Gun Crime


A Woman Shot at Epsom on Derby Day


Pen and ink drawing of the incident

On Thursday, at Epsom Petty Sessions, before Mr Trotter and other magistrates, John Talbot Ashenhurst, described as a coach-painter, of the Surrey Yeoman Public House, Dorking, was charged with causing grievous bodily harm to Elizabeth Borer, the wife of a warehouseman, residing at Caterham Valley, near Croydon, on the racecourse on Derby Day. Police-constable Patrick Storer, 22 R Reserve, deposed that at half-past five on the previous afternoon he was on duty on Epsom Downs, and received information that a woman had been shot. The prisoner was pointed out to him as the party that had fired the revolver. Witness went up to him and saw the revolver (produced) in his right-hand pocket, and having taken it out he conducted the prisoner to where the injured woman lay. He saw some blood on the ground, and Police-sergeant 42 E came and took charge of the woman, while witness took the prisoner to the station. Witness told him he would be charged with causing grievous bodily harm to the woman, and he said it was accidental. He afterwards said he was firing at some bottles near a rifle gallery, and that he had brought the revolver with him for that purpose. It was close to a rifle gallery where it occurred. There were five cartridge-cases in the revolver, and they had all been recently discharged. By the prisoner: When he first took him into custody he was near a drinking-booth, and appeared to be getting some brandy for the woman. Police-sergeant Michael Crawford, 42 E, deposed that he was attracted to the spot by a crowd. He found the woman had been shot in the thigh. Pointing to the prisoner, the woman said, "That is the man who shot me, for why I don't know. I never saw him before." The Chairman: Did she say he deliberately shot her? Witness: No; she said, "I felt I was shot, and saw the revolver in his hand smoking." With the assistance of some females, witness tried to stop the bleeding with some handkerchiefs, and afterwards conveyed her to the Epsom Infirmary, where she was seen by Dr Coltait, who, after a consultation with the police-surgeon, said the woman had received a very dangerous wound in the left thigh, near the femoral artery. He added it was a case which should be taken to hospital forthwith. Witness then hired two horses, and with the Union ambulance he took her during the night to guy's Hospital, arriving there at four o'clock that morning. She was at once admitted. Witness saw Dr Stokes, the house-surgeon, and he said the woman was in great danger and the limb would very likely be operated upon in the course of the next day. The bullet had not been extracted. At the next hearing evidence would be adduced to show that the prisoner fired wantonly in the crowd, and the friends of the injured woman would tell the Bench that he fired at the galley or bottles from the crowd. By the Magistrate: Prisoner appeared perfectly sober, but very strange. The prisoner was remanded. It was ascertained that he had eighteen ball-cartridges in his possession when taken into custody.

The Illustrated Police News, 02 June 1883

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