10th May 1858
Reference Numbert18580510-591
VerdictGuilty > with recommendation; Guilty > with recommendation
SentenceImprisonment; Imprisonment

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591. WILLIAM HENRY SELLESS (12) and HENRY JOHN HAMBROOK were indicted for feloniously killing and slaying John Thomas Boulton. Selless was also charged upon the Coroner's Inquisition with the like offence.

MR. TINDAL ATKINSON conducted the Prosecution.

MARTHA WARREN . I live in Cross Street, Rotherhithe. On 17th April, about 1 o'clock in the day, I was in Cross Street—I saw two boys fighting—it was the prisoner and the deceased John Boulton—Boulton was rather taller than the prisoner; he was thirteen years old—there were several more persons there at the time, but only three men were there besides the children—the prisoner, Hambrook, was one of the men—when the boys were parted I heard Hambrook say to the prisoner, "Give it him right and left, and hit him once under the ear, and he won't want to fight again"—I did not hear him say which ear—the boys had two rounds after that, and the last round Selless hit Boulton underneath the left ear, and he dropped down, and gave a scream, and curled up his feet—he was taken up, and taken into a doctor's—Selless ran over to his mother's, screaming, and said, "Oh, mother, have I killed him?" and he ran to the doctor's as fast as he could, and he was not at home when he went.

Cross-examined by MR. HORRY (for Selless). Q. Did you see Boulton knock Selless down, while they were fighting? A. I did not see him knock him down at all—I saw Boulton fall; I stood quite close to him—that was when he screamed—I did not see him fall before that.

Cross-examined by MR. SLEIGH (for Hambrook). Q. You are sure that you were there while the fight was going on? A. Yes, I did not come up just after it was over, I was there, and saw it—I was just going to my work—when I first saw them, I was about the length of this Court off, and I went over—there was no crowd round them—there were five or six boys round them, that was all—I saw three men come up—I knew some of the boys by sight—I knew the men—I did not know one of them—one was Mr. Ventham—I did not know Hambrook before—I did not know the other man's name—I did not see anybody go up and try to part the boys before I got up to them—noone went up and parted them, until I told a young lad to go up and part them, and he went up and parted them—the other boys never touched Boulton at all—when the boy parted them, this man said, "Keep up to him, young one, and give him right and left"—I was as close to them as I am to this gentleman (the foreman of the Jury) when he said that—I did not hear the other men say anything—they did not come over at all, only one man came over—after the boy dropped down they came over, but not before—the three men were standing together over by the chapel—Hambrook was the first man that came up—he stood away from them—the two men stood together—the boys were fighting on the other side—Hambrook and the other two men were standing on the pavement, near the chapel door, while the boys were fighting across the street, and after the boy parted them, Hambrook came up and said something, whispered, and told him where to hit him—I can't say how many rounds there were before he made use of that expression; I did not count them—I dare say they were fighting somewhere about ten minutes before anything

was said—then the boy parted them, and Hambrook walked up and said to Selless, "Keep up to him young one, and give him right and left"—Hambrook never touched the boy when he fell—I know John Ventham, I saw him there while the fight was going on, he stood over by the chapel; he was one of the three men—Hambrook did not go over and pick the boy up when he fell; he put up his hand and went away; he did not speak to any person, and send him to get some water for the boy, a woman brought some in a tub—I did not hear Hambrook tell her to get it—a lot of people came up after the fight was over—at the time the boy fell there were several personi in the road, and when he fell a crowd collected—Hambrook was right inside the crowd, close to the boys—the crowd was pressing round us.

JAMES FRANCIS . On 17th April I saw the fight—while they were fighting, I heard Hambrook say to Sellees, "Hit him under the left ear, he won't want to fight you any more;" they commenced fighting again, and about five minutes afterwards Selless ran, and his right hand caught Boulton under the left ear—he staggered backward, and put his hand up to his ear, and screamed,"Oh, my God!" and fell—he was carried into a shop by Mr. Kitchen and another man—Hambrook went away.

Cross-examined by MR. HORRY. Q. Did you hear Boulton say anything to Selless about the goat? A. I did not hear him say it, but he was speaking about it to some other boy; and there was a quarrel about three buttons—Boulton provoked Selless; Boulton began the quarrel—they were good friends before this happened.

Cross-examined by MR. SLEIGH. Q. I believe Selless was first knocked down? A. Yes; at the first round Boulton knocked him down—they were pretty evenly matched—they were both about one height; Boulton was knocked down some rounds, and Selless other rounds—they fought very severely for little boys, not so violently as they did when Hambrook came, they had not had a dozen rounds; about three—it was Thomas Hayes that parted them—they had been fighting about ten minutes—Selless was knocked down about twice, and Boulton three times; I think that was before they were parted—it was after they were parted that Hambrook said this—they fought about two more rounds; it was at the second round that Boulton fell—Isaw the girl Warren there, she was near me; there was a crowd round them, Warren was the only female there—I did not hear Hambrook send anybody for water when the boy fell; I went and got a little jug of water—I did not see Hambrook pick the boy up—I went and asked a lady at a door to give me a drop of water—I do not recollect saying to anybody that I did not know who the man was that said to the boy, "Hit him under the ear"—I knew which one it was, because he was standing close alongside of me—I never said to anyone that I did not know who was the man that said it—I do not think I ever said, it was one of the men standing there, but I could not be sure which—I do not remember saying that I did not know whether it was Hambrook or not—Iwas examined before the Coroner—I do not recollect saying anything of the kind.

DAVID BOYLE . I live in Commercial Street, Rotherhithe. I saw the boys fighting—I did not see Hambrook there, or hear anything said to the boy—Isaw the boy fall, and saw the blow struck under his ear.

Cross-examined by MR. HORRY. Q. Do you recollect Boulton saying that Selless kept his goat starved? A. Yes.

Cross-examined by MR. SLEIGH. Q. Did you see the beginning of the fight. A. Yes; I was there until it was over—I saw Boulton knocked down

twice, and be knocked Selless down two or three times; I was close to them—Icould not hear all that was going on—I was about four yards from the boys when they were fighting—I saw Martha Warren there, and Francis; he was lying down along with me—I did not see Hambrook pick up the boy, or go for a doctor, or send anybody for some water—some water was fetched.

JAMBS CRAIG BOYLE . I saw the fight—I saw Hambrook there—I did not know him before—while the boys were fighting, I heard him say to Selless, "Hit him under the ear;" after that they were fighting a little while, and then Hayes parted them—they continued fighting again, and Selless hit Boulton at the side of the ear, and be fell—I did not hear him say anything.

JAMES BROWN (Policeman, M 144). I took Hambrook into custody.

Cross-examined by MR. SLEIGH. Q. He has been an inspector of police, has he not? A. Yes, for many years; he was just about to be pensioned off in consequence of ill health—I took Selless into custody—I heard his father say to him at the station, "That is the Mr. Hambrook that told you to hit him under the ear; and the lad said, "No, it was a person named Lane told me"—I do not know anything about Lane, I do not know him—I have known Hambrook nearly four years—I did not know anything whatever against him.

THOMAS SIMPSON . I am a surgeon, at Rotherhithe. I was called to see the deceased—I saw him about an hour after his death, I believe—on the following Tuesday I opened the body, the cause of death was the rupture of a blood vessel at the base of the brain—I certainly do not think that was likely to be caused by a blow under the ear, or behind the ear—there was no extravasation, there was no rupture of a blood vessel near the ear; it was at the base of the brain—the upper portion of the brain was in a very excited state, the vessels were all gorged with blood, and the boy tumbling would be quite sufficient to cause it—I think it was from a fall; I should say certainly not from a blow.

Cross-examined by MR. HORRY. Q. Then I understand you to say that the appearances you saw would not be caused by a blow such as has been described. A. I should say certainly not.

Cross-examined by MR. SLEIGH. Q. The extravasation might have taken place without any blow being struck as described? A. Most assuredly, from the excitement and the boy falling, without his hitting his head against anything—the sudden fall would be quite sufficient to rupture the blood vessel, considering the excited state the vessels were in—it was what would be called an apoplectic fit—there was not the slightest mark under the ear—I have known Hambrook for seven or eight years, as a police inspector in the neighbourhood—he always bore the character of a kindly disposed, humane person.

MR. SLEIGH inquired whether his Lordship thought that the cause of death was such as to amount to manslaughter. MR. BARON MARTIN was of opinion that it was quite sufficient; although the blow did not cause the death, yet if the Jury believed that it occurred in consequence of an illegal act, which a fight clearly was, in which the prisoners were engaged, that would be sufficient to support the present charge.

(Several witnesses deposed to Hambrook's good character.)

SELLESS— GUILTY.—Strongly recommended to mercy by the Jury. — Confined Three Days.

HAMBROOK— GUILTY.—Strongly recommended to mercy by the Jury. — Confined Three Months.

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