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Edward Doyle

Arrived: 1837 (before)
Country of origin:
Area in New Zealand: Bay of Islands
Source: Victorian Government Gazette 1837

Details: Edward Doyle was found guilty of 'home invasion' to use a modern term. He was sentenced by James Busby and executed. He had entered the home of John Wright and put him in bodily fear.

Sydney Gazette 4 November 1837; trial.

Edward Doyle, late of Sydney and New Zealand labourer, a subject to our Late Lord the King, and to our Lady the Queen, was indicted for stealing 20 yards of calico, 20 pounds of tobacco, 10 shirts, and sundry other articles, the property of John Wright, from the dwelling house of the said John Wright, at New Zealand, within the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court of the Colony of New South Wales, the said John Wright being therein put in bodily fear.

Mr John Wright, a trader residing at New Zealand. The prisoner carne to my house in June last, I saw Doyle and two others on the bench coming; from a boat towards my house ; it was a fine moonlight night ; I cannot say that I had seen the prisoner before ; I knew the others; one was a shoemaker, and the other kept a grog-shop ; when first I saw them they were about twenty yards from my hous ; I was on the beach with my wife und two daughters; 1 waited until they came to me, and the I asked them what they wanted, and where they came from; they said they wanted tobacco; I told them I did not sell tobacco on a Sunday evening, when the prisoner laid hold of me by the collar, and presented a pistol to my breast; I seized the pistol with both bands, and in struggling we threw each other on the ground ; while we were lying on the ground, the prisoner endeavoured to present the pistol towards my breast, I knocked his hand away from the trigger, and fired the pistol off into the sand; I got up, when the shoemaker came out and knocked me down with a piece of wood, saying with oaths that he would knock Miss Featherstone's brains out, if she did not leave me; she said he might, for she would not stir, when he attempted to drag her away by the hair of the head; she called out for mercy, when Mrs Wright came to our assistance, and was met by the shoemaker, who, made a blow to her with the same piece of wood, but missed her, upon which he struck her on the mouth with his fist and knocked two of her teeth out; after that I and the prisoner got under the verandah, when the shoemaker demanded of him why he had not blown my brains out, and handed him a pistol, saying, "now blow his brains out;" I seized that pistol as I had done the other; when the shoemaker saw that, he knocked me down again and wrenched the pistol out of both our hands, and snapped the pistol at me, but it flashed in the pan; while he was re-priming I got into the house and got a handkerchief to tie round my head; as I was coming out of the bedroom, the shoemaker passed me with his arms full of slops, which the prisoner received; Miss Featherstone was standing with the door in her hand trying to shut it, when the prisoner said, " if you shut the door on me I'll knock your brains out; they then made a rush at us and fastened us in the bedroom; Fell kept watch while the rest plundered the store; while I was struggling with the prisoner, Fell went into the house; property to the amount of £120 was taken from the stores; the whole transaction did not last more than half an hour ; one of them asked for the six hundred dollars, which they said I had got from the master of a vessel; Miss Featherstone, my stepdaughter, was very much bruised; I did not see the the prisoners put things into the boat, but I saw; the boat put away from the point ; the natives went in search the next day, and I recovered a await portion of my property ; the next time I saw the prisoner was about a fortnight afterwards on board H.M.S Rattlesnake I knew him immediately.

Cross-examined by prisoner.-Before I saw you; I thought it was a man named Golding, but as soon as I saw you I was convinced you was the man, I gave no information of the robbery until the next morning early, when I sent my daughter over the hills to Captain Clendon , the nearest establishment to me was half a mile off; the resident’s house is three miles off, I have been settled thereabout six years, before I settled I commanded a vessel belonging to the Church Missionary Society. I did not give Golding in custody to Captain Brind, he was taken in charge but I did not know it until he had been a week there , Golding is not one of the three men I have been speaking of, four men of whom the prisoner was one, were given up by the natives as having committed the robbery , it was a very clear moonlight night; when Doyle stood before the door I had a full view of his face ( there were three candles on the table ; I went on board Capt Brind's ship and saw Golding in the cabin , I asked him if he was one of the party, and he said he was not, I did not notice whether Doyle had irons on when I saw him on board the Rattlesnake; the shoe maker threatened to put a barrel of gunpowder to the door and blow the house down if we did not tell where the money was, Miss Featherstone said they might blow it up, for we had no money.

Miss Featherstone. I resided at new Zealand with Mr Wright, my stepfather, on the 18th June, about 9 o clock in the evening we heard the dogs bark, and went out and saw a boat, we immediately saw three men; Mr Wright asked them where they came from, one of them replied Kororareka; he asked them what they wanted; they replied tobacco, and one of them jumped across the stile and laid hold of Mr Wright by the collar with one hand and with the other put a pistol to his breast, the prisoner was that man , he afterwards threatened to knock my brains out, 1 saw the prisoner about a fortnight afterwards on board the Rattlesnake, as soon as he presented the pistol I begged him not to murder him, Mr Wright laid hold of the pistol and they struggled for the mastery , in the struggle they fell, the prisoner had his hand on or near the trigger Mr Wright knocked his hand away got possession of the trigger and tired the pistol into the band , the prisoner still endeavoured to get the pistol, one of the other men called out to knock his brains out against the fence, 1 begged of them to take what they wanted but not to murder him; because I refused to leave Mr Wright, I was thrown against the fence and very much hurt, one of the other men struck Mr Wright with a stick which made his head bleed, and the same man laid hold of me Mr Wright and the prisoner struggled until they got to the door when the prisoner received a second loaded pistol with an injunction to blow his brains out; Mr Wright laid hold of that pistol, when the man who had given it to Doyle knocked Mr Wright down and wrenched the pistol away from them, and drew back about three yards and levelled it at Mr Wright, but she only made a light; he then endeavoured to reprime her, and while he was doing so, we all got into the house , I held the door, and the prisoner said if I attempted to shut the door he would knock my brains out; at the fence the shoemaker laid hold of me by the hair of my head and then by the neck, until I could not breathe, the prisoner said he wanted tobacco, and 1 told him he should have some if he would keep quiet, he told me to go into the room, and then they went into the store and took away quantities of shirts, trousers, handkerchiefs muskets, gunpowder and many other things; they asked for money, they said they knew there was six hundred dollars in the house and they would blow the house down if they did not get them; my mother was much bruised, and had four of her teeth knocked out, they were there about two hours ; a man named Fell was left to watch until they all got into the boat and he told us not to attempt to follow them or it would be the worse for us; we had no servants as they had all gone to war, we could give no alarm until the morning as Mr Wright was bleeding very much; my mother was very ill, and I was so much hurt that I could do nothing, my sister is a little girl she got one blow in the mouth, and was sent over to Captain Clendon's the next morning; I did not see Doyle afterwards until I saw him on board the Rattlesnake; I have not the slightest doubt that he was one of the men.

Cross- examined. I went on board the Rattlesnake early in July in company with Mr. Wright and a gentleman named Wilson, 1 went to see Miss Williams, before she left New Zealand, I did not know Golding, I heard that he was in custody for the robbery; no one pointed Doyle out to me, I always said that let me see him whenever or wherever I might, I should know him, 1 never passed such a night before, and I hope I never shall again; it was a bright clear night, and there were three candles in the room , Doyle lost his hat on the beach, and had no hat on when I saw him in the verandah.

The Rev. Mr Williams --I have been a missionarv at New Zealand for fourteen years ; I heard of the attack on Mr Wright's house the morning after it happened; myself and Mr Baker went over to the place, Mrs Wright and Miss Featherstone were suffering from the effects of violence; there was great confusion in the store, and very little property remaining; Mrs Wright's hair was very much torn and so was Miss Featherstone's ; in consequence of lnformation we went to a native pah, immediately upon our landing the natives came round and asked if we were come to make enquiries, we said we were, they asked us if we wanted to see the men that robbed Captain Wright and they took us to where Doyle was at work, and said he was the man, I asked him what he had been about, and he affected to know nothing of what had taken place, but the natives insisted he was one of the me, we inquired about the property, and one of the natives produced a bundle of figs of tobacco of the same description that I had seen at Captain Wrights; Doye said he had bought it of some ship that had recently left the Bay, we examined three other men pointed out by the natives, one of whom was called the shoemaker, before we left we called for this man and asked him to produce the tobacco, which he did, and we took six figs of it away, and compared it with Captain Wright's tobacco, it was exactly the same; some calico and several other articles were given up by the natives next day, as having been taken from these men, the prisoner remained at large for three or four days, Golding was sent to the Colony with Doyle, and discharged , the other two men made their escape from the district.

Cross examined -The natives told me about the robbery as soon as we got to the pah, I do not know how they got the information, the natives said that they saw Doyle leaving the pah early in the night, and that the boat returned by the other side of the river in the morning, with property in the boat, I never saw Doyle in company with Golding and the other men.

Mr George Jilks -When the prisoner was brought to the Police Office he said he had served his original sentence in this Colony, I suppose him to be on Irishman by his speech.
Cross-examined-Doyle did not tell me he came from New Bedford in America.

In his defence the prisoner denied all knowledge of the robbery, and complained of the ill usage he had received at New Zealand, where, in consequence of the missionaries having told the natives he was a runaway slave from Port Jackson, he had been plundered of all the property he possessed, and had afterwards been shackled and ironed by a Mr Maher and by the missionaries.

His Honor said that the first question for the Jury to decide was, whether the prisoner was a British subject, for, if he were, he was bound to tell them that, by the Act for the administration of justice in New South Wales, the Court had jurisdiction over all offences committed by British subjects in any of the islands in the Pacific Ocean.

The Jury returned about five minutes, and returned a verdict of Guilty. Remanded