Executed 18th of May, 1835, for Murder. Origin of the Central Criminal Court
PATRICK CARROLL was a native of Ballihoy, in Ireland, and at the age of twenty-two he enlisted in the 7th Regiment of Fusiliers. He remained in this corps for a period of seven years, at the expiration of which time he enlisted in the Marines. The company to which he was attached was stationed at Woolwich; and the public-house which was commonly frequented by him was the Britannia, which was kept by a Mrs Browning, a widow. He formed an idea that his attentions were not disagreeable to Mrs Browning, and he repeatedly pressed her to marry him. It does not appear that she was altogether regardless of his suit; but Carroll having upon more than one occasion, while in a fit of intoxication, conducted himself in such a manner towards her as to call for her displeasure, she refused any longer to listen to his addresses.
On Sunday, the 26th of April, 1835, he went to the Britannia and found that Mrs Browning had invited some friends to tea, amongst whom he was not numbered. Some angry words ensued between them, and with difficulty he was ejected from the house. The next morning he returned, and demanded that he might be permitted to address a few words to Mrs Browning in private. This was declined; upon which he entered the bar where she was and, after having repeatedly struck her with his hand, at length drew his bayonet, with which he stabbed her.
On Friday, the 15th of May, the prisoner was tried at the Central Criminal Court, held at the Old Bailey, for the murder, when a verdict of guilty was returned. Sentence of death was immediately passed, and the prisoner was executed on the following Monday.
[Note: As this is the first case in which allusion has been made to the trial of a prisoner at the court constituted as the Central Criminal Court, it may be well to mention the change in the law by which this alteration in the title of the "Old Bailey" was effected. The extreme inconvenience which attended the prosecuting of offenders for crimes committed in the immediate vicinity of the metropolis, but not within the district to which the jurisdiction of the Old Bailey extended, involving, as it did, among other evils, the necessity of the attendance of witnesses at Maidstone, Chelmsford, or the other assize towns of the Home Circuit, had long been felt and complained of; and Parliament had been called upon to provide a remedy by which the then existing system might be improved. Under the superintending influence of Lord Brougham the Central Criminal Court Act was prepared and carried through both Houses of Parliament. Ito provisions materially extended the district over which the judges sitting at the Old Bailey had jurisdiction. They rendered it necessary that there should be at least twelve sessions in the course of the year, thus rendering the jail delivery more frequent than formerly: and they also gave the judges of the court jurisdiction over offences committed on the high seas, for the trial of which hitherto a Special Admiralty Session had been held.]