30th June 1861


Giuseppe Biuccharin, an Italian organ-grinder, was charged with continuing to play his organ in University-street, after having been requested to go away for just and reasonable cause by a householder in that street.

Mr Rawlins, a teacher of military engineering, and professor of drawing at St. Mark’s College, stated that he had been for some years persecuted by the annoyance of organ-grinders playing before his house, which was peculiarly distressing to him, as he suffered much from ill-health, having twice had brain fever when an officer in the East India Company’s service. There was also an invalid lady residing in the house. These circumstances were known to some malicious neighbours, who took a pleasure in torturing him by sending organ-grinders to play in front of his house.

On Monday he was ill in bed, and several organ-grinders came and played in front of his house in the space of two hours. His servant, who had been taught to say in Italian, “Go away, there are sick people here,” sent them away one after the other, but the prisoner, who was the last of the swarm, refused to go away, and persisted in playing his organ. Consequently, Rawlins was obliged, ill as he was, to get up and dress himself, go out into the street, and himself order the man away. As he still refused to go away, witness gave him into custody.

The prisoner, who pretended not to know English (though he had spoken plainly enough to the constable on the way to the station-house), was informed by means of an interpreter of the effect of Mr. Rawlins’s evidence, to which he replied that he did not think he was doing wrong.

Mr Corrie—“You must have known you had no business to stay after you were told to go away. I shall fine you 5s, and if you do it again I will fine you 10s.”

Before the interpreter had time to translate the decision, the prisoner, suddenly recovering his knowledge of English, declared that he should not pay the fine.

Mr Corrie—“Then I will keep your organ and sell that.”

The prisoner, who appeared astonished at this suggestion, paid the fine and was liberated.


A mysterious and tragic affair has excited considerable sensation at Diss, in Norfolk. Mr Ringer, on returning to his house on Thursday evening found the servant girl lying bleeding from a wound in the breast. All that could then be learnt from her was that she had been shot some hours before by a man named Sheldrick, a farm labourer, with whom she was acquainted.

It was ascertained that the report of a gun had been heard about six o’clock, so that the poor girl had remained nearly three hours in that distressing situation.

The girl, on being examined by a medical gentleman, was pronounced to be in a dangerous condition from a gunshot wound in the chest. Her name is Susan Garrod, twenty years of age.

Inquiries were made by the police after Sheldrick the  attempted assassin, and on the following day two officers, who were in search of him, met him in a field near Mr Ringer’s premises. He had in his hand a double-barrelled gun, which he raised as he saw the policemen, who, imagining that he intended to fire upon them, made a rush at him, but he instantly put the muzzle of the gun into his mouth, snapped the trigger with his foot and deliberately blew his brains out on the spot.

On Monday an inquest was held on his body. Sheldrick’s father said he had a wife and two children, that his wages were only 6s a week, and that in consequence of his poverty he had often been occasionally dejected in his mind.

The girl stated that Sheldrick twice attempted to take liberties with her; that she ran out to the orchard, Sheldrick following with the master’s gun in his hand, with which he shot at her.

The jury, after a short deliberation, returned a verdict to the effect that “the deceased feloniously, wilfully, and with malice aforethought, did kill and murder himself.”


2 thoughts on “30th June 1861

  1. I like the “malicious neighbours, who took a pleasure in torturing him by sending organ-grinders to play in front of his house”. And the fact that he suffered from “brain fever”.

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