The murder of the Captain and chief officer of the ACCRINGTON

Daily Post, Monday March 12th 1860

The murder of the Captain and chief officer of the ACCRINGTON.

Southampton Saturday

In accordance with the instructions of the Board of Trade Frederick CARMAN, Steward on board the ship ACCRINGTON was examined before the borough magistrates charged with the wilful murder of Capt William Henderson HORNER and Walter Bevan COOPER, Chief Officer of the ship by poison.

The ACCRINGTON was on the way to Calcutta, with soldiers, soldiers wives and children, on the voyage the Captain and Chief Officer died from the effects of poison.

The ship put into Pernambuco and Her Majesty’s Consul decided to send CARMAN back to England, charged with wilful murder

First witness called was Samuel MC CUNE, of Bangor, County Down, 3rd mate of the ship, who said that during the voyage the captain was very cruel to the men and frequently struck them. The Capt and Chief Officer died on Monday 14th November 1859.

On the Thursday previous to the deaths a pig died in a remarkable manner, on that day I saw the prisoner and steward in the pig-sty.

I went to the chief Officer’s cabin and he was sat at the head of the bed vomiting, the prisoner was in the pantry next door to the cabin. I asked the prisoner what was wrong with the chief officer.

He said, “I do not know, but you will hear about it in time.”

The Doctor sent me for a bottle of brandy and when I returned I saw the chief officer on the floor of the closet, he looked very ill. I assisted to get him to the saloon and laid him on a bed on the floor. He did not speak.

The Doctor then seemed well enough, but soon after laid down himself. He also, like the captain vomited to some extent.

During the voyage there had been illness among the children, 54 died before the Captain’s death and increased to 64 and 1 woman on reaching Pernambuco. There were 261 children in all on board.

Witness said, Capt HORNER and Dr James CARROLL were constantly drinking together and both were frequently the worse for liquor.

The next witness was the steward Augustus OBERTE he detailed a series of cruelties inflicted upon himself and the prisoner by the Captain and Chief Officer. They were constantly beaten and kicked, locked in a closet with nothing but a dry biscuit and water to drink.

On Wednesday 14th Nov, he cooked the breakfast for the Captain’s cabin, and said, The prisoner brought me the things, about 8.30am I was called away and when I returned I found the prisoner there.

He said he had brought some bacon. I noticed nothing particular in his manner. When breakfast was ready the prisoner took it to the Captain’s cabin.

The ‘Scouse’ was in a saucepan, and could easily be got at.

The prisoner came to me about 10am and appeared rather confused.

I said, “What is the matter? Have they beat you again?

He said, “No, it is all right.”

That afternoon I was placed under arrest.

Other witnesses were called and confirmed the above facts including the cruelty of the Captain and First Officer on CARMAN and OBERTE.

Witnesses, ship’s crew

Frederick IMMENDORF of Liverpool AB

John QUIN of Liverpool AB

Thomas ENGLISH of Liverpool Ord seaman

Thomas CLARK apprentice

Charles TAYLOR of Leeds quartermaster

Henry HALE Boatswain

Thomas CUNNINGHAM, 2nd officer

Frank WILLIAMS Quartermaster

Dr James CARROLL Ship’s surgeon


James SCOTT, Soldier a passenger

Dr GORDON of Pernambuco

The case was then adjourned.

March 14th 1860

The examination terminated on Monday, CARMEN being discharged. No evidence was elicited in the trial to show the cause of death of the Captain and Chief Officer.

Capt TINLING thought that the proceedings on the ship were the most disgraceful he had ever heard of, that so many women and children should be exposed to such treatment by such madmen.

CARMEN on retiring, received congratulations from his fellow seamen, and on leaving the building a cheer was raised by the people outside the court.

Letter home from a soldiers wife on a voyage to India, Jan 1860


Copyright 2002 / To date