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EXETER FLYING POST – JULY 31 1823
DEVON LAMMAS ASSIZES
MURDER. – The trial of John Radford alias Bright, (on Thursday), for the murder of Sarah Down, excited considerable interest, and the Court was crowded to excess. The prisoner, on being arraigned, pleaded “No Guilty,” in a firm voice, and with apparent indifference.
Mr. Tonkin conducted the prosecution, and having briefly the jury in possession of the train of evidence proceeded to call witnesses. The following was the principal evidence adduced: –
Mary Down, of East Worlington, sister to the deceased stated, that she returned from work with her sister on Friday evening the 11th July, and they went into Mrs. Cole’s at Moor end, where the prisoner and Samuel Melhuish were drinking. Bright asked her to drink, but she refused, telling him to ask “the right” to drink, meaning the deceased: the prisoner replied, that she that would drink should be his wife. A little before ten, witness asked deceased if she was going, and she told her to go on, and saying she would overtake her. Witness went away, and did not see her sister again till Sunday after she was taken out of the water.
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Mrs. Coles stated, that on the 11th July the prisoner and Samuel Melhuish were drinking at her house. On witness saying she wished Sarah Down was come (to assist her as a nurse), the prisoner asked “Do you look for her?” and on witness saying she did, he looked very earnestly and added “That’s the thing – she is going to be my wife; I’ll not go home till I’ve seen her.” She came soon after with Mary Down, and staid some time. Mary Down went away before ten, leaving her sister there; about a quarter of an hour after, Bright, Melhuish, and the deceased left the house together. The deceased had brought with her a basket and a jug; and on going away the prisoner carried the basket, and she the jug. She was in good spirits.
Samuel Melhuish corroborated the statements of the foregoing witnesses, and added that he parted from them outside Mrs. Cole’s door.
William Phillip, and James Down deposed that they met the prisoner with the deceased on the road between Cole’s house and East Worlington, on the above evening.
William Edworthy, of East Worlington, said that on Sunday the 13th, he found the body of the deceased floating on the water, in the river as Smith’s Ham.