Sunday, 5 April 2015

One Week's Jail For Killing

A Japanese sailor who killed a fellow crew member following a row on a ship was found guilty of manslaughter but recommended to mercy and jailed for just one week.

On 14th September 1882 the Joseph B Thomas arrived at Alexandra Dock after sailing from San Francisco. During the afternoon two crew members were working on deck when one of them, a 19 year old Japanese man who had taken the name George King, twice accidentally trod on the toes of the other, Californian John Borden.

Borden slapped King and a struggle ensued and the two men were separated. However Borden then rushed at King who grabbed a bar and struck him on the head. There was no blood and he continued to work, but the following day he felt sick and was was unable to get out of bed. The captain sent for a doctor but by the time he arrived Borden had died, a post mortem revealing there was a fractured skull.

King had disappeared and was not apprehended until four days later at Garston. He was charged with manslaughter and committed to the assizes for trial. On 24th November the court heard how the two men had been almost like brothers on the voyage and after being found guilty there was a strong recommendation for mercy. Mr Justice Day then sentenced him to just one week in gaol.        

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