The murder of David BAILEY, police-officer, 1839

Liverpool Mail, April 20th, 1839

Supposed murder

Yesterday at 12 o' clock an inquest was held before P. F. CURRIE Esq, coroner and a respectable jury, into the circumstances which led to the death of David BAILEY a police officer.

The coroner, remarked that the gentlemen of the press frequently printed evidence that might prove prejudicial to a prisoner on his trial, and he would remind them of the remarks made by Baron Alexander in the case of Bolam being brought before the court. It would be for the gentlemen of the press to exercise their own good sense as to what they publish.

Alice MURPHY sworn, "I live in Green's Court, I was in the house where the prisoner lodges about 10pm on Monday night. We both lodge in the same house, I was in the prisoner's room, the landlady, the prisoner's wife and myself were at the fire when the prisoner came in. After he came in I was lighting a candle for the purpose of letting the prisoner's wife settle the bed, she put forth her hand and quenched the candle, I put the candle in the fire to light it again, and she put her hand over it again to extinguish it. He stepped forward into the room, and said, "Is that the way, lassie?, What’s your humour for quenching the candle?" I can't say whether the prisoner's wife was drunk or sober, she had had a drop, but was not drunk. She [the wife] said to him, "I'm not drunk" Shortly after the prisoner either pushed her or she fell down over some chairs, I saw her lying with her feet on the floor and her body across some chairs. I took one of the chairs away to leave her more room to get up. I was going to take another chair away when she held fast to the back of it, as I thought to prevent the prisoner from coming near to her, so Ieft it. She either got up or he took her up, and soon after I saw her at the other side of the kitchen standing up. The prisoner came up to her, he put his hand to the left side of her neck, directly after I saw some blood flowing down therefrom. The prisoner made a step or two back, when I saw he had a knife or something in his hand, which he appeared to be closing. Some person went for a police officer. I went to the end of the court. He afterwards came down again, and knocked his stick. After the policeman went along the street, I saw no more of him"

Mary MORAN, "I am a widow, and keep the house in Green's Court, College Lane, where the prisoner and his wife lodged. On Monday night the prisoner's wife had a sign of a drop on her, and I told her she had better go to bed, for if she did not when the prisoner came in she would catch it. Shortly after the prisoner came in I heard some words, such as, "is that your way lassie" and directly afterwards I heard the noise of chairs falling. I had hidden my face for fear of what he might do. I did not see anything further till I turned round and saw blood gushing from the neck of his wife. I caught hold of him by the breast, and said, "You villain, did you cut her throat, I did not see any knife in the prisoner's hand. He was a corn carrier, and he used to carry a knife. [Knife taken from the prisoner produced, witness could not identify it} The noise went through the yard, and two men came in, one of whom was a police-officer. The prisoner at this time was standing at the door, his wife had gone out I believe away to Dr TAYLOR'S. I informed the officer what had happened, I cannot say what he did, whether he took the prisoner with him or not, I was so thunderstruck. I did not see any thing more.

Robert RIGG, master mariner, sworn, "I belong to Dumfries. On Monday about 10pm, I was going home along College Lane, I spoke to the police officer and said it was a fine evening, he was walking as if on his beat. Directly afterwards a young woman came up, she cried, "Murder, murder, police, a man has cut his wife's throat." Upon that the officer ordered me to come to his assistance, I accompanied the officer up an entry, and went into a house where I saw the prisoner. There was a young woman covered with blood, her apron was covered with blood, and I think there was two other females. The prisoner made an attempt to escape, but the officer and I got out before him, and shut the door, he told me to remain at the door. While I was holding the door outside, there was pulling within and some part of the door gave way, and the prisoner rushed out. I received a blow on my face and was knocked down, I think it was with his fist he gave the blow. I did not observe any knife in his hand. The prisoner ran down the entry and along College Lane, immediately after he knocked me down, as soon as I recovered, I pursued him. There was an old man and woman who called out police and said, "this is the way he has gone", pointing towards Hanover St, I proceeded to the top of College Lane as fast as I could. I there saw the prisoner who had got across to the other side of Hanover St. I saw the policeman and the prisoner coming, running and getting tangled together. I am not certain if this was the same officer who went up the entry with me. Three or four other men ran with me up to the prisoner and I got hold of him. We all fell together, I heard some woman cry out "take care of him for he has got a knife, and he will kill some of us" The officer was not one of the men who fell with us. A young man one of those who had fallen, called out, "hold him fast, he has a knife in his hand" I think the young man took a knife out of his hand, my face was covered with blood. I went into a house to wash it and the first cry I heard when I came out was, that the prisoner had killed the policeman. When I saw the police-officer entangled with the prisoner in Hanover St, I rushed across as fast as I could run and seized him, not a minute elapsed."

Ann MOLSON deposed that she went up the entry and into the room were the prisoner lodged, there was a good deal of blood over the floor. She followed the prisoner to College Lane, he had a knife in his hand and was walking slow. She continued to follow him till he got outside the Old Excise-office in Hanover St. A policeman passed her and went towards the prisoners. Witness shouted out, "Oh dear, he has got a knife" She saw the police-officer go close up to the prisoner, but could not say whether he took hold of him or not, but in a moment the officer staggered back, and knocked his stick on the ground three times. Witness and others assisted the deceased to the house of Mr ATHERTON in College Lane, she felt the blood on her arm, he died in a minute or two afterwards.

Manlove MOLSON, said the officer and the prisoner had a scuffle together, he saw the prisoner on the ground.

Mr John CALLEN Jnr, surgeon said he was called to the deceased, he was dead, there was a wound on the left side of his neck, about an inch and a half long, he could pass his finger through the wound into the mouth. He had no doubt some of the large arteries were divided, but could not undertake to say what was the cause of death.

The coroner said it would be necessary to have positive evidence to the cause of death and directed a post mortem should be made, the inquest was adjourned until Thursday

Adjourned inquest

First witness called, Mr John CALLEN Jnr, surgeon who deposed, he had made a post mortem examination of the body in the presence of Dr M'INTYRE, Mr COOPER, and Mr M'CULLOCH, surgeons. I found the wound to extend into the mouth, the external and internal carotid artery were divided, as well as the jugular vein, the tongue was also wounded. The instrument with which these wounds were inflicted had been stopped in its progress by the bones of the lower jaw. The posterior part of the windpipe was cut. In my opinion these injuries were the cause of death, and must have been inflicted by some sharp pointed instrument. The blow given with great force, as the point of the knife came in contact with the bone of the lower jaw, the length of the wound was about four inches.

Dr Peter M'INTYRE, surgeon, "I was called to see the deceased on the night he was stabbed, I found him dead with a severe wound to the left side of his neck. I was present today and assisted in the post mortem. I found the same injuries as Mr CALLEN and am of the same opinion that those injuries were the cause of death.

The coroner asked the prisoner had he any witnesses whom he wished to be examined, he replied in the negative. When asked had he anything to say to the jury, he replied, "I have nothing to say, but that I recollect nothing about it."

The coroner addressed the jury, stating he thought there was no doubt that the prisoner at the bar inflicted upon the deceased the wound of which he had died. The next most important point in the inquiry was, if they were of the opinion, if the prisoner was guilty, was it manslaughter or murder ? Pointing out the difference between the two crimes.

The jury after a few moments unanimously returned a verdict of "Wilful murder" and the prisoner was committed to take his trial at the next assizes.


Assize, Northern Circuit, Liverpool, August 20th

Before Mr Justice COLEMAN, Daniel COLE, a man of very powerful make was indicted for the wilful murder of David BAILEY, police-officer, at Liverpool on the 15th April last, by stabbing him with a knife.

After witnesses were called and all the facts given [as above] His Lordship summed up very minutely and after the jury had been out for over an hour, returned a verdict of, "Guilty of a very aggravated manslaughter"

His Lordship in passing sentence of transportation for life, said the prisoner had been guilty of an offence hardly distinguishable in point of enormity from murder, and had the jury found him guilty of the latter offence, he would have thought it his duty to have left him for execution.


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