Levi Welch [QGV10/4/150]
The Bedfordshire Mercury of 31st March 1868 reported the verdict and sentences in the trial for the murder of William Bradberry thus:
SENTENCE ON WELCH
As Welch had pleaded Not Guilty on Saturday to the charge of robbery with violence, his lordship directed that another jury should be empanelled to try him upon that indictment: but there were not sufficient jurymen, all those summoned from the neighbourhood of Luton having been discharged from the panel on Saturday evening.
The prisoner Welch was ordered to stand up, and when the indictment was repeated to him he withdrew his former plea and at once pleaded Guilty.
The Clerk of the Arraigns: Levi Welch, you stand convicted of felony. What have you to say why sentence should not be passed upon you?
Prisoner was silent.
The Judge: Prisoner, I am not altogether satisfied by the evidence that you have been guilty of violence towards the unfortunate deceased. But as regards stealing from the person, there is the most cogent evidence, as well as from your own confession, that you are guilty. (Prisoner: Yes, sir). I shall give you the extreme sentence which the law allows (Prisoner: Thank you, sir). I sentence you to fourteen years' penal servitude.
VERDICT OF GUILTY
A five minutes after four o'clock, it became known that the jury had agreed upon a verdict in the indictment for murder against Worsley, and when they entered the box amidst tense silence, their pale, anxious-looking countenances too surely told what was the decision they had arrived at.
The Clerk of the Arraigns: Gentlemen of the jury, are you agreed upon your verdict? How say you, do you find the prisoner guilty or not guilty?
The Foreman: GUILTY.
His Lordship: Guilty of what?
The Clerk of the Arraigns: Do you find the prisoner guilty of murder or manslaughter?
The Foreman (tremulously): OF MURDER
SENTENCE OF DEATH
After a few minutes' pause, amidst breathless silence.
The Clerk of the Arraigns said: William Worsley, you have been found guilty of the crime of wilful murder. What do you have to say why the court should not give you judgement to die according to law?
Prisoner's lips quivered as though he was anxious to make an observation but
The Crier of the Court immediately enjoined strict silence to be observed while Her Majesty's Judge pronounced sentence of death, on pain of imprisonment.
His Lordship at once proceeded to pass the sentence of death, the black cap having been placed upon his head. He said: Prisoner, you have been found guilty of the crime of wilful murder, and it is my duty to pass upon you the sentence of the law. I never add to the sentence any observation of my own, from which any inference, either favourable or unfavourable, might be drawn. The sentence of the court is that you be taken from hence to the prison whence you came, and that you be taken thence to a place of execution, there to be hanged by the neck until your body be dead; that then your body be cut down and buried within the precincts of the prison wherein you were last confined. And mat the Lord have mercy upon your soul!
The last sentence that escaped his Lordship's lips was greeted with loud responses of "Amen" from all parts of the court, and many persons were visibly affected.
The prisoner was at once removed, and
The court rose at 4.15, the business of the assizes having terminated.