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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 CONVICTION or John HOLMESBY and when he had some words with the
said this when he came within doors, FOR THE MURDER OF HIS Wife.
deceased, whom he called a wOld 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, bimself 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 Ho. who 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 bis fist. I them, and I overheard prisoner lax. immediately 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 seem. cry 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 iwo 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 2and 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 prisonnd 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, when I saw them same manner as was stated by the talking with another man, near a spot first witness. They then undressed,
and as witness supposed, went to took a one pound note out of it, and bed; but the prisoner soon came something else which witness could out of his room into witness's, and not see. He afterwards put on liis went as if searching round the room, jacket and shoes, and went out by looking into every place, as witness the back door, threatening them not thougkt for the axe, which he at to dare to stir after he went, as he length found in the cupboard under meant to stop and listen, and if he the stairs, where his father had put heard them move would be the death it after cutting some wood the same of them. Soon after, witness fol. night. The deceased at this time lowed Mrs Surrey into the next called out, and asked him if he was house, and gave the alarm. His sisnot coming to bed; he replied no, ter's name was Ann, and she marfor he was going to sleep with the ried the prisoner, who was a brick. children. She then said she would layer's labourer, three years ago. get up; he called out, “ No, no, Cross-examined by Mr Norton.don't get up; I'll come to bed to They were very good friends that day you.” He then went into and out before they went out, about two or from his wife's room two or three three o'clock that afternoon, and he times. Witness soon afterwards kissed her. His further examination overheard something, as if prisoner was merely a repetition of his direct had hit the deceased very hard twice. evidence of what occurred at night, Witness then got up, and hallooed with the addition, that the prisoner out “ Murder !” He ran to the door, appeared agitated, and charged her and saw the prisoner with the axe with having been with another man, lifted over his own shoulder, as if he and she was scuffling with the prisonwas going to hit her again, but he er for attempting to take from her then came over to witness, and said, her pockets, which she said contained “ You d-d young rascal, if you call money not of his, but of her father's. out murder again I'll serve you the Robert Prescott, a constable, resame." He then came into the collected the alarm of murder on the room where witness slept, and said, night in question. He repaired with “ I have done for her ;" adding to Mr Coltson, a neighbour, to the house, Mrs Surrey and witness, that if they where he found near the door inside offered to stir or move he'd serve two puddles of blood, and on turning them the same. Prisoner then re- his eye saw the deceased lying on turned into bis wife's room, and put her back in the bed, quite dead. On on his stockings, breeches, and waist- the right side of the bed there was a coat. When he came out he said great deal of blood quite congealed. to witness, “ Tom, where's your He then produced a large axe, which father's money?” Witness replied, he found in the children's bed-room ; “ For God's sake, don't take father's when he found it, it was full of blood money, for he has got to pay it a. on the back part, which was thick way." Prisoner replied, that if they and heavy; there was no blood on offered to stir or move, he would the sharp edge of the axe. serve them the same. He then sat The boy Soles proved this to be down on witness's bed, having fetch- his father's axe, which was in the ed his father's box, where he kept his cupboard under the stairs. hammers, and nails, and tools; he William Bailey, a surgeon, saw the took a chisel out of it, with which deceased; she had a wound on the he broke open his father's box, and back of the head, and others on the forehead and temple; that on the time ; on her return I chastised back part must have been inflicted her for being out, knowing she had with a blunt instrument, and those been doing wrong. The following in front with some sharp one, like a day she said she was going out, and knife of some kind. These wounds suspecting her to be going to act he had no doubt had occasioned her improperly, I followed her to the death. The jaw was fractured in two cow-house, near which I saw her places. The back blow might have with this John Lawrence, and on her been inflicted by the axe now in return, when I accused her of it, she Court, but certainly not the front said, “ You be d-d,” and she would ones, they were more of the nature of do as she liked. The following day stabs: ihe jaw might have been I told her I wanted to buy a pair of broken by the axe : either the back shoes, and asked her to accompany or front wounds might occasion in- me; she refused, and went off by her stant death.
self half an hour before. I sought George Ruthven, the officer to her for some time, and at length met whom the prisoner was delivered in- her near Bishopsgate; she at first to custody at Sandwich, in Kent, refused to go with me, but ultimately stated, that on their road into town, consented, and soon after left me, the prisoner told him that some time and when I came home she refused previous to the 28th of September, his to tell me where she had been ; I wife went out for water and staid a was very angry, and we had words long time, and he suspected she was all the time of tea. I told her I had with a man in the cow-house. On not money enough to get shoes, and the 28th he caught this man and she wanted me to go to Churchwoman in the fact in this same cow- street, Newington, where she said I house, and the man escaped from might get them; I went there, and him. She said she was forced there found neither shop nor shoes. On by the man; and prisoner then told my return I found her again from her, if she would prosecute him he home, and sought for her in the coachwould forgive her, but she refused, and yard, where she sometimes went to said she loved bis little finger better the men, but she was not there. I than his (her husband's) whole body. then went to the cow-house, where Prisoner then described to him the I heard her breathing.” He then continuance of the altercation after minutely described the situation in they went home, and admitted his which he found his wife with Law. then having killed her with the axe; rence on the evening of the 28th of he added, that after the first blow, September, and her entreaties to be she either said, “ Oh, you know,” forgiven, because the man forced her or “ Oh, you rogue,” he did not in; he stated his offer to prosecute know which. This was the declara. the man, her refusal, and declaration tion made by prisoner when he had that she loved that man's finger bethim in custody.
ter than his (the husband's) whole Here the case for the prosecution body. He then admitted his having closed, and the prisoner, when called had a continued altercation with her upon for his defence, spoke as fol. in the bed room, and his being at length lows:
provoked, and that, in the height On the Monday, the day before, I of her abuse of him, and threats to saw my wife, who went out to get a go out again to the man whom she pail of water, and was gone a long loved, and also her imprecations that she would be the death of him or as she liked, and he might go and herself, he struck her once, twice, be d-d; for (he added) that he was or thrice, with the axe which he afraid she would send him to prison, picked up in the room ; and after and let him rot there. From the having done so, he drew her head to whole of his defence, admitting it to wards him and kissed her, saying, be true, we could infer, that the life “ You were once my comfort; I have he and his wife ad led before the now been your death: and you, my melancholy conclusion of hers was a dear, will be the death of me.” He constant scene of quarrel and reconadmitted his having taken the one ciliation. On the present occasion pound from his father-in-law's box, he rested his case chiefly on the great and threatened those in the house provocation he had received from not to stir. In the course of his ad. one whom he said he loved so dearly. dress, which was rather long and in A number of witnesses were then some parts unconnected, the prison called, who gave the prisoner an exer more than once adverted to acts cellent character for humanity. of infidelity on the part of his wife, Mr Baron Wood summed up the which, according to his account, he evidence to the Jury, and remarked, was aware of before the night of the that had the prisoner committed the murder. He said she had been in act of which he stood charged, at the the habit of going with married men moment he caught another man in in the neighbourhood, and that he adultery with his wife, then the law had long suspected her. On the night had humanely provided a palliation on which he alleged he had detected for his crime; but here the act was Lawrence and his (prisoner's) wife deliberately committed at a subsein the cow:house, he said he up. quent period, when the passions had braided her ; but afterwards consent- had time to cool, and therefore the ed to forgive her, and forget what prisoner had disentitled himself to the had passed, provided she would go benefit he might otherwise have had and live with Lawrence or with Tuc. in the eye of the law. ker, or with any one else she loved The Jury, after six minutes' delibetter than himself, and not come to beration, found the prisoner Guilty, him any more. It also appeared and the Recorder immediately profrom his statement, that the man nounced upon him, in the most so(Lawrence) had joined them (pri- lemn manner, the awful sentence of soner and his wife) before they got the law. home from the cow-house, on the night in question, and had called for some drink for them, acknowledging that the whole transaction with pri. ABSTRACTING MONEY FROM LETsoner's wife was his (Lawrence's) fault. Prisoner said he would not drink, but (we think) only tasted it, High Court of Justiciary, Friday, and threw away the glass. From an
March 19. other part of his speech it appeared, that he had on a foriner occasion been This day came on before the Court bound over to keep the peace for ill. the trial of George Warden, lately treatment of his wife. This he al. clerk or assistant to the Postmaster leged as a reason for not striking her of Aberdeen, accused of having abwhen she provoked him so, by say. stracted from letters money and bills ing, (as he stated,) that she would do to the amount of L. 20, between