Skip to main content
Hide Articles List

11 articles on this Page







EXTRAORDINARY CHARGE. On Monday Charles Gordon Sprague, a, surgeon, Who was recently tried and acquitted on an indictment charging him with administering poison to Sarah Chalker, his mother-in-law, with intent to murder her, at the Exeter Assizes, was brought before the Lord Mayor (Alderman Hale), at the Justice-room of the Mansion-house, charged with rape. The prosecutrix was Hannah Hart, a respectable- looking young woman, who gave her evidence with much propriety of manner. She said, mostly in reply to questions from the Bench: I am twenty- five years of age next birthday, and am a servant to Mr. Jenkins, a surgeon at 22, Philpot-lane, Fenchuroh- street. Mr. Jenkins occupies the whole house there. The prisoner has been in Mr. Jenkins's service two days as an assistant. Mr. Jenkins left town on Saturday morning, and I and a boy were left in the house with the prisoner, who attended in the surgery. On Saturday afternoon, about three o'clock, I was taken very ill, and went apstairs to my bedroom. The prisoner was not in the house at that time. I believe he had gone out to attend patients. I told the boy I was ill, and that I would lie down for an hour. I asked him to call me at fcur o'clock. I closed my door, and went to sleep. The Lord Mayor: Did you undress ? I Witness: No. I do not know how long I slept be- fore I was roused by the boy, who told me the doctor was coming up to see me. I said I did not wish him to come up, as I should be better soon. The prisoner came upstairs shortly afterwards into my room, and, taking a chair, sat down by my bedside and asked what was the matter with me. I said I felt very poorly. The boy was then in the room. He sent the boy downstairs to the surgery for a particular bottle of spirits of some kind, but I cannot tell you the name of the spirits. The boy came back and said he could not find the bottle. He brought up a bottle of some- thing else, but it was not the right one. The prisoner then sent him into Mr. Jenkin's bedroom to bring some brandy, which he did. He first gave me a wineglass full of the brandy, which quite overpowered me. The boy was then in the room. The prisoner had requested me to drink it all at once, and I did so. He then put hiso-hand up my drawers to my left side, and asked if I felt any pain there. I said I did not. He raised my head up and gave me another glassful of something which I believed was brandy. He told me to drink it at once, and I did so. He said I should be quite right after I h&d had that. I lost all my senses then, and could not remember anything after that until I was roused by a heavy weight upon me. I then found the front of my dress all open, and my clothes thrown up over me. I heard the prisoner walk out of the room as far as the landing. I was raising myself up in bed, when he came in and threw something over me which burnt very much, and scorched my neck. He stood by the side of my bed while he threw it over me. It took my breath away, and I felt the burning directly. I tried to speak, but I could not. He went out of the room after he threw it. I cannot remember anything from that time. I was afterwards awoke by a sickness, and tried to get out of bed, but I could not. It was quite dark at that time. I lay there until the boy called me, and said two sergeants of police wanted to speak to me. I went downstairs and spoke to them. I never saw the prisoner again until yester- day, when I charged him with committing a rape. (The witness here described the circumstances of a criminal assault.) The boy had been out with some letters, and on his return he said he had rung all the bells, but nobody had come to let him in. The prisoner had left the house when the two police-sergeants came. I did not see him again until half-past twelve or one ON Sunday. He had been out all night. Mr. Jenkins went away on Saturday morning to go to Wales, and the prisoner accompanied him to the railway station. On Sunday morning, before the prisoner returned, I sent for Mr. Goode, a surgeon. When the prisoner came homo I was upstairs dressing. He rang the bell three times. I went down and answered it. When he came in I asked what he thought of himself in leaving me in the state he did on Saturday night. He replied he did not know what I meant. I was going upstairs to finish dressing when he called me back, and said he was sorry for having kept me up, and asked me to forgive him for what he had done. I said I would not. I had sat up waiting for him until four o'clock on Sunday morning. He asked me a second time to forgive him. I told him I had some one waiting for him. I meant a policeman. I went upstairs, and when I came down he was out. A policeman was outside looking for him. I did not see him again until five o'clock, when he came in with his brother. The boy went out at my request for apoliceman. He rang the bell and I let the policeman in. I took the policeman into the surgery, where the prisoner was, and I charged the prisoner with committing a rape upon me. The prisoner made no reply. He was taken I to a police-station, and I went there afterwards with another policeman.. I was first examined by Mr. Humphreys, a surgeon, at the station, and again this mornins bv another surgeon, Mr. Marsh, a friend of my master. ) After some further corroborative evidence from this witness, and from police-sergeant White, Mr. Thomas Bennett Humphreys, surgeon, of Trinity- quare, deposed that he was sent for to go to the police-station in Seething-lane about half-past six o'clock on Sunday evening, where he saw the prosecu- trix, Hannah Hart. He was told the charge against the prisoner, and he was requested to examine her. She told him what had happened in pretty mneh the same terms as she had stated in evidence. All medical evidence on such matters could only go to probabilities. From what he saw he inferred a prob- ability of a recent connection, but it might not have been violent. He was not justified in saying anything beyond probability. The Lord Mayor eventually remanded the prisoner until the 22nd inst., and declined to entertain his ap- plication to be admitted to bail.






[No title]