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Colonial Cases


The Times, 18 March 1797
  An inquisition has been taken before EDWARD WARD, Gen. Coroner for the Borough of Derby., on view od te body of Thomas Bunting, farmer, of Wild-Park, in that county, who was found drowned in th Orledge Brook, in that town, on Thursday last.  The Inquest continued, by successive adjournments, from the 2d to the evening of the 7th instant, when a verdict was given of murder, against Thomas Potter, and Jane his wife; James Rotherham, the younger, and Patience Swindell, who were accordingly committed by the Coroner to take their trial at the ensuing Assizes.


The Observer, 7 May 1797

   The Coroner's inquest was taken a few says since, at Turnditch, in Derbyshire, on the body of Ann Simpson, who was accidentally killed in the Corn-mill at Postern.  She was shaking a small quantity of oats out of a sack into the hopper, when one of the upright cog-wheels caught the sack, and not letting go her hold in time, she was dragged between the wheels, and instantly expired.


The Observer, 31 March 1799

DERBY. - Four workmen at a coal-mine at Bugsworth, near Chapel-en-le-Frith, were lately killed by the exfoliation of the earth. - The body of one of them has not yet been found.


The Observer, 13 March 1803

   On Saturday night, about eleven o'clock, as a poor man, named Bingham, nearly 70n years of age, was returning from Bambro' to Clown, in Derbyshire, he was overtaken by a young fellow named Wells, whom he had seen before at a public-house on the road, and had told that he had just been receiving five shillings, which he was carrying to his family.  For the sake of this pittance, the wretch assaulted the old man, and after robbing, barbarously murdered him, by beating out his brains with a hedge-stake.  Just as he had accomplished his purpose, a third person, who had been with them at the public-house, arrived, and saw him running away; he immediately alarmed the neighbourhood, and the murderer was traced through the snow to his mother's house, where he was taken in bed, with his hands and clothes yet bloody.  The Coroner's Inquest next day brought in a verdict of wilful murder against wells, who has been committed to Derby Gaol for trial at the assizes next week. - During the sitting of the jury the prisoner confessed the fact, and declared that he only intended to rob the old man, but a black shape, that stood by, advised him to commit the murder for his own security!


Cambrian, 26 October 1805

An instance of ore mature and almost immediate death from eating nuts occurred, a few days since, at Grindleford-bridge, in the person of a healthy young man, who, at an entertainment given by a neighbour, eat a great quantity of nuts; he was shortly afterwards taken ill, and died the next day.


Cambrian, 14 November 1807

A singular robbery and suicide took place at Chesterfield a few evenings ago: - Two French Officers, upon their parole, arrived at an inn there, and on departing, when about to discharge their bill, one of them, a Colonel in the French Army, and a member of the legion of Honour, discovered his strong box to have been opened by a false key, and his property, to the amount of 1000l. besides plate, jewels, and other valuables, to the further amount of 500l. stolen.  In the most distressing dilemma, not knowing how to act, he applied to his fellow traveller (who also possessed considerable property,) from whom he obtained the loan of 200l.  On application to the Commissary for French prisoners, a statement was transmitted to the Transport Board, and an immediate search was set on foot for the detection and recovery of the property - when it was soon discovered that he had been robbed by his friend.  The culprit, on being informed of the discovery, swallowed poison, and fearing that it would not operate, he seized a knife which lay on the mantel-piece, and plunged it in his breast. - A Coroner's Inquest was held on his body, and the jury returned a verdict of Self-murder.  The deceased was on terms of particular friendship with his fellow-prisoner.


Cambrian, 31 December 1808

Fatal Duel.

A few days since an inquest was taken at Packington, by Mr. Charnel Bateman, Coroner for the county of Derby, on view of the body of Captain Dort Denegos, French prisoner of war, aged 47, lately residing at Ashby-de-la-Zouch, whose death was occasioned b y a sword wound, received, it is conjectured, in a duel, fought with some none of his fellow-prisoners.  The body was found by a labouring man near five o'clock in the afternoon of the 6th inst. in a field in Packington, about a mile from Ashby, and warm.  The coat ands waistcoat worn by the deceased, had been taken off before the supposed combat, as was evident from their not being pierced by the weapon; the former lay loose upon, and covered the body, an d the waist-coat, with a pocket-handkerchief lay on the feet of the deceased, but no weapon was found, nor was any person observed near the place. - The sword entered then breast on the right side, between the 4th and 5th ribs, passed through the lungs, and pierced the heart; the left hand was also slightly wounded between the second and third fingers. The Jury returned a verdict of wilful murder, against some person or persons unknown.


Carmarthen Journal, 13 April 1811

      On Sunday se'nnight a Coroner's Inquest was held at Long Eaton, in the county of Derby, on the body of John Peto, a native of Godalming, in Surrey, though some time a resident in Nottingham, who was found hanging on a tree the preceding Friday in the aforesaid township.  It appeared in evidence that he had been stripped of his hat, breeches, handkerchief, and money, by a wretch who was called to his assistance by a farmer's boy after he had cut him down; this person was afterwards apprehended at Beeston, but has made his escape for the present.  It is supposed that the young man committed the rash act of suicide, from giving way to despair in consequence of having been much put about in his work; and the Jury returned a verdict of Lunacy.


Cambrian, 6 April 1816

Caution to Parents. - On the 25th ult. an inquest was taken by James Mander, Esq. one of the Coroners for Derbyshire, at Ladyshaw Bottom, in the parish of Glossops, on the bodies of Mary, Daniel, Elizabeth and Rachel Bradbury; the eldest aged 18, Daniel, and Elizabeth (twins) 14, and Rachel 11, the children of Peter Bradbury, of Ladyshaw Bottom, labourer, who, at eight o'clock on the 24th ult. gave to each of his children a strong dose if white arsenic, mistaking it for cream of tartar; the three youngest died about noon on the same day, and the eldest at midnight following.


Cambrian, 12 October 1816

   A most melancholy accident happened at Derby, on Friday last. - As the London mail was passing through that town, the axle -tree broke, and precipitated the whole of the outside passengers to the ground, by which one gentleman was killed on the spot, ... but no blame whatever could attach to the coachman.


Cambrian, 9 June 1821

Fatal Duel. - On Monday, the 21st of May, Mr. Cuddie and Miss Brittlebank were met whilst walking together at Winster, near Matlock, by Mr. William Brittlebank, her brother, who took his sister away, after some harsh words had been exchanged between himself and Mr. Cuddie, and a challenge ensued, but Mr. Cuddie refused to fight.  Subsequently, however, he appears to have consented to give Mr. W. Brittlebank the satisfaction he required; for pistols were furnished to the parties; they separated to a distance of fifteen yards on the gravel walk in Mr. Cuddie's garden, an d on a signal being given they fired.  Mr. Cuddie unhappily received the shot of his antagonist in his bowels, and died the following day, about one o'clock in the afternoon.  Mr. Gosling, of Chesterfield, acting a Coroner in Mr. Maunder's absence, summoned a highly respectable Jury to hold their inquest, and a verdict of "Wilful Murder" was ion Wednesday returned against Mr. Brittlebank's three sons, Andrew, William, and Francis; and also against Mr. Spencer.  Mr. W. Brittlebank is not yet in custody; but the others are now confined in Derby County gaol. [Burial of Mr. Cuddie, surgeon, Cambrian, 16 June.]


Cambrian, 25 August 1821

   At the Derby Assizes, Andrew Brittlebank, Francis Brittlebank, and Edmund Spencer, were tried on an indictment, charging them with aiding and assisting in the murder of Mr. W. Cuddie, of Winster, on the 23d of May last.  The deceased, as our readers will recollect, lost his life in a duel with Mr. W. Brittlebank, brother of the first two prisoners.  The jury, after a consultation of upwards of an hour, returned a verdict of Not Guilty.  Mr. W. Brittlebank has not yet surrendered.


Monmouthshire Merlin, 8 October 1831

   About two o'clock on Thursday week, Mr. Barber and Mr. Ellis, of Smalley, Derbyshire, left home for Derby, a distance of seven miles, for the purpose of attending a public dinner to celebrate the return of Lord Cavendish as member for the county.  They left Derby together about seven o'clock, and had reached within two miles of home, when Mr. Barber fell from his horse, but remounted again himself.  Shortly after, however, Mr. Ellis perceived him to lean forward, apparently helpless, and he obtained the assistance of two persons to walk by his side home; but, awful to relate, when they took him from his horse, he was a corpse. - Nottingham Journal.

Monmouthshire Merlin, 1 September 1832
HORRIBLE MURDER AT ASHOVER. - On Wednesday morning, a man named Chadwick, from Morewood-moor, deliberately walked into the house of John Sellers, at Cold-Harbour, in the parish of Ashover, in this county.  The house stands in a lonely part of the country - just such a place as we might imagine suited for the committal of he horrible crime which it is our painful duty to record.  Sellers had just quitted the house, and his wife and son (a child of ten years old) were the only persons within when Chadwick called.  He asked the deceased to give him a sup of water to drink; this she did.  He then observed an axe lying in the house, picked it up, and suddenly gave the unfortunate woman two or three blows with it on the back of the head - her brains were dashed out, and she fell at his feet, a copse.  Terror-struck at this scene of horror, and entertaining apprehensions that he might be the next victim, the child ran out of the house, and called to his father, who was at work, not a hundred yards distance.  The murderer was observed running off, was pursued by he husband and some of the neighbours, and finally captured at his own dwelling-house at Caen. They brought him back to the Greyhound Inn, Milltown, to await the result of the coroner's inquest.  The next day (Thursday), an inquest was held on the body of Mrs. Sellers before Mr. John Hutchinson, coroner, and a respectable jury, when a verdict of Wilful murder was returned against Chadwick, and he was committed, on the coroner's warrant, to take his trial at the next Derby Assizes. - Derbyshire Courier.

Monmouthshire Merlin, 27 October 1832
  On Sunday, the 13th inst., an inquest was held at Belper, before Mr. Henry Moxley, jun., coroner, on the body of Elizabeth Langton.  The deceased on the Thursday before had been violently beating one of her daughters, who, in self-defence, gave her mother a push while standing on the stairs, in consequence of which she unfortunately fell down them, and bruised the back part of her head, which, according to the evidence of Mr. Lomas, the surgeon, occasioned such an extravasation of blood both in the brain and the lungs as to cause her death in about twelve hours.  Though the daughter had given her mother very much provocation, yet as it appeared to the jury that all personal violence proceeded from the latter, and that the former was defending herself from a most dangerous attack, and had no intention to inflict an injury, they returned a verdict of Homicide by misadventure. - Derbyshire Courier.

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