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Colonial Cases

R. v. Lilsen, 1908


R. v. Lilsen

Police Court, London; Consular Court, Constantinople
Source: The Times, 7 September 1908



Alleged Murder at Sea.

At Bow street, SAMUEL LILSEN, 34, a seaman, was charged on a warrant with the murder of Carl Dreyer, also a seaman.  Mr. Harold Pearce, of the Treasury, who conducted the case for the Public Prosecutor, said that the prisoner, who was of Swedish nationality, was an able seaman on board the British ship Delaware.  On August 22, while the ship was in the Sea of Marmora, a quarrel arose in the forecastle between the prisoner, Dryer, and two other men.  One of the passengers had asked the prisoner if he would have some spirits, but he replied that he did not drink.  Dreyer then said to him, "You drink ale out of a bucket." whereupon the prisoner retorted, "You had better go back to your own country and eat sausages and sauerkraut." Dreyer, who was also a German, then began to fight with the prisoner, and another seaman of the same nationality joined in.  Eventually the prisoner broke away, and in a short time he returned with an open knife and was seen to stab Dreyer on the right shoulder.  The latter then picked up a bucket, and after striking the prisoner twice on the head with it ran up on deck.  He was bleeding profusely from the wound in his shoulder, and in a very few minutes he died.

The ship was at once put back, and on the following day the case was investigated by the Consular Court at Constantinople, with the result that the prisoner was committed for trial to the central Criminal Court.  It had been thought advisable, however, to take the evidence, so that the prisoner could be committed from this Court.

Detective-sergeant brooks, of Scotland-yard, deposed to receiving the prisoner in custody from the police at Grays that morning.  He read the warrant to him, and in reply he said, "I shall not say anything now, except that I have sailed under the British flag for 12 years and have never been in trouble before."  A remand was ordered.

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