1825 Inquest (Baker, Pattle)
Article from the Suffolk Chronicle, dated 2nd April 1825
Robert Baker, aged 21, was tried on the Coroner’s Inquisition, for having, on the 9th of August last, assaulted John Alexander, by riding over him with a mare, by which he received a mortal contusion which occasioned his death. It appeared in evidence, that between eight and nine in the evening of the 9th of August last, a number of people had got together in a road in the parish of Elmswell, hallowing, shouting, and blowing a horn, in consequence of a farmer in that parish, of the name of Pattle, having succeeded in a law suit. Mr. Pattle gave his mare in charge to a person to take her home, who gave her to the prisoner, and he mounted her for that purpose, and set of full gallop, and the deceased, who was an aged man, was in the middle of the road, whom the mare struck, and he fell down, and death followed shortly afterwards. __Mr. Slaytor, the surgeon who was called in to attend the deceased, was called for to give his evidence, but did not appear. The Court was afterwards informed that Mr. Slaytor was absent from professional engagements; and, on his application, his recognizance was discharged.__
Prisoner, when called on for his defence, said, that the mare was young, being but three years old, and that she became unmanageable from the noise of the people; and that he rode over the deceased from accident, being unable to restrain her.__The Learned Judge, in his address to the Jury, said, that owing to Mr. Slaytor’s absence, the cause of the deceased was not proved; if it had been proved, his Lordship said he should have left it to the Jury to say whether the mare had ran away, and the death was in consequence accidental; or whether the prisoner had a sufficient control over her to have prevented what had happened; for, if so, it would have been Manslaughter; as it was, the Prisoner must be acquitted.__The Jury returned a verdict of acquittal accordingly.