Date Of Execution: 6 Sep 1716
Execution Place: unknown
Richard Griffith , of the Parish of Hadley , was indicted for the Murder of Richard Davis , his Fellow- servant by giving him a Mortal Wound with a Pitchfork on the hinder part of the Head, of which he instantly died , on the 1 st of February last. He was also indicted on the Coroner's Inquest for the said Murder.
He was a second time indicted for an Assault on the Person of the said Richard Davis, and robbing him of 2 Coats, 1 Waistcoat, and 1 pair of Breeches, value 12 s. on the Day aforesaid.
One Mrs. Taylor deposed, the Prisoner and the Deceas'd lay together in the Stable, and on the 1 st of last February the Prisoner told her the Deceas'd was gone to Esq; Caser's about selling a Horse, with which she was contented; but hearing nothing of him in 2 or 3 Days, when she saw the Prisoner again, she ask'd him, if he had heard any thing yet from Richard
Davis; But he answered, he had not seen him since, nor heard any thing of him. This very much surpriz'd her and the Prisoner himself having been out of the Way 2 or 3 Days too since she spoke with him last, she did not know what to think of it; but about a Fortnight after the Deceas'd was found cover'd with Dung headless.
Another Evidence (one Bisbop) depos'd That missing his Fellow-Servant, he asked the Prisoner what was become of him, who made him the same Answer as before; upon which he ask'd him what Cloaths he went in, and he said, in his own Cloaths, and had left his Livery in the Stables. That some time after this, being in the Field where there was a little Dunghill, the Prisoner, who was in the Yard, called to him, and asked him to drink, and fetcht a Pot of Beer, and afterwards another; appearing to be pretty full of Money, and then asked him if he had turn'd the Dung yet, and he told him No, it had not had time to rot. That next Morning he had Occasion to fetch a Wheelbarrow off the Dunghill, where he found a Human Skull, which struck him with Terror, and made him believe it was Richard Davis's, but it was pickt clean to the very Bone, which he believ'd might be done by the Hogs who were in the Field. With this Surprize he went to the Prisoner, and said, Lord have Mercy upon us, Richard, there's Skull upon yonder's Dunghill; but he replied not a Word, and immediately went off. Then he went to a Neighbour's and told him what he had found, who going with him to the Place found the Body also in the Livery, but no Buckles in the Shoes, where the Deceas'd us'd to wear Silver ones, not Money in his Pockets, tho' it was well known he did not use to be without it.
Two Women swore, the Prisoner brought them some Cloaths to pawn, and to sell for him, which proved to be the Deceased's; but it was remarkable, that the Prisoner had stript off the Silver Buttons which were upon some of them, before he brought them.
One Mr. Smith confirmed much of this Evidence, and depos'd, that the Prisoner was missing a great while after the skull was found, but at last was taken at Richmond, when he confessed the Fact.
Upon Trial he seem'd to be stung with the most sensible Remorse of his crying Guilt, not daring to look his Judge nor Jury in the Face; but being often ask'd what had mov'd him to so great a Sin, he at last said, that the Deceased and he had quarrel'd, upon which he kill'd him; but denied he cut off his Head. The Jury found him Guilty .
Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 6.0, 10 October 2011), September 1716, trial of Richard Griffith (t17160906-39).