Offence: Killing > murder
Verdict: Not Guilty
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26. Francis Walford was indicted for the Murder of William Stanley , by abetting, aiding, comforting and maintaining Thomas Darby (not yet taken) who with a Shovel made of Iron and Wood, did strike the said William Stanley on the right part of the Head, and thereby gave him one mortal Bruise, on the 7th of July last, of which mortal Bruise he languish'd till the 9th of August following, and then d'd.
Susannah Bragnall . I live in Elmstreet in Grays-Inn-Lane , next Door to where the Deceas'd liv'd. The Deceas'd and his Wife were standing at their Door and I at mine, about 9 at Night. Thomas Darby (who since escap'd from the Constable) and the Prisoner were both Labourers to Mr. Aldridge the Bricklayer, who was rebuilding a House just by. The Labourers sat up their Screen before the Deceas'd's Door, to screen some Rubbish; says the Deceas'd, I hope you won't screen your Rubbish upon my Ground. Damn you for a Son of a Bitch, but we will, said the Labourers. The Deceas'd went in, and then said his Wife, It's hard that we can't stand at our own Door to take a mouthful of Air, but we must be choaked with your Dust. Damn you, you Bitch, said they, go in and send your Buck cut, and we'll thrash him. With that the Deceas'd came out, and kick'd their Screen down; and they set it up again nearer his Door than before, and begun to screen their Rubbish, which made such a Dust that I ran up to shut my Window, and in the mean time the Blow was given; so that I did not see how it happen'd. When I came down the Deceas'd was very bloody, and his Wife came out with a Candle in her Hand, and went to a Neighbour's House, and coming out again presently, she said, You Villain, you told me it was past 11, and it is but half an Hour past 9, for I have been to my Neighbour's Clock to see. Says the Prisoner, Damn your Blood, you black Bitch, go in and send your Husband out again, and I'll lick him again to his Heart's Content.
George Fleming . The Labourers gave gross Language to the Deceas'd and his Wife. He kick'd their Screen down; they set it up again higher to his Door, and made a great Dust. I went up to shut our Window, and looking out, saw Thomas Darby strike the Deceas'd on the Head with a Spade Edgeways, upon which the Deceas'd said, Fetch a Constable, he has cut me down the Head.
Mr. Sadler, Surgeon. Coming home on July 7. about 10 at Night, I found the Deceas'd in my Surgery. He had a Wound in the upper-part of his Head to the Scull, but without any bad Symptoms of Vomiting, &c. In 6 or 7 Weeks the Wound was near healed ; and then he omitted coming to be drest for 2 or 3 Days. I enquir'd the Reason of it, and was told, that he was a little Melancholy, which I did not like; but his Friend said, he believ'd it only proceeded from his being frighted at hearing me talk of an Exsoliatim, which he thought was something terrible to be done to him. I assured his Friend that it was only a slight Operation, and shew'd him the Nature of it, and that it might come off with a Plaister; but still the Deceas'd was afraid to come. In a few Days I went to him, and found he was better, and therefore only advis'd him to keep on the Plaister. On the 8th of August Word was sent me that he had had a it; I thought a bad Symptom, and advis'd that a Physician might be sent for. I propos'd a Trefining, that is, opening the Scull, but his Friends were all against it. However, I sent for another Surgeon, but he could not come, and the Deceas'd dy'd about 4 next Morning. I open'd his Scull, and found the Membranes of the Brain inflamed. I made an Incision in the Brain, and discharg'd a quantity of faetid corrupted Matter, which is generally occasion'd by a Shock or Blow of something heavy and which I thought was the Cause of his Melancholy.
Court. If he had come regularly to have been drest, do you think that his Death might not probably have been prevented?
Mr. Sadler. I doubt it; I think all the Chance we had for saving his Life would have been to have open'd his Scull sooner.
Dr. Smithson. On the 8th of August, I heard the Deceas'd had had a sort of a Fit; I found him stupid, dull, and almost senseless. Trefining (or as the old Term is, Trepaning) was propos'd, but his Mother said, She had rather he should die quietly than go thro' that barbarous Operation. As this would not be suffer'd, I fear'd he was past Relief, except a brisk Purge had a good Effect. I
Prisoner. The Deceas'd came out and struck Darby 2 or 3 times.
The Jury acquitted the Prisoner.