or that one blow occasioned both fractures - A. I should think there must have been two blows; but an uneven piece of wood might have produced more violence on one part than the other.

Prisoner's Defence. I had no animosity towards any body.

GUILTY. Of Manslaughter only . - Confined Three Months .

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