Ex-Classics Home Page



Soldiers in the British Army, Convicted at Chelmsford, in March Assizes, 1809, of the Murder of a Fellow Soldier

            Soldiers, engaged in the same great cause, the defence of their country, one would suppose, would rather act a brotherly part than fight with each other; and more especially at a time when every arm was wanted to repel the tyrant of Europe. In the present instance, (and we trust no more of the kind will come before us,) we find a party of the 4th regiment of foot disgracing those fine battalions, in fastening a quarrel upon another corps, which ended in murder. Richard Costello, John Saylor, and James MacLalley, three soldiers of the 4th regiment of foot, were indicted for the wilful murder of W. Wrach, a soldier in the North Lincoln militia.

            It appeared by the evidence of several soldiers in the North Lincoln militia, that they were at the Woolpack public-house, in Colchester, on Christmas-eve last, drinking and amusing themselves; they had not long been there, when a party of the 4th regiment of foot came in, and demanded a place at the fire, which was granted them. Not content with this, they afterwards proceeded to abuse the Lincoln men, as militia men and feather-bed soldiers. This abuse the militia men bore a long time, and at last attempted to retire, but the men of the 4th regiment being more violent, they proceeded to assault the others, and Costello was noticed to be particularly forward in the affray, having seized the poker, and dealt blows about him. He was particularly stated to be the person who knocked the deceased down with a blow, which appeared to have fractured his skull, and of which he died.

            On the contrary, on behalf of the prisoners, several witnesses from the 4th regiment were called, who stated that the provocation came from the Lincoln men, and that there was a general row amongst the whole party; that they got to fighting in the house, and all came fighting into the street. The jury, after considerable deliberation, found the prisoners guilty of murder.—Death.


Previous   Next