William Harris and Henry Round

Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 6.0, 28 September 2011), November 1851, trial of WILLIAM HARRIS HENRY ROUND (t18511124-26).

Dated: 24th November 1851

WILLIAM HARRIS and HENRY ROUND , feloniously assaulting Edwin Earthy, and discharging at him a loaded pistol, with intent to murder him. Other COUNTS, varying the intent.

MR. PARRY conducted the Prosecution.

EDWIN EARTHY (police-sergeant, T 19). On Wednesday night, 8th Oct., about 8 o’clock, I met police-constable Bailey, at East Acton, in Middlesex. In consequence of information that I received of a highway robbery, I was on the look out for the parties that evening.  I proceeded with Bailey down a lane, which leads into the Uxbridge-road, from East Acton.  When we had got down the lane about two hundred yards, I saw two men standing under the shade of the trees; I went towards them, as I drew near, I could see from the light of the moon that their faces were covered with something black, I instantly seized one of them, which proved to be the prisoner, Round, by the collar with my left hand, and with my right hand I stripped the mask from his face, I said, “Halloo! what are you doing here, with your face covered?”.  At that instant a shot was fired, and I fell down, I could not swear which of the two fired the shot; I supposed it to be the prisoner, Round.

COURT. Q. Must it have been fired by one of them? A. It must have been fired by one of them.

MR. PARRY. Q. Upon your falling did you feel anything? A. I felt a numbness coming over my leg, all up my left side, I heard a scuffle behind me, and rose on my knees as I turned my head, I saw fire, as if from the flash of a pistol.  I instantly threw myself over the body of what proved to be the prisoner Harris, and seized a pistol which he held in his right hand; I was not able for a second or two to wrest it from him, Bailey then drew his staff, and struck Harris across the right hand, which held the pistol, from the blow, he let go with his right hand, and seized it with his left. After that, I got the pistol from him.  I never saw Round after the shot was fired until I saw him in custody.  I and Bailey then secured Harris; we took him up the lane, and got farther assistance. I then got into an omnibus, and went home.  I felt pain from the wound I had received.  I have been confined to my bed ever since; I am far from being recovered now, a medical gentleman attended me.

Round. I was not there at the time. Witness. I cannot swear to Round, except from his height.

MR. PARRY. Q. Were you able at all to notice his dress? A. Yes; I thought it was something of a light slop he had on, from the light of the moon; but it was so short a time.

COURT. Q. Do you speak merely from his stature, or likewise from his dress? A. I speak more from his stature than his dress, when he was taken in custody, he was not dressed as the person had been whom I saw at the time in question, I thought he had something lighter on than he has now.  I have nothing to go by, except his height.

MR. PARRY. Q. You say you stripped off his mask? A. I did; I saw his features, but not for a sufficient time, under the circumstances, to identify him. I do not speak from his features.

HENRY BAILEY (policeman, T 250.) On Wednesday, 8th Oct. about eight o’clock in the evening I met Earthy, at East Acton. I went with him down the lane, leading to the Uxbridge road it is called East Acton lane. I had received information of a highway robbery, which induced me to watch.  When we had got about 200 yards down the lane, I saw the two prisoners standing by the side of the road, on the pathway, with their faces covered with something black.  I saw Earthy go to one of them, he laid hold of him by the collar, and pulled the mask from his face, and said, “What are you doing here, with your faces covered?  I then observed the flash, and heard the report of a pistol. I am not able to say which of the men fired the pistol, one of them decidedly did. I immediately sprang upon Harris, and threw him to the ground. I was struggling with him on the ground, and sergeant Earthy called to me to mind the pistol; at that very instant, I noticed a pistol in Harris’s hand, he had it close to my belly, he pulled the trigger, it flashed, but missed fire.  I saw the flash, Earthy then caught hold of the barrel end of the pistol, I drew my staff, and hit Harris across the wrist and Earthy, wrested the pistol from him.  This is it (producing it).  I was not able to see the other roan at all during the struggle, he got away, I am only able to speak to Round from his general height and appearance.  Harris was never out of my hands, I took him to the station, we got more assistance at the end of the lane Earthy went home. When we got Harris to the station at Acton, I searched him, and found on him three new silk handkerchiefs, three bullets, a piece of rough lead, a knife, 1s. 4d. in money, and a canister containing some gunpowder, which I produce.  The bullets are not regularly cast, they are pieces of rough lead cut with a knife, and then chewed, these are the bullets which were in the pistol, and these were found in Harris’s pocket, they are all made in the same way.  I examined the pistol that Earthy wrenched from Harris, it was loaded with powder, and the two bullets I have produced. On the Saturday following, from information I received, I got a bundle from a person of the name of Squires, a barber of New-street, Houndsditch.

Harris. Q. Do you remember what evidence you gave against me at Hammersmith police court? A. Yes; I did not swear that you, and you only, shot the sergeant, I said, To the best of my knowledge,  I swear that you flashed a pistol at me, that is not false.

JAMES SQUIRES . I am a hairdresser, and live at 37, New-street, Houndsditch. On Thursday night, 9th Oct., the prisoner Round came to my shop about half-past twelve o’clock in the day, to be shaved. I shaved him previous to his going out, he asked me whether I would allow him to leave a bundle in my shop till the evening, I allowed him to do so. He left the bundle, but never came for it. On the Saturday following I gave that bundle up to Bailey.

HENRY BAILEY re-examined. The bundle that I got from Squires contained a jacket, waistcoat and trowsers, which I believe Harris has on now for the purpose of his being identified in another case.  I opened the bundle at the time I found it on Squires’s premises on the Saturday. In the jacket pocket I found a knife, a razor, a flask of powder, a piece of rough lead and two black silk masks. I produce them.

WILLIAM LEE . I am a sergeant of police on the Great Western Railway. On Thursday night, 9th Oct., about half-past 8 o’clock, I took the prisoner Round into custody, at the Paddington terminus, for uttering a medal for a sovereign.  I searched him, and found on him this loaded pistol (producing it), it had in it a piece of paper, two slugs, or bullets, another piece of paper, and some powder.  I gave the pistol to Mr. Collard, and saw him unload it next morning, and take these bullets (produced) from it.  The bullets are not made in a mould, they are similar to the others produced.  I also found on Round two sovereigns, a shilling, three halfpence, and some cards.  He had put down the medal at the station in payment for a ticket going to Southall station, I believe that is the nearest station toEast Acton.

JURY. Q. Is there not a station between Southall and the terminus, at Paddington? A. There are two stations between Paddington and Southall, Ealing and Hanwell,, I am not myself aware whether the Hanwell station is the nearest toEast Acton.

JOSEPH COLLARD . I am superintendent of the Great Western Railway police. Lee handed me this pistol on Friday morning,10th Oct.  I have compared this pistol with the one found on Harris, it exactly corresponds, they appear to be a pair. I recognised it directly I saw it as the fellow to the one I had seen the day previous, produced by Bailey. I went with Round to the police court on Friday morning,10th.  I was in a cab.  I stopped the cab, and told him I had a much more serious charge to prefer against him than that for which he had been detained all night, he must use his own discretion as to whether he said anything or not, if he did it would be my duty to repeat it to the Magistrate. I then said, “I am about to prefer a charge against you of being concerned with a man named Harris, now in custody, with shooting at and wounding a police-sergeant, atActon, on Wednesday evening last”.  He appeared startled, and said, “I? Do they say I did it?  I replied, “That is the charge I have to prefer against you”.  He then again said, “And they say I did it?”  He then immediately, or very shortly after, said, “Where is Harris?”   I answered, “Where I expect you will be before the day expires”. He asked, “Is the police sergeant dead?” I replied, “No”.  I afterwards withdrew the charge from the pistol, and found in it, powder, paper, two bullets, and paper again.  I took these two bullets from the pistol, which correspond with the other bullets that were in the pistol that was taken from Harris.

JURY. Q. Is Southall the nearest station to Acton? A. No; Ealing is the nearest.  Lee is not acquainted with the line, the Ealing station is about four miles from the Southall station. Acton is about half-way betweenLondon and Ealing, or rather more perhaps.

WILLIAM ALEXANDER DOWLINO (policeman, T 97). On Friday, 10th Oct., when Round was brought to the station, at Hammersmith, I was placed in the cell with him.  Prior to my going into the cell, the station sergeant, in my presence, had cautioned him two or three times.  He told him that he might answer no questions he put to him as regarded his asking what his name was, and so on, but anything he did say would be taken down against him.  He asked me, when in the cell, if the sergeant was dead.  I said, “No” He said it was his own fault his being shot, as it occurred from the constable knocking up his hand, and when it fell, the pistol went off; that he was not aware it was on the full cock, that it must have been low down in the body that the sergeant was shot; that he thought it useless to remain to assist his comrade as his pistol was discharged, as he had no means of making any defence, although he heard his mate call after him, that he went a short distance and reloaded his pistol (MR. PARRY here stated, that what further passed related to another charge. LORD CAMPBELL asked the prisoner Round whether he wished the witness to state all that passed, or whether he desired him to stop here; and the prisoner saying he wished him to stop, it was not proceeded with.)

Round. I never said any such thing to him; he kept bothering me in the cell whether it was me that shot the sergeant or not, and I told him no. Witness. I did not ask him whether it was he that shot the sergeant, he said he did not wish Harris to be accused of firing at the sergeant, that it was he fired the shot, and not Harris.  I said, the less he had to say about it the better; he said it made no matter, as he supposed Harris had told it, and he expressed a wish to see Harris before his going to the police court.

Round. Q. Did you not keep telling me that you had seen things, and try to get me to make a confession? A. No, I did not.  I did not promise you some beer, I did not tell you that I had seen chaps doing things, and had passed by them and said nothing to them because I knew them, I did not ask you where you bought the coat you had on, as I wanted to buy one just like it.

Round. And I told you where I bought it, at Mr. Aaron’s, in Petticoat lane. Witness. That is the clothes the officer asked me to inquire of him where the clothes were purchased, or what he had done with the old clothes. That was after he had confessed all to me about the robbery of the two gentlemen, as well as the shooting at the sergeant.

COURT. Q. Who was it that asked you to inquire of him what he had done with the old clothes? A. Bailey, I asked him that, but he gave no satisfactory answer, he said he was drunk at the time, and he did not know where he had bought the new clothes and left the old, whether it was in Petticoat lane or Houndsditch.

Round. I told him that Harris would prove I was not there that night, because I left him outside the King’s Arms, and went across the fields to Hammersmith, and did not know that the policeman was shot. Witness. I have never beard that said before.

CHARLES DRUCE . I am pot-boy to Mrs. Hands, of theKing of Prussiapublic-house, at Southall Green. I know both the prisoners, they lodged at theKing of Prussia, and slept in the same room with me.  They lodged there upwards of three months.  I heard of the sergeant being shot.  The prisoners left the King of Prussiaon the Monday night as this happened on the Wednesday I did not see them till they were in custody.  I was taking the beer out one day, and saw Round shooting birds in the lane with a pistol, I saw the pistol in his hand.  I did not have it in my hand at all, I have seen tap pistols in the possession of Round. I could speak to them again (looking at the pistols produced) if these are not the pistols they are just the same, and the same shape.

JAMES MILTON . I am a labourer, living at Harefield, Middlesex. On Wednesday, 8th Oct., I was at the King’s Arms, Acton Bottom, between 4 and 5 o’clock in the afternoon, and saw the two prisoners there. I had known them before; they came in and had a glass of gin and water between them.  I was in the same room, they were there about half an hour. I am sure they are the two men.

HENRY DAY . I am a surgeon atActon. On Wednesday night, 8th Oct., I was called on to attend sergeant Earthy.  I found he was wounded in the left thigh, the wound passed from the front of the thigh inwards, it crossed the large vessels, but did not go deep enough to injure them.  Had they been injured it would most likely have been fatal; had the main artery been injured he would probably have bled to death before assistance could be procured.  The bullet passed through the trowsers of the right leg, grazing the right thigh in its posterior part.  About ten days afterwards I extracted from the wound a piece of cloth which was a portion of the trowsers that bad been forced in by the ballet.  He has been under my care from that time to the present.  I should hope he would ultimately perfectly recover from the injury.  At present he is suffering from various pains, the result of that injury, and he is likely to do so for some little time.

Harris’s Defence. I have nothing to say.

Round’s Defence. It was not me that was there that night, for I parted with Harris at the King’s Arms door, and went across the fields to Hammersmith, and from there I went to Brentford.


ROUND  GUILTY . Aged 20.

DEATH Recorded.

(There were two other indictments against the prisoners for highway robbery. The Court directed a reward of 15lTo be paid to the witness Earthy, and 5l. to the witness Bailey.)

Before Mr. Justice Maule.