When we went in William made the following statement without anything being said either by Superintendent Robinson or myself. The statement was not then committed to writing. We afterwards went back into the cell on the same day, with the superintendent and Mr Kehoe.
The Superintendent here explained that when the prisoner first made the statement, they had no paper in the cell, and they did not stop him in order to take the statement down then. But they told him that it would be taken down.
Witness continued – When Mr Robinson, Mr Kehoe and I went in, the prisoner repeated voluntarily the statement he had already made. I read it over to him, and asked him if there was anything written down that was wrong. He said it was perfectly correct. He then signed it. The prisoner Henry Graham was present on both occasions, the whole time.
WILLIAM GRAHAM’S CONFESSION
The Coroner here read the following document –
“Five weeks gone last night, I went out to shoot on Eden Banks. I saw a man. He told me to stand. I ran away. After running about ten or a dozen yards, I tumbled. He came up to me and got hold of me, and we had a scuffle. He tried to get the gun from me. I cleared myself of him, and then struck him with the small end of the gun. I struck him two or three times with the small end of the gun – I think it was the third bat that felled him – and the gun broke. It was broken off behind the lock. I then took the stock which was broken from the barrel, and brayed him till he was dead. I trailed him to the water, and put him in. My brothers, Henry and Joseph, are both clear; they had nothing to do with it. I was dead drunk when I went out. When the man came up to me I thought it was the gamekeeper at Staffield. When I was running away, he fired a pistol at me. It did not hit me.
(Signed) WILLIAM GRAHAM
Dated 21st day of December 1856”.
Witness continued – on Monday the 17th of November, shortly after their apprehension, I examined the prisoners William and Henry down to their waist. There was neither scratch nor mark upon either. I further examined them on the following day (Tuesday) at Penrith, down to their feet. There was no scratch or mark upon Henry of any description, but upon William’s right leg, I found a slight scar, as if a small piece of skin had been off but it was nearly healed. It had the appearance of having been caused about ten days before. He told me he had got it down whilst salving sheep at Coupland Beck about a fortnight before. There was no other marks upon him.
Robert Winter was then called and shown the gun produced by Smith. He said – I am a tinker and reside at High Dyke in the parish of Ainstable. I know Henry, William and Joseph Graham who have been in custody for the murder of Thomas Simpson. About a fortnight before last Martinmas, when I was walking through Graham’s fold, where there is a public footpath, I saw Henry Graham. He said he had a job at a gun for me. We went into the house and he got a gun from the crooks and gave it to me. The middle loop for holding the ramrod to the barrel was off, and he gave it to me to solder on. I did it. (The gun found in the thatch and produced by Henry Smith was here handed to the witness) the loop is my working. I have not the least doubt of it. I have no doubt that this is the same gun. I know it from my work.