The scene is England. The date is August 31, 1759 and it’s dark outside. It’s a quarter past nine in the evening, and two men are fighting.
They are both skilled fighters. Their dispute started in an ale-house, when the landlady attempted to send one of the men and another who was with him away. The second man assisted her, and he and the first man started fighting.
Out in the street, one of the men stabbed the other in the abdomen, and was then taken to the hospital. The other was arrested. The man who was stabbed died at 2pm the following day.
The case of the murder of William Kendal was heard in the Old Bailey in England on 12 September 1759, and the sentence was immediately given.
The sentence was swift, with no appeal process:
Now, for the plug:
This all comes from the Old Bailey Online, which has just released transcripts of criminal trials from back to 1674. It makes for rather fascinating reading. Those of us interested in history, particularly that of criminal matters, will enjoy this.
Three observations though:
1. 11 days to prepare a criminal trial and have a sentence handed down? Brilliant! Now it’s lucky to take less than 11 months.
2. Two and a little bit days to carry out a sentence for almost nothing (monetary wise)? Equally good, as long as guilt is established. In this case, it seems to have been pretty conclusive.
3. We’ve advanced far in medicine, because this kind of injury is often overcome these days. Of course, I say that just going off the information read in the transcript.
One last thing, if anyone likes reading about true crime and the like, I have plenty of links if you’re interested.