21 AUGUST 1858, Page 2


"All the World" is out of town, with the-usual conjugal accompani- ment; public life has gone to devote itself to common objects at the sea- side' —admirably depicted by Punch,—or to Sligo ; so that there is al- most nothing to note in London. Parliament has ceded to the criminal courts; and the events of the day are the conviction of a well-born felon, the adventures of the romantic Boromeo, the Hampstead suicides, and the great law dicta of Coroner Wakley.

At the' Central Criminal Court, on Monday, Merles Tucker, ahm• Alexandre Charles Borromeo, was sentenced to few years' penal servitude for bigamy. This is the person who took in the daily papers by producing forged reports of a pretended Italian Conference. It was proved that he hia induced three ladies in succession to marry him ; one when he lived in CU, sea, one when he resided at Preston, a third when he took up his abode Sligo. He is a member of a family of some station. For eight years, howat . ever, he seems to have lived upon the proceeds of frauds, gambling, and lectures. A subscription was opened for the benefit of the women whom] had wronged, and the offspring of his union with them.

Henry Banbury, a son of the late General Bunbury, pleaded guilty to a charge of issuing forged acceptances to bills of exchange, and was sentenced to four years penal servitude.

On Wednesday, Mr. Francis Worrell Stevens, the stockbroker charged with misappropriating a large sum entrusted to him for the purpose of pur_ chasing railway stock, was tried and accquitted. It appeared that he had handed over to the prosecutor the identical sum in the idented notes originally handed to him. On learning this the counsel for the prosecution desired to withdraw from it, but the opposing counsel insisted on a verdict in justice to Mr. Worrell. The Jury found him "not guilty."

Mr. Robert Marshall Straight has been appointed clerk of the Central Criminal Court in the room of the late Mr. John Clark,

A great light.has been thrown upon the supposed murder at Acton. On Monday, Lieutenant Clavering, an officer of the Navy, was charged before the Hammersmith magistrate with having caused the death of John Gates by stabbing him in self-defence. It appears that.Lieutenant Clavering read an account of the death of Gates m a Sunday paper, and that he im- mediately communicated with the police. He was arrested on his own con- fession. It was in substance that as he was walking home late at night with a friend, Captain Miller, a man sprung upon them, that the sheath of Clavering's sword-stick fell off, that the assailant seized it and struck the lieutenant, and that the former suddenly fell down. He was blIpposed to be drunk and the gentlemen left him where he lay. Mr. Ingham likrated liberated Lieutenant Clavering on bail. On the same day Mr. Wakley held an inquiry before a jury. Here after the finding of the body, and the cause of death had been proved, CaptMn Miller made the following statement. "I am a post captain m the navy, and reside in Devonshire. I am at present staying with my friend, Lieutenant Clavering, at 61, Inverness Terrace, having specially come up on this mat- ter owing to what I saw about it in the newspapers yesterday. On Monday night I had been with Clavering to Starch Green, and we were returning home along the Acton Road, having missed our way, when we met a man who was in a drunken state. The man came up to us, and said, What the — business are you doing there ?' I took him to be a farmer, but Cla- vering thought he appeared to be a barber or a discharged valet. Clavering replied, We are two gentlemen out for a walk, and I would like to know what business it is to you ? ' The man made some remark about doing for us, and rushed upon Mr. Clavering, who had a sword. stick in his hand. The man laid hold of the stick, and Clavering warned him to mind what he was about, as it was a sword-stick. He re- peated three or four times to the man that what he had in his hand was a sword-stick. The night was very dark, and I did not myself perceive the sword leave the sheath, but I saw the man give Clavering several blows, one being on his bead. At this time I saw Clavering with the sword in his hand endeavouring to keep the man off with the point. I then thought I saw the man with something of a polished nature in his hand, such as a knife or pistol, and I called out, Take care, Harry, he has either a knife or pistol in his hand, so look out.' ,I at the same time pressed any own stick tighter and got nearer the man to see what he had, repeating to Clavering, Take care, I think he has got a knife in his hand.' -I then heard Clever- big, when endeavouring to keep the man off from the end of the sword, three times exclaim Take care, or I may do you an injury.' At the third time of saying this the man made another rush and he fell. I never saw Clavering mace a blow or give a thrust, but I saw him retreat when the row commenced from about the middle of the road to the path. Directly the man fell I said, Come along, Harry, I expect there are more of them about.' Clavering replied, Hold for a minute until I have picked up the end (the sheath) of my sword-stick.' It was not till then that I knew it was the stick the unfortunate man had been striking Clavering with. After this we went on. Clavering said 'I am afraid I may have pricked the poor fellow.' I said Nonsense, Harry, I was close to him, and I can swear you never touched him.' I thought the deceased's druken state caused him to fall. Clavering said he might have pricked his arm when he rushed on him, and I said if that was all it would do him no harm, but serve him quite right. A cart was coining along, and Clavering called out to the driver not to run over the fellow who was lying drunk in the road. I also called out to those in the cart, and told them they had better pick him up and put him in the cart. After this, upon arriving at a higher part of the road, Clevering examined the sword to see if he had pricked the man. We both exa- mined the sword, and there was not a mark or stain of blood on it. Clever- ing said he was glad of this, but that if the man had been prioked it would have been his own fault.' The Coroner here stopped the further hearing of the ease, and in conse- quence of what had been disclosed he objected to Captain Miller being cross- examined by the jury. Tho inquiry was then further adjourned, Lieutenant Clavering being boun4), over to appear at the adjournment in a sum of 6001., and Captain Miller in 300/. Lieutenant Clavering on leaving the Court most solemnly protested that he never aimed the sword at the deceased, and the proceedings then terminated. On Thursday Coroner Wakley and his jury sat again. A great number of witnesses were examined. Only two persons, young Gates and a grocer, deposed that the elder Gates was a sober man. A boy saw him in the high road, at six in the evening, not sober. He chased a vendor of soda water, who offered him some. A publican saw Gates a short time before; he was "pretty comfortable." At a quarter past eleven Gates was leaning against a paling quite drunk but not insensible, for he went on his wax to London, wishing policeman Langham good night, and hoping that he might hirasell be soon m heaven. His employer, Mr. Reeves, showed that Gates was often drunk. He had, it seems, a habit of trying to frighten people on these occasions. Captain Miller and Lieutenant Clavering repeated their statements. It was shown that both were sober; that they tried to avoid Gates who was swearing to himself; but that he rushed upon them. In the scuffle Gates seized the swordstick and the sheath part came away in his hand. Where- upon he struck .Clavering over the head. "I was two yards at least from him when he fell, so that whatever injury may have been inflicted upe,U. him must have been inflicted at the third blow, when he struck my swum stick." Sergeant Ballantine—" Were you, upon your oath, consoiou at that time that you had inflicted any injury upon the man ?" Clavernie-- s e upon my oath I was not. When he fell he let the sheath out of his bana. I did not see him rise again." The foreman of the jury asked Captain Miller if he thought it possible for any one to get a sword out eta man's body into which it had been thrust seven or eight inches without altering the motion of his hand ? Was there not some jerk on the rt of Lieutenant Clavering ? Captain Miller said he observed nothing o the sort. Coroner Wakley summed up, and thus laid down the law. If Lieutenant elavering and Captain Miller believed they were assaulted by a person whose intention it was to rob or to inflict personal injury on them they were right in acting in their own defence ; but they had stated that, notwith- standing the provocation they received from the deceased, no thrust or blow was inflicted on himhy either of them during the affray ; and there was the statement of Mr. Lingham, the surgeon, that the deceased might have sus- tained the wound by rushing forward and falling on the sword. Supposing it possible that the wound was wilfully inflicted by Lieutenant Clavering, no transaction could hardly be of a more dark or brutal character. It was impossible to say under what circumstances the wound was received by the deceased; but, supposing it to have been inflicted, as represented by Lieu- tenant Clavering and Captain Miller, by the deceased rushing or falling against the sword, the Jury could return no other verdict except homicide by misadventure or that of accidental death. If, however, they thought the wound was inflicted by Lieutenant Clavering in the heat of passion, it would without doubt amount to manslaughter. On the other hand, supposing they believed he deliberately and wilfully gave the deceased that stab it would be murder, and as atrocious a murder as ever was committed.

The Jury were absent in deliberation about an hour and a half. They found this verdict-

" We, the jurors, consider that the death of John Gates was caused by a wound in his chest, which penetrated to his lungs and heart ; but whether the said wound was inflicted wilfully, or was caused accidentally, there is not before the jurors suf- ficient evidence to prove." The Coroner said he was bound to say that had he been a juryman in this case, he should have returned a verdict of that kind, or one closely ana- logous to it. The circumstances of the case were involved in great doubt and difficulty; but this was a very severe verdict, because, in point of fact, it showed that Lieutenant Clavering's description of the manner in which the wound was inflicted was not credited. The foreman said they had given him the benefit of their doubts in that respect. The Coroner said he did not think the Jury could have done otherwise. At the same time he must remark that none of the particulars of the case would have been known if these gentlemen had not come forward as -witnesses. Notwithstanding, it appeared that the Jury did not give credence to their statements. The fore- man said there were some statements made in the evidence which they found it impossible to reconcile. The Coroner said he had no doubt the Jury had acted conscientiously. Captain Miller and Lieutenant Clavering were discharged in their reeognizances.

Two suicides have been committed on Hampstead Heath—one on Mon- day, one on Tuesday. A policeman found Mr. Edward Prior lying under some fir-trees dying. He died shortly afterwards in the workhouse, having taken poison. The Jury found that he was of unsound mind when he killed himself, the cause whereof could not even be gliessed at. Mr. Ashcombe, the second suicide, was a surgeon. He visited a friend, was very cheerful, jokingly said he expected to find a "man in possession" when he returned home, and set out with his friend to catch the last omnibus for London. He lagged behind, and on turning back his friend found him dying : he had taken prussic acid, and died almost immediately. The Jury could not de- termine the state of his mind. Both of the men were unmarried.