2nd August 1881
Reference Numbert18810802-751
VerdictGuilty > lesser offence
SentenceImprisonment > hard labour

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751. GEORGE WILSON (42) , Feloniously shooting at James Turner and George Savage, with intent to do them grievous bodily harm.

MR. DE MICHELE . Prosecuted; MR. MCCASKIE. Defended.

JAMES TURNER . I am a labourer, of 72, Grant Road, Clapham Junction—on 29th July I was with Savage at Rusham Road, Battersea, at my dinner time, 12.45; I worked not 50 yards off; we were in a field cutting some turf for some larks which I have at home; I saw the prisoner going through a fence with some cows; I had seen him with gun that morning, and after he had gone with the cows I saw him over the fence; he said, "You b, if you are not off I will shoot you," and

he had no sooner said the words than he fired, and the shots went all over me, on my head, behind my left ear, my left arm, and on my thighs, and on my back—I have been attended by Mr. Woodward and another surgeon.

Cross-examined. I don't know whether he was shooting birds when I first saw him, but he had a gun with him; that was about 11 o'olock—I have been told that there is an orchard there—it was not his field that I took the turf from—nobody pave me permission to out turf, it is an open road for building—Frederick Mann was standing outside the fence, it might be 10 yards from me—he did not say anything about pulling down a fence, nor did he say, "You can get through here into the orchard"—I was not more than 30 yards from the prisoner when he shot me—this was last Thursday, I have not been to work since.

Re-examined. I am lame now—I have some shots in my legs and body still, and the doctor has some.

GEORGE SAVAGE . I live at Livingstone Road, Clapham Junction, and am a bricklayer—I was with Turner on 29th July, and saw him cutting some turf—the prisoner drove some cows in, and he said, "If you b—aren't off out of here I will shoot you," and he had no sooner said that than he fired and hit me in my legs and head and hand—I had seen him between 10 and 11 that morning with a gun in his hand.

Cross-examined. The cows are there every day; he and his boy attend to them—I have never been in the orchard—I was over 30 yards from the fence—Mann said, "Somebody has been cutting down the fence," but he said nothing about breaking down a hurdle—I was not near enough to see if there was a hurdle where the fence was broken—we went through a gap into the field, but that was not near the orchard—the field is fenced for about 10 yards, and there is a hedge and a gap—we went by the footpath—I ran away after the gun was fired—Mann was not in the line of fire.

Re-examined. The cows were in the field which Turner was cutting the turf from—there is a gap in the hedge, and we went through it.

FREDERICK MANN . I live at Shirley Grove, Lavender Hill—on 29th July I was with Turner and Savage, and saw the prisoner go through the fence with the cows at a quarter to 1—I heard him say, "You b—, if you are not off this place I will shoot you," and almost immediately, before he got the word "shoot" out, he fired.

Cross-examined. I was taking a walk around the field with the other workmen—there were seven of us—we did not all go through the gap, the field was open at the other end—the gap was not protected by a hurdle—the prisoner had, I should think, 30 cows in the field—I was about 35 yards from him when he was standing in his garden, or orchard, and fired—the hedge which runs round his garden has a gap in it which is protected by a hurdle—I was about 50 yards from the hurdle when I saw him with the gun—I walked nearer to him—he was about 20 yards from the hurdle when he fired—I did not speak to him or take any notice of him—nobody gave me permission to go into the field.

Re-examined. There are building operations going on all round, and the fences are in disorder, so that you can get through almost anywhere—the other men got into the field where it is not fenced in—I often go into the field at dinner time, and sit down—I have never been molested or told not to go there.

GEORGE WOODWARD . I am a surgeon of Upper Tooting—I saw Turner and Savage at Wandsworth Common Police-station—Turner had twenty, shot marks on his body and legs; I extracted three shots, they were not dangerous wounds, but he might have been killed if he had been closer—the shot were sent well home, and imbedded in the muscles; some of them are past detection—they are No. 6 shot—Savage had six shots, two in his thighs, two in his heels, and two in his head—a rifle gives more force than a gun—Savage was able to go to work next day.

ROBERT EASTON . (Policeman). I took the prisoner and charged him with shooting Turner and Savage; he said "I done it because they were breaking down my fences to get into my orchard;" I went back and found this rifle (produced). in the summer-house.

Cross-examined. He told me at the station that the gun was in the summer-house—he did not look alarmed when he saw me.

Witness for the Defence.

GEORGE HOLMES . I live at the Bloomwood Estate with my father and mother—the prisoner used to fire off a gun there without shot, to frighten birds away, and he had fired it on this morning without shot—after that I saw it in the summer-house, took it up, and loaded it once or twice with powder, without shot, and fired it, and then I loaded it with powder and shot, and did not see any birds, and I left it in the summer-house—I did not toll the prisoner I had loaded it with shot, as he went away to look after his cows.

Cross-examined. I bought the shot, and kept them in my pocket—the prisoner never fired with shot; he never shot the birds—he has been very much annoyed by persons coming to take his apples—I have never seen the workmen get into that field from the buildings; the field is not open at the end, it is closed all the way round; there is no gap by the footpath, but there is one by the gate.

Re-examined. They are accustomed to trespass in the field; they go through the gap.

The Prisoner received a good character.

GUILTY. of unlawfully wounding . Strongly recommended to mercy by the Jury.— Two Months' Hard Labour.

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