Carlisle Journal 27th February 1857
The Spring Assizes (Editorial)
In his charge to the Grand Jury at the opening of the Spring Assizes for this county on Tuesday last – Mr Baron MARTIN remarked upon the large proportion of cases of alleged homicide (nine out of twenty); a circumstance which he took to argue but a low estimate of life in these parts. We are very glad to be able to add that, notwithstanding this dismal omen, the assizes are not to be supplemented by the distressing and demoralizing punishment which the law awards to homicide of the worst degree.
The crime for which WILLIAM GRAHAM yesterday took his trial was undoubtedly but a very slight remove from wilful murder. Even discarding the revolting evidence tendered by BOUSTEAD – as every one must who saw or heard it in delivery – as at any rate a gross and cunning exaggeration of a drunkard’s ravings- the prisoners own statement, harmonizing with collateral circumstances, closely approximated to proof of that malicious feeling which is often interpreted as “malice aforethought”. Thanks to the humanity of the Judge, no such interpretation was attempted in this case! The prisoner would clearly have received on the bench no less than in the jury box, the fullest benefit of doubt – even if it had not been sought, by a weak or wicked man, to sacrifice his life for the sake of reward.
The extraordinary scene which followed the delivery of the verdict, may be taken to express something of sympathy with the object of so base an intent - but certainly of relief from the dreaded exhibition of death upon the prison walls. Men of all parties congratulate each other that our city is spared that terrible infliction – and we hope they ask themselves, which it should in any case and anywhere be repeated.
March 6 1857 Carlisle Journal
The Recent Trial for Murder
We learn on good authority that since his trial William Graham has admitted to the governor of the gaol that Boustead’s evidence may be substantially correct. He says he remembers being in the barn, but he was so drunk that he does not recollect what took place, though he states that it is not improbable that he then threatened the gamekeeper as he did subsequently to Susan Hogarth. We believe this confirms the general opinion that Boustead’s story was rather an elaboration of what took place than a complete concoction.
March 20th 1857
The Staffield Murder
Since the trial of Graham, at the recent assizes, various opinions have been entertained as to the truth of the testimony then given by Francis Boustead. One class of people have been inclined to think that the whole story was a gross fabrication, got up by an unprincipled man who, for the sake of the reward of a hundred pounds, would not scruple to swear away the life of a fellow creature; another class think it was a highly coloured version of what really did transpire in the barn; while a third are of an opinion that the statement was literally correct.