« AnteriorContinuar »
husband in cases of personal vio. What was the matter with you?-lence.
I was wounded. Mrs Stent was now addressed by Where were you wounded ?-In Mr Justice Best, when she entreat the neck. ed that she might not be called on Any where else!-- Yes, there were to give evidence against the best of other wounds. husbands.
How long were you confined in St Mr Justice Best.-I am extreme- Bartholomew's Hospital ?-A fortly sorry to give you pain; but it is night. my duty to ask you some questions, Have you any recollection of the which it will be your duty to answer. prisoner's coming into the room to
Is your name Maria Stent?-Yes. you at the Saracen's Head ?-Yes.
Is the prisoner your husband ? Who came in with him!-I do not Look at him. (Here the witness recollect. turned towards the prisoner with a Were
alone in the room! look of great anguish.)-Yes.
Yes. I believe you separated from him Before you went into the room, for some time ?-_Yes.
had you any wound ?_No. When did you leave him ?-On Afterwards the first thing you rethe 29th of August 1818.
collected was being in bed in St BarWhere did you go to !-- To France. tholomew's Hospital ?-Yes.
When did you return to England ? Cross-examined by Mr Alley.-I returned to London in August Your feelings overpowered you when 1819.
you saw your husband, and you have Where did you come from when not the least recollection of what you came to London ?--From Liver- happened afterwards ?-Yes. pool.
You said you did not wish to give To what inn did you go!- To the evidence against the prisoner, be. Saracen's Head.
cause he was one of the best of hus. Do you recollect the day you re- bands ?-Yes. turned ?-On the 5th of August. How long were you away from
Where did the prisoner live at that him ?- About twelve months. time ?-At Pimlico.
George King, a waiter at the Sa. Did you
letter or mes- racen's head, Snow-hill, looked at sage to him ?-I sent a letter.
the last witness : he recollected her On what day?-On the 5th of coming to the Saracen's Head on the August.
5th of August, and writing a letter, In the course of that day did you which was sent by a porter to the see your husband ! - Yes.
twopenny post office; the woman Where?- At the Saracen’s Head. afterwards remained in the house. He came to you !_Yes.
The prisoner came to the Saracen's At what time of the day !--Be- Head in the evening, and inquired tween seven and eight.
for a young woman who had arrived As you recollect, state what pass- by the Liverpool coach, and he was ed. I have no recollection of what introduced to the last witness. She passed.
got up to meet him, and witness shut Did any thing happen _Yes. the door. In ten minutes witness
What did you first recollect?-Be- heard the shriek of a woman, and iming in bed in St Bartholomew's hos. mediately went to the room in wbich pital.
he had left the prisoner and the wo
On arriving, he found his two evidence. Witness went into the room, fellow servants in the room. The wo- on hearing the shrieks of a female. He man was on her back; the prisoner saw Mrs Stent lying on her back; the was standing close by her ; a knife prisoner was kneeling on her. Witwas lying on the floor; it was bloody. ness observed the prisoner stab her Witness discovered that the woman in the front of the neck. He said, was wounded, and went for an officer. “ I have accomplished my purpose.” The woman said she hoped no harm Witness desired Pithouse not to let would happen to the prisoner for the prisoner escape, while he went what he had done, for she had been for a surgeon. Prisoner said, “ I a base wife, and he was one of the don't wish to escape." An officer best of husbands.
was immediately sent for. Before Thomas Pithouse, also a waiter at his arrival, witness said to prisoner, the Saracen's Head, remembered “ You're a rash man, you've accomthe arrival of Mrs Stent. She con- plished your death warrant.”. Pritinued in the house till the evening. soner observed, “ I have had suffiAbout half past six he heard a shriek cient cause, she has behaved basely from the parlour. He entered the to me.” Mrs Stent said, “ Indeed parlour with Turner, the porter, and I have been a base woman to the perceived the woman on her back, best of husbands.” She then reand the prisoner with his knees ap- quested to be raised up, and witness parently upon her. Turner said, lifted her between his knees. She “ Thomas, the man has got a knife.” requested him (her husband) to take Witness looked, and saw the knife. her hand and kiss her, which he did, (The knife was here produced.) That twice or thrice. She said, she freely was the knife. Witness saw the pri- forgave him, and hoped her fate soner stab the woman in the neck. would be a warning to all bad wives. He attempted to take the knife, and John Hodson proved that he took the prisoner dropped it on the floor. the prisoner into custody, and searchAfter he had struck the blow, the ed him; he found a letter in his posprisoner said, “ I have accomplish- session. The letter was produced. ed my purpose ; I wish for nothing It proved to be the same which had more; I shall suffer for it, I know I been directed to him by his wife. shall." The woman directly ex- Witness asked the prisoner how he claimed, “ You have! you have, could commit so rash an act. He Henry! but I freely forgive you, and answered that he had done it, and he I hope the law will take no hold of knew he should suffer for it. you, and that no harm will come to Mr Henry Benwell, house surgeon
I freely forgive you." She of St Bartholomew's Hospital, recolthen asked him to kiss her. He lected Mrs Stent being brought to kneeled down and kissed her twice, the hospital on the evening of the 5th which she returned. She said he of August. She had several wounds : was the best of husbands, and she one, on the lower part of the neck, 'was the worst of wives: she highly had penetrated the windpipe; it was deserved all she had got. The wo- a dangerous wound, and might have man was taken to the hospital. When occasioned her death. But it was witness first entered the room, the possible she might have recovered woman exclaimed, " Take him away; without a surgeon. She had another he'll murder me."
wound on her chest, a superficial Thomas Turner, another waiter, cut; a third on the right breast, a corroborated the preceding witness's stab; a fourth in her right side,
of considerable depth, which had ced by the late lamented Chief-Jus. wounded the right lung; this was
tice of the King's Bench, for the prolikewise a dangerous wound. There tection of the subject's life. Though was a fifth wound on the right arm. it did not appear in evidence upon the The wound in the lungs might have present occasion, the fact, however, occasioned her death. The knife might fairly be assumed, that Mrs produced was such an instrument as Stent, the unhappy woman who apwould inflict these wounds.
peared before them on that day, had This was the whole of the case for forsaken her husband, and by proving the prosecution.
unfaithful to his bed, had inflicted Mr Justice Best now addressed upon him the most poignant anguish, the prisoner, and intimated that if he the most acute suffering that a man had any thing to say in his defence, devoted to a wife could possibly enthe period had now arrived for so dure. This, however, could by no doing.
means be admitted as a justification The prisoner said he would leave of his crime. The law of the land his case entirely in the hands of his upon this subject proceeded upon counsel.
the same principles as the religion of A vast number of witnesses were the country, which was Christianity. then called on behalf of the prisoner, If a husband detected his wife in the all of whom appeared to be persons very fact, in flagranti delicto, as it of great respectability. They sta- were, and that at the moment he ted, that they had known him for plunged some deadly weapon in many years, and had always believed her bosom so as to occasion death, him to be as kind-hearted, humane, it would not be considered murder. good-natured man as any in exis- The law, like the religion of the tence, and a particularly affectionate country, making fair allowance for and indulgent husband. It was im- the frailties of human nature, consi-possible, in fact, to imagine testi. dered the husband, with such provomony more favourable than was gi- cation immediately before his eyes, ven by these persons, who all seem- as no longer under the guidance of ed, actuated by the strongest sym- reason, and of course not accountapathy towards the prisoner.
ble for his acts. Here, however, the Mr Justice Best proceeded to sum circumstances were quite different. up the evidence.
He deeply re- A considerable time had elapsed gretted the important and painful since the elopement of the first witduty which, in the present case, de- ness, and on her return she manifestvolved
himself as well as upon ed those symptoms of repentance-the jury. Painful, however, as that that appearance of returning affecduty was, he felt no doubt that they tion, which might well be supposed would discharge it in a proper man- to disarm vengeance, and prevent ner. The Learned Judge then ex- that ferocious purpose which the plained the law upon the subject. prisoner appeared to have deliberateFrom the evidence detailed, and ly contemplated. Even while her which he should again read over to blood was flowing from the wounds them, no doubt could remain on the inflicted, she still entreated him to mind of any unprejudiced person that kiss her; and in that kiss conveyed a the crime charged upon the prisoner pardon to her assailant. Under circame within the provisions of that most cunstances such as these, the law excellent act of Parliament introdu, did not admit of the same excuse as when a husband detected his wife in merton. In September last I lodged the very fact. Sufficient time having in the same house with the prisoner; been given for cool reflection on one it was his wife's father's house. In side, and for repentance on the o- the latter end of that month, I believe ther, the law, proceeding on the the 28th, on Tuesday, the prisoner same principle as the benign religion and his wife went out together about which it imitated, did not allow ven- three o'clock in the day. (The pri. geance to be inflicted with impunity. soner here exclaimed, “ Please you, After some further observations, my Lord, that's false.") I did not which the Learned Judge delivered see them again until they returned with great talent and feeling, he sum- about half past six o'clock in the med up the evidence at length. evening ; but I do not know whether
The jury then retired, and after they came in both together or not. consulting for about half an hour, I first saw them at the stile talking returned with a verdict of Guilty, but before the door with another man, recommended the prisoner strongly where they staid about a quarter to mercy, on account of his good of an hour before they entered the character.
house; but the man did not come in. Mr Justice Best. The recom His name was John Lawrence, and mendation shall certainly be forward the prisoner was very jealous of him, ed.
for he afterwards said he had caught him that evening with his wife; he
said this when he came within doors, Conviction of John HOLMESBY and when he had some words with the FOR THE MURDER OF HIS WIFE.
deceased, whom he called a w-, Old Bailey, Friday, October 29. and charged with being with this
man. She replied he was a liar. He John Holmesby was indicted for then asked her to go to bed, she said, the wilful murder of Ann Holmesby, “ Yes." They both then went into his wife, on the 28th of September, the bed-room together, as I thought, in the parish of St John, Hackney, to go to rest. They then both unby striking her with an axe upon the dressed and went to bed. At this head, of which wound she died. The time the deceased's little brother prisoner was a mild-looking decent- and sister were in the house in bed; ly dressed young man, and behaved their father, who was a watchman, himself at the bar with great com. was out. I was in the act of going posure. He shook hands with some to bed with the children, who slept friends whom he recognised in front in the adjoining room. Prisoner soon of the dock.
after came out from his wife's room inMr Walford opened the pleadings. to ours, and sat himself down on the
Mr Alley stated the case for the bed where the children were. He prosecution, and detailed the nature said to me, “Are you going to bed ?” of the evidence he had to adduce a. My reply was, “ I believe I shall." gainst the unfortunate prisoner, ex- He then went back to his wife's room, actly as it was given in the following and in a minute or two returned, and evidence.
sat again upon our bed undressed, The first witness was Esther Sur. when I asked him whether he wishrey, who gave her evidence as fol. ed to sleep with the children. His lows:-I am a single woman, now wife, who was in the next room, and residing at the work-house at Howho could overhear him, then said,
“ I'll get up." He went back a se. where there was a cow-house. I did cond time to his wife's room, and judge from the tone that an angry then I heard a blow, as I thought conversation was passing between from the sound, as if from his fist. I them, and I overheard prisoner taximmediately got up and went to the ing his wife with having caught her door, and the little boy in the bed I in a certain situation with the man had just quitted roared out “ Mur- (Lawrence) in that cow-house. His der !” When I got to the door the words were, “ I have caught you in prisoner came out from his wife's the fact.” This was outside the room, bearing an axe in his hand, door, and the conversation was conand said, if the boy roared out mur- tinued angrily after they entered the der again he would murder him. He house, into which he shoved her in then returned into his bed-room, still an angry manner.
After she had carrying the axe. While he was there gone into the room, he came out of at that time I heard the deceased it two or three times, and he seemcry out very faintly, “ Lord have ed to be very uneasy. I overheard mercy upon me!" I think she said her say to the prisoner that she was this about three times. The prisoner carried into the cow-house by Lawthen came out into the room, and rence; the prisoner replied, if she said he had done for her, and should would swear a rape against the man be hanged. He then asked the little he would take him up to Worshipboy (the deceased's brother) for his street ; she replied she would not do father's money, and the boy said he it. I did not hear her say she loved did not know where it was. The pri. his little finger better than her hussoner then took a chisel, opened the band's whole body, nor that she father's box, and took away the mo- would get up and go to Lawrence. ney ; after that, he asked me for Re-examined. The woman did pen and ink, with which he wrote say when he accused her of being a two notes, the paper of which he tore
that he was a liar. out of the baker's book. When he Thomas Soles, a boy about twelve did this, he brought the axe, and years of age, the brother of the deheld it up to me, and said, that if we ceased, corroborated the last witever spoke a word we should be dead. ness's testimony respecting his being He then said he must go away, and in his own bed-room on the evening that he would go by the back door in question. He went to bed aand listen, adding, if he heard us bout a quarter of an hour after the speak a word, he would come back deceased (his sister) and the prisonand do for us.
I gave an alarm as er came home. The boy described soon as I could at Mr Coltson's, over the amicable manner in which they the way, at the Crooked Billet. It went out that morning, and then rewas a moon-shining night.
verted to their jarring at night, by Cross-examined by Mr Curwood. which he was awoke. He first re-I am no relation to the deceased, collected the prisoner's saying to the but was a mere lodger in the house. deceased, after he (witness) awoke, They went out together on the 28th “Don't you go out to make away of September; whether they con- with yourself;" on which the last tinued together or not I don't know, witness said, “No, she won't." He but the first I saw of them after was then asked her to go to bed in the in the evening, wlien I saw them same manner as was stated by the talking with another man, near a spot first witness. They then undressed,