DISTRESSING CASE OF MANSLAUGHTER BY BOYS
At the London Guildhall Police-court; Wm. Martin, Geo. Gabriel, Francis Jas. Burton, and Matthew John Cooper, four boys, the eldest of whom was only 16 years of age, were charged before Alderman Phillips with assaulting and causing the death of John Silverside, aged 54, a silversmith, of 4, Brown's-buildings, Clifton-street, Finsbury.
Henry Bryant, a diminutive lad of 15, said he was potman at the Three Colts, in London-wall, and saw all the prisoners striking the deceased in front of the Albion Hall, London-wall, soon after which Martin picked up a stone and gave it to one of the other prisoners, and said, "Take this, and cut his head open." The one that received the stone threw it at the man: it struck him on the head and he fell, upon which the prisoners all ran away.
James Morris, a carman, said he saw a number of boys apparently fighting outside the Albion Hall. He saw the stone thrown, and the four boys run away. The man staggered and fell immediately the stone was thrown, and as the boys passed him he heard one exclaim, "What did you want to hit him so hard for ? That was said, he thought, by Cooper.
Mr. Quentin Dalrymple, a bookseller, of 67, Great Queen-street, Lincoln's-inn-fields, said he was at the Albion Hall on Monday evening, and when he was leaving he observed some boys creating a disturbance. Two boys were fighting and the deceased was agitated in consequence of his son being attacked by the other boys. He remonstrated with one of the boys, and while talking with him he saw the deceased stagger and caught him as he was falling. Witness thought it was merely a fit, so laid him on the ground and unfastened his cravat, and bathed his face with cold water. There was a little blood on the mouth, but there was no animation in the deceased except a slight convulsive movement, which proved to be the death struggle.
Stephen Silverside, the son of the deceased, said he was with his father on Monday evening at Albion Hall, and in consequence of a great noise being made by a lot of boys running up and down the passage, witness and his father cautioned them and closed the gates, but they were several times forced open by the boys from without, upon which witness and deceased came out to give them into custody. Gabriel closed with witness, and they fell. When he got up, Gabriel struck deceased in the mouth and made it bleed. His mother told him (witness) to go inside, and he did, but when he came out again he saw his father leaning on the arm of the last witness. Burton and Cooper he had known before, and they were there and very disorderly.
The evidence of several constables was then taken, but the facts elicited were of minor importance.
Alderman Phillips said it was a most serious matter for all the prisoners, and as the coroner's inquest had not yet been held, he would remand the case for the verdict of the coroner's jury and the evidence of the surgeon who attended the deceased. An application to bail the prisoners was peremptorily refused.
Source: The Illustrated Usk Observer and Monmouthshire Central Advertiser - 2nd February 1861