Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 7.2, 20 November 2017), November 1898, trial of WALTER JOHN SIMPSON (30) (t18981121-61).

WALTER JOHN SIMPSON, Killing > murder, 21st November 1898.

61. WALTER JOHN SIMPSON (30) was indicted for, and charged on the Coroner's Inquisition with, the wilful murder of John Paterson.

MESSRS. C. F. GILL and HORACE AVOBY Prosecuted; MR. BIRON

Defended.

At the commencement of the case Inspector Henry Marshall Hayter and Henry Chevalier Martin, clerk of the Lambeth Police Court, were called with reference to a statement made by the deceased—the Court, however, ruled that it could not be given in evidence.

JAMES PATBRSON . I live at 16. Mile End Road—the deceased John Paterson was my brother, he was my partner in two rifle ranges, one in Newington Butts and the other in Mile End Road—my brother chiefly attended to the one in Newington Butts—for about two years and a half the prisoner was an attendant at both ranges—rifles were kept in each range for use and some for sale—Mr. Kaminski, one of my tenants, had a room over the shop in Mile End Road as a bootmaker—about August 13th he complained about missing some boots from his premises, and a man named Ellis was taken into custody and charged with stealing them—about the 16th, in consequence of information I spoke to the prisoner and charged him with being concerned with Ellis in the robbery—he was taken to Bow Street and let out on his own recognisance—a day or two after that he came to see me at Mile End and wanted to know what I was going to do in the matter—after a lot of talking he said, "I will have you all shot if you don't put an end to this matter," or words to that effect—after that, I think on August 31st, both the prisoner and Ellis were at the Police-court and were discharged; after that the boots were brought back—a day or so after his discharge the prisoner came to us again at Mile End and wished to be taken on again—I said I could not do it

after what had occurred; I had considered the matter with my brother—a day or two after the prisoner and Ellis came together to see me at Mile End—they were under the influence of drink and attempted to make a disturbance but I got them away—I don't think I ever saw Simpson to speak to afterwards—on the morning of October 7th, about 9.30, I saw my brother at his house, 74, Walworth Road—I left him there to go as usual to the range at Newington Butts—about two hours afterwards I saw him brought to the hospital where he died—this revolver (produced) is one we had in our stock or like it—I have tested this in order to see what pull it requires to relock it—it is three or four pounds, it may be five—I have seen the cartridges that were found on the prisoner, and also the bullet that was extracted from my brother's body—the cartridges are not such as we use in our ranges—the bullets are much larger than those used in our ranges.

Cross-examined. The prisoner was mostly at the Newington Butts range, he used to be at the two places, but on different days—my brother actually engaged him, with a good character—he was a corporal in the Eoyal Fusiliers six years, and had a good-conduct medalaf—ter leaving the army I heard he had charge of a gentleman of weak intellect at an asylum—he was two years and a-half with us—he had an accident and lost the sight of one eye—we had to discharge him once, and took him on again—I heard about these bouts from a man named Kaininski, who worked upstairs—Ellis was arrested before the prisoner—the charge was that Kaminski had seen the prisoner and Ellis on the premises—it was during the time he was remanded that he came to see me, and asked what we were going to do in the matter—on the first occasion I sent for him—on the second I had not sent for him—I don't know whether Kaminski had—on that occasion I said he would be discharged, because the whole of the property had not been discovered—the Jews prosecuted—the Magistrate ultimately discharged them—the words the prisoner used were, "I will have you all shot," not "You ought to he shot"—in August the prisoner had been altering two revolvers for me—my brother would not buy them of the prisoner.

Re examined. The time when he came in drunk was a week after the proceedings at the Police-court—Ellis was not employed in any way with the range; he was a companion of Simpson's.

BARNET KAMINSKI . I am a boot manufacturer, and am a tenant of Mr. Paterson's—I know the prisoner—he took some boots—after the trial I asked him when he was going to pay for them—he took something from his pocket—I thought perhaps he was going to fight me, and I left him—I saw him again twice—the first time he said, "All right, I will pay you all of them"—the second time I said, "If you will pay for the boots I have lost, I will not go to-morrow to the trial—he said, "I will pay you for this."

Cross-examined. I said, "If you pay me I will withdraw the case"—he refused to pay me—he was very cross—he took his hands out of his pocket, and I saw a revolver.

HARRY GEORGE MULLETT . I live at Newington, and am a porter—on October 7th, soon after 10 a.m., I was in Newington Butts, and I stopped to look in at the window of the rifle range—I heard a shot fired, and out of curiosity I looked in to see if the shot had hit the

target—I could not see it on account of the smoke—then there was another shot—a man passed me at the door, coming out on my left, and bore off to the back of me—then I saw a man in his shirt sleeves in the act of falling down, and I saw come blood on his shirt—I heard him scream—I shouted out after the other man—I thought there was something wrong—he then started running—he walked first for about ten yards—I shouted out "Stop him; he has that some one"—two policemen came up—I remained at the shop door—the man had fallen on his side with his head towards the door—the man who passed me is the prisoner—I heard two more shots in the street, and then a policeman came back with the revolver in his possession—it was opened by some one, and four empty cartridges and one loaded one fell cut.

Cross-examined. Some seconds elapsed between the two first shots. FIUNK THOMAS. I live at Brixton Road, and am a waiter—I was passing this rifle range about 10.15 on the morning of October 7th—my attention was attracted to the range by hearing two shots—I was on the opposite side of the road—the shots sounded rather loud—there was a few seconds' interval between them—as I turned round after the second shot I saw a man leaving the shop—I believe him to be the prisoner—I saw the deceased; he was lying on the floor—he had fallen down Justin the doorway—he said, "I have been shot"—the prisoner went towards the clock tower—he walked out of the shop—I saw him stopped when I heard two more reports.

Cross-examined. The shots were very quick together, but rather loud. HERBERT EDWARD NEWARK. I live at 26, Newington Butts—I knew the deceased man by sight and also the prisoner—my shop is directly opposite the rifle range—on this morning my attention was attracted by two shots—I was in my shop—there was about two seconds interval and there were two screams—I looked across the road and saw the prisoner about a yard and a half away from the shop door—he had a revolver in his hand—I went towards him and he looked at me and said, "What is the matter?"—I saw the deceased fall across the door-way, with his right hand across his left chest—smoke was coming through the doorway—the prisoner had gone about ten yards before he spoke to me—one man said, "That's him; stop him"—the prisoner started running as hard as he could—I ran after him—he put the revolver away under his coat—he got about fifty yards before I caught him—I threw him on his back—I pounced on him suddenly—he said, "What have I done?"—I said, "You know what you have done"—I lay across him and asked someone to take the revolver away from him'—it must have been a lower pocket they took it from—it was handed to some man standing by who fired two shots from it.

Cross-examined. When I first saw the prisoner he was walking very fast—I am sure he was not running—people could not see the revolve unless they were near him.

GEORGE BUBCHETT . I live at Camberwell and am an exconstable—on this day I was passing through Newington Butts, and when about forty yards from the rifle range I saw the prisoner running—I heard somebody call out "Stop him"—he had a revolver in his hand—he put it in his right-hand pocket—the last witness caught him and threw him to the ground—he was taken to the station.

Cross-examined. He was very much excited.

GEOROE ARCHER . I live in Kennington Road and keep a fish shop—on this morning I was in Newington Butts and saw the prisoner running away from the rifle range—when I got to the spot where he was, he was being held down—I took the revolver out of his right-hand trouser pocket—two shots were fired by a man standing by.

CHARLES FRENCH (31 L). On October 7th I was in Newington Butts in company with Constable Appleby—I saw the prisoner coming from the direction of the rifle range; he was walking—afterwards he ran—he was stopped about 50 or 60 yards from the range—I took him into custody—at the station I found eight cartridges on him; they were in his trousers' pocket—he was charged at the hospital.

THOMAS APPLEBY (33 L R). I was in company with Constable French on this morning—after the prisoner had been arrested I went to the rifle range, and found the deceased—I got the revolver—it was opened for me by a man who was there; four empty cartridges and one loaded one fell out—they were picked up and taken to the Station.

CHARLES FRENCH (Re-examined by MR. GILL). We got to the station about 10.30—I received instructions to take him to the hospital at 1 o'clock—I saw the doctor, and he said the dying depositions should be taken—I told the prisoner that the dying depositions would be taken, and asked him if lie wished to be present—he said "Yes," a cab was sent for, and he was taken to the hospital—at the hospital he was spoken to by Inspector Hayter, and served with a notice.

Cross-examined. When we got to the hospital the magistrate had not arrived—he came about a quarter of an hour afterwards.

PHILIP TURNER . I am house surgeon at Guy's Hospital—I was there on October 7th, and saw the deceased man when he was brought in about 10 30—his general condition was very serious—he had two wounds, having the appearance of bullet wounds—one was on the left side below the left breast, three inches outside the nipple and one inch below it—the other was just behind the left shoulder—the first wound was a dangerous one—in the course of the morning I came to the conclusion that his recovery was practically hopeless—I told him of his condition—he could understand me—I communicated with the police—about 2 o'clock the police magistrate came, and I believe the clerk from the police-court—I was present when the depositions of the deceased were taken in the presence of the accused—I heard him make his statement and give his evidence—I believe he could understand everything that was said—I continued to attend him up to the time of his death—he died on the 10th—he gradually sank—on October 11th I made a post-mortem examination—the direction of the wound on the left was inwards and slightly downwards; the cavity of the chest was opened by the passing of the bullet; the lower lobe of the left lung was perforated; the bullet passed through under the bones forming the spinal column, struck the 12th rib on the right side which was broken, and the bullet glanced off apparently downwards—I could not find the bullet—that was the wound which caused death—the course of the bullet in the wound in the back of the left shoulder was almost directly inwards at first; then downwards and inwards—it struck the 5th rib on the right fide—I found that bullet (produced)—there was no blackening of the skin round the wounds—the

immediate cause of death was acute pleurisy, with effusion, that being brought about by the bullet wound.

Cross-examined. When I first saw the deceased I regarded him as being in a very critical condition; that was why I communicated with the police—he was then in immediate danger of death—it was impossible to say at that time what the nature of his injuries might be—it was possible that he might have died that day—he lived three days alter that—before I made my examination I knew his lung was injured, and that his chest was opened—when I made my examination the body was stripped.

Re-examined. I thought in all probability he would not recover when I saw him on the 7th—he was in a very weak state when his statement was taken—I thought it quite possible he would die during the course of the day.

HENRY HAYTER (re-examined)—I saw the prisoner at Guy's Hospital on October 7th, about 2 o'clock—I said, "I am a police officer, I shall charge you with feloniously wounding John Paterson by shooting him with a revolver at 41, Newington Butts, on October 7th, with intent to murder"—he made no reply—that was before he had gone before the Magistrate—it was after that that I served him with the notice—on October 15th, at 11 a.m. I lurther charged the prisoner—I said, "In consequence of John Paterwon having died at Guy's Hospital on the 10th, you will be further charged with wilful murder"—he said, "I am very sorry; it was an accident; I suppose I shall have to put up with it"—the charge was read over to him—he said "It was an accident, sir."

Cross-examined. I was present when he was committed for trial—I do not remember his saying the same thing then—he might have said so—he said he would reserve his defence.

JOHN GEORGE (359 L) produced and proved the plans of the locality of the murder, and also the interior or the rifle range.

PHILIP TURNER (re-examined), I told the deceased that he had no chance to get well—I did not say anything about the duration of his life—he said, "I feel certain I shall die."

WALTER JOHN SIMPSON (the Prisoner) sworn. I am 30 years old and live at 32, Silvestre Road, East Dulwich—my mother and brother are living there—my mother is a widow, and my brother and I contribute towards her support—I was formerly in the 23rd Royal Welsh Fusiliers—I served eight years with them; six years and a half in India—I left as a corporal—this (produced) is my discharge and I received a medal for service—when I left the Army I was employed at an asylum in Kent—I then went to a Mrs. Boolier and was given the charge of her invalid husband; he was affected in his mind. About two years and a half ago I was employed by the deceased in connection with his shooting gallery—there was not the slightest ill-feeling between us—James Paterson dismissed me—the matter about the boots being stolen was first brought to my notice by him; he Rent for me—up to that time there had never been any charge made against me—I know Ellis—we were both charged at Worship Street—I was acquitted—Ellis offered to pay for the boots—James Pierson did not take a favorable view of my case, but it did not annoy me—I did not threaten him, or anybody else—Kaminski asked me when I was going to pay for the boots—I said I had nothing to do with them—I never had any revolver when Kaminski left the room so

quickly—I had a dummy revolver in my pocket, which would only fire caps—it frightened Kaminski at the time—I did not mean any harm by it—about six weeks before October 7th I offered a revolver to John Paterson for sale—he would not give the price I asked for it—I was then out of employment because of James Paterson—on October 7th I went to see the deceased at Newington Butts—I had a revolver with me—I took it to sell to him—he had previously offered me 22s. 6d. for it, but I had asked 35s.—that was when I was in work—I took the cartridges with me because those at the range were different and the cartridges would have been of no use to me—when I got there the revolver was not loaded—I loaded it to shoot at the target to show the deceased the accuracy of the revolver—while I was sighting at the target the deceased said, "You are not allowed to fire here" and caught hold of my right arm with his left hand to prevent me shooting—he was standing on my right facing the target—I had my finger round the trigger—it was not cocked—as he pulled my arm back the revolver went off—he screamed and the shot must have hit him—he then closed with me and fell towards the ground, and in the struggle the revolver went off again in pulling me on top of him—I lost my senses for a moment and rushed out of the shop with the intention of going for Dr. Newton in Eennington Park Road—that was the direction in which I was running, but before I had got fifty or sixty yards from the shop I was thrown to the ground and knelt on by half-a-dozen men—the revolver was taken from me and two photos were tired in the street—on leaving the shop I did not try to hide the revolver, but carried it in my hand—I did not shoot Mr. Paterson—it was a pure accident and through his own fault—I once had an accident to my right Nye; the sight has gone in that eye.

Cross-examined. I was present at the inquest held on the deceased—I heard all the evidence—I knew they were inquiring into the cause of death—I was not asked for my evidence or my defence—the coroner said to me that if I wished to give evidence I could do so—I was not called as a witness—at the inquest I hoard the evidence of Mr. Kaminski, Mr. Mullett, Mr. Newark, Mr. Thomas, Mr. French, and Mr. Appleby—I said I wished to reserve my defence—I said I did not wish to make any statement—after the prosecution about the boots I believe part of them were brought back—Ellis was a friend of mine—I did not say that if there was anything more about the boots I would have them all shot—I went and saw Kaminski at his house—I also saw him in the street—on the first occasion I put my hand into my pocket and took out a dummy revolver to frighten him—I often have one to lark with—it was taken from me in the Albion public-house by Mr. Cooper—he is a sweep—James Paterson said that in consequence of my conduct and my threats I could not be taken back into his employment—I did not care—I could have got a character from somewhere else—I did not go to the premises in Mile End Road with Ellis, and James Paterson did not turn us out because we were under the influence of drink—I went there by myself, to ask Mr. Paterson to take me on again—I was out of employment the whole of September—I did not wait about outside the range at Newington Butts in October—I passed there once with a friend—I had thirteen cartridges with me on October 7th, loose in my pocket—the first thing I asked Mr. Paterson

when I got to the range was for a character—he said, "I will not give you one"—I said, "Why not?"—he said, "For the way you have behaved"—I told him I was hard up, and asked him to buy a revolver, for which he had previously offered me 22s. 6d.—lie hesitated, and then said he would not—I was then loading it—when I was about to fire we were close up to the counter—I had my right hand out—utter he was shot I tried to get him up, but he fell again—I went for the doctor—I walked about ten yards—I saw a man come across the road—I asked him what was the matter—I did not know what I was doing at the time—then I started running—I put the revolver into my trousers' pocket—I was taken to the station—I do not think I told the police that this had happened during a struggle, or that I had been on my way lord a doctor—I did not make any statement at the station—I was taken to the hospital, and I heard the deceased examined—I asked him some questions, which he answered—I asked him if he had tired the first shot, and if he had taken the revolver in his own band—he did not take it, and he called me a lying skunk—I did not put to him the story which I have told here to-day—it was after his death that I said it was an accident—I did not give evidence before the Magistrate—I gave my statement to my solicitor.

Re-examined. When before the coroner I was represented by a solicitor, and I was guided by him—I was taken to the hospital at a moment's notice—I was not represented by anybody there—the suggestions I made to the deceased the a were lies; the story I tell to-day is true.

GUILTY. of manslaughter. Twelve Months' Hard Labour.