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barkick CIIXEEM




THE WESTMINSTER MURDER.—CONFESSION OF THE PRISONER. It will be remembered by our readers that at the recent session of thj Central Criminal Court, a young woman named Martha Browning was convicted of a murder of a very atrocious character; and although the evidence, so rar as human testimony is concerned, might be considered as of the most conclusive character, yet, as the crime was of a description almost unparalleled in the history of guilt, and as it was attributed to a woman, or rather a girl, for she has not yet attained her 22d year, it will be some satisfaction to those who may have considered it almost impossible for such a. person to have committed so fearful a crime, to know that since the convietioll of the wretched girl siie has made a full confession, and detailed all the circumstances connected with the horrible crime, l'roin the period of her commitment to Newgate the prisoner appeared resigned to her fate, and she has since stated that she all along anticipated the result, and this may in some measure account for her firmness when sentence was passed upon her. Very shortly after she had been placed in the cell on the female side of the prison, which is appro?) iatcd,—although, happily, lately but rarely made use of for that purpose,—for capital convicts of this sex, she appeared desirous to unburden her mind of the dreadful weight which lay upon it, and in the presence of the Rev. Mr. Davies, the chaplain, and the governor of Newgate, Mr. Cope, 3he made a full admission of her guilt. Of course no questions were put to her, nor any thing said to induce her to make such an avowal, but as she appeared really desirous of making it, and did so of her own free will, she was allowed to make the state- ment. Having first admitted the perfect justice of her sentence, and expressed that it was her opinion that she ought to die for it as a warning to others, she said that her only motive for the commission of the dreadful deed, was a desire to possess herself of that which she believed to be a 95 Bank of England note, but which, as it turned out, was only a flash" note, as it is termed, or one of the bank of elegance." It should be stated that the prisoner can read and write very well, but ehe says that she never had an opportunity of fully seeing the note until after the crime was committed, and she declared that there was only one note, and not two, as was repre- sented at the trial. She said thlt being determined to possest herselfof the note, she considered the means, and at length resolved to take the old lady's life, as being, as she then considered, the readiest means of obtaining her object, and that she would effect this by strangling her with the cord that was in her box, and she fixed upon the Sunday night to carry herdreadfut design into execution. Accordingly, she said that in the middle of the night she got up and cut a portion of the rope off, and then, while the unhappy deceased was asleep, she twisted it twice round her neck and began to pull it violently. The old lady awoke apparently from a sound sleep in the agonies of suffocation. She struggled slightly, and had just suffi- cient power to exclaim, Murder, murder what are you doing!" an expression which, it will be recollected, was spoken to by one of the witnesses, who occupied an adjoining room and that almost immediately she expired. At this moment, she says, the witness (the person referred to) came to the door and inquired what was the matter? She was then standing over the dead body of her unhappy victim, and she states that it was with great difficulty she was enabled to frame an answer to the effect that nothing was the matter, and this imluced the party to return to her room. She then remained upon the bed, with the dead body, until day-light, when gjie examined the box of the deceased, and took out of the housewife of the poor old creature that which she believed to be the five-pound note) and, without attentively look- ing at it, she placed it in her pocket, and considered of the best mode to escape detection for her horrid crime, and at length the thought came across her to make it ap- pear that the deceased had committed suicide. With a view to this, she tied the cord in a knot, and then lifted the body from the bed and placed it on the box by its side, in the position in which it was afterwards discovered. In the morning she gave an alarm, as appeared by the evidence, of the old lady being ill, and went out to inform her daughter of it, and to request that she would come to see her. Upon the prisoner being asked how she could have been strong enough to lift the deadbodyfromthe bed and place it upon the box, sue said, I think the devil must have helped me; but I did it." The prisoner then went on to describe the other circumstances narra- ted in the evidence, and said that the statements of all tha witnesses were quite correct with the exception of that of the surgeou, which she declared was not so in two particulars, wherein he stated that he was the first medi- cal person who saw the deceased, and that when he did so her eyes were staring and wide open but she declared that his assistant saw her first, and that her eyes were closed, and heriVavfng resolved upon the course she intended to pursue, she made the statement she did before the coroner with a view to show that the de- ceased had destroyed herself, and which, as it turned out, had that effect, as the coroner's jury returned a verdict that the deceased had destroyed herself in a state of tem- porary derangement. She stated that by this time she had discovered that the note was of no value, and she said she should never have attempted to make any use of it, if she had not been pressed by the old woman's daughter and her husband to lend them some money, and she said she only went to the public-house with the pretended purpose to change it, in order to pacify them, and on their insisting to know how she became possessed of it, she did not know what to do, and eventually told them the story about her having received it from some person in Bedford-street or the Strand. When, she said, she found that the witness Gayze determined upon accom- panying her to Bedf<*rd-st., she became quite beside herself, and teltshe could no longer support her position, & from that moment her mind almost forsook her, and she said Ylie did not recollect the incoherent expressions imputed to her by the several witnesses, although she had no doubt she had made use of them, as she was resolved, she said, to admit her guilr. This was the substance of the statement of the unhappy criminal, and after it was made she ap- peared a good deal more composed, and ever since her firmness has appeared to increase, and she is evidently perfectly resigned to the fate that awaits her It has been already stated that the friends of the unhappy prisoner reside near Alton, in Hampshire, and two or three days ago her brother and sister came to visit her, and as they appeared to be in poor circumstances, Mr. Sheriff Chaplin, who is one of the directors of the South-Western Railway, humanely gave them a free pass for themselves or any other members of the family, to travel upon the line as often as they pleased, in order that they might have every facility to see the last of their unhappy relative. The execution will take place on Monday, Jan. 15.