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Colonial Cases

R v. Young, 1862


R. v. Young

Consular Court, Shanghai
Source: The North-China Herald, 15 March 1862


(From the Daily Shipping & Commercial News of March 12.)


YESTERDAY            a shocking case of double murder was committed by a European at Allen's Maritime Home, on the Pootung side of the river.  It appears that this boarding house is frequented by sailors out of employment, and that a man named George Young - an Irishman - was accused of having stolen some clothes belonging to his messmates in the house.  Two men, whose names have not transpired, searched his chest and found the missing clothes.  This led to a regular fight at the bar of the house, when there were a number of people assembled, when Young drew his sailor's knife from its sheath, and suddenly struck one man a deadly blow in the right shoulder, another in the right breast, and aimed his weapon at a third, who struck him down, when he was secured by the bystanders.

Mr. Scannell, who manages the establishment, rushed to the river bank and hailed H.M.S. Pearl for medical assistance.  This appeal was promptly responded to, but ere the Surgeon arrived at the scene of the affray the two wounded men were dead - neither of them having spoken a word from the time they were stabbed.  The knife which did the deed was completely bent.

Information was immediately given at H.B.M.'s Consulate; when constable Glasgow went across and brought over the murderer and the bodies of his two victims, and deposited them in the gaol.  An inquest will be held on the deceased this day at the Consulate, at 10 a.m.

March 13.

As announced in our issue of yesterday, an inquest was held upon the bodies of the two men assassinated at Allen's Mariners Home on the day previous, before J. Markham, Esq., H.B.M. Vice-Consul, assisted by C. Treasure Jones, Esq., and William Willis, M.D.

The bodies of the murdered men were laid out in H.M. jail.  One was that of a tall able-bodied man named James Powers, an Englishman, who received his death wound in the breast, and the other an American, named Fredrick Lysall, who was stabbed in the left shoulder.  Dr. Sibbald examined the bodies, comparing the wounds with the knife which the murderer had used and certified to the cause of their death.

The prisoner John Young was then brought up for examination, and excepting some contusions about his hand and face, presented very little of a murderous look.  On the contrary, his physiognomical expression was rather mild than otherwise.  He underwent the inquiry and examination of witnesses, with great callousness, and never once contradicted the evidence, or denied the fearful crimes laid to his charge.

The substance of the evidence elicited, supported the main facts given in our report yesterday, with the exception that it was doubtful who had stolen the clothes.  In his defence the prisoner stated that he had been drinking heavily and was exited to madness by the man around when he committed the deed; but the evidence of all the witnesses tended to shew that he was sober at the time and none of the others worse for liquor.  One witness was prepared also to state that the prisoner had, on the morning of the murder, declared that he would "do for Powers," who he said had brought about all this.

After a careful inquiry the Vice-Consul and Jurors found that the deceased met their deaths by stabbing at the hands of the prisoner, who was thereupon remanded for examination before Mr. Medhurst, H.B.M.'s Consul.  The bodies of the two unfortunate men, were than handed over to the Sexton of the English burial ground for interment.

On Friday, the 14th instant, the prisoner John Young was brought up at H.M. Consular Court before the Consul and Assessors.  After a careful examination of the witnesses, he was found guilty of having wilfully murdered Frederick Lysall and James Powers, and committed to take his trial at the Supreme Court of Hongkong.

Published by Centre for Comparative Law, History and Governance at Macquarie Law School