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Colonial Cases


The Cambrian (Wales), 3 August 1811.

COURT-MARTIAL.   The following is a copy of the sentence of the Court-Martial, held on board his Majesty's ship Pompee, in Carlisle Bay, Barbadoes, on Tuesday the 28th, Wednesday the 19th, and continued on board his Majesty's ship Captain, on Thursday the 20th July, 1809, for the trial of Lieutenant William Richards, of his Majesty's ship Dart, alluded to a few days since in the House of commons by Mr. Brougham:-

   At a Court-martial held on board his Majesty's ship Pompee, in Carlisle Bay, Barbadoes, and continued on board his Majesty's shop captain, on Thursday the 20th of July, 1809:-

   Present - William C. Fahie, Captain of his Majesty's ship Pompee, and second officer in command of his Majesty's ships and vessels in Carlisle bay, Barbadoes, President; - Captains J. A. Wood, V. V. Ballard, C. J. W. Nesham, and C. Dilkes:- M. Anderson, Deputy-Judge-Advocate.

   The Court, pursuant to an order from the Hon. Sir A. Cochrane, K.B. Rear-Admiral of the Red, and Commander in Chief of his Majesty's ships and vessels at Barbadoes, the Leeward Islands, &c., dated the 15th of July, one thousand eight hundred and nine, directed to W. C. Fahie, Esq., Captain of his Majesty's ship Pompee, and second officer in command of his Majesty's ships and vessels in Carlisle Bay, Barbadoes, having been duly sworn, proceeded to the trial of Lieut. Wm. Richards,  belonging to his Majesty's sloop Dart, agreeable to an order of the Honourable Sir A. Cochrane, K.B. Rear-admiral of the Red, and commander-in-Chief of his Majesty's ships and vessels at Barbadoes, the Leeward Island, &c., dated the 15th July, 1809; to investigate and inquire into the whole of the relative circumstances which occurred on the day of the death of J. Robinson, belonging to his Majesty's said sloop Dart, and to try him, the  said Lieut. Wm. Richards, for his conduct on the occasion.

   The Court having heard the evidence in support of the prosecution, as well as what the prisoner, Lieutenant W. Richards, had to offer in his defence, and the evidence adduced on his behalf, and very maturely and  deliberately weighed and considered the same, is of opinion that there was no malice on the part of the prisoner Lieut. W. Richards, or any intention to cause his death, and doth therefore acquit him, Lieut. W. Ricjhards, odf the death of the deceased, J. Robinson; but the Court is of opinion, that the conduct olf the  dsaid Lieutenant Wm. Richards was negligent in leaving the Dart at the time he was commanding officer, without a commissioned officer, and in not having p,lac ed proper and sufficient sentinesls over gthe deceased, J. Robinbson, while in irons.

   And the Court is further of opinion, that the conduct of Lieutenant Wm. Richards, after his return to the Dart, on the night of the 27th of November last, was oppressive and cruel, in making use of so large a gag, and in suffering the deceased, J. Robinson, to remain such a continuance of time gagged, with his hands tied behind his back; and doth therefore adjudge him, Lieutenant Wm. Richards to be dismissed from his Majesty's service, and rendered incapable of ever again serving as an officer in the #navy of his Majesty, his heirs and successors.

   The Court has observed, with regret and astonishment, that the body of the deceased, J. Robinson, was not only committed to the deep, instead of having been sent on shore for the decision of an inquest, but also that the body was sent from the ship without even a prayer-#book to read the funeral service.

   And the said Lieutenant Wm. Richards is hereby sentenced accordingly.

   (Signed by the Court)

   WM. CHAS. FAHIE, President.

   J.  A. WOOD,




   MATTHEW ANDERSON, Deputy-Judge-Advocate.


The Observer, 1 December 1811

A colonial print states, that Mr. J. M'Neale, a respectable merchant, of Oiystryes, Barbadoes, is in custody in suspicion of having murdered a Miss Austin, his sister-in-law.  The young lady who was on a visit at his house, died suddenly, as was alleged, of a fever, and was buried the day after, without any inquest being held, though a jury had been summoned for that purpose. A few days after the interment, a letter was found in one of the most frequented streets of Bridgetown, addressed to the Coroner, apprising him that Miss Austin had been murdered, and that that fact would be apparent, if the body was examined.  The Coroner took immediate steps to verify his anonymous intelligence, he summed a jury: the coffin was dug up and broken open, when a shocking spectacle presented itself: the deceased was sewed up in an old counterpane, with one eye knocked out of the socket, one arm and four ribs broken, with other dreadful marks of violence which decency and feeling alike forbid us to detail. - A verdict was returned of wilful murder against some person or persons unknown.


Cambrian, 4 December 1819

   We regret to add, that Barbadoes has not escaped.  On the 13th of October, the atmosphere threatened an approaching storm, which was too fatally realised; for, with little intermission, the elements continued in dreadful commotion, till the Friday afternoon following.  ... Many stores were totally destroyed, and the houses of Captain Merry and Mr. W. Burnham, on the sea-side, were carried along, and the persons who inhabited them, viz. a Mr. John Young, his wife and child; and Mrs. Benskin and her child.  The body of Mr. John Young was afterwards found.


North Wales Gazette (Bangor), 18 December 1823

MURDER OF MRS. D'EGVILLE.  - We extract the following tragical narrative from a Barbadoes paper of the 9th of October:-

   We have to relate a circumstance of the most horrid and afflicting nature, which took place in this town a few days ago.  Mrs. D'Egville, wife to Mr. Michael Harvey Peter William Henry D'Egville, the dancing master, from whom she had been separated for many years, died suddenly on the 4th inst. under strong suspicions of having been poisoned.  Mr. Walcond, the coroner, promptly held an inquest over the body, and the jury, after mature deliberation and strict investigation, brought in a verdict of wilful murder against the husband of the deceased, who was immediately committed to take his trial for the horrid deed at the next Court of Great Sessions.

   It appeared that Mr. Egville had sent the unfortunate deceased, the evening prior to her death, a dish of toasted cheese, with which arsenic must have been mixed, for she died in consequence of eating that dish.  It is melancholy and painful to relate, that Mrs. Llewellyn, the lady in whose house Mrs. D'Egville resided, has also fallen a victim to this murderous repast, for she partook of the fatal dish, and died on Monday last.

   An inquest was also held on her body, when the jury declared by their verdict, that she had died from partaking of the same poisonous food which had caused the death of her friend Mrs. D'Egville.

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