Personal information about William Appleton

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William Appleton
01 June 1865
Consecrated - Common Interment
Rev'd. W. Cole



Obituaries and Newspaper announcements

Manslaughter of Eliza Dell by William Appleton's son William Appleton
Article source:    Reading Mercury
Date of source:    28 October 1854
Copyright:    © 




On Saturday night the 21st inst. between nine and ten o'clock, the inhabitants Bartholomew-street, Newbury, were thrown into a state of excitement, in consequence of a report that person of the name of Eliza Dell had been murdered by a young man of the name of William Appleton who is a sawyer, while drinking together at the brewery of Mr. Nutley, in the above named street: upon inquiry it was found too true.  It would appear that deceased, who was widow, and considerably older than the prisoner, was engaged to be married to him, and having been taunted by her neighbours that he was soon to be married to someone else, followed him about, and to the place above mentioned, where in a fit of jealousy she threw some beer in his face, which was the result of his dealing her the unfortunate blow that caused her death.

On Monday morning last, a jury was empanelled at the “Cooper's Arms” Inn, before Joseph Bunny. Esq., coroner for the borough, and a most respectable jury, to inquire into the death of Eliza Dell, widow, aged 48.

The Coroner, in addressing the jury, told them he had thought it right, for their better guidance, to direct a post mortem examination of the deceased to made, and had directed Mr. Carter do so, who would able explain to them his opinion the cause of death, and directing that they would divest their minds of anything that they might have previously heard touching her death : and they would give their verdict in accordance with the evidence that would be brought before them, after a view of the body.

The following evidence was adduced:— Mrs. Rebccca Green, wife of George Green, of St. Bartholomew-street, Newbury, tinman, stated that she knew deceased, who lived in Toplin's-yard. Cheap-street; she did not know of her own knowledge that deceased kept company or cohabited with the prisoner; that they were on terms of intimacy; that on Saturday night she went, as was her custom, "to Mr. Nutley'sTap for her supper beer, deceased addressed herself to her and said,  “ I am come here out of spite." Witness said, what for ? when I deceased said, “can't you see," pointing to Appleton in the tap, who had his back leaning against a barrel. Witness said to deceased, 1 would not bother about him, he is not worth troubling for; deceased was drinking a glass of beer, and tendered a half-crown or a two-shilling-piece, to pay for iit when witness asked her what she wanted to change for, when she had other small change in her hand ; on leaving recommended her to drink her beer and go home; did not see her again till she was dead, about a quarter ten o'clock.

Mr. John Withers, carpenter, Bartholomew-street, deposed to having gone to Mr. Nutley's Tap, at the brewhouse, between and 10 o'clock in the evening, prisoner was there standing up; saw the deceased also, who was drinking out of a pewter cup ; she went out and returned in a moment, said nothing, but threw the beer in prisoner's face, part of which came over him. and walked out; prisoner said, what was that for ?" and immediately walked after her; believed he heard two people scrambling about, but heard no blows ; in about a quarter of an hour after the beer had been thrown in prisoner's face he went out of the tap, when he heard some people in the Court-yard, talking about a woman who had been treated ill; enquired where she was. when they shewed him the deceased. who was in stooping position on the ground in Mr. Nutley's court-yard, about two yards from the tapdoor; endeavoured lift her up but could not; felt her face, which was cold, and immediately ran across the road for Dr. Carter; the body shown to the juror is the body of Eliza Dell.

By a Juror—Was deceased's head lodged in a corner ?

Witness—lt was very dark, her head was down in a comer, her body being a stooping position. Juror—Did Appleton return into the tap-room

Witness—Did not see him, he had got hold of her in his arms when he returned with Dr. Carter.

Juror—Did he make any observation ?

Witness—Mr. Nutley came out at the back door and asked who had struck the woman.  Prisoner said I struck her." Saw the deceased throw the contents of the cup in his face.

Mr. William Nutley stated that deceased came to his tap on Saturday evening last between 9 and 10 o'clock and called for glass of beer, which he gave her. In about ten minutes afterwards she came in again and asked for another, went out and drank it,and came back, saying I have brought your glass back, I have not carried it away." She was very talkative, and then went out. She came in a third time about ten minutes after she had left, and asked, as he (witness) thought, for another glass of beer, which he drew, when deceased said she did not want glass, she wanted pint, saying she had a young man outside to drink with her.  He put the glass of beer into a pint pewter cup and filled it up, and she took it out.  In about half an hour to three quarters from the time she first came in. he was called to light a candle, somebody having said that there was a woman dead the courtyard;  he went out and met Dr. Carter. William Appleton was there he asked what was the matter ; and inquired if anyone had given a blow. Prisoner replied “I have”.  Deceased was quite dead when he saw her. She was removed into the tap-room, where she then was; did not know deceased; knew prisoner very well, but was not aware of any connection between them.

Hannah Belcher, wife John Belcher, of Newtown, labourer, stated that she was at Mr. Nutley’s tap on Saturday last, between 9 and 10 o’clock, when she saw Prisoner and deceased; had been there about half an hour; saw deceased throw some beer in prisoner's face; when she went out. immediately he followed, and witness went out also, thinking there would be a disturbance. Prisoner said "What did you do that for ?" Deceased replied "I meant to it;" he then struck her four or five times on the head; she never spoke afterwards. Witness said to the prisoner, “Pray don't do it again;” he replied with an oath, “D--- , she has been drinking all day." She sat down on the form in the court yard; in a minute or two afterwards she slipt off it on the ground. John Partridge came in immediately and picked her up; at the same time prisoner said, “Put her down, she is dead drunk."

 By a juror.—Had she her bonnet on?  Yes, she had, the crown was broken in.  In answer to some questions by the coroner, witness said, he struck deceased with both hands, it was dark, and could not see whether his fists were closed.   Believed he struck deceased on the head, because her bonnet crown was broken in. She slipped off the stool but did not fall with any force to the ground, He used both fists and struck her on both sides of her head. Would swear that deceased’s head did not strike on the ground. Took hold of her and leant her against the wall. Prisoner did not strike her head against the wall. The bonnet now produced the one she had on. They were severe blows and must have produced serious effects.  

Stephen Justice, a night policeman deposed, that about a quarter 10 o'clock on Saturday night, his attention was called to Mr. Nutley's tap, and in consequence of information he had received, that a woman had been murdered, he went there, and saw the deceased lying on a stool the tap room. Prisoner was pointed out to him as the man who had caused her death, he then took him into custody.

Superintendent Deane deposed, that having being called Justice, who informed hiin what had occurred, he saw the prisoner in the custody of Buckridge another policeman. Told him of the seriousness of the charge, and cautioned him against anything he might say, as it might used against him as evidence on a future time, He then said, “It was a very had job, he was sorry for it, she had been drinking all day, and I told her in the morning not to get drinking as would a bad job."  Went to Nutley's, where he saw the body of deceased, whom he knew, which he had had under his care ever since. Prisoner appeared have been drinking, but decidedly not drunk and appeared conscious of what he was saying and doing.

Mrs. Green recalled.—Did not know whether deceased was sober; thought she had had a little drop; she stood upright enough.

Mr. Thos. Carter, surgeon, residing in Bartholomew street, deposed to having been called to see deceased on Saturday night, the 21st instant; there were some 20 or  30 persons round her ; she was sitting the pavement in the court-yard of Mr. Nutley’s premises; he examined her, and found that she was quite dead.  He directed her to taken indoors; her clothes were not torn, but she had no cap or bonnet on when he saw her.  He had made a post mortem examination of the body, (which he minutely detailed to the jury,) and on opening the head found a considerable quantity of extravasated blood, which was, in his opinion, sufficient have caused death; the effusion of blood, he stated, might have been the result of a blow or fall.

The Coroner, summing up, pointed out to the jury the distinction between manslaughter and other homicides, and drew their attention to the various facts and circumstances connected with the fatal occurrence, that the blows proved to have been given to deceased were given by the prisoner immediately after the provocation, and before his passions had time to cool.

The Jury, after shortly deliberating, returned a verdict of " Manslaughter against William Appleton," and the Corouer signed his warrant for his committal to take his trial at the next assizes.

During the inquiry, which lasted about seven hours, a number persons assembled round the doors of the inn, who appeared to take great interest in the investigation, and on his being taken to gaol was followed by the crowd.

Reading Mercury   28 Oct. 1854


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