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Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Revenge
Number of victims: 1
Date of murder: May 31, 1787
Date of arrest: Same day
Date of birth: ???
Victim profile: Her septuagenarian mistress Hannah Morgan
Method of murder: Stabbing with a bayonet
Location: London, England, United Kingdom
Status: Executed by hanging at Newgate on December 14, 1787

The King v. Henrietta Radbourne


Henrietta Radbourne was charged with attacking her septuagenarian mistress Hannah Morgan by stabbing her in the head with a bayonet, after being told that she must leave her post. Morgan later ‘became paralitick’ and died.


“I hope you have not neglected to say your prayers?”

London in the eighteenth century was a city of migrants, of people who had come to the metropolis in search of work. Many were women looking for positions in service; but there was competition for jobs, and turnover was often high. There was pressure on women to find and keep jobs, in order to keep a roof over their heads and prevent them from sliding down the economic ladder into vagrancy and poverty.

One such servant was Henrietta Radbourne, also known as Henrietta Gibbons. On around 17 May 1787, she had succeeded in gaining a position with a wealthy widow, Hannah Morgan. Mrs Morgan lived alone in Little George Street, Marylebone, but usually employed just one live-in domestic servant.

Mrs Morgan soon realised, however, that she had made a mistake. There was something “unpleasant” in Henrietta’s disposition that made her uncomfortable, and she soon told her that she would need to find another place to work.

On the evening of Thursday 31 May, Hannah Morgan had gone up to bed, and, not trusting Henrietta, had tried to bolt her bedroom door – but didn’t realise she hadn’t done it correctly. As she was undressing, Henrietta walked in and said to her,

“I hope, Ma’am, you have not neglected to say your prayers?”

Hannah told her off, and forced her out of the room. About 3.30am, though, she woke to find someone stabbing her in the face, and felt blood gushing around her. She managed to run to the window, pull the sash up, and call for help – which luckily came.

The weapon was discovered in the bedroom – a javelin-type instrument which was like those commonly used by “Sheriffs’ men…during the assizes.”

Henrietta Radbourne was examined twice by local magistrates in the Rotation Office at Litchfield Street, Soho. She was originally charged with assault with intent to murder, and also with intent to steal, take and carry away her effects. Hannah was conscious and coherent enough after the attack to make a full deposition regarding the assault to the magistrate. However, after “lingering” for six weeks, she died on 11 July, and the charge was altered to the following:

“she the said Henrietta, did, on the 31st day of May last, feloniously assault one Hannah Morgan, in her dwelling house in Mary-le-Bone, and her, the said Hannah Morgan did traiterously [sic], and of her malice afore-thought, kill and murder.”

Detail from William Hogarth's "The Idle 'Prentice Executed at Tyburn" The word “traitorously” meant that the charge was not just murder – it was petty treason. This was the usual charge for women who were accused of murdering their husbands, and the punishment given for it was being burned at the stake. Hannah had allegedly murdered her employer – the person she was supposed to respect and obey, just as a wife was supposed to respect and obey her husband – and this was seen as petty treason.

Hannah’s trial was held at the Old Bailey on 14 July 1787, and attracted breathy commentary in the newspapers. They were reflecting public interest, although this was partly due to their previous coverage of the case; the court was crowded with spectators, busy gossiping and chatting until the entrance of the prisoner, when the court fell silent.

A prior intention to kill was soon established; someone had wedged the bolt on Hannah’s door with paper to prevent it being drawn – and who else could have done this except the one other member of the household?

Despite some concerns about whether the deposition of a now dead woman could be allowed, and Henrietta’s assertion that a man and woman whom she had earlier let into the house had carried out the attack, she was swiftly found guilty of murder – although let off the charge of petty treason.

Provincial coverage of the case on 21 July noted that although she had been “capitally convicted”, judgement on her was currently respited “for the consideration of the judges”. Henrietta had to wait in limbo until the sessions on 12 December 1787, when she was formally sentenced to death.

Hannah Morgan’s murderer, Henrietta Radbourne, was hanged at Newgate on 14 December 1787.

(coverage from the Morning Chronicle of 7 June 1787, the World And Fashionable Advertiser of 16 July 1787, and Felix Farley’s Bristol Journal, 21 July 1787. The Capital Punishment UK website has the details of Henrietta’s eventual sentencing and hanging.)


The Proceedings of the Old Bailey

556. HENRIETTA RADBOURNE , otherwise GIBBONS , was indicted, for that she being lately servant to Hannah Morgan , widow, her mistress, not having the fear of God before her eyes, but being moved and seduced by the instigation of the Devil, and of her malice aforethought, contriving and intending her the said Hannah Morgan, her said mistress, to deprive of her life, and feloniously and traiterously to kill and murder, on the 31st day of May last, in and upon the said Hannah, the mistress of her the said Henrietta, feloniously and traiterously, and of her malice aforethought, did make an assault, and with a certain stick, having a bayonet fixed at the end thereof, value 2 s. which stick she the said Henrietta, in both her hands had and held, in and upon the top of the head of the said Hannah, did strike, cut, stab, and penetrate, giving her the said Hannah, in and upon the top of the head of the said Hannah, one mortal wound, of the length of one inch, and of the depth of half an inch; of which mortal wound, she the said Hannah, from the 31st of May, to the 11th of July instant, did languish, and languishing did live, and on which said 11th day of July, instant, she the said Hannah did die; and the Jurors on their oaths say, that her the said Hannah, she the said Henrietta, feloniously and traiterously did kill and murder .

She was also charged on the coroner's inquisition with the said murder.

(The case opened by Mr. Garrow.)

May it please your Lordship, and you Gentlemen of the Jury; I am Counsel, Gentlemen, on this melancholy occasion, for the prosecution of this indictment against the prisoner at the bar, and the charge imputed to her in the indictment is, as you have collected from the Clerk of the Arraigns, the aggravated offence of murder, in the description of that offence called by the law of England treason: Gentlemen this is not a killing in consequence of any quarrel, in consequence of any ungovernable passion of the mind, which leads to several enquiries as to the degree of malignity of the offence; but it is the most aggravated of all cases of murder, inasmuch as it has been committed deliberately, in consequence of a soul and corrupt plan, preconceived by a person against a person, from whom she had a right to expect protection and guardianship against the attacks of others: Gentlemen, the prisoner stood in the relation of a servant to the unfortunate deceased; the deceased was an elderly lady, and lived in George-street; the prisoner came into her service about the latter end of May, in consequence of an application at one of those offices with which this town abounds, where servants are applied for, and where they are too frequently taken, in consequence of a written character; that happened to be the case in question. Gentlemen she had been but a short time in this service, when her conduct and character giving dissatisfaction, the deceased told her she must quit her service. Gentlemen, before I state to you the further circumstances of this case, I feel it my duty to guard you against the effect of what I am going to say, that the circumstances I am going to relate, may not make too great an impression upon your minds; because it is possible that in this inquiry a great deal of that which I feel it my duty to state to you, may not be made out as evidence; therefore I will state in the presence of the learned Judges, the manner in which I mean to make it evidence; and if they shall think I should not make it out in that manner, I shall bow to their decision with most perfect acquiescence. It may therefore become a question with the learned Judges, who will act in this, as they do in all other cases, as counsel for the prisoner: I say it may be a question in their breasts, whether the information of Mrs. Morgan should be read to you as evidence; therefore I will state to you the manner in which, as it appears to my poor judgment, I am intitled to read it. Gentlemen, I apprehend, by the law of England, that any account, given by a person that has been murdered, after the injury received, and whilst they were acting under a well-founded apprehension of their lives being in danger, is under a higher sanction, if possible, than the sanction of a Court of Justice. The person apprehends that he or she are soon to appear at a higher and more august tribunal, and that the account they are giving will be the subject of enquiry there; and therefore it is perhaps (I think I may say without saying perhaps) it is a more heinous and more aggravated offence to assert a falsity in such a situation, than the crime of a perjury in a common Court of Justice. Gentlemen, I think I shall be able to make out to your satisfaction, that Mrs. Morgan was in a state, that intitles her information to be read, from the apprehension of her life being in danger by those who attended her, who thought the was near her end, and that she herself apprehended the injury would soon produce her death: That seems to be a question of law and of fact; however, if the learned Judges think it should not be received, I shall be the last person to resist their judgment. Gentlemen there is another way in which I purpose to read this account to you; it was given in the presence of the prisoner; she heard it, she saw it sworn to, she saw the deceased subscribe to it; and she heard her solemnly call God to witness, that it was true. Now I apprehend, in the common course of transactions here, we very often receive evidence that is slighter than this; any thing that has been said by any of the witnesses, any thing in the cause, any thing that has been said by the prosecutor, any thing that has been said by a third person in the hearing of the prisoner, is received as evidence; and I apprehend one of the grounds of receiving such declarations, when made in the presence and hearing of the prisoner, is this; that when an innocent man is accused in a solemn manner, his innocent mind instantly revolts at the accusation; and he asserts his innocence, and denies his guilt; and therefore if he does not do so, when he hears the accusation, that is evidence at least to go to a Jury, that he did not object to it when he heard it. Gentlemen in one of these ways I expect I shall be able to read this account to you; if not, I know you have strength of mind enough, and good sense enough to dismiss every thing that I have said on the occasion so from your memories, exactly as if I had said not a single syllable about it. Gentlemen, there are very few cases, of murder particularly, in which a Jury have clear, positive, palpable evidence of the fact. It is not often in this country, thank God, that people call witnesses to see them murder any of their fellow creatures; therefore it is not often that they can receive positive evidence of the crime of murder. Gentlemen, the Jury who attended in that place yesterday, had a great deal of their time actually employed in examining very minute circumstances in a case of murder; you to day will have like circumstances submitted to your consideration, and it will be for you to determine, whether all these circumstances form such a body of proof, as that you can refuse your honest assent to the guilt of the prisoner. Gentlemen, on the 30th of May, in the evening, Mrs. Morgan, who retired to rest, rather later than we might expect from a person of her advanced years, went to bed between twelve and one; the prisoner was her servant; and it will appear from Mrs. Morgan's account that when she went to bed, she had a drop bolt, which you know is subject to be opened only by the person in the room, and she observed when she dropped it, that it appeared to her to go into the socket with difficulty; however she tried it again, and fancied she had fastened it, and she went to bed. Gentlemen, before she went to bed, the prisoner came into the room, and asked her if she had said her prayers. Now that is a remarkable circumstance, and it may occur to many of your minds, particularly on attending trials for murders, and in reading others, that the most barbarous and most desperate murderer, has seldom been in the humour to take away life, without permitting the unfortunate person to settle his last account before he leaves this world; and it is a common thing for them to say, say your prayers, settle all your accounts with another world: Now that was an odd question for the prisoner; she had not been in the habit of praying with her mistress; but for the first time she comes into the room after the old lady had retired, she disturbs her to ask the impertinent question, whether she had said her prayers; her mistress told her that was none of her business, and bid her to go and say her own prayers. - Gentlemen, Mrs. Morgan had examined all the parts of the house before she went to bed; the doors and windows were all fast; there was no person in the house but the prisoner at the bar; Mrs. Morgan, therefore, trusting to her own caution, and the fidelity of her servant, retired to rest; she fell asleep, and in some short time, she was awaked by some violent blows upon her head, blows and stabs on her head; she exerted herself as well as she could; she got out of bed, and went to the back-room window, where she called out fire and murder; the instant she got to her door, where there had been no alarm, nor any body else to cry out, the prisoner presented herself with only an under petticoat on, or something of that sort, and said, here I am, mistress; she was ready at her mistress's call; there was nobody else to call her; there was no person present but themselves; Who then struck the blows? Who stabbed this poor woman when she was laying in bed, it is for you to decide? Mrs. Morgan calling out murder and fire, some of the neighbours came to the house, and found the fastenings of it secure; they broke open the back-door: Did any body escape from the house? Did any body run out upon the alarm? Nobody: Was any body found in the house with any weapon of offence? Nobody: Where was the prisoner? Upon the stairs; when they came in there she was: Did she give any account of any person coming in? No, but there she stands! When they came in they found this unfortunate woman weltering in her blood, upon the floor, with many wounds on her head, given by an instrument which I shall describe to you. Among those people that came in, Mr. Brown, an officer, came in, and he examined the prisoner, he took her into a room up stairs, and he had some conversation which I shall leave him to state to you; I believe nothing very material came out in the course of this conversation; and upon examining the room, which it will be very material for you to attend to, there was found a tuck stick with a bayonet at the end of it, which belonged to her husband, and always had been kept there. It will be proved beyond all question, that that was the instrument by which that poor woman came by her death, there were marks on it of blood, and of the grey hairs of this poor woman, therefore it will be beyond all doubt to you, that the murder was committed by this instrument. That is a material circumstance, if it was a stranger, whom was it? If it was somebody that came to invade her peaceful habitation or to destroy her, did they know they should find such an instrument? did not they go armed for the bloody purpose? Did not they carry some instrument? No, if you suppose any body else to have done this, you must suppose them to come with a knowledge that in this room they should find this instrument which would answer their purpose. Gentlemen, some women were appointed to attend this lady, and they afterwards found in this room a hatchet which had been used to be kept in the kitchen, that does not appear to have been used on the occasion, but it was there: on examing the bolt of Mrs. Morgan's door, and the socket into which it slid, and into which I told you she had found some difficulty to drop it, it appeared that that socket had been to a certain degree filled up with paper, so that it was impossible that the socket should receive the bolt being so filled up; that again is a very strong circumstance to impute guilt to the prisoner! No other person had access to it unless you suppose that somebody had concealed themselves there in the course of the day, that they had found access to this old lady's room, and had left the socket of that bolt in such a state: It seems to me to follow but too naturally that the prisoner was the person that filled this socket with the paper. Gentlemen, the prisoner has been examined by very careful and by very attentive magistrates, but I do not find that she has given any account before them which makes either way; if I knew of any thing she has said that would tend to extenuate her guilt, I would state it to you, but I know of no such thing. There is one circumstance that is extremely fit for your consideration, because offences of this nature from the history of the human mind, never appear to have been committed without an adequate cause, and the desire of immediate and unlawful gain may often lead to those consequences; and I am afraid you will have no doubt but that was the case in the present instance; for I shall prove to you that this miserable woman before she came to the service Mrs. Morgan, had cohabited with a man of the name of Radbourne, he was a labourer, and she had a child by him, the child died, and the man left her, and they were parted; in consequence of which it was necessary for her again to seek some service, that service she obtained, and it is necessary to state it, in order that no man in his senses may take a servant in future from such a recommendation; she obtained it in the name of Radbourne, by a written character from a man of the name of Gibbons, who was stated to be her master, but was in truth her own father; Mrs. Morgan was a lone woman worth money, and probably these things together suggested it to the prisoner, that that was a good oportunity of making herself rich: for I shall prove to you that she sent a message to Radbourne, by a witness I shall call to you, a very few days before, that if he would return to her and marry her, she should in a few days be possessed of sixteen guineas, eighteen gowns, and a house full of furniture by the death of an uncle: Now was he dead? Has she an uncle living from whom she had any such expectancies? If she has, she will prove it, for otherwise it will form a strong fact against her; if this woman a few days before this murder, received such a message from the prisoner, for the prisoner at least had the opportunity of committing it, if she had a heart wicked enough to suggest it to her; and if it be proved she sent such a message to Radbourne, if that is made out to your satisfaction, it will at least call upon her to explain that message, it will at least call upon her to prove it was not by murder that she was to procure this, but by the death of her uncle: If she gives you no such account, then collecting all the circumstances of the case, and recollecting that this unfortunate woman after she had retired, was disturbed by her servant to ask her if she had said her prayers, and that the woman supposed her night bolt was safe, but that upon examination the socket was filled with paper; that Mrs. Morgan on receiving the blows and stabs goes to the back room window and calls for assistance, that assistance comes, and the house is found secure on the outside; and that the prisoner a short time after her mistress called for help, was certainly at her door; that somebody had been in Mrs. Morgan's bed-room, attacking her in a way that did occasion her death: I am afraid the combination of all these circumstances will prove the case but too strongly against the prisoner at the bar. Gentlemen, the situation of an advocate on an occasion like this, is a very painful one; we owe duties which it is difficult to discharge; we owe a duty to the suffering individual and their relations; we owe a duty to the publick, who are interested that the guilty party should be brought to exemplary punishment; but we have other duties which stand in an opposite direction, we owe a duty of humanity and compassion to the unfortunate prisoners against whom we appear; and there is no man in this court that will feel a more sensible satisfaction at a verdict of acquital, than I shall on this occasion, and do on all occasions where the guilt of the party appears at all doubtful; but if you, Gentlemen, are fully satisfied in this case of the guilt of this wretched woman at the bar, it will become your duty to declare her guilty by your verdict: If you have any doubt upon the case, I am sure your own humane minds will lead you to acquit her; and I am sure, all the humanity that belongs to you, will be properly exercised on this occasion. Gentlemen, I have to apologize to you, for having entered into this case rather in an argumentative way; I do not wish to press by argument, any thing against any prisoner, and I do not wish that any inference of mine should have place for one moment on your minds; and the only apology I can make is, that the case being to be collected from circumstances, I apprehended it to be my duty to lead your attention to those circumstances, but I intreat you again and again, before I sit down, to discharge every observation of mine from your remembrance, and by no means to convict the prisoner on any thing I have said, unless the evidence forces you to such conviction. Gentlemen, I shall proceed to call my witnesses with peculiar satisfaction, knowing that if there is any imbecility in proof against the prisoner, she will have all the benefit of that imbecitity, in a Court constituted like this, in which I have the honour to address you.


I live No. 6, in George-street.

How near was that to the house of Mrs. Morgan the deceased? - Within five doors.

Do you remember hearing any disturbance in the night of the 30th of May, or the morning of the next day? - Yes.

What time was it? - About half past three in the morning, I heard a noise, and heard the cry of murder and fire.

Is your house on the same side of the way with Mrs. Morgan's, or opposite? - On the same side of the way.

Could you form any judgement where that cry of murder came from? - No, Sir, I got up, I thought by the fog of the morning, there was a fire; I dressed myself, and went into the street, when I dressed myself, and went down to the door, the watchman sprung his rattle, I believe I went in my sleep to the door, and the watchman was standing knocking at Mrs. Morgan's door.

Was the street door fastened at that time? - Yes.

Did you endeavour to get in at that time? - No, Sir, the watchmen were trying to get in, but they could not force it open.

Upon that, I believe you got in at the window? - Yes.

In what state was the window when you came to it? - It was up about eight inches the sash; it was the front parlour window.

Had it outside shutters or inside? - Outside shutters, they were standing wide open when I came there; I got in at the window, and opened the back door, and let in the watchman.

What did you do then? - As I was going to the door, I met the maid upon the stairs; after I had got in at the window, I went to open the street door, and could not undo it, because it was double locked; then I went to the back door, and opened that, and as I was going to the back door, I met the maid coming down stairs in the passage.

That was before you had opened the back door? - Yes.

How was she dressed? - I think she had only her underpetticoat on.

Did any thing pass between you and her? - She said, for God's sake, come, and help my mistress, she is murdered; and I said do not frighten yourself, I will open the back door, and let some people in; that was all that passed between the prisoner and me at that time; then I opened the door, and two neighbours from the next door came in; then we went up stairs, I believe I was the last, and somebody said, why do not you open the staircase window, and give more light; the staircase window was fast, and there was a bell to it, and I opened it.

Then you went up into the poor lady's room I believe? - Yes.

In what state did you find her? - We found her when she opened the door; her head was cut seemingly in a most terrible manner, the blood running all down her cap, down on the floor, and all trickling down her face; the surgeon was sent for, and he came; I did not go for him; I know no more, only while I was standing at the door, I heard Mrs. Morgan and the maid talking together; the maid wanted to get in for the key of the street door to open it.

Where were they? - Mrs. Morgan was locked in her bed-room, and the maid wanted to get to her to get the key of the street door; I could understand Mrs. Morgan say, open the door, and let somebody in to my assistance; the maid said, give me the key, or something of that kind about the key; the watchman was knocking at the door at that time.

Did you know this young woman before? - No, Sir.

Had you seen her before in the service of Mrs. Morgan? - I never saw her to know her.

Court. The room that you found Mrs. Morgan in, was a back-room? - Yes, we could not open the door, it was fastened with a night-bolt; we stood, I suppose, three minutes at the door before we could get in.


I am a watchman on one side of Queen-Ann-street, which is near George-street; as I was crying three in the morning, there came a man running after me with only his breeches on; that was the man that lives next door to Mrs. Morgan, I think his name is Sharp; he is not here, he called out watch, and bid me make all the haste I could, for there was either fire or murder; I made all the haste I could to Mrs. Morgan's, and the street door was fast.

Was the place where you was standing within sight of Mrs. Morgan's? - No, it was not; I could not get into Mrs. Morgan's, the next door was open, and the gentleman desired us to come into his house, and get over the wall that runs between the two yards; and when I came to the back-door, this Cranfield was at the back-door, and he opened it, and let us in; a cry was in the house, for God's sake to come up, for there was murder; I do not know whether it was the maid or Mrs. Morgan that cried out; I saw the prisoner on the stairs; to the best of my knowledge, she had only her under-petticoat on.

Did you observe whether she had her shoes on? - Upon my word I cannot say that; we went up stairs to the bed-room; there was a great quantity of blood spilt in the back-room, not so much in the front-room, which was the bed-room; the back window was open, the blood was at the window, and the outside of the window; it appeared to me to have been there, from her stooping her head out to call for assistance.

In what state did you find Mrs. Morgan when you went in? - She was in a very bad condition, all blood all over.

Did you see any body escaping from the house at the time of this cry? - No, Sir, I did not, I was upon my stand, but it was not in sight; it was about three or four hundred yards from the house; the surgeon was sent for; we suspected that somebody was in the house that had done this, and we searched all over the house, every place, closets, and every thing; we found nobody.

Did you see any instrument found in the bed-room? - No, Sir.

Court. You found this Mrs. Morgan in her own bed-room? - Yes, in the front-room.

But she had been in the back-room? - She had; the door opens out of the bedroom into the back-room, so that you may go to the back window.

Is there no other door to the bed-room but that? - Yes, I think there is another that goes to the staircase.

Was the bed room door fast when you went up? - No, it was not, it was open.

What was the height of that back-window from the pavement of the yard? - A two pair of stairs back window.

Could any person have escaped out of this window after doing this act? - No, Sir, I do not think they could.

There was no ladder? - No, Sir, nor any way of escape.

Was the staircase door open? - I cannot say; we went first into the back-room, and out of the back-room into the bed-room; the back-room door that goes to the staircase was open also? I was not the first person that went up.

Cranfield. All the doors were fast when I first went up; Mrs. Morgan was fastened in, and all the three doors were fast; the door of the back-room was fastened with a night-bolt.

Was the front door of the bed-chamber which opens to the staircase fastened or open when you first went up? - We did not examine that.

Then it is the back door that opens to the staircase, that has the night-bolt? - Yes.

Has the other door a night-bolt? - I do not know, I did not examine that.

Did Mrs. Morgan let you in by the back door? - Yes.

Then when you first saw Mrs. Morgan, it was in the bed-room? - Yes, the bed-room is the front-room, and Mrs. Morgan let us into the back-room; she was standing at the back-room door when we went up, locked in.

Mrs. Morgan was in the back-room, the other door of that room was fastened? - Yes.

Do you know on which side the key of the middle door was; was it on the bed-room side, or the other side? - It was on the back-room side.

Prisoner to Macdonald. A young man came to me yesterday and said, the watchmen who came in first will take their oath that there was no clotted blood or grey hair on the stick.

Court. Did you see the bayonet or the stick? - No, Sir, we examined the house, every place, even the chimnies, and found nobody but the prisoner and her mistress.


I am a watchman, my box stands the corner of Edward-street, and the corner of Mortimer-street; it is a great distance from Mrs. Morgan's.

What did you hear on the first of this night? - I was crying the hour of three in the morning, and I heard the watch called, and the alarm given, and I followed my partner; I was going along Portland-street, and I ran into George-street; there was an alarm of fire and murder, I got to No. 10, and went in with the other men, and got over the wall; when I came in I went up stairs, and found Mrs. Morgan in the two-pair of stairs back-room, just coming out of the bed-room, all over a gore of blood, and she desired somebody to go for a surgeon; and I went and fetched Mr. Heavyside in Portland-street.

When you went up stairs with Macdonald, how did you get into the room? - The door was open, I cannot say in particular whether Mrs. Morgan was in the front-room, or whether she was in the back-room; there was a deal of blood just coming out of the front-room into the back-room; I could trace it to the window, but I cannot say whether there was any out of the window; I saw the prisoner, I cannot say where she was; after I came back, we searched the house from top to bottom, and found nobody in it but the mistress and the prisoner; I saw the bayonet and the stick in the room that morning.

Whereabouts was it? - I cannot say.

In what condition was it? - I cannot say.

Court. Did you go out at the door from the bed-room to the staircase? - I went out again through the back-room.

Prisoner. Was there any clotted blood on the stick? - I cannot say.


I was the constable of the night, I am constable of Marybone; on the 30th of May coming home, I saw a parcel of people round Mrs. Morgan's door; I enquired the reason of it, I saw some watchmen about the door, they informed me the lady in the house was very much hurt, it was my place to go in to see; on entering the house I found one Mr. Raddish, a gentleman there, whom I found was put in possession; he was an acquaintance of Mrs. Morgan's, as I was informed; I informed him I was the constable of the parish, I offered him my assistance, if he pleased to accept of it; he said he should be very glad of it; I asked him if there was any lodgers in the house; he told me there was nobody but the old lady and her maid; I asked for the maid, and the prisoner is the person he told me was her maid; I searched the house very minutely, between four and five; I found no marks of violence at any doors or windows in any part of it, no more than what had been made with crows on the street-door by the watchmen, in attempting to get in, when the cry was made, but which they could not effect; I asked the gentleman if the lady was able to speak; he told me she was; I went up stairs, and found the lady on two pillows on the bed, in the two-pair of stairs front-room; I laid myself as close as I could to speak to her; I desired the prisoner to go out of the room before I spoke to the lady; she was washing cups and saucers; I told her it was my orders she should go; she made some equivocations she would not go; but I took her by the arm, and put her out of the room; I then shut the door before I spoke to the lady.

Court. We cannot ask you what passed between you and the lady when the prisoner was not there? - I thought the prisoner seemed very much confused; I told her to go up stairs, I should chuse to search her, to see if she had any property about her; I took her up stairs, I searched her, and found nothing upon her of any consequence in the world; I turned down her bed to see if she had been in bed; I felt it warm, I thought she had been in bed; upon examining the bed, I thought there had been two people in bed.

Court. Did you observe the marks of two people? - I thought by the looks of the bed, there had been two people in bed.

Did you feel both the places? - I did not, I only felt that that was next to me, I cannot say whether the other was warm or not; after I had searched the prisoner I had great suspicions in my own mind, that she was the person; I gave charge to the constables to take care of her, while I searched the room afresh, and I found this weapon standing on the right side of the fire-place in Mrs. Morgan's bed-room, standing up; (a long stick produced, with an iron head that has a tuck that comes out of the stick, and a bayonet at the other end.) when I found it, the bayonet part of it was tied up with a bit of flannel, like a sheath, which had been put on to keep it from rusting; I took this stick into my possession, I looked at it, and according to what description I heard of the wounds, which were done up before I came, they seemed to have been made by that stick; I found some grey hairs on the point of it, about three or four, and about half an inch depth of the flannel had been cut from it; the point was out so much, I did not perceive any blood upon it.

Did you observe the situation of the blood on the floor? - I did; I observed the blood, the lady got out of the opposite side of the bed from the door, and there was a great quantity of blood which had run from her head at the door, which opens from the backroom on the staircase, at the bottom of the garret stairs, and at the window, and out of the window; I made no further observation, and when I found there was nobody in the house, I concluded that either she had been guilty of the crime, or somebody she had let in.

Did you find the hatchet? - No; I attended the surgeons at eleven, and when they went to dress her, I told the gentlemen I had such a stick in my possession; I saw the lady's head dressed, and according to all appearance by the stabs and bruises, to all human appearance, it was done with this instrument; from the large contusions that were made on some parts of the head, and the stabs on the other, it was plain and evident, it was done by this; it is a very heavy head.

What may be the weight of it? - It is a very great weight.

Have you ever drawn out the tuck? - Yes, many times.

Was there any blood upon it? - No, the lady's head was covered with a piece of quilted something, and then a cap, and then a flannel cap, and then something else; so that the covering on her head, I apprehend, would take off the blood from any pointed instrument; there is a bit of bluntness at the point of the instrument on which the hairs were.

(The stick shewn to the Court and Jury.)

Prisoner. I was attending my mistress and the surgeons, not washing cups and saucers.


I was called upon to attend this lady a fortnight and two days.

Did you find any thing in her room after you came to attend her? - Yes, the next day Mrs. Gregory and me were making the bed, and as she was stooping down she saw a hatchet on the side of the bed, she took it up and shewed it to me, and we put it in the same place again.

When did Mrs. Morgan die? - Last Wednesday; I was not with her, I did not see her after she was dead.


I am a married woman, the wife of Henry Holmes , I know very little of the prisoner; I know Radbourne, my husband worked with him years back, I cannot tell how many years, when Westminster-hall was repairing; I knew the prisoner while she lived with Mrs. Morgan, she came to our house on the Saturday after she went to live with Mrs. Morgan, it was the Saturday before this misfortune happened, it was the 26th of May; I live at No. 8, in Gray's-buildings, which is in Duke-street, Manchester-square, she asked me if I had seen John, that was Radbourne; I said no, I had not seen him, but my husband had seen him.

What had she to do with Radbourne? - She had had a child by him, and had given it out that she was with child again; I told her my husband had seen him, and had said that she told him that she was with child again; and John said if she was with child again, there was the parish for it, he would have nothing to do with her any more.

What did she say to that? - She said she would be obliged to me, if I would let my husband tell him that her uncle and aunt were both dead, and had left her sixteen or seventeen pounds, and eighteen gowns, and part of their houshold furniture; likewise that her father knew of it, and that her father was to sell a horse for twelve guineas, and give her half of that; she desired I would tell this to Radbourne; I said I should not see him, but I would tell it to my husband; she said she knew if Radbourne knew she had any money, he would marry her; and there was a person present that said she would be d - nd if she would have him with money, if he would not have her without; the prisoner said, she knew he would have her; and on Sunday morning at five o'clock, she said, I am going to have a bit of fun; I asked her what fun; she said with a young woman that lived servant at the next door to Mrs. Morgan's, that was to be dressed in men's clothes, she was to let her in; I asked her for what; she said to watch a young woman and young man, that she thought slept together in the opposite house; the person in my room said she thought she had got acquaintance very soon; she made reply, she was a very good sort of a young woman; and she said she would give my husband half a guinea, provided he would get Radbourne to come over to our house, that she might meet him there to tell him herself of her good fortune.

Did she say whether she had got this good fortune already? - She was to have it in a day or two, or it might be a week, or fortnight, or three weeks, she could not say which; I told this to my husband when he came home; that was all that passed.

Did you see this prisoner afterwards till she was in custody? - On the Monday after that I saw her at Mrs. Morgan's house; I knew she lived servant at Mrs. Morgan's in George-street, but my husband did not; I went with the answer that Radbourne gave to my husband.

What message did you deliver to her? - I told her that my husband told me, that Radbourne said she was an infamous liar, and he would have nothing to do with her, and advised him to the same.

Did you tell her that? - I did, and then I forbid her my apartment; she had clothes of Radbourne's, which before this were to be left at our house; but after this story my husband forbid either the clothes or her to come; she said she would wish to come to our house, and I told her it was more than I dare, for my husband would be angry; then she said she would contrive to see Radbourne herself; nothing more passed. Mrs. Morgan came to the door and asked me to come in, but I did not; I had two children with me; I believe she had not lived there above eight or nine days; the prisoner told me she got the place from a register office at the end of Marybone-lane; she said she had a written character of four years servitude.

What name did she go by there? - Radbourne; I understood by her that her father's name was Gibbons.

Your acquaintance with her commenced through Radbourne? - Yes, through getting a letter for the lying-in charity.

Prisoner. Mrs. Holmes has told a great many infamous stories already, I did not say any such thing to her; it is through them that I am brought here, and the last time that I was before the Justice, I was persuaded by Holmes himself not to say any thing at all about it.


You are acquainted with Mrs. Holmes? - Yes.

Was you at her house on Whitsun-eve? - Yes, Sir, I live in the same house, and I went down; it was on Saturday evening, the 26th of May; I remember seeing the prisoner there with a basket in her hand; she said she was going to market; I heard her say to Mrs. Holmes, she should have some money in a few days, for her uncle and aunt were both dead at that time, to the tune of sixteen or seventeen guineas, or more, I will not say, and some gowns and houshold furniture; and that her father was to sell a horse for twelve guineas, and he was to give her some part of the money; and she knew that if Radbourne knew of that, he would go into some business and marry her; I said with an oath, that man that would not have me without money, should not have me with; she did not say much to that; she said if Holmes would get John into her company, she would give Holmes half a guinea; Mrs. Holmes said if she would give him fifty guineas, she knew he would have nothing to do with it; on the Sunday she said she was to have a bit of fun with some young woman that lived in the next house, that was to be dressed in men's clothes, and to be let into Mrs. Morgan's at five o'clock in the morning; I said she very soon got acquainted with people, and she said it was a very good sort of a body, for she had lived these some years.

Did she say what this young woman was to be let in for? - To take some notice of some people that lived at the next house, some young man and young woman that had been fellow servants.

Did you hear Mrs. Holmes examined here to day? - No Sir, I was gone home, I am but just come in now.

Prisoner. I have no questions to ask this witness, I do not know her.

Court. Are you quite sure that is the woman? - Yes Sir, I am perfect that is the same woman, but she is no acquaintance of mine, only seeing her there.

Did she say at what house she was to have that fun? - At Mrs. Morgan's, I saw her go into Mrs. Morgan's on the Tuesday, she went from Mrs. Holmes's house to her place, and I saw her again on the Saturday; I am perfect it is the same person.


I am a chairman, I told Radbourne what had passed; and I told my wife what Radbourne had said.

Prisoner. It was him and his wife that brought me here.

Is there any truth in that? - No Sir; I always persuaded her for her own good; she was going to set up in business, she told me she got her place out of the office, and that her father would give her a character.

Did you ever advise her to do any thing that was wrong? - No Sir, I always advised her for her good; says I, go to service, I think it is the prudentest and best way for you to get a place, and work, as you are a lusty person.


I live in Oxford-street, I am a stay-maker; I know Radbourne and this prisoner, they lived at my house; I have known Radbourne between five and six years, and the prisoner some little time before Christmas, they lived together at my house; they came there about Christmas time; they continued there about five months; I believe Radbourne lived with her after the child was born about six weeks, he left her and went down to Oxford, as he told me; he left her after she had lain in, he staid till her month was up, and she was not quite well, and he staid two weeks more till she was quite well.


I am a mason.

You have had the misfortune to have a child by the prisoner? - I have indeed.

When you parted, did any conversation pass between you and her? - There was a handsome picture brought from Putney, that she said she had worked.

Was there any thing understood between you as to whether you would live together again? - No Sir, I never desired to live with her again.

Did she know that? - I believe she did, I told her so.

Was any message left with you by Holmes? - Yes.

Did you return any answer to it? - I told him she was an insolent liar, for it was no such thing; I declined having any thing more to do with her.

Then you have had no connection with her after she went to the house of Mrs. Morgan? - None at all, Sir.

That you swear positively? - Yes, I swear it.

Court. When Holmes delivered you this message, and you said she was a liar, did you know whether she was a liar in that or not? - I did not know whether she was a liar in that.

You did not know but she might have an uncle and aunt dead? - I could not tell it, but I never heard from her that she had an uncle or aunt from whom she had expectations, but she said that there was money coming to her down in the country in the course of a twelve-month's time.

Prisoner. I told him before I left him, that when my brother came of age, I should have twenty or thirty pounds if he pleased to marry me, because he did not like we should live together in that way of life; my brother has got another estate left him lately, which is by my uncle and aunt, who are both dead, and this last estate my brother designs to give me.


I am a surgeon.

When was you called up first to attend this Lady? - Last Thursday was six weeks, about three in the morning, I found her with five large wounds on her head.

Describe the nature of the wounds? - They were made by an instrument that had stabbed, a sharp instrument.

Do you mean by stabbing to oppose that to cutting? - Yes.

In what part of her head were these wounds? - There were two on the top, one on the left side, and two on the right.

What depth did they appear to be? - In three of them the scull was bare; the two on the top were of that number.

Was there a great effusion of blood? - A very great one, so much so, that the stones of the yard were covered with blood where she had looked out at the window to cry out murder.

Besides these wounds, what other wounds were there? - There was a wound on the back part of her right hand, which seemed to be done with the same instrument, her left elbow and her left hip were very considerably bruised likewise, not stabbed but considerably bruised.

How did these appear to be occasioned in your judgment? - They seemed to be occasioned by some heavy instrument that had beat her.

Of course a blunt instrument? - Certainly so.

Where there any contusions on the head from beating? - None at all.

You have seen this instrument? - Yes.

Did you see it with the flannel upon it? - I did.

Did it appear to you to be the instrument by which the wounds had been given? - I have hardly a doubt of it.

You have in your hand a blunt instrument, do think it was that instrument that was used for that purpose? - I think it very probable.

Go on to describe the symptoms and effects of these bruises? - Under the idea that this would undergo a legal examination, I thought it very right to remove the scalp and covering of the skull where these wounds were, to see if there was any fracture.

What was the result of that examination? - I did not find any fracture at all, in about five weeks, last Monday was se'night, which was five weeks all but three days, she was taken with symptoms of matter forming in the brain, or formed rather.

Was that likely to arise from these wounds? - Very likely, on which I trepanned her on these parts of the skull in two places where the skull had been laid bare, and found, as I expected, a great quantity of matter under the skull, immediately under the part where the wound had been given; on the Saturday following, which was last Saturday, she became paralitick, and after that declined rapidly till she died, which was on Wednesday morning; I attended her from the time of the accident, I opened the head on the same day that she died, there was a very large collection in the brain immediately under the wound.

Was the brain putrid? - Of course.

Any other observation? - No other than this, that I am clearly of opinion that her death was occasioned by the wounds she received.

You have no doubt of it? - Not the smallest; Mr. Davison was the apothecary.

Court. You first found the symptoms of matter having formed in the brain on Monday? - Yes.

That was near five weeks since the accident? - Yes.

Now before that time that you perceived these symptoms, did you consider the woman in any peril or imminent danger? - I never can consider any body with such wounds as those out of danger in less than six or seven weeks or two months.

But not in that state of peril that they are dying: if this matter had not formed in her brain, probably these wounds would not have occasioned her death? - Certainly not; it is common for people to be well a month, and then be taken with these symptons, all arising from the original injury.

But you do not consider the person as in actual danger till the matter is formed? - Certainly not.

Mr. Garrow to Brown. Have you seen this woman since she has been in custody? - This morning I desired to speak to her.

Did you say any thing to her to make her hope it would be better for her to say any thing to you? - No, I did not.

Did you threaten her? - No, I did not, I asked her, says I, what a silly woman, if any body was concerned with you why did not you tell me; did not I persuade you to it, you should save yourself; you should hang your father and mother rather than not save yourself; says I, I have a strong opinion that somebody was with you, I always told you so; says she I let Holmes and his wife in, they were in the house and they were the persons that did it; says I, where did you let them in? says she, I let them in at the window; upon that I went away immediately; and as Holmes and his wife were here as evidences, I desired the watchman to take them into custody immediately; this was this morning.

Did you examine the night bolt at all? - I never did, not of the front room door, I examined the fastenings of the back door very particularly, and I found the night bolt very good, I did not examine the other.

Mr. Garrow. Therefore, Gentlemen what I opened concerning the paper, you will dismiss from your memories, it is not proved.

Mr. Garrow to Mr. Knapp. Is there but one count in this indictment? - Only one.

What is the inquisition? - For Murder generally.

Court. Upon the information for murder, the Court think the written evidence admissible.

JAMES CROFTS , Esq. sworn.

You are a magistrate for the county of Middlesex? - I attended with Sir Robert Taylor at the house of Mrs. Morgan, and afterwards; she was at the office about three weeks afterwards, the prisoner was there at the time, and heard the whole of this account, it was afterwards distinctly read over to the prisoner in the presence of Mrs. Morgan, it was signed by Mrs. Morgan; (looks at it) this is the information, it is signed by me, I have read this, and it contains a correct account of what Mrs. Morgan said. (Reads.)

"Middlesex, the information of Hannah Morgan , Rebecca Holmes and Henry Holmes , taken before me one of his Majesty's justices of the peace for the said country: First Mrs Morgan says she lives in George Street, St. Mary-le bone, that about the latter end of May last, she hired the person now present, who calls herself Henrietta Radbourne, as a servant; that after she had been in her service some days, this deponent observed a strange manner in the conduct of the same Henrietta, and told her she would not do for her; that on the night of the 30th of May between twelve and one o'clock, this deponent desired her to go to bed, and verily believes the house was secure on the inside; that at half after one, this deponent went into bed, and on going into her bed room, and endeavouring to fasten her night bolt, thought it went very hard, but not suspecting any thing, supposed she had fastened the bolt and went to bed, and soon after fell in sleep; that between two and three this deponent was alarmed by some persons violently beating her and stabbing her on the head; says further, that she got up and ran into the back room, and cried murder and fire; says that before the prisoner went to bed that night, she came into the bed-room of this informant, when she asked her if she had said her prayers, which she had never before done, when this informant desired her to go about her business, and say her own prayers; and this informant further on her oath says, she verily believes no other person was in her house but the person now present who calls herself Henrietta Radbourne ; and this informant says that she did maliciously assault her in her dwelling house as aforesaid, with intent to kill and murder her, and her goods and chattels being in the said dwelling house, feloniously to steal, take and carry away. Taken and sworn before Mr. Crofts on the 9th day of June 1787.


I am innocent of it all, for it was not me that did it, I have no witnesses at all here or elsewhere, but here are two people that is here that did it, at this present time, and they persuaded me not to say any thing; and when I was at Litchfield-street, they told me not to say any thing, for if I did I should be done as well as them, and I, ignorant of the affair, never said a word about it.


Also guilty on the Coroner's Inquisition.

Not Guilty of the Petty Treason.

Tried by the second Middlesex Jury before Mr. JUSTICE WILSON.

This prisoner being indicted for the crimes of petit treason and murder, as being servant to Mrs. Morgan, and the declaration of Mrs. Morgan being witnessed only by one witness, whereas two witnesses is necessary in cases of petit treason, the Court directed the Jury to acquit her of that crime, but the crime of murder being comprehended in the indictment, the case was reserved by the Court for the opinion of the twelve Judges, whether the Jury can acquit of the petit treason and convict of the murder under the same indictment; or whether the acquittal for the petit treason does not involve in it an acquittal of the murder also.



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