Date Of Execution: 7 Jul 1703
Execution Place: unknown
John Peter Dromett , a French-man, of the Parish of St. Martins in the Fields , was indicted for the Murther of one Frances Dromett , his Wife , on the 9th of June last, by giving her one mortal Bruise, with the Hilt of a Sword, made with Brass, on the right Part of the Head, near the right Ear, of which she instantly died . It appeared that the Prisoner was a Servant to the Right Honourable the Lord Haversham at Kensington, and coming home late the Night the Murther was committed, in a bloody manner, his Lordship mistrusted he had done some Mischief, askt him how he came in that Condition; and he told him that he met with two Men in the Park, who set upon him, and would have taken his Cloaths from him, which made him fight; and said he had broke one of their Heads; so the matter rested for that time: But the next Evening a Paper was cried of a barbarous Murther that was committed near Bloody-Bridge, by Chelsea , which coming to some of the Servants Hands, they acquainted his Lordship with it, that they mistrusted the Prisoner had killed his Wife, they having seen her before in the House, and heard her complain of his bad Usage, and by reason that his Stockings were bloody, his Sword broke, the Hilt bruised, and his Cane shattered; upon which, my Lord mistrusting that there was something more in the matter, sent the Prisoner to get his Coach ready, and in the mean time sent for a Constable to apprehend him, and cause him to be examined before some Justice of the Peace, which accordingly he did. Upon the Tryal, the Constable deposed, That my Lord sent a Servant-maid to him, (with the Sword and Cane) to apprehend the Prisoner, at the Crown at Kensington, where he found him, but taking him to the Justice's, he was not at home, upon which, he took a Coach, with some other People to his Assistance, and brought him to London; and on the Way, he confessed he did the Fact, and that she was his Wife: Then he askt him how he got her out, and he said, He desired her to take a walk into the Park, and then led her out of the way into that Road: Then he askt him what was the reason he killed her, he said, that she was a wicked Woman, and had cheated him, for that she told him, when he married her, that she was of the Blood-Royal of France, and would maintain him without working, but he was forced to work to maintain her: Then he asked him if the Stockings were his, which were shewed him all bloody, and also his Wife's Cap, which was found in his Coat-pocket when searched, which he did not disown. Another Evidence deposed, That he was one of the Constable's Assistance, and as they came into the middle of the Park, he shewed him the bloody Sword, and said, Thou Villain, dost not thou see thy Wife's Blood on thy Sword; upon which he did not deny it, but answered very little. Another Evidence deposed; That when they came by the two Ashen-trees in the Park, he desired him to make an ingenuous Confession, and told him that the Constable was his Friend, upon which he confest the matter, and said that she was a very ill Woman, and he was forced to keep her. Another Evidence was one of his Fellow-servants, who said, He came in, the Night the Murther was done, about 12 a clock, and seeing him bloody, enquired how he came so, he said he had been fighting with two Men in the Park. Other Evidence deposed, That seeing his Sword broke, and he bloody, they all took notice of it, but he said still, that he had only broke a Man's Head. There were other Evidence who deposed, That the Night the Murther was committed, he went into his Lord's Chamber, when he was in Bed, knowing he had store of Gold, and something making a noise, awaked his Lord, and then he pretended he came for something that he lacked, which the Evidence did suppose was to take away the Gold, and so to fly for that and this Fact. Another Evidence deposed, That he heard the Prisoner confess the Fact, and own her to be his Wife, and that they were married in Ireland, and said that she had put a Trick upon him. Another Evidence deposed, That she was a poor Woman, that went a weeding in the Gardens at Chelsea-College, and on Thursday Morning, she and some more were going to work, and two Women told them there was a Woman murdered in the Ditch between Hyde-Park and Chelsea, where they found her lying upon her Belly; and looking about, found a peice of the Sword stuck in the Bank, which was matcht with the other, and agreed exactly; and that they did believe that that was the Place he threw her in, by reason there was much Blood; and that they did believe that she did struggle hard for her Life, by reason that there was a great many Scratches upon the Bank, as they did suppose, with her Hands and her Feet, to get out again; and that he might give her the Blow as she endeavoured to get out of the Ditch. It appeared further, That she was dragged above 20 Yards from the Place where it was supposed she was thrown in, by reason of the Blood which was found all the way. A Surgeon deposed, That he was sent for to view the Body, and saw a great many Wounds, and did believe that he would have cut off her Head, and that she had 21
Wounds upon her Head and Neck, besides a great many more in other Parts of her Body, and that one went into her Wind-pipe, and another in behind her Ear through into her Mouth, and did believe it was done with the Sword, because they had 3 Edges, as the Sword had. The Justice declared that he did own her for his Wife, and that her Name was Frances. There were two other Witnesses who said, That she dined at the Lord's House the Sunday before, and when she first came in, she owned her self to be his Aunt; but examining her strictly, she said she was his Wife, and that he did own to be her Husband, and they were sure this was the same Woman, they having both seen her after she was murdered. All that he had to say for himself was, That she followed him, and provoked him to it; which matters the Jury having considered, brought him in guilty of wilful Murder.
Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 6.0, 10 October 2011), July 1703, trial of John Peter Dromett (t17030707-1).