John Williams.
14th October 1730
Reference Numbert17301014-73
VerdictNot Guilty

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John Williams , of St. Andrew's Holbourn , was indicted for the Murther of Joseph Hastings , by giving him several mortal Bruises with an Unicorn's Horn, the 17th of August last, of which Bruises and Wounds he languished till the 28th of the same Month, and then Died .

He was likewise indicted a second time, on the Coroner's Inquisition, for the feloniously staying she said Joseph Hastings .

John Drew depos'd, That the Prisoner came into the Skettle-ground, with the Unicorn's

Horn in his Hand, and said to him, Drew, this would knock a Man down of an Hundred a Year; and the Deceas'd (who was the Owner of the Horn) said to the Prisoner, I desire you would carry my Property where you had it; and added, that he had been bid more Money for that Horn, than any Man at the Ground had in his Pocket; that upon this the Prisoner call'd him fancy Son of a B - h , and told him, he deserved to have his Head broke with it; to which he reply'd, if he did, he should pay dear for it; and then he struck the Deceas'd with the Horn upon the Stomach, and push'd him on the Jaw with the End of it, and the Deceas'd fell down (as he supposes) against a stump that was in the Skettle-ground, and afterwards struck up his Heels; that then the Deceas'd said, you Son of a B - h what do you do this for, I will make you pay dear for it; that then he hit him again, and while he was on the Ground, he hit him with the Horn, that then the Horn being taken out of his Hand, he fell a jumping upon him, and kicking him as he lay upon the Ground, upon his Breast, Belly, and Members, giving him a great many Kicks, he knew not how many; that the Deceas'd lay with his Eyes shut for about the space of two Minutes.

Charles Wentworth depos'd to the same Purpose as the former Evidence had done, adding, That he had never seen so vile and barbarous a Thing done in his Life; that afterwards they got the Deceas'd out of the Ground, and he went away in a very bloody Condition, and shut the Prisoner in, to keep him from following the Deceas'd; that he went several times to see the Deceas'd after, and he always complain'd that he was very Ill, that he was not able to lift himself up; that he had been bruis'd very much, and that he saw him after he was Dead, and found his Head had been broke, and his Head and Face bruis'd in five places, and that his private Parts were bruis'd, and look'd like a piece of Neck-Beef.

John Hamilton depos'd, That he saw the Prisoner bring the Horn into the Skettle-ground , and he ask'd the Deceas'd, if he would sell it, and he answer'd, he would not, and desir'd him to give him his Horn again, that the Prisoner said, he would not, upon which the Deceas'd said, he would make him give him his Horn; whereupon the Prisoner said, he was a fancy Son of a B - h, and if he spoke two Words more he would knock him down with it, and drove the Horn to his Neck, and struck up his Heels, and he fell against a Brick-Wall, that he lay about two Minutes, or two Minutes and a half as if dead, and then open'd his Eyes, and said, am I to be beat thus by such a Son of a B - h as you; that then the Prisoner flew to him, and then the People of the House came out of the House, and took the Horn from him, and then he kick'd the Deceas'd on the Belly and Stomach.

The Deceas'd's Wife depos'd, That when her Husband went out that Day, he was in perfect Health, as ever he was in his Life to her Knowledge; that he came Home in a sad Condition, violently bruis'd and bloody; that he always complain'd of his Head, and his Stomach, and always imputed his Illness to the Injury he had receiv'd from the Prisoner, and to nothing else; that his Head was broke, the Mark of a Foot on his Face, and a Bruise the side of his Neck and Throat.

Mrs. Waller depos'd, That she look'd after the Deceas'd in his Illness, and he was much Bruis'd, and continually cry'd out of his Head and his Stomach , and said, the Prisoner had kill'd him.

James Waller depos'd, That he being a Neighbour, visited the Deceas'd, and he said to him, that if he did Die, he should Die of the Wounds the Prisoner had given him.

Mr. Smith, a Surgeon, depos'd , That he being order'd by the Parish to attend the Canoner , he view'd the Body, and he really believ'd the Contusions the Deceas'd had received on the Head, Back, Stomach, and Scrotum , were the Cause of his Death, and that he was present when his Body was open'd, and one of the Surgeons putting his Hand under the Bowels, took out a handful of Blood .

- Hastings, the Deceased's Brother, depos'd, That he going to see the Deceas'd, he said, he was not able to draw his Breath , nor could not lie in his Bed for a violent Pain in his Breast, and desired him to take up the Prisoner, saying, if he Died, he laid his Death to him, for that he had still'd him by the Kicks and what he had given him on the Stomach, and other Places.

The Prisoner in his Defence pleaded, That the Beginning of August he had an Ague, that going to drink a Pint of Beer, he met with a Friend, and he advis'd him to drink a Pint of Geneva, and seeing the Horn, he took it into his Hand, and went into the Skettle-Ground, and ask'd the Deceas'd, what he would have for it? That he answer'd him, It was worth more Money than he had in his Pocket. That he bid him three Pence for it, that thereupon the Deceas'd damn'd him several times, and call'd him Son of a Bitch, and lifted up his Hand with the Bowl in order to throw it at him, and he pushing him off, he fell down against the stump , and broke his Head; to prove which he call'd the following Evidences.

Robert Linsey depos'd, That the Deceas'd came into the Ground with the Horn in his Hand, and some old Clothes , and he gave it the Landlord to carry in; and the Prisoner coming in, took up the Horn, and went into the Ground, and the Deceased said he had been bid for that Horn by Sir Hans Sloane , more Money than any Body in the Ground had in their Pockets; that the Prisoner thereupon told him he was a fancy old Fellow, and deserv'd to have his Head broke with it, and if he spoke any more he would break it; that the Deceas'd reply'd, that if he did he should pay dear for it, and he gave him a push, and he fell backwards; and Mr. Morris came in, and the Prisoner striking at the Deceas'd, Mr. Morris warded off the Blow; that the Prisoner did kick at Mr. Morris, that he did strike up the Deceased's Heels, and that the cut on his Head was by the Fall.

Thomas Morris depos'd, That he being in the Kitchen, and hearing a Scuffle, went into the Skettle-ground, and the Deceas'd was sitting with his Back against a Wall, and said, D - n you, you scoundrel Son of a Bitch, I will make you pay for this, and that Williams went to him with the Horn, and made an offer to strike; but he caught hold of the Horn, and the Prisoner push'd him against his Father, and he fell down on the Deceas'd, and tho' he did kick, he did not see him kick the Deceas'd.

Richard Buckley , the Apothecary, depos'd, that he was sent for to the Deceas'd on the 27th of August, and made him up a Cephalick Medicine, and a purging Draught. This Evidence being ask'd, what he thought might be the Cause of his Death? he reply'd, It was probable it might be an Apoplexy. He being ask'd, How he found the Scrotum ? reply'd, It was something discolour'd .

Noah Sherwood depos'd, That he inspected the Body, and found a Wound an Inch in length on the Hinder-part of the Head, but there was no Fracture on the Skull; that he saw'd it off, and found it in a good Condition: That as to the Scrotum, the Deceas'd had a Rapture , and by the Gut being so long, it must have come down some time, and he did not perceive any Contusion there; that as to the Contusions on his Jaw and elsewhere, they were all so slight, he did not think they were the Cause of his Death.

Henry Hildip depos'd, That as to the Contusions on his lower Jaw, and on the Collar Bone, and Scrotum, and as to the Wound on his Head, it had not affected the Membrane that inclos'd the Skull, and there was no Fracture, they were all slight, and he did not apprehend that any of them were the Cause of his Death, that the reason of the Pain in his Stomach, might proceed from his Lungs, adhering to the Pleura, which it did, and as to the Blood which Mr. Sherwood took out towards his Back, under his Bowels, it proceeded from the Spleen, which broke in the Operation, rather than from any Contusion in the Back, which was but slight.

The Prisoner call'd some Evidences who depos'd, That they had seen the Deceas'd abroad after the Injury had been receiv'd; and after a full hearing of the Matter, the Jury acquitted the Prisoner.

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