Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 8.0, 30 November 2022), December 1887, trial of GEORGE HARRISON (t18871212-146).

GEORGE HARRISON, Breaking Peace > wounding, 12th December 1887.

146. GEORGE HARRISON was again indicted for feloniously wounding Edwin Wheelhouse, with intent to disable him. Second Count. with intent to do grievous bodily harm.

MESSRS. POLAND and MEAD Prosecuted; MESSRS. THOMPSON and BARLING Defended.

EDWIN WHEELHOUSE (Policeman R 430). On 13th November, about a quarter past 4, I was on duty in Bridge Street—I was directed to disperse the crowd there—I felt a punch in my back; I called out to the man next me, "lam stabbed," and I staggered round and became unconscious—I was taken to the police-station, thence to the hospital, where my wound was dressed, and then sent home—after that I was attended by Dr. Kavanagh—I was 27 days disabled from duty—I have resumed now—I cannot identify the prisoner—I had not drawn my truncheon, I had not been out 10 minutes, or any of the men who were acting with me.

Cross-examined. I was in uniform—I cannot recollect seeing the prisoner.

GEORGE WHEELER (Policeman A 474). On 18th November, about a quarter-past 4 in the afternoon, I was on duty in Bridge Street, Westminster, about three yards from Wheelhouse, but at the time we turned out of King Street he was my front rank man—in Bridge Street I was about three yards from him—I felt a blow on my back which caused me to turn round, and I saw the prisoner strike a blow at Wheelhouse—I could not say what with—Wheelhouse sort of reeled round, and said, "Oh, I am stabbed"—he became partly unconscious, and was carried away—I lost sight of the prisoner—I saw him about 20 or 25 minutes afterwards, when he was being brought to King Street Station by Sergeant Honey—I then recognised him as being the man I saw strike the blow at Wheelhouse.

Cross-examined. There was a very large crowd about the spot—I received several severe blows—I was in uniform—the one blow did not hurt me much—I had several blows before that—I had one in my mouth—I have a tooth loose from it now—they did not affect my sight—I am quite sure the prisoner is the man that struck at Wheelhouse—I did not arrest him at the moment because my attention was attracted by Wheel-house saying "lam stabbed"—probably I might have done if he had not reeled round—the prisoner got away—blows were flying about in all directions—the utmost confusion prevailed—I did not see anything in the prisoner's hand.

GEORGE HANLEY (Policeman L 280). I was on duty in Bridge Street

on this afternoon—I saw the prisoner assault Williamson—at that time the prisoner dropped this oyster knife from his left hand—I picked it up before it had done rolling—I afterwards saw the prisoner in custody of another Officer, and I assisted in taking him to the station—the knife was very sharp at the time and clean.

Cross-examined. I was two or three yards away when I saw the prisoner strike Williamson—I was in plain clothes, doing duty detecting thieves—I had no truncheon—I was hit by a policeman—I am known to other policemen in my own division, not out of it; the policeman did not know who I was, he was sending me back the same as he was anyone else—I will swear I saw the prisoner drop this knife.

Re-examined. It has a circular; handle, so that it will roll; it had rolled a little way.

HENRY MORRIS (Policeman L 306). I was on duty in plain clothes in Bridge Street on this afternoon—at the time I saw the assault on Williamson, I saw the prisoner drop this knife from his left hand, Handley picked it up—I was two or three yards from Williamson.

Cross-examined. I was knocked down just after Williamson was stabbed, I don't know by whom—I was hit in the head, behind the neck, and the force of the crowd pulled me down—I first gave evidence on this matter at Bow Street, on the 29th November, at the third hearing—I don't know why I was not examined on the 14th, I was in Court—I identified the prisoner at King Street station on the Sunday in question—I mentioned seeing him drop the knife, to Hanley only—I saw the prisoner strike Williamson across the ear—I did not see Wheelhouse struck—the prisoner dropped the knife from his left hand, I am positive of it, I was looking straight in front of him—he struck Williamson before he dropped the knife—I heard Hanley say "Is Williamson stabbed?"

EDWIN OWEN COX . I am house surgeon at Westminster Hospital—I was on duty there on the afternoon of 13th November, when Wheel-house was brought in; he had an incised wound behind the right shoulder; it was half an inch deep at the upper end, and about an inch and a half in length; his clothes had been removed before I saw him—I stitched up the wound and he was taken away, and I have not seen him since except here—this knife would cause such a wound; the bleeding had stopped-when I saw him.

Cross-examined. The wound was more than a prick—the amount of violence would depend on the clothing the weapon had to go through.

EDWIN WHEELHOUSE (Re-examined). I was very thickly dressed, I had on a great coat, a uniform tunic, and two shirts, and one was woollen, next my skin, and a guernsey over the shirts—the coat I am wearing now is the one I had on then.

EDWIN OWEN COX (Re-examined). I think it would take a considerable amount of violence to go through those clothes—the prisoner is a comparatively short man—Wheelhouse is much taller—the wound was rather below the shoulder joint—I think it quite possible for a man of the prisoner's stature to inflict such a wound—the wound being deepest at the highest point and shallowest at the lower points, to the blow being given above the striker's head and the knife being brought out below—there was nothing dangerous in the wound itself—I should not think it could be caused by the man suddenly rising from a stooping position and

then coming against the weapon—I don't think the force would be enough, and the shape of the wound would be against it; the wound would have been more of a puncture than incised—supposing the knife was dirty, poison might have been introduced into the wound, that would introduce danger—as to the difference in stature, I should like to see them side by side. (Wheelhouse went into the dock and stood beside the prisoner). I think it possible that the prisoner could have inflicted that wound, there is nothing improbable in it that I can see.

PATRICK KAVANAGH . I am divisional surgeon at Deptford—on Monday, 14th November, I saw Wheelhouse at the station—I saw the wound was dressed and did not disturb the bandages that day—on the following day I examined it—the wound was looking very angry and in an unhealthy condition, and not at all inclined to unite or heal—I removed the stitches and dressed it antiseptically; it appeared to be in the condition of a poisoned wound, there was a good deal of swelling about it—Wheelhouse was disabled for a month; he was discharged on Saturday last—the angry character of the wound could have been caused by a dirty weapon—erysipelas set in round the wound—that shows blood-poisoning.

Cross-examined. It might be due to bad condition of the blood, but a wound of that kind occurring in a healthy man would be due to some septic matter or dirt getting into the wound—if matter got into an open wound the same condition would be likely to be produced—those symptoms would be produced more likely in a person with bad blood or whose system was charged with alcohol—the prosecutor was a healthy man—my impression was there must have been dirt or something attached to the weapon—it might arise from the bad blood of the person, if you can prove bad blood was there—I stripped and examined the man all over—he was a thoroughly healthy man.

GUILTY of unlawfully wounding .— Five Tears' Penal Servitude.