Catherine Demay.
17th January 1739
Reference Numbert17390117-7
VerdictNot Guilty

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76. Catherine Demay , of London, Spinster, was indicted, for that she, not having God before her Eyes, &c. and contriving and intending one Michael Dunn , with Poison to kill and murder, on the 15th of December , in the Parish of St. Martin, Ludgate, a great Quantity of Cantharides, being deadly Poison, into a certain Liquor, made of Coffee and Water boiled together, of her Malice aforethought, did put and mix, she well knowing the same to be Poison; and afterwards that she the said Catherine, in the Parish aforesaid, the Poison aforesaid, and so mixed as aforesaid, in the Liquor aforesaid, of her Malice aforethought, to him the said Dunn did give, and

cause to be given, to drink and swallow down: And afterwards, on the 15th of December, in the Parish aforesaid, he the said Dunn, the said Poison, so mixed as aforesaid, by the Procurement of her, the said Demay, did drink and swallow down: whereupon, he the said Dunn, by the Poison aforesaid, so as aforesaid taken, was sick and distemper'd in his Body, and of the Sickness caused by the said Poison from the 15th to the 18th of December, in the Parish aforesaid, and in St. Margaret's Westminster, did languish, and languishingly lived; on which 18th of December, of the Poison, and of the Sickness occasioned thereby, he died, in the Parish of St. Margaret aforesaid. So the Jurors say, That she, the said Demay, him the said Dunn, of her Malice aforethought, did kill and murder .

She was a second Time charged, by vertue of the Coroner's Inquisition.

The Council for the Prosecution having open'd the Indictment, and the Evidence, the Witnesses were called.

William Charlton . The Prisoner was a Lodger in my House: I am a Barber and Peruke-maker, in Cock-Court, on Ludgate-Hill : The Deceased was at that time my Journey-man . On the 15th of December she called down Stairs for Michael, (the Deceased) I told her, he was not at home, and asked her, what she wanted with him? She said, if I would not take it as an Affront, there was a Pot of very good Coffee for him. No, Madam, says I, I shall not be affronted, 'tis a better Breakfast than I shall give him. As soon as he came in, I told him Mrs. Demay had brought him some Coffee, and bid him get some Bread and Butter, and make himself a Toast, and eat with it. I was there from the time of her leaving the Coffee, till the Deceased came in; then he drank it, and threw away the Grounds himself.

Counc. How soon did he begin to complain?

Charlton. He did not complain to me, till Sunday Morning, and the Coffee was given him on the Friday Morning. I sent him on an Errand on Sunday Morning, and when he returned, he complained of being cold and chilly, but did not say a Word to me that he suspected the Coffee had done him any Harm. He had a Brother, who lives at Westminster, and he told me he would take a Walk to see him; and from that Time he never came Home; but sent me word on Monday Morning, that he would come as soon as he could, with the Hair I order'd him to bring from thence. I expected him home on Tuesday, but he did not some: His Brother came at Night, and told me he was very ill, and that the Doctors could not prescribe for him, till they knew how he was taken. He was dead, I find, at this Time, but the Brother wanted to hear what I could say. I told him, I never heard him complain till Sunday

Counc. How long had he liv'd with you?

Charlton. He had work'd with me six Months, within a Week; and I can't say he ever seemed to ail any thing in all that Time. As to the Prisoner, she lived in the House when I took it; I know nothing of her Condition, nor of any Intimacy between her and the Deceased, any farther than Civility; he used to go on her Errands, when he was not employ'd in Business. I thought she looked on him no otherwise than as any body may do on their Servant.

Mrs. Charlton. The Prisoner lodged in our House, and the Deceased was our Journeyman. I was in the Sight of all that passed on this Occasion: When she call'd him, he was not at home; so she put the Coffee-pot into my Son's Hand, and he set the Pot down before the Fire; in a Minute he came in, and I took the Pot, and gave it him on the Tea-Board; and from the Time of her bringing it, to the Time I gave it him, I am sure nothing was done to it; he drank two Dishes, and in the third Dish he said he thought there was a bit of a Tea-leaf; when he had said this, he drank that Dish likewise; and as soon as he had done, I took the Pot, and was going to empty the Grounds; but he took it from me, and emptied them into the Court: Then I scalded it out, and set it away.

Counc. When did you hear him complain first?

Mrs. Charlton. Not till Sunday. I never heard him complain of the Coffee at all. On Sunday he said he felt himself very weak, and complain'd of being cold, but gave no Hint of the Occasion.

Counc. Did you see him any more between that Time, and the Time of his Death?

Mrs. Charlton. No; On Sunday, after he had complained, he said he would go and take a Walk to his Brother's: I told him, if he was not well, he had better not go so far: He had been laughing, about Half an Hour before, with Customers in the Shop. We used to let him go on her Errands, because she had no body else to go, and we thought she might be afraid of going out herself, and she used now and then to give him a small Matter, such as a Draught of Ale: I never saw any Familiarity between them.

Q. When you told him it was a great way to go, what did he say?

Mrs. Charlton. He said he was not sick, and would be at Home again about Ten o'Clock.

Brian Dunn . The Deceased was my Brother; I happened not to come home that Sunday before eight or nine o'Clock. I found him sitting on an Alehouse Bench, a few Doors from my House; he told me he was very ill, so I got him some Ale and Treacle (for I thought he had only got Cold) then I went home with him, and put him into my Bed, and covered him up close, and he sweat heartily. After sweating, he was very dry; so I got him some Water and put a Toast into it: He drank a good Draught; then I got him a dry, aired Shirt, and sat myself down again by the Fire. By and by he called out hastily, - Brother! Brother! help me up, or else I shall die in the Bed! (This was about Twelve o'Clock) I ran to him, - Lord have Mercy on me, says he, I am a dead Man! You're dead-hearted, said I, what's the Matter with you? I don't know, says he, I believe I have got a Fever. After this, he could not rest in Bed, so he got up, and put my great Coat on, and walked about the Room. Then I told him I was sleepy, and would lie down; desiring him, if he should find himself worse, to call me. About Day-light, he called me, and told me, he was very ill, very thirsty, and ready to be choaked. I got him something to drink, but then he could not drink any Liquor at all. I asked him what was the Reason he could not drink, when he was so very thirsty? Why, says he, the very Sight of it choaks me! - I have a Burning within me, but cannot drink. I then got a clean Rag, and dipped it into such Liquids as I had, Water-gruel, &c. and with the Rag, I moistened his Lips. I was very much surprized at the Condition he was in, so I told him I would go and fetch Mr. Varney the Apothecary to him; he begged of me not to leave him alone; but I went, and while I was gone, he run out of Doors to an Ale-house. and clapping both his Hands upon the Bar-post, he begged the Woman of the House to help him, - or else he should die! When the Apothecary came, he asked him if he had not been meddling with Girls, and desired him not to be afraid to tell us, if it was so. I requested of my Brother not to be afraid of me, for I would do all I could to help him. In answer to this, he told us, he had not been well since Friday Morning; that Mrs. Demay gave him that Morning some Coffee; that he saw something like a Tea-Leaf in it, but square; yet as he thought it warm and good, he drank it; that in about three Hours and a Half afterwards he found a very strange Alteration in himself, - (The Witness here made Use of such Expressions, in his Account of the Disorder, and the Effects of the Poison, as Decency obliges us to suppress.) I begged very hard, that he would let me know the Truth of the Matter, and he said, - the d - mn'd B - ch Demay gave him the Coffee, and he felt (the Effects of) it, in about three Hours and a Half; and that the Coffee she gave him was the Occasion of his Death. He died on Monday.

Prisoner. Had not the Deceased been drinking; when you saw him on Sunday Night?

Dunn. He had been in the House, where I found him on the Bench, and the Landlady had offered to make him a hot Pint. I believe he had drank something at that House.

Prisoner. Have not you declared you'd spend 100 l. to hang me?

Dunn. I have said, I would spend 100 l. to have Right done to my Brother, and that I would hang her, if I could.

William Bishop I saw the Deceased in his Master's Shop, on the Evening of the Friday he took the Coffee. He told me he was very ill, and found an Uncommon Ailment upon him, and was very cold, and in a shivering Condition. I saw him likewise on Saturday, but on Sunday he told me again, that he was very ill; - very cold and shivering. He was then going to shave a Customer of his Master's in Fleet-lane, and he afterwards came and shaved me, and told me, the Gentleman where he had been, had given him a Glass of Brandy, and he thought himself a little better, but still he continued ill. After Dinner he came to me, to borrow my great Coat, to go to his Brother's, because he was cold, and from this Time I saw no more of him.

Counc. What were his Complaints to you?

Bishop. His Complaint was in the lower Part of his Body, &c &c. He said, there was something in the Coffee he had drank like Green Tea Leaves, or Green Tea Dust; and he thought it was the Coffee that had occasioned the Disorder.

Prisoner's Q. Did he say nothing else;

Bishop. He told me on the Monday or Tuesday Fortnight before this happened, that he had lain with a Woman in Drury Lane; and he was afraid he had got it, and I understood it, - that he had got the Clap.

Bridget Dunn . The Deceased was my Nephew; I was with him in his Sickness. His Brother came for me, on Monday about Twelve o'Clock, and told me, he believed his Brother Michael was dying. I went with him, and found the Deceased in a sad Condition, upon a Man's Back. I

asked him what was the Matter? Don't be surprized, Aunt, says he. What's the Matter with you, says I, are you mad? I suppose you have eat something that does not agree with you. Aye! says he, that's the Thing, I had three Dishes of Coffee for my Breakfast, which has killed me; and in the last, I saw something like Green Tea Leaves. Michael, says I, tell me if you have not been among the Wenches, - if you have, I will get you cured. No, says he, - I shall not live 'till 12 o'Clock at Night, and, as I hope to be saved, I never knew a Woman in my Life; and in about three Hours he died. He bid me kiss him, and told me he should not die by himself, he should die with his dear Brother. I asked him if he used to breakfast with the Woman? He said no, he had never breakfasted with her before, nor, as he hoped to be saved, had he ever had any Thing to do with a Woman in his Life.

Thomas Duberly gave an Account, That he saw the Deceased on Monday Morning. That about 9 or 10 o'Clock he told him he should die, and then the Apothecary was sent for. That he told him, he was afraid he was in Love, or had been dabbling among the Girls. That the Deceased reply'd, - no, - upon his Soul he never in his Life had meddled with any Woman; and throwing his Arms round the Witness, he said, - I have drank three Dishes of Coffee, which were given me by Mrs. Demay, two of them I drank greedily, and in the third I saw a great many Spangles, and something like Green Tea Leaves; and since that, I have never been right; for about three Hours after I found an Alteration in myself, &c. [The Witness here gave an Account of the Disorder, and the Effects of the Poison.] Afterwards my Body wasted away, that nothing could be like it; and if ever I see her again, - d - mn the B - ch, I'll murder her. That this was the Day he died, and that he continued in the same Story to the last. That the Deceased declared he was in his Senses, and knew what he said; and though at some Times he seemed to be light headed, yet at other Times, he walked about the Room, and talked very sensibly.

Ann Dewsberry saw the Deceased about eight o'Clock, on Monday Morning. She gave much the same Account of the Disorder he was in; and added, That she had an Opportunity of taxing him with having been among lewd Women, when she was left for some time alone with him; but the Deceased solemnly protested he had never touched a Woman in his Life, and told her, the Coffee given him by her who lodged in his Master's House, was the Cause of the Disaster; and that he drank two Dishes greedily, and in the third he found something swimming like Green Tea Leaves, but not thinking any Harm, he drank that likewise. She likewise declared, That within half an Hour of his Death, he said, - That Coffee had done his Business, and if he lived to see That - (calling her a hard Name) he would do her Business; and in the Opinion of this Witness, he was in his Senses to the Minute of his Death, though he had enough upon him to have made him mad.

John Dewsberry saw the Deceased on the Sunday Se'enight before, in perfect Health; he saw him no more 'till the time he saw him sick at his Brother's, which was about 3 o'Clock the Day he died. He added, That about 7 o'Clock he grew worse, and called out for his Brother; That Mr. Tagg the Surgeon was sent for, but before he came, he was struck speechless and died.

Mr. Varney, Apothecary. I came to the Deceased about 9 o'Clock on Monday Morning, and found his Stomach greatly disordered; an Uneasiness in his Throat, and a violent Strangury upon him. I put some Questions to him, which he answered, by saying he had never known a Woman in his Life, and desiring immediately to speak only to his Brother and me, he told us a Person had given him some Coffee, in a Dish of which he perceived something like a Leaf to float, and that presently after he had drank the Coffee he found himself strangely disordered, &c. &c. I advised them to send for a Physician, and accordingly Dr. Connel was sent for, but he died about 8 at Night. Upon opening him, we found the Heart and Stomach vastly enflamed, and something - Powder-like, was taken out of his Stomach, but we could not distinguish what it was.

Counc. What do you think was the Occasion of his Death?

Mr. Varney. I think nothing could produce such Circumstances, or be the Occasion of it, but Cantharides. Such Symptoms are likely to ensue, on a Person's taking a Dose of them, and on that only, in my Opinion. Cantharides taken in an undue Quantity; are-Poison. I have been an Apothecary twenty two Years, and am acquainted with the Operation of Cantharides.

Prisoner's Q. Whether it is not usual in some Stages of the French Disease to take Cantharides?

Mr. Varney. I have heard it is.

Prisoner's Q. If Cantharides be given in such a Quantity as to be Poison, how soon do they operate?

Mr. Varney. Generally in about twelve Hours.

Prisoner's Q. If a Person take such a Dose of them as to produce such Effects, is it likely he should go about from Friday to Sunday, without complaining?

Mr. Varney. I should think he must complain sooner?

Mr. Tagg, Surgeon. I was sent for to the Deceased two Hours and a Half before he died, and found him raving, by reason of his Pain, but sensible. The Nerves were affected, and he was almost Convulsive; I was forced to have three or four People to hold him while I bled him. The Symptoms the Witnesses have described, are the Effect of Cantharides; and if they are improperly given, they are absolutely Poison. On opening the Body, we found the Stomach vesicated, and the Skin of the internal Coat hung in Flaps, as if a large Blister had been made and broke. There was another not broke, filled with a dirty Mucus, which is unnatural. I can't say I saw the Wings of the Cantharides, but it seems he had had large Evacuations, upwards and downwards, and the Mucus was fixed by the Salts of the Cantharides: The Veins of the Heart were very turgid and full; and the Viscera were eroded, as well as the Stomach, down to the Bottom. There were no Symptoms of the Foul Disease; if there had, I must have seen them. I take it, that nothing but taking an Over-dose of Cantharides was the Cause of his Death. I found him in a Sort of sensible Madness; not as a light-headed Man in a Fever, but he had Intervals; he open'd his Eyes, and talked to People; but at the same time was so strong in Motion, that he appeared as if he knew not what he did; but in a few Minutes he would recover, and speak to the People in the Room. The Nerves were concern'd, and consequently the Brain must be affected. I can't say I examined the Body so as to be able to swear he never had had the Foul Disease; but I saw nothing of it.

Prisoner's Q. How long Time do you allow before Cantharides will operate?

Mr. Tagg. 'Tis according to the Quantity taken. We allow Twelve Hours the Outside. I don't believe a Person could live 48 Hours with too large a Dose; for the Warmth of the Stomach would make them operate sooner. If so great a Quantity be taken as to occasion Death, it will descend, and affect the Kidneys and Ureters, and occasion, &c. &c.

Prisoner's Q. People know the Use of them outwardly - if they have the same Effect internally, can you imagine a Person will be able to go about from Friday Morning to Sunday, if so large a Quantity should have been taken inwardly?

Mr. Tagg. Yes, I believe he might.

Doctor Connel . I was sent for to this unhappy young Fellow, about Two Hours before he died. When I came in, he could hardly answer any Questions. Presently he would come to himself and complain of Tortures in, &c. I asked him some Questions; in answer to which he said - as he hop'd to be sav'd, he had never had any Commerce with Women - but about three Days ago he drank some Coffee, and had never been well since. [The same Account of the Coffee was given as hath been before mentioned.] I asked the People about him if, &c. &c. they said, yes, &c. &c. which I thought was the Effect of the Cantharides, and I sent for a Surgeon to bleed him, and was going to order him some cooling Emulsions; but the Apothecary told me, he could not drink, he had an Hydrophobia upon him, an Abhorrence of Liquids. I was so convinced it was the Effect of Cantharides, that I ordered him a Dose of Camphire, which is the best thing against the Symptoms, which are the inseparable Effects produced from such a Quantity taken.

Prisoner's Q. Was it possible for a Man to go about from Friday to Sunday after this?

Dr. Connel. I believe he might: According to the Temperament of the Stomach, and the Quantity taken, he might go about a Week. I have administer'd Cantharides, and have been acquainted with the Medicine fifteen Years: I think a Man may go on eight Days before he comes to such a Condition.

Prisoner. My Lord and Gentlemen of the Jury, Never did a Person more innocent appear at this Bar. I never had any Malice or I'll-will to the Fellow in my Days: If he did me any little Courtesy, I paid him in some Way or other; if he fetch'd the Coffee, I said I would give him the Grounds; if I had put any thing into the Pot, is it reasonable to imagine I should have delivered it into Mr. Charlton's Hands? I never knew of any Design against me 'till the Time I went to make Mr. Charlton some Acknowledgment for going out of his House without Warning, &c. and that I never laid my Eyes on the Wretch from the Time I gave him the Coffee 'till I went to Market on Saturday, and that Day I had a Chair-woman with me till Twelve at Night; he was singing at his Work that Night at Eleven.

Mary Winnel . On Friday the 15th of December the Prisoner invited me to breakfast with her: When I came there the Tea-Kettle was upon the Fire; she ask'd me, whether I chose Coffee or

Tea' I told her, I chose Coffee; (but I have heard she does not drink Coffee herself once in a Twelvemonth) upon which she borrow'd a Coffee Pot, and the Deceased (I understand) was sent for the Coffee. After we had drunk two Dishes a-piece, she said, - Here's a Piece of Oat-cake left, and I expect Mrs. Buckley to come presently, so she went to Mrs. Buckley's Shop (just at the Corner) for half an Ounce more, and Mrs. Buckley brought it herself, but her Customers coming in, she was call'd away; the Prisoner then said, - 'Tis pity the Coffee should be thrown away, so she pour'd some Water out of the Tea-Kettle into the Pot, and as she was going to put the Coffee into the Pot, I told her, I wanted to see her Dining room; she went with me, and in two Minutes Time we came out again, for she was afraid the Coffee would have boil'd over, then she took it, and carry'd it down for the Servant. I can take my Oath she put nothing in it but the Coffee in my Sight: She is as innocent of the Thing as the Child unborn; for I drank of that which was made of the last half Ounce, as well as that which was made first

Mary Buckley . I live over against the Prisoner's Lodging, and have known her half a Year. On Friday, Dec. 15. she came and desired me to bring half an Ounce of Coffee; I went with it myself, and she asked me to stay and drink a Dish, I told her I would come again presently, but I could not then stay. She is a Person of good Reputation, and was above having any Intimacy with the Deceased: Whenever he went of an Errand for her, she always gave him something.

Counc. Did you drink any of this Coffee?

Buckley. No.

Jane Marsh . I live with Mrs. Storey, (the next Witness) and chair'd for the Prisoner the Saturday following: The Deceased was well, and merry, and perfectly in Health, between Eleven and Twelve at Night; he was singing, and complain'd of nothing, but seem'd as well as I was.

Mrs. Sey. I have known the Prisoner seven Year's she is a very good-natured Woman, and ready to serve any one. 'Tis a Law-Suit that laid her under unhappy Circumstances. On Friday the 15th of December she came to my House about One o'Clock, and staid till Eleven. I desired her to let the last Witness have her Work, and she consented. At Eleven, she went Home with the Prisoner, and I saw no more of her till Saturday Night. I know nothing of the Fact; but I know Mrs. Demay would have nothing to do with such a Creature, unless it was to do him a Charitable Act.

Dorothy Hall, the Prisoner's Sister, din'd at Mrs. Storey's the 15th of December, with the Prisoner, and confirm'd Storey's Evidence; adding, that the Prisoner came to see them again on Monday, and went from their House to St James's.

William Watson had known the Prisoner ever since last May was a Twelve-month; she lodged in his House, till her Misfortune came on her by a Law-suit. While she liv'd in his House, she used frequently to give his Apprentice ( Arthur Norson ) any little Matter she had left.

James Gilstrop . About a Month before this 15th of December, I took a Walk with the Deceased, and as we were going along, he said, - G - d, Doctor, I have got the foul Distemper, and shew'd me a Box of Pills; telling me, they were to cure him. I have been with him several Times, and once, at a Publick House in Moorfields, we were to see two Girls, but their Father and Mother happen'd to be at Home, else we were to have gone up Stairs with them; I saw the Girls were full of Dimples too. I live at Mr. Grange's, a Hair-cutter, in Great Russel-street, Covent-Garden, and the Deceased had been my Fellow Servant there. He told me his Case, and shew'd me the Pills out of Fun, and in a bragging Way.

William Phipps got acquainted with the Deceased about five Months before his Death; He gave Account, that about a Month before he dy'd, he told him he had the foul Distemper upon him, and show'd him a Phial, &c. &c. with a little Liquor in it, which he said was given him by a Doctor at the other End of the Town.

John Thompson deposed, That about a Month or five Weeks before the 15th of December, he saw a Box of Pills and a Phial in the Deceased's Possession, which he told him was to cure a young Man of the aforesaid Malady. He added, that he came to shave his (the Witness') Head the very Sunday before he dy'd; that he seem'd very well, and the Witness producing some Brandy for the Deceased to rub his Head with to prevent his catching Cold, the Deceased said, - Put as much in your Inside, Master, and you'll never catch Cold; upon which the Witness gave him a Dram.

Prisoner. I would desire to know, if Phipps was not once with him in Drury-Lane, in Company with a Woman?

Phipp. Yes. I live with a Brandy Merchant in Bridges-street, where he came to see me, and I treated him with three Gills of Shrub and Water; then we went to the Strong Beer; after this we went to Tom King' and from thence we went staggering into Drury

Lane, where he got one Girl, and I got another, and we carry'd them into a House in a Court in Drury Lane; when we came out, he told me he had given his Girl the Clap.

C. 'Tis necessary that the whole Truth should be spoke; but you was guilty of a very ill Thing, and 'tis for your Interest to let this be a Warning to you.

Matthew Stevens gave an Account, that about a Month or ten Weeks ago, the Deceased asked him if he could recommend him to one who could cure him, &c. telling him he had lain abroad last Night.

Samuel Farthing depos'd, That he liv'd with a Chymist on Ludgate-hill; and that about six or eight Weeks ago, he brought him a little Note, on which was wrote, Elixir Antivenereum, Uncia una, and wanted the Witness to give him a little for a Friend, which he refus'd.

Mr. William Morgan gave an Account that in some Stages of the Distemper, 'twas usual to give Cantharides, and a Tincture was made of them for that Purpose. It was his Opinion, That if they were taken inwardly by themselves, they would operate immediately; his Reason was, That he himself had been obliged to make an Emulsion for the Strangury, in two or three Hours after the Application of a Blister, He believed terrible Symptoms, such as Shiverings, Vomitings, &c must appear in two Hours; and farther, he knew a Case, where six Drops of the Tincture (in which Cantharides are corrected with Camphire) produced such a Disorder, that the Patient died, &c. This Witness had known the Prisoner many Years; he took her to be a Person of Reputation, and said her Business was making Habits, and Manteels, and had some little Income beside. He added, That the Deceased had had a Vomit given him before he died, That it was not improbable, That might Irritate the Stomach, and enflame it; That he had enquired of the Surgeon who opened the Body, whether they had inspected the Ureters? That the Surgeon said no - for if he could take upon him to say, the Inflamation was occasioned by Cantharides, there was no Occasion for any farther Enquiry.

Mr. Brumpton said 'twas not usual to give Cantharides alone; that he had made Experiments upon two Dogs, and found the Symptoms appear in less than six Hours.

Francis Skelborn , and Elizabeth Johnson gave the Prisoner the Character of an honest, virtuous Woman, and Johnson said, she had some little Income to live upon, beside her Business Acquitted .

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