29th September 1861


A Mr Johnstone, residing in Newcastle-under-Lyne, lately met his daughter walking with a young man whom he had forbidden her to associate with. He ordered her into the house, went in himself, and immediately returning with a poker, dealt a blow that knocked the young man to the ground. Upon examination, the young man proved to be a stranger and, what is worse, he died of the blow; and Mr Johnstone is now in gaol to answer for his crime.


John Tucker, a dirty, bald-headed old man, who was described as a jobbing porter in Spitalfields market, was charged with committing indecent assaults on two girls, named Ellen Thompson and Emily Wooton, each aged eleven years.

The case was one of a most revolting description. The prisoner was dwelling in a small, ill-ventilated and filthy room in Cable-street, Whitechapel. The girls live with their parents in Mansion-street, St-George’s-in-the-East, where the prisoner formerly dwelt. On Tuesday the 10th inst, the prisoner decoyed the two girls into his apartment in Cable-street, by promising them halfpence, and then laid them on his bed, and committed the vile assaults.

The illness of the children was subsequently discovered by their parents, and on Monday they underwent an examination by Dr Edmunds, who discovered they had been seriously injured.

The prisoner was immediately given into custody, and it was ascertained that the old villain was labouring under a loathsome disease. The medical evidence against the prisoner was conclusive as to his disgraceful intercourse with the girls, and the injury he had done them.

From the evidence of Police-constable Kelly, 130H, it also appeared that the prisoner had contaminated many other little girls, and that he was one of the most wicked old men in the district.

It was also stated by a woman named Wood that fifteen months ago he outrageously assaulted an orphan girl, only ten years of age, in the same house, and that Mr Wood, her husband, was so disgusted with the atrocious conduct of the prisoner that he inflicted a severe beating upon him. The prisoner suffered from this treatment for a considerable time, but it did not cure him of his evil propensities.

The prisoner made a very long and rambling defence, imputing every species of immorality to the girls.

Mr Woolrych committed the prisoner for trial.


The discharged soldier, Joseph Seers, who is in custody, charged, on his own confession, with the murder of the young girl, Sarah Watts, at the Woodlands, Frome, in the month of August, 1851, under circumstances of great atrocity [see last week’s report—ed.], was found to be not guilty of the crime. It has transpired that he was not resident in the locality at the time of the murder.

Investigations have revealed that, while with his regiment at Corfu, he became insane, chiefly through his intemperate habits, and was sent to the military lunatic asylum at Fort Pitt, Chatham, from where he has only recently been discharged as incurable, after twice attempting suicide.


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