genealogy of the Bird and Musgrove families
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Manslaughter ?

Newspaper reports on the trial of Thomas Hoare, indicted for the manslaughter of Aron Shaw.





Thomas Hoare was indicted for the manslaughter of Abraham (sic) Shaw at Flamstead.  It appeared in evidence that the prisoner keeps a beer shop called the Blackbirds, at Flamstead, and that on the 8th of May the deceased was in his house helplessly drunk, and had quarrelled with some men in the tap-room ; in the course of the scuffle he reeled against the table and broke a mug, when the prisoner entered, and said “if he did not pay for it he would pay him," and then struck him, and subsequently knocked him down several times.


Deceased was then turned out of the room, and thrown down in the passage.


Subsequently deceased, while outside the house, called upon the prisoner to come out and fight him; prisoner came out and struck him under the ear, knocking him violently down.  Deceased got up, and afterwards approached a man named Coote, who gave him  a slight push, when he again fell down, the back of his head coming in contact with the ground.


This was on Saturday night, and the man died on the following Sunday shortly after twelve at noon.


Mr. Patrick Benson, of Luton, surgeon, who attended the deceased, expressed his opinion that death was occasioned by the last fall of the deceased on the back of his head, and not by the blows alleged to have been given by the prisoner.


The extravasation of blood was so extensive that he could not have walked about for the length of time stated in the evidence, after he had received the blows from the prisoner, if those blows had been the cause of the extravasation. 


The Learned Judge under these circumstances stopped the case, and directed an acquittal.







Thomas Hoare was indicted for the manslaughter of Aaron Shaw at the parish of Flamstead.


Thomas Brandon examined.  Knows the prisoner at the bar; he takes care of a beer-shop called the Blackbirds, at Flamstead.  I saw Aaron Shaw there on the 8th of May, about 7 o'clock, Shaw was very drunk.  I saw him stagger against a table, and knock a pot down, which was broken ; Hoare came up, and said "if Shaw did not pay for the pot, he would pay him," and immediately struck him in the face.  Shaw attempted to rise up, and Hoare kept knocking him, and knocked him across the table, the blood came from his face.


Thomas Hoare then said to Amos Hoare, a constable, " I give him in charge to you," and they both dragged him out.   


I then went to the four-corner ground. where I stopped about five minutes : when I came back, I found the deceased in front of the house, and he called out to Hoare, " I'll fight you, if I don't, sugar my eye.”  Hoare came out in about five minutes,  and struck Shaw under the left ear, very sharp, and said, “you bxxxxxx, I’ll kill you ;” the blow knocked Shaw two poles away ; he got up himself, and fell down again ; saw blood coming from his ear, which he wiped off with his hand. This was Saturday night ; on Sunday I saw him dead.


Cross-examined by Mr RYLAND —The deceased was helplessly drunk ; saw the prisoner twice in the tap-room ; he was not drunk ; but would not say he was quite sober; he would swear positively that Hoare came out and struck the deceased ; Shaw had given no other provocation in the house, than breaking the jug ; will swear that Shaw did not strike first.


Several witnesses corroborated this evidence.


Patrick Benson, surgeon of Luton, deposed that his opinion was, that the injury which occasioned death was produced by the fall which followed the push from Coote; had it been occasioned by the blows received from Hoare, the deceased could not have walked about so long as he appeared to have done.


The Learned Judge here said,— Gentlemen of the Jury, unless this case is pressed by counsel, I think it has now come to its termination.  If death was not occasioned by the blows of Hoare, but arose from the push of another person, you cannot convict Hoare. It is of no use that we should hear other medical testimony, of which neither you nor I, gentlemen, would be competent judges.


The Jury immediately pronounced a verdict of Acquittal.


Linked toAaron Shaw

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