11th February 1878
Reference Numbert18780211-258
VerdictGuilty > manslaughter

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258. CHARLES HICKS (34) was indicted for the Wilful murder of Bernard Burgess. He was also charged on the Coroner's Inquisition with the manslaughter of the same person.

MESSRS. POLAND, STRAIGHT, and MEAD conducted the Prosecution; and MR. MONTAGU WILLIAMS the Defence.

ELIZABETH BURGESS . I live in Catherine Wheel Court, New Brentford—I am the widow of Bernard Burgess—the prisoner lodged with us for about two years—my son Henry and two daughters also lived at home—on Monday, 14th January, about 12 o'clock, while I was with my daughter, my husband came in-to dinner—the prisoner came in soon after, and went straight through into the back yard—my husband said something to me; I can't say whether the prisoner could hear what he said—my husband then went out into the front yard, and in a few minutes after the prisoner followed him out, but did not speak—I fancied that I heard a bother in the yard, and I went to the front door and saw my husband lying in the yard—he appeared unconscious—the prisoner was close to him—I said "Dear me, what is the matter?"—the prisoner replied "Missis, I am truly sorry for what I have done"—he and others helped my husband into the house, and he was put on a bed in the front room—he never spoke—the doctor came in a few minutes—my husband died about 10 o'clock on the Tuesday night—the prisoner was taken into custody about 1 o'clock on the Monday.

Cross-examined. When my husband came home I said "Are you going to have your dinner, Bernard?"—he said "No, I don't want any"—I said "Why?"—he said "I shan't have any more victuals in this house till there is an alteration"—he charged me with improper conduct with the prisoner—I said "I am innocent of what you are accusing me of"—it was not true—there were no words between him and the prisoner at that time—the first thing I saw was my husband lying on the stones.

MARY ANN RUTTER . I live in New Road, Ealing Lane—on Monday, 14th January, just after 12 o'clock, I was going down Catherine-wheel Yard, and as I passed Burgess's house I saw Burgess come out and go partly across the yard—I then saw the prisoner come out; he grated his teeth very much at Burgess and then he violently shook him, and then he gave him a blow under the ear and knocked him down—he did Dot get up again—he never spoke or moved—I only saw the one severe

blow—while the prisoner was shaking him he said "I don't care what you do to me, but I will not be spoken against; you may hang me if you like, but you shan't say such things about me"—he used abusive language to him, calling him b—s—, and such things—Burgess did not strike him at all, I did not hear him speak to him—he seemed to back from the prisoner; there was a large ash box in the yard and he shuffled over near that and fell on some stones that are raised up there; the blow sent his head on to the stones—some men came and carried him indoors.

EDWARD SEPTIMUS EARL . I am a Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons, and divisional surgeon to the police at New Brentford-on Tuesday morning, 15th January, a little after 11, I went to see Burgess—I found him insensible and suffering from compression of the brainI examined his head—over the right ear I found a wound about an inch and a quarter in length; it was a contused punctured and lacerated wound; the puncture was very small, in the centre of the wound; it did not reach the bone—it is possible to have been caused either by a direct blow from the fist, or by falling on a hard substance like a stone, which is more probable.

GUILTY of Manslaughter. The Prisoner received a good character.— Fifteen Months' Imprisonment .

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