From the Dover Express and East Kent Intelligencer, Saturday 25 September, 1858.
FATAL AFFRAY AT DOVER
On Sunday last the town of Dover was thrown into a ferment of
excitement from the fact of an affray between a soldier of the 4th
battalion of the 60th Rifles, which are at present quartered in this
garrison, and powerfully-built man named Joseph Blackwell, the landlord
of a public house in Priory Street called the "Royal George Tavern,"
resulting fatally to the former. From what can be gathered at appears
that the soldier, Richard Walsh, who had recently joined the regiment,
and who, although but twenty two years of age, had previously seen
service in the Crimea, while generally a well-behaved man, is inclined
to be quarrelsome when under the influence of drink, and that he had on
previous occasion visited the "Royal George" when intoxicated and
created some little disturbance there. On the other hand, Blackwell, the
unfortunate man accused of the murder, is a most powerful and muscular
man, At one time employed as a ganger upon the railway works, and has of
late years been a sort of sub-contractor, which business he has carried
on in conjunction with that of a licensed victualler, his house, the
"Royal George," being much frequented by the military. He is said to be
a well-disposed man under ordinary circumstances, but the victim of an
ungovernable temper, which at time urges him on to such lengths as to
render him, possessed as he is of the physical advantages already
noticed, a most formidable and dangerous antagonist. He is not,
however, a quarrelsome man; and during the time he has been located in
Dover he is said to have amassed some little property by his steady,
hardworking, and diligent habits.
The facts of this tragical occurrence appear to be as nearly as
possible the following:- It would seem that on Sunday evening, about
seven o'clock, Walsh went into the "Royal George Tavern," in state of
intoxication and called for some beer. The man employed at the house as
waiter, seeing his condition, refused to attend to his order, which
seemed to irritate the deceased, who repeated his demand to a girl also
connected with the house, who soon afterwards passed the table at which
she had seated herself. She, however, refused to bring him any beer
unless he first gave her the money. This he did not feel disposed to do;
and he then, with an oath, threatened to "clear the room" if beer was
not given him. Two men of the regiment to which the deceased belonged
were present, and as they had finished what they had been drinking they
arose and left the house, and induced the deceased to follow them.
Blackwell, who had been till that time sitting in the taproom, got up at
the same moment and also left the room by the same door for the purpose
of closing the shutters on the outside of the window, which overlooked a
house at the side of the house leading out of Priory Street, and into
which the door by which the soldiers left the house opened. It appears
that on getting into the passage the comrades of the deceased could not
prevail upon him to return to the barracks in company with them; but
after exchanging a few words with them just outside the house he made
for the door again, declining that he would have some beer before he
left. Blackwell, who at this juncture was fastening the windows, caught
hold of Walsh's arm as he was returning to the house, and said that he
should not go back again to annoy his customers, whereupon the deceased
turned round and sharply upon the landlord and a scuffle ensued. This,
it transpires, was sufficiently violent to induce Blackwell to call out
for succour, and the soldier was ultimately removed from him. Instead of
carrying out his intention of returning to the house Walsh now made off
in the direction of Biggin Street; and Blackwell, who appeared very much
overcome and excited by the effects of the scuffle, returned to the tap
room, where he called for a poker. Not finding such an instrument there,
however, he must have gone to the kitchen and obtained the poker from
the grate in that room, as he was next seen by a man named Joseph
McCordell with a poker in his hand at the kitchen door and advancing
towards the front door leading into Priory Street. McCordell, with a
praiseworthy anxiety to prevent a disturbance, ran round from the side
door already mentioned, and intercepted Blackwell just as he had reached
the front door of his house, and there entreated him to abandon his
intentions of pursuing the soldier. But Blackwell, as it turned out
would not be prevailed upon; nor would he allow McCordell to take the
poker away from him, but started with it in his possession, yet
concealed under his arm, in pursuit of Walsh. It appears that he was
also expostulated with by a second person, a neighbour named Sayers, a
wheelwright, who was passing at the moment, but without effect. Indeed,
the answer he gave to the latter indicated that he was still labouring
under very strong excitement. In the meantime the soldier had gone in
the direction of St. Mary's church, in Biggin Street, nearly opposite
which he had rested, and was leaning against the closed shop-window of
one of the houses there when Blackwell overtook him, stating that he
wanted to give him in charge of the police. The soldier was then seen to
advance in a quiet manner to Blackwell, whereupon the latter raised the
poker and gave him a severe blow with it upon the left side of the neck.
The unfortunate man placed his hand to the other side of his neck and
made some remark to the bystanders as to the nature of the blow, and
then staggered and fell to the ground. A piquet was soon on the spot,
and he was promptly conveyed to the guard house; but there is every
reason to believe that he died upon the road, and his cries and
struggles gradually became more and more feeble until they ceased
altogether within a hundred yards of the guardhouse.
It will be seen by the evidence of the medical witnesses that there
could be but one opinion as to the cause of the deceased's death,
although the Coroner's Jury differed from the Magistrate's in their view
of the impulse by which the accused had been actuated.
Throughout the week the greatest interest has been manifested
throughout the town by the horrible occurrence.
EXAMINATION OF THE PRISONER
Considerable excitement attended the examination of the prisoner,
which took place in the magistrates room, at the Maison Dieu Hall, at
eleven o'clock on Monday morning. A very large crowd surrounded the
doors of the building, and betrayed great anxiety to catch a glimpse of
Blackwell as he was taken into the court. By the excellent arrangements
of the police authorities, public inconvenience was in a great measure
obviated, and the room in which the magistrates held their meeting was
not so densely packed as it has previously been on similar occasions. We
are sorry to have to make a single complaint as to the arrangements the
authorities in their wisdom see fit to make for the public
accommodation; but the inconvenience experienced by the representatives
of the press on Monday was so intolerable that we cannot refrain from
drawing attention to it, in the hope that some better accommodation may
be in future provided. The position assigned to the reporters in the
magistrates' room is in every sense, the worst that can be imagined, as
they can neither hear the evidence of the various witnesses with any
certainty, nor obtain sufficient light to take a reliable note of what
transpires; added to which they are made to experience many minor
inconveniences which tend further to impede them in the discharge of
their duties. In no other court, indeed, have we ever seen the
necessities, not to speak of the comfort or convenience of the
representatives of the press, so contemptuously disregarded.
The magistrates upon the bench were the Mayor; Capt. Noble; and L.
Stride, S. M. Latham, and E. Sabbit, Esqrs.
Mr. E. Knocker appeared for the prisoner, who was charged with having
assaulted Richard Walsh, a private of the 4th battalion 60th Rifles,
with an iron poker, on the preceding evening, in Biggin Street, and with
having beaten him over the head with it, in consequence of which assault
he had since died.
The first witness examined was Henry Smith, landlord of the "Priory
Tavern," Folkestone Road, who said:- I saw the prisoner in Biggin Street
about half-past seven o'clock last evening; he was running down the
street. I did not know why he was running. When I got near to the house
of Mr. Bushell, fruitier, I saw standing there a man belonging to the
60th Rifles; he was leaning against the shutters of Bushell's house. The
prisoner, as he was running along the street, said "I want to give that
man in charge." I asked him what the man had been doing. I was walking
down the street at the time, and the prisoner passed me. In answer to my
question as to what the man had been doing the prisoner said, "He has
been kicking up a noise in my house, and it is not the first time he has
done so. I want to give him in charge." Upon that the soldier made away
from where he was standing against the shutters, and stepped into the
road. He uttered some words, but I did not hear what they were. The
prisoner then struck the soldier a blow over his head with a poker he
had in his hand. I saw the poker for the first time when the blow was
The Mayor:- Did you see the blow struck? Where did it strike him?
Witness:- Apparently on the side of the head.
The Mayor:- Was the soldier standing with his back or his side
towards the prisoner?
Witness:- The soldier was facing him. I believe he was struck on the
left side of the head.
Examination resumed.- Some persons had gathered round by this time,
and the soldier pointed to his head, exclaimed to them "Look here!"
The Mayor:- Was hat all he said?
Witness:- Yes; he might have said it three or four times, but that
was all he said, and he then fell to the ground. The prisoner walked
away in about half a minute or a minute after he struck the blow, and
just after the soldier fell to the ground. Immediately after he had
fallen some of his comrades came along and picked him up, and just as
they had done so, a piquet came along and took him away. He was very
resolute, and refused to walk. When they commenced doing so his face was
turned upwards. Four or five men were employed to carry him, one holding
his head, and one taking hold of each of his arms and his legs. They
found they could not very well carry him with his face turned upwards,
so the sergeant of the piquet desired them to turn him over. They did
so, he resisted all the time. I heard him ask several times to have his
stock taken off. I could not, however, see whether he had a stock on.
The word he mad use of were "Loosen my stock, take my stock off," which
he repeated several times. I did not see the piquet take his stock off;
I did not follow them. The last I saw of them was at St. Mary's Church,
and they were then going towards Market Place.
By the Mayor:- I cannot say the sergeant in charge of the piquet was
told that the man had been knocked down with a poker. I did not hear
anyone mention it to him. An officer's servant, dressed in plain
clothes, was standing by. I believe he as one of the deceased comrades. He might have stated that the deceased had been knocked down with a
poker. When I last saw the piquet they were carrying the deceased with
his face downwards - the way I have described. That is all I know.
Cross-examined by Mr. E. Knocker:- I did not know the soldier
personally. When the prisoner came up to him I was as close to the
former as I am now (about a yard). The soldier moved a few yards from
the spot I first saw him at. He was standing on the kerbstone of the
pavement. When the soldier came towards the prisoner I was about
half-a-dozen yards from them. I scarcely heard what the soldier said to
the prisoner. and I did not hear the prisoner say anything but what I
have stated. I did not hear the prisoner say to the soldier, "If you
come forward I will strike you with the weapon I have in my hand." He
might have said it without my hearing him. It was light enough for me to
discern objects clearly. The prisoner appeared to be sober, but was
excited. I believe there was a little blood about his mouth. I did not
see whether his hands were smeared with blood. The prisoner said that
the soldier had been tearing to pieces his shirt, and that he had a row
with him. I did not notice that the soldier had his arm up as if about
to strike the prisoner when the latter came up to him. The soldier's
comrades came up just after the blow was struck. I did not see them on
the spot at the time the blow was given. They came up about half a
minute afterwards. There were three or four of them, or there might have
been more. When the piquet picked him up I did not hear him say anything
to them. The servant I mentioned was one of the soldier's comrades.
Several persons were passing at the time, and some stood still. I did
not go forward to pick up the man when he fell, because his comrades had
come up so soon afterwards. He appeared to be very drunk, and he might
have fallen from that cause. I looked at the man's face to see the
result of the blow, but I did not see where he had been struck. I heard
the officer's servant say to the prisoner "Remember you have knocked him
down with a poker; I will be in the orderly room in the morning." I did
not hear him accuse anyone else of knocking prisoner down. I might know
the servant again if I saw him, he was a short man. I did not see
whether deceased was wearing his belt or side-arms. There was another
man coming down the street at the time the prisoner was coming down, but
he was not exactly with him; prisoner was in the road, and the other man
was on the pavement. I did not hear the prisoner send for a policeman,
but prisoner said he had done so.
The Mayor:- You said just now you saw the prisoner with a poker.
Where did he get it from?
Witness:- I believe from under his shirt sleeve. I did not see him
produce it, bit I noticed that he put it there after the blow had been
struck. I did not see the poker in his hands while he was running down
The poker, a small iron one, was then produced and identified by the
Charles Sayers, wheelwright, of Priory Street:- I reside at 17,
Church Street, but I occupy a yard in Priory Street which extends behind
the prisoner's house and is communicated with by means of a passage at
the side of prisoner's house. I also occupy a workshop in Priory Street
which is rather nearer to Biggin Street than the passage in question.
Yesterday evening I first went to my workshop, and after staying there a
few minutes I went to the yard, where I remained four or five minutes. I
then returned to Priory Street through the passage, and as I passed I
saw a soldier in dark green dress, talking to a young woman. They were
conversing very quietly together, and the prisoner was within a few
yards of them at the time, but was not talking to them. I brought a dog
with me from the yard to the shop and tied it up there, and put on the
light, and as I came out of the shop again a soldier in dark green ran
by. Whether he was the same soldier I had seen standing in the passage,
or not, I could not say, but I noticed he came from the passage leading
from the yard. A side door of the prisoner's house opens into the
passage. After the soldier had disappeared in the direction of Biggin
Street, I saw the prisoner leave his house or the passage as if in
pursuit of the soldier, and heard him say he would give him into
custody. I endeavoured to persuade him to return to his house again, but
his only reply to my advise was "D_____ your eyes; mind your own
business." At the same time I noticed the prisoner held a poker in his
left hand; he carried it under his shirt-sleeve, which was tucked up,
and held the handle of the poker in the hollow of his hand. I did not
observe anything else remarkable in his appearance. The soldier had at
the time gone quite out of sight. The prisoner spoke to me sharply, and
appeared to be a little angry; he went round the corner of Priory
Street, into Biggin Street, in the direction of Market Place. I did not
Cross-examined by Mr. Knocker:- I was not in my shop more than four
or five minutes. I merely tied my dog up and extinguished the light.
Mr. Stride:- I am rather anxious to know why you took any pains to
recommend the prisoner to go back to his house.
The witness:- Because he said he meant to give the man into custody,
and I thought it as well that that should not be done.
Cross-examined resumed:- I did not take particular notice of his
face. I did not observe anything about it. Nothing else passed between
us but the words I have mentioned.
Charles West, colour-sergeant of the 4th battalion 60th Rifles, said
that he was in the piquet of his regiment on the preceding night. They
were under the command of Lieut. Hamilton, and as they were proceeding
up Snargate Street they made for Biggin Street, in consequence of
someone saying that a row was going on there.
The witness Sayers here stated that he wished to add something to the
evidence he had previously given; and on being placed in the witness-box
he said - I am anxious to add that I heard the prisoner say, after he
came out of his house, D____ his eyes; I will give him something." That
was before I recommended him to return to his house again. I am quite
sure he used those words.
Lieutenant Frederick Hamilton, of the 4th battalion 60th Rifles,
said:- I was in command of the piquet of my regiment last night about
half-past seven or eight o'clock. In consequence of what I heard I
ordered the piquet to go to Biggin Street. On getting there I saw a
crowd, and heard a disturbance. I went into the midst of the crowd, and
there I saw the deceased; he appeared to be in a vary excited state. I
immediately ordered the piquet to take charge of him, and he was taken
accordingly - saw that he was drunk. He was very violent for a
short time after he was taken. The men of the piquet were obliged to
carry him, and the at first took him with his face turned upwards; but
they found that this method would now answer, and the deceased position
was then reversed, and his face turned downwards. He was conveyed in
this manner to the guard-room at the Grand Shaft, whither I accompanied
the piquet. At the entrance of the yard leading to the guard-room I gave
the deceased over to the charge of the corporal of the piquet, and told
him to give deceased into the hands of the sergeant of the guard. The
deceased was so drunk as not to be able to walk; he might have managed
to stand a short time, but I think he must soon have fallen. He was very
intoxicated. I saw him afterwards, when he was dead. That was, I
suppose, in about five minutes or a little more from the time of
depositing him in the guard-room. After I have given the deceased over
to the corporal, to be delivered to the sergeant of the guard, I got the
men of the piquet to fall in and march back again into Snargate Street,
and they got a little past the "Apollonian Hall" when I was told by one
of our men - a bugler - that the man was dead. I at once returned to the
guard-room and found it was so.
Cross-examined by Mr. Knocker:- The men carried the deceased scarcely
any distance with his face upwards - not more than four or five yards. I
heard deceased calling out something about his stock, and I believe it
was taken off. I did not see it taken off, but some of the men told me
It having been decided by the enquiry should be adjourned for a
post mortem examination of the unfortunate deceased.
Mr. G. T. Thompson, the borough coroner, who was present throughout
the proceedings, suggested at this stage of the examination, that a
civilian surgeon should be associated with the military doctor in that
investigation, with which the magistrates fully concured.
Henry Chapman, a private of the 4th battalion 60th Rifles:- I was one
of the piquet last night. I saw the deceased in Biggin Street, and was
one of the men who were ordered by Lieut. Hamilton to take charge of
him. On lifting him up we tried to carry him with his face upwards, but
we saw that that would not do, and we turned his face downwards. I held
the deceased's head, and there was man at each of his arms and each of
his legs. We carried him in that posture all the way to the Shaft. I
held his head all the time. I heard him say "Take my stock off" two or
three times, but on looking to se if that was necessary, I found he had
none on. That was when he had got about twenty yards from the spot at
which we found him. I helped to carry him into the guard-room. I did not
stop there till he died. He was laid on the floor, and we left the
sergeant to guard with him. I did not see him stir after he was laid
Cross examined by Mr. Knocker:- When we were about to take him he
knocked about, and refused to go. He knocked about also when he was
being carried, but not quite all the way. When we got about 100 yards
from the spot where we found him he ceased to move, and I did not hear
him say anything more. My hand was supporting his forehead. He never
stirred after we reached the guard-room. We laid him down, with his
stomach downwards, on the guard-room floor. I did not notice whether he
had his belt on.
This was the last witness it was thought necessary to call at this
examination, and the prisoner was then remanded until the following
INQUEST UPON THE BODY
The borough coroner, G. T. Thompson, Esq., opened his enquiry upon
the body of the deceased on Monday afternoon. With a view to the
convenience of the witness, who was required to be in attendance at the
magisterial examination, the investigation was conducted in the grand
jury room at the Maison Dieu Hall. A most respectful and intelligent
jury were enpannelled, the foreman being Mr. George Flashman.
Mr. E. Knocker was in attendance to watch proceedings on the part of
The jury having been sworn.
The Coroner said that he proposed on that occasion taking only such
evidence in the melancholy case before them as would justify an
adjournment for the purpose of a post mortem examination, as the
nature and extent of their future enquiry would very much depend upon
the report of the medical witness. He had thought it right to recommend
the Magistrates to direct that a private medical practitioner should be
associated with the military surgeon making this examination, and their
worships had assented to this recommendation. Mr. Walter had therefore
been requested to give his assistance for the purpose; and the result of
the medical investigations would be made known to the jury on their
reassembling on Wednesday morning, to which time he should propose
adjourning them after taking just such evidence as was necessary.
The gentleman of the jury having been to view the body, which was
lying at the military hospital, Western Heights, and returned to the
jury room, the witnesses Smith and Chapman were examined. Their evidence
is mainly a repetition of that given before the Magistrates, but some
additional facts were brought out in the course of the examination, and
these were append.
The Coroner, in the course of Smith's examination enquired if the
blow was given to the deceased by Blackwell was a violent one, to which
the witness replied that it appeared to be a heavy blow from the manner
in which Blackwell struck. After striking the blow Blackwell turned away
and went towards his home.
Mr. Knocker:- Did he turn away before the deceased's comrades picked
Witness:- I can hardly say, but I think he did.
Mr. Knocker:- What do you mean when you state that the piquet found
that they could not carry the deceased with his face upwards?
Witness:- He was too violent. They could scarcely hold him, much less
Mr. Knocker:- When you first saw Blackwell did you hear him warn the
soldier of the peril of being struck with the weapon in his hand?
Witness:- I did not.
Mr. Knocker:- Might he have said so without you hearing?
Witness:- Yes, he might have said so, but I did not notice that he
Mr. Knocker:- You state that the soldier was drunk. Now there are
different stages of drunkenness; was he very drunk?
Witness:- I should say he was; he could scarcely stand still when he
was leaning against the house.
Mr. Knocker:- Did Blackwell say what the soldiers had been doing?
Witness:- He said he had been tearing him to pieces and assaulting
The Coroner:- Was that before or after he struck the blow?
Witness:- After, I believe.
Mr. Knocker:- Did the soldier when he advanced to Blackwell raise his
arm in a threatening manner?
Witness:- I did not observe him do so.
Mr. Knocker:- Might he have done so without you seeing?
By the Coroner:- I did not go forward to pick the deceased up because
some of his comrades came to his assistance immediately.
Mr. Knocker:- Does not the circumstance enable you to say that
Blackwell did not go away until the deceased's comrades had come up?
Witness:- I should think he must have gone away about the same time;
but everything was done so quickly that it is difficult to remember. I
believe he was gone when the deceased was picked up.
Mr. Knocker:- Do you think it probably the deceased fell from his
Witness:- I think it quite possible.
The Foreman:- Do you think he was so drunk that he would have fallen
if he had not been struck?
Witness:- I cannot say; it is possible.
The Coroner:- Then you mean to say that you do not know whether
deceased fell from the effects of the blow or drunkenness?
Witness:- I do.
Mr. Knocker:- Did you hear Blackwell say he had sent for a policemen?
Witness:- I asked him if he had done so, and he said that he had.
Mr. Knocker:- Was that before was struck or afterwards?
A juror:- Did the soldier give any reason for wishing his stock taken
Witness:- No; all I heard him say was, "Loosen my stock; take it
off!" which he repeated several times.
The witness Chapman was then placed under examination. He said:- When
the piquet were going to take hold of him, the deceased put his hand up
to the side of his neck and said - "He hit me here." Walsh was very
violent while the piquet were carrying him through the town, until he
got within about one hundred yards of the shaft. He then became very
quiet, and made no further movement.
The Coroner:- During the time you were carrying the deceased did you
notice whether he breathed heavily?
Witness:- I could not tell; I did not take notice.
By Mr. Knocker:- The deceased was carried by five men, one at his
head, two at his arms, and two at his legs, so that his arms were
extended. I carried his head, which I was careful to keep in the same
position all the time I held it.
The Foreman:- Was that not a very extraordinary way to carry a
Witness:- We were obliged to carry him some way, and that was the
The Foreman:- The best way to quiet him?
Mr. Knocker:- Are you sure the deceased was alive when you laid him
on the floor of the guard-room?
Witness:- I did not notice. We laid him down and left him.
Mr. Knocker:- Did he move at all after you laid him on the floor?
Witness:- No sir; he never stirred, but just laid as we put him down.
The Coroner:- Did he complain of the mode in which you were carrying
Witness:- After we had carried him about two hundred yards, he said
he would walk; but Lieut. Hamilton would not let him, and told the
piquet to continue carrying him.
By the Coroner:- Walsh was at the roll-call at three o'clock
At this stage the proceedings were adjourned till Wednesday.
ADJOURNED CORONERS ENQUIRY
The jury reassembled at the Maison Dieu Hall on Wednesday morning,
the enquiry on this occasion being conducted in the magistrates' room.
Mr. E. Knocker again appeared on behalf of Blackwell.
Samuel James Jackson sergeant of the Donegal Militia, was the first
witness examined. He said on Sunday night last I was the sergeant in
command of the main-shaft guard. I recollect Walsh being brought in,
about eight o'clock, by the piquet of the regiment to which he belonged.
They laid him upon the floor, face downwards, and left him in charge of
the guard as a prisoner. The piquet then left, and I turned the deceased
over with the assistance of the corporal of the guard (Corporal Finch),
thinking the position in which the piquet had left him was not a proper
one for a drunken man to remain in. Having raised him up we placed him
on the guard-room bench and unfastened his clothing; but on feeling his
pulse we discovered no sign of animation, and soon found that he was
dead. The body was warm, but life was extinct.
The Coroner:- Had he is stock on?
Witness:- No, sir; his stock was fastened around his leg.
Examination resumed:- The Surgeon of the Donegal Militia, and also
that of the Bedford Militia and the 60th Rifles shortly afterwards came,
and all pronounced him dead.
By Mr. Knocker:- Deceased did not make any movement whatever after he
was brought in and placed upon the guard-room floor.
Police-sergeant George Gedds, of the Dover force, examined:- I
produce a poker I obtained on Sunday evening last, about nine o'clock,
at the house of the prisoner, "The Royal George," Priory Street. I found
it in the kitchen under the grate. I had taken the prisoner into
custody, at his own house, about half-an-hour previously. On telling him
he must come to the station-house with me, he asked if the man was dead.
I replied "I do not know," on which he said "I did not mean to kill him;
I hit him with the poker, as I thought, about the shoulders." After I
had obtained the poker I showed it to Blackwell, at the station-house. I
said to him "Do you know anything about this?" He replied, "Hold it
higher up," and on my doing so he added, "That is the poker I struck the
man with." He then repeated, "I thought I struck him on the shoulder."
He knew Walsh was dead as soon as he was brought to the station-house.
By the Foreman:- This was the only poker I could find in the house. I
was not told to look for it in the kitchen. The kitchen, to the best of
my belief, is not generally used by soldiers.
By Mr. Knocker:- I had been informed that Blackwell had struck the
deceased with a poker; and he did not attempt to deny it on being
brought to the station-house.
Mr. Knocker:- Did Blackwell tell you where to find the poker?
Witness:- No he did not.
The witness added - I had learnt Blackwell had struck the soldier
with a poker previously to taking him into custody. I did not make any
enquiry for the poker at the time of taking the prisoner into custody,
because there was a very excited mob outside the house, and I was afraid
to leave the prisoner. Blackwell said there had been a quarrel in the
house, that deceased had been knocking him about, and that he
(Blackwell) took the poker in his own defence. The distance from the
"Royal George Tavern" to the place at which the deceased was struck is
about 230 yards. I have measured the distance by pacing it.
Henry Smith, on being recalled, said the poker produced was similar
to that with which Blackwell had struck the deceased.
Mr. J. Walter, surgeon, examined:- Yesterday, in company with Dr.
Howell, staff surgeon of the garrison, I made a post mortem
examination of the deceased. Externally there was a mark of a blow on
the left side of the neck, below the ear.
The Coroner:- What was the character of the blow?
Witness:- As if occasioned by a stick, poker, or other blunt
Examination resumed:- It was the mark of a heavy blow. On the right
side of the face there were some slight scratches, as if caused by
nails. On the inside of the lower lip there were two slight abrasions,
which might have been occasioned by a blow upon the chin, or by deceased
biting his lip himself. There were the only external appearances. I saw
no marks upon the deceased hands as if he had been fighting. The
internal appearances of violence indicated a blow on the upper part of
the right parietal bone, and these must have been produced by a heavy
blow or fall. Under the part marked by the blow externally the muscle
was considerably bruised. There were no other marks of violence or
disease beyond what I have already stated. The lungs were in a congested
The Coroner:- Was the congestion very severe?
Witness:- No, not very severe.
The Coroner:- Now, have you formed a conclusion as to the cause of
the deceased's death?
Witness:- Yes, I consider the death of the deceased to have arisen
from a shock caused to the nervous system by the blow the trace of which
I discovered on the neck.
The Foreman:- Do you consider the manner in which the deceased was
carried by the piquet would accelerate death, seeing he was intoxicated?
Witness:- No, I should think not, supposing his head was held up
A Juror:- We have it in evidence that deceased was very violent when
taken by the piquet. Do you think that might have been the result of the
Witness:- No, I think not.
By the Foreman:- I am of the opinion that the rough treatment
deceased experienced at the hands of the piquet had no influence upon
the shock the nervous system had received.
Mr. Knocker:- Might not the effect of such a blow as you have spoken
to be different in the case of a man sober from that produced on one
Witness:- It might. In the case of a man intoxicated the effect would
be more serious, as he would have less power of rallying.
Mr. Knocker:- Is it your opinion that such a blow would necessarily
lead to the death of a person when sober and calm?
Witness:- It is very difficult to answer that question. I am not
prepared to say that it would, necessarily.
Cross-examination resumed - If the outer skin were broken by the blow
it must have been very slightly so. There was very little ecchymose.
Mr. Knocker:- Supposing the deceased to have been highly intoxicated,
would the circumstance of his being carried with his face downwards be
as advantageous to his recovery from a blow such as you have described
as if he had been carried the reverse way?
Witness:- I think it would make no difference whatsoever.
Cross-examination resumed - Congestion of the longs might have arisen
from the position in which the body was placed after death or from the
circulation suddenly ceasing upon death, taking place. The lungs were
more congested than usual after death, but I account for this by the
suddenness of the death. The position in which the deceased was carried
out could not have had any influence upon the appearance of the lungs
after death. In my own experience I do not know of death resulting from
a blow of this kind. There are cases on record, but they are very rare.
There was no appearance, beyond a slight congestion of the outer
covering of the brain, from which I should infer that deceased died
whilst in a state of intoxication. There was considerable adhesion of
the right lung of the deceased to the cavity of the chest - the effect
of an old disease - and this, I think, might have lessened his power of
Dr. Thomas Howell, staff surgeon of the Dover garrison, and attached
to the 60th Rifles:- I saw the deceased on Sunday evening shortly after
he was brought into the guard-room at the Grand Shaft. He was then to
all appearances dead. I attempted to restore animation for upwards of an
hour, but without success. I then examined the body externally. I did
not know that he had been struck, but on afterward ascertaining that he
had been I examined him more carefully. I found a long mark on the left
side of his neck, as if caused by the smut from a poker, but I could not
then detect any mark of injury, the skin not having even been broken. I
made a post mortem examination, in conjunction with Mr. Walter,
yesterday. When the scalp was raised there appeared an ecchymosed spot
about the size of a crown piece on the right side of the head, as if
occasioned from a blow or fall, probably from the latter. There was no
apparent internal injury resulting from that appearance. On examining
the neck an ecchymosed spot about two inches in length was found,
externally, about midway between the lower part of the left side of the
neck and the ear, and as would be occasioned by a blow from a blunt
instrument. The parts were then carefully dissected out, and the bruise
was found to be continuing down to the vertebrae. Immediately above the
vertebrae there existed a most important network of nerves which effect
the motion of the heart and lungs; and in the case of their being
paralysed the heart and lungs become effected, and ultimately cease
their functions. This network of nerves was involved in the bruise of
which I have spoken, which extended about half an inch below it. The
ligaments which keep this network in position were also effected by the
bruise. The chest was then examined. The lungs, with the exception of
the right lung adhering to the chest, which is not uncommonly found in
men who are knocking about, were perfectly healthy. The portions near
the back were completely gorged with blood, probably from the position
in which the body was deposited, after death, but there were no other
appearances about the lungs with which death could be connected. The
heart was perfectly healthy, and entirely void of blood, which would not
have been the case, I conclude, had the deceased had died from apoplexy
or suffocation. The stomach was perfectly healthy and its contents free
from all smell of beer or spirits, and it presented the appearance
consequent upon healthy digestion during life. I examined the trachea
and larynx, which were also congested.
The Coroner:- What conclusions do you draw, Dr. Howell, as to the
cause of death?
Witness:- I have no doubt in my own mind that death was occasioned by
the shock the nervous system of the deceased had received through the
blow he had sustained on the neck.
Cross-examined by Mr. Knocker:- I observed no more congestion of the
brain than is usual in the case of persons dying in a state of
intoxication. It was more a veinous congestion than congestion of the
brain. I should not say from this appearance that the deceased must have
necessarily died in a state of intoxication, because the same appearance
is often found when persons are quite sober at the time of death. The
network of nerves of which I have spoken was in the deceased about an
inch beneath the spot on which the blow descended. I consider the effect
of such a blow as the deceased sustained would not be changed by the
deceased having been drunk or sober. Its first effect, if not immediate
death, would be loss of power, and, reaction taking place, would admit
of considerable exertion, which would again decrease as death
approached. The manner of which the deceased was carried by the piquet
would not have had any effect in influencing death, provided his head
was supported, not would the way in which he was deposited upon the
floor of the guard-room.
John Bishop, private of the 4th Battalion 60th Rifles, examined:- On
the evening of Sunday, about half-past seven o'clock, as I was walking
up Biggin Street near to St. Mary's Church, I saw Blackwell, the man now
in custody, standing in the middle of the road, and a private of the
regiment to which I belong leaning against the shutters. Two or three
other persons were standing on the pavement. Just as I was passing
Blackwell, he said - "I'll be _____ if I don't have him taken." The
soldier then advanced towards Blackwell, and said to him, "Look here,
I'll tell you what," then Blackwell said, "Stand off!" and then
immediately struck him a blow with a poker, which up to that time he had
concealed under his right arm. The blow fell upon the left side of the
deceased's neck, just below the ear. I went up to the deceased and took
him by the arm. He put his hand up to the left side of his neck, and
said to me. "There! Did you see that?" I said "Yes, I did." Blackwell
was standing near at the time. The deceased then staggered back about
three paces, when he fell to the ground. The blow from the poker was a
very heavy one. Deceased fell upon his right side. I then knelt down and
unhooked his collar, when I found that he had no stock on. An officer's
servant, who was standing by, then said to Blackwell, "Mind, I saw you
strike the blow, and I shall be in the orderly-room to-morrow morning."
Blackwell made some reply, but I could not hear what. He remained on the
spot about two minutes after the blow was struck, and then went away.
After delivering the blow Blackwell returned the poker under his arm. I
and the officer's servant then picked up the deceased, and as soon as we
had done so the piquet came up and took him away. Deceased did not
extend his arm in a threatening manner when he advanced towards
Blackwell; he went up to him very quietly, his hands hanging at his
sides. He staggered when he advanced, as if he was drunk.
John Haniford, a private in the 60th, and officer's servant,
examined:- On Sunday evening about half-past seven, as I was walking
along Biggin Street, I saw the deceased turn the corner of Priory
Street. He was staggering along as if very much intoxicated. I was on
one side of the way and he the other, and I continued to walk apposite
him down the street. I noticed that his stock was buckled around his
leg. After he had gone some distance down the street the deceased
stopped and leant against the window shutters of one of the houses.
After remaining for a second or two in this position he went a few yards
further, when I heard the sound of some one running down the street, at
the same time exclaiming - "Oh, here he is." That was the man now in
custody. On coming up to where deceased was, he said to him, "I insist
on giving you in charge of the police." The soldier said something in
reply, but I could not tell what it was, and thereupon advanced towards
Blackwell. He did not come forward in a threatening manner. I heard no
words pass between them; but I saw Blackwell directly strike the
deceased, but what with I am unable to say. I never heard a voice
exclaim, "Do you see that, now"! I see deceased stagger a short distance
and fall to the ground. He was then picked up by myself and others, and
shortly afterwards removed by the piquet.
The witness, Charles Sayers, was then examined, but his evidence did
not furnish anything beyond what had already been transpired when he was
before the Magistrates.
Joseph Staples McCordell, labourer, residing at 8, Albany Place:- On
Sunday evening I was at the "Royal George Tavern." I went in about seven
o'clock, and entered the tap room. At that time a soldier was in the
room, sitting at a table with his head resting upon his arms. I have
seen the deceased and recognised his body as that of the same man. Other
soldiers were present; some were of the 60th Rifles, others were of the
Bedfordshire Militia. In about a quarter of an hour after I had entered,
everything having been peaceable up to that time, the deceased followed
Blackwell out of the room into the passage at the side of the house.
When deceased went out Blackwell was closing the shutters. Directly he
had gone I heard a scuffle in the passage and Blackwell called out
"Murder!" whereupon I with two of the Bedford Militia and two of the
60th Rifles ran out into the passage, when I saw that the deceased had
got Blackwell against the wall. I assisted to take deceased off
Blackwell, and deceased them immediately went away. He went down Priory
Street. On Blackwell's return to the tap-room, I saw that his
shirt-sleeve was torn. There was a spot of blood on the right breast of
his shirt, and also a little, but nothing to speak of, at the corner of
his mouth. Blackwell made a noise as if he were crying, and shouted out
for a poker. No one came to him, and he ran into an adjoining room and
appeared with a poker in his hand. I immediately ran out to the front
door of the house to interrupt him. I had just reached the front door
when he came out with a small poker in his hand. I said to him, "Joe, go
and carry that back - don't make a Deal job of it - or give it to me,
and I will carry it back." He refused to do so, and I then tried to take
it from him but he broke away from me, and ran towards Biggin Street. A
man who lodges in the prisoner's house was in his company. I do not know
his name; he is a stranger to me. I then returned to the tap-room again.
Four or five minutes elapsed from the time I took the soldier off
Blackwell till the latter started away from the front door of his house
with the poker in his hand. After Blackwell's return from the yard, I
believe he went into a kitchen and rinsed his face before calling for
the poker. Blackwell was quite sober but I believe the deceased was in
liquor. I meant by the words "Deal job" to refer to a death which
occurred in Deal in consequence of a man striking an officer with a
poker. Beyond calling for a poker I heard Blackwell say, with an oath,
that he would give the soldier a blow for kicking him in the mouth. I do
not recollect the exact words he used, nor do I remember him saying
anything else. I waited in the tap-room till Blackwell returned, which
he did in about seven or either minutes. I do not then believe he had
the poker in his hand, but before coming into the tap-room he went into
the bar. I asked him whether he had caught the man and he said "Yes, and
I've given him one." He then went into the bar, and having called me to
him he asked me at what time the commanding officer held his parade, as
he wanted to report the deceased. I said, "Joe, it's of no use for you
to report him, man, for you have taken the matter into your own hands."
He still said he should report him before the commanding officer on the
following day. While he was saying this so the piquets of several corps
surrounded the house, and I then left.
By a juror:- No one "chaffed" the prisoner upon his return to the
tap-room, about his being pinned to the wall by a smaller man than
himself. No allusions was made to the subject.
James Cayford, general dealer, 31 Albion Place, examined:- On
account of some information I had received, I went to the "Royal George"
in company with the sergeant of the piquet of the 60th Rifles (Sergeant
Jessop), after the disturbance on Sunday evening. The sergeant on
entering the house asked for the landlord, when Blackwell, who was in
the bar, said, "I am he." The sergeant then said, "I believe you have
had a row with some of our men." Blackwell answered, "Yes I have." The
sergeant enquired the cause of it, when Blackwell replied, "He has been
knocking my things about and kicking me about." The sergeant said, "If
you show me what is broken I will make a report to my colonel, and it
shall be replaced." Blackwell, however, showed nothing. The sergeant
then said he had understood Blackwell had struck the soldier with an
unlawful weapon, to which Blackwell answered, "Yes, I struck him with a
poker." The sergeant then said, "Where did you strike him?" and
Blackwell pointed to his left shoulder, on the left side of his neck.
The sergeant said, "You are not justified in doing that; I might as well
draw my sword and strike you. I shall report it to my colonel to-morrow
morning." Blackwell rejoined, "I don't care about your reporting it; if
I had knocked his _____ head off I should not have regretted it." The
sergeant, having desired me to remember the conversation and to come to
the orderly-room on the following morning, then left the house.
Thomas Jarvis, an umbrella maker by trade, but employed by
Blackwell:- I have lodged at the "Royal George" for the past six
months, and still live there. On Sunday night I was employed as waiter
in the tap-room of the "Royal George." I recollect a soldier of
the 60th Rifles, now stated to be dead, coming into the tap-room a
little after seven o'clock and calling for a pot of beer. I refused to
fetch it to him, as I saw he was drunk. He then sat down and leaned his
head upon his arms, which he placed upon the table. Other soldiers of
different corps were present, and I said to them, "Mind your jugs and
glasses, his shacko will fall off." A young woman employed in the house
passed at the moment, and the deceased, rousing himself, asked her to
bring him a pot of beer. She answered, "I will if you will give me the
money." He made no reply to that, but demanded some beer of the other
soldiers, declaring that if they did not give him some he would "clear
the _____ tap-room." Two of his own corps were sitting near him told him
they had none, and they were just going. They got up and went into the
yard, whither he followed them. Blackwell then went out to close the
shutters, and I heard (the door being open) Blackwell say, "Now, young
man, don't make a noise here on a Sunday night. We do not want any
disturbance here." The man then appeared desirous of returning to the
tap-room again, but Blackwell said to him, "you shall not go in; I don't
want you to disturb my company." I then saw the soldier strike Blackwell
with his fist, and take him by the collar and force him against the
wall. Blackwell called out for help, when several persons left the room;
and one of the Bedford Militia took hold of the deceased and removed him
off Blackwell, who then desired me to go for the police. I left the
house for the purpose of doing so, and proceeded to the station-house.
No one was there except the man in charge of the station-house who told
me that a constable was on duty somewhere in the neighbourhood. On
returning through Biggin Street to the "Royal George," I passed a piquet
who had the deceased in charge. I left the deceased in the passage
adjoining the house when I went for the police. I did not accompany
Blackwell in pursuit of the soldier. A young man who was then lodging in
the house, but who has since left Dover, went with him.
Alexander Ewens, adjutant of the 4th Battalion 60th Rifles:- The
deceased, whose name is Richard Walsh, was aged twenty-two years and
William Robey, a private of the 4th Battalion 60th Rifles, examined:-
I was in the "Royal George" on Sunday night, in company with a comrade
named Franklin. While we were there the deceased came into the room. He
sat down and rested his head on his hand, at the table, for some time.
He then asked myself and Franklin whether we intended to stand a pot of
beer. We answered that we were going, and we thereupon both left the
tap-room and went into the passage at the side of the house. The
deceased followed us, and so did Blackwell. The deceased asked me and my
comrade who we were. We told him, and then offered to assist him home,
but he refused our aid and then turned and made way for the house again.
Blackwell prevented his going in, saying that he should not disturb his
company as he had done before. A scuffle then ensued between Blackwell
and the deceased, but who began it I do not know. A civilian, with
others, then came into the yard, and the two were separated. Blackwell
said he would give the deceased in charge to the police, but directly
afterwards he said to me and Franklin, "Go away, perhaps the man (
meaning the deceased) may follow you." I and Franklin then went into the
street, and the deceased came after us. While in the street I saw
Blackwell enter his house again, by which time deceased had passed
myself and Franklin, and had got half way down the street. Shortly
afterwards, in about a minute, as I think, Blackwell came to the front
door of his house with something in his hand which shone. On passing us,
he said, "I am going to give him I charge of the police." he very
quickly turned the corner of Biggin Street, and we lost sight of him.
This concluded the evidence, and the Coroner then briefly summed up,
pointing out to the jury the distinction made by the law between the
crime of murder and that of manslaughter, and leaving them to form their
judgment upon the facts which had been brought out in the course of the
patient investigation they had just terminated. He alluded particularly
to the amount of time which elapsed between Blackwell's struggle with
the deceased in the passage and his pursuit of him with the fatal
instrument; his remarks during the interval with the soldiers Robey and
Franklin previous to returning to the house ; and then, after rinsing
his face, as deposed by McCordell, his conversation with that witness
and subsequently with the witness Sayers, which all tended to show that
sufficient time was afforded for reason to resume her sway in the mind
of Blackwell before his pursuit of the deceased.
The room was then cleared, and after about an hour's deliberation,
upon the readmission of the public.
The Foreman said that the majority of the Jury found a verdict of
"Manslaughter." We have since been given to understand that out of
fifteen jurors, twelve were in favour of the verdict returned, and three
inclined to a verdict of "Wilful Murder."
RE-EXAMINATION OF THE PRISONER
The prisoner Jeseph Blackwell was again brought up before the
Magistrates on Wednesday morning. Although the examination took place in
the Sessions House, very insufficient room was found for the
accommodation of the number of persons who flocked to hear the
proceedings. The prisoner was placed in the dock, where he was
accommodated with a seat. He appeared not a little effected by the
serious position in which he was placed, and although playing strict
attention to what transpired, as was evidenced by his frequent
communication with his solicitor during the day, he rarely raised his
eyes to look round the Court.
The Magistrates on the Bench were the Mayor, Capt. Noble, S. M.
Latham, Esq., L. Stride, Esq., E. Sibbit, Esq., and J. Worsfold, Esq.
The evidence in chief of the witness examined will be found in our
report of the adjourned Coroner's enquiry; but comparing the statements
made by them before the Magistrates with those delivered before the
Coroner, and finding that many new facts were elicited, we give such
additional points in their testimony as seen to be important.
George Geddes, police-sergeant of the Dover police force:- On the way
to the station-house, after I had taken the prisoner into custody, he
said, "The man has been knocking me about; I meant to give him in
charge; and I only took the poker in my own defence." Having been
cautioned by the superintendent at the station-house, the prisoner
repeated that he did not intend to kill the man, and he thought he
struck him on the shoulder.
Cross-examined by Mr. Knocker:- I fetched a doctor to the prisoner
after he had been lodged in the station-house. The surgeon I fetched was
Mr. Walter. prisoner seemed very much excited, and complained on the way
to the station-house that he was unwell through being knocked about.
Mr. Walter then stated the result of the post mortem
examination of the deceased. In addition to his statement before the
Coroner, he said - The mark upon the left side of the deceased's neck
was such as might have been caused by a blow from the poker produced by
the witness Geddes. I believe the skin of the neck where the mark of the
blow was not broken. The blow must have been given very shortly before
the man died. There was no appearance on the brain as if deceased had
died from apoplexy. Had the deceased died from apoplexy or from
suffocation, the brain would not have been in the state I found it in.
Br Mr. Knocker:- In consequence of a message I received, I went to
the police-station a little after ten o'clock on Sunday night. I there
saw the prisoner, who complained to me that he had been knocked about
and that he was ill. He was ill. On examining him I found his face a
little swelled, but I discovered no other marks of violence. Prisoner
also complained of diarrhoea, from which he said he had been suffering
very much all day. I prescribed for him. I did not observe any marks of
blood either upon his person or his clothes.
By the Court:- I did not at the time think that the swelling on the
prisoner's face had been caused by a blow.
Dr. Howell was next examined:- He deposed to his examination of the
body of the deceased at the guard-house on Sunday night shortly after
the affray: and he then said - I got an order from the colonel for the
removal of the body to the dead house at the Western Heights, where it
was taken. I saw it placed there. I also went to the dead house about
two hours afterwards, and saw that it was properly secured. I than again
examined the side of the neck, but no bruise had even then made itself
apparent. About nine o'clock I the following morning I again went to see
the body, and then at the place on the neck where I had previously seen
the dirt mark there was a deep red mark of a bruise. This mark as
exactly where the dirt had been, and a mark could not have been caused
in any way after death. There was no post mortem mark on the body
at all. Describing the internal appearance of the deceased body, he said
- The heart was in a very healthy condition. It was completely empty
that if it had been washed out it could not have been cleaner. In cases
of death by apoplexy, the heart is always found full of blood. All the
organs of the body were healthy. In my judgement the cause of death was
the shock to the nervous system from the blow on the neck. It must have
been a very violent blow to have occasioned the appearance I saw. The
parts are completely broken down for an inch or an inch and a half; and
it was such a blow as might have been occasioned by the poker produced
by Sergeant Gedds. I have known three instances of death caused by a
blow in the same place. One by a kick from a man, another by a blow
given by one boy to another, and the other by a fall on a spike; and I
have heard of several other similar cases. Death must have been caused
by the shock, as the injuries to the part alone would not have been
sufficient to cause death. The appearance of the lungs, the heart, and
of the brain were not by any means such as would have been the case if
death had been caused by suffocation. I have heard the position in which
deceased was carried described, and if I had been present I should have
ordered him to be carried in the same way. In my opinion it was the best
position he could have been carried in; indeed we placed him in the same
position when I endeavoured to restore animation. In one of the cases I
have mentioned - the case of the man who was kicked - I was present at
the post mortem examination, and there was in that case no
apparent bruise, and there was no other appearance in the body which
could account for death.
Mr. Knocker:- Speaking of the ecchymosed spot on the parietal bone
(see Dr. Howell's evidence before the coroner) I think you said you have
known death arise from a blow on that spot without any mark external or
Witness:- Yes, I have, from concussion.
Mr. Knocker:- I think you said that blow might have been caused by a
fall against a wall?
Witness:- It might.
Mr. Knocker:- So that a drunken man falling against a wall might get
a blow of that kind?
Mr. Knocker:- Is it not possible that in this case, then, death might
have resulted from a fall?
Witness:- A good deal would depend upon the force; but that part of
the head is such a perfect arch that the force of the blow struck on
this spot must be almost sufficient to cause a fracture to produce
concussion; and I should say that the blow must be very violent to do
Mr. Knocker:- And yet you have known a blow on that spot of
sufficient violence to cause concussion without leaving any mark?
Mr. Knocker:- Then there being an ecchymosed spot in this instance
the blow might have been very violent?
Witness:- It might.
Mr. Knocker:- You will no undertake to say that death did not arise
from that ecchymosed spot?
Witness:- I will not undertake to say so, but I should doubt it. We
generally find, when death is caused by concussion from a blow on this
spot, that the brain on the opposite side is broken down and bruised,
and there was no such appearance in this case.
Mr. Knocker:- Do you, as an experienced medical man, say that when
death is occasioned by concussion of the brain it is distinguishable in
the brain after death?
Witness:- I have always heard that it is; I have never seen a case of
Mr. Knocker:- Have you ever made a post mortem examination of
the brain in a case where death has resulted from concussion of the
Witness:- Yes, frequently. In all cases there has been effusion more
Mr. Knocker:- In your judgement if death arose from concussion of the
brain in this instance might it have so happened that there would be
nothing in the brain to betoken it?
Witness:- It is possible.
Mr. Knocker:- Do you find persons in a state of intoxication more
liable to casualties of this kind than sober ones?
Mr. Knocker:- If the head of the deceased had not been held properly
when he was being carried by the piquet would he have been liable to
Witness:- Most probably he would have been suffocated.
By the Court:- If the man had fallen on his head and had received
concussion of the brain there would have been the usual stentorious
breathing and he would have been in a state of complete insensibility,
coma, or stupor; and it is very seldom that in cases of concussion of
the brain death ensures so speedily as in this instance. I never knew
death to arise so speedily from concussion. Sudden deaths from injuries
to the brain generally arise from some leisure or fracture.
Mr. Knocker:- Are there no cases of instant death from concussion of
the brain without some fracture?
Witness:- Not to my own experience. I have heard of cases, but I have
always had doubts about them.
By the Court:- Piquets have particular orders when carrying men to
support the head properly, and to take off their stocks. The first thing
you see an old soldier do to an intoxicated man is to take off his stock
and unbutton his jacket.
The witness McCordell was then examined:- He said - It was about a
minute from the time prisoner returned into the taproom that I met him
at the front door with a poker in his hand. I said to prisoner, "Joe,
let me take that poker in doors, or take it in yourself." He said, I'll
follow him, and if there's a policemen I'll give him in charge." I said,
"I hope you will, mate, but don't take that thing with you. Leave that
behind; don't make a Deal job of it."
By Mr. Knocker:- I did not see the prisoner obtain the poker. I heard
him ask for one. I might have been talking to him at the door about a
minute or half a minute, or two minutes, I could not say. He did not
stay longer than was necessary to hear what I had to say. I tried to get
the poker away from him, but he "slewed" away from me.
The witness Jarvis, in cross-examination by Mr. Knocker, said - he
had seen the deceased in the "Royal George" previous Sunday last; it was
about a fortnight ago, and he behaved very badly. He threatened the
mistress's life because she would not give him half a gallon of beer.
The mistress refused to supply him because he was drunk.
Mr. Knocker:- Did he draw a knife and threaten to stab her?
Witness:- Yes; the knife I now produce.
Mr. Knocker:- Did anyone interfere then?
Witness:- A young woman took it out of her hand, and I went up to the
Heights for a piquet to take him away. When the piquet came the man had
gone. Prisoner was not then at home. I did not observe whether the
soldier had his belt on on Sunday.
Assistant-surgeon McCormack, of the Donegal Militia, examined:- On
Sunday evening last I went down to the guard-room at the foot of the
main shaft, about eight o'clock, and I there saw Richard Walsh, the
deceased. He was laying on the settle. I examined his heart and his
pulse. He was pulse less. There was some warmth about the region of his
heart; the rest of his body was not quite cold. Dr. Howell came down a
quarter of an hour afterwards. Immediately I came down I tried to
resuscitate the deceased. I did not know the man; he was in the uniform
of the 60th Rifles.
David Jarvis, called at the request of Mr. Knocker, said - I am a
pioneer of the Bedford Militia. I was at the "Royal George" on Sunday
evening last. I saw there a man of the 60th Rifles, who, I have since
been told, was named Walsh. He behaved himself very well, except that he
was rather drunk. I heard a scuffle in the yard and looked out of the
window. I did not see Walsh strike the prisoner, but I saw him with his
hand on the prisoner's throat. I took the man's hand off the prisoner.
The soldier had his belt on. He had his stock on when he went out of the
The other witness examined before the Coroner were called, but their
examinations resulted in the deposition of no new facts, and it is not
therefore necessary to reproduce their statements.
The Magistrates having retired for a short time, and returned again
The clerk to the Magistrates cautioned the prisoner in the usual way,
and asked him if he had anything to say.
The prisoner shook his head.
The Mayor:- Then it only remains, prisoner, to commit you to take
your trial on a charge of Wilful Murder.
The prisoner appeared much overcome by the decision of the
Magistrates, and considerable sensation was manifested in the Court at
the concluding words of the Chief Magistrate in his committal of the
The Sessions House remained densely crowded throughout the
examination, which occupied more than eight hours.
While the examination of the prisoner was proceeded on Wednesday, the
remains of the murdered man were conveyed to the cemetery at Copt Hill.
The body was of course interred with military honours, and as the
cortège passed the Mason Dieu Hall the wail of the trumpets as they
played a mournful funeral dirge had a peculiarly solemn and desolating
effect. The prisoner, it was observed, betrayed much agitation as the
sound floated across the yard of the prison into the windows of the
Superintendent Coram, who was bound over to prosecute, conveyed the
prisoner to the county gaol, at Maidstone, on the following day. The
trial of the prisoner will come in at the next Assizes; but it appears
doubtful whether this will happen until March, it being uncertain
whether there will be any Winter Assize.