Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Ship's Carpenter Stabs Fellow Seaman

A seaman who was unhappy about the company his companion kept ended up being jailed for ten years after being convicted of manslaughter.

25 year old William Morgan was a ship's carpenter who arrived in Liverpool from New York on the Aleppo on 29th October 1866. Also on the voyage was George Hill,  and 28 year old Alexander Montgomery, who met the following evening at a coffee house in Old Hall Street. Morgan was not happy about this, believing Dutchman Hill should not be talking to a black man
 who didn't drink alcohol.

After Morgan saw the two men come out of the coffee house he insulted Hill, who struck him. Hill and Montgomery then went into the singing room of Fords public house and Morgan waited for them, offering Hill a fight which was accepted. As the two men got ready to fight Montgomery intervened but Hill told women watching to keep him back. Montgomery persisted in trying to break them up and scuffled with Morgan, who stabbed him in the stomach.

A passing policeman gave chase to Morgan and caught him, while Montgomery was taken to the Northern Hospital. His bowels were protruding and he died about twenty minutes after arrival. A post mortem revealed that all the organs were healthy and death was caused by extravasation of blood in the abdominal area.

Morgan was charged with murder and appeared at the Assizes on 18th December. In summing up Justice Smith said that the jury had to take into account the provocation that had been received by Morgan. This led to  a verdict of manslaughter being returned and Morgan being sentenced to ten years penal servitude.


  1. My Great Great Grandmother Margaret Murphy was a witness at the trial of William Morgan in 1866.
    Margaret Murphy kept the lodging and eating house in Old Hall Street at the time of the fatal stabbing.

    Robert Leigh

  2. Thanks for sharing this Robert I have just took a snapshot of her evidence at the coroner's inquest, if you haven't seen a press cutting let me know and I'll email you it.