The learned counsel proceeded to narrate the circumstances which showed, as suggested by the prosecution, that the prisoner was the murderer of the deceased.
Between 4 and 5 o’clock in the afternoon of the Saturday on which the murder was committed, the prisoner went to the village of Ainstable and purchased some powder, shot and caps from Mary Wilson. He was in liquor; and after he got the articles he went away. He lived at Longdale – he, Joseph and Henry all lived there with their father. In going home, he would pass through the village of Basco Dyke, where a person named Boustead resides. About 5 o’clock while Boustead was thrashing some wheat in a barn, the prisoner looked in, leaned against some straw and entered into conversation with him. Among other things he said, “I am going out to shoot tonight” (he had bought the materials half an hour before). “I know where the game sits – I know every foot and track of the ground; and if the bloody keeper come to me tonight, out goes the b—-r’s brains. I neither fear heaven nor hell, God nor devil. I will be in heaven or hell before a month in over. I will never die with my shoes off. Now, mark my words; this very night I will be that b—-r’s end. I am the man that will do the deed.” And now (said the learned counsel) come the part which shows whom he meant. “There never shall be a b—-r about Staffield Hall that shall take me.” Staffield Hall, continued the learned counsel, is the place where Mr Fetherstonhaugh lives, who is lord of the manor. Putting his hand to his neck, the prisoner said “I don’t care a damn if I be hanged up by the neck tomorrow.” The prisoner was not entirely sober at the time; but he was not drunk. Now as to this testimony, there were certain observations to be made by his learned friend (Mr Monk) and which ought to be made by him. The statement was not made till the 15th of Dec. The offence was committed on the 15th of Nov.; and Boustead had heard of it on the 16th of November, and yet he never communicated this to the police until the 11th of December. That was a long time; the jury would hear from him why he did not make the statement earlier, and it would be for them to say if these were satisfactory reasons or not. In the meantime he (Mr Overend) was bound to tell them there had been a reward of £100 offered by the Government to any one giving information that would lead to the conviction of the murderer, and a free pardon to any accomplice not being the actual perpetrator. That reward was offered two days before the statement was made. It would be for the Jury to say if Boustead knew of it, and if so, how far his mind was affected by it. It was, of course, an odd think for a man to go to another and tell him he was going to take away life and that sort of thing; but here they had the statement of a witness that it had been done in this instance. They would hear the remarks of his learned friend, and they would say whether the explanation was satisfactory. It was a threat, at all events, against this particular man, and it was carried out that night.
After this conversation with Boustead, the prisoner passed along in the direction of his own house. He did not know whether the prisoner went to his own house or not, but the supposition was he did; for between 6 and 7 o’clock he called at the house of Susan Hogarth at Longdales, with a gun in his hand. He had no gun when he was at Ainstable or Basco Dyke, when he called at Susan Hogarth’s he was very tipsy. He sat down, fell asleep and slept until 10 o’clock at night. She then awoke him, and he got up and took his gun to the door. He then said he would go and see her son John Hogarth, and ask him about some draining. While he was standing there, he said, “It is a very fine night – I will fetch them down.” She said, “William, you had better go home, they will be watching” – meaning the keeper. He said, “Then let the b—-r stand back.” She said he had better go home, and then he said he would.