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Author Topic: A Marine Murder in Chatham - 1838  (Read 2363 times)

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Offline kyn

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Re: A Marine Murder in Chatham - 1838
« Reply #3 on: February 18, 2012, 16:30:12 »
Thank you Lyn L  :)

Offline Lyn L

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Re: A Marine Murder in Chatham - 1838
« Reply #2 on: February 18, 2012, 14:52:13 »
Joshua Sykes went to trial on 11th March 1839. Found guilty of Manslaughter and sentenced to 7 years Transportation. ( Ancestry Criminal Registers .)
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Offline kyn

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A Marine Murder in Chatham - 1838
« Reply #1 on: February 18, 2012, 00:24:37 »
17th November, 1838 – The Times

THE LATE MILITARY OUTRAGE AT CHATHAM.
INQUEST UPON JEFFCOTT, THE MARINE.

Yesterday an inquest was taken before Mr. Richard Hinde and a respectable just in the operating-room of Melville Hospital, Chatham, on the body of Charles Jeffcott, another of the marines, who fell a sacrifice to the savage attack of a party of the 67th and 74th regiments upon the marines, on Saturday evening, the 27th ult.
Jeffcott, as has been already stated, was bludgeoned in the open streets of the town, after the fatal beating of the unfortunate marine, Ross, in the Navy Arms.
The jury, which on this occasion was composed of different tradesmen from those who sat upon the body of Ross, proceeded to view the body of Jeffcott, which was deposited in the dead-house adjoining the hospital, and which presented a dreadful sight, there being two extensive wounds on the temple and back part of the head.
Joseph Allen, a corporal of the 6th Regiment of Foot, states that on Saturday, the 27th of October last, about 8 o’clock in the evening, he was passing near the Military-road, and saw a party of soldiers belonging to the 67th and 74th Regiments coming up the High-street, of Chatham, in the direction of the Military-road, armed with thick sticks.  The deceased, who had nothing in his hand, was walking by himself when he was met by the soldiers.  Witness then heard one of the latter say, “Here is another marine,” and immediately afterwards the deceased received a blow upon the side of his head, which was followed by another blow upon the top of it.  Upon seeing the deceased struck, witness instantly turned round to ascertain the person who had inflicted the blows, and saw that it was a soldier with white facings upon his jackets.  He had a stick in his hand, and witness heard him say that we would kill the first marine he met with.  Witness attentively observed the features of the soldier; he had light hair, and his right eye was blackened.  Soon after witness saw a sergeant of marines about three yards off, and informed him that a private of the marines had been dreadfully beaten, and was bleeding profusely.  At the request of the sergeant witness went to the assistance of the deceased.  He was then standing on the causeway near the Black Boy, and much blood was issuing from the wounds on his head.  Witness Supported and led him to the Military-road, but before they had proceeded far he saw the soldiers returning, and he accordingly placed deceased in the house of Mr. Abrahams for safety, and made the best of his way to the barracks, as it was near a quarter past 8 o’clock, and his time was up.
By the Coroner.-  Witness saw the deceased receive the blows, but could not swear to any of the prisoners having given them.  The prisoner, Joshua Sykes, was the soldier witness heard make use of the first expression he had repeated.  Sykes had a stick in his hand at the time.
By the Jury.-  The party of soldiers consisted of between 18 and 20.  Sykes was nearest the deceased, and seemed foremost in the rioting.
The prisoner Sykes, who appeared to be about 19 years of age, of light complexion, and short in stature, was asked by the coroner if he wished to cross-examine the witness, which he replied that he had no questions to put.
Joseph Nunn, a corporal of the 6th Regiment, stationed at Chatham, deposed that on Saturday evening, the 27th ult., about 8 o’clock in the evening, he saw a party of soldiers belonging to the 67th and 74th Regiments rush into the Navy Arms public-house, and after the lapse of a few minutes, they came out and made their way towards the Military-road.  In their progress they met the deceased, and some of them said, “Here is another b_____ marine.”  Witness was then about four yards from the party, who were all armed with sticks, and he saw three or four of them rush towards the deceased, and strike him over the head.  They afterwards went up the Military road, and witness assisted Corporal Allen in removing the deceased to Mr. Abrahams.  Witness is not able to state who it was struck the deceased, but he saw one soldier with light hair and a black eye, who appeared to act as ringleader.
By the Coroner.-  The prisoner Joshua Sykes corresponds with the soldier whom I more particularly observed on that night.  Witness is not able to distinctly to swear that he is the soldier or not.  Witness could positively swear that the soldier belonged to the 74th Regiment, as he saw the numbers on the cap.  The deceased had nothing in his hand, and was walking quietly along the streets at the time he was struck.
Arthur Kift, assistant-surgeon of Melville Hospital, deposed that the deceased was brought into the hospital on the evening of the 27th of October last.  Witness, upon examination, found that the deceased’s head was matted with blood, and that there was a wound on the right side of his head and another on his forehead.  The wounds were more than an inch in length.  Every assistance was rendered the deceased, but erysipelas followed, and subsequently inflammation of the brain took place.  The wounds must have been produced by some blunt instrument.  They were the primary cause of death.
By the Coroner.-  The deceased died about five minutes before 9 o’clock on Sunday morning last.
Dr. Rae, principal surgeon of Melville Hospital, deposed to his having made a post mortem examination of the body, and to the wound on the right side of the head having caused the deceased’s death.  The other parts of the body were quite sound and healthy.
By the Coroner.-  The deceased was about 26 years of age.
This being the whole of the evidence, the Coroner told Sykes he might make any statement he thought proper.
The prisoner said.-  “I wish, gentlemen, to state that I am clear of the crime; that is all I have to say.”
The Coroner then summed up, and remarked that he was of opinion, that if the soldiers had meditated murder they would have been differently armed, and he did not see that the jury should return a verdict to that effect.  The evidence given did not actually fix the guilt on any particular individual, but it was for them to decide how far the prisoner Sykes was guilty, and of what crime.
The jury retired to a room adjoining, and after an absence of about half-an-hour, they re-entered the inquest-room, and found a verdict of £wilful murder against all the soldiers present in the disturbance on the night of 27th of October, whose names are at present unknown to the jury, and that Joshua Sykes was present, aiding and abetting.”
The committal of the prisoner to Maidstone gaol was then made out, and the witness bound over to appear at the next assizes.
The investigation lasted about five hours.

 

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