26th February 1883
Reference Numbert18830226-321
VerdictNot Guilty > unknown

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321. DANIEL DANIELS (19), EDWARD MORTIMER JACKSON (16), and CHARLES RICHARD WILSDON (18), were indicted for the manslaughter of William Johnston.

MR. HARRY GIFFORD Prosecuted; MR. FULTON Defended.

GEORGE JOHNSTON . I am a paper-stainer, and live in Barnsbury Road, Islington—the deceased William Johnston was my brother; he would have been 27 next birthday—he lived with me—he was a painter by trade—on Saturday, 20th. February, about 9 o'clock, he and I went into a public-house in Graham Street, City Road, and there saw the three prisoners; I knew them as fellow-workmen—somebody proposed to play skittles, and we went to the Dock public-house and played skittles—we then went to the Duke of Bridgwater public-house—Jackson asked me for a penny for setting up the skittles—I said I could not spare one just now—he said "I want it"—I said "I can't spare it"—he punched me in the mouth—I said "If you were big enough I would give you a good hiding"—I and my brother then left the house—the prisoners came after us—they were all going out together, and I said to my brother "Bill, we will go with them"—when we got out I saw Jackson telling Alf Kingman that he had punched me in the mouth—I said "What are you talking about, Jackson?"—he said "About punching you in the mouth,

and I would do it again"—I then struck him back; he struck me first; that was in the Duke of Bridgwater; he did not strike me a second time; when I struck him, he called Daniels up—I said "Jackson, what do you call Daniels for?"—he said "To take my part"—Daniels came up and said "So I will take his part;" and he went to hit me; he did hit me, and then my brother hit him back—this took place in the City Road, on the pavement—then the two had a fight and fell in the road—they both got up—they were all right that round—nothing had been said about fighting before—then Daniels wanted to fight me because I was his own size—my brother said "You won't fight him, you will fight me"—Daniels said "Do you think I am going to fight a man of 25. and I am only 18?" then he said to my brother "I will put a knife through you"—he had no knife then—my brother pushed him and they both closed in at one another, and while they were fighting, Jackson and Wilsdon punched my brother, and Daniels threw my brother on his head—I picked him up and took him home and laid him on the sofa—the prisoners went away—it was about 9.30. when I took him home—I went out again and came back about 11.30., and found him on the floor groaning—I put him into bed, and next evening, Sunday, I took him to the hospital in a cab and left him there—he died on Monday morning.

Cross-examined. When the prisoners left the Dock public-house, they did not invite us to go with them—we followed them for the purpose of renewing the quarrel—my brother took no part in the dispute between me and Jackson—he was a much bigger man than either of the prisoners—he was not stronger, he looked stronger—when he struck Daniels the people did not call out "Shame," they called out "Go on, little one; pay him, little one"—Daniels was very anxious not to fight my brother because he was a bigger man—he hit him with his fist in the face; it did not knock him down, it was a blow with all his strength, right from the shoulder—Jackson and Wilsdon were not attacking anybody then, merely talking—Daniels and my brother were fighting perfectly fair till Jackson and Wilsdon punched him—I was looking after the others to keep them back—there were three more besides these three—Daniels got my brother round the waist and threw him in the road on his head and back—I saw his head come against the ground—I did not say before the Magistrate that the people cried shame when my brother struck Daniels. (The witness's deposition being read, it so stated.) Jackson and Wilsdon were punching my brother at the time he was thrown—I did not interfere in the first round, I was talking to Jackson in a friendly way, I was not encouraging my brother to fight.

Re-examined. We did not follow the prisoners with the intention of fighting them, we were going with them to the playhouse.

MIHANDA BARRIGEA . I am house-surgeon at the Royal Free Hospital—the deceased was brought there at half-past 8 on Sunday evening, 21st February—he was quite unconscious, he remained in that state till he died at 6.45. a.m. on Monday—the injury to the head was very superficial, there was an abrasion over the left ear—on making a post-mortem examination it was found that the left temporal bone of the skull was fractured and there was much bleeding inside the skull, compressing; the brain—that was the cause of death—the injury might have been caused by a heavy blow with some blunt instrument, or a fall—a man's fist

would not be very likely to do it—it is possible but not probable—a violent fall on a stone would do it.

WILLIAM POWELL (Police Inspector G). On Monday afternoon, 22nd January, I arrested Daniels and Jackson in a public-house—I told them what it was for—Daniels was about to make a statement and was advised not to do so, and he did not then, but in going to the station he said "He wanted to fight me, but I did not want to fight him, as he was bigger and stronger than me; lie caught hold of me and in the struggle he fell and struck his head on the tram line"—I afterwards apprehended Wilsdon—I told him the charge—he said "I did not hit him, I went to pick him up, it was all over a game of skittles"—at the station both Jackson and Wilsdon said in answer to the charge "We did not strike him"—Daniels said "He folio wed us over the bridge after he fell"—Jackson and Wilsdon said "Yes, he did."

Witness for the defence.

HENRY CROUCH . I am a paper-stainer—I am 18. years of age—I was with the three prisoners at the Duke of Bridgwater on this Saturday night—George Johnston offered to play anybody one game of skittles—two of us offered to play him—he would not pay his money as he ought to have done, and there was a dispute about a penny; then there was a blow struck by Jackson on George Johnston—I went out with the prisoners—we said we would go to a place of amusement—the Johnstons were not to go with us—they followed us on to the City Road bridge—they stopped there and Jackson called Daniels—we were in front—we all went back—George Johnston said "What did you call Daniels for?"—Jackson said "To see me righted"—Daniels said "So I will see him righted; you offered to fight anybody of your own size at the Duke of Bridgwater; I am your size, I will fight you"—George Johnston said "No, you fight my brother"—Daniels said "What, me fight a man of 25. and I am only 18"—with that there were a few words between Jackson and George Johnston, and George Johnston struck Jackson in the mouth—it was a hard blow with his fist—Daniels went to interfere and William Johnston struck him, and they fell to the ground—they got up again—they were all right then, and they walked to the kerb, then William Johnston said "I won't fight you now, we will have it out another time"—Daniels said "I don't wish to fight you, you are too big and too strong for me"—with that William Johnston struck Daniels in the nose and made it bleed—up to that time no blow had been struck by Daniels—they then closed with each other and fell from, the kerb into the road together, Daniels on the top—Johnston fell on his back—George Johnston was standing by looking on—I saw Wilsdon trying to part them once just before the first fight—there is no truth in the suggestion that Jackson and Wilsdon set on the deceased just before he was thrown to the ground, or that they punched him about the head and face.

Cross-examined. I knew the deceased and his brother twelve or eighteen months—I have known the prisoners much longer.


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