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Fatal Election Disturbance at Gate of Christ’s College December 1868

Riot at Christ's College Gate, 1868

1868:

CIP 5/12/1868: Cambridge Independent Press, 28 November 1868, 8

FATAL ELECTION DISTURBANCE AT CAMBRIDGE

We regret to have to record a death as the result of some foolish conduct in connection with the Borough Election. On the afternoon of Tuesday 17th ult., the day of the Borough Election, a large crowd of several thousand persons were assembled in front of the Independent Press office for the purpose of hearing addresses from the newly-elected Liberal members, and a certain hotel-keeper drove his fly several times through the crowd, causing some irritation, and after doing so three or four times some of the crowd turned the fly over in Market-street. A number of university men now joined in the melée, and a regular fight occurred, which was kept up till the fly got into Sidney-street, when Detective-Sergeant Kerbyshire got on the ‘seat, and snatching the reins away from the driver, took it home. The fight between the gownsmen and townsmen continued for some little time. The undergraduates at length rushed into the gateway of Christ’s College and shut the gates, the crowd throwing mud at them. William Lofts, the head porter, coming out, opened the gate, and it appears that stones passed between the gownsmen, within the precincts of the college, and the townsmen in the street. During the melée one of the stones struck Lofts on the right eye and seriously wounded it. Medical aid was at once procured, but after lingering eight ten days he died from nervous exhaustion. The deceased was married and has left, besides his widow, one child. He was very much esteemed the college authorities. A young man named Clarke has been apprehended on the charge of throwing the stone which struck Lofts and caused his death. He was yesterday taken before the magistrates and remanded till Monday, and an inquest opened before Mr. H. Gotobed in the afternoon, which was adjourned till Monday morning. Below will be found full particulars of the case before the Magistrates and Coroner :— George Clarke (21), shoe clicker, of Gwydir-street, who had been apprehended on a warrant, was charged at the Guildhall on Friday morning, with causing the death of William Lofts, jun., porter of Christ’s-college, Cambridge, by throwing a stone at him, on the afternoon of Tuesday, 17th November, the polling day of the borough election. Mr. Whitehead, solicitor, said he appeared to watch the case on behalf of the prisoner. Supt. Turrell said the prisoner had been apprehended on a warrant charging him with an assault on William Lofts the younger; but since the warrant had been issued, Lofts had died. The prisoner would, therefore, be charged with manslaughter. He [Supt. Turrell] wished for a remand till after the coroner’s inquest. Mr. Whitehead applied that the prisoner might be allowed to be present at the inquest. After a consultation between the magistrates, their clerk, and the Superintendent, which was carried on in such a tone to be inaudible to the public or the representatives of the press. P. Detective Danby made a deposition to the effect that he had reason to believe that the prisoner had caused the death of Lofts the younger, and applied for a remand. The magistrates remanded the prisoner to the borough gaol till Monday next. THE INQUEST was opened at the police station on Friday afternoon, before Mr. H. Gotobed, the borough coroner, and respectable jury, of which Mr. T. Saunders was elected foreman. The Master of Christ’s was present. Mr. Whitehead appeared to watch the case on behalf the prisoner Clarke, and Mr. Fred. James Fuller, Carlton Chambers, solicitor to Christ’s college, to watch the case behalf of the college authorities. After the jury had been sworn, they proceeded to the porter’s lodge, and viewed the body. On re-assembling, Mr. Fuller said that he appeared on the part of the master and authorities of Christ’s-college, and he was instructed to say that they desired the most searching inquiry to be made, and should be glad to do anything that the coroner thought was required to meet the ends of public justice. The remarked that the Master of Christ’s had called on him and assured him that the college authorities would render the utmost facilities for holding this enquiry. He should have held this inquest at the college, but that hoped have had the accused person before the jury. That was not the case, however, the magistrates had remanded the prisoner to the borough gaol.

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Mr. Whitehead wished to state that the accused had objection to come before them. Charles Wilson, whitesmith, of 11, IVospect-row, deposed I knew deceased sight, but not by name. I last saw him last Tuesday week. I opposite Christ’s-coHeg* saw stand at Um iTiiiritli ■ named George Clarke, who resides works for Mr. Bull, the shoemaker, of Fitzroy-stnl* ll4 was mob there, which was caused Mr fl turned over. Th. re was a row. Mr. Gray’* fly i,, Lj* street, and the Cuiversitymen were protecting it ‘n was altogether, and was coming towards Wh«-n the fly wis driven out of the crowd, t<. tight with the town. I saw ua S” then, Market-street the mob were trying to turn and some of the windows were br-ken. The flv driven round the Market Hill three four times ■tmopjj l p»K>ple, and the mob started from Market Hill. This the p<tiling day of the election, and after the over—after four o’clock. The mob followed the flv M Sidney-street. As soon the fly left Sidney-street the versitjrmen began fighting. Mr. Gray drove the flvun 1 Sidney-str**et, and then Kerbyshire, the detective • off. The mob did not follow it. It was taken in the of Mr. Gray’s at the Bird Bolt. The Universityinea 11 Ghrist’s-college gate way after some fighting had been on. The gates were open, but were closed directly the vesitymcn got in. When the gates were abut lot of in*?! and mud was thrown on the gates, and very soon gates were open, and directly after a granite stone cani thrown by some undergraduate. I saw it come and fall intif! water-run, the side of George Clarke. I don’t know that it hit anyone. Several scrambled to get it, and I Clarke pick it up. threw it away. I was in front of W and did not nee him throw it. There were several thrown at the same time. I saw his arm come over my he*? I only saw this atone thrown from tMe college, but L were thrown into the college gate. Directly after I** Clarke’s hand come ovit my shoulder, I saw the porter put hand to his eye and walk ba<-k. can’t aay that I saw > strike hiin. There were several stones thrown at the gain* time. The stone was a granite stone, not round, size of a five’s ball. It would about an inch and a long, and an inch wide. Ido not know whether Clarke the porter holding up his hand to his eye. I said to Clark ” the porter has got his eye cut,” but he did not sav anything about it. I saw Clarke yesterday afternoon, and tol.l l»ft* was dead. said, ” You don’t mean it.” that Danby had his shop about the matter that morn ing, and asked him if he wan in the mob at Christ”k-colUm* and he said he was. Clarke told me that he told knew what he had come about: who threw the stone and he told him that he had thrown it. This con vernation tooknil!* in Fitaroy-street. was going home tea. more. I have not seen him since. had not seen Ijofts any part the row. saw only one stone thrown out of the college. It was directly the left-hand gate was open. not seen Ix>fts before that day, nor after. By the Foreman : The stone fell in the run on the church side of the street. I should not know the stone. Clarke mentioned the porter’s name to me after I had told him was hit. I said let us walk down Petty Cury. I never the stone thrown from the street before it wis thrown from the college. The gate was wide open. Lofts came to the other gate and appeared if was about to speak when the stone hit him. I would not swear it was not thrown from the street, but I think it was not. I should not know the perton who threw the stone, but I know they were Christ Vcolle*» men, because they had on the colours. There were men there. They Uiad not gowns on, but they had the and white colours on their straw hats. There were five or six of them with the colours on. I thought the rest were By a Juryman : Clarke threw the stone almost soon picked it up. I saw his arm over my shoulder. My back to the church, and was Clarke’s. By the Coroner: I was with Clarke till half-past seven that evening, but did not again nuntiou the subject. Mr. Lee : The fly had not left Sidney-street above ten minutes liefore the stone was thrown.

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By the Coroner: I don’t know whether Clarke threw the stone with violence.

By the Jury: I don’t know whether it was the stone which Clarke threw or anybody else that struck the porter. Clarke did not say, Move your head, I am going have a shy,” or anything like it.

Detective-sergeant Edward Kerbyshire deposed : Last Tuesday week I was on duty in plain clothes on the Market Hill, and saw an immense mob there, about the time the poll closed, waiting to hear the members speak. Mr Gray,  of the Bird Bolt, drove a fly through this crowd past the Independent Press office. His whip was decked with Tory colours. The crowd was nearly all Liberals, at least the majority.

A Juryman, Mr. Finlay : I object to the question.

The Coroner: I shall ask what questions I choose. I am a lawyer, and know how to conduct the inquiry.

Mr. Finlay: It is not evidence. Get on quick you can.

The Coroner: I know what is evidence. I will not have you interfere with the conduct of this inquiry. If you do I will see what be done with you.

In the fly were five persons I think, and on the seat were two others, and they were wearing Tory colours. He drove though the crowd, and excited them, and they groaned him. He had been through two or three times, and I had spoken to him and told him he would get injured and his fly broken all to pieces, and he would be a very silly man. He said he should drive where he liked, the streets were free. Half way down Market-street, against Mr. Bryant’s, the fly was turned over. It was put upon its wheels.  I noticed just round the fly about a dozen young men. I supposed to be Universitymen. The crowd rushed at it to turn it over again. Gray was tipsy. The Universitymen prevented it being turned over. I begged the mob to let it pass on, or some one would be injured. The crowd and Universitymen were fighting up to Sidney-street. I found Gray would not drive his fly away, and I got on the seat and snatched the reins away, and drove him into the yard at the Bird Bolt. All those in and on the fly got out in Market-street. I hurried back, and found the remnant of the mob opposite Christ’s College. I saw no stones thrown. I did not see the deceased at all.

Police-detective Danby, Grafton-street, deposed : I saw the accused, George Clarke, yesterday, at his master’s, Mr. Bull, in Fitzroy-street. I asked him whether he was present when election disturbance took place last Tuesday week, against Christ’s College gateway. He said, Yes, I was there. I asked him if he knew who it was who threw the stone aud hit the porter in the eye the gateway. He said. Well as you have come to that, it was me. I asked under what circumstances. He said a Universityman got up a large stone and threw it him, and hit him on the forehead, and he directly stooped down and picked the stone up, and threw it at the Universityman in the gateway, but instead of hitting the Universityman it hit the porter in the eye, which he was very sorry for. I told him Mr. Lofts was in a very bad state, and no doubt there would be a great bother about it. In the afternoons a warrant was obtained, and at the wish of Mr. Lofts, sen., I apprehended him on an assault warrant. On our way to the station, the accused said that directly after he had thrown the stone he wished he had not done so.

By the Jury : I saw no mark his forehead, though I looked.

By Mr. Whitehead : I did not give prisoner any caution before I asked the question. I did not consider he stood in the position of an accused person. I went to him for information as I had been to others.

By the Jury : He admitted to me that he threw the stone, and hit the porter on his eye, and was very sorry for it. Eight or ten days had passed after he had said he had been hit on the forehead at the time I looked for the mark.

Charles Lawrence, of Victoria-street, whitesmith, deposed: I knew deceased well. On Tuesday week last was on the railing of St. Andrew’s Church-yard, opposite the gate of Christ’s College, when there was a mob there. I had not been with the mob. I saw some dirt and pieces of mud thrown at the doors, which were shut, and the doors were opened and Lofts came out to the front. He put his hand up to persuade the crowd to be quiet. As soon as he did so, I saw a stone in the air, which hit him in the right eye, and he put his hand up and walked in. I never heard him speak before he was hit. The stone looked to me to be about the size of good large egg. Directly after I saw two stones thrown out of the college.

By the Jury: The under porter and several gentlemen were in the gateway. The stone was thrown from the direction of the church and post-office. I did not see who threw the stone. I saw a gentleman taking the lead, and should know him amongst a hundred. He was a tall fine man.

Joseph Humm, under porter of Christ’s College, deposed : I knew the deceased, who was 36 years of age. Last Tuesday week a mob came against our gateway. Mr. Gray’s fly came up, and they followed the fly and stopped suddenly against the corner. There were Universitymen fighting with the mob. The deceased was not there. After the fight was over the Undergraduates rushed into the gateway for protection. There were 20 or of them, and the gentlemen partly shut the gates. Lofts came out and pushed them open, and said what did you shut the gates for? I said I did not shut them, the gentlemen shut them. He pushed them open and went outside, and I with him. I was pushing a man off the pavement, and Lofts turned round to me. He was putting his hand up to his eye, and only said ” Oh,” and went into the porter’s lodge at once. I did not see the stone then. I picked the stone up at his feet and put it into my pocket; it was a piece of granite. I gave it to Mrs. Lofts. I have hunted for it everywhere, before I came here, but cannot find it. It was square piece of granite. It was about an inch one way and inch and a half the other, I should think. Afterwards the Master gave orders for the gate to be closed, and it was closed. The Master was not there when the stone was thrown.

By the Jury : The Universitymen were strangers. I did not see any of our college. The gentleman who had been fighting so many of the mob with a stick, stood just behind Lofts.

William Buttress, waiter at Trinity College, deposed: I was not in the row when deceased was injured. I know George Clarke, who is in custody now. He spoke to me Tuesday week about this matter in Parker’s Concert Hall; I wait there. I asked him if he saw the fly turned over in Market-street. He said, ” Did you see the row again Christ College !” I said, “No.” He said they were kicking up a rare row there. They were throwing stones, and he thought he had hit the porter in the eye with one. That was all that passed that night. Last Sunday I saw him again; we were out to tea at Charles Hemmings’s, Northampton street. I told him that one of the young Lofts, a brother of  deceased, had been talking to me, and asked if I knew who had thrown the stone. Clarke said we must keep it quiet, and not let any one know. Yesterday, at dinner time, I saw Clarke in Fitzroy-street, as soon as he came out of the shop; he told me he had seen Danby, and narrated what Danby has stated to the jury.

By the Jury: He told me on the Sunday I must keep it quiet. I never mentioned it after that.

Thomas Lucas, of St. Andrew’s-street: I was coming down the street opposite Sayle’s when I heard that there was a scrimmage. I was called in as I was passing by Christ’s College last Tuesday week a little past four. Lofts’ little girl rushed out and asked me to come and see her father who she said had had his eye cut out. I went, and found deceased in bed in a very faint and low condition, very much frightened. His right eye was much swollen and the blood was running from the right corner. He was injured on the left side. On examining the eye I found a wound in the left-hand or inner side of the eye extending down the socket. The eye ball was much bruised and swollen as also the lids. Blood was effused into the chamber of the eye. He first complained of numbness and afterwards of great pain. I attended him till his death which took place yesterday. I am able from attending him to state that the cause of death was nervous exhaustion. His peculiar temperament was such that a  wound of that description would induce the exhaustion from which he died. It would not have done so in healthy person. The wound was not in itself dangerous. His was a temperament easily acted upon by any excitement or stimulant. The injury to eye was the determining cause of the exhaustion from which  he died.

The Coroner said the inquest would adjourned to tne Guildhall, on Monday morning at ten o’clock.

ADJOURNED INQUEST.

The inquest on the body of W. Lofts, the younger, was in the Alderman’s parlour at the Town Hall, on Monday morning. The Master of Christ’s-college (Dr. Cartmell and the Tutor of Christ’s (Mr. Gunson) were present. Mr. WHITEHEAD appeared on behalf of the accused, as before. Mr Fullke also appeared on behalf of the college authorities. After some slight delay, owing the non-appearance of several of the jurymen,

The Coroner requested the Superintendent of Police to produce Clark, the accused, which did. After which. the Coroner informed the prisoner that an inquest had opened on Friday, as he probably knew. Certain depositions were taken, which he would read over to him. The Coroner then read the evidence as given above.

Mr. Lucas re-examined : The nature of the wound did not indicate that the stone had been thrown with great violence.

A stone, which was produced, was, he believed, the same that was shown him, from its shape.

By a Juryman: I can form no idea of the distance the stone was thrown.

The Witness added: Lofts told me that he was holding up his hand to some one opposite when he was struck by the stone.

Charles Wilson re-called : I never saw Charles Clarke, the prisoner, taking an active part in the disturbance before throwing the stone.  He was not fighting. He was running with the crowd. I never saw him struggling to push the fly over.

By the Jury : He never spoke to me before the stone was thrown. He never told me that the stone had hit him on the head. I did not see any mark his forehead at any time. I never looked.

By a Juryman : I went with the prisoner to the Cricketers after; and after that went to tea at my house.  I never looked, as he did not complain to me; and, therefore, I not see anything of the sort. I must have seen if I had looked.

John Elliot Hewison, undergraduate of St. John;’s college: On Tuesday week I saw a large number of persons on the Market Hill, and coming down Market-street, where Gray’s fly was. I went to see what was the matter and found  the fly had been turned over. After that, some University man was hit by a man in the crowd, and then the crowd set upon all the Universitymen near.

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A fight them got Christ’s-colle»f»\ I went wi I was engaged in tight. We into the the gates, and the mo* began throwing mud and rs gates were shut some one insioe. Soon opened again don’t know by whose ° e l’ imraediate\y the porter was hit with stone. his hand to his eye as he struck, and £_ the lod#e. I think they were Univemfcymea J® a By toe Jury: ttw thrown from ………..

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any time either before or after the occurence, nor anything else. I had no stick.

By Mr Whitehead: I think I did not see anything but mud and water thrown. I heard some stones rattling against the wall but did not see them. There were two or three stones thrown at the same time. I think there were no men of Christ’s college in the row.

By the Jury: I lost my hat. The stones rattled against the college wall at almost the  same time.

Randolph Eddowes Healey, undergraduate of Trinitycollege: Last Tuesday week I was in the porch of Christ’s college when there was a row outside. The only knowledge I have of stones being thrown was that a gentleman behind me was hit behind the ear with one. I did not see the porter hit. I did not see any stone come into the porch.

By the Jury : I saw no stones thrown from the college.

The witness Humm was recalled re-called, and said: I have found the stone since I gave my evidence Friday. Mrs. Lofts gave it to the the constable. The stone produced is the one. I gave it to Mrs Lofts.

By the Jury: I saw the gentleman who has given evidence, Mr Hewison. He was fighting without a stick.

Carlton John Lambert, B.A., Fellow Pembroke-college expressed a wish to be examined, and deposed : I saw the whole of the disturbance from first to last. I took no part in it whatsoever. I am  confident the men in the cab were not Universitymen; they were evidently voters—middle aged men wearing tall hats. I saw no sticks used or stones thrown by anyone from the inside of the college, nor any of the gownsmen in the streets during the disturbance. I was standing by the side of the porter and saw the stone hit him. If any stones had been thrown from the porch I must have seen them as  I stood with my face to the crowd nearly all the while.

By the Jury: I  could not see who threw the stone; it came from the other side of the street  — on the Petty Cury side of the gate. l am perfectly certain about that. I saw the stone in the air about two or three yards. I saw more stones thrown at the same time; one hit a Pembroke undergraduate on the leg. This was the only one that was in the air the time that I saw. I think it was the first large stone that was thrown.

By the Jury : The stones afterwards came principally from Petty Cury side. some came straight. On second thought, I will not be certain as to the direction they came.

Humm was again recalled, and said : The porter stood on the pavement outside the gates, when he was struck. I was about a yard from him on the Petty Cury side of the gate.

Wilson was again re-called : I and the prisoner were standing on the opposite side the street, on the Post-office aide of  the road, against the run, right opposite Lofts, not nearer the Post office than Petty Cury or otherwise. The porter stood against the right hand gate, next the Petty Cury, which was closed, nearly as possible in the middle of the gates.

Lawrence recalled: The stone which hit the porter I am sure came from the Postt-office side of the gate. I saw it in the air six or seven yards. It came at an angle.  It was not thrown from directly opposite the gate. I heard some stones hit the gate nearly at the time ; and both before and after small stones. I was quite opposite the gate, and the stone was thrown by some person on my right hand. The person who threw the stone must have stood about ten yards on my right hand when he threw it, from the direction it came. I mean  about ten yards below the gate. Looking at the gate, Lofts was standing a little on the left side, and about the  middle of the pavement. He was looking nearly straight opposite neither up nor down the street, I think. I said in my evidence on Friday, that I should know the gentleman who took the leading part on the University side in the disturbance. I see him in the room. It was Mr. Hewison.

By Mr Whitehead: I saw two stones come out of the college directly after the stone hit Lofts.

George Clarke said: I was standing opposite the college, and two or three stones were thrown out, one of which hit me on the forehead,  my hat being doubled up by it. I was irritated and picking it up. I believe it hit Lofts but I won’t say for certain.

Mr Bull bootmaker, of Fitzroy-Street, gave the accused a most excellent character of eight years standing.

The Coroner said he would now make a few remarks for the purpose of applying the law to the facts.  As regarded the facts they were capable of judging as himself.  From what they had heard they must all agree that the prime cause of this sad event was the foolish conduct – to use the mildest term—of the driver and persons in the fly of which they had heard : that in a greatly excited election crowd flushed with victory, composed chiefly of one party, partizans of the other side should drive up and down displaying the ribbons of the other side amongst the crowd, could have no other  result, whilst men were as they were. This conduct it was that caused the riot and disturbance, and the constable, in opinion, would have been quite justified, in fact, he did not know if it was not really his duty to have parties into custody, and if they had brought him should have had no hesitation in committing them for trial for having caused a breach of the peace. Although this was so, it was not sufficient for them to be legally charged, and they must, as far as regards this sad event be left to the punishment of their own consciences, unless they are worse men than I suppose, will be very severe  when they come to reflect that their foolish and wicked conduct has resulted in depriving of existence a man in the prime of life, and plunging a large family into the deepest sorrow. Having thought it his duty to say so much, he would now go into the question before them. It would not be necessary to read to them all the evidence, as they had heard it all that morning; but they had first of all to enquire into the cause of death ; secondly, to consider who caused it if they could ascertain that; and next, to determine the character of  the act by which it was caused. As regarded the the cause of death; there could be doubt after hearing Mr. Lucas’s evidence. The only doubt that would suggest itself  was the statement that the blow was not sufficiently severe to have caused the death of a healthy person. That was really, however, not a point; for if it was known for certain that person would die in ten minutes, if by shaking him or any other means, any one was to cause him to end his life before those ten minutes had expired, he would in the eye of the law, be guilty of murder. The blow was the cause of death and the next question was by what means was the blow inflicted, and they could have no hesitation believing that it was caused by a stone. Next, had they any evidence to show who threw the stone. Up to that day there had been no doubt about it. A certain amount of doubt had been thrown on this point by the evidence they had had that morning. However, he did not attach much value to what they had heard about the direction of the stone. There were two witnesses directly contradicting each other, one asserting that it came from the direction of Petty Cury, and the other from the direction of the Post Office. He did not charge either of these gentlemen with perjury, for in the excitement of such an occurrence, he could understand three or four persons giving a different account of the same transaction. He did not say that this had not excited any doubt, but he did not think it excited any very material doubt. The main evidence rested upon the confession of one particular person made on several occasions. So far they could judge, the acts of that person and his companion concur with the confession. After the porter was hit his companion said, “Let as walk up Petty Cury,” and they left, evidently showing that they the impression that the porter had been struck by the stone which one them had thrown. In fact Clarke  did not up to that time deny throwing the stone. They had to determine whether Clarke threw the stone, and they would remember that they were in the capacity of a grand jury, ora  jury of accusation, and, therefore, were not required to give the prisoner the benefit of every doubt. They had, as a grand jury, determine whether there was reasonable evidence on which an accusation  would fairly rest. They had next to determine the character of the Act itself. Now prima facie when one man deprives another of life, the act by which it was produced was murder by the law of the land. They must not suppose that because the doer of the act did not mean to kill, or that he had hit another person than the one he intended, that necessarily the act was less than murder. The Coroner at fuller length laid down this principle of law. They were, however, entitled to consider the circumstances, and whether it was done under provocation. It was, therefore, very important in this case to bring out all the circumstances which tended to show how this sad event took place, the fight &c., had a very material bearing on the act, notwithstanding that one of their number had taken upon himself to say the questions he asked, bearing on it, were not evidence. What were the events? There was the excitement of the election, and a fight from the Market Hill to Christ’s College. He did not find, as he had hoped he should, that Clarke took part in the fight, still was in the crowd, and necessarily a sharer in the excitement. Although the evidence of an accused person, on his own behalf, is not admissable as evidence for him, yet, as they in this case were obliged to take the prisoner’s confession against himself, they were bound to consider his in extenuation. The Coroner then quoted Clarke’s remarks above. Undoubtedly there was provocation, and strong provocation; the stone being thrown with considerable violence fell at his feet, and it was not necessary that it should hit him. The evidence of the Universitymen on this point, that no stones were thrown out of the college he did not attach much importance to, as it was difficult prove a negative. His inference was that before the Universitymen could shut the gates after getting inside for shelter, a shower mud and stone were thrown in, and some of them were returned by the Universitymen, one of which either struck the accused or fell near him, and he picked it up and threw it back again. With regard to the character of the act, they had seen the stone, which was not as  large as he had supposed, nor did it appear to have been thrown with any great violence. This was very important, as also was the consideration of provocation, and the heated blood under which the act was done. The law makes allowance for acts done under great provocation, but, although it extenuates, it does not excuse, or at all justify the act. The least they could find on this occasion was manslaughter, which was an offence of a very different character, and which left the judge who tried the person so convicted, discretion as to the amount of the punishment inflicted. They would consider their verdict.

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for half-an-hour. they returned a •wojrt of George Clarke, and the swpoerngped his warrant committal the said George at , the Afterwards the Coroner at the <»sol, and accepted the same bail had been ***« the -Msgwtrates. EXAMINATION OP THE ACCUSED *v Guildhall on Monday, the prisoner being Vhsnsi.thebarafswminutes before twelve o’clock. The « were the Mayor (C. E. Brown. Esq.) .rof Chnst’ 9 (Dr. Cartmell), the Provost of King’s Tfc! a BtllH R – Fawcett, and Moses Browne, t l*tterly OUrt WaS ( crowded, and the prisoner shed tCarlton Chambers, appeared to watch pre-l |o , the authorities of Christ’s College, defended the prisoner. The following evidence was taken, deposed : I was called to attend Mr. Lofts ~ »< Tuesday the 17th inst., a little after four ‘* , “D o, » I found him in bed at the porter’s College. was suffering from a severe bnii*«ri • < e ‘. was incised wound. It was also the iM.i.l ave caused by a stone. I adopted M °.’ ext, ‘mal application, and he went on ■****•. Tuesday, the 24th, mnfawourablo d’iir.um consisting of tremour and Tbursrla* ji ntiuu ed until the time of his death, on the w*s no* , * ,owin « sm perfectly certain that the brain the ln mrp d except the shock. The shoek man in an unhealthy condition, death ‘ mour he had been in healthy condition, would certainly not have full®wed. the ‘k-ff WHm < *ted- w;is .simply the shock. was medical attendant, and had been for the last all constitutionally weak, and 0n h’ l Peculiarly. To ray knowledge he •Peak 4 ?* mat, from the symptoms, I ,ra m was injured without the postrnccrtera examination. ?• deposed : I know the prisoner, ».! ia on the 17th inst. I met him o ‘ c oe ‘ t Sidney-street, and we came toe i the polling day of to-reww e . tion – We al>out the Hill, on which .\| r p , . °’ people, till about a quarter-past fonr. So** through the crowd three or four \f.. M w down Market-street, and we follows!. it !U, It wan stojwed opposite Bcratield’s, •*et t V rn,H * over. went up Hidney•rtvu.-n Collngp, and there were some Univer-25* rt -, Kerbyshire took tt’-a m . <^TOVe i fc off- followed the Universitytoe»®wi> Christ’s College,and there was flghtingbetween r ari ‘l the crowd Christ’s College gate. The in w n * the gate, and as soon they had w*«l. Werf “shut. SS than five minutes the -urain, and a came from under the archcoll»-ge. I>ireetly after Lofts came church in th#* run opposite the college, the *Tam» li?”* the prisoner were standing. Clsrke did get it. Clarke stood thrown, t T ww him aim. I did not see the stone tm* v- the porter, that time against the tor, j”••d up to his eye, and we walked away, say- down Petty Cury.’* There were several same time from different parts of the «ollege servant, deposed : was at ll the ‘”Kbt of the 17th inst. I saw the ‘ **ed me if I saw the row against Christ’s there was a rare row there, and they were tovtK!?^ 8 That that passed then. I don’t 1 tun Wa then. the following Bundsy W Charles Hemmtngs’s, a friend of mine. He wss lofuiik there stftsrwnrds. I told prisoner that 1 ‘ather of Loft* the porter, had been me, borne. When were coming home from I? 10 threw 2’ d that I had told young Lofts I knew ,ia e stones. said thai Lofts came to about lch thrown at his son. Prisoner said, ” We on now about it.” had told him that .®fot his eye cut out, and was then said anyone know about it.” inby deposed : Last Thursday morning, o ff .information I had received, I went and saw Bull’s,

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asked him if he was present against Christ College gateway when the disturbance took place on the day of the election. He said “Yes, he was.” I then asked him if he knew who it was that threw the stone and hit Mr. Lofts, the porter of the college, in the eye. He then said “Well, as you’re come to that, it was me that did it.’ I then asked him under what circumstances he did it. He said “A tall Universityman threw a stone at me, and hit me on the forehead, and I directly picked it again threw it at him again, it missed him, and unfortunately hit the porter the eye, and I am very sorry for it. In the afternoon I got a warrant against the prisoner for an assault, and apprehended him. On our way to the station, he said “Directly after I threw the stone I wished had not done it.”

By Mr. Whitehead: I was endeavouring to get information and did not give him a caution. I did not know would he would be the accused party until I heard his statement. I had seen Butrress before I saw the prisoner, and it was on his information I acted.

By Mr. Fawcett: The information I had from Buttress was to the effect that Clarke knew something about it.

By the Clerk : The warrant was obtained on the information of Mr. Lofts, sen.

Joseph Humm, under porter at Christ’s College, said: I heard a row about a quarter-past four o’clock in the afternoon, Tuesday, the 17th inst., and came outside the gate way in the street. I saw Mr. Gray’s fly driven past by Kerbyshire, the detective-sergeant, and saw a great crowd following. There were Universitymen fighting with the townsmen at the corner of Hobson-street. I saw two gownsmen fighting with people in the crowd. One had a stick, and there were several standing round. They then ran into the gateway for protection, and the crowd then began to throw water and gravel, and the Universitymen, consisting of about 20 or 30, shut the gate partially. Lofts came out, and said “What did you shut the gate for!” I said, ” I did not shut them, the gentlemen shut them.” I went out with deceased. I was pushing a man off the pavement, and saw Lofts put his hand up to his eye, and call “Oh!” He then went into the lodge. After he was gone in I picked up the stone produced, close where he stood. I never saw any stones thrown by any one at all till after he was hit. This took place immediately after we got out of the gateway. The Universitymen who were there were behind me and Lofts, and the gates were open.

Charles Lawrence, whitesmith, gave similar evidence to this the inquest.

Carlton John Lambert, B.A., Fellow of Pembroke College, repeated what he had stated before the coroner. He added that he saw, and went in the gate with the gownsmen. He saw Lofts open the gate and go outside. He stood by the side of Lofts, and saw the stone hit his eye. It came from the other side of the road from the direction of Petty Cury. Instead of being thrown right opposite the college, it was three or four yards to the north. I saw no stone thrown from the gownsmen. Mr. Churchward and Mr. Colgrove, two other Pembroke gentlemen were present, as also Mr. Hewison (St. John’s).

The prisoner being cautioned in the usual way, said “I have nothing to say at present.”

He was then committed for trial at the Assizes on the charge of manslaughter.

The Mayor accepted bail, the prisoner’s own recognizances in £50, and two sureties of Messrs. Bull and Palmer of £25 each.

He was discharged, and arrested on the coroner’s warrant, but afterwards admitted to bail at the Borough Gaol.

Cambridge Chronicle and Journal 27.3.1869

MANSLAUGHTER AT CAMBRIDGE. The Grand Jury returned a true bill against George Clark, 21, shoemaker, on bail, for the manslaughter of William Lofts, the younger, at Cambridge, on 17th November, 1868.

The circumstances of this case were fully ventilated in our columns the time of the unfortunate occurrence. Mr. Metcalfe appeared on behalf of the prosecution; Mr. Naylor for the prisoner.

Mr. Naylor said the prisoner, under his advice, would plead guilty of manslaughter; the case amounted to one almost of misadventure, and he trusted the prisoner would be dealt with accordingly. Mr. Metcalfe, who said he was instructed by the Master and Fellows of Christ’s College, stated the circumstances of the case to the Court. Upon the day this event took place, it was the occasion of the borough election ; a man belonging to the Bird Bolt had been driving in a reckless way through the mob which became excited. Some time after there was an offshoot from this, when some undergraduates were pressed by the townsmen, and the former retreated into Christ’s College. Stone throwing commenced, and one of the stones killed the porter. He was instructed by the College authorities to state that there was no wish to press for punishment, but that the prisoner should be dealt with very mercifully indeed, consistent with the requirements of justice, and that a caution might be administered against the dangerous practice of stone throwing—which had not hitherto formed part of the town and gown rows. The friends also the deceased recommended the lad to mercy, and lie was of good cnaracter.

The Judge: The blow would not have been dangerous an healthy person?

Mr. Naylor : Such is the medical testimony.

His Lordship said he did not consider it a case of misadventure, and he could not pass it over without some punishment, for stone throwing was a verv dangerous practice, and had resulted seriously in this instance. He should sentence Clark to one month’s hard labour

 

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