Extracts from the Newcastle Courant relating to Criminals and Crime, 1830-1851


Extracted by George Bell

Durham Assizes, February 27th 1830

WILLIAM DAY, of the city of Durham, painter, aged 24, was convicted of bigamy on very clear and satisfactory evidence. He was married to a young woman named Ann Greagg, by banns, on the 1st August, 1826, at the church of St Luke, Old Street, Shoreditch, London; and on the 15th of October last, he married a young woman named Jane Coulter (whom he induced to leave the service of Mr Alderman Lucas to espouce him) at the church of St Sepulchre. The existence of Ann Greagg, and the apprehension of the prisoner in this county, having been proved, the jury without hesitation found him guilty. It was intimated, after the verdict was given, that the prisoner had a third wife living. Mr Justice Parker, after expiating on the enormity of the prisoner's conduct, sentenced him to the fullest extent allowed by law, viz.:- transportation for 7 years. Considerable applause followed the passing of the sentence, which was instantly checked, and strongly censured by the judge.

Durham, May 29th 1830

On Friday last, George Coulthard, who was capitally convicted at the late Durham assizes of sheep-stealing, but which sentence was afterwards commuted to transportation for life, was sent to the hulks, at Woolwich, preparatory to his departure for New South Wales.

Durham Assizes, March 5th 1831

ALEXANDER GRANT, a sailor, aged 35, was arraigned on a charge of bigamy, but acquitted for want of sufficient proof of his identity as to the first marriage.

Durham Gaol, May 21st 1831

On Tuesday last, an inquest was held on the body of William Holt, a felon in the gaol at Durham, under sentence of transportation for life. Verdict - Died by the visitation of God.

Durham Gaol, March 9th 1833

On Monday last, James Hevey, who had effected his escape from Durham gaol on Friday last, after having been sentenced to be transported for life, for stealing silver spoons, was secured by the police at Sunderland, secreted in his own house, and was immediately conveyed back to Durham gaol.

Morpeth, April 6th 1833

On Wednesday last, Henry Spittle, a pensioner, and a native of Morpeth, but who for many years (except when in custody in Morpeth gaol,) has been employed as a labourer and porter to the carriers resorting to Newcastle, was committed for trial at the next sessions, on a charge of having, last Saturday, feloniously stolen a poke of oats from the cart of Mr Wm. Spraggon, of Kirby Dam House, in the parish of Ponteland.

Newcastle Gaol, April 19th 1834

An attempt was made on Sunday night last, by the convicts Coulson, Summerville, Talentire, Riley, and Scott, sentenced to transportation, to break out of the gaol, in this town, which, notwithstanding the increased vigilance of Mr Grey, the governor, and his assistants, caused by previous attempts, seems to have well nigh proved successful. They had ingeniously melted down a piece of lead into the form of a mallet, and this, together with some pieces of iron which answered the purpose of chisels, they had used with considerable effect before their purpose was detected on Monday morning. The have since been heavily ironed.

Newcastle and Northumberland Assizes, July 26th 1834

The following is a list of the prisoners for trial at the ensuing assizes:- NEWCASTLE - Charles May (25) for stealing from Dr. Tomlinson's library, in this town. Frederick Thomas (18) for obtaining a hat from Mr Robert Kent, hatter, under false pretence. Thomasin Sloan (26), and Sarah Smith (19) for stealing from the person. John Curtis (22) for robbing William Graham. Elizabeth Davison (43), and Margaret Hebbron (26), the former for stealing from the person, and the latter for receiving. NORTHUMBERLAND - John Watson, for assaulting the person of Ann Todd. George Wilson (18), for stealing 13 pieces of pork. Mary Wilson (50), charged with receiving the pork. The said George Wilson, on a second count, for stealing two steel traps. Thomas Henderson (31), for bigamy.

Northumberland Assizes, July 26th 1834

THOMAS HENDERSON, aged 31, captain of a vessel trading between this port and Hull, was placed at the bar charged with having, on the 7th May last, unlawfully married, at Long Benton, Jane Atkinson, his former wife (Charlotte Malcolm) being then alive.

Mr INGHAM stated the case to the jury, and called Mr Thos. John Turnbull, who produced a certificate of the first marriage of the prisoner at Sculcoates, near Hull, on the 22nd of August 1817.

Nancy Leonard, of Hull, spoke to the marriage of the prisoner with Charlotte Malcolm, at which she was one of the witnesses.

James Mitchell, of Wells, knew the prisoner, and was in the habit of visiting him at his house in Wells, where he lived with a woman he called Mrs Henderson, and had several children; they had lived together 12 or 14 years.

The examination of the prisoner before the magistrates was read, which stated that he had a wife living at Wells.

Jane Atkinson proved her marriage with the prisoner at Long Benton, on the 7th of May last; which was corroborated by the Parish Clerk.

The jury returned a verdict of guilty. Sentence - Six months' hard labour, every alternate week to solitary confinement.

Durham Quarter Sessions, October 18th 1834

Jas. Jamieson, aged 24, was convicted of bigamy, having married Margaret Carr - Hannah Jamieson, his lawful wife being then alive; and was sentenced to hard labour for eight calendar months - the last in solitary confinement.

Durham Gaol, June 13th 1835

An inquest was held on the 3rd instant, in gaol, at Durham, on the body of Christian Dobe, a prisoner under sentence of transportation. He died of consumption. Verdict - Died by the visitation of God.

Durham Gaol, April 9th 1836

The two men Smith and Urwin, who were sentenced at the late Durham assizes to be executed for rape and robbery, received on Friday last, a reprieve on condition of being transported for the term of their lives.

Durham Quarter Sessions, July 2nd 1836

ANDREW WILKINSON (36), pleaded guilty to a charge of having, at Ancroft, intermarried with Diana Mainson, his former wife Elizabeth Wilkinson being then alive.- Seven years' transportation.

Durham Quarter Sessions, July 3rd 1840

ROBERT TAYLOR, alias, LORD KENNEDY, (19) was charged with having, at the parish of Acklam, Yorkshire, on the 4th of April last, feloniously intermarried with Mary Davidson, his wife, Sarah Ann Taylor, formerly Skidmore, being then alive.

Mr Granger stated the case, and called

John Wood, who said - I am a waggoner living in Cambridge-street, Crescent, Birmingham; I met the prisoner there in July, 1838; he represented himself to be the son of Lord Kennedy, and produced some documents. One of them professed to be a will, and he said that when he came of age he would be entitled to £60,000 a-year under it. He said he had advertised for a wife, and if I would introduce him to a respectable young woman he would make me a handsome present. I took him to a friend's, called Benjamin Skidmore, who sent for his daughter to the shop, where she was working. When she came, the documents were shown to her father and herself. A licence was got the same day, and they were married the day following. After the wedding we went to a church and heard a sermon. After the marriage he was absent from Birmingham for a week. He remained there 6 or 7 weeks, and then he left. I saw him a week ago, and he showed me some marks on his arm, which he said proved his birth.

The prisoner cross-examined the witness at some length.

Mr Granger read over a few extracts from the will, by which the testator bequeathed to his son the sum of one million and fifteen thousand pounds, consols, "and no more" - (a laugh) - four coal pits, and other hereditaments, &c. &c.

Mary Davidson said - I am the daughter of Thomas Davidson, sexton at Aycliffe Church. On the 3rd of April last, I was introduced to the prisoner at my father's house; he said he was the son of Lord Kennedy, and would receive £700, and £20 per annum until he came of age, when he got to London with his wife; I saw some documents then; one purported that he was the son of Lord Kennedy, and was to have £60,000 a year when he came of age; my brother said he had been acquainted with him some time, and he was a very pious character (a laugh). A licence was got, which my brother-in-law paid for, and we were married at Acklam, by the Rev. J. Benson; we staid at Stockton two nights, and then went to my father's; about three weeks after we went to Hetton, where he was arrested by Ingo; he was maintained by my brother-in-law during that time; he had got £12 from by brother-in-law, and had promised him £10 for getting him a wife. Prisoner had two or three times attempted to get away from me. I spent my own money for coach hire.

Orlando Osmond Ingo said - The prisoner resided at Hetton at the end of last year; he was very anxious to get married at that time; I saw him going through Hetton on the 28th of April, and apprehended him; I found the tin case and documents upon him; I had seen them before; he resisted being taken into custody.

The prisoner, in his defence, entered into a long and rambling statement.

Elizabeth Taylor - My son is not of age, and he is not very clever; he is not very right, and was put to different pitmen about Fatfield; he was illegitimate, but there is no occasion to tell who was his father.

Mr Granger briefly replied, and said there could be no doubt that under the new marriage act the marriages were all perfectly legal. Guilty. One year's hard labour in the house of correction.

Durham Assizes, July 31st 1840 

JOHN SOUTTER (25) was charged with having stolen two sovereigns, the property of Mark Harrison and others, on the 13th of July.

MR MATTHEWS stated the case. It appeared that the Messrs Marshall, solicitors, Durham, attended at Coxhoe to collect the debts due to the estate of Mark Harrison, a shopkeeper, when the prisoner, who was a debtor to the amount of £1 17s., also attended, and producing the circular calling him to the meeting, laid down two sovereigns, requesting a receipt. When the receipt was given, the prisoner caught up the two sovereigns, said, "Now I'm clear of you," and made for the door. He was immediately seized, and given into custody. His wife was present, and advised him to lay down the money, but he ordered her to stand off, he knew what he was doing.

MR GRANGER appeared for the prisoner, and contended that the affair was a mere joke, for which he the prisoner had suffered quite severely enough in the degradation of having appeared to answer the charge at the bar. The prisoner was found guilty, and was sentenced to one month's imprisonment and hard labour.

Durham Assizes, February 25th 1842

JOHN BAINBRIDGE (40), pleaded guilty of bigamy. He is a labourer, late of Darlington, and on the 10th of June, 1820, married one Alice Dodd; on the 5th of February inst., again marrying one Mary Ridley, his former wife, Alice, being still alive.

Durham Quarter Sessions, July 1st 1842

LETTES LEWIS, alias MITCHINSON (35), charged with bigamy, in having married Edward Ramsay, her former husband being then alive.

Mr OTTER appeared for the prosecution, and Mr GRANGER for the prisoner. The marriage of a woman named Mitchinson was proved to have taken place at Sunderland and Bishopwearmouth churches, but there was a want of proof of the woman's identity. The woman had made an admission that she was the party so married, but this was held not to be sufficient, and she was consequently acquitted.

Northumberland Assizes, July 22nd 1842

FRANCIS MILLS was next charged with marrying Margt. Ferguson, his first wife, Barbara McLearn being still living.

Mr GRANGER opened the case for the prosecution, and called

Thomas McLearn, who said that he lived in Lowick, and about 9 years ago accompanied the prisoner and his sister to Lamberton Toll Bar, on the Scotch border, where he married her after the Scotch fashion, and that they lived together at Wooler between three and four years, when his sister became weak in her intellects, and since that time been confined in a lunatic asylum.

Joseph Atkinson, a facetious looking man, said that he resides at Berwick, and is called a clergyman; he is also a publican and a waiter; that he had been a clergyman for eleven years, and generally marries at Lamberton Toll Bar from 60 to 70 couples in the year. Recollected marrying the prisoner 9 years ago to Barbara McLearn. He asked the usual questions that are asked on such occasions, and read over the Church of England marriage ceremony, the husband putting on the ring. His charge for performing the ceremony was 7s. 6d., and in addition to that they had two pints of whiskey and some biscuits. On being cross-examined by Mr WARREN, he said he would have great pleasure in marrying a councellor, as in all probability he would get a sovereign. When he saw that the parties were in a great hurry and looked respectable, he left it to themselves before he started and often got an extra fee. He always made each party say, "I plight thee my troth," and asked the man, "art thou willing to take this woman to be thy wedded wife," and made the woman repeat the same compliment to the man. He is called in Berwick the minister of Lamberton Toll Bar for splicing people, and has often spliced three and four couples in a week; he was sure he had spliced the prisoner nine years ago. Lamberton Toll Bar is in Scotland.

George Handyside Patterson, Esq., an advocate at the Scotch bar, said he had heard the evidence of the two last witnesses, and, if true, was sufficient to constitute a Scotch marriage; an interchange of consent, and the parties afterwards living together was a valid marriage in Scotland, and whether after such consent the parties lived together in either Scotland or elsewhere, it was held good in the eyes of the law. It was not the general method adopted in Scotland, but he had known such to be the case.

Thomas Orange proved the second marriage by banns to Margaret Ferguson, at Chatton, on the 12th of Nov., 1838; he was a subscribing witness.

John Garrett, overseer at Wooler, produced the certificate of the second marriage, and confirmed the testimony of the first witness, namely, that the prisoner had lived between three and four years with his first wife.

Mr WARREN, for the defence, said it was truly deplorable that such facilities should be given to such solemn contracts, and whether such should be allowed as the law of the land, was a serious question indeed. The question was not whether a marriage had taken place or not, for, if the witnesses were to be believed, one certainly had taken place, and it was for the jury to consider in what way they would present their verdict, in order that his Lordship might pass the least possible sentence upon the prisoner. In this case there were certainly many excuses; he was an ignorant man, and not at all acquainted with the forms or laws of his country; his first wife, if such she might be called, had lost her reason, and had become dead to the world; besides, he had an excellent character, and was living peaceably and happy with his present wife, otherwise she would have been present.

His Lordship, in summing up, observed that if marriages are good in one country, they still hold good in any country to which the parties may afterlife move: and they had been told by Mr Patterson that marriages similar to the one they heard described were considered valid in Scotland, hence it was good in England; certainly the first wife had become insane, and was not able to perform the duties of a wife, but that did not invalidate the marriage, nor allow a second marriage. He could not see any doubt of the prisoner having married a second wife, his first wife being still alive. To be imprisoned and kept to hard labour for 4 calendar months.

Morpeth Gaol, May 26th 1843

William Richardson alias Stobie, who was found guilty at the late Northumberland Assizes of stabbing James Macqueen, at Tweedmouth, and sentenced to fourteen years transportation, has had his sentence commuted to imprisonment, on the grounds of "weakness of intellect." He has been returned to Morpeth gaol.

Quarter Sessions, June 30th 1843

There have been 40 prisoners for trial at Durham during the quarter sessions, 38 for trial at Newcastle, and 20 from the county of Northumberland. Of those for trial in Newcastle, 12 are under fifteen years of age.

Northumberland Assizes, August 11th 1843

JOSEPH ATKINSON, charged with wilfully and feloniously solemnising an unlawful marriage at Berwick upon Tweed, between Wm. Brown and Catherine Cosser (the former having been tried at the last assizes, and found guilty of bigamy, principally on the evidence of the prisoner.) He pleaded guilty to the charge. The judge, in passing sentence, said it was a very serious offence. By the conduct of the prisoner, he had betrayed an innocent young woman into living with a man, who, in truth, was not her husband. A certificate, his lordship noticed, he had received, signed by several persons, giving the prisoner a good character, who, if they had not been afraid of being tested, would have appeared in the witness box. There was no particular punishment by law, and the sentence of the court was, that he be transported for the term of 7 years.

Durham Assizes, March 8th 1844

MICHAEL GRAHAM was charged with having committed bigamy at Sunderland, having on the 17th November, 1828, married one Caroline Wilson, and on the 8th March, 1840, one Elizabeth Hetherington, his former wife being still alive. The two marriages were proved, but it appeared that the first wife lived with him only a week, and then went off to Newcastle where she had a child. She became wet nurse in the Rev. Mr Collingson's family, at Gateshead, and subsequently lived as cook to Lord Elgin, but the last eight years she has lived at Newcastle with another man, to whom she has borne eight children. The last time the prisoner saw her was in the spring of 1830; and both he and his second wife stated that before their marriage they were informed by Caroline Wilsons's mother that she was dead. His lordship told the jury that the statute gave one ground of defence to the prisoner; if it appeared that he and his wife lived separate for 7 years, and that at the time of his second marriage he was not aware of the other's existence, he could not be found guilty. The jury, believing the prisoner, acquitted him.

Durham Assizes, March 7th 1845

DAVID BURNETT was charged with feloniously marrying Eliza Graham, at Gateshead, on the 28th of June, 1839, Alice, his wife, being then alive. The prisoner's marriage to his first wife, at Alnwick, in 1815, was fully proved; and it was stated, that there were disagreements between them, and that it was reported the wife was unfaithful to her vows. The second marriage was also proved, and it was stated that the prisoner had subsequently resided at Hartlepool. One of the witnesses admitted that it was reported that the case had been taken up two years ago, and abandoned. Mr MATTHEWS addressed the jury for the defence. The jury found the prisoner not guilty.

Northumberland Assizes, July 31st 1846

ANDREW DALL (30), pleaded guilty to a charge of bigamy, having, in September last, at the parish of Earsdon, feloniously married one Jane Young, his former wife being then alive. Mr GRANGER presented a certificate of good character on behalf of the prisoner, but his lordship declined to receive it, remarking that he knew how easy it was for certificates of this kind to be obtained, and therefore it was impossible to ascertain their real value. Mr OTTER, who appeared for the prosecution, bore testimony to the prisoner's previous good character. In answering to his lordship, Mr Otter said the prisoner lived with his former wife until 12 o'clock on the day before that on which he entered into the second marriage.

Northumberland Assizes, August 7th 1846

EDWARD LORD (38) was charged with having, at the parish of Gretna, N.B., feloniously married one Mary Graham, his former wife being then living. Mr RAMSHAY and Mr OTTER were for the prosecution; the prisoner was undefended. It appeared in evidence that the prisoner was married about five years ago at Hawick, Roxburghshire, to one Christian Dryden, at the manse of a presbyterian minister named Wallace. The ceremony consisted, according to the testimony of one witness, of an avowal by the parties of their mutual willingness to become united in marriage, followed by a prayer by the clergyman. The prisoner lived with his wife six months, and she still lives at Hawick. On the 14th May, 1845, the prisoner and a woman named Mary Graham went to a Thomas Little, a publican, at Springfield, in the parish of Gretna, and asked to be married. Both said they were single, and as both expressed a desire to be married, Little bade them take each other's hand, and then pronounced them man and wife. They afterwards lived together as such at Haltwhistle. Mr Wilson, a writer, at Hawick, was examined, and stated that the first marriage was regular and legal, and the second binding, though irregular. Mary Graham did not appear as a witness, but her identity was proved, and the prisoner was found guilty. Sentence deferred.

Northumberland Assizes, August 7th 1846

Edward Lord, charged with having at the parish of Gretna feloniously married Mary Graham, his former wife being then living, twelve months' imprisonment, hard labour.

Northumberland Assizes, March 5th 1847

ROBERT CLARKE GRAHAM (30) was charged with bigamy. Mr MONCRIEF stated the case, and called

Mary Turnbull, who said, that on the 11th January, 1841, she accompanied her sister Hannah Turnbull and the prisoner to Gretna, in Scotland. They went to Thos. Little's, of Springfield, and the prisoner called for gill of whiskey; after that, Little took them into a room, and said to them that they were then to declare themselves single persons. That was her sister Hannah and the prisoner. Little then said to the prisoner, "Do you take this woman to be your wedded wife," when he answered "Yes." He said the same to Hannah, and she answered "Yes." The ring was then placed on Little's book by the prisoner, who took it up, and put it on Hannah's fourth finger of the left hand. They then joined hands, when Little said, "What God has joined together, let no man put asunder." That was the whole ceremony. After that they all returned to her (the witness's) father's house, and the prisoner stayed there four days, and lived with her sister. The prisoner then went home, but frequently came on the Saturday night and stopped until Monday. Her sister had a child in Oct. 1842. The prisoner was a joiner.

Elizabeth Turnbull said she was sister to Hannah Turnbull, and was present at the marriage before Little.

Jane Little said she was the wife of Thomas Little, of Gretna, who was in the habit of marrying people. She remembered a party being at the house on the 11th January, 1841, when the prisoner was married to Hannah Turnbull. The witness then related the whole of the ceremony.

Cross-examined by Mr LIDDELL. There was a great number of marriages at the house, but she never married any herself. Lots of English people came over the border to get married.

Andrew Armstrong said that he remembered going with the prisoner and Abigail Wright, of Longtown, on the 9th December, 1842, to Gretna. Another man, named Douglass, was present, and he married them. The witness then described the ceremony, which was similar to the former marriage. After the marriage the prisoner and Abigail lived together as man and wife.

Rebecca Scott said that she went with the party from Longtown to Gretna when they went to get married, and saw the ceremony performed. The prisoner and Abigail lived together afterwards as man and wife.

John Douglass said that he kept an inn at Gretna. In December 1844, he remembered the prisoner and Abigail Wright coming to get married. They came in and said they wished to be married, and that they were single persons; they joined hands together and acknowledged each other as man and wife. That was the whole of the ceremony.

Cross-examined by Mr LIDDELL. He had a great number of marriages at his house. The parties always signed their names in a book which he kept for that purpose. Both the prisoner and Abigail Wright signed their names. He had about seventy or eighty marriages in 1844.

William Callendar said that he was writer at Annan; and that a marriage in Scotland was by civil contract. Both the marriages of the prisoner were legal.

Mr LIDDELL was for the prisoner; but the case being so clearly proved, his Lordship thought that the time of the court would be saved if he did not address the jury.

The jury then returned a verdict of guilty. To be imprisoned for one year.

Durham Assizes, July 30th 1847

JAMES ROBINSON (26) was charged with unlawfully marrying Elizabeth Richardson, while Ann Robinson, his wife, was living. The prisoner is a sailor, and in 1841 he was married at South Otley Church, Norfolk, to Ann Robinson. After leaving her, a few years ago, he came to South Shields, where he became acquainted with Elizabeth Richardson, whom he married at St. Hilda's Church. Guilty.

Durham Assizes, March 10th 1848

THOMAS LOWERSON (23) was charged with having on the 23rd January, feloniously cut and wounded John Wray, with intent to do him some grievous bodily harm. Mr FENWICK stated the case.- The prisoner and the prosecutor were pitmen at Great Lumley, and were what is termed "Marrows". On the evening of the 24th of January, they were drinking together in a public house, at the above village, when a dispute arose between them, which ended in a fight. The landlord interfered and put them to the door - one at the front the other at the back door, in order to keep them separate. The parties however met again, stripped, when after three rounds, the prosecutor was taken away bleeding and insensible. On being taken home a surgeon was sent for, who on examining the prosecutor found an incised wound in the side of a painful and rather a dangerous character. At the time of the fight the prisoner was seen with something in his hand, and, near the place where the prisoner was fighting, a short clasp knife was found. Mr George Cruddace, surgeon, West Rainton, described the nature of the wound by stating that it was an inch in length and half an inch deep, situated on the left side, was a clear incised wound, and done by a sharp pointed instrument, such as an ordinary clasp knife. Mr MATTHEWS defended the prisoner, and said that the present charge arose out of one of those unfortunate cases which too frequently occur in a beer-shop squabble - that there was no pretence to say there was anything like malice; for whatever was the result of the affray, it was plain from the evidence that the prosecutor was the person who gave the first provocation. The learned counsel then proceeded to contend that the prisoner never used a knife, but that the wound on the prosecutor's side was done by his falling on an old scraper at the public-house door. Guilty. To be imprisoned six months, one of which in solitary confinement.

Durham Assizes, 10th March 1848

JANE RAMSAY was charged with bigamy. Mr WARDEN stated the case. The prisoner was first married at Sahdforth church, in the county of Durham, on April 12th, 1842, to Joseph Ramsay; and on the second occasion, at Monkwearmouth church, on the 22nd November, 1847, to Thomas Walton. Mr MATTHEWS defended the prisoner, and contended that her identity was not legally proven. Guilty. One month's imprisonment.

Durham Assizes, March 2nd 1849

THOMAS McKEATH (41) was charged with having, at the parish of Jarrow, unlawfully married Mary Robson, his former wife being still alive. The necessary witnesses to sustain the offence, having been examined by the Court, the prisoner in his defence said that previous to the second marriage, he had not seen his wife for two years at which time she told him that she was married to another man to whom she had a child, and whose little finger she liked better than his whole body. His lordship, in order to ascertain whether the second wife knew he was married, deferred the sentence.

Durham Assizes, July 27th 1849

GEORGE LUKE ROBINSON (28) was then placed at the bar, charged with bigamy. Mr UDALL stated the case, and called the necessary witnesses to prove that he married on the 18th June, 1848, Ann Emmerson, while Mary, his first and legitimate wife was living.- Guilty.

Durham Assizes, July 27th 1849

JOHN YELLOWLEY was charged with having at Bishopwearmouth, unlawfully published a false and malicious libel, of and concerning James Cummings. On the prisoner being arraigned by the clerk of the court, he pleaded guilty to selling the work in question.

His LORDSHIP said selling the work was publishing it.

The PRISONER - Then not with any malice.

His LORDSHIP - That would not do, he must plead guilty or not guilty.

The PRISONER - Then I simply plead guilty, but throw myself on the mercy of the court.

Mr THOMPSON, who appeared for the prosecution, said, that he was instructed by the prosecutor to recommend the prisoner to the merciful consideration of the court. The publication complained of had since been stopped, and there was no apprehension of its re-appearance; besides the prisoner was in indigent circumstances, and was only the seller and not the publisher of the offensive paper.

The prisoner here handed to his lordship certificates of the state of his health.

His LORDSHIP, after perusing them, addressed himself to Mr Thompson by observing that perhaps the justice of the case would be satisfied, as the prisoner had really nothing to do with the publication, if he entered into his own recognizance when called upon.

Mr THOMPSON - Perfectly so.

His LORDSHIP then addressing the prisoner said that as he saw from the certificates that he was labouring under a pulmonary complaint, he therefore would deal leniently with him. The publication, he had been informed was stopped, and as he had nothing else to do with it, but in merely selling it, he would order him to enter into his own recognizance in £50 to appear when called upon to receive judgement of the court. He would, however, tell him that he would not be called upon unless the publication re-appeared.

The prisoner was then discharged.

Durham Assizes, August 3rd 1849

WILLIAM SANDS, who had pleaded guilty to a charge of bigamy, was sentenced to two months imprisonment; THOS. HUMPHREY, who also pleaded guilty to a charge of bigamy, was sentenced to eight calendar months' imprisonment. ... GEORGE LUKE ROBINSON (28) pleaded guilty to the charge of having, at the parish of Trimdon, on the 18th of December, 1848, married Ann Emmerson, Mary Robinson, his wife, being then alive.- Six month's imprisonment.

Northumberland Assizes, March 7th 1851

ELIZABETH AIKIN, who had pleaded guilty yesterday to a charge of bigamy, and had been recommended to mercy by the prosecutor, was brought up to receive sentence. In reply to questions from his LORDSHIP, she said she had lived unhappily with her husband, and after they agreed to part, she thought she was quite clear of him. He had engaged to maintain her and her child; but he had stopped their maintenance, and they had no means of support. He had prosecuted her because he wanted their child, and she was not willing to give it up. She had been married about twelve months to the second husband, and lived comfortably with him. The judge sentenced her to one week's imprisonment, without hard labour.

Durham Assizes, March 7th 1851

ROBERT ALDERSON (26) was charged with bigamy.- Mr SEYMOUR stated the case. The prisoner was employed at Messrs Hartley's glass works, at Sunderland, in the year 1845, and in the month of February, in that year, he married one Margaret Smith, who had a child five months afterwards. The prisoner afterwards went to Hull to seek employment, and while there in 1849, he married another female, named Emma Cookson. Soon after he came back to his first wife. The two marriages were proved - The Hon. Mr LIDDELL who appeared for the prisoner, declined addressing the jury, upon which the jury returned a verdict of guilty.- To be kept at hard labour six months. 

Durham Assizes, August 1st 1851

JOHN ATKINSON (23) pleaded guilty to a charge of bigamy. 1 months imprisonment. 

[Last updated: 3rd August 2010 - Brian Pears]