Trial of JOHN CLARKE, otherwise LITTLE SAM, FOR SHOOTING AT JOHN ASHER.
MONDAY, MARCH 31, 1817.
This morning, at eight o'clock, the Hon. Sir Richard Richards, Knight, took his seat on the Bench. The Court was immensely crowded, and vast anxiety was evinced to obtain situations in the Hall.
Thomas Savage, William Withers, John Amos, John Crowder, Joshua Mitchell, Samuel Caldwell, James Watson, John Clarke were put to the bar, and arraigned on a charge of having, on the night of the 28th of June last, feloniously and maliciously shot that John Asher, with intent to kill and murder him. Another count charged them with aiding and abetting in shooting at John Asher, &c.
After twelve of the pannel had answered to their names, they were challenged on the part of the prisoners; and then another twelve, and so on, so that it was found impracticable to obtain a jury from the pannel, to try them altogether. A proposition was made to make up a Jury from by-standers in Court, but this was objected on the part of the Crown, and all but John Clarke were removed from the bar. An attempt was then made to obtain a Jury from the pannel, but as the Crown challenged some, the Counsel on behalf of Clarke, others, and some did not attend, only six could be found, and the residue were selected from by-standers in the Court. The whole number of challenges on behalf of the prisoner had been expended when nine jury-men were in the box. An hour and a half was occupied in this uninteresting business, and it was not till half past nine, that the Gentlemen of the Jury were sworn. Their names are as follows:—
St. John Kirk,
Serjeant Vaughan, in a very animated speech, stated the case to the Court and the Jury, and detailed to them the leading features of the evidence which would be produced.
A very neat model of the building, with some of the inside parts thereof, was exhibited upon the table.
John Boden, the first witness called, was examined by Serjeant Copley. In June last, he was partner with Mr. Heathcoat, in a lace manufactory at Loughborough. In the early part of that month he was not at Loughborough, but came there on the 25th. The model on the table was a correct representation of the building where the manufacture was carried on. There were no less than fifty-five frames or machines in the place, finished and unfinished—twenty-three on the first floor, and thirty in the top story. The concern was at full work when he came to Loughborough on the 25th of June, and there had been an additional guard placed over the premises about two days before, in consequence of some unpleasant things which had come to their knowledge. They had always had one guard, John Ironman, who acted as watchman, but this had been increased to six regular guards, and some men were kept at work in the night. On Friday the 28th June, he had been in the factory, and left it about 11 in the evening; at that time, there were six regular guards, including Ironman, besides the men who were at work in the lace frames up stairs. The six guards were in the casting shop, which is a laying-to to the factory, and has an interior communication with the main building; one door leads to the setting-up room, and another into the street. The ground floor of the factory is called the setting-up shop; the laying-to is the casting shop; the first floor is called the lace shop, and the second floor the top shop; these two contained the machines. He left all safe that night, and did not return again to the factory till about five in the morning; he had been sending off to inform the Nottingham police-officers. When witness got to the factory, he found the frames broken, some entirely and some partially; they appeared to have been demolished by hammers and hatchets; some of the beams were cut—some of the lace on the frames was also cut; the whole of the lace on the machines was destroyed, some had been cut and some burnt, the windows were also broken, apparently with stones thrown from outside. John Asher, one of the workmen on guard that night, was wounded, witness saw him at his own (Asher’s) house that day, and found he had been shot at the back of his head, but the ball was then extracted.
John Asher (examined by Mr. Reader) deposed, that he was in the service of Messrs. Heathcoat and Boden on the 28th of June last, he was one of those who sat up as a watchman, along with Thomas Ironman, and John Webster; there were six appointed to watch, these three, and _____ Sylvester, John Barker, Thomas German, but the last three went out; they had three pistols and one or two guns, is not sure which; they sat in the casting shop, and had a good fire—about a quarter past twelve he heard a noise, as though two men were coming up the passage, the dog barked, and a pistol was fired. He saw three or four men come up to the casting-shop door with pistols, but one had an axe; he put his hand behind and laid hold of a pistol on the shelf, which he presented to the man and attempted to fire, but as it was not cocked it did not go off, several of the men presented their pistols at him immediately, and he turned his head aside, somebody then rushed into the shop, and shot him at the back of his head. He fell down and was insensible for a time, but when he came to himself, he found himself under the workbench, with Ironman and Webster, down beside of him, and two men stood over them with pistols, who threatened if they stirred, or offered to talk, to blow their brains out; they lay with their faces towards the ground, being desired to do so by the men over them. While he lay on the ground, he heard a great noise, as if the machines were breaking, he also heard loud swearing; some called out, "Ned, do your duty," others shouted, "Well done, Ned;" this was said, while, as he imagined, the men were breaking the frames; when he had lain about a quarter of an hour, bleeding very fast all the time, and afraid of bleeding to death, he requested that he might be permitted to go out, or else that they would fetch a doctor to him; to this request no answer was made. A man came into the yard soon after, and said, "How is that man that’s wounded?" but nobody answered him: the man then turning to witness said, How are you? I said I was very bad; he replied, can you do a bit longer? I told him I thought I could if they would make haste: the man said they would not be long—The noise of breaking the machines went on all the time. In about five minutes after, they all left the factory. When they were going out, one said he would shake hands with the wounded man, Webster put out his hand, but they said that was not the man. Mr. Palmer the surgeon was then sent for, and he was taken home.
The witness was cross-examined by Mr. Balguy at some length, but no material variation on on the matter was elicited.
Thomas Palmer, (examined by Mr. Reynolds,) was a surgeon at Loughborough, and was called up about twenty minutes past one on the morning of the 29th of June last; he reached the casting shop about half-past one; he found John Asher lying on his back in the centre of the casting shop, with a coat doubled up, and placed under his head as a pillow; he was faint, insensible, and bleeding, with a wound on the back part of his head, inclining to the right side, made by a ball or slug fired from some instrument. Witness ordered him to be carried home, and when he was put to bed, examined the wound more particularly, when he found that a ball or slug was lodged in the right side of his head. He extracted the ball at the time, and produced it at the last Assizes, but left it in Court, and had never seen it since. Asher was ill five weeks.
On his cross examination (by Mr. Denman,) Mr. P. stated, that the ball or slug passed between the cranium and the scalp, from the back part of the head to the right side. It had gone around, instead of penetrating.
John Blackborne, an accomplice, (examined by Serjeant Vaughan,) deposed, that he lived at Lambley, six miles from Nottingham, in the month of June last. He knew the prisoner at the bar about three weeks before the breaking of Messrs. Heathcoat and Boden’s machines at Loughbro’; the first time he had any concern with him was at the Radford job, about three weeks before the Loughbro’ job happened. Clarke generally went by the name of Little Sam. Witness saw him in company with William Withers about a week before the Loughbro’ job, and told him that Withers wanted the witness and two more men for a job. The prisoner asked where it was, and Withers told him at Loughborough, he had 18l. down then to buy tools or pistols with, for the purpose of attacking Heathcoat and Boden’s factory, and that 40l more was to be paid as soon as the work was done, 60l would be collected after, and distributed amongst the men engaged; the business was to be done on the Friday after the next Friday. Prisoner told him he would not go till he was paid for the Radford job, and witness also said that neither he nor the other chaps would go till then. Withers then assured them they should be paid for the Radford job before that day; he would settle with them himself. On a doubt being expressed as to the possibility of the execution of the enterprise, Withers told them there was only one sentry, and some were to scale the walls and seize him, while the others were breaking in in different places. Sam (the prisoner) then agreed to go when he was paid for the Radford job, and Withers said he would pay witness, who would then pay him. It was arranged that they were not to leave Lambley till the day on which the job was to happen at night. There was talk of Aaron Daykin going with them, but witness did not agree to it. Withers told him that Savage, Jack Disney, Little Sam, Slater, and most of the old Neds were to be of the party. By old Neds he understood, persons who had been out framebreaking before. It was agreed that he was to see Withers again at Mr. Scattergood’s, the Goats Head, in the Meadow plats, Nottingham, on Saturday, after he had taken in his work,—and was there to receive the money due to him, Little Sam, Big Sam, and Aaron Daykin, for the Radford job. He accordingly went to the Goat’s Head, and met Withers there, who gave him twenty-three shillings for himself, and the other three. He saw the prisoner in Big Sam's (Caldwell's) house on Sunday morning, when witness paid him five shillings, and they agreed to take a walk together after dinner. Big Sam lived with Long Bill, whose real name is Tom Woodward, but who went by the name of Wing—Woodward and his wife, who was called Mrs. Wing, lived on the ground-floor, and Caldwell or Big Sam, in the room above. When walking together after dinner in Lovatt’s close, Big Sam and Aaron Daykin joined them, the prisoner said, Jack, (Blackborne) Big Sam says he'll go. Big Sam immediately said, Damn your eyes, I’ll go, and Aaron Daykin said he’d go. Witness had been ordered to bring two besides himself to Nottingham, but this made three, however after some consideration, he determined to take the three with him. They directly proceeded to Nottingham, first to the sign of Sir Thomas White, the Burgess’s friend, and afterwards to Mr. Seymour is, at the Horse and Chaise, in Millstone-lane. They got to the latter place about five o'clock, and saw there in the course of the evening, Jack Slater, Benjamin Badder, and several persons he knew. Slater said to witness, Jack, there’ll be a fine crash this week; he answered he had heard so, but had come over to learn the particulars. Slater asked whether them three chaps (meaning, Little Sam, Big Sam, and Aaron Daykin) were come over to be at the job with us; he told him they were, and Slater enquired if they would stand. Witness said yes they would, and Slater replied they are nice-looking chaps, have they ever been out before; he said yes, and Slater answered, that will do. Witness, prisoner, Big Sam, and Aaron Daykin slept at the Horse and Chaise that night, he in one bed, with Tom Seymour, the son of the landlord; the other three in another bed, in the same room. On Monday morning, they all set off to go to Savidges’s house, they stopped at the top of the street, but knew what he was going for; he went to learn at what time they were to go from Lambley to Loughborough, and also to ask for some money, as they had been living on their own up to that time; Savidge not being at home, they all went back again to Seymour's. Witness soon after went to his brother at Radford, and thence, along with Big Sam, to Lambley; they set off about eleven o'clock. He did not stay more than an hour in Lambley, and in the afternoon, by appointment, he, along with Big Sam, went to the King’s Head, Narrow marsh, Nottingham, where were sitting the prisoner and Aaron Daykin. Soon after, witness and Big Sam went out, but Big Sam returned, and witness found his brother, (Christopher Blackborne); his brother and himself went towards Savidge’s house, and met Withers, Savidge joined them, and they all went to the Milton's Head, in Parliament-street. The prisoner went part of the road, but never went to the Milton’s Head, witness told him he was going to Savidge’s for money, and he returned. When at this public-house, he received one pound from Savidge, which was for himself, Big Sam, Little Sam, and Aaron Daykin, to support themselves with till Wednesday. Savidge told him they had better be in the lower part of the town, to prevent suspicion, two in one house, and two in another; however they all slept at the Kings Head that night. The money was shared amongst them equally. After breakfast on Tuesday morning, they went from the Kings head, and started across the Meadows, along the Trent side, till they came to Beeston. It had been agreed they should sleep at two different places, and two of them went to the Durham Ox, the other two went to the New Inn, but as the people in the house seemed very cross, they left that place, and joined their Companions at the Durham Ox, where all four, that is Blackborne (the witness), Big Sam, Little Sam (the prisoner at the bar), and Aaron Daykin, supped and slept that night.—For supper they had beef stakes and cabbage; the stakes were bought at a butcher’s shop, Little Sam carried them home, and the servant lass cooked them. The next morning, (Wednesday,) witness and the prisoner set off by themselves, they went through Bramcote, and thence to Lord Middleton's park side, at the end of which, Savidge had promised to come or send to them, with more money. They went on till they came to the Rose and Crown in Lenton, where they went in, and as they sat there, saw Witness with his brother C. Blackborne, passing the window, he rapped, and they came in; after taking some refreshment, they all went back again, and when they had crossed the cut (canal) about 200 yards, Withers took out a pistol, and fired it off, saying he did so to try it. When they got under a tree by Lord Middleton’s wall, either Withers, or witness’s brother, he cannot say which, gave them a pound or guinea note, which was to be divided among the four. They also directed him to be at Loughborough the next day, where he was to meet Savidge, either at the Pack-horse, or the Duke of York; Aaron Daykin was to go to Sheepshead for Jack Disney, sometimes called Sheepshead Jack; Sheepshead is two or three miles out of the way, between Beeston and Loughborough. The prisoner and Big Sam were to go the next day to meet two men with three hatchet heads in a bag, which they were to get stailed somewhere on the road. Little Sam went to Nottingham, but came back that night, and joined the other three at the Durham Ox, where they all supped and slept on Wednesday night; they were waited on at supper by the same lass. On Thursday morning they all went out together, Big Sam and Little Sam turned back again; witness and Daykin went on to Hathern turn, where they parted, Daykin for Sheepshead, and witness for Loughbro’, he arrived at the Pack Horse, about three in the afternoon, where he found Savidge and some market folks; he had been desired to take no notice, but drink a cup of ale and go out, as a signal; he did so, and Savidge came out directly, and they went on the road to meet Daykin and Disney, at Tyler’s, the White Lion. The prisoner had desired him to tell Savidge that he wanted more money, he did so, and Savidge gave him 6 or 7s; he went and gave Big Sam and Little Sam the money at Hathern turn. Witness slept in a cart that night. The next day, by Savidge’s desire, he went to Hathern turn, to tell the prisoner and Big Sam not to bring the hatchets into Loughborough till it was dark; he saw there Big Sam, Little Sam, Daykin, and Disney, and he delivered his message, they told him they were not likely to bring them, for they had not money to release them; they shewed him where the hatchets were at a wheelwright’s, the man was working at the handles, and shaving them up. He left with them about watching one shilling in halfpence, which they said would do for them to drink till he came back with the money for the hatchets, and he returned towards Loughborough; witness had not proceeded far before he met Jack Amos and Savidge, they were coming to meet him on the road; he told Savidge that money was wanted to pay for the handles of the hatchets, and he gave him a three shilling piece to take to the men for that purpose, and six shillings more for the suppers of himself and Big Sam, Little Sam, Disney, and Daykin, and also give directions that when they went into Loughborough they should go separately, two to one house and three to another, and by no means bring the hatchets into the town before it was dark; witness and Big Sam were to go to Tyler’s, and prisoner, Daykin, and Disney to the Green Man. He accordingly went to give these directions to the men, but being tied, when he had walked part of the way, he lay down, and in about half an hour, they came up to him; as it was not dark, the hatchets were put in a dry sough in the lane; part of the them went to Tyler’s and part of the Green Man as directed; while witness, along with Big Sam, was at the former place, Savidge came in, and asked Mrs Tyler for a quart of rum, which she let him have, he paid for it and the bottle; Savidge then drank a glass of ale, the preconcerted signal for them to go out, for he was not to talk to them; they were just going to get their suppers, he however went out directly, the other did not follow of a quarter of an hour.—Bill Towle met witness in the street, and told him they were to go together to fetch the hatchets from the sough; about eleven o'clock they started for that purpose, and in half an hour came back into Ashby-lane, about fifty yards from the turnpike and two or three hundred yards from the factory.—The whole party were then assembled; he saw Bill Towle, Bill Burton, James Watson, Big Sam, Little Sam, Aaron Daykin, Sheepshead Jack, witness, his brother C. Blackborne, Savidge, Amos, Old Crowder, Jos Mitchell, Jack Hill, Slater, an Withers, and soon after saw Jem Towle, making seventeen in all. Savidge had got the quart of rum, Withers produced some fire-arms (pistols), but cannot say how many, Withers said they were all loaded, he had tried them before, and they had no need to try them again. The prisoner had a pistol given him. They began to disguise themselves, some put handkerchiefs over their faces, some tied them up to their noses, others over their heads; some changed clothes with each other, Jos. (Mitchell) had his coat turned inside out. Savidge produced the bottle of rum, and they all drank round, out of the bottle. They all saw the factory in the lane, and a good deal of conversation took place respecting the attack; some said it was a dead drop, they should get half killed before they got in. Slater, Bill Towle and Burton, carried the hatchets. They stood hesitating some time how to begin the attack, when witness said to them, damn it, will you stay here all night? some one replied, will you go first? he said he did not care, he’d show them the place. They all set off, he leading the way, but directly two or three of them ran past him, and seized a man who was going towards the factory, they put their pistols to his head, and threatened him with instant death if he did not let them in without giving any alarm, or attempting any resistance, the man knocked at the door, it flew open; a dog began to bark, and Bill Towle chopped at it with his hatchet, but missed it, the hatchet flew out of his hand. Jem Towle then shot it, and it barked no more; it was a great large dog. The cry was, brush forward lads, and he saw his brother and Watson in the casting shop; he went in and saw three men sitting on stools, they were ordered to lie down, instead of so doing, one of them took a pistol off the shelf, and aimed it at his brother Christopher Blackborne, witness immediately rushed by and fired at the man, and then ran out again, he saw the man fall before he ran out, the others then lay down under a bench, and a guard was set over them. The prisoner was fixed sentinel over a man at the door, but cannot how near prisoner was to witness when he (witness) fired the pistol; knows he came into the yard before the man was shot. Soon after he saw the prisoner in the setting-up shop, standing sentry over a man. Witness was placed as a guard walking the casting-shop to the Malt-Mill lane. Witness had his brother’s pistol, his brother was without one. The pistols were brought at Derby, by Savidge and Withers. Witness did not go up stairs; in about a quarter of an hour after he had been placed as a guard, he heard a cry of more hands wanted, Little Sam (the prisoner Clarke) told him to go up stairs; he did so, and went into the first floor, where he saw Slater, Bill Towle and several others, breaking the frames.―The prisoner at that time was sentinel over one of the factory men near the outer door in the setting-up shop. Savidge staid on guard in Malt-Mill-lane, where he had a woman in his care and custody; he heard a firing of one pistol on the outside, that against Malt-Mill-lane, where Savidge was. After the work was done, the pistols were fired off, some fired several times, it was customary to do so on such occasions; they also called their numbers over, and though only seventeen were there, they counted as high as about ninety, this was done in order to make folks believe there were more engaged in the business than there were in reality. They went away by the Ashby road again. Before they left the place, Big Sam told Slater, who had a hatchet, to hit a desk which was in the shop against the war, Slater hit it twice, and Big Sam took away two pistols which were in it. He saw Big Sam with a gun; Jos Mitchell had a musket in his hand. When they went away, they went by Garrendon park side; they all went together as far as the Trent, except Disney, who parted with them when they had gone about five miles. They brought the hatchets and pistols away with them, and Big Sam brought the musket and bayonet away. When they got to Zouch bridge, witness’s brother gave big Sam a pistol, and he then agreed to throw the musket into the cut; he did so; they then went on towards Ratcliffe, where they saw a man at a plough; it was getting daylight; they were straggling, though all in the same close, he did not see any body go up to the man. They went to the Trent side, and saw a boat, into which they got, but it could not take them over; they then got out, and went to Aram’s ferry, the boat was on their side and eleven or twelve got into it first and were taken over, the others were behind; four more came over in the boat after; Slater was in the first boat, and had a hatchet with him, almost all of them had pistols; Mitchell had his coat turned, and almost all had their faces covered. In the second boat, when the four came over, there were another hatchet; witness had flung the third into the Trent. Two men were on the other side of the river at the time they first came up. Savidge paid for the ferrying over of the whole; he gave the man one shilling first, but as the chap rather grumbled, he gave him more. When they had got across the Trent they undisguised themselves. They then separated, and witness went with Big Sam, Little Sam, and Aaron Daykin to Beeston, intending to go to the Durham Ox. Big Sam and Daykin went together before Little Sam and witness; as the windows of the house were not open, Big Sam and Daykin did not stop, but just as witness and prisoner came up, the girl was opening the windows, they two went in, and calling for a cup of ale, lay down on the settle and slept a bit. The lass said she thought they had been up all night. Witness and Clarke walked together as far as the Strugglers in Lenton, but Clarke was so knocked up he was obliged to leave him in the garden. Before they had got into the boat, Savidge had told them all to meet him at the Fox, in New Sneinton, at ten o'clock, when he would give them money. Witness went, and Little Sam (the prisoner at the bar), came in soon after.―Savidge gave witness two pound, and told him to give ten shillings a piece to Big and Little Sam and Daykin, he did so, and there was ten shillings left for himself. Witness saw Clarke the next day (Sunday) at Long Bills house.
Cross-examined by Mr. Balguy.―The party mustered in Ashby-lane about half-past eleven; there was a little pause, and it was he who moved on to lead them the way. Watson and witness’s brother were first in the casting-shop; witness was the third man, and all the others were behind; they were all on the premises, within the gate. Directly as he got into the casting-shop he saw a pistol presented to his brother; witness was alarmed for his safety and fired; it was done on the spur of the moment, it was the result of a sudden impulse to protect his brother. The next time he saw the prisoner was when on guard at the setting-up shop; this was the first time that he saw him after they all left the lane; it was two or three minutes after the pistol was fired. The door of the setting-up shop opens to the yard near a pool of water. Witness first saw the prisoner on the premises when he was at that door opposite the pool of water, he stood sentry over a lad in the inside. Witness was taken up on the 3d of January for poaching; that was all he went for, but he was also charged with firing into Cook’s house; he was then armed with a sword but not a pistol. He was taken in the fact. He knows Burton; was taken up a fortnight or three weeks after Burton; it was on being taken on a charge of firing at Cook’s house that he told, as he told the story for the purpose of saving his neck, for he knew he was taken on a charge that would hang him. Witness told before Burton did; it was a week or a fortnight after he was taken; he told directly of Lord Middleton's concern, but not of this till a week or fortnight after. It was his brother who walked before Cook’s door with a drawn sword; witness had had a gun, but he changing it with his brother for the sword. He began with the gun and ended with the sword. Witness never discharged the gun at all, and that he will swear.
William Burton, the other accomplice, (examined by Mr. Clarke) was at Loughborough on the 28th of June last, and knows Heathcoat and Boden’s factory. He was in a lane near there about twelve o’clock on that night, and many persons were with him; he had been in the lane about an hour before the hatchets were brought. There were present, himself, James Towle, William Towle, the prisoner Clarke orLittle
Sam, Big Sam, Jack Disney, Aaron Daykin, William Withers, J. Blackborne, C. Blackborne, Jos Mitchell, John Hill, Thomas Savidge, John Crowther, Amos, Watson, and Slater. They disguised themselves different ways, some turned their coats, some changed their cloaths, others put handkerchiefs about their heads and faces; they were armed with pistols and hatchets; witness had a hatchet. Savidge produced some rum, of which they all partook, it was handed round in a bottle out of which they drank. They were to attack the factory in three different places, the pistol men were to go first, the hatchets next, and those who had nothing were to be last. They advanced and saw a man, Christopher Blackborne laid hold of him, and threatened him with instant death if he did not take them into the factory without creating any alarm. A large dog barked as soon as they entered the yard; Bill Towle struck at him with his hatchet, but he missed and the hatchet flew out of his hand; witness was going to chop at him, but Jem Towle pushed him away and shot the dog. He saw Slater at the door of the factory, within a yard of the casting-house door, he was threatening to knowck a man down with his axe, if he did not go in; the man had not come out of the casting-shop, and instantly went back again. They were all within four or five 5 yards of the door when the pistol was fired. Witness went through the casting-shop to the setting-up shop, where he saw a boy, of whom he enquired how many men were up stairs; the boy said he would tell him their names, witness said he did not want their names, and at last lost the boy said there might be eleven or twelve. The lad was ordered to lie down, and the prisoner was set over him as a watch, with a pistol in his hand. Witness had not observed the prisoner do any thing before that. He (Burton) went up stairs into the first shop, where he broke some frames. After all was done the men came out of the factory. The whole did not last above forty minutes. Slater broke a desk open with his hatchet, at the desire of Big Sam, who took out two pistols and a powder flask. When they had done, they went into the turnpike-road, and numbers were called up to one hundred or thereabouts, to give the idea of greater strength than they really possessed. There were only seventeen present. Big Sam had a musket with a bayonet on it, which he took out of the factory. They directed their course through through the turnpike-gate, and along the side of a gentleman’s park. When they got to the Zouch bridge witness threw a hatchet into the river on the left hand side, and Big Sam threw the musket in on the right, but not the bayonet. They all went on together, till they came to the Trent, except Sheepshead Jack, (Disney) who had turned off for Sheepshead. They got into a boat in the river, but when about half way across the Trent, they were stopped by a wear, and Slater and another got out to set the boat at liberty that they might get back again. They landed on the same side of the Trent, and Big Sam produced the powder flask, which witness saw; it had a man with a gun and a dog painted on it, Big Sam said he had it out of the desk which Slater broke open. When they got to Aram’s ferry, twelve went over first and four after. They had the same disguises on as they had when they attacked the factory. Slater carried at hatchet in the first boat, and the other four who came after, had a hatchet with them. Savidge paid the ferryman for them all, one shilling in silver first, but as this did not satisfy him, he gave him fourpence in copper. When they had got over they altered their dresses. Slater had had Big Sam's smock-frock on. They separated then, and witness and Watson went home together.
Cross-examined by Mr. Denman—Witness came to Leicester Gaol before Blackborne did. He did not confess a word about the Loughborough job till he was charged with shooting at Kerry; he did not shoot at Kerry, though he was at Kerry's house with Diggle when Diggle shot at him. Was never charged with firing at Needham, of Lambley. It was witness who proposed going back to Kerry's house to break the frames, after he had been shot and left for dead. He thought if he told this story about the Loughborough job it might do him some good; it might keep his neck from the halter. He was sure he was present in the factory when the frames were broken.
Re-examined.—Witness did not know the story that Blackborne had told, for Blackborne was at Nottingham at the time when witness confessed.
Ann Woodward (examined by Mr. Copley) sometimes goes by the name of Wing; lived at Lambley in June last, and Caldwell (or Big Sam) lived in same house; she lived in the lower room, Caldwell above. Witness knew John Blackborne and Aaron Daykin, and saw them frequently together in the month of June last. On the Sunday before the frames were broken, the prisoner and Blackborne came there; Aaron Daykin joined them soon after. About one o'clock, after dinner, they went out together with Caldwell, and said they were going to Sutton and to Mansfield, but Caldwell did not come home that night. He came, however, between one and two in the afternoon of Monday, put on a clean shirt and handkerchief, staid about half an hour, and then went out again; he did not return that night, nor till the Saturday following, the day she heard the frames were broken. She had not seen either J. Blackborne, Daykin, nor Little Sam, in the mean time. Aaron Daykin came first, between five and six o'clock on the Saturday afternoon, and in about half an hour, Little Sam and Caldwell came; they all seemed very tired and foot sore. She saw J. Blackborne on Sunday at the public-house.
Thomas Seymour (examined by Mr. Reader,) deposed, that his brother kept the Horse and Chaise public-house, in Nottingham. He remembers John Blackborne coming there on a Sunday, but cannot say how long that was before the factory of Messrs. Heathcoat and Boden was demolished. Blackborne slept in the same bed as the witness, and three other men slept in another bed in the same room. He cannot say that such a circumstance ever occurred before.
Ann Blatherwick (by Mr. Reynolds) kept the Durham Ox public house in Beeston, in June last, and remembers that two persons came together, three days before the framebreaking at Loughborough, to her house; two more of them on the same day, and they all seemed well acquainted with each other. They supped on beef-steaks and cabbage, and slept there. John Blackborne was one of the four men, and she pointed out the prisoner as another of them.
Cross-examined—Witness never saw the prisoner before that night to her knowledge; she had seen him in prison, and knew him there; cannot say what she had to supper this day fortnight, though she remembers that in June last, these men had beef-steaks and cabbage.
Mary Sanson (examined by Serjeant Vaughan) lives at Oxton, but she lived at the Durham Ox, in Beeston, in June last. She well remembers that two persons came together into the house and asked if they could have a bed, on the Monday or Tuesday night before the frames were broken at Loughborough; two more soon came in, and they all slept there that might, they went away the next morning, and returned between six and seven in the evening; three came first and one after with some beef-steaks, which she cooked, and they all partook of them, they slept there that night, and went out the next morning. Is not certain whether they staid there two or three nights. On Saturday morning, when she was getting up, she saw two men pass by, and opened her window to look after them, and thought they were two of the four men who had slept there the night or two before; she turned her head, and saw the other two coming up against the wall; when she went down and was opening the shutters, the last two went into the house, they called for a cup of ale, which she let them have, and they lay down on the settle by the fire, and went to sleep; they appeared very fatigued. In about an hour, she wanted to scour down the settle, and she awoke them telling them she thought they had not been in bed that night, but they said they had; soon after that they went away. While they were asleep, Barnes, the constable, of Nottingham, came up to the door on horseback, and inquired for something to drink. The learned Sergeant asked witness to point out the man who was with Blackborne, for she knew Blackborne at the time. After some hesitation, she pointed to the prisoner; she thought that was him, but if it were, he was very much altered. After looking at him a little longer, she declared herself satisfied that it was the same man; was confident of it.
Cross-examined by Mr. Balguy—Witness had looked more at the prisoner and was confident that was the same man. She did not know whether she was going to be married to man of the name of Green or not. Does not know whether she will have any reward or not. When she appeared before in Court, she had her expenses paid; Mr. Enfield paid her for two days, and she expected to be paid for her time and expenses this time.
John Hanford (examined by Mr. Clarke) lives at Hathern, two miles and a half from Loughborough, on the road leading to Derby; he had three hatchets heads brought him in a bag to put stails into; but when they were brought he cannot tell; this he will swear; does not know whether it was before or after the frames broken at Loughborough; thinks it is about three quarters of a year ago, but cannot tell when. One man brought them. They were strong hatchets, such as were used for felling timber. Recollects asking the man whether he was going to a fall of timber, but the man gave an evasive answer. He was desired to put long long stalls in, and of a proportionate strength. Cannot say how long they were left at his house, it might be three or four hours; thinks he charged two shillings for each of them. Does not recollect putting stails into three such hatchets all at the same time, either before or since. By trade he is a plough-maker.
Jane Tyler (examined by Serjeant Copley,) stated, that her husband keeps the White Lion at Loughborough. J. Blackborne, along with another man came there, and brought some steaks to be cooked on the Friday evening that the attack was made on Heathcoat and Boden’s factory.—Another person came in, and asked for a bottle of rum, he had no bottle, she found him one, and he paid both for the rum and the bottle. He said he wanted to take the rum some miles out of town. When this man went out, Blackborne followed him. This was on the Friday night.
On her cross-examination, (by Mr Balguy,) she said she did not know Blackborne's name then; she had been taken to the gaol, where she saw him, and was told that his named was Blackborne.
Charles Young keep the Green Man at Loughborough. On the evening previous to the breaking of Heathcoat’s machines, two men came into his house between nine and ten o'clock; soon after a third man came in who joined their company. All three went out together—The prisoner was pointed out to him in Court, but he would not undertake to say that he was one of the men.
Isaac Beeby keeps the Pack Horse public-house at Loughborough. On the night previous to the robbery, Savidge and Blackborne came into his house and staid two hours.
John North deposed, that he was employed at the factory at the time the frames were broken; he was a lace-hand, and was appointed to be one of those who staid all night at work for the defence of the building. He had been to get his supper, and when he was returning, and had got to the end of the factory, he heard a noise of footsteps, he expected it was some of the factory men; but they laid hold of him; he asked what was their meaning, and they clapped a pistol to his head, threatening to blow his brains out if you do not lead them the way without giving any alarm.
William Walton lives at Zouch Mills. On the 23d of Aug. last, he was mowing some weeds in the river Soar, and found a musket on the right hand side of the bridge. He gave it to Thomas Foreman. It had no bayonet on at the time. It was loaded four fingers deep.
Thomas Foreman is a smith at Zouch mills. The musket was given to him on the 22d August by last witness. He examined and found it was loaded with two bullets, but the powder was decayed. This witness produced the musket.
Benjamin Sylvester was in the service of Messrs Heathcoat and Boden, at the time of the demolition of their factory at Loughborough. He was foreman of the guard, and loaded the musket produced by the last witness, on the 28th of June, with two small musket balls. This gun had a bayonet on, and was taken from the setting-up shop. A desk in which kept his books and other things, was quite smashed to pieces, and two pistols and powder flask were taken out. The powder flask was painted with a man and dog and gun on round side.
Joseph Shepherd is a labourer and lives at Beeston. About a quarter before five o'clock on the Saturday morning, the same day that he heard of the frames being broken, he was at Aram's boat, and saw thirteen or fourteen men go over; they were disguised, some having their coats turned, and some their handkerchiefs tied about their faces. Four more went over afterwards, and one man in the first boat paid for all. In the first boat he saw one man with a large axe, and another axe was in the last boat. He also saw the butt end of a pistol.
Charles Godfrey Mundy, Esq. who sat on the bench, near to the Judge, was sworn. He is a magistrate; John Blackborne had made a confession of the transaction, which had been reduced to writing, and on the prisoner being taken, Mr Mundy read over the deposition of Blackborne; when he had finished, prisoner burst into tears, and said it was all true, and afterwards the prisoner voluntarily signed it. This was done without any promise being made to him, or any inducement being held out by Mr. M.
Mr. Balguy wished the constable to be called, who took the prisoner to the magistrate, to ask whether the constable had not told him it would be better to confess; but this was over-ruled.
The information or deposition of John Blackborne, was put in, and read over. It was a very long document, but the substance of it is contained in Blackborne’s evidence as given above. It had the mark of the prisoner affixed to a declaration made by him that it was all true as far as he knew.
Mr. Balguy took a legal objection, which was decidedly over-ruled by the learned Judge.
No evidence was called on the part of the prisoner, either to facts or to character; and which was a very remarkable circumstance, we believe the prisoner was never called upon for his defence. This we conceive, was owing to the great attention paid by his Lordship to the arguments of the learned counsel on the objection which had been taken; and we are quite convinced that it was not an intentional omission, but an oversight. We have heard the omission remarked, and this induces us to offer our opinion of the cause thereof.
His Lordship proceeded to sum up the evidence, which he did with the utmost impartiality and clearness; particularly impressing upon the minds of the Jury, the jealousy with which they should receive the evidence of accomplices, unless confirmed by unexceptionable witnesses. In about three minutes, a verdict of guilty was returned.
This was nearly six o'clock, and the Court adjourned to the next morning.
This is from the Nottingham Review of 4th April 1817.