This unfortunate man, whose case becomes doubly notorious from the circumstance of his having suffered at the same time with Leary, fell a victim to passion, brought on by intoxication. It is a melancholy truth, and one which should be impressed on the mind of the reader, that the greater number of malefactors who fall victims to the violated laws may attribute their misfortunes to drunkenness, and its concomitants, poverty and debauchery.
The facts of this case are short. John Denton had been a sailor in the early part of his life, but latterly followed the trade of a rigger, and was accounted a good workman. He was acquainted with a man of his own name, and, after his death, became very attentive to his widow, who resided in Bow Lane Buildings, in the parish of Bromley. Denton sometimes lived in the house: but it does not appear that any improper connexion took place, though they were very intimate, and he was very partial to her.
On the 13th of June, 1813, Denton was somewhat outrageous in his manner, no doubt from frequent potations of gin and beer, as it was fair time; and he struck a woman named Mrs. Whitehead. The widow considered his conduct improper and unmanly; and desired him to leave her house, and never enter it again. He came, however, in the evening, about seven o'clock, manifestly for the purpose of having revenge for the supposed insult. Mrs. Denton had her daughter and female friend with her when he entered; he kept one hand in his breast, and held a pot of beer in the other. He wanted the widow to drink with him, but she refused, and took some liquor of her own, saying 'Get you gone, John; you are a disgrace to your sex.' He asked 'What do you say? am I disgrace to my sex?' She replied in the affirmative, and he started up, drew a knife from his breast, rushed upon her, and ran her through the arm, the point of the knife penetrating her side. He was immediately taken into custody; and, when asked what induced him to commit the crime, he answered 'It was all for love.'
The widow survived only a month; for the artery of her arm being divided, a mortification ensued, which terminated in death. Denton was brought to trial at the Old Bailey, September the 18th, 1813; and though several witnesses deposed to various acts of extravagance, with a view to prove him insane, he was found Guilty. The particulars of his execution we have already given in the preceding case.