CAPTAIN SAMUEL GOODERE, A FRATRICIDE; MATTHEW MAHONY AND CHARLES WHITE
Executed for the Murder of Sir John Dinely Goodere, Bart., at the Hot Wells, Bristol, 20th of April, 1741
SIR JOHN DINELY GOODERE succeeded his father, Sir Edward, in the possession of an estate of three thousand pounds a year, situated near Evesham, in Worcestershire. His brother, Samuel, was bred to the sea, and at length was advanced to the rank of captain of a man-of-war.
Sir John married the daughter of a merchant and received twenty thousand pounds as a marriage portion.
But mutual unhappiness was the consequence of this connection, for the husband was brutal in his manners, and the wife perhaps not strictly observant of the sacred vow she had taken: for she was too frequently visited by Sir Robert Jasen; and, after recriminations between the married pair, Sir John brought an action in the Court of Common Pleas for criminal conversation, and five hundred pounds' damages were awarded by the jury.
Sir John's next step was to indict his lady for a conspiracy, and, a conviction following, she was fined and imprisoned a year in the King's Bench. He likewise petitioned for a divorce; but, the matter being heard in the House of Lords, his petition was thrown out.
Sir John having no children, Captain Samuel Goodere formed very sanguine expectations of possessing the estate; but finding that the brother had docked the entail in favour of his sister's children, the Captain sought the most diabolical means of revenge for the supposed injury.
While the Captain's vessel lay in the port of Bristol, Sir John went to that city on business; and being engaged to dine with an attorney, named Smith, the Captain prevailed on the latter to permit him to make one of their company, under pretence of being reconciled to his brother. Mr Smith consented, and used his good offices to accommodate the difference, and a sincere reconciliation appeared to have taken place.
This visit was made on the 10th of January, 1741, and the Captain, having previously concerted his measures, brought some sailors on shore with him, and left them at a public-house, in waiting to seize the baronet in the evening. Accordingly, when the company broke up, the Captain attended his brother through the streets, and when they came opposite the public-house the seamen ran out, seized Sir John, and conveyed him to a boat that had been appointed to wait for his reception.
As soon as the victim was in the boat he said to his brother: "I know you have an intention to murder me, and if you are ready to do it, let me beg that it be done here without giving yourself the trouble to take me on board."
To which the Captain said: "No, brother; I am going to prevent your rotting on land; but, however, I would have you make your peace with God this night."
Being put on board, Sir John appealed to the seamen for help; but the Captain put a stop to any efforts they might have made to assist him, by saying he was a lunatic, and brought on board to prevent his committing an act of suicide.
White and Mahony now conveyed him to the purser's cabin, which the Captain guarded with a drawn sword, while the other villains attempted to strangle him with a handkerchief which they found in his pocket, the wretched victim crying out "Murder!" and beseeching them not to kill him, and offering all he possessed as a compensation for his life.
As they could not strangle him with the handkerchief the Captain gave them a cord; with which Mahony dispatched him, while White held his hands and trod on his stomach. The Captain now retired to his cabin, and on the murder being committed the perpetrators of it went to him and told him "the job was done"; on which he gave them money, and bade them seek their safety in flight.
The attorney with whom the brothers had dined having heard of the commission of a murder, and knowing of the former animosity of the Captain to his brother, immediately conjectured who it was that had fallen a sacrifice; on which he went to the Mayor of Bristol, who issued his warrant to the water-bailiff, who, going on board, found that the lieutenant and cooper had prudently confined the Captain to his cabin.
The offender, being brought on shore, was committed to Newgate, and Mahony and White, being taken a few hours afterwards, were lodged in the same prison. At the sessions held at Bristol on the 26th of March 1741, these offenders were brought to trial, and, being convicted on the fullest evidence, received sentence of death.
They were hanged near the Hot Wells, Bristol, on the 20th of April, 1741, within view of the place where the ship lay when the murder was committed.