Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 8.0, 16 June 2021), September 1814, trial of JOHAN DA SILVA (t18140914-44).

JOHAN DA SILVA, Killing > murder, 14th September 1814.

739. JOHAN DA SILVA was indicted for the wilful murder of Thomas Davis .

JAMES DAVIS. Q. Had you a brother of the name of Thomas Davis - A. Yes; I was with him on the 12th of December, 1810, in Nightingale-lane, East Smithfield; I was quite sober. It was a moonlight night, I well recollect; the moon was up. My brother was with me; he was a little in liquor. The last house we were at was the Newcastle Arms.

Q. Did you join any company - A. We had three more persons besides ourselves.

Q. Was the prisoner there - A. I cannot exactly say; he might be in the house; I cannot exactly say whether he was or no.

Q. Did you know a man of the name of Antonio Cardosa - A. I well remember seeing him in the house.

Q. Did you and your brother join company with him - A. Not in the house; it was between eight and nine o'clock when he went out of the house.

Q. Did your brother go out of the house the same time with you - A. Yes.

Q. Did you observe whether Cardosa was left in the house - A. I cannot exactly tell; as we were going out we bid the landlord of the house good night. This was before nine o'clock. We went up to the East India Arms, and was going to turn down Maudlin's-rents, there we found some women.

Q. Do you know who these women were - A. Yes, their names are Mary Rogers , Sarah Brown , and Biddy Jennings. On turning round the corner I believe these girls were making water; both me and my brother fell over these girls; one of the girls came up, called my brother something, and threatened to beat him with a patten, with which she afterwards struck him. Sarah Brown struck me with an umbrella; Mary Rogers struck my brother; I think so, I cannot exactly tell. Rogers was in a passion. Brown struck me with an umbrella; I pulled her out into the street by the habit shirt, took the umbrella from her, and threw it into a green shop. One of the girls (I cannot say which it was now) said, go and fetch Antonio Cardosa . I saw one of the girls go; I cannot say which it was. My brother walked on to go away. When the Portuguese came up, one of the girls struck my brother with a patten; I said, do not strike him; do not mind him, he is in liquor, come and have something to drink.

Q. Did the girls walk on after you and your brother - A. They staid until four men came up; one of them attacked me; they followed me and my brother from the Newcastle Arms; they came behind me.

Q. Did they speak to you before they came up to you - A. No. The women then were close at hand. When they came up I knew Cardosa by seeing him in the house. I believe Cardosa was one of the four men that came up, and I am certain the prisoner Da Silva was another of the four.

Q. Was there light enough that night to enable you to distinguish his face - A. Yes; there was a butcher's shop open with a light, and another public-house window was open; the light from them windows assisted me in seeing the man. I saw the prisoner at the time of the affray; I saw him at the time of his coming up; I had the opportunity of observing him by these lights; I am able to say he is one of them. One of the girls said to one of the men, that is the b - r there, do not leave a bit of life in him; pointing to the deceased, Thomas Davis , my brother; she said, that is the b - r, kill him, do not leave a bit of life in him. After that, the prisoner now at the bar attacked me; I threw him into the mud. I had a long scuffle with Da Silva, because he collared me without any notice. I never saw him.

Q. Had he any thing in his hand - A. That I cannot tell. After I got away from Da Silva, I ran into the path; the prisoner ran towards where my brother was, and assisted Cardosa: he went to where the women and my brother were.

Q. Had any mischief befallen you while you and the prisoner were engaged - A. I cannot tell; I didnot feel it at that time. I ran towards my brother; my brother recovering himself, he run; he got from them; they let him go; he run; he fell

Q. How far did he run - A. He ran from the top of Maudlin's-rents to Burr-street.

Q. When your brother ran, did you follow him - A. Yes.

Q. Did either of the men or women go with you - A. I cannot tell; there were a number of men there when my brother fell.

Q. Was any thing done to your brother in your presence after you had released yourself from the prisoner, before your brother fell in Burr-street - A. I cannot tell; I observed nothing.

Q. In what manner did these men conduct themselves while they were about you - A. The women were very violent.

Q. Can you tell me which of the women it was that addressed herself to Cardoso, and said, kill him - A. - A. The young woman called Sarah Brown , alias Gotts; she addressed herself to Antonio Cardosa - A. When my brother got to Burr-street, the fell; he said, O Lord, O Lord. That is all I heard. My brother was taken into Dr. King's, in Burr-street. I saw the surgeon examine him. I believe he was dead before he got in; he appeared to me to be dead when I first took him up, by his head pulling from side to side; there then appeared no signs of life in him.

Q. Now, at the time that you saw your brother run, did you see Cardosa - A. Yes; he and the prisoner Da Silva were close together, surrounding my brother.

Q. Did you see either of them do anything; if you did, describe it - A. It is so long ago, I cannot recollect.

Q. When you took your brothers to the surgeon, what did you do yourself - A. I went to Mr. Birnie's, the Sugar Loaf and Punch Bowl; that was not the house I had last come from. I went to find a young man. I went to the Bee Hive, and found him; he and I went to my brother's craft, and staid all night. My brother was a waterman. I saw no more of Cardosa or Da Silva. The next day I went to the Thames police office and saw Cardosa; I knew him to be one of the men that was fighting my brother. I knew Cardosa to be one of the four men.

Q. How soon after this did you go abroad - A. It is now near two years since I went out to the East Indies; I went to China direct; I met with Da Silva. I went on board the Charles Grant , at Wampoo, with my captain, on a Sunday evening; I staid a little time at Wampoo, and as I was going down below on board the Charles Grant to see a young man of the name of Chapman, I heard Da Silva speak there; I had some knowledge of the voice; I asked Chapman if that man's name was not Da Silva; he said, yes. I went to the opposite side of the ship, and took Da Silva by the collar, and brought him to the main hatchway. I asked him if he knew me; he said, no; I asked if he remembered being in a house, and called out, and aiding and assisting in killing a young fellow, a waterman; he shrugged up his shoulders, and walked away; he put his handkerchief to his mouth that I should not see his face. I then returned to my own ship with my captain. At another time I was going on board the Charles Grant , Da Silva was looking out of the port; he saw me; he said, I am very sorry I did not kill you.

Q. Sometime after you scuffled with Da Silva you found yourself wounded - A. Yes, I had a cut in my arm, all through my clothes.

BIDDY JENNINGS. Q. Do you remember the night that Thomas Davis was killed, in 1810 - A. Yes.

Q. Were you near Maudlin's rents - A. Yes; I was at the end of Maudlin's-rents, in company with Sarah Brown and Mary Rogers . I had just before been with them at the Newcastle Arms, dancing.

Q. Do you remember the two Davis coming up to you - A. Yes.

Q. What took place when they came up to you - A. One of us had occasion to go up Maudlin's-rents, and just as she was getting up at the corner of the place, these two brothers came up and gave Sarah Brown a shove; Sarah Brown hit him directly with her umbrella; the other brother took the umbrella out of her hand, and gave it into the green shop; after that, the deceased turned about, struck Sally Brown , and knocked her down in the mind; she got up again immediately. I saw Antonio Cardosa come and give him two or three stabs in the face.

Q. Before Antonio Cardosa came had you heard any thing said about him - A. No, sir.

Q. When Antonio struck him in the face what did he strike him with - A. I cannot say; the last blow knocked him down. I did not see any thing more of it. I saw the prisoner get up and run away.

Q. After Da Silva came out of the public-house, Antonio knocked the deceased down - A. After he knocked the brother down I heard no more of it until I heard the brother was dead at the corner of Burr-street.

Q. You had seen the deceased before that - A. Yes, I had seen him in the public-house with the girl that he cohabited with. I never saw Antonio Cardosa after that night, until I saw him at the police office.

HENRY ABLE . I am a victualler. In December, 1810, I kept the Newcastle Arms, Nightingale-lane. The prisoner used my house at that time.

Q. Before the night that poor Davis met with his murder, had you seen Da Silva in your house alone, or in company - A. Yes.

Q. Did you know Cardosa - A. On this night, Cardosa and two others ran out together; a girl came, and called Cardosa. I am confident that Cardosa and Da Silva went out with the two other men; I did not follow them. Cardosa was the first that returned; Da Silva returned in about half an hour; when Da Silva came in, he had a knife in his hand, a table-knife round pointed; he said, it was his landlady's knife. Staples, a young man, came in, and said to Da Silva, you have stabbed the man; Da Silva made no answer. I asked him if he could swear to stabbing the man; he hesitated, and said, he could not. I said it was of no use detaining Da Silva. I had heard there had a man been stabbed; I had not been out to see. Da Silva went out immediately,leaving the knife with me. It was a common case knife; there was nothing remarkable on it. When I saw Cardosa next was at the Police office. Da Salva I have not seen until these three or four days.

EMANUEL MERCURY. I am a Police officer. I apprehended Cardosa that night, at No. 2, Cable-street, Back-lane, at his lodging, between eight and nine o'clock, almost immediately after the transaction. After he was handcuffed, he produced a clasp knife, he said, he had been eating his victuals with it; the knife was rather rusty.

Q. Did you after that endeavour our to apprehended Da Silva - A. I did, that night, and other times; I could not find him.

JOHN THOMAS . I am a surgeon. I lived with Mr. King in December, 1810. The deceased, Davis, was brought to me; he just breathed; there was some appearance of life. I afterwards examined the body to ascertain the cause of his death; I found a small wound upon the back, a good deal of blood upon the clothes.

Q. What part of the back - A. Between the shoulder-blade and back-bone; no other wound that I saw.

Q. Was it a deep wound - A. It appeared so; I opened the body, and found the wound had penetrated the lobe of the lungs three of four inches; the cavity of the chest was filled full of blood that issued from the wound.

Q. Did you discover enough to make you say what was the cause of his death - A. I attribute that he died from that wound. That wound night have been made with some sharp instrument; a common clasp knife would have made such a wound as that.

(The conviction of Antonio Cardosa read in court.)

Prisoner's Defence. I was in the public-house when some women cried for assistance, saying, they had been illused; at the instant I came out of the house, I received a blow in my face. I did not return another. I received a second blow, and fell to the ground. I then got up, and run away to my lodgings, and remained there until I thought the disturbance was over; I took a bit of bread and meat in my hand, with a knife and went to get a put of beer. I heard a man had been murdered by a Portuguese; I had a knife in my hand which I brought from my lodging; I was fearful of taking this knife to the door, for fear I should be accused. I never concealed myself, or absconded from my lodging until I was shipped on board a ship bound to Guinea. I never had any thought that any one could blame me that I should be accused of such a tyrannical deed. I have been twice in this country since; I had my lodgings near Nightingale-lane On the day I was accused by the brother of the deceased, it is a false accusation; it originated by a lady of the Francis, my landlady; on the day I received my money on board the ship going to Guinea, I would not give her any money; she said, she would have me taken out of the ship, and said, I was the man that committed the murder. This worthy gentlemen, is all I have to say in respect to this cause. I call God to witness that I am innocent, nor had I any knife in my hand when I went out of the public-house, nor ever had I the thoughts of it. I swear solemny, like a Christian, that I did not know of the murder of Davis at the time this misfortune happened, until I came to the public-house again. I certify to the gentlemen, that I ab hor the using a knife, nor have I been accused of a smaller crime. A long time have I been in the English service, always behaved properly, have been esteemed by the officers and ship mates in every ship I have been in, and welcomed by all my friends. I have no more to say. It is a very improper thing, after being so many weeks in this country, that I should be accused of this offence.

NOT GUILTY .

First Middlesex jury, before Mr Justice Dampier.