THE DERBY MERCURY WEDNESDAY MARCH 27TH 1850
Derbyshire Lent Assizes.
William Spendlove,aged 58,charged with having at Alderwasley killed and slayed one Jedediah Winson.-Mr Flood,for the prosecution: Mr Nesfield,for the prisoner.
The evidence before the coroner has already appeared in the Mercury,and it will therefore be unnecessary to repeat more than the leading facts.The prisoner and deceased were friends,and on the 8th September they were drinking together at several public-houses.There was nothing to show any malice on the part of the prisoner.During their drinking the deceased made a remark which none of the witnesses heard,and which led the prisoner to call him a rogue.Deceased challenged him out several times,and at length the prisoner went out,and after a struggle or fight in the yard prisoner returned into the house : deceased followed him,and challenged him to go out again and have another round . A second struggle took place :both were down together,and on getting up deceased insisted upon having another round and "ran into the prisoner, "who struck him,and he fell and never spoke again,though he lived several days.The prisoner went for his ass and cart to get him home,but in the mean-while he was wheeled in a barrow.
Mr Poyser,surgeon,descibed the injury inflicted by a blow behind the ear ,which produced death.
Mr Flood believed the prisoner quite incapable of meditating the death of the deceased,but submitted that they must find a verdict of manslaughter.
Mr .Nesfield,having elicited on cross-examination that the prisoner had a bottle and basket in his hand when deceased ran at him, and that he left the house with these in his hands,
Mr.Flood said this important imformation did not come before the coroner.
His Lordship suggested to the jury,that without going further into the case they must aquit the prisoner,as he was justified in defending himself,when attacked,in a resonable degree.If two parties fought voluntarily,that was clearly illegal,and if one killed the other was guilty of the crime of manslaughter ; but in this case the prisoner was attacked when he had a basket and a bottle in his hands,and he struck,as he had a right to do ,in self-defence. no blame whatever was attatchable to the coroner.-he was then aquitted, his lordship remarking it was a pity he had been in prison so long..