A night out in Liverpool by two soldiers turned into tragedy when one of them was killed by a punch thrown at him outside a pub.
On 21st August 1873 Edward Burn, a private with the 7th Dragoon Guards stationed in Everton barracks, went into Liverpool with a corporal from the same regiment. They were drinking in the Ring O' Bells pub in Peters Lane, where a Dr Patterson was visiting a patient. The soldiers asked Patterson the way to Williamson Square and he offered to show them.
When they got there the two soldiers went into the Rainbow pub but were refused drink even though they were more merry than intoxicated. On coming outside they then got into a row with a local 25 year old fish dealer named William Wilson, who punched Burn, knocking him clean out and his fall was broken by his comrade.
Burn was put into a cab and taken back to the barracks and checked over by a medic. Then on the 23rd he entered a state of delirium and an examination found that he had bruising behind the ear and blood seeping from it. He lingered until the 30th November when he died, a post mortem concluding that it was from effusion of the brain, caused by the blow.
Wilson had been apprehended soon after Burn went into his delirious state and told the police he had ejected the two soldiers from the Rainbow at the request of the landlord, then was assaulted by one of them outside. When he was tried for manslaughter on 13th December, Dr Patterson was a key witness, stating that Burn had not struck Wilson. He also described the punch thrown as 'a scientific prize fighting blow, given straight from the shoulder.'
After the jury found Wilson guilty of manslaughter he was sentenced by Justice Quain to a term of eighteen months imprisonment.