Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 8.0, 27 September 2020), October 1888, trial of WILLIAM SEAMAN (40) (t18881022-964).

WILLIAM SEAMAN, Breaking Peace > wounding, 22nd October 1888.

964. WILLIAM SEAMAN (40) , Feloniously wounding John Simpkin with intent to murder him Second Court, with intent to do him grievous bodily harm.

MR. RIBTON Prosecuted JOHN SIMPKIN. I am a chemist—I occupy a shop at 82, Berner Street—on 8th September, about 12 minutes to 12, my shutters being up, I was about to close my door, when the prisoner came into my shop and asked for a pennyworth of ointment and a pennyworth of alum; as I was wrapping up the ointment I turned my head and felt a blow—the prisoner then ran round the counter and battered me about—my thumb is useless and I cannot attend to my business—this is the mark on my forehead where he hit me with the hammer—the blood flowed and my hat was knocked off and was afterwards found in the road—Mr. McCarthy came in—I picked up this hammer (produced) and gave it to him—McCarthy led me to the station—Dr Allen saw me the next day and has attended me up to the present time—I was confined to my house for three weeks and unable to sit up—I picked the hammer up behind the counter—I thought my life was coming to an end and said I would hold the prisoner till death—I never saw the man before—I did not speak to him.

Cross-examined by the Prisoner. I do not weigh alum—the cause of quarrel was not because I would not weigh it—you did not ask me to weigh it—I do not sell it by the pound—you did not ask me to show the marks of my wounds at the police-court—they were not then healed up—I was obliged to have a cab to go there and back—I had not the power to walk—I have a slight mark behind the ear and another on my forehead and on my thumb—my thumb was cut and my hands very much injured—the blood was coming from all over me—you did it.

By the JURY. It is not my hammer, but the prisoner's—he had a chisel besides when he was taken to the station.

HENRY JOHN SMITH . I am a warehousman living at Chambers Street, Whitechapel—on 8th September, just before midnight, I was in a friend's shop opposite to Mr. Simpkin's—I heard screams in the street—I went out and saw Miss Simpkin—she called out "Come over quick"—I went across and saw Mr. Simpkin covered with blood outside the counter in his shop—the prisoner had hold of his throat and was punching him in the face and on the chest with his fist—I held the prisoner till a constable came—Simpkin went behind the counter to look for his hat and picked up the hammer.

Cross-examined by the Prisoner. I saw you strike Mr. Simpkin with your fist—a policeman came in afterwards, and McCarthy—they followed me—the policeman was before McCarthy.

CHARLES MCCARTHY . I am a labourer, of 11, Helen's Place, Back-Church Lane, St. George's—about 12 o'clock on Saturday, 8th September,

I was walking along Helen's Street—I heard a scream from the direction of Berner Street—I ran in that direction and into Mr. Simpkin's shop—I saw Mr. Simpkin battered about the face, and covered with blood—he handed me the hammer (produced), and said "Here is the hammer what he hit me with"—I looked around the shop—the prisoner was standing in the shop, and did not interfere with me, neither did I with him—I held the hammer till the policeman came—the prisoner was given into custody—I cannot judge whether he was drunk or sober—I assisted Mr. Simpkin to the station, as he said he was not able to go—his face and beard were all over blood.

Cross-examined by the Prisoner. Several people were standing at the door—I only saw you and Smith in the shop till the constable came in—I did not see you strike the prosecutor—the daughter was then in the back room.

FRANCIS JOHN ALLEN , M D I practise at I, Dock Street, Whitechapel—on 9th September, about 9, I attended the prosecutor—he had been seen by my assistant the night before—on the right side of his forehead there was a wound, and a very large bruise round it—it had been bleeding, and was through the skin and into the muscles—there was another wound at the back of the left ear, behind the ear, and bruises on both hands and on the wrists—he has had great difficulty in swallowing in consequence of the swelling of the muscles—there were bruises all over his body—he has not yet quite recovered—I have attended to him ever since—the second week afterwards his life was in danger—he could not eat or sleep in consequence of his injuries.

Cross-examined by the Prisoner. The wounds might have been inflicted by this hammer, or some other blunt instrument—the wound on the fore head might have been inflicted by striking against the partition—he may have been knocked against a sharp corner—the wounds about the hands were very severe—possibly they were inflicted by the hammer.

Re-examined. The bleeding was from the forehead and the back of the head—there was not much blood to be seen when I saw him; it was an open wound.

By the COURT. The prosecutor is unable to use his hands fully yet—the joints of his thumbs are very weak, and he is still suffering from pains about the body—he is now in a fair way to recovery—his eyesight has not been so good since the assault, and he has not been able to write—when a man at his time of life gets into such a low condition as he was he is likely to die—he was very excited at nights—one or two nights he was rather delirious—his skull was not fractured—the wound behind the ear would be caused by dashing the head against any sharp corner—the muscles of the throat were bruised from pressure, from having been clutched.

JOHN TABARD (Policeman H 85) On 8th September I was in Berner Street when I heard shouts of "Police"—I went to the prosecutor's shop, and saw the prisoner holding the prosecutor by the left hand by the throat, and punching him in the ribs with his right hand—I caught hold of him, and with the assistance of Smith I pulled him into the street—he was then taken into the back of the shop on account of the crowd—I got this hammer (produced) from McCarthy—I took the prisoner to the station—the charge was taken down by the inspector, and the prisoner said what

he had got to state he would state to the Magistrate—I did not hear him say anything before the Magistrate.

Cross-examined by the Prisoner. When I came to the shop I saw the prosecutor and you—I never looked for any one else—I saw you strike the prosecutor—Smith was in the shop—I do not know where McCarthy was, I made sure of you—when McCarthy gave me the hammer I was in the street and you were in custody—you were the worse for drink.

By the COURT. This is a blacksmith's hammer—when I got to the station I searched the prisoner, and found this long chisel sticking out of his pocket, and this ointment and alum.

The prisoner in his defence stated that he had been drinking, and quarrelled with Mr. Simpkin because he refused to weigh the alum, and he may have struck him when the hammer was in his hand; he had no intent to do him any harm, or he would not have dropped the weapon.

GUILTY on Second Count.

He then PLEADED GUILTY to having been convicted at this Court in December, 1876— Seven Years' Penal Servitude.