18th November 1878
Reference Numbert18781118-51
VerdictGuilty > unknown
SentenceImprisonment > penal servitude

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51. JOHN WARD alias CHARLES PEACE (60), Feloniously shooting at Edward Robinson with intent to murder. Other Counts with intent to do grievous bodily harm and to resist his lawful apprehension.


EDWARD ROBINSON (Policeman R 202). On Thursday morning, 10th November, about 2 o'clock, I was on duty in the Avenue leading from St John's Park to Blackheath—that is at the rear of No. 2, St John's Park, the house of Mr. Burness—in passing that house I noticed the flickering of a light in the drawing-room at the back of the house; I watched it for some little time, and then went in search of another constable; I found Girling; he accompanied me back, and we both made observation of the drawing-room; we noticed the light more from the drawing-room into several other parts of the house—I was then assisted by Girling on to the garden wall; Sergeant Brown then came up, and he helped Girling on to the wall, and went round to the front of the house and rang the bell; immediately upon that the light I had noticed was extinguished, and the prisoner came out from the drawing-room window, which opens on to the lawn of the garden; Girling then jumped off the wall into the avenue, and I jumped into the garden—I was in uniform—in my jumping down I broke some glass, which made a noise—I then saw the prisoner run towards the bottom of the garden; I immediately followed him—as I was following him he turned round and pointed a revolver at my head—I was then about 6 yards from him—it was a moonlight night; I could see the revolver—he said, "Keep back, keep off, or by God I will shoot you"—I said, "You had better not"—he immediately fired three chambers of the revolver at my head, two of the shots passing to the left of my head and the third over my head; I heard the shots whistling past my head—I then made a rush at him, and he fired a fourth shot at me, passing to the right of my head; he aimed at me—I then closed with him, and struck him in the fare with my left hand, and with my right I guarded my head; the prisoner then said, "You b——, I will settle you this time, "and immediately fired a fifth shot, which I received through the right arm above the elbow—I closed with him again, and threw him down—whilst we were on the ground he said, "You b——, will give you something else, "and he placed his left hand towards his

pocket—I then doubled his right arm up, and got hold of the revolver and struck him on the head with it—the revolver was strapped round his wrist; I doubled his arm up with the revolver in his hand, and struck him several blows on the head with the revolver and with his own fist too—I turned him over face downwards, and held him with my knee and left hand till Sergeant Brown came; he stood by until Girling came up—I then began to feel weak from loss of blood, and I handed the prisoner over to Girling—I. had this greaf-coat on (produced)—there is the mark where the shots went through; one shot made the two holes.

Cross-examined. I was 6 yards from him when he turned; I got closer to him, I ran towards him—before he fired the first shot I was about 2 yards off him—I had not my truncheon drawn at the time—he fired the three shots in succession when I was within 2 yards of him, threatening me in the same way that he did afterwards, when he hit me—the shots went close to me—after the three shots had been fired I made a dash at him and struck him—I struck him very hard—the fourth shot came almost immediately after that—the subsequent wound was in the arm with which I guarded my head; I had it up in that position when the fifth shot was fired—I did not move my arm before the last shot was fired; I kept it in that position; at the same time he struck me in the face and fired at me—I did not hear the prisoner say after the struggle, "I only did it to frighten him. '"

Re-examined. I believed that there was a burglary committed in Mr. Burness's house.

CHARLES BROWN (Police-Sergeant R 32). On this morning I was with Robinson and Girling at the back of No. 2, St. John's Park—I told them to guard the rear, and I went round to the front, and knocked and rang several times—shortly afterwards I heard some shots fired; they appeared to come from the back of the house—I also heard a cry for assistance—I immediately ran round to the back of the house, got over the wall, and there found that Robinson had been shot—he was lying above the prisoner, who had this six-chamber revolver in his hand; his elbow was resting on the walk, and the revolver was pointing at me as I came up—it was strapped round his right wrist—I at once went to Robinson's assistance—after striking the prisoner on the hand with my truncheon I got the revolver from him—I struck him on the right arm because I could not get the revolver out of his hand—I held him till Girling came—he was then secured, and I searched the place to see if there was any other man—I found no one else—I found on the prisoner a silver pocket-flask, a banker's cheque-book, and a letter-case, which have been identified by Mr. Burness—I also found this small crowbar in his left-hand trousers pocket—I went into the house and found the dining-room window open, and on the table some of the plate, a crumb-scoop, a sugar-basin and spoon, and a decanter stand, ready for removal—it was not packed; he had been disturbed apparently—I took a gold ring from his hand at the station; that has not been identified.

Cross-examined. I could not state how many shots were fired—I could hear several—six cartridges were drawn from the revolver at the station—the six chambers were all empty; every chamber had been discharged—Robinson was lying atop of the prisoner when I saw him first—no shots were discharged after that; how many had been previously discharged I don't know—I did not hear the prisoner say "I only meant to frighten him"—I was there before Girling.

Re-examined. All the chambers had been recently discharged-—I examined them at the station.

WILLIAM GIRLING (Policeman R 264). I was with Robinson on the top of the wall—I saw the prisoner come from the drawing-room window on to the lawn—I jumped from the wall into the avenue, and ran down to the bottom—I heard the revolver fired five times within a minute—I ran back and got over the wall into the garden, and found Robinson struggling with the prisoner—the prisoner was on his face, and Robinson was on the top of him—he said "I am shot through the arm, Girling"—I got hold of the prisoner, and said, "I have got him all right; you had better go to the station and have your arm dressed"—the prisoner said, "I only did it to frighten him, so as I could get away"—I searched the prisoner in the garden and took from him several housebreaking implements, which are produced, an auger, a centre-bit, a little hand-vice, two knives, a gimlet, three screws, and several other things; I found them in his pockets behind; they were handed to the inspector—after I had taken hold of the prisoner he attempted to get away, and I hit him with my staff—he was then taken to the station.

Cross-examined. All he said was"I did it to frighten him to as to get away."

JOHN BODY (Police Inspector R). After the prisoner was taken into custody I went and examined the premises—I found marks of the jemmy at the back dining-room window; it appeared as if it had been forced, the catch had been sprung and the window forced up—there was a hole in the dining-room door, about 5 inches square, large enough for a man's hand to be put through and undo it on the other side—in the library a desk had been forced and some drawers of a cheffonier—I entered the charge against the prisoner at the station, it was for burglariously breaking and entering the dwelling-house of 2, St John's Park, Blackheath, and shooting Constable Robinson with a revolver, with intent to murder him—he made no answer to the charge—I asked his name and address—he replied "Find out"—I received a bullet from Mr. Burness the following day.

SARAH SELINA COOPER . I am a servant at No. 2, St John's Park—on the night of 9th October, when I went to bed at 10 o'clock, the house was all safe; the doors and windows were all fastened—I was aroused in the morning—when I was cleaning out the dining-room I found a bullet on the hearthrug, and there was a hole in the centre of the window about that same size as the bullet—I gave it to the housemaid.

EDWARD ROBINSON (Re-examined). I should say I was about 15 or 16 yards from the dining-room window when the shots were fired—the bullet went right through my arm; it came out about 2 inches beyond the place where it entered—I was five weeks under the care of the surgeon.

GUILTY on the First Count. — Penal Servitude for Life .

The JURY expressed their admiration of the courageous manner in which Robinson had discharged his duty, and trusted that his conduct would be recognised and rewarded.

The COURT concurred in the recommendation of the Jury, and ordered a reward of 25l. to be paid to him.

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