Marple Bridge Murder - 5
Mr. Hill: I would like now to call Mr. James Ashton, brother of the deceased to the stand. (James Ashton takes the stand.)
Mr. James Ashton: I am the brother of the unfortunate young man who was shot on the 3rd January, 1831. I had the superintendence of the Apethorn Mill, and my deceased brother of the Woodley Mill. I was in the habit of being by the footpath from the house and into Apethorn Lane to the mill, about seven o’clock in the evening. On the night of the 3rd January, 1831, my brother was to superintend the Apethorn Mill for me. At this period that was considerable excitement in the neighbourhood In consequence of disputes about wages, a number of hands had turned out. I had discharged one man previously to the 3rd of January for being in the union.
Mr. Hill: Thank you Mr. Ashton. This closes the case for the prosecution.
Judge: Mr. Garside, if you choose to make a statement of defence, as your counsel cannot be heard for you, the time had arrived for you to make it.
James Garside: When I made my first statement, Dr. Forrester promised me my liberty; which they’ve keep him back for fear he should tell the truth. It was liberty for both the job I was convicted for and for that which I was going to undergo. And likewise I should have the greatest part of the reward upon the conviction of the persons. He did not think I should have it all. That was before Mr. Lockett came. That was what I told upon, and the proclamation together; and Mr. Sim, the governor, told met that the proclamation was sufficient for me without any promise; I did not require any more. He told it to me daily for a fortnight or three weeks together. Mr. Sim told me what I was to say to Mr. Lockett when he came to question me.
Mr. Hill: Recall Mr. Sim. (Mr. Sim retakes the stand.) You have heard Mr. Sims what Joseph Garside has said. What have you to say to this?
Mr. Sims: What he says, my lord, is entirely false. (looking towards Garside) You told me, the first time, there was only one man doing the job and that it was Joseph Mosley. I never told you the Mosleys would be sure to hang you.
James Garside: You’d not speak the truth. If you’ve come to take my life away, do it.
Judge: Joseph Mosley, have you anything more to say?
Joseph Mosley: All I have to say, I know nothing about it. (He gives a written paper which was handed to the judge, who looks through it and then passes it to the clerk of the court to read.)
Clerk: It says, “I am quite innocent of the charge now brought against me. My brother and James Garside is the principal witnesses against me and I am certain if they knows anything about the affair they knows I am as innocent as a man can be of it. I pray you, gentlemen, take it into your consideration whether it is likely I should commit such an outrage on a person I never knew or saw in my life. I likewise understand that some £10 was given to the person guilty of this horrid crime, and that this sum was given by a party of unionists; and I always thought their intentions were bad, and that they would be in injury to the country: and I think they would not on any account employ any but those who belonged to a union in such a case as this.
As for my brother, William Mosley, and James Garside, they are united on this occasion, and they are both bad characters. James Garside was “death recorded” last Derby assizes but one, for theft, and he cost his parents a deal of money for robbing a respectable farmer of a plough-rein, and he also robbed some carts, and other offences for which he escaped by his parents paying money to make it up, and save him from punishment. My brother has been convicted for theft and he is a very loose, drunken character, and I believe he would sell me or anyone else or even himself, for the sake of drink. I am married and have children, and since then I have been very little with my brother. I am poor and entirely without the means of defence, except some kind friend comes that knows me.
Mr. Dunn: The crown thinks it fit to put in the statement of Garside, wherein he stated that Joseph Mosley was the hand that fired, if that document was evidence, that statement must be taken to be entirely true, and if so, he submitted that Garside was clearly within the terms of the proclaiming.
Judge Parke: With that statement we have nothing now to do, except as it is evidence against Garside himself.
Mr. Hill: I know wish to call a prisoner to give evidence. I call Enoch Bradley. (Enoch came to the front and was given the oath.) Mr. Bradley, I understand that you and William Mosley were together in the hospital and we wish to ask you questions about that. What did William Mosley say to you on that occasion?
Enoch Bradley: It was on the 16th of June. Mosley denied having made any statement and said that Mr. Barrett had kept him in the condemned cells till the Thursday night, and threatened to keep him there till the assizes if he did not make any statement. He also told me that Mr. Barrett put him in the hospital and said if he would make any kind of statement he should have anything he wanted. When he asked Mr. Barrett how he could make a statement when he knew nothing about it, Barrett then said he would help him out of it, and began to tell him he could say that was the time when they were drinking together and it was so long that nobody would know but that it was then, and he could call witnesses to prove that they have been seen together.
I said to William “Thou does not get so well kept, with all his grand promises.” And he replied, he could have anything he had a mind to; he had had 17 shillings from Barrett, but his money was getting done, and if Mr. Barrett did not come, he must write for him. When he wanted money he told Barrett he was without, and then Barrett said to him, “You’re like to have some more.”
I told him that he would be better to be without money than sell himself. William said he didn't care; he’d sooner be hung than locked up in that condemned cell. He said too, that he was going to have the reward, and Barrett would give him £20 out of his own pocket; and that Barrett and he were drink gin together, the Saturday but one before he was committed.
Mr. Dunn: Thank you Mr. Bradley. You may step down. I now wish to call another prisoner, Roger Flinn. (Roger Flinn comes forward and is sworn in.) You have heard what Enoch Bradley has just stated. Did you hear anything similar from William Mosley?
Roger Flinn: I heard him make similar statements, once when I was in the yard with Joseph Mosley and another time when I was in the yard with William Moseley.
Mr. Hill: Recall William Mosley (William comes forward again.) You have heard what these so called friends have to say. How do you reply?
William Mosley: This statement is all untrue. No conversation has ever taken place between us about that affair. I was in the hospital from the 16th of June, but I did not tell him anything of the sort.
Mr. Hill: Recall Roger Flinn. (He comes back to the front.) Did you ever hear William Mosley say anything about Mr. Barrett giving him money?
Roger Flinn: No.
Mr. Hill: I call Mr. Dunstan, the governor of Chester Castle. (Mr. Dustan comes forward and is sworn in.) Now, Mr. Dunstan, why was William Mosley put in the condemned cells?
Mr. Dunstan: He was placed there by my orders and not by those of Mr. Barrett.
Judge: I think this might be a good time for a short break. But I would not like it to be very long, say fifteen minutes.
Judge: What is the matter, why cannot this trial proceed?
Warden: I’m sorry your honour, but one of the jurors, Mr. John Gosling, builder of Macclesfield, seems to have disappeared.
Judge: Sent out messengers to find him. We cannot proceed without him. We will take a recess until he is found.
Fifteen minutes later. The errant juror has been found and brought back into court.
Judge: Well, Mr. Gosling. Where have you been? Do you not realise the responsibility that is upon you?
Mr. Gosling: I’m sorry, my Lord. I misunderstood your directions and thought we were done for the day so I took my hat and went back to my inn.
Judge: You have very much inconvenienced this court, but as you seem to have made an honest mistake, I will not fine you, as I had intended to do.
Mr. Gosling: Thank you, my Lord. Very sorry, my Lord.
Judge: Gentlemen of the jury, we have now arrived at the close of this case, which has necessarily occupied a great length of time. It is one of the utmost importance to the interest of the two men at the bar, and of the deepest importance also to the country at large, whose interest it is that every great crime should not go unpunished, but should meet with a fitting penalty. But though that interest is great, it must not be allowed to bias your decision; you must conduct your inquiry in this case with as great impartiality as if the case were of less consequence. The importance of it I only urge in order to bespeak your very grave consideration to the evidence now presented to you.
Both prisoners are charged jointly with this murder. Both were alleged in the indictment, to have fired the pistol loaded with ball; but in order to convict both, it is not necessary for you to be satisfied that both fired. If both were present, going on a joint enterprise, intending to support each other, and one of them fired a deadly weapon, that would make the act of one the act of both. It is also wholly immaterial under the indictment whether the pistol were loaded with ball or with two slugs.
The charge was supported by evidence of a different nature to that by which such offences are usually made out. Murder is not usually proved by an eye-witness, but by those circumstances by which it pleases Providence to cause to follow and lead to the detection of great crimes by circumstantial evidence. That was not so in this case. There was no circumstantial evidence in it likely to lead to the conviction of either of the accused persons.
The case was made out against both by the direct testimony of an accomplice and it was further made out against one of the prisoners by his own confession. In point of law, every accomplice is a competent witness. There is no objection in point of law to an accomplice being examined as a witness; and the credit due to the testimony of a competent witness is the matter for the consideration of the jury.
Strictly speaking, parties are never convicted on the unsupported testimony of an accomplice; in fact, judges are always in the habit of advising juries, and juries of acting upon that advise that they should not place too much reliance on the unsupported evidence of a man who lent himself to the perpetration of such an atrocious crime as murder, unless there were other circumstances confirming his testimony, and inducing them to believe that testimony true.
Not that he has to be confirmed in all particulars, because then his evidence would be of no use; but in such circumstances as would induce the jury to put faith in his evidence. It appears to me a reasonable rule to say, “You ought not to give your credit to an accomplice, unless he is confirmed not only with respect to the general circumstances of the case, but also with respect to the persons of the accused.”
The question is whether he told the truth with respect to the individuals charged; and you, in my judgement would be hardly safe in relying on the accomplice doing so, unless he were confirmed with regard to the persons of the accused.
As to Joseph Mosley, the case depended entirely upon the credit you, the jury, give to William Mosley, his brother. William told a story which implicated his brother, Joseph, as well as Garside, but he also admitted himself to be one of the persons concerned in this atrocious murder; and therefore, under the circumstances, there was little to induce anyone to credit him, unless his testimony were supported by that of others.
You will have to take into consideration various circumstances which I will point out to you, tending to confirm the evidence of William Mosley in respect to his brother; and you would then say you were satisfied in your own consciences that the story told by him was true. If you are, it would be your duty to convict Joseph Mosley; if thou entertained any reasonable doubt as to the truth of this story, of it you disbelieve it - it is your duty to acquit that prisoner.
With respect to James Garside, the case does not depend upon the testimony of the accomplice merely. Independent of his testimony there is a sufficient case for your consideration. Against him there is the evidence of his own confession, made after much deliberation, after much care taken by the very respectable and intelligent magistrate who has been examined in order to put him up on his guard, and prevent him from making a statement under delusive hopes.
After all, he had made statement very much at variance with the leading facts of the story told by the witness William Mosley in the court; but still admitting himself to be a party concurring in the murder. That in point of law, made him a second in point of degree, and as guilty in law as if his hand committed the murder. Therefore this is not the same degree of doubt as to him, as there is to Joseph Mosley.
You however have to attend to Garside’s account driven upon his confession as contrasted with the evidence of the accomplice. I will point out to you several material points in which the two accounts differed, and you will have to consider whether that circumstances should induce you to disbelieve the accomplice. And I would hope you would have the goodness to tell me whether in your opinion whether James or Joseph was the person who actually committed the murder.
William Mosley represented the plan of the murder to have been devised by the two prisoners, and that he was let in subsequently and unwillingly. Garside on the contrary in his confession declared that he knew nothing of it till the 3rd of January, and that he was induced to enter into it by the two Mosleys.
Then Garside represented the time at which they were on Marple Bridge as about 4 o’clock in the afternoon while William Mosley represented it as twelve o’clock. In this Mosley was contradicted by another witness, who said it was about 4 o’clock. Undoubtedly on his own evidence, William Mosley is a very atrocious character, and there is little doubt that a man who would commit murder would not hesitate at perjury if he though it for his interest.
Then Mosley said that Garside had the large pistol; Garside on the other hand said that Joseph Mosley produced the large pistol, which Garside described minutely, said it was deeply loaded, and thus endeavored to exonerate himself of the guilt of being the actual hand that fired.
Then again William Mosley said that he changed shoes and cap with Garside at the gravel pit; Garside declared that was no exchange till they got to the plantation, and that then the change of shoes was not with him, but between the two Mosleys.
Then Mosley was confirmed as to the fact of there being three persons together by the evidence of the man, the little girl, and the boy with the lanthorn, whom they met on the road.
William Mosley again stated that his brother and Garside were together when the shot was fired, and he was at a little distance; while
Garside said that it was he who was alone, and the two Mosleys who were together.
Mosley has sworn that it was Garside who fired, while Garside declared that it was Joseph Mosley.
The oath Garside represented as having been taken immediately after the murder; and William Mosley stated that it was taken two days after the murder, when the money was paid by Schofield on the bridge at Marple.
After in this way contrasting and collating the evidence, you are to take the confession of Garside only as affecting himself. In this voluntary confession, Garside admitted having participated in the offence, but denied that he was the actual perpetrator. Upon that confession alone, there is enough to convict him.
Gentlemen, you will take into your consideration the whole of these facts, and then say whether in your consciences, you believe the story told by the witness, William Mosley. If you believe him, then it will be your painful duty (which however, I am sure you will perform if required) to find both the prisoners guilty. If you entertain any reasonable doubt as to its truth, in that case you will acquit the prisoner Mosley and find the other prisoner guilty. And you will also have the goodness to say whether you believe that Garside was the hand that committed the murder.