7th March 1898
Reference Numbert18980307-230
VerdictGuilty > unknown
SentenceImprisonment > hard labour

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230. EGIDO DOMENICI (20) , Feloniously wounding John Kaselan on the High Seas, with intent to murder. Second Count.—With intent to do grievous bodily harm.


The prisoner being an Italian, and not able to speak English, the evidence was interpreted.

JOHN KASELAN . I was a cattleman on board the "Elstree Grange" cattleship—the prisoner was also a cattleman on board—I was on the lee side of the deck, he was on the weather side—it was rather rough weather—there were 225 cattle on board and a thousand sheep—the prisoner crossed over to my side—I said "Go on your own side, there are only four cattle men there, and there must be five on each side"—he did not go back—I asked him a second time to go back, and go on with his work—he came to me and put his hand in my face—I pushed him away, I don't know whether I pushed him down, I ran away from him and went to the forecastle, the deck was so wet, I could not well stand—I then went back to my place—I did not fall on him—I don't know whether I bit his thumb—I caught hold of him by the coat and told him to go—I did not do anything to him—he stood up and took a knife out of his pocket and came at me—I ran away a second time and went to the forecastle, liked not to fight—when I came back he was lying on the deck—I could not get into the forecastle, the door was shut, I tried to open it, the prisoner came after me with the knife and hit me in the leg, at the back of my thigh—I threw him off, he came at me again and hit me a second time with the knife, over the heart—this is the knife—I then got into the forecastle and afterwards went to the Captain—I did no more work till the ship arrived here—I afterwards saw the doctor.

Cross-examined by the prisoner. Before I came over to your side a

companion of yours came over—you said "send him back and I will go too"—you said "let us all five go over and do all the work together.

The prisoner. He shoved me down on the deck and kicked me like a furious animal, he put my hand in his mouth and kept biting my thumb—that made me get up and follow him in order to revenge myself, he knocked me down on the deck again, he was laughing and jeering at me all the time to make me cross—I naturally got my temper up and like a coward he went to hide himself—I followed him, and hit him with the knife—I did not want to kill him, if I had there was nothing to prevent me—I had to go to a doctor to have my thumb attended to.

JOHN MAGHEE . I was fireman on board this ship the "Elstree Grange," she sails under the British flag—I remember February 3rd, when this disturbance took place, we were about Ushant—I saw the prosecutor running up the deck, as I knocked off work, and the prisoner following him—the prosecutor was trying to get through the door but it was shut, and the prisoner following, I did not see a knife but I saw him hit him—the prosecutor was facing the prisoner then—the first blow hit the prosecutor in the left thigh, and then I saw him make another one at his belly—I did not see the knife till he drew it back, it must have shut on him and I saw him make another stab at him on the left breast—I first saw the knife being opened before the last stab—I saw him stab him in the thigh but I did not see the knife—he made a prod but I could not see whether the knife was shut or open, he opened the knife after that—the prisoner tried to go out of the cabin and I took the knife from him—at that time I did not see anything the matter with his thumb—that is the knife I took away from him, I gave it to the Captain—I did not notice the prisoner's thumb at all—he had the knife in his right hand—the prisoner never complained to me that his thumb was hurt—if it had been hurt the Captain or the Chief Steward would have attended to it—when I took hold of him he was quite quiet, I had no difficulty with him.

ALFRED VANSTON (Sergeant R Division). On this ship arriving at Deptford I went on board and took the prisoner into custody—he had both thumbs bandaged up—one had a cut and the other had apparently teeth marks—I think the clean cut was on the left, but I am not sure—I did not tell him what he would be charged with, something was said to him in my presence in Italian, and afterwards I took him into custody—the charge was interpreted to him.

FRANCIS TAYLOR . I am a Divisional Surgeon—I live at 224, Lewisham High Road—I examined the prosecutor on February 5th—I found him suffering from a wound at the back of the left thigh just below the buttock, about 1 inch long and 3/4 inch deep—this knife would cause a wound of the kind—I should say it would be inflicted from behind—there was also a wound on the left breast, inside and a little below the nipple over the region of the heart—the depth was not ascertained and there might have been some danger in putting a probe into it, it could have been caused by this knife—to inflict a wound of that kind a certain degree of violence would have to be used—there was a certain amount of danger, it might have penetrated the chest cavity—I think the knife was stopped by the fifth rib—if it had not been stopped by some hard substance I think it would have penetrated the heart—the

prosecutor has not been under my actual treatment, I dressed the wounds at the time I saw him and he went away, and I think he was two or three days in the Seamen's Hospital—I did not see the prisoner at all.

Cross-examined by the prisoner. The blow in the thigh must have been given from behind.

By the COURT. The wound in the buttock might have been administered when he was in front if he had reached round the man, it could be possible, but from the wound I should think the man was behind the prosecutor.

The prisoner's statement before the Magistrate. "There were five of us to feed 100 beasts, 50 on each side—on my side there were three to feed 50 and on the prosecutor's side two to feed the other 50—the morning was very rough, the waves came on my side of the ship, three of us got wet—one of the Germans went to prosecutor's side, he never said anything to him, I also went to prosecutor's side, he said 'Go to your own side'—I said 'send the other man and I will go'—he said 'No, you go'—I said 'The best thing is for us all five to feed the beasts here and then all go on the other side'—the prosecutor struck me—as I was struggling to get him off, we were on the ground, he bit my thumb—when he saw the knife he ran away to the fireman's forecastle, I ran after him four or five steps, I threw myself on the ground from the pain in my thumb, the prosecutor came up and made game of me, and shouting 'you have got it'—in the heat of my temper I ran after him to the fireman's forecastle, and stabbed him twice—as soon as I did it I was very sorry—if I had wanted to kill him I could have killed him there and then—I had all the chance to stab him 10 times instead of twice—I went to the officers of the ship, who dressed my thumb and took me into custody—the knife did not belong to me, I had it lent to me to cut onions, and I had it in my pocket."

The prisoner said: All I wish to say is that having found myself insulted, kicked and knocked about by this man what could I do more than defend myself.

GUILTY of wounding under great provocation Four Month' Hard Labour.

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