THE CHARGE OF MURDER AT HOLYHEAD.|1865-03-25|The North Wales Chronicle and Advertiser for the Principality - Welsh Newspapers Online
Hide Articles List

12 articles on this Page



THE CHARGE OF MURDER AT HOLYHEAD. The court was opened at half-past ten o'clock a.m., at which time a dense crowd had assembled, all demon- strating in their countenances deep anxiety to hear what had been announced ta take place the previous -day, namely, the trial of Thomas Walsh, 29, cattle drover, far the wilful mur- der of Patrick Hill, at Holyhead, on the 18th of Janu- ary, 1865. The prisoner, on being arraigned, pleaded Not Guilty in a trembling and pitiful tone. Mr. Melntyre and Mr. Hilton prosecuted, and Mr. Morgan Lloyd defended the prisoner. Mr. Melntyre, in stating the case to the jury, said that the prisoner at the bar stood charged before them upon one of the most serious offences that could be committed against the laws of any country, viz., the wilful murder of a fellow man. The enquiry upon which they were entering was one of serious conse- quence to the prisoner and to the public at large, be- cause whilst on the one hand the jury should take care that no man was unfairly or improperly convicted, so upon the other it was their bounden duty to attend to the evidence, and if it justified a conviction, how great soever the punishment might be, they had no alterna- tive but to find a verdict of guilty. He implored them to discard from their minds aill reports they had perchance heard out of court respecting the case, and to establish their verdict solely on the evidence that would be taken oil oath at the trial. The prisoner was indicted for having feloniously killed and wounded Patrick Hill, at Holyhead. The prisoner and the de- ceased were cattle drovers, and at the time the occur- ence took place they were expecting some pigs, in which they were interested, to arrive from Ireland. On the 17th of January last they were together at the Forester's Arms, in Holyhead, kept by Mr. Anthony Carroll, a most important witness in the case. The two appeared then to be on friendly terms. The prisoner was rather drunk, perhaps more than rather drunk, towards evening. The deceased was not so drunk as the prisoner. During the day, particu- larly in the evening, the prisoner had been playing at cards. They remained in the house from ten or eleven until it was closed, about midnight, when they left. They were out for some time. Mr. Carroll did not go to bad immediately after clearing the house, as he expected some persons by traiu. Meanwhile, the prisoner and deceased returned to the house and had some ale. They again departed, and again returned about half lieit three in the morning of the 18th (they expected the pigs about live o'clock), Walsh said he wanted some brandy, but Mr. Carroll refused, believing that he had had enough. Hill said he would "stand it," but Mr. Carroll declined to give any. They again departed into the street. Mr. Carroll heard them quar- relling he opened the door of his house, and saw them both in a fighting attitude. He separated them, and induced them to be quiet. They, however, rushed to each other a second time a scuffle took place, and both fell down. Whilst scuffling on the ground, Mr. Carroll heard Hill cry out, "Oh, lie has a knife," which were the last words he ever uttered. Mr. Carroll lifted Hill up, and took him t" his lodgings. Dr. Nicholson was sent for, and he discovered that Hill had six wounds on the back, but on making a post mortem examina- tion, a seventh was found on the left shoulder. Hill died shortly afterwards. The learned counsel concluded with a few impressive observations on the nature of the case. Mr. Carroll was nrst.calle<i. tie saici-i seep the Forester's Arms, Holyhead. I remember seeing the pri- soner Walsh, and the deceased, Hill, at my house on that evening. They were not sober, but the prisoner was the more drunk. We closed the hou about twelve o'clock, and the two went out to the next door. They appear- ed to be on very friendly terms. I heard them having a conversation about business—they were bath waiting for pigs to come by the steamer. I saw them again two hours afterwards. They returned to the house about three o'clock in the morning. They wanted me to sup- ply them with a glass of brandy each. I heard them having some words together. Hill, the deceased, said he could stand (that is, he could afford to pay for) a glass, 31 well as Walsh could, and Walsh said he could'nt. I then said I would'nt draw any more drink, whoever Would pay for it, and I told them to go home to their house. Wa'sh called Hill a prig, or something like that. In a minute or two after they had left, I heard them quarrelling outside. I immediately went out, and saw them in the act of fighting. I tried to separate them, and I succeeded in doing so for a moment. Hill had his coat off; but Walsh, who had two eoats, had both of them on. They began to fight again. I could not stop them. Hill had put on his coat, which was a small black one. I tried to separate them a second time, but I eould not do it. Walsh was tipsy, but not so much as to prermt him from standing. I saw Hill strike Walsh a heavy blow on theehest, and he told himtocomeon again, as he would give it" to him. Walsh did go on again; when r they closed together and began wrestling, and each tried to hit the other as well as he could. They went on wrestling, and boxing, and at last both fell together on the ground. I wel I t to them; but I cannot swear who was uppermost. I then heard Hill exclauu- He has a knife he has a knife-oh He said no more after that. I assisted Hill to get up and I asked Walsh if he had a knife ? He replied, "o." Walsh then pro. ceeded to his lodgings, at Campbell s, which was next door. When I spoke to Walsh I was in the act of lifting IIillup off the ground. I did not know that the knife was used at the time. The whole affair in the street lasted about two or three minutes. The deceased appeared as if he had been stunned. When he got to his lodgings, I took his clothes off to examine him, and I found two stabs then. I at once went for the doctor (Mr. Nicholson); but he died in a few minutes after the doctor arrived. I then went for Iuspector » llliams. When charged with the crime of stabbing the deceased, he said he kuew nothing at all about it. Cross-examined by Mr. Morgan Lloyd—-I have known Walsh and the deceased for some time. Hill, though a much lighter man, was a better fighter than Walsh- much better. Walsh is a noisy, good-natured sort of a fellow—full of impulse and excitement at the moment. Up to that evening they appeared to be really friends. The quarrel commenced by Hill saying he could stand drink as well as Walsh; and then Walsh said he couldn't, and called him a prig. Walsh had two coats on all the time, one of which was a very stiff one. I did not ex- actly see the commencement of the fight, as they had begun before I went out. The whole time was only be- tween two and three minutes. They were wrestling with each other when they fell. I saw Hill hit Walsh a very heavy blow upon the chest. My impression was that Hill was uppermost, but I cannot say for certain. They continued to struggle until Hill cried out. James Hamrock-I live with my father at Holyhead. Was in the town ou the 17th of January. Was called up at 4 o'clock in the morning by Hill and the last wit- ness. Procured a light, and went with Mr. Carroll for a doctor. Hill died shortly after the doctor arrived. The deceased was a very quiet man. He never spoke after he came into the house, in my hearing. Margaret Noble-I am the wife of W. Noble, and live at Station Place, in Holyhead. Knew the prisoner Walsh. During the night I heard a noise in the street, ond got up to the window. Saw several men on the street. Heard a voice which I knew to be Walsh's, and heard the other two men speaking, but did not know then who they were. Cannot speak as to the exact time when this happened. Heard a man shouting He has a knife-he has a knife but did not know who he was. Recognised Thomas Walsh, but they moved on, and soon went out of my sight. Walsh had gone down the town, and out of my sight. Cross-examined by Mr. M. Lloyd-Some one said, Do run away," or Let me run away, as I don't want to fight," but I don't know who it was. Re-questioued by Mr. Melntyre—It was not the pri. soner Walsh who said that-it was one of the other two men. James Hamrock, sen-I live at the Old Station Place, Holyhead; and the deceased, Hill, lodged with me. I saw Hill and Walsh at Mr. Carroll's house. Walsh was very drunk. I saw him (Walsh) playing at cards; but Hill did not do so. My house is about 50 yards from that of Mr. Carroll's. I saw Hill alive about 11 o'clock that evening, and oil the following morning at 5 o'clock he was lying dead upon the sofa. As far as I could judge, the two men always appeared to be on friendly terms, like any two other men. Edward Owen-I am an Inspector of Police at Holy- head. On the morning of the 18th of January I was fetched by Mr. Carroll, at about 5 o'clock, and I went with him to Mr. Campbell's house and found the pri- soner Walsh there. I told him I had a charge against him of stabbing a young man named Hill, when lie re- plied that he knew nothing about it. I searched him, but I found no knife, nor were there any marks of blood upon his clothes. When he was in the station I re- searched him, but found nothing of importance upon him. He then said to me that there had been a squab- ble between Hill and himself. At 11 o'clock in the morning he made a more lengthened statement. At that hour I heard a moaning in the prisoner's cell, and I went in to see what was the matter. He complained to me that the place was hard, when I replied that he would have to remain there, I then asked him was he aware that Hill was dead f when he said—no, he wasn't. When I told him he was dead, he burst out crying. He then said they had been to Carroll's all night playing cards, and that he had called Hill a little prig. He then struck him (Walsh) once, twice, three times, until he was down. He then told Hill if he did not go away he would kill him. He (Walsh) then drew out his knife and committed the deed. The prisoner then ad- ded-" I'll say the same words before my Maker, and: if I was upon the gallows—I've nothing more to say." l asked lipita where the knife was, when he replied that he had thrown it away. I have looked for it since, but I have not been enabled to find it. There were cuts in the deceased's coat—seven in number. Cross-examined by Mr. Morgan Lloyd—Walsk was in drink when I first went to him, and when I took him into custody. Yes, at 11 o'clock in the forenoon I heard him moaning in his cell; but when I opened the door he ceased moaning, and complained to me of the place being hard. When I told him that Hill was dead, he appeared to be in great grief. He appeared in a state of great grief and sorrow, and "repentance." Emelius Rowley Nicholson-I am a surgeon, and practice at Holyhead. At half-past 4 o'clock in the morning of the ISth of January last I was fetched to a man named Hill. Remained with him until he died. On examining him I found six wounds on the back, the greater number of which were under the left shoulder. (By the direction of the Judge, witness here shewed, on the back of a man, the position of the wounds on the body.) There was one between the shoulder blades. I afterwards made a post mortem examination, when I discovered another wound on the left shoulder. A very little blood had escaped externally. The sixth cut passed to the right of the left shoulder behind, to the right cavity of the chest, between the fifth and sixth ribs, thereby dividing the artery which runs between the fifth and sixth ribs. That was the wound which caused death, by bleeding into the cavity of the chest. The witness then detailed the nature and extent of the other wounds, which has already been given in the Chronicle. One of the wounds pierced the diaphragm, and was the worst of them all, with the exception of the sixth, which was the immediate cause of death. One wound was 3 inches in depth, and passed between the ribs (sensation in the court). The heai t and lungs were quite healthy. The sixth wound was the cause of death. I saw the prisoner at the police-station, and he complained to me that he was hurt. I examined the spot pointed out by him, but I could see no marks at all there. I thought the wounds were inflicted by a man who was underneath the deceased. I cannot conceive how they otherwise could have been inflicted. I do not know how long the knife was, but it must have been a narrow one. This was the case for the prosecution. Mr. Morgan Lloyd then rose to address the Court for the defence. He said he quite agreed with his learn- ed friend who opened the case that it was a most -im- portant one; and that it would be the duty of the Jury to dismiss from their minds everything which they had heard respecting it elsewhere; but they should come to their conclusion upon the evidence produced before them that day. In a case of that kind, and in a small county like Anglesey, rumours of all kinds were sure to be heard; and persons come to conclusions without having any grounds at all—or at least grounds which could be depended upon, and upon which they were not qualified to form any opinion at all. They (the jury) had had the advantage of hearing all the facts connected with the case that morning, and they were, therefore, in a position to come to a just conclusion. Now, the prisoner before them was charged with having commit- ted the crime of wilful murder—that of murdering his friend, Mr. Hill, the deceased. To substantiate the charge, it must be proved that the prisoner had malice towards the deceased, and that the deed was committed with malice aforethought. If no ill-will could be proved, and if it could be proved, on the other hand, that they had been friends up to a few minutes before the occur- rence took place, then it was not murder, but man- slaughter. Now, let the jury look at the antecedents of tile two men, the prisoner and the decased,-wbat did they find ? Why, that the two men had been firm friends, not merely acquaintances; they were together at Holyhead, pursuing the same business, although not under the same master; they were each expecting to hear from Dublin at the same time; they were in each others company and all the witnesses stated that, up to the fatal night, they seemed on the very best terms of friendship. The quarrel between them began all of a sudden, and did not last but only a few minutes,—how, then, could there be malice aforethought ? Could the Jury think, under the circumstances, that the prisoner was nursing a deadly vengeance in his bosom against the deceased, and took that opportunity of gratifying it ? Did not the grief and sorrow which the prisoner shewed when he became sober, and was told that his friend was dead, clearly prove that such a supposition could not be true ? The quarrel was commenced by the deceased, who said that he could afford to stand drink as well as the prisoner, which the latter denied. The landlord, Mr. Carroll, then refused to give them the brandy which they had called for, and doubtless that had a tendency not to make them better tempered. They went out and fought, and with what sad results the Jury had been told. But what proof was there at all of any intention to murder—of killing with malice aforethought" ? The deceased, although the younger and the slighter man, was b-y far the better fighter; and although it had not been proved in evidence, there were some circumstances which s eemed to imply that the fight was really com- menced .by the deceased. It was not known for a cer- tainty wh,') actu&Dy struck the first blow; but the de- ceased was seen to strike the prisoner a heavy blow upon the chest; and, according to the opinion of Dr. Nicholson, the prisoner must have been underneath when be used the knite. His LORDSHIP here intimated that he wished to ask a question of Mr. Carroll, which he had omitted to do on his first examination. He then called Mr. A. Carroll into the witness box. His LoitDsuip-Yoti said that you were not quite certain which of the two men were uppermost when they were struggling on the ground, but that your im- pression was that it was the deceased. Could you say in what position the man was lying which was uuder- neath Mr. Carron-The party who was underneath was ly- ing upon his back. Mr. M. Lloyd, continued—It seems to me that Hill was the first to strike; he had his coat off, and Walsh not only was not stripped, but had an under- coat aud top-coat on. What inference do you draw from that? Why, is it not that the man who had his coat off attacked the other, who had two coats on, in a sudden and surprising manner, and thatthe assailed was driven to defend himself? Because nobody in his senses would attack a man who is a better fighter than himself, with two heavy coats on ? What is the natu- ral inference you must draw, not having yourselves seen nor heard testimony regarding the commencement of the fight ? This is further shewn by the nature of the quarrel as described to you by Carroll before they left the house. The prisoner, it was stated, had called Hill a prig. There is no harm in that epithet of itself, but it seemed to have excited the anger of Hill, who took his coat off, and rushed at the prisoner. Then how did it occur that the prisoner inflicted the wounds upon Hill! You see, the whole matter took place in two or three minutes. Carrol separates them, but they begin to fight again, and Hill gave a very seriour. blow to the prisoner on the chest. They hustled, and fell to the ground. That is the evidence of Carroll. The consta- ble and the doctor were asked if there were any marks of violence upon Walsh, and they say, no. Why, gen- tlemen, it was very unlikely that there should be marks upon him; because, however hard he might have been beaten, no marks of violence would appear, unless Hill had some instrument in his hand. Walsh had two very thick and hard coats upon him, and it is no wonder the blows did not inflict a mark; but it might, as most pro- bably it did, hurt him very much. A man, you know, might receive a blow between the chest and the abdo- men, which would hurt him most painfully, without any outward signs of violence. Now let us look upon the men on the ground. This is really the most impor- tant part of the case, both for and against the prisoner. Carroll says distinctly that one was over the other, but would not undertake to swear which was the upper- most—being under the impression, however, that Hill was. Let us see what is the nature of the doctor's evidence on this point. He says the wounds must have been inflicted by a person lying under Hill. The J UIJGE-You ai'e rather straining the evidence. The doctor's words are, I think the wounds must have been inflicted," &P- Mr. Morgan Lloyd—I said must instead of think," -but still the effectof the evidence is the same. That is the opinion of the Doctor. Couple that with the evidence of Carroll; then I think I may use the word must," because, no doubt when a person says he cannot conceive of the possibility of the wounds being itiflicte(I except by a person lying undermost, the inference is that Hill was the uppermost. The JUDGJI-I have no objection for you to draw your inferences I merely called attention to the exact words of the Doctor. Mr. Morgan Lloyd—That, gentlemen, being so, how came the prisoner to inflict the wounds &t all. At the time, no doubt Hill had overpowered Walsh, and it is natural to suppose, although we have no evidence to be certain, that he held him down by his neckerchief or throat. Aud I ask if it is very unreasonable to suppose that the prisoner, suffering from the blow on the chest, and perhaps feeling very much hurt by falling on his back on a hard pavement, he under the excitement of momentary passion, took his knife out in self-defence. Although you have account of six or seven wounds hav- ing been inflicted, the time in which they were inflicted did not exceed one minute, and the prisoner himself had loW idea whatever of the consequences of the wounds. Supposing he was held on the ground, as I have intim- ated, by the throat, and in order to get himself released lie strikes Hill over the shoulders in any place that a common man would do, who was not possessed of a knowledge of the nature and anatomy of the human body. He simply inflicted the blows, (without any idea of their fatal consequences) almost instantaneously in order to send Hill away. Then, if you believe the wounds ware inflicted in a moment of passion, caused by the treatment or assault of deceased, the crime of Thomas W.alsh is manslaughter, and not murder. It is quite clear that the deed was committed in an instant, in a state of intoxication, when the prisoner had got the worst of the fight, and more than probably when he was seized by the throat on the ground. The prisoner has done a thmg he has ever since deeply repented. (The prisoner here gave a most heart-rending sigh and wept bitterly.) If it is murder, his life must be forfeited if manslaughter he will be severely punished, but still it will not be death. It is for you, gentlemen, to come to the conclusion as to the fate of this unfortunate man. I submit you cannot find him guilty of murder. His conduct before and after the occurrence has been the conduct of a man who under sudden provocation, committed an act he never dreamt of its consequences, and from that moment he has done nothing but repent. Pause awhile over the evidence of Inspector Owen. Had it not been for his testimony, there would not have been very much against the prisoner, even on a-charge of manslaughter, because the .case would have depended on the evidence of Carroll. Nevertheless Mr. Owen's evidence really is favourable to the prisoner, because it shews the penitential state of his mind. He was un- aware of the death of Hill, and when told of it,-he was overwhelmed with grief and burst into tears. Like a true penitent, he tells Mr. Owen how the fray had happened, and aggravated the case against himself rather than extenuated it. In fact, he accuses him- self more than anyone else did, he seems to have stated everything against himself, leavin g ont everything in his own favour. The learned Counsel concludea his speech by dwelling upon the prisoner's character, and called Hne;h Ralk, who stated-I em a farmer in Ireland. My farm is 500 acres in extent. I deal in pigs and cat- tle. The prisoner has been in my service fourteen years, and I never saw a more good,natured, industrious, and trustworthy man than him in my life. I have trusted him with sums of money varying from X2000 to £ 4000. (The witnees was deeply affected in giving his evidence, and the prisoner gave him a fond look, with tears on his face, as he stood in the box.) Wm. Flood, farmer, Joseph Hatfield, pig dealer, Man- chester, Joseph Robinson, railway clerk at Holyhead, and Nlr. Gibbling, another railway official of Dublin, gave testimony of the highest character. The JUDGE, in summing up, sold-Gentlemen ofthe Jury,-Tue prisoner, Thomas Walsh, is indicted for the wilful murder of Patrick Hill. I need not say a word to you about the importance of this enquiry. The pri- soner's life is in your hands, and so are the lives and security of the public. A great deal has been said al- ready as to the distinction between murder and man- slaughter, and I think it is opportune now to call your attention to that point before I go through the the facte of the case. It .is not necessary, in order to constitute the crime of murder that there should be an intention to kill; it is sufficient if there is an intention to inflict grievious bodily harm. Neither is it essential that the malice should be of long standing but if you believe the accused struck the deceased in hot blood (or in a sudden passion) andstabbed the deceased, then that is manslaughter only, and not murder. I am very sorry to say that this is the third time that I have been obliged to make state- ments bearing upon cases of this description in this part of Wales. Gentlemen, in considering your verdict, you should regard the protection of the public as much as the safety of the prisoner. His Lordship then read the evidence, drawing attention to all the im- portant points of the cue. It was of vital importance for them to satisfy themselves as to who gave the first b'ow. The fact that Hill was stripped shewed that he had meditated a fight. A fight certainly comprehended an interchange of blows, but the only distinct evidence of a blow being given, proved that Hill was the first to strike. The men were not sober, but drunkenness was no excuse for committing a crime. The evidence as to prisoner's character deserved perhaps more than ordinary consideration, having been given by men of great respectability. He did not wish to express an opinion on the ease—the responsibility of it was left in the hands of the jury. Concluding, he said-If you have a doubt upon your minds, I must tell you that the prisoner is not entitled to the benefit of a doubt, because prima facie the crime is murder unless the prisoner sa- tisfies you it is not; if he has satifled you on this point, it is for you to say so. I desire you will exercise your independent judgment, regardless of anything I have said, except so far as I have explained the law. The jury retired at a few minutes before one o clock to consider their verdict. The prisoner then began to cry in the most piteous manner, and had to be removed from the court. He appeared more composed on his re- turn into court five minutes afterwards, when the fore- man of the jury, amid breathless silence, returned a VERDICT OF MANSLAUGHTER, adding, that they believed the stabs were inflicted in self-defence, and they, therefore, recommended him to the merciful considera- tion of the court. Mr. Morgan Lloyd handed to the Judge two or three letters as to the prisoner's character, from magistrates in Ire-land. His Lordship then proceeded to pass sentence, an fol- lows :—Thomas Walsh, the jury have so far taken a fa- vourable new (If your eaae, that they have acquitted you of the crime of wilful murder. btill they have found you guilty of the crime of manslaughter. They have added the words, in self-defence," because, I suppose, they consider that in this offence you were not the original aggressor. At the same time, the use of the knife must be put down by severe punishment, But for the last words which accompanied the verdict, I should have inflicted upon you the same punishment as in two other eases in this circuit; as it is you must suffer many years of penal servitude. Therefore, the sentence I have to pass upon you is, that you be kept in Penal Servitude for 7 years. The prisoner thanked his Lordship, the jury, and the gentlemen who had conducted his defence. He was then removed, apparently in a very distressed state of mind. nOBBERr FROM THE PERSON, AT HOLYHEAD. Richard Owen, 20, labourer, was charged with stealing one half-sovereign, two half-crowns, the monies of Robert Hughes, from the person, at Holyhead. on the 6th of January last. Mr. Morgan Lloyd prosecuted, and the prisoner was undefended. It appears that on the day in question, the prosecutor (who is employed at Holyhead, but lives a few miles dis- tant) met the prisoner in the street, on the day in ques- tion. They went together to the Britannia public house; but before reaching there, prosecutor tumbled down, the prisoner at the time having hold of him Prisoner hand- ed to prosecutor a flask that had fallen out of his pocket; bnt the latter complained that he had also lost a calico bag, containing half-a-sovereigu in gold, and about ten shillings in silver. Prisoner defied all knowledge of this, but afterwards gave him two half- crowns. Subsequently prisoner went to a shop for half- an-ounce of tobacco, and tendered in payment half-a-sove- reign, saying it was a sixpence. The half-sovereign was eventually given to a police-officer, who took the prisoner into custody. After the case for the prosecution had been closed, the learned Judge called for the Surgeon of the Gaol, Robert Wynne Jones, Esq., who said he considered the prisoner a person of very weak intellect, almost an idiot. When asked by his Lordship what reason he had for arriving at that conclusion, the Doctor stated that he had heard the prisoner was subject to fits, though he had not seen him in such a state he dipped his nose in the salt cellar when eating his food, and had also eaten his food after mixing it with grease and tar. It further appeared that he had asked the Dr. "if he would be allowed to hang that man" (meaning Thomas Walsh, charged with the murder at Holyhead), adding that he would do it for less than anybody else." The jury under the direction of his Lordship, re- turned a verdict of Not Guilty, on the ground of in- sanity, and the prisoner was ordered to be detained in custody during Her Majesty's pleasure. This finished the business of the Assizes, and the court rose at two o'clock. We cannot close this report without bearing testi- mony to the excellent arrangements which were made and carried out under the immediate directions of the respected Under-Sheriff, John Williams, Esq. The court is a very small one, and the number of persons anxious to be present was very great, particularly on Friday (yesterday.) Still there was comparatively no confusion, although every nook and corner of the hall was filled, and the javelin men" were rendered of great practical use, as well as ornament. As at Bala, a space had been portioned out for the Reporters, so as to give them every possible facility for reporting the proceedings. COUNSEL. The following counsel were present in coxii-t :NfeKrs. Melntyre, Morgan Lloyd, Wynne Foulkes, Coxan, Trevor Parkins, Horittio Lloyd, Igiiatitis Williams, Hilton, and Talbot Smith.


[No title]

——— -----BY ELECTRIC…

[No title]