Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 8.0, 27 September 2020), January 1849, trial of HUGH STACK (t18490101-376).

HUGH STACK, Breaking Peace > wounding, 1st January 1849.

376. HUGH STACK , feloniously stabbing, cutting, and wounding William Bewley, upon his left thigh, with intent to do him some grievous bodily harm.

MR. CLARKSON conducted the Prosecution.

WILLIAM BEWLET (police-sergeant, D 20). On 26th Dec. I was in Orchard-place, Portman-square, the prisoner came up to me, hawked, and made a sort of spit in my face—I had done nothing nor spoken to him—he was a little drunk—I desired him to go away—there was a row lower down—most of the men were engaged there—I turned round to hear what was going on and saw the prisoner coming, but I did not at that time see that he had a knife—several police were about, but were engaged lower down—the prisoner made several strokes at me—I took out my staff and kept him off several times—he said, "You b—r, I will do for you"—I felt a knife prick my thumb, and called out that he was stabbing me—assistance came, but he plunged the knife into my thigh, and cut my coat through in two places, and my belt in two places on my side—I had not used my staff or struck him at all—he appeared to know me—I knew him by sight—he made many more blows than made marks on my dress—I kept them off, but do not think I struck him more than once—I saw he had a white-handled knife—he had gone into one of the houses in the court close to where it began—my thigh bled furiously—it was running out of my boot before I could get to the doctor's—I am not well yet, nor fit to stand—generally, for six or seven months when he and others have met me about the same place, he has growled as I passed—I do not know what for—I never took notice of it—I never offered him any violence—James Topp, Jeapes, Hallingan, and Saunders were there.

Cross-examined by MR. PAYNE. Q. Was not the prisoner very much hurt about the head? A. I do not know—I do not know how he got the hurt on his head that he has now—I believe it was done at the station—I do not know how many men struck him on the head with their staves—I did not drag him out and dash him on the stones; that I swear; he did not, in my hearing, cry out, "Oh my head! it is broke"—he was secured by the other constables—I did not leave till he was secured—I told the constables to draw their staves because I was stabbed, and to be careful—I did not tell them not to forget him—they did not, in my presence, beat him several times about the head—they caught hold of him, and took him into custody—there were four policeman there altogether; two were keeping off the mob—I did not bear Hallingan call out, "Do not hit him: he has had enough of hitting"—I think I must have heard it if it had been said—this was about half-past nine o'clock—he was not very drunk; he was drunk—he was not inside the door of his house when I first spoke to him—when he hawked and spit at me I told him he had better go on—he was then about three or four yards from his own house—he made a sort of grunge or altercation, and went lower down the court, where there were some more men; and as I was going out of the court, having been sent for to another place where police were wanted, I looked round and saw him coming at me with a knife—(83 had previously desired him to go away, I did not see him go in doors)—of course I protected myself—he struck at me, but missed me—I stepped on one side—I took out my staff and kept off several blows, till I felt the knife—I might have struck his hand—I did not hit him on the head—what he said to me was, "I will do for you, you b—r," not "I will give it you." (The witness's deposition being referred to, stated—"He said, 'You b—r I will give it you'")—he may have said that also—I was suffering very much when I was before the Magistrate.

MR. CLARKSON. Q. Was there a mob of people? A. A great many; I think 200—while the prisoner was striking at me they called out, "Give it the b—r:" a great many Irish live in the place—the prisoner is an Irishman—I could not swear to any of the persons in the mob, I was so much engaged in protecting myself.

JAMES TOPP I was in Orchard-place on this evening, and saw the prisoner and a lot of other persons in the court—he was making a disturbance—Bewley told him to go on, and I also told him—he appeared to have been drinking—I saw him go into 26, where I believe he lives—he came out again in a few seconds with something in his hand, and I saw him strike at Bewley several times with something in his hand—I had not seen Bewley offer him any violence—he cried out that he was "stabbed" or "struck"—the prisoner then made his way into 26—I followed him into the front parlour and got hold of him—he said he would serve me the same—Halligan came to my assistance, and we secured him—we had a hard matter to get him to the station—he was trying to throw himself down, and me also—we wanted to search him at the station, but he refused—I and another constable had hold of him—he tried to trip me up and to throw himself down several times, and at last he fell right on his face on the stones, and cut his head—I never drew my truncheon on him—I did not see any one inflict any blow on him—he had nothing the matter with his head when I took him to the station.

Cross-examined. Q. Was not he very drunk? A. He was drunk, I have seen men drunker—he was very drunk—he conducted himself like a madman—I cannot say how many men drew their staves, I did not see any—

I believe some of them did—I heard Bewley say something to the men about drawing their staves—I did not see them hit the prisoner several times with them—two of us had hold of him going to the station, and there were two or three more to keep the mob away—two of us had hold of him at the time he cut his head—the doctor did not attend him—he was put into the cell, and remained there all night—I believe Halligan is called Big Tom—I did not hear him or anybody say, "Do not hit him; he has had enough hitting"—I did not hear the prisoner say, "Oh, my head is broke!"

MR. CLARKSON. Q. What were the mob about as you were taking him to the station? A. We expected they would take the prisoner away—they hallooed out, "Take him away, take him away; give it to them"—they followed us to the station—there might be fifty, or sixty, or more.

GEORGE JEAPES (policeman, D 283.) About ten o'clock, on boxing night, I was in Orchard-place—there was a crowd of people there, and I saw the prisoner among them—I saw a crowd round the door of No. 26, and saw Bewley telling the prisoner to go in—he was drunk, and swearing, and stamping, and grinning at Bewley, and said he would be b—d if he would go in—he went just on to the sill of the door, and was very violent indeed—I saw him make seven or eight blows at Bewley—I could not see whether he had anything in his hand—I was two or three yards off—he was standing with his left arm round the door-post, and with his right he was stabbing at Bewley, but could not get a reach at him—Bewley did not strike or offer any violence to him—after he was struck at several times he called out, "I am stabbed; he has got a knife; draw your staves"—I drew my staff—the prisoner still stood there stabbing—he would have stabbed me if I had not kept myself back—his room is the parlour on the right-hand side of the passage—while I was drawing my staff, Topp rushed into the room and took him into custody—he was partly in and partly out of the room at the time-there were several women in the room trying to pull him in, but he would not go—he was very drunk and violent—he was taken to the station, which was about a quarter of a mile off—a great mob followed us—there were four or five policemen—I was behind Topp, keeping the crowd back with my staff—the mob called out, "Go steady, go steady"—I did not strike the prisoner, and I did not see anybody else do so—I should have struck him, when I had got my staff out, if Topp had not rushed by me—it was unsafe to approach him without disarming him—it was dark in the passage—he got the blow over the head by falling down on the stones in the station—he was very violent, and would not be searched—the injury is not the result of any blow struck by the police—he threw himself down—I found this knife on him, with three blades (produced)—Orchard-place is a low, noisy place.

Cross-examined. Q. How many police were there? A. Four—the first thing I saw was the prisoner standing on the sill stamping and grinning—Bewley told him to go in—he said, "Go in and mind your own business"—he said it very mildly—he did not say, "Go in, sir; go in, and don't be standing here"—it was after Bewley was stabbed that I saw the prisoner strike at him seven or eight times.

MR. CLARKSON. Q. If Bewley had offered any act of violence towards the prisoner were you near enough to have seen it? A. Certainly.

THOMAS HALLIGAN (policeman, D 83). I was in Orchard-place, and saw the prisoner among other people—he was drunk and bellowing out—I heard Bewley tell him to go in doors, and I told him to go in—that was after I had observed he was drunk and violent—I afterwards heard Bewley cry out that he was stabbed, and that the prisoner had a knife—I believe he directed us to

draw our staves—in the scuffle the prisoner struck Bewley several times before I came to his assistance—I did not go till he said he was stabbed—(At this period of the trial one of the Jurors was suddenly taken ill, and it appearing by the testimony of two medical gentlemen, who were requested to attend him, that he was not likely to be able to resume his duties, the Court discharged the remaining Jurors from giving a verdict. One of the Jurors in waiting was substituted and the remaining eleven re-sworn, and the evidence already given was read over to them by Mr. Recorder)—I helped to secure him—he had no wound on the head then; he received that at the station.

Cross-examined. Q. When they were about to strike him did you say, "No, do not hit him, he has had enough hitting?" A. No, nothing of the sort—I am sometimes called "Big Tom"—I told the prisoner to go in several times—he knew what he was doing; he was not so very drunk—he was able to walk and to strike a blow—he was very violent at the station-house, and would not be searched—I might have said on the way to the station-house, "Do not hit the man," because I had him properly secured—there were two constables behind endeavouring to keep the crowd away.

MR. CLARKSON. Q. Did anybody strike the prisoner? A. No.

WILLIAM BEWLEV (re-examined). A statement was made by the prisoner before the Magistrate, which was taken down and signed—this is Mr. Broughton's signature—(read—"The prisoner says, I never struck the sergeant; about six months ago he struck me and followed me into the passage with his staff, and gave me a stroke with it: I committed no offence on that man that I recollect.")

HENRY SAUNDERS (policeman, D 221). I was in Orchard-place on this night, and heard Bewley call out that he had been stabbed.

GEORGE WILSON . I am a surgeon, and assist Mr. Vickers, 32, Baker-street. On the morning of 27th Dec. I saw Bewley—I examined his thigh, and found that he had received a stab in the upper part of it, corresponding with two cuts in his coat and trowsers—the wound was nearly an inch and a half deep and half an inch in width—it was exactly such a wound as would be the result of a puncture by a small knife—it was not bleeding then—his drawers were covered with blood, and they had also been cut—I have been in attendance on him ever since, and he is not yet well—he is not fit to be in Court now—it will be some time before he will be able to resume his duties—it is a very awkward wound indeed, and independent of that, he received several other blows in the scuffle.

COURT. Q. Was it a wound that might have proved dangerous? A. Where it was it could not have proved dangerous, unless erysipelas had followed, but if it had been three inches higher it would have transfixed the femoral artery; that would have materially perilled his life—if he had not had immediate assistance he would have bled to death.

Cross-examined. Q. As it was you did not look at it as a serious wound? A. It was not one that would endanger his life—I did not attend the prisoner.

GUILTY . Aged 48.— Transported for Ten Years.