23rd November 1874
Reference Numbert18741123-36
VerdictGuilty > unknown

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36. WILLIAM GOODSALL (24) , Feloniously setting fire to the dwelling house of Charles Brighton, the said Charles Brighton and other persons then being therein.

MR. COOPER conducted the Prosecution.

CHARLES BRIGHTON . I live at 19, Lombard Street, Mile End New Town, and am a stableman—the prisoner had been lodging with me, and was so still, up to the 26th October last—that night my wife, self, and children went to bed at about 11 o'clock, at which time all was safe and right—about midnight I was aroused, and found my sitting-room on fire; the Venetian blind and work-table were burning—the sitting-room was the ground floor back—there was a wainscot partition between the passage and the back room—we put the fire out with the help of two young men—the prisoner's room was at the top, and when we went there we found the sheet, bed, and everything burnt—the prisoner was not then in the house—he did not sleep there that night—we worked at the same place—I have heard since that there was some ill-feeling between the prisoner and my wife—she is here—the prisoner had a key, and could let himself in at once ; there was a candle in his room upstairs—there were no matches up there—the prisoner would have to pass the partition in coming into the house.

Cross-examined by the Prisoner. I can't say that you set the house on fire—my wife told me you had an ill-feeling against her—she told me that

you went to the school to enquire about one of my children in the afternoon—in the evening the prisoner came home to tea as usual, and one of the little ones says "Jim, I see you at school this afternoon"—his name is William Goodsall, but I know him as "Jim"—he wanted to ask about one of the boys, and my wife wanted to know what right he had to go to the schoolmaster about one of her children"; she said she could do that, or his father, if he wanted it, and she was rather angry with him for doing it—he said he didn't go at first—then she told the boy not to tell his father about his interfering at the school—he then wanted my wife to let him have 2s., and she would not let him have it, and he got very cross about it and slammed the door.

JOHN MCKENZIE (Policeman H R 22). At about 7.30 on the morning of the 27th October the prisoner was given into my custody on the charge of setting this house on fire—I told him what he was given into oustody for, and he said "Quite right, I have done it"—he made some statement to the Inspector at the time, that whatever came into his mind at the lime it was bound to occur—the Inspector asked him if he did it by accident or wilfully, and he said he could not swear—I examined the house, and discovered two distinct fires, one in the bed-room and the other in the sitting-room.

JAMES WAYLING (207, Metropolitan Fire Brigade). I was called on the 27th October, about 1.25 in the morning, to go to Lombard Street, Mile End New Town—I went, and found a fire had been put out in the house, No. 19—I examined the premises, and found there had been fire outside and inside the partition between the passage and the parlour—I went into the bedroom on the first floor, and found a hole burnt in the back of the bedstead, two distinct fires—there was plaster on one side of the partition on the ground floor, and sacking and paper on the other—it had been fired on both sides—the plaster was next the parlour, and the other side next the passage—the paper on the inside of the plaster was burning—it was plastered and then papered—you could see through it; the hole was burnt through.

Cross-examined. It was some kind of linen hanging from the bed that had been burnt—your statement made at the police-station was that it was one of your own shirts—I could not say whether the place was set on fire wilfully or by accident—my first impression was, that some one had jumped out of bed hurriedly and set it on fire.

By THE COURT. That would not set fire to the partition in the parlour. (A statement by the prisoner was read, to the effect that he had been in the army, and had a fall from his horse, the result of which was, that if he had a glass of anything to drink he could not help doing anything thatcame into. his mind.)

Prisoner. I believe the statement made was that the fire broke out at 12.30. At 12.30 I was outside a public-house, talking to my brother; the public-house was closed. I had been sitting in the public-house with my brother, and I could not have been indoors.

JOHN MCKENZIE (re-examined). I took the prisoner in Commercial Street, Spitalfields—I have not ascertained where he was when the house was fired.

CHARLES BRIGHTON (re-examined). My wife awoke me; she heard a cracking, and woke me up.

GUILTY Two Years' Imprisonment.

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