At the Sessions for the county of Middlesex, held the 4th of November 1811, Edward Lowe was put to the bar, charged with an indictment for assaulting Mr. David Eccleton, of Church-street, Chelsea, on the night of the 23d of September 1811.
Mr. Knapp stated, that Mr. Eccleton was a surgeon and apothecary living as above stated. That on the evening of the 23d of September last, he had dined at the Queen's Arms, Nine Elms; about ten o'clock he was proceeding from thence to visit a patient in Ryley-street, in that neighbourhood, where he regularly attended twice a day. Whilst he was walking on the King's-road, and approaching the Man in the Moon public-house there, the prisoner came up to him, and interrupting his progress, laid hold of his arm, and asked him to go and drink with him. Witness made him no kind of answer, but was endeavouring to proceed on his way. This the prisoner completely prevented; and, still holding his arm, at length said he must give him something to drink, using violent language, when Eccleton (to get rid of him) put his hand in his pocket and gave him a shilling. Having done so, he hastened from him as quickly as he was able. Instead, however, of going on to Ryley-street, he turned down Chapel-row, (a contrary way) in his alarm, and desired to avoid so desperate a person as he considered the prisoner to be. After he had gone some way down Chapel-row, he stopped to listen whether the prisoner was following him or not, and not hearing any footsteps, he concluded that he had turned off another road; and then Mr. Eccleton returned back with a view to proceed to Ryley-street, as he had first intended; but as soon as he had again reached nearly to the former public-house, he heard a voice cry out, "There's the villain, take hold of him," and observed a man approach him, and took to his heels again, and ran away as fast as he could, when there was a loud shout of "stop him;" but in running he fell down, when a man came up and laid hold of him: then the prisoner immediately joined them, and having used him with very great violence and barbarity, then, for the first time, accused him of certain abominable propensities. It was in vain he denied the accusation; he was only the more maltreated: at length he got out of their hands, and ran away with all the speed he could; but in leaping over a paling he fell quite exhausted, and they again came up to him, and were proceeding to repeat their barbarity, when a man of the name of Curtis, hearing the noise, ran to the spot from whence he heard it, accompanied by his wife, and there recognized Mr. Eccleton, whom he had known many years. He interfered on his behalf, and having, in conjunction with Mrs. Curtis, rescued him, he at length departed.
It appeared, that when Mr. and Mrs. Curtis came up, Mr. Eccleton told them how he had been treated, and added, that the prisoner had stopped him, and obtained a shilling from him, as before mentioned; to which the prisoner answered, by charging Mr. Eccleton again and again with the foul offence first alluded to.
Mr. Eccleton's testimony was corroborated in various points by the evidence of Mr. and Mrs. Curtis, Mrs. Clark, (who keeps the public-house,) and two persons of the names of Lee and Hurd.
For the prisoner, Mr. Andrews, in a very ingenious and elaborate address, appealed to the jury, the principal bearing of which went to the improbability of the prosecutor's story—but he called no witnesses.
Mr. Mainwaring summed up the evidence with appropriate and argumentative comments. The jury hesitated some time in their box, and at length they retired and brought in a verdict of Guilty.
Mr. Mainwaring animadverted in strong language upon the vileness of the crime of which the prisoner was convicted. He congratulated the jury upon their verdict, and the county upon the discovery and conviction of the offender, as the punishment of such a miscreant might have the operation of preventing the repetition of such wicked conduct. He lamented that the way in which the indictment was framed prevented him from sending the prisoner at once out of the country.
The sentence of the Court was, that he should be imprisoned one year in the House of Correction, Coldbath-fields, and there kept to hard labour. That at the expiration of that time he should find security to keep the peace for two years, himself in the penalty of 20l. and two sureties in 10l. each, and to be imprisoned till that security be given. The prisoner was immediately hand-cuffed and removed. It seems he is one of those fellows who work in the brick fields in that neighbourhood; and, according to Gilmore, the officer, goes by the name of Long Ned.