8th April 1889
Reference Numbert18890408-369
VerdictGuilty > manslaughter
SentenceImprisonment > penal servitude

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369. ALFRED SIDNEY CORNWALL (33) , For the wilful murder of David Danby.

MR. H. AVORY Prosecuted; MR. FULTON Defended.

FREDERICK WILLIAM FOSTER . I am a surveyor, of 26, Old Jewry—I prepared this plan of the bar-parlour of the Rose and Crown, Little-Britain, and also this model, which is a correct representation on a scale of an inch to a foot—there are two bullet marks on the wall, about eight feet from the ground, one at this end of the room, and one on the elevator in the corner at the other end of the room—the room is eight or nine feet wide and sixteen feet long—a kind of bookcase is fixed against the wall over the sofa, and comes down to two feet above it; it has drawers in it.

Cross-examined. The sofa is only about a foot high, old-fashioned, and heavy to move—it is close against the wall under the bookcase—the chairs are in the position in which they were when I made the model—I do not mean to say that they occupied those positions at the time of the occurrence—I made my sketch on the Saturday afterwards, and the house was then in occupation—this round table has heavy metal legs; it was in a corner between the lift and the door; it would not be easy to overturn it—the writing-desk at the end of the room is a heavy piece of furniture; it would be quite impossible to overturn it in a struggle—the under side of the chandelier is 6 feet 3 inches from the ground—the chairs are heavy old-fashioned mahogany—the distance between the fender and the couch is 4 feet 6 inches—the lift was slightly grazed, as if the shot had struck it and gone on to the wall.

WILLIAM WRIGHT I am a plumber—the deceased, David Danby, was my brother-in-law—he was single—he took the Rose and Crown public-house last October, and has lived there since—the prisoner is his brother-in-law, and he and his wife lived there, and assisted in the management—I visited at the house, and saw them there—I spent the evening there on February 24, and the deceased and the prisoner were on good terms, as far as I could judge.

Cross-examined. I have known the prisoner since about three weeks after they went to Little Britain last October—I met him once before by accident—I did not know him when he was manager to Jardine and Co., the diamond merchants, or at the time of his marriage—I did not visit him—I went to his house with my wife about six months after his marriage, but he was not there; we looked all over his house, 5, St. Michael's Gardens, Notting Hill, and went into his bedroom—that was eight years ago—my wife and I made an observation about the danger of having firearms, as there was a revolver at the corner of his bed—I believe the prisoner had a pecuniary interest in the business; I believe they were partners—I was there about twelve times, and sometimes spent some little time there, and always found them on friendly terms—I had known Danby much longer; he was not a man of sullen temperament, or quick, or bad-tempered; he was an ordinary-tempered man—he weighed about twelve stone three.

Re-examined. There was no conversation about their position, in my presence on the Sunday night—Mrs. Cornwall was there.

ALFRED ROBERT DANIEL . In October last I was manager at the Rose and Crown from October last year, employed by Mr. Danby—the prisoner was there when I was engaged; he assisted in the management—his

wife did not assist in the bar—they slept in the second-floor back-room, and I believe the drawing-room belonged to them—on 25th February, about 11.30 or 11.40, I left the house and shut the door, leaving Mr. Danby and Mr. Cornwall in the house—Mrs. Cornwall was not there—she was there that day, but she went out, and had not returned—when I left, Danby and the prisoner were standing together in the bar, on good terms, as far as I could judge—there were very often trivial disputes between them, but if there was anything else I think they went somewhere else to have them—I only know it from hearsay; the prisoner never said anything to me on the subject—I knew Mr. Danby had a revolver, but I never saw it; I do not know where it was kept—I did not know that the prisoner had got one.

Cross-examined. Some time ago the police woke them up at the Rose and Crown, because the cellar doors were open—they did not go down and find that it originated in a cat—I never heard that it was the practice of these two men to go over all parts of the house with pistols before closing, but I told the Magistrate I had been told so—before I left on this night there was a dispute between these two men about a half-sovereign, which was the cause of my being half an hour late; my time was eleven—when the money was counted up Danby said that there was a half-sovereign short—no one else was present; my wife was waiting outside—Danby was like the rest of us in the trade, he used to have some glasses with customers; I daresay he would take fifteen to twenty glasses in the day sometimes, but I am not always in the bar—I saw him have several glasses of beer on the 25th.

Re-examined. They were both sober when I left, as far as I could judge—the prisoner had had several glasses too during the day—Danby had been the worse for drink during the day, but he was not the worse for it then—Mr. Danby, though he had a lot of money, was not in the habit of handling money; I could count more in ten minutes than he could in half an hour—there was a half-sovereign short, and he was trying to find it out; I put it down that it was a mistake of his counting, and that it would be all right in the morning—the prisoner said that it was a mistake.

WILLIAM FULLER (City Policeman). On 25th February, about thirty-five minutes past twelve, I passed the Rose and Crown—the lights were still burning, and I saw Mr. Danby in the bar in his shirt sleeves—he was alone, so far as I saw—he was putting something into a bag, apparently money—he was smoking a clay pipe—about one o'clock I heard what had happened, and went back to the house—the Inspector and other police were there—I assisted in searching, and found these two bullets on the floor, about a foot apart and a foot from the lift; they are flattened, and have plaster on them, showing that they struck the wall, and I saw the marks on the wall, one on each side, one on the lift, and one on the wall at the other end of the room—I found this clay pipe on the floor close to the lift, with a very small piece chipped off the mouth end of it—this other piece has been broken off since—I did not find this little piece, it was found in the deceased's mouth.

HENRY JOINER (City Policeman). On Tuesday morning, 26th February, about a quarter to one o'clock I was on duty in plain clothes in Little Britain—I heard a cry of "Police," and saw the prisoner in Bartholomew Close, dressed, except his hat; he had a jacket on—I asked what he

wanted; he said, "I want a policeman—I said, "I am a policeman"—he asked me to produce my warrant card; I showed it to him, and then he said, "I have shot my brother-in-law at the Rose and Crown;" and asked me to go inside—I asked if he was dead; he said, "I have been trying to get him round some time, I think he is"—I went with him to the Rose and Crown, twenty yards off—he took me into the parlour; two candles were burning in flat-bottomed candlesticks; one was on the hot plate near the lift—he pointed to the deceased, and said, "There he is"—he was lying on a couch on his left arm, in a kneeling position, as appears here in the model—I lifted his head and saw that he was dead—the poker was on the ground near the door; as I went in the handle was pointing towards the deceased—the prisoner pointed to it, and said, "That is the poker he struck me with"—I lifted the man's head, and the prisoner said, "He is dead enough, for I shot him four or five times"—he then handed me this six-chambered revolver from his pocket—I examined it afterwards, and found six empty cartridge cases in it, apparently recently discharged—I told him he would have to go to the station with me; he said, "I feel as if I could shoot myself"—I told him to put on his hat and coat—he said, "Had not you better get another officer?"—I said it did not matter, I could take him—he said, "I shall make no noise"—I took him outside—he said, "I must have been a d—d fool; of course I suppose I shall be hung for this; but never mind, I can only die once"—he also said "He should not pick up the poker to me"—I took him to the station, and handed him over to another officer—I told the sergeant on duty that he had given himself up for killing his brother-in-law at the Rose and Crown—the prisoner said, "That is quite right"—when I went into the room the furniture was just as it appears in the model; nothing was disturbed but the poker—there was a hearthrug in front of the fire, and a carpet on the floor; I cannot say whether it was nailed down—there was a pillow on the sofa and a rug under the deceased's arm—either the sofa nor the pillow was disturbed, as far as I could see—I returned to the house and got in at the first floor window by a ladder, because I had shut the door when I left—there was nobody in the house—Dr. Adams came shortly after—in the second floor back room, the top drawer of a chest of drawers was open—when I went back to the station the prisoner asked the Inspector if he was dead, and he replied, "Yes, he is dead"—he said, "I knew d—d well he was"—the Inspector asked him what the quarrel was about—he said, "We could never agree; we have had several trivial disputes lately," and then, hesitating, he said, "Well, twopence," and hesitating again, "Well, nothing; he picked up the poker and threatened to strike me, and I told him if he advanced one inch I would shoot him; he came quite close to me, and I fired. I was on the sofa then; that was before we struggled. We then struggled together, and I fired as fast as I could pull"—the Inspector asked him where he got the revolver from—he said, "I took it from my pocket; I have done it, and I suppose I shall have to suffer for it"—somebody called attention to a black mark across the back of the prisoner's hand, and a slight abrasion of the skin underneath—the black mark rubbed off; it looked like black lead—the prisoner said it was nothing—I did not hear him say how it was caused—when we were searching him the Inspector noticed a button

torn off his waistcoat, and he said, "That is where he got hold of me"—another button was hanging down by a piece of cloth.

Cross-examined. When he came to me in Little Britain he had slippers on—I found two bedroom candles burning in the back parlour—there was blacklead on the end of the poker—the prisoner drew my attention to two bags of money on the table, and said, "You can see it was not done for robbery—I remember In wood asking him, "What did you have the revolver for?" and his saying, "We take it with us when we go round the house at night"—I forgot that—this (produced) is the waistcoat he had on—two buttons are off, and one is hanging down, but on that night I only noticed the top button gone, and the waistcoat was hanging on by the button that was torn—it was not taken off at the station—he was wearing it before the Magistrate—I did not notice that it was torn that night—these two buttons were shown me at the Police-court by Mr. Ricketts, who appeared for the prisoner—that was the first time I saw them—they are odd ones—I believe the Inspector had found one button—this is a very quiet place after 10 p. m.

JAMES INWOOD (City Police Inspector). On 26th February, about 1 a. m., I found the prisoner in custody at the Snow Hill Police-station—I went to the Rose and Crown—one of the candles in the bar parlour had then burned out—Dr. Adams, whom I had sent for, came shortly afterwards—there was no appearance of anything being disturbed—the furniture was heavy—there was a clock on the mantelpiece, and some small ornaments, and the fire-irons and a cushion on the couch, and a wrap or antimacassar and a rug under the deceased, folded into about four squares—after the doctor had examined the body I returned to the station—I have heard the constable's evidence; he has told you all that happened then—I saw that the prisoner's waistcoat was torn, and the button was hanging by a shred of cloth—I do not think any buttons were missing—I saw the button picked up in the bar parlour and laid on the mantelpiece—it was such a button as might belong to the waistcoat—the bullets found on the floor correspond with the cartridge in the revolver—a day or two afterwards I went to the house and examined a chest belonging to Mr. Danby, and found a revolver in the middle of the box, wrapped up in paper and placed in a cardboard box without a lid.

Cross-examined. I did not have the prisoner's waistcoat taken off; I said, "Your waistcoat is torn "; he said, "I had not noticed that before"—one button underneath was gone, and another where the cloth leaves off tearing—when I went back to the room one button had been found—I searched carefully, but found no other—a constable named Isbod took the fender up—we were then searching for bullet-holes—the carpet was nailed down—one bag had £10 4s. 6d. in it, and the other £1 10s. 8d. in bronze—the hearthrug was not fastened down.

HENRY EVE (City Police Sergeant). I was on duty at the station when the prisoner was brought in; he was left with me when the officers went to the Rose and Crown—he was about to speak to a constable when I stepped forward and said, "This is a very serious charge, and it is my duty to caution you that what you say will be taken down and used in evidence against you"—he said, "I appreciate your motive; it is done, it cannot be altered."

ROBERT LAMMERT (City Policeman 16). I went with the other officers to the Rose and Crown, and picked up a button covered with

diagonal cloth, from the floor—it might have been a waistcoat button; I put it on the mantelshelf—I searched the room, but found nothing else—I went to the station and heard the prisoner make a statement to the Inspector.

Cross-examined. He said to me, "We had our candles alight when we quarrelled, ready to go to bed; I wish we had gone, it would not have happened then"—he did not speak rapidly, but he is a very fluent speaker—I said before the Magistrate that I could not take down all he said, he spoke so fast—he drew my attention to a mark on his hand, and said, "I never saw it till I got here; I did it myself; it is nothing; I did it when I tried to take the poker; it did not hurt me much"—this button (produced) is similar to the one I put on the mantelpiece; this other I never saw—money and cheques and postal orders were found on the deceased—there were three cheques for £13 12s. 1d., two postal orders for 15s., a money order for £3 4s. 4d., a £5 Bank of England note, and £45 14s. 2 1/2 d. in his pocket; that was in addition to the two bags on the table—besides that there were two watches, two chains, and a seal.

Re-examined. There was no mark on the prisoner except a slight scratch under the black mark.

JOHN ADAMS , F. R. C. S. practise in Aldersgate Street—on the morning of 26th February I was called soon after twelve, and went to the Rose and Crown, and saw the deceased in the bar parlour, leaning on the sofa with his knees on the floor—he was quite dead, a small quantity of blood was coming from his mouth and nose, and a small piece of a day pipe was in his mouth, which fits the clay pipe which was found—I found three wounds, one on his right collar-bone, as if it was a bullet wound, penetrating through the cloth; one on the left side of the chest, some six inches from the middle of the chest—I afterwards made a post-mortem examination, and traced the wound in the right collar-bone four inches—where I found the bullet lying on the collar-bone, it was covered by the skin only; it was quite superficial, but the bullet was very much flattened by coming in contact with the collar-bone—wound No. 2 was on the left side of the chest, four and a half inches from the middle line, and two and a half below the collar-bone, going through the third rib and through the pleura and left lung, through the aorta, just at the point where it is covered by the pericardium, and out through the pericardium, through the middle lobe of the left lung, striking the eighth rib, going right through backwards and downwards—that must have caused death very soon—the next wound was in front of the right hip, just below the hip-bone; it went backwards about three inches; it was superficial; it went merely under the skin, and there it was found—the next wound was on the inner side of the right thigh, in the middle, going backwards and upwards, and the bullet was found very near wound No. 3, just on the buttock—it had gone through the femoral artery, which would cause death very soon if not attended to—the clothes over the bullet-hole of wound No. 2 were slightly singed, showing that the shot must have been not more than twelve inches distant—the wound on the right hip was also singed, rather more so than the other, showing that the shot was fired somewhat nearer—I found the bullets in each of the four wounds; they had all entered from the front, showing that the men were in front of one another—the wound in the leg travelled directly upwards—no

inference arises from that, as bullets are turned by very slight things—it could be done by both men standing up—you cannot tell in what direction the leg was—if it was bent it would do so, or the bullet might be turned by the muscles or tendons which it came in contact with.

Cross-examined. The position of the wound on the thigh was consistent with being fired when the deceased was lying on the couch—I cannot say that that is the most probable way in which it could be caused, but it would be possible—that is the wound from which he would have bled to death if it had not been attended to—it would not disable him for a few minutes—the wound through the lungs would cause almost instantaneous death—I cannot say that he would be likely to fall forward on his face rather than backwards—he was a much bigger man than the prisoner; I should say he was over thirteen stone.

Re-examined. The trousers were so stained by blood that any indications of scorching would be obliterated, and I cannot say at what distance the shot in the thigh was fired—there was no singeing over the collar-bone.

By the request of MR. FULTON the prisoner was allowed to make his own statement. He said that he had been in the habit of carrying a revolver far years when he travelled with large quantities of jewellery on his person; that on the night in question the deceased's money was a half-sovereign short and he told him he would find it all right in the morning; that the deceased said, "You are a d—d liar; how about that shilling you gave the baker too much, and found out your mistake?" and attacked him with the poker, and seized him by the throat, endeavouring to get the pistol, and therefore he kept pulling the trigger as fast as he could to exhaust all the shots before it was taken from him, and they both fell together; that he tried to lift the deceased on to the sofa, but finding he was dead, went out and gave himself up; that the deceased was a much bigger man than himself, and if he had not acted as he did he should have been the dead man, and the deceased would have been taking his trial.

Witnesses for the Defence.

ROBERT ADAMS . I am in the employ of Mr. Bone, a jeweller, of the Strand—I was formerly with Blagg, Martin, and Co., afterwards Jardine and Co., wholesale diamond merchants—the prisoner came into their employment in May, 1873 or 1874; I left him there in 1880—he had a revolver when I went and when I left; I saw it frequently in his possession—he was in the habit of carrying large quantities of jewellery and loose stones, diamonds—it was the rule to carry a revolver—he went to Paris two or three times, taking valuable stones with him.

FRANK CORNWALL . The prisoner is my half-brother—I am articled clerk to a solicitor—the prisoner has always been in the habit of carrying a revolver—he is an excellent shot; I have here a penny which he shot in our house in the country at a distance of twelve yards—he is not likely to miss a mark at which he desired to aim.

The prisoner received a good character.

GUILTY of Manslaughter.— Ten Years' Penal Servitude.

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