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the prisoner. About half a dozen Upon the evidence, the Grand Jury came up to witness at that time. might have at least put the question
The prisoner, in his defence, said, in course of trial. This was all he that as he was going home he met meant to say upon that point. The nine or ten men, who said, “ You case was attended with much difficul. Irish rascal, do you come here from ty. If they were satisfied as to the Scotland to keep us down?” One identity, the next question was, whe. of them spoke up, “ Go the rig." ther it had been murder or man. another of them knocked him down, slaughter. The prisoner had been kicked him, and trampled upon him. exceedingly ill used; and if he ran He called out “ Mercy !" One came for his bayonet and killed the man, up and said, “Don't kill the soldier." supposing him to have been one of He got off, but they got hold of him, those who used him ill, in the heat and treated him in the same way. of passion, and without time to cool They followed him to his quarters, or reflect, he was guilty of manand threatened never to leave the slaughter. If he had time to reflect house till they had his life. There and cool, and if he deliberately killwas not a word of truth in what ed the deceased, he was guilty of that man said. He had been a long murder.-Guilty of Manslaughter. time in the army, and had been in six engagements, and could never do the like.( After a long pause,) I am quite innocent, my Lord, of this business laid to my charge.
Brien recalled, said the prisoner INFLICTING WOUNDS WITH INTENT came in the second time about
TO MURDER. one o'clock, and never was out after that.
The Court called Cornelius Grog- Old Bailey, Saturday, September 18, gen, who had been subpoenaed for the prisoner. He merely gave an account of the affray in which Corrigan Henry Stent the prisoner was put was unarmed.
to the bar. A London Jury having Groggen, in cross-examination, been called, this unhappy man was said, that Corrigan had asked of a arraigned upon an indictment, charg. friend, who had seen the bayonet, if ing himn in the usual form with having there was any blood upon it. This
inflicted diverse wounds upon the was when Corrigan was apprehend. person of his wife, Maria Stent, ed, and his bayonet ordered to be on the 5th of August last, with in. brought.
tent to kill and murder her, or to Edward Waugh gave a similar ac. do her some grievous bodily harm. count of the affray in which Corrigan He pleaded not guilty. The had no bayonet.
Jury was then sworn. There was Mr Baron Wood, in course of his no counsel for the prosecution, and summing up, remarked that it was Mr Justice Best called Maria very extraordinary that the Grand Stent, the wife of the prisoner, Jury had thrown out the bill. They who stood up in the witness-box, were not to consider this as conclu. and was sworn. She seemed to be sive proof in favour of the prisoner. greatly agitated.
Mr Alley, one of the counsel for in support of Mr Alley's objection. the prisoner, instantly rose and ad- Mr Justice Best said, that he had dressed the Court. He said he was not the least doubt as to the admisnot aware that this witness would sibility of the wife's evidence in this have been called so early in the pro- case, or in any other case of the same ceedings; but being in the box, be description; and this opinion was fore she was examined he felt it his founded upon the principle, that a duty to submit, that as against her married woman, like every other subhusband her evidence was not ad- ject of the realm, was entitled to the missible. He had searched the books protection of the laws, which would with great diligence for cases in not be the case if the objections now which wives had been admitted as taken were well founded. There witnesses against their husbands; but were many descriptions of personal found pone except that of Lord Aud. injury to which a wife was subject, ley, the circumstances of which were independent of that to which alluvery peculiar, and even the authori. sion had been made, which her evity of that case he had heard ques. dence could alone support; and if tioned. He recollected one case in her testimony were as a matter of which the question would have a- course to be rejected, she would be risen, but the bill was ignored. Ne- altogether without the pale of the vertheless, the opinion of Justice law. The decision in Lord Audley's Buller was, on that occasion, against case was perfectly analogous to the the propriety of the testimony of the present ; and the principle upon wife being received. He knew of which the evidence of Lady Aud. no instance, except in the case of a ley was received was precisely the rape, where the testimony of the principle upon which he should adwife was received against her hus- mit the evidence of Mrs Stent. band.
Whatever might be the opinion of Mr Baron Graham said, that there individual judges on this question, were many cases in which the wife the opinion of the House of Lords, was considered a fit witness against assisted by the Twelve Judges of the her husband, particularly in one land, was of too solemn a nature to where she was in a state of danger be easily disturbed. from injury which she had received Mr Baron Graham was entirely of from him. In such a case, where the the same opinion; and his judgment wife had died, her deposition was was founded not alone upon the case subsequently received against her of Lord Audley itself, but upon a husband as evidence of the fact. long experience, in which he had re
Mr Alley said, that the principle peatedly seen the principle laid down upon which the evidence of a wife by his learned brother acted upon. against her husband was rejected; The decisions in those cases might was, that if it were admissible, it not be found in the books, from the would tend to excite disagreements universal acquiescence which they in the marriage state. Where a wo. had received. man spoke “ in periculo mortis" this Mr Justice Richardson agreed principle did not apply, and there with the other judges, that the evifore the evidence might be received; dence of Mrs Stent ought to be rebut this was not the case in the pre. ceived. It was a general rule, with sent instance.
very few exceptions, that a wife was Mr Adolphus addressed tlie Court an admissible witness against her VOL. XII. PART II.
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 2-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 fort. ly 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 you 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 SaDid you send any 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 which pital.
he had left the prisoner and the wo
man. On arriving, he found his two evidence. Witness went into the room, fellow servants in the room. Thewo- 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 6 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, ihe 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, recol. ihen 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-Juswounded 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, bad 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, consipossible, 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 upon himself as well as upon ed those symptoms of repentancethe 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 introdus did not admit of the same excuse as