George was baptised in Sutton Cum Lound, Nottingham, around 1799, having been born in or close to Reford. He was the son of Thomas Kenniwell and Elizabeth Hay. His father was a farmer and both appeared to be able to read and write in the way they signed the register and it was later established that George could also write. From 1795 to 1802 they had 8 children with five dying as infants.
George was indicted “for feloniously breaking and entering the dwelling-house of Richard Castle, about four o’clock in the afternoon of the 28th September 1817, in the parish of St. Martin in the Fields (William Barnard being therein) and stealing therin, one tin box, value 2s.; 23 pound 11s in monies numbered; two foreign silver coins,value 8s; one 50 pound, one 5 pound, one 2 pound and four 1 pound bank notes, his property.” This totaled over 84 pounds, a huge sum in those times.
Less than 15 days after stealing the money and leaving London he was in custody. The Times on 13 October 1817 stated that “George Kenniwell, late a shopman in the empty of Mr. Richard Castle, a cheesemonger, in Broad-court, Long-acre, was charged with robbing him of cash and notes to a considerable amount … On it being discovered that the prisoner had made off with the property,inquiry was made after him, and it was learnt that he had taken a place in the Sheffield stage coach. He was pursued by Humphrey’s, the constable, and taken with part of the stolen property upon him and brought to London … The prisoner was committed to trial”.
George was tried at the Eighth Session of the Old Bailey, at the age of 18, on Wednesday 29 October 1817. The Bow-street officer stated that “I went in pursuit of the prisoner, and traced him to Sheffield, and found him lying under a hedge, without his hat, close by Sheffield Park – I took him into custody. He begged I would not hold him as he went to Sheffield, as he is known. I asked him what he had one with the money? He said he had none of that about him, but had left part of it at his sister’s in Sheffield. I asked him where she lived, and went there. I found his hat, and gloves, there – it had his name in it. The prisoner said he had sent the cash-box, and its contents, to his master. I told him that was false, as I had traced the 50 pound note to the Bank. He said he did it himself, was very sorry for it, no person was concerned with him, and he must suffer.”
George had only been living with his master Richard Castle for seven weeks before the crime, not long but long enough to become aware of the money and the routine of the house.
He was found not to have broken and entered but convicted of the theft and he received the mandatory death sentence, which was commuted to life imprisonment on 5 December 1817. He continued to have trouble with the law for the rest of his life but nothing this serious.
George was one of 50 prisoners who embarked on the convict transport “Isabella” from the bulk “Retribution”, which was anchored off Sheerness and one of 230 prisoners in total. It left Spithead on 3 April 1818 under its master Robert Berry. George was described in the records of the “Isabella” in 1818 as being 19, 5’2″, fair and ruddy complexion with dark hair and eyes. The Isabella was a convict ship weighing 579 tons and arrived in Sydney on 14 September 1818. It came to Sydney via Rio and its cargo was marked as stores. George remained in chains aboard the ship for the duration of the voyage.
Three convicts died en route, two from illness and another was said to have jumped overboard. The low mortality rate reflected the improvements in transportation that had taken place over the previous 30 years including the provision of adequate medical supplies, exercise and cleanliness It was also due to the diligence of the ships Surgeon, John William Hallion. He still ordered lashings when he considered it necessary for discipline but the worst was 48 lashes, considered at the time to be moderate. There was the talk of a mutiny on board as reported by a few of the prisoners. The convicts were not the only issue. Commander Lieut Reed had to punish a number of the soldiers and Private R. Lovett jumped overboard to his death after being ordered into handcuffs by his commanding officer for insolent and contemptuous behaviour.
The ship also met its share of stormy weather with water drenching the prison quarters. On 16 April at 7am a squall carried away the fore-top mast and with it the main-top gallant, partially disabling the ship. It took three days to get the ship into condition to carry on and it was during this time of confusion that information came to light of a prisoner conspiracy to take over the ship. In June the ship was in Rio and and several seamen were taken to prison in Rio for mutinous conduct, including that of seaman Alex Dunn who “drew his knife on the 3rd Mate, with an intention to stab him”. On 9 September the ship struck Harbingers Reef off King Island which resulted in the ship being leaky with the crew having to continually pump.
The Isabella anchored in Sydney Cover at 5pm on 14 September 1818. The following day she moored closer to the shore and the crew started unrigging the ship and the convicts had their chains removed. The convict Ship “Maria”, with his future wife Harriot Sampson, arrived on 17 September while they were still on board. Hallion’s journal stated that at “7 am the prisoners were disembarked & marched up to the Jail Yard, where they were inspected by His Excellency Governor Macquarie …’
George had received treatment from Surgeon Hallion on four occasions during the voyage – the first in April for an infection following a tooth extraction, the second in in May from the effects of heat, then for fever later in the month and finally in June for constipation, not an unusual problem in ships of that time, even for free settlers. He was soon sent to Parramatta for distribution and appears to have been assigned soon to ex-convict and publican James Larra. He had a child Charles by Rebecca Hodges in October 1821. However, on 7 May 1821 the Reverend Samuel Marsden of Parramatta submitted George Kenniwell and Maria Harriet Sleigh, off the “Maria”, to the Lieut Governor for approval. It took three attempts before the approval was given and the marriage occurred in 23 December 1822.
George seems to have stayed with James Larra until about October 1819 and probably remained in Parramatta until May 1921.
On 6 April 1822 the Court of Magistrates sought the cancellation of 7 Tickets of Leave including that of George Kenniwell for “imposing on the Magistrate to obtain his Ticket of Leave”. It was unusual in itself that he had indeed secured the concession on 4 January 1822 so soon after his arrival in the Colony. Is revocation may be the explanation. He was assigned to Captain Fennell, the Aide-de-Camp to Governor Brisbane. However, in November 1822 he was sentenced by the Sydney Bench to serve the remainder of his sentence at Port Macquarie and was accordingly dispatched on the brig “Lady Nelson” in December, a few days after his marriage, along with 21 other prisoners. Harriot and their first child were also allowed passage as well, notwithstanding that his was not government policy, but she did not actually go there until August 1823. It is possible she did receive the permission in time or it would have meant leaving her her 10 year child, James Edward Sleigh, who had come with her aboard the “Maria”, or that she was pregnant and did not wish to travel. The Kenniwell’s second child was born in Sydney on 9 June 1823 and she left for Port Macquarie aboard the cutter “Sally” in August with Edward Sleigh and Sarah.
It is unclear why he was allowed to return to Sydney in August 1824 but whatever the offence it suggests it was not major and perhaps he had simply attracted the ire of Captain Fennell. He was assigned to Dr Short of Sydney on 24 September. In 1827 he was re-assigned to a free settler named Alex Warren. Both George and Harriot submitted Memorials for a Ticket of Leave in September and October 1825. Harriot’s Memorial was accompanied by a letter stating that she “has not been convicted of any crime or misdemeanor in the Colony and is … an honest, sober, and industrious character, having served faithfully Mrs Shelley residing in the District to Parramatta form 1818 to 1821, Mr Larra of the same place from 1821 to 1824, and Mr Warren of the Town of Sydney from 1824 to the present period” This information was probably supplied by Harriot but was inaccurate in that she was not with Mrs Shelley for that period. George also managed to have his Memorial state praise his exemplary conduct.
On 15 December 1825 the “Australian” reported his robbery at “Cockle Bay”. He “was knocked down by some villains, who emptied his pockets of 21 Spanish dollars”. One of the robbers was subsequently caught and sentenced to be transported to a penal settlement for 18 months jail.
George Kenniwell was granted a ticket of leave on 26 May 1834 after the Wiliams River Bench recommended it be granted on 30 September 1833. By this time George had been in New South Wales for 15 years and had served 5 different masters and had spent some 19 months in a penal settlement.
In June 1834 he was appointed pound keeper, Williams River. However, he was not long out of trouble. In September 1835 he was fined 16/6, and costs of 2/6, for not giving information on a bullock that had been impounded and not showing it in the pound book. He was also ordered to pay the proceeds of the sale of the bullock to a Mr. Adair. The Clerk of the Butterwick Bench wrote to the Colonial Secretary about George Kenniwell on 16 July 1838 in very unflattering terms. George had appeared before the police magistrate, Newcastle, for drunkenness and embezzlement. The Clerk recommended that his Ticket of Leave be cancelled. He stated that “Kenniwell is a notorious drunken character and that great mercy has hitherto been repeatedly shown to him on account of his wife”. This resulted in a further cancellation.
He received a third Ticket Of Leave on 13 January 1840 and remained in the Newcastle district until his death.
On 1 January 1842 he was assaulted by Hugh Bannon, an Irishman, at Grove’s Public House, Newcastle. Bannon was said to have been drinking all day and was in a “murderous disposition”, having been engaged in earlier fights from which he was still bloodied. Kenniwell and Bannon apparently went into the yard of the Inn soon after meeting. Kenniwell asked Bannon for money and was struck by a “paling or some other piece of wood”. He died the following day despite only superficial bruising to his stomach. The coroner pointed to diseased lungs and kidney and indicated that the blows had only precipitated, not caused, death. This, and claims by Bannon that he was a free Irish settler (he was in fact a convict.
The Hunter River Gazette reported on the inquest on Saturday 8 January 1842
CORONER’S INQUEST An inquest was held at Mr. McGravy’s Inn, on Monday last, on the body of George Kenniwell, who came by his death on the morning of the Sunday previous. Before the Coroner, T.S. Parker, Esq., and the following Jury – G. W. Jackson, Esq., foreman, Messrs. Steel, Reece. Greig, Young, Hannell, Flood, Brown, Hudson, Buxton, Carpenter, and Mosley. The deceased was a labourer and had formerly been a constable at the gaol at Newcastle. He had been addicted to drinking, and, on the day previous to that in which his death took place, he had indulged more freely than ordinarily. He had been drinking in Grove’s public-house, and in the coach- house, of that Inn, he met a man named HUGH BANNON, who had formerly been a lodger in the house, but who had, at this time, left it. Bannon had also been drinking through the day, and that evening, shortly before the murder, he had stated in the presence of the waiter and the chambermaid of the inn, that he would act as an Irish man that day, and would emaciate someone”.
The deceased man happened to go to the coach-house of the inn, when Bannon was in this murderous disposition, and having had a few words together, they went out into the yard of the inn, and immediately thereupon cries were heard by various persons in the house drinking, and they accordingly ran out, found the deceased lying in the yard, but did not see any blows struck. The deceased was carried home, and on the following morning about ten o’clock, he died.
On the inquest, the waiter of the Inn, (James Coughlan), the chambermaid (Mary Boylan), the stable boy (Francis Hughes) and two or three witnesses were examined. They, however, prevaricated so greatly that the inquest could not be closed the first day, and the Coroner being taken ill, occasioned by the confined state of the room, and the pressure of the inhabitants of the town who flocked to witness the examination and who, by crowding up the windows, prevented the air from ventilating the room. The inquest was adjourned until the following day.
On Tuesday morning, the inquest was re-opened, and the whole of the former examinations were read over to the Jury in the presence of the prisoner, and some of the witnesses were re-sworn. On this day, the prevarication was greater than it had been the day before, and it was the afternoon of the second day before the examination closed. The Jury then returned a verdict of Manslaughter against Hugh Bannon, who was in Custody, and the reason of their doing so was the evidence of the medical gentleman (Dr. Brooks) who deposed that he had carefully examined the body, and had found that the liver and intestines were diseased by (as he supposed) inflammation induced by intemperance. He also found that a blow had been given to the deceased, which might, and probably had been, given with a paling or some other piece of wood.
That blow had accelerated the death of the deceased but was, not the immediate cause of it. ‘That he might have lived a few months longer, that he could not have lived beyond that time on account of the diseased state of his body. In recording the verdict, the Jury took occasion to recommend to the Coroner that he should represent the interference of Mr. Groves with the witnesses, and the Coroner thereupon addressed a letter to the Police Magistrate, representing that it was the opinion of the Jury that Mr. Groves was an unfit person to hold a licence, and requesting that his licence should not be renewed. The Jury was composed of the most respectable inhabitants of the town, and the inquest occasioned great sensation throughout the town.
George Kenniwell was buried at Christ Church, Newcastle on the 3rd January 1842. In the 1950’s all old headstones in the Christ Church Cemetery were removed and used as landfill. No headstone for George Kenniwell remains.
Trial Number 1456.
1456 GEORGE KENNWELL was indicted for feloniously breaking and entering the dwelling-house of Richard Castle, about four o’clock in the afternoon of 28th September, in the Parish of St. Martin in the Fields (William Barnard being therein), and stealing therein, one tin box, value, 2s.., 231. 1 I s. in monies numbered; two foreign silver coins, value Ss.; one 501., one 51., one 21., and four 11. bank notes, his property.
I am a Cheesemonger, and I live In Broadcourt, Long-acre, In the Parish of St.. Martin In The Fields, the prisoner was my servant, and had lived with me seven weeks. On Sunday, the 28th September, in the morning, I brought the cash-box downstairs, It contained one 50/., one 5/., one 2/., and four 1/. bank notes, a sovereign, ten guineas, twelve half guineas, and 40 seven-shilling pieces, In gold; two Spanish dollars, a bill of exchange, and some papers, I went up stairs to clean myself, and took It with me; I put It In the cupboard In my bedroom, which Is on the, first floor. I told my girl to lock the bedroom-door. I went to church.
When I returned I saw the prisoner; he asked leave to go out, which I granted. I went out, and returned about half-past ten o’clock; he had not returned. I went up, and found my bed-room door ajar. Next morning, finding he did not return, I became suspicious, examined my cupboard, and missed my cash-box; it was brought to me on the Saturday following, from the Bull and Mouth Inn, inclosed in paper, and directed to me in the prisoner’s hand-writing – the contents were gone. The 50/. note was marked “Mrs. Wells, Broad-court,” of whom I had received it, in my hand-writing; I received it from her two days before. The prisoner had often seen me put money in-the cash-box.
Cross-examined by MR. BARRY.
It was in the cupboard between ten and eleven o’clock.
The prosecutor is my uncle. I locked the bed-room door that morning, and put the key on the parlour shelf. When I came home at night I found it open. I left the prisoner, and Barnard, in the house.
I am a friend of Mr. Castle’s. I dined with the prisoner, and the other shopman, about one o’clock, as Mr. Castle was out; I did not leave the house till Mr. Castle came home at night, I never went out of the house. The prisoner went out about half-past five o’clock, it was getting dark.
I am clerk. to the Redford Bank, in Nottinghamshire. On Tuesday, the 30th September, at eleven o’clock in the morning, the prisoner came with his brother to change a 50/. Bank of England note; the prisoner said it was his brother-in-law’s, whose name was Taylor. I gave Taylor ten 5/. notes of our bank. Taylor produced the note. I am certain the prisoner is the man who came with him. Taylor said it was his brother-in-law’s note; the prisoner was present, and did not contradict it, but said it was his note, and he was going to lend it to Taylor, I produce the note.
I am a Bow-street officer, I went in pursuit of the prisoner, and traced him to Sheffield, and found him lying under a hedge, without his hat, close by Sheffield Park – I took him into custody. He begged I would not hold him as he went through Sheffield, as he was known. I asked him what he had done with the money? He said he had none about him, but had left part of it at his sister’s, in Sheffield. I asked him where she lived, and went there. I found his hat, and gloves, there – it had his name in it. The prisoner said he had sent the cash-box, and its contents, to his master. I told him that was false, as I had traced the 50/. note to the Bank. He said he did it himself, was very sorry for it, no person was concerned with him, and he must suffer.
The 50/. note is marked “Mrs. Wells, Broad-court;” it is mine – it was in my possession that morning.
I am very sorry and beg for mercy,
GUILTY.– DEATH. Aged 18 Of stealing in a Dwelling-house, but not of breaking and entering.
Second Middlesex Jury, before Mr. Justice Park
John Piper J. P.
In November 1825 a letter was forwarded by the Colonial Secretary to both George and Harriet referring them to Regulations of the Colony in reference to their applications for a Ticket of Leave. Their applications were refused.
TRANSCRIPT OF TRIAL
George Kenniwell per “Isabella 1 ” 1818 Life, holding Ticket of Leave for the District
of Williams River, Public Poundkeeper at Brandon, charged by Mr. James Adair with
selling a bullock of his illegally, and describing the bullock wrong — and refusing to deliver him up.
Mr. James Adair being duly sworn in some time ago,
I saw the description of one of my cattle advertised as being impounded at Brandon, by the Town Patterson, and Williams River —– for the protection of stock, some time in June or July. I met one Richard Barnes who informed me he was going the following morning to Brandon Pound. I directed him to release my bullock which he promised to do after his return from Brandon, he informed me that the Poundkeeper refused to release him and said he was a stolen bullock.
A document was handed ——- by Mackintosh which showed the bullock was sold for Two Pounds Ten Shillings.
Signed by James Adair
Sworn before us
this 4 September 1835
Richard Barnes per —- being duly sworn
——- of July last I was on my way to Brandon, and met Mr. Adair on the road- he directed me to release a bullock that was impounded at Brandon–On examining the cattle in the Pound, I saw one brindled bullock with bow horns branded on the hip APIGA the GA brand was very visible the other was not, I told the Poundkeeper that he belongs to Mr. Adair, the Poundkeeper, Kenniwell said that he supposed him to be a stolen beast, I said no more about it
Signed Richard Barnes Sworn before us
John Wyhton J.P.
James Collins per ‘Midas’ I827, life, assigned to Mr. Adair being duly sworn
I was sent down about a fortnight ago to —- Scott’s farm on the Patterson, for the purpose of examining a bullock that was sold to one Chiperfuld, overseer to Mr. Scott at Brandon Pound and which was supposed to belong to Mr. Adair. I went down to Mr. Scotts, saw and examined the bullock, and positively swore he was my Masters property. I recollect the same bullock being —- with Mr. Park for a young bull. Chiperfuld, Mr. Scott’s overseer informed me that he had purchased the bullock at Brandon Pound for Three Pounds six shillings
James Collins X his mark
John Mackintosh, Ranger to the Upper Patterson and Williams River previously being duly sworn.
I remember being at Brandon Pound sometime in August last, and made inquiries of the Poundkeeper, Kenniwell respecting a bullock of Mr. Adair that had been sold at that Pound, and demanded a sight of the Pound Book which he refused to show me, he gave me an extract from his Pound Book concerning a bullock of Mr. Adair’s showing the name of the purchaser, date when sold and the amount it was sold for which showed that it was sold for Two Pounds Six shillings
Signed M. McIntosh
Sworn before me this 4th September I835
Jno. Wyhton J.P.
Defendant George Kenniwell found GUILTY for not giving information to Mr. Adair when informed by Richard Barnes that the Bullock belong to him and is fined six shillings and six pence, also ten shillings for not showing his Pound Book to John Mackintosh: and ordered to pay back the nett proceeds of the value of the bullock viz: Two Pounds seven shillings — pence to Mr. Adair, together with the costs, two shillings and six pence. Three days is granted the Defendant to pay the amount to Mr. Adair.
Signed J.W. J.P.
Colonial Secretary’s Office
I8 August I838
38I7646 George Kenniwell per Isabella (I) Holding Ticket of Leave 38I730
The prisoner in the margin having been convicted of drunkenness and having been an accessory to the embezzlement of two gallons of spirits the property of Mr. Richard Long, I am directed by his Excellency the Governor to inform you that under the recommendation of the Police at Butterwick, before who the charge was beard, Kenniwell’s ticket of leave to be cancelled. It appears Mr. Richard Long sent his assigned servant Thomas Wilson per “Recovery” to the store of Mr. Gussatt Tucker with an order for two gallons of Rum, and that Wilson having obtained the spirits, fell in with Kenniwell on his return home where they broached the keg and having drunk some of the Rum the remainder was made away by the latter.
I am instructed by the Governor, to inform you that the prisoner is to be withdrawn from the service of Mr. Richard Long and no man assigned in his place. You will he pleased to state whether you are aware of any application having been made by Kenniwell or his wife, for a Conditional Pardon.
Re. Principal Superintendents of Convicts
A Copy of Mr. Justice Burton’s Notes In The Case Of Hugh Bannon
Indicted for the murder of GEORGE KENNIWELL, on the first of January 1842 at Newcastle by striking, beating, etc. on the head and other parts of the body, with a piece of wood giving him divers mortal wounds, bruises and contusions, of which he languished until the second day of January, and then died.
Plea – Not Guilty
I am the stable keeper at Mr. Groves’s, Newcastle. I know Hugh Bannon. I remember a row between him and another man about eight at night, on Saturday. I was in the coach house at my work, the waiter, James Coughlan, and Mary Boylan, and a man named Clements. The prisoner came to the coach house, bleeding and drunk. I think there was a row in the house before that. I gave him a cloth to wipe the blood off him. He went away into the yard and a few minutes later came in with a paling in his fist. He spoke to the other two men. The deceased came to the coach house door and the prisoner was standing there too.
The deceased said to the prisoner, “Have you any money?” “I have,” said the prisoner. “Are you going to rob me?” The prisoner went out and two or three minutes after I heard a noise in the yard. I heard someone say, “I’ll give you a crown.” I heard two or three blows; it was after the blows were given this was said. The other two men went out first and I followed and found the deceased lying on the ground between the gate and the kitchen door. Noble and others were going to lift him and take him home. He said, “Let me alone, I am very sore.” I had seen. the prisoner, there two or three times that day; he had been drinking. He had lodged there formerly, but had left.
The deceased was lying about twenty yards from the coach house. a longer time had elapsed than was necessary to get there before I beard the blows; they might have gone there and after again. It was not more than two or three minutes; I washed three or four dishes and six or seven plates in the meantime, and the girl had taken them out.
I was housemaid at the Commercial Hotel, Newcastle. The prisoner lodged there. I remember the Saturday night a man was killed there; it was New Year’s night. I was going out of the kitchen to the coach house, to wash it up.
I heard a man strike the fence some blows with a stick as it appeared to me; he used the expression at the time, “Holy Jesus, I will smash the first man that comes nigh me.” I had known the prisoner two months; he -had lodged there six weeks whilst I was there. I did not know his voice, it was dark, I did not see the person or know the voice. I ran back to the kitchen and stood there for some time, I was afraid, I stood in the kitchen some time, then the noise was over and I went out again with the dishes, and as I was going out I heard a man moaning in the road; that was almost half an hour after. I went to the coach house; no one was there then; I had been washing before. No one came there to my knowledge whilst I was there, not the prisoner. I saw a man afterwards lying in the road; prisoner was not there. The prisoner had been violent in the course of the day; no one else riotous about the place; he was tipsy.
Cross examined BY THE COURT
I saw a man strike the prisoner in the face that night, about seven o’clock, it was light. I was in the kitchen at the table, the prisoner and the other man; the other was drunk too. Without quarrelling the prisoner ran out then; it bled (his mouth) a little; the person who was lying on the ground was not the man who struck the prisoner. He was lying outside the road, as about as far from the kitchen door as across this room, there was a fence between there and the kitchen door, nearly as high a the opposite fence (about seven feet), a gate about as far as to the opposite side of the wall. I am not sure it was the fence that was struck. I heard three or four, no words at all; I saw no one at all; I saw no person with a weapon that night. I did not see any blow struck; I did not see the prisoner in the coach house with a stick; I did not see him at all there.
Cross examined BY A JURYMAN
I cannot-say. whether it was against the fence, or a person’s body.
I am a collier in the Australian Company’s Service. I know the prisoner and knew the deceased Kenniwell. I remember being near Grove’s public house that evening. I was standing on the corner about nine o’clock. I heard the prisoner say he would break the rim of someone’s belly. I did not then see him but I knew his voice. He might have been thirty yards off. I stood there a few minutes when I heard two or three blows, struck (I- had not seen anyone) with a weapon of some sort, as if when a bag on something soft, but I heard a very heavy groan directly after and went to where I heard it proceed from. It was inside the gate and about five or six yards from the kitchen door. Just as I went into the gate I looked to my right hand and saw the prisoner going over the fence. I saw Kenniwell lying on the ground.
He could not speak to me, and I asked him two or three times what was the matter with him. He could not make me any answer. He appeared to know me. He turned his eyes to me and said, “Noble, my belly’s cut, ” I asked him where and he put his hand across his belly. I immediately took down his trousers and looked, but I could not see any marks; it was dark at the time, on dusk. I buttoned him up again and ran into the kitchen to see if there was any person put out of the way or any drunken person in the place, but could see no one, only the servants, so I came out and when got to the deceased was got to the gate, sitting, and his two children with him. He lived only in the next street so we took the deceased home; I carried him on my back. I desired his wife to send for the doctor. She thought he was not so bad. Before the blows were struck I had not seen anyone going over the fence; I am not to say certain of it; I was so much put out at the time. I did not speak to the prisoner.
I saw no one near the deceased when I saw the children with him, there was another man also whom I do not know, Timmings has made away with himself, or gone somewhere. The prisoner had a weapon of some kind in his hand; what it was I cannot say.
Cross examined BY THE COURT
I saw the last witness in the house; I think she was in the passage pretty near, and the man was at that time lying within five or six yards of the kitchen door, not outside the fence, but in the yard; the fence was as far off as the length of the Court House.
MRS. HARRIET GROVE
I am the wife of Mr. Thomas Grove of the Commercial Hotel. The prisoner lodged at my house for some time. I gave him a warning to leave; he left about a fortnight before the death of Kenniwell. The prisoner had not been drinking at my house that day. He had been in the house that day once. I was just at my tea, between seven and eight on a Saturday night. I knew George Kenniwell. He was not in my house that night; I had not seen him. I saw a fight in the early part of the night, between the prisoner and another man, named Puggy. As I was sitting- at tea the bar woman – Eliza -Doyle. came and called me into the kitchen. They were then fighting but desisted on seeing me. I ordered them to leave the house. The prisoner left. I did not see him again that evening, or Kenniwell. I received the information about him and called James Coughlan to go for Mr. Grove; he said he could not find him. I was too frightened to go out myself. There was no person about that I knew. I saw no blacks there. I knew nothing in the sitting room which took place in the yard.
He was violent on that day and had been a fortnight previous. We were all frightened at him. He rendered me fourteen shillings on that same evening. I thought it was for his board, but he afterwards said it was not. I did not see him again till I saw him in custody. At that time Mary Boylan was washing things in the coach house, having no scullery. She gave me some information next day.
HARRIET KENNIWELL: The wife of George Kenniwell.
On the first January, half past nine at night, my son ran over (aged I4 or I5) and said, “Mother, my father is beat and cannot walk but I saw the man jump over the fence and I know him.” I told him to get anyone to assist him to bring him home. Noble brought him about ten minutes after. I began to scold him for staying longer than I thought he should have done, when Noble said, ” Don’t scold him; he has been beat and I saw the man and I’ll paling him. ” He was put to bed and was in great pain and about an hour afterwards he told me he had been beaten and by whom.
Cross examined BY THE COURT
I had no apprehension at that time that he was so near his end. He said on first coming in, “I got three blows across my loins.” I started to wash him, as he was dirty from being on the ground; he said “You have no call now; you will have to wash me all over.” I supposed him to think he was nigh death. He complained of pain across his loins. He asked for a doctor to be sent for about ten o’clock next day. He was crying with pain through the night.
He told me he felt happy the two boys were apprenticed and that the two eldest daughters were married, and to be careful who the next eldest girl married and to give the rest of the children a trade, if I should be spared. He told me, about twenty minutes before 11 o’clock, not to send for a doctor, as it was of no use. He said he could not live several times during the night. He was, from the time he came in until he died, impressed that he should not recover.
Cross examined BY THE SOLICITOR GENERAL
For two hours after he came in he was not able to say much, but about II o’clock he said, “I was beaten by a man and you know him.” I said, “How should I know him and I was not there?” “As you recollect the man,” he said, “that was at work at the New Barracks that always had black eyes.” I said, “Yes.” He said “That is the man that struck me.” I asked him what his name was and he said, he did not know him by any other name than Hugh. He said he had been down at Mrs. Groves and that he was followed out by this Hugh and struck by a paling and knocked down and that he was struck three times, that he could not walk, and that someone at Mrs. Groves had dragged him out of the yard, and his little boy, George, had come to him. He went out about eight o’clock and it was almost twenty minutes after nine that he was brought back. He was perfectly sober when he went out; he was sober when he came in, though I could smell spirits. No doctor came. I sent for Dr. Brooks but he did not come. I sent to the hospital and an assistant named Cunningham came. The body was examined after death by Dr. Brooks. I was in the house at the time; it was my husband’s body that he examined.
Cross examined BY THE COURT
The prisoner was a stonemason employed at the New Barracks, and used to pass our house regularly three times a day up to about ten days ago before the occurrence for three or four weeks. My husband had said to me, “Look at that man going by; what dreadful black eyes he has got. ” I said, ” I’ts shewing it’s Christmastime. ” That was the week before Christmas, on the Thursday, as Christmas was on the Saturday. I am quite sure it was two days before Christmas that my husband pointed him out with the black eyes, the man of whom my husband said that was the prisoner at the bar. I observed that he had black eyes at the time.
I did not see him again until I saw him before the Coroner. That is the man. There were twenty a day passing, of different mechanics.
MR. GEORGE BROOKS, Colonial Surgeon, Newcastle
About Christmas day, I was at the house of Mr. Kenniwell to examine the body the morning after death. There were two bruises on the belly, no bleeding but bruises only, inflicted apparently by a blunt instrument – a large stick might have done it, l should say an angular object. There were appearances of disease which had existed some time – ulceration of the lungs. I think that the blows caused the death but they would not have caused it but for the previous disease, by disconnecting morbid adhesions about the bowels, the result of previous inflammation. There were there morbid adhesions, they were disconnected by the blows; to that I attribute the death, I have no doubt as to that. The bruises were not remarkable externally until putrefaction took place. They were internally very visible. I did not open the head. I was satisfied of the cause of death then that I did not look elsewhere. It would require great violence to disconnect these adhesions; a light blow would not have done it, or a light instrument. There were marks of two distinct blows. He had laboured under inflammation of the bowels some time previously; the liver and kidneys were diseased. There was no possibility of medical assertances doing him any good. After receiving the injury, it was so great; there were no external marks about his head.
I apprehended the prisoner on the second of January at the back of the New Barracks. I had no difficulty in taking him. He asked me not to let any of the people touch him, that were about. Moran was with me or before.
NEIL MORAN: Waiter at Mr. Grove’s,
I took the prisoner into custody on Sunday. second of January. He was running up the street, the constables were all after him. When I came up he said what did I want with him.
I said it was reported that he was the man that murdered Kenniwell: He said, “Don’t ill use me,” and went quietly with me and I delivered him to Campbell, the constable.
WILLIAM NOBLE (recalled):
I am quite sure it was the prisoner I saw getting over the fence. There were gateways, but one was at my back. I did not take notice of any openings in the fence. There is a pigsty; he got on top of it. I held a ticket of leave some time ago.
I lost it for going out from my duty without leave. I was in Mr. McGregor’s service. I am now assigned to the Company and have been for thirteen years.
MARY BOYLAN: (recalled)
Persists in her story.
JAMES HUGHES: (recalled)
I saw the prisoner on Christmas day. A man by the name of Connor and prisoner boxed that day. The prisoner got black eyes. He had not had black eyes before that., it was all on Christmas day; and he got patches under them, different places on his face.
GEORGE KENNIWELL Jnr
I remember the night before my father died. I did not see him, till I saw him at the gate. I know the well; it was at the gate, near that, my father was lying. I was in Mr. Griffith’s service and was sent out that night. Seeing him lying at the gate, I went up to him and as I was going up (about half past nine) I saw the prisoner at the bar jump over the fence. I was quite close to him. He had nothing in his hand. I noticed two cuts across his eyes and he had two pieces of white sticking plaster on at the time, across his eyebrow.
To the best of my opinion he had no white sticking plaster on. I do not recollect whether he had any or not.
He had cuts; I do not know if he had plaster.
He had plaster across his nose.
MRS. GROVE, (recalled):
He had his nose broke that night; he had a plaster on when before the Coroner.
VERDICT: Guilty of Murder
SENTENCE: Death recorded W. W. BURTON
Sydney, New South Wales
Sir, I have the honour to transmit to your’ Excellency, in duplicate a copy of my notes in the case of Hugh Bannon, a free Irish immigrant, who was convicted at a Circuit Court, recently holden before me at Maitland, of the murder of George Kenniwell, on the first of January last, and against whom sentence of death was passed.
The grounds upon which I felt justified, notwithstanding the prisoner’s conviction of so heinous a crime, in abstaining from passing a sentence of death upon him, were briefly these: No animosity existed between the parties, and there was no previous quarrel, but the prisoner, being intoxicated, had been in a state of violent excitement throughout the day, and wishing to fight with anyone who would oppose him; that in that temper, and flourishing a piece of paling about him, he unfortunately came in contact with the deceased and struck him two or three blows across the belly; the deceased had some time previously laboured under inflammation of the bowel and morbid adhesions had taken place, which the blows inflicted by the prisoner separated and produced death. The same injury inflicted upon a healthy person would not, according to the evidence of a medical witness examined, have led to such a result, but the blows must have been given with violence, and a light instrument would not have had the effect of separating these adhesions.
The offence of the prisoner was, on account of the unprovoked nature of the attack, the instrument presumed to be used for it was not found, and the sentence undoubtedly murder, but yet on account of the circumstances attending it and the prisoner’s unconsciousness at the time, with the absence of all particular malice against the individual killed, justice did not appear me to demand the forfeiture of the prisoner’s life.
I therefore recorded sentence of death against him, intending to recommend that her Majesty’s Mercy be extended, and his life spared, but I can only do this on condition of his being transported for life.
I have the honour to be Sir,
Your obedient humble servant,