22nd July 1895
Reference Numbert18950722-607
VerdictNot Guilty > unknown

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607. CATHERINE KEMPSHALL(30) . Feloniously attempting to discharge a loaded pistol at Emily Lucy Carlisle, with intent to murder her.

Second Count, with intent to do her grievous bodily harm.


EDWIN MAVEY . I am second coachman in the employment of Mr. Fry of Ripon House, Putney, which is the second house from Ashburton House—before Whitsuntide I saw the prisoner in that neighbourhood—I saw her four or five times; on each occasion she carried a small basket in her hand—on 21st June I was driving ray mistress and the young ladies in a victoria, and coming back I saw the prisoner on this side of the Green Man some 500 yards from Ashburton House—I recognised her as the person I had seen before—that was between 12.30 and I—between 2.50-and 2.55 I heard the report of firearms and ran out to the gate, and Mr. Carlisle's coachman beckoned me to keep my eye on the prisoner, who was 300 yards from the carriage I should say—she still carried the basket—just on 3 o'clock Mr. Carlisle's carriage returned with a policeman on the step; he arrested the prisoner.

Cross-examined by the prisoner. I could not say the exact time I saw you—you were in deep mourning.

SARAH FORD SMITH .—I am governess to Mrs. Carlisle of Ashburton House at 3.15 on 20th June I saw the prisoner sitting on a seat on the Common, just opposite the west gate of Ashburton House—I was

taking my pupils out for a walk—at 4.40 I returned and saw the prisoner sitting in the same place—I thought she was watching the gateway—she could see down the drive, and the conservatory.

EMILY LUCY CARLISLE . I am the wife of John Carlisle, a shipowner, and live at Ashburton House, Putney Heath—I am the sister of Edgar Holland—I did not know the prisoner up to 21st June this year—on the afternoon of that day I went out for a drive in my victoria about 2.50 p.m. in the direction of Putney—I sat on the left side of the victoria—Talbot, my groom, drove—as I drove out of the gate I was aware of somebody in a dark dress on the footpath, but I did not notice particularly—as the carriage passed her she rushed towards it—I turned my head towards her—she appeared then to be holding on to the back of the carriage—immediately I turned round I was aware that her arm was up towards me, but I did not see what she held in her hand—I then heard a report and saw some smoke, and seemed to feel something passing at the back of my head, a kind of whizy—I put my hand up to my ear and bent my head forward very quickly—I thought I heard a second report, but I was frightened, and it is possible it was only the trigger falling on another cartridge—I heard a click—the coachman had his attention directed, and he struck at the woman with his whip, and I called to him to drive on as quickly as possible, which he did for some 200 or 300 yards, till we came to a policeman—I spoke to him and he came back with me on the victoria step—we met the prisoner walking towards us carrying a basket—the policeman went up and spoke to her; I was not near enough to hear what was said—I went on to the police-station and waited for the inspector to take the charge—I was very much terrified by what was done to me, and I have remained in a condition of considerable fear ever since.

Cross-examined. You appeared to be holding on to the carriage and were quite near to me—I saw no pistol, but your arm was up—I was driving fast at the time—I heard a click after the report—I had not seen you before that day—I have no reason to know of any malice you bear me.

By the JURY. I saw smoke between the prisoner and myself, because I could not distinguish her face—the hood of the carriage was behind the smoke and behind me; so that the smoke could not go to the ground.

GEORGE TALBOT . I am a groom in Mr. Carlisle's employment—on this afternoon about three I was driving Mrs. Carlisle—I saw the prisoner strolling on a side path, and as I got opposite to her I saw her make a rush for the carriage—I was turning round when I heard a report—I then saw the prisoner quite close to the carriage, not touching it, but running after it—I saw smoke behind Mrs. Carlisle's head—I struck at the prisoner with my whip and drove on—coming to a policeman I spoke to him, and we returned to the prisoner.

Cross-examined. I did not see you take hold of the carriage—I was driving fast at the time, but not very fast—I did not see you point the pistol; I saw the smoke—you were close to the carriage when I struck at you with the whip; you ran after the carriage till I struck at you—I cannot say whether I struck you.

By the JURY. The prisoner was on the near side and so was Mrs. Carlisle—I was turning, but I was not round when I heard the report.

MARTIN RYAN . I am a bricklayer, living at 41, Red Lion Street, Clerkenwell—on June 21st I was working on the house next to Ashburton House—I saw Mrs. Carlisle in her victoria going towards Putney—I saw the prisoner rush from the opposite pathway towards the victoria on the near side; I was going towards Putney Hill; the victoria had passed me about forty yards—the prisoner clutched the victoria with the right hand, so far as I could see, but with one of her hands—then I heard a report, and smoke followed; I should say the smoke was going towards the lady's head—then the coachman struck round at the woman with his whip, and she left go—the carriage drove off—I followed the prisoner—I saw some coachmen further on, and told them what she had done, and while I was talking to them the lady drove back in the carriage with a policeman.

Cross-examined. You caught hold of the carriage with your right hand—I don't know what you did with your left hand—a report followed—I heard the report come from the left hand—I did not see any revolver, but seeing you hold the carriage in your right hand I thought you must have fired with your left.

THOMAS HARRIS (641 V). On 21st June I was on duty at Putney Hill—I received a communication from Mrs. Carlisle, in consequence of which I went back with her carriage in the direction of Ashburton House—she and the coachman pointed out the prisoner to me, and I arrested her—she had this small basket containing a six-chambered revolver—there is room for an arm to go through the handle of the basket—I took her into custody—she said that was what she did it for; she had no intention to hurt her, but merely to frighten her, as she wanted to go for trial where she could explain all—as she was penniless now—I took her to the station—I handed the revolver to the inspector—four chambers were loaded, one had an empty cartridge in it, and one chamber w is empty.

FORBES COWIE (Inspector V). On 21st June the prisoner was given into my custody at the police-station—the constable handed me a basket containing this six-chambered revolver—there were four loaded cartridges in it—and one discharged one; one chamber was not loaded—I took out the cartridges—one of them had a small dent on the end and partly on the rim, which showed that the hammer went down on the cartridge and left the dent, and caused a misfire—I have had some experience with revolvers—that mark on the cartridge is the result of the revolver being fired, it fits the point of the hammer—that cartridge would be the one to go off in its proper turn, next to the one already fired—I took the cartridges and the pistol to a gunmaker—since then two other revolver cartridges have been handed to me; they fit this revolver exactly, and are similar in appearance to those I took out of it—before I took the charge the prisoner said to me, "I fired the revolver at Mrs. Carlisle; I have a grievance against her brother. I wish to get committed for trial, so as to bring the case before the public"—T read over the charge; she said, "That is wrong, I did not mean to murder her.'

FREDERICK THOMAS BAKER . I am a gunsmith, of Fleet Street and Cockspur Street—I have carried on business for twenty-five years—I have carefully examined this six-chambered revolver, which was handed

me by Cowie—my attention was directed to an unexploded cartridge—the rim of it had been hit by the hammer—I should attribute the cause of the misfire to the chamber being a little larger than usual—it was too large for the cartridge, and the hammer would not strike it with sufficient force to explode it; there would not be sufficient resistance—there is no reason but that for its not exploding—if the same cartridge had been in a good revolver it would have gone off, I should say—I think there was a misfire—the revolver is a sufficient weapon, with its contents, to kill a person with.

ELIZABETH MATTHEWS . I have been housekeeper to Mr. Edgar Holland for some years—on 27th April the prisoner called at Stoneleigh, Mr. Holland's house, and I had a long interview with her—she said that if Mr. Holland did not settle with her she would have to bring the revolver with her, and she spoke of putting a knife into someone—she wrote down and gave me this address of Mr. Holland's solicitors—on 4th June I received this parcel, addressed to Mr. Holland—I took it to him—I think the handwriting on it resembles this other writing.

Cross-examined. I have been his housekeeper about ten years—I do not remember other women writing to him about dresses he had not paid for—I brought in a telegram from him when you were there—I said I did not know where he was; I wrote to his office—after receiving the telegram I knew he was not coming back—I do not always know his movements—this direction on the parcel resembles your writing a good deal—I am not positive about it—I did not say I knew Mr. Holland's affairs; I said I knew nothing about his father's affairs.

FORBES COWIE (Re-examined). These are the cartridges, which I found fitted the revolver.

GEORGE LACEY STIBBARD . I am a member of the firm of Stibbard, Gibson, and Co., solicitors, of Leadenhall Street—we acted for Edgar Holland in the proceedings for breach of promise of marriage brought against him by the prisoner—on 25th January this year the action was in the paper—I went into Court and found counsel consulting in the matter—Sir Edward Clarke appeared for Holland, and Mr. Witt for the prisoner—I heard what passed between them, and saw Mr. Witt communicate with the prisoner, who sat at the solicitors' table—the arrangement then made was that there should be verdict and judgment in the action for the defendant, but that £1, 000 should be paid to the prisoner, and £200 towards her costs—I don't think she spoke, but she evinced dissatisfaction with the compromise, but it was agreed to by her counsel—the additional terms were imposed that she should not molest Holland in the future, and she was to return all his letters—on 29th January prisoner called at my office in a somewhat excited condition—I told her I could not speak to her; that she was in the hands of her solicitors, and anything she had to say must come through them; and I told herfirmly but kindly that I could not allow her to come to the office—she was talking faster than I was, and was very excited, and I said I could not allow her to come—she said she should come—I said if she did come I should be obliged to send for the police and have her removed from the office—she said she should come whenever she liked—I think in the course of the conversation she mentioned £5,000 or £8,000 as the sum she demanded from Holland—I declined to discuss it with her and

said she must communicate with her solicitors if she had anything to say—On 30th January a notice of motion was served on me giving notice that on 31st there would be a summons heard to restore the action to the list and set aside the judgment of the 25th—On 31st I instructed Sir Edward Clarke to attend before Baron Pollock, who referred the matter to the Court of Appeal, and on 20th February a new trial was ordered—Mr. Witt made a statement to the Court as to what had taken place between himself and the prisoner, and the Court of Appeal ordered a new trial on the ground that there were two terms to which the prisoner had not consented, and to which Mr. Witt had no power to bind his client—On 22nd March I received this letter, in which the statement occurs that Miss Kempshall, the writer, is not quite so hungry as to snap at a dry crust, after being cheated out of £5,000 by the thief, and that she is coming to the City one morning to slash Stibbard or Gibson for playing the part of conspirators—Mr. Carlisle's offices in Leadenhall Street are opposite ours; while in my room she would see his name on the windows—I had no interview with her after that—the case restored by the Court of Appeal was heard partly on Friday and concluded to-day—it was first of all for seduction and breach of promise of marriage, but the accusation of seduction was withdrawn by the plaintiff before the trial—there was a verdict to-day for the defendant with regard to the breach of promise—in the course of today's proceedings a letter of 2nd of April, purporting to have, been written by the prisoner, was read—I cannot find it now, but I remember it; this is a copy of it. (This stated what the writer would have done to Holland, and mentioned vitriol; that she would have dashed a dagger in his face; that she would never forgive him; that those who had injured her should suffer; and it contained the passage "It always recoils; it did on my brother and sister, and so it will on you.")

Cross-examined. Holland told me you had a brother, soon after I had to do with the case—I think after you brought the action I instructed a detective officer to go to the country and make inquiries into your family affairs—I wanted to find out your history, and I thought your brother could give me information about you—I did not tell the detective to offer your brother or sister a bribe—I think my clerk offered your brother five shillings, because he complained that he lost a day's wages, or something like that—I did not say I would make it worth his while to answer questions against his sister—I thought you were perforce obliged to accept the compromise, because my opinion was you knew you could not succeed in the action.

----PAYNE. I am managing clerk to Stibbard, Gibson, and Co.—during February and March this year the prisoner used to call at our office—on 20th March she came about one—I told her Mr. Stibbard was out—she observed the name of Carlisle and Co. on the windows across the road, and wanted to know whether Carlisle was the name of the place where ships went to or the name of the firm—I told her it was the name of the firm who kept the office—on that occasion she said she would break all their jaws, one after the other; I suppose she meant all the persons concerned against her; and she said, as to old Gibson, she would put her fingers in his whiskers and pull them out by their roots; and she was prepared to fight her case, but that she would do it without bits of paper,

and she had had her ammunition ready for a long time—she added that some one had gone round to where Mr. Stibbard was lunching to say she was there, and that he was afraid to come back—that was the last time she came.

ELIZABETH WILSON . I have lived at 28, Koppech Street (late Duke Street), Oxford Street, for sixteen years—I am a widow—I keep a lodging-house—I have known the prisoner about thirteen years—at one time she lodged with me—since then she has called on me—I have seen her write on many occasions, and have had letters from her—I am well acquainted with her writing—this letter of 22nd March is in her writing. (This contained the postage, "I am going to send a full account of your fiendish treatment to your sisters, though being the same breed I daresay they inherit all King John's discordant pack," etc.)—I should not like to swear that this wrapper is in her writing.

Cross-examined. I went to Stibbard and Gibson's last year—I met your brother there—I did not say, "Why don't you take a price and go against your sister as she went against you in 1886; now is your time to do it"—I have not borrowed on your furniture under false pretences—I do not owe you anything—they did not offer me a bribe—I went to the East-end to see your brother to please myself.

WILLIAM PRITCHARD . I am member of the firm of Pritchard and Sons, solicitors for this prosecution—I was present at the hearing at the Police-court, when the prisoner was represented by Mr. Doveton Smyth, a solicitor—he first suggested in the cross-examination of one of the early witnesses that the pistol had been fired at the ground.

The prisoner, in her statement before the Magistrate and in her defence, stated that she had no intention to injure the prosecutrix, but that she shot at the ground in order to call public attention to her case, and because her relations had been interfered with; that she carried the revolver, with a chain round it, to prevent its going off accidentally; and that, after firing one shot, she replaced the chain, and might have pulled the trigger, to see if it was firm, and that in that way the second cartridge might have become dented.

FORBES COWIE (re-examined). The hammer was down on the cartridge that had the dent.


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