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England and Wales High Court (King's Bench Division) Decisions


You are here: BAILII >> Databases >> England and Wales High Court (King's Bench Division) Decisions >> Williams v Carwardine [1833] EWHC KB J44 (22 March 1833)
URL: http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWHC/KB/1833/J44.html
Cite as: (1833) 5 Car & P 566, 172 ER 1101, [1833] EWHC KB J44

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JISCBAILII_CASE_CONTRACT

Neutral Citation Number: [1833] EWHC KB J44
172 ER 1101, (1833) 5 Car & P 566

Hereford Assizes

22 March 1833

B e f o r e :

Before Mr. Justice J. Parke
____________________

Between:
WILLIAMS
v
CARWARDINE

____________________

  1. Assumpsit. The first count of the declaration stated in substance, that the defendant had caused to be published a placard or advertisement, reciting, that Walter Carwardine had been robbed, and that there was great reason to suppose that he had been murdered; and that by this placard the defendant did "promise and undertake, that whosoever would give such information as might lead to a discovery of the murder of the said Walter Carwardine, should, on conviction, receive a reward of 20; and that any person concerned therein, or privy thereto, except the person who actually committed the offence, should be entitled to such reward, and every exertion used to procure a pardon"; and that, by the said placard or advertisement, the defendant "directed that the said information should be given, and application for the above reward be made to him, or Mr. Watkins, solicitor, Hereford." The plaintiff then averred, that she, "confiding in the said promise of the said defendant,' and not being the party who actually committed the offence, "did give to the said defendant such information as led to the discovery of the murder of the said Walter Carwardine"; and that, afterwards, at the Hereford Assizes, held on the 20th day of March, 1832, Joseph Pugh, John Matthews, and William Williams, who were guilty of the said offence, to wit, the murder of the said Walter Carwardine, were in due manner convicted of the said murder, "in consequence of such information so given by the said plaintiff as aforesaid." This count went on to state, that of all this the defendant had notice, and that he became liable to pay the plaintiff 20, which, although requested by the plaintiff, he had not paid her.
  2. The second count was similar, except that it omitted to state to whom information was to be given; and did not aver that the information was given by the plaintiff to the defendant; nor that Pugh, Matthews, and Williams, were guilty of the murder; nor that they were convicted in consequence of the information given by the plaintiff. The third count was similar to the first, except that it omitted the clause respecting the procuring of a pardon for an accomplice, and that it did not aver that the plaintiff was not the person who committed the offence; and that it did not state that J. P., J. M., and W. W. were convicted in consequence of the information given by the plaintiff. The fourth count was similar to the second, omitting that part which related to the procuring a pardon for an accomplice, and the averment that the plaintiff had not committed the offence.
  3. The fifth count stated, that before the making of the promises in that and the two next counts mentioned, the body of Walter Carwardine had been found in the river Wye, with marks of violence on his person, so as to give reason to believe that he had been murdered; and that, for the better apprehending and bringing to justice the person or persons concerned in the murder, the defendant "promised that whoever, except the party who actually committed the offence, would give such information as would lead to a discovery of the murder of the said Walter Carwardine, should, on conviction, receive a reward of 20. The plaintiff then averred, that she, not being the party who actually committed the offence, " did give such information as led to the discovery of the murder of the said Walter Carwardine"; and that, at the Hereford Assizes, on the 20th March, 1832, J. P., J. M., and W. W., were convicted of the murder; of all which the defendant had notice, whereby he became liable to pay the plaintiff 20, but had refused to do so.
  4. The sixth count was similar, omitting the exception of the person who actually committed the offence, and the averment, that the plaintiff had not committed it. The seventh count stated, that, in consideration that the plaintiff had given such information as had led to a discovery of the murder, the defendant promised, that, "on conviction he would pay her the sum of 20." It then stated the conviction of J. P., J. M., and W. W., as in the former counts. The eighth count was for work and labour, money paid, money had and received, and on an account stated. Plea-General issue.
  5. On the part of the plaintiff it appeared, that the brother of the defendant had been murdered at Hereford on the 24th of March, 1831, and that his body was found in the river Wye, on the 12th of April; and that, on the 25th of April, the defendant caused the following handbill to be published:
  6. "Ten pounds reward and twenty pounds reward. Whereas, Walter Carwardine, late of Broxwood, in the county of Hereford, farmer, was, on the night of the 24th of March last, or early on the following morning, robbed of a 5 Kington and Radnorshire bank note, at a house of ill fame in Quaker's Lane, in the city of Hereford; and the body of the said Walter Carwardine was found in the river Wye on the 12th day of April instant, with marks of violence on his person, and there is great reason to believe that he was murdered. And whereas Sarah Coley, late of the city of Worcester, single woman, is charged on oath with having committed such robbery, and being privy to or concerned in such murder, whoever will apprehend the said Sarah Coley, and lodge her in any one of his Majesty's gaols, shall receive a reward of 10; and whoever will give such information as may lead to a discovery of the murder of the said Walter Carwardine, shall, on conviction, receive a reward of 20; and any person concerned therein, or privy thereto (except the party who actually committed the offence), shall be entitled to such reward, and every exertion used to procure a pardon. Information to be given, and application for the above reward to be made, to Mr. William Carwardine, Holmer, near Hereford, or to Mr. Watkyns, solicitor, Hereford."
    Hereford, April 25, 1831."
  7. It further appeared, that, at the Hereford Summer Assizes of 1831, two persons, named Pugh and Connop, were tried for the murder, and acquitted, the plaintiff having been examined as a witness against them; and that, shortly after that time, the plaintiff having been dreadfully beaten by William Williams, and thinking herself not likely to recover from the violence she received, she made a disclosure to Mr. Howells, the swordbearer of the city of Hereford, in consequence of which, she, on the 23rd of August, made the following deposition before Mr. Milton, a magistrate:
  8. "The voluntary statement of Mary Anne Williams, made this 23rd day of August, 1831, before me, one of his Majesty's justices of the peace in and for the said city, who, on her oath saith, that, in consequence of her miserable and unhappy situation, and believing that she has not long to live, she makes this voluntary statement to ease her conscience, and in hopes of forgiveness hereafter. That, on Thursday night in the assize week, in the month of March last, between the hours of eleven and twelve o'clock, I went into Joseph Pugh's house, in Quaker's Lane, and there saw Susan Connop, Sarah Coley, Susan Reignart, Mr. Webb, the butcher, and Walter Carwardine. After drinking with them, I left the house with Mr. Webb. I walked as far as the King's Head Inn, in Broad Street; I returned by the way of Eign Street to the end of Quaker's Lane, by Eign Gate Turnpike. I went along the lane as far as the gate of Mr. Thomas the coachmaker's meadow opposite to the Cross Lane, where I heard a noise. I there saw Joseph Pugh, William Williams, a man of the name of Matthews, and Sarah Coley. I heard Mr. Carwardine's voice very plain. He said, 'For God's sake do not murder me.' I heard Coley say, ' I have got his blunt, and if you will keep secret I'll treat.' Williams said, ' We will soon put him out of the way.' I then heard a dreadful blow, and Mr. Carwardine fell on the ground on his back. I distinctly heard two long deep groans, as if he was dying. I did not hear him speak. After a moment Williams saw me, he ran to me, and forced me into the turnpike road, near Eign Gate; Williams ran back along the lane to the Cross Lane; I went along the turnpike road to the Red Lion Inn, turned up Townditch Lane into the Cross Lane, but no one was there. I went into Quaker's Lane, by the end of the barn, and listened. I heard Pugh, Williams, Matthews, and Coley, about Mr. Thomas's house, the carpenter, three parts down the lane, towards the tan yard, I distinctly heard Pugh curse his eyes, and say, 'Go on.' Coley said, 'Don't talk so loud; don't be in a hurry.' I was very much frightened, and I got into the house, and went to bed.
    (Signed) MARY ANNE WILLIAMS.
    "Sworn before me, William Milton."
  9. The record of the conviction of William Williams, Joseph Pugh, and John Matthews, was put in; and it was admitted that there had been a demand of the reward on the behalf of the plaintiff.
  10. Curwood, for the defendant. It is clear, that any person, who, in consequence of this handbill, fairly gave evidence that led to the discovery of the murderers, would be entitled to the reward; but, in this case, it is manifest that the disclosure was made from other motives. Shortly after the finding of the body of the deceased there was an inquest, and after that Pugh and Connop were tried; and, previous to that trial, the plaintiff made a deposition, which was totally unlike what she stated in her second deposition, which has been read. After the first trial, she was severely beaten by Williams, and, being apprehensive of death, she made a disclosure. Does she do this in consequence of the handbill? No. From other and quite different motives. The handbill is published in April, and she makes the disclosure in August. If it was not the handbill, but other circumstances, which operated on her mind, there is no contract between these parties: indeed, her second deposition was of so little value that the magistrate would not act upon it, not only on account of her previous character, but on account of her having before made a different statement. The declaration states, that she, confiding in the promise contained in the handbill, made a disclosure. This is, I submit, a case of what in the civil law is called policitation, that is, an offer by one party not accepted by the other.
  11. Mr. Justice J. Parke: Have you any authority for your position as to the motive? The terms of the handbill are, that "Whoever will give such information as may lead to a discovery," is, on conviction, to receive the reward. If this information had not been given, these men would not have been convicted.
  12. The first deposition made by the plaintiff, on the 19th of April, 1831, was put in: it was as follows: "Mary Anne Williams states, that, on Thursday night in the assize week, between half-past ten and eleven o'clock, she went into Joseph Pugh's house in Quaker's Lane; when she went in she saw Susan Connop, a tall girl, a little girl, a lusty man sitting in a great chair, and Mr. Webb, the butcher. They were drinking spirits; witness staid there half an hour, and left there the persons whom she has described. She went into the town; as she came back she saw the same man that she has described as the lusty man, standing at the corner of Mr. Thomas the coachmaker's building. A gentleman went by, and spoke to this man, and said, 'Why, Mr. Carwardine, what brings you there? ' He said, in answer, 'Why, how the devil do you know my name? ' The gentleman answered, ' Oh, I know you very well.' This was very near twelve o'clock; witness does not think it had struck twelve."
  13. Mr. Howells, in answer to a question put by the learned Judge, said, that the second deposition of the plaintiff was the material information that led to the discovery of the murderers; but he also stated that the plaintiff did not attend the inquest; and that the magistrate declined granting any warrant upon her statement, unless some other person was brought to confirm it; and that a person, named Elizabeth Powell, was sent for, and she confirmed the statement in many respects.
  14. Ludlow, Serjt., amicus curies. In a case tried before Lord Chief Justice Gibbs, at Bristol, which was an action for a reward, his Lordship laid down, that either the person claiming the reward must shew a title to it in himself alone, or all who are concerned in making the disclosure must join in bringing the action.
  15. Talfourd, Serjt., for the plaintiff. My client gives the information, and a conviction follows. If the case went to the full extent of the doctrine stated by Mr. Serjt. Ludlow, no one could recover unless he or she were the only witness examined. I submit that the plaintiff was the sole moving cause; and that the person who gives the first information, is the one who leads to a discovery.
  16. Mr. Justice J. Parke. The person who makes the first disclosure is certainly the person who leads to a discovery; for, if she had said nothing, no discovery would have been made.
  17. Talfourd, Serjt. If the plaintiff had herself known nothing, but had said A. B. knows all about it, and that had led to a discovery, it would have been sufficient.
  18. Mr. Justice J. Parke. There is only one reward to be paid. If two persons had come together to give the information, the action must have been joint; but, as the plaintiff alone gave the first information, she alone is entitled to the reward.
  19. Curwood. There is then the question of motive. In the declaration it is averred, that the plaintiff, "confiding" in the promise, gave certain information, which is alleging that as the motive. Talfourd, Serjt.-That is mere form of pleading, the same as the words "fraudulently contriving and intending."
  20. Mr. Justice J. Parke. If the plaintiff comes within the conditions of the handbill, I think she is entitled to the reward. The jury will probably find that the 20 was not the motive. We may, I think, assume that it was not. The motive was the state of her own feelings. My opinion is, that the motive is not material; and that, if she comes within the terms of the handbill, that is sufficient.
  21. Curwood. Will your Lordship give me leave to move to enter a nonsuit?
  22. Mr. Justice J. Parke. Yes; I will give you leave to move. It is to be taken as found by the jury, that the plaintiff gave the information which led to the discovery of the murderers; but that she did not give that information for the sake of the 20 reward, nor in consequence of the handbill, but from stings of conscience.
  23. Verdict for the plaintiff-Damages 20.

    Talfourd, Serjt., and Godson, for the plaintiff.

    Curwood and C. Phillips, for the defendant.


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