25th November 1850
Reference Numbert18501125-123
VerdictGuilty > unknown

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123. JOHN MCCARTHY , feloniously cutting and wounding Robert Backhouse, with intent to do him some grievous bodily harm.

MR. METCALFE conducted the Prosecution.

ROBERT BACKHOUSE (policeman, K 151). On the night of 30th Nov. I was attracted to a house in Robin-Hood-lane, Poplar, by cries of "Murder!" and "Police!"—I and serjeant Timpson went to the house—I saw a woman's head out of the window—she said, "For God's sake, policeman, don't go away; there will be murder done"—I said, "What is the matter?"—she said, "That man of mine," or words to that effect—directly the prisoner opened the door and rushed out with this short poker in his hand, and struck me three or four blows on my head, cheek, and temple—he said, "You are the b——r that had me before"(I had had him about two years and a half ago)—I became insensible—I did not draw my staff, or speak to him at all.

Cross-examined by MR. PLATT. Q. What sort of a neighbourhood is this? A. Very low—there are a good many Irish there and a good many rows—we did not go with our staves out—there was scarcely a soul in the

lane—the woman is the prisoner's wife—she did not say, "Go away; it is only a row"—she was in her night-dress; her upper part was naked— we heard the cries three or four times—I had a staff—the sergeant had his cutlass and truncheon—on my oath neither cutlass nor staves were drawn previous to my being struck; I cannot say what was done afterwards—there was no other policeman with us—I did not hear the prisoner inside, before the door was opened, saying it was only a drunken frolic—I heard a mingling of voices—it is a sort of lodging-house—I never demanded the door to be opened—I had only asked the woman what was the matter, and then the prisoner burst open the door—I think he must have heard what was said—it was about a quarter before twelve o'clock

JOHN TIMPSON (police-sergeant, K 25). On the night of 13th Nov. I went with Backhouse to 28, Robin-Hood-lane—we heard a woman calling, "For God's sake do not go away, there will be murder"—the prisoner and his brother came to the door—the prisoner said, "You b——r, you had me before"—the brother held my arms while the prisoner struck Back-house—I saw the prisoner take the iron out of his pocket and strike him—I got to him as soon as I could, and found him on the pavement bleeding very fast—I saw only one blow given, as I was grappled by the brother—nothing had been said to the prisoner before the blows were given.

Cross-examined. Q. What was said to the woman? A. Nothing by me—she did not say, "Do go away; it is only a quarrel between my husband and me"—the prisoner might have been drinking, but did not appear so to me—he is in the habit of quarrelling with his wife—when these cries came, I waited for the constable to come to the end of his beat, and we went down directly—I did not hear the prisoner say before he burst out of the house, "I merely quarrelled with my wife"—we did not beat at the door with our staves—we did not touch it—I took a cutlass with me; I always carry one when on duty at night—I swear nothing was done to the door—we did not say, "Come out"—I should say not two moments elapsed between our coming to the house and the door being opened—when he rushed out he seemed a little excited—we could see the woman up at the window—she showed no marks—the prisoner escaped at the time—he was taken by two constables—when he was taken I swear I did not use the cutlass, nor cut him with it—I was present when he was put in the cell—he made some resistance—he had marks on his arms—I did not see marks or cuts on him—I do not know of his being under the medical man's hands—Backhouse's staff was not taken out, to my knowledge.

ROBERT WESTFIELD (policeman, K 329). I came up when sergeant Timpson had got hold of the prisoner's brother—I went round and followed the prisoner over five yards—a brother constable who was with me got over first; the prisoner attacked him—the constable got his truncheon out, and the prisoner got it from him—he called to me; I threw the prisoner on the ground, and struck him more than once over the hands with my staff, to make him let go my brother officer's staff.

Cross-examined. Q. Are you sure you did not strike him anywhere else? A. I might have struck him over the arms, certainly not on the head—the sergeant came up—the cutlass was not made use of at all—when the prisoner was taken to the station there was some portion of blood on his clothes—he was not covered with blood—his shirt sleeves were covered with blood; the body of it was not—his trowsers were not

taken off in my sight—the only part that was taken off, was his shirt, which was torn out in his struggling—I saw no signs of his being in such a state that he required medical assistance; I do not know that he did—I saw the prisoner's wife—she made no complaints to me—she did not say it was a drunken frolic between her husband and herself—I know the prisoner—he is a man of violent habits—I have seen him the worse for liquor—he had been drinking on this occasion—it is a noisy neighbourhood now and then: it is not constantly so—the sergeant had a cutlass, but I did not see any cutlass drawn that night.

RONALD ROBERTSON . I am a surgeon. I examined Backhouse—I found over the left eye a contused wound an inch long, and half an inch deep, and on the forehead a wound of the same character, an inch and a half long, and about one-eighth of an inch deep, and contusions on the head—the wounds were of a dangerous character—the skin was not cut, it was separated.

Cross-examined. Q. Were they dangerous from what might ensue? A. Yes; not of themselves—erysipelas might have occurred—I did not attend the prisoner.

(The prisoner received a good character).

GUILTY . Aged 35.— Confined Twelve Months.

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