On Wednesday morning at a special Sessions at the Town Hall, before Admiral T. H. Mason, C.B., John Slaven, boatswain of the s.s. Lodore, of Newcastle, was charged with feloniously wounding Charles le Gresley, the second mate, with intent to do him grievous bodily harm, on the 20th ult, whilst the steamer was on a voyage from Cardiff to Denia, in Spain. Mr. H. K. Moseley prosecuted, and Mr A. A. Watts defended.
Charles le Gresley, a native of Jersey, second mate on board the s.s. Lodore, of Newcastle, said that the prisoner was a seaman and lamp trimmer on the same vessel. On the 20th of September the Lodore was on a voyage from Cardiff to Denia, in Spain. That morning, about 10, he was on deck in charge of the ship. Prisoner was also on deck scrubbing the bulwarks. Prisoner left his work to take the place of the man at the wheel, who was suddenly taken ill, and prosecutor told him to go back to his work, whereupon he made use of filthy language. Prosecutor asked him the reason for such abuse, and the prisoner at once pulled from his waist a long sheath knife, and said, "If you don't get away from me I'll cut your ---- out." Prosecutor said he would not go, and prisoner kept threatening him. When he saw that prosecutor would not go away he sheathed his knife and went on with his work. More words passed between them, which prosecutor could not recall, and prisoner again pulled out his knife and, used very foul language. Prisoner then walked up to him some four or five steps, and deliberately stabbed him in the stomach. The wound was a considerable one, and prosecutor at once went into the cabin and had it stitched up by the chief officer. The captain ordered him to his bunk, and while there he heard prisoner say to the captain that he did the deed in self-defence, because prosecutor was pushing him against the rail. Prosecutor affirmed that he did not lay a finger on the man.
Cross-examined: Prisoner had not been long at the wheel before, prosecutor went up to him. He could not remember what he said, but he was annoyed. He did not use bad language. He told prisoner to go on with his work, and he would take the wheel and see to the ship at the same time. The man at the wheel could not see what was going on. Prosecutor did not touch the prisoner, nor make use of any threat. The Lodore arrived at Ipswich on Friday afternoon. On Saturday afternoon prosecutor laid the information against prisoner at the police station.
Re-examined: When the Lodore arrived at Denia, prosecutor made a statement to the English Consul. William Gibson, master of the s.s. Lodore, said that on the 20th of September, about ten in the morning, the steward made a complaint to him of something having occurred on deck. Shortly afterwards prosecutor came into the cabin. Witness saw that he was wounded, and be called the first mate, who sewed up the wound. Directly afterwards he saw prisoner and sent him to his berth. About noon be had him down in the cabin and read to him the prosecutor's statement, written in the log produced. Prisoner made a reply which witness wrote in the log. Witness knocked prisoner of work and sent the steward to the prisoner to get the knife. The mate brought back the sheath knife produced. At Denia, prisoner, prosecutor, and witness went before the Consul. Witness stated the circumstances of the case, and he gave witness a certificate (produced).
Cross-examined: Prisoner worked on the home voyage, and there was no reason to complain of him.
Richard James Bowen, chief mate on the Ladore, deposed to having sewn the wound up.
Francis T. Saute, steward on the Lodore, said that on the morning of the 20th of September he was in the galley, and heard a noise on deck. He looked out and saw the second mate pass. He saw that he was stabbed, and reported it to the captain. Later on he was sent by the captain,to demand the knife. Prisoner gave him the knife produced, saying that he was sorry for what he had done. His attention was first called to the disturbance by abusive language on both Bides.
P.C. Hughes said that on Monday afternoon he apprehended prisoner on a warrant. He replied, "That don't say anything about self-defence, then?"
The case for the prosecution concluded with the calling of the Customs House officer, who produced the official log of the s.s. Lodore
In answer to the charge the prisoner, through his Solicitor, made a statement to the effect that he pleaded not guilty; that what he did was in self-defence; that there was a scuffle and he was violently assaulted by the second mate, who pushed him against the bulwarks, swore at him, and threatened him. He had the knife in his hand at the time, and the stab was almost an accident. The second mate was furious because prisoner had taken the part of the sick man. He reserved further defence. Prisoner was committed for trial at the Assizes.
Ipswich Journal (Ipswich, England), October 28, 1887.