Charles Shutter.
14th January 1757
Reference Numbert17570114-25
VerdictNot Guilty

Related Material

ActionsCite this text | Print-friendly version | Report an error
Navigation< Previous text (trial account) | Next text (trial account) >

81. (M.) Charles Shutter was indicted for feloniously slaying Hugh Cockerham , Jan 19 . +.

Frances Cockerham . The deceased Hugh Cockerham was my husband. I was at Mr. Gentleman's house.

Q. Who is he?

F. Cockerham. He keeps a public house. My husband came in to look for me; and I went in, in order to look for him. He desired me to go home. I heard a scuffle in the tap-room and return'd back again, when I saw this corporal and my husband engaged together. [The prisoner is a soldier ] I took hold on the corporal's hair and pull'd him away, and no harm happen'd at that time as I saw. Then my husband desired me to go home again. I desired him to go with me. He said he would not. I went to a neighbour's house and staid there about a quarter of an hour, and in came Richard Christy with my husband's hat in his hand, and told me my husband was killed, and that he was bleeding in my room. I asked him who brought him in, and how he came there.

Q. Did he tell you how it happened?

F. Cockerham. No he did not, nor who brought him home. He told me they had thrown him upon the fire and burnt his temple after his face was cut. His forehead was cut very much.

Q. How long did he live after this?

F. Cockerham. He lived 2 month and two days after. He was buried last night. He lay in a very lingering way, and always told me till his death, that the corporal was the death of him.

Catharine Walley . I went into Mr. Gentleman's where this accident happened, and in about a minute after I was there, in came Mr. Cockerham; his wife being there he desired her to go home, accordingly she turn'd out of the room. He was talking to somebody, I don't know who; one said, I speak my own country language, do not you understand me.

Q. Who said that ?

C. Walley. It was the prisoner at the bar said that. I saw Mr. Cockerham get up two or three times, so did the prisoner; the men that were in the room got between them, so I saw no blows given. There was no damage done while I was there. I went home directly.

Q. From Prisoner. Did not you see Mr. Cockerham give me the first blow ?

C. Walley. I did not see who struck first, I saw no blows.

Mr. Gentleman. The prisoner at the bar and his comrade were drinking a pint of ale in my house; in came Cockerham, who saw his wife, and the last evidence; and said to her, pray madam, what do you do here, you should be at home. March now, (as much as to say go home.) She said, I will not go without you go with me; he said again, I say go home.

Q. Did she obey his order?

Gentleman. She did, but not immediately. After she was gone, she and Mrs. Walley came in again for a pint of hot, for Walley's husband. She was warming it herself at the corner of the fire; the prisoner was sitting by the fire and seemed to force his discourse to her, as she was warming her husband's pint of hot. Cockerham the deceased called the prisoner some names, and said, what business have you chattering with her. The prisoner said, what business have you with it. Cockerham jump'd up. and gave the prisoner two or three blows, and said, I'll cut off one of your ears. Said the prisoner if you do, I'll have your hearts blood. After this they sat to, and got into the box, and had a a few pulls by the hair, and little things that would not kill a rat. We parted them, and put them at a distance. I having some business at the bar, while I went there they step'd up to each other, and went at it again. They had a fall, the prisoner at the bar was underneath, and the serjeant had his forehead cut by the grate, as he fell.

Q. Who do you call the serjeant ?

Gentleman. The deceased was a serjeant, and the prisoner a corporal.

Q. When did the deceased die?

Gentleman. He died a month and two days after this. I went to see him before he died. There were two serjeant majors sent to examine me. They asked me who was the aggressor, was it the serjeant or the corporal. I told them before Cockerham's face, that he was the aggressor.

He was then sitting on his breech in his bed. I said to him, Cockerham, the fault lies upon you.

Q. What was his answer to that ?

Gentleman. He said, I know it. I entirely forgive him, and know I am guilty of the fault; and said to the serjeant majors, dear gentlemen, don't let me be brought to a hearing.

Q. What did he mean by that ?

Gentleman. I suppose he meant, not to let him be brought to a court martial. He acknowledged he was aggressor to the last.

Q. From prisoner. Did not serjeant Cockerham desire me to come and shake hands with him?

Gentleman. Yes, he did.

Q. What were his words ?

Gentleman. He said, let the man come. Let me see the man, for I want to shake hands with him, for I own I was the aggressor. This is truth. The woman may say as she pleases.

Prisoner's Defence.

That night when I was drinking a pint of ale, in Mr. Gentleman's house, serjeant Cockerham's wife and Mrs. Walley happen'd to come in. I had a comrade of mine with me. Mrs. Walley bespoke a pint of hot, which she said was for her husband, who was in bed. In the mean time serjeant Cockerham came in and saw his spouse there. She was fractious in liquor; he bid her go home. She said she would drink something first. Then Mr. Gentleman was taking the pint of hot from the fire. He said here is a pint of hot making. The woman said I wait for it, I'll take it home for my husband. I said to Mrs. Walley, I wish I was your husband, if it was but for sake of the pint of hot. So perhaps serjeant Cockerham thought I spoke to his wife. He said, what chattering Rachel is this. I did not know him, nor he me then. He repeated those words twice. I look'd round and said, is it me you speak to. He said, yes, you scoundrel, you impudent puppy, if I had you in another place I would cut your ears off. I said, then you would serve me, as they do the rogues in my country, to make an example of them. Mr. Gentleman said, do'nt make a disturbance. I said I know nothing of the man, nor he of me, if he will keep himself to himself, I will not interrupt him, making slight of the thing, which madehim mad, and he got up and gave me a blow on the face. I laid hold of him in order to keep him quiet, and in the mean time my landlord and my comrade laid hold of me; and Mrs. Cockerham, in order to take care of me, pulled me backwards by my hair. After we were parted, I sat down, and said, as you are a serjeant and I but a corporal, it does not become me to strike you again. according to our martial law, but according to that law I'll make proper complaint of you to my field officer. He will you, you dog. I said yes I will. I drank my, and as I was ting my pint down, he came up and gave me a blow on my eyebrow, which made me a black eye, and knocked me backwards and was going to get up again he followed him slow and struck me on my back; whether he had a mind to give me a lirce on my fall, or whether it was his being drunk I know not, but he follow on me and before went against the grate, gave him this would. After we got up he sat down and directly put his handkerchief to it. His head bled very much. Mr. Gentleman sent for a surgeon, who dressed his would. I went home and went to bed. Mrs. Cockerham came to my serjeant's house, and desired to know whether the Hanoverian corporal was at home or aning me and desired he would be to good confine me. This obliged me to make my complaint to the field officer. I got up in the morning and did so, and I was promised I should have justice done me. After this two serjeant majors were sent to enquire into the affair, and Mr. Gentleman went with them to the deceased. The account of what passed there, he has given this honourable court As he wanted to see me, I went twice to see him, but I was denied seeing him by his wife, with very bad words.

For the Prisoner.

William Fordice . I am a surgeon. I was sent for five days after this happen'd, and found a wound on the deceased's head. I examined it; the symptoms were then very favourable for a wound in the head, because all wounds on the head are more or less dangerous. He asked me what I thought. I said as all wounds on the head are more or less dangerous, I could not say any thing to it, but I could not discover any marks of a fracture in the scull. For some days the thing went on very well. After a time they sent word the serjeant was very ill. I went to him, and found he had a difficulty in breathing, and that he had been let blood the night before, without letting me know of it. Then I found he had a pleurify, and was very yellow; which we look upon as a very bad symptom. In a pleurify it is generally mortal.

Q. What is your opinion was the occasion of his death ?

Fordice I believe he died of a pleurisy.

Q. Do you believe that wound on his head was the occasion of bringing the pleurisy on him ?

Fordice. I believe that might put him in a severish slate. I can't say as to that.

Q. Did you open the body afterwards ?

Fordice I did, and upon looking on the of the scull I could not see any marks of a fracture at all. We opened likewise his breast, and on that side, where he make complaint, we found a great collection of matter; such a quantity as was sufficient to destroy any person in such a d, unless they spit it out. It was sufficient to convince me he died of that pleurisy.

Q. Whether you think he would have died so soon it he had not received ?

Fordice. I think he would; but am not sure of that.

The prisoner had several witnesses to his character, but the court thought it needless to cn.

Acquitted , and that the deceased died a natural death.

View as XML