Franz Müller.

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possible respect. Where is that hat 1 ? We have made in-
quiries, gentlemen. Inquiries have been made by Mr. Beard,
the highly respectable and very able gentleman who is instruct-
ing me in this case, but his inquiries have been baffled by
the falsehood of Matthews, who tells an untruth both before the
magistrates and before the coroner. He never corrects that
untruth until now, when he knows we have witnesses to show
that Mr. Downs had ceased to carry on business in Long Acre
before the time he said he disposed of the hat to him. Then
he changes his tune, and says he does not know where it is.
I do not know whether you remember a remarkable expression
of Mrs. Repsch's to me when she said that Muller said his
hat been thrown into the dusthole. Is it not a remark-
able coincidence that Matthews, too, has said that some of his
hats were thrown into the dusthole? I should think that is
the last place where a man would throw his hat. Is Mr.
Matthews' trustworthy in other respects? Do you believe that
he never heard of the murder before Thursday? Do you
believe that he had been on his cab all through the streets and
had not heard of this murder before? I do not believe it.
Why, murders, robberies, and police cases of all kinds are the
literature of cabmen. They read scarcely anything else.
Matthews says he had never heard of this before, but I put it
to you, is that story a likely or probable one? His wife knew
on Monday, the Repsches knew on Monday, and it seems almost
impossible for me to believe that Matthews is telling you the
truth when he says that he knew nothing whatever about this
before Thursday. Gentlemen, there was another circumstance

Mr. Serjeant Parry's Opening.

in the evidence which he gave which I think ought to induce Mr. Serjeant

you to disbelieve him. He had been convicted of a trumpery '

theft about thirteen years ago. Now, gentlemen, I assure

you I was most reluctant to touch upon that, because a theft of

this kind committed by a young man so long ago would not go

far to impugn his character for honesty. But, gentlemen, he

told a deliberate falsehood, and then I was determined you

should see he was a man who did not habitually adhere to the

truth. The Solicitor-General says, where is Miiller's hatl

Well, where is Matthews' hat? He cannot produce it. He is

in the same circumstances as Muller in not being able to produce

his hat. I know that Mr. Repsch says that Muller told him

that his other hat was smashed, and that he had thrown it

into the dusthole. Now, gentlemen, I think I shall satisfy

your minds that there is no unmistakable proof that this hat

ever belonged to the young man at the bar. Mr. Tanner of

whom it is right to say he has performed his painful duty

towards this young man with the greatest delicacy he could

Mr. Tanner has simply performed his duty as we perform ours

here. These duties are cast upon him just as duties are cast

upon us here. And I am sure Mr. Tanner now is no more

desirous for the conviction of this young man than I am. I

think it is only right to pay this tribute to his character.

There is, I say, a suspicion that this hat belonged to the

prisoner at the bar ; but, gentlemen, the charge must be brought

home, the charge must be proved, even strong suspicion must

be cast aside, and if you consider that in this case there is only

strong suspicion against the prisoner, he will be entitled to have

the benefit of the doubt.

Now, let me come to the hat of Mr. Briggs. This
hat has been cut down and sewed, as you have all
seen. This young man has given different accounts of
the time he has had this hat. In answer to Repsch, he said
he had had it two months, and it appears that, in answer to
Sergeant Clarke, he said he had had it twelve months. Now,
gentlemen, I regret that the prisoner has in the coarse of this
case made many statements that are not consistent with the
truth. It is quite evident that he is a vain and boastful man,
and there is no doubt whatever that he was in the habit of
making statements with reference to his own property which


Franz Muller.

were not actuall 7 tru e. He had said that Mr. Hod^ktnson
was going to send him out to America as an agent at 150
a year; and in the same way he may not have chosan to tell
the truth to Mrs. Repsch about that watch and chain. At
New York he might have felt there was something wrong about
the watch, chain, and hat, and he may have made the state-
ment he made there in order to redeem himself from the diffi-
culty into which he had got. Will you then go so far as to
say that if these statements were not reliable, he is guilty of
this murder? There is no dout that fear came upon him
when he was arrested in New York, but you will find, when you
come to examine the evidence, that the statement he made with
regard to the hat has not been disproved. But if it were not
so, I do not believe for one moment that you would on that
account find him guilty of murder. The hat is cut down; but
I shall bring you witnesses to show that in the second-hand
trade it is not unusual to cut down hats like this.
Mr. Digance will not swear that he sold this hat to Mr.
Briggs, and, if Mr. Digance will not swear to it, will you by
your verdict undertake to swear to it? I will go further and
say, did this hat ever belong to Mr. Briggs? This hat got into
the second-hand market. There is a bit of tissue paper left,
and it is actually suggested that this little bit of tissue paper is
sufficient to prove the identity. Such a proposition passes my
comprehension, and I ask you not to act upon it. It is a
strange thing that some one was not called from Mr. Briggs's
house to show what hat he had on that morning. Is not that
a great omission on the part of the prosecution? He must
have a household. Why are not some of the servants brought
here to tell you what hat he had on that night? These are
serious omissions, tending to show that there is no proof and
that there is no evidence on which you can rely that Mr. Briggs
wore this hat at the time of the murder. It is easy to say
that the name of Mr. Briggs was in the hat, and that it had
been cut down to obliterate that name. Well, Muller writes
his name there, and writes his address also, 22 Old Jewry
Street. That he must have done before he left England; and
from that we may infer that he had the hat some time before
he went to America. As regards the lining, many gentlemen
change that once a month or so; and it was shown that Mr.

Mr. Serjeant Parry's Opening.

Briggs, too, was frequently getting his hat lined afresh. Gen- Mr. Serjeant
tlemen, I would warn you against assuming as a matter of
course that, when a witness proves what he was called to
prove, the object the prosecution had in view is gained, and that
the purpose for which he is called is accomplished.

Now, there is no proof whatever that this hat which is brought
forward to prove the identity of the prisoner at the bar was
ever worn by Mr. Briggs. When was the hat cut down?
Surely, if it had been done on the voyage, there would be
somebody here to tell us. Surely, if it had been done on the
Sunday, Mrs. Blyth would have known of it. When was it
done? When is it suggested that it was done? Here is the
name of the prisoner. Was it put there by Muller? Was it
put there when he was at sea in order to deceive? Or was it
put there by Miiller when he said he bought the hat, two
months before, and said he gave 4s. 6d. for it? You
will remember that Mrs. Repsch said that two months
before the murder she asked Muller to lend her 5s., and he
said he could not do so because he was going to buy a hat.
The foreman of you asked whether Mrs. Repsch saw him on
the Sunday, or was in the habit of seeing him on Sunday. Mrs.
Repsch did not see him on the Sunday, and therefore it is
clear that, whatever hat Muller wore on the Sunday, Mrs.
Repsch would not see it. There is no evidence that Muller
did not take this hat with him on board the " Victoria " and
sell it to some person there, because you will remember that
this man was always chopping and changing his mind, and was
continually exchanging or selling his property.

Now, as regards the watch and chain, Muller has to encounter
the difficulty of having made different representations about
them. There is no doubt whatever that, if Muller purchased the
watch and chain, which are not of the enormous value my
learned friend said they were, but were valued by the jeweller at
7, he must have purchased them under most suspicious circum-
stances. That, gentlemen, is a matter which should be
strongly borne in mind before you. I believe this case to be a
great mystery, but I know there have been many mysteries in
this world that the human intellect has not been able to pene-
trate. If he purchased this watch at the docks, as it is
alleged by his counsel that he did, there can be no doubt what-
G 81

Franz Muller.

Mr. Serjeant ever that he would get them at an inferior price, and he must
have known that he was doing a suspicious act. But it does
not follow that he knew anything of the murder. If he pur-
chased those articles at the docks, either the murderer or the
agent of the murderer must have sold them; and where was
he so likely to have taken them as down to the docks, where
he might expect to find purchasers who would soon leave the
country with them? Muller said he had had the watch for
two years. There can be no doubt that is untrue; but, gentle-
men, if you consider for a moment, you will see that the
prisoner at the bar, perfectly irrespective of the murder, had
some reason to believe that, in buying the watch and chain,
he was doing something that would bring him into trouble,
and then the observations that had been made about his having
told untruths about them are easily to be accounted for. He
told Mrs. Repsch that he had bought Mr. Death's chain at the
docks. That was not true; but still, if he made the purchase
in the docks that morning, the falsehood was not so great as
it would have been if he had made no purchase at all. There
is one very curious quality which this young man possessed.
He was always either buying waistcoats or hats, making
trousers, or pledging trousers, or pawning watches. He was
always getting these things, and he was a young man who
might easily be tempted into making purchases of this descrip-
tion. Had he any money? I do not intend to go through the
various means he adopted after Monday of raising money by
pledging the watch and chain. It is a curious circumstance
that he had pledged his own watch and chain, and he appears
to have pledged a coat. There is no doubt that he was then
raising money to pay his passage on Wednesday.

But, gentlemen, it has l)een proved before you that Haffa
saw him in possession of sufficient money to pay his passage
a week before the 19th of July. Then what has become of
that money? Gentlemen, it has gone somewhere, because
only 11s. is found upon him. The prisoner had the means,
therefore, of purchasing this watch and chain, for it would be
idle to suppose that, in disposing of these articles at the docks,
the seller would get more than one-half of their value. Now,
Muller was at the docks on Monday morning. My learned
friend has called Gifford, the clerk, to show that the prisoner

Mr. Serjeant Parry's Opening.

came there on the Wednesday morning, and he was there. He Mr. Serjeant
calls another young man, a German of the name of Jacob
Weist, who says he saw Miiller there two or three days before
he took his passage, and he believes he saw him on the Monday
morning at the docks. Now, that is remarkable evidence, for,
of course, it was supposed that Miiller had never been at the
docks before Wednesday. What is more likely than that he
should go down to the docks before making the necessary inquiry
as to the amount of the passage? You will remember that on
the Monday morning he left Mr. Death's at eight o'clock.
That would give him two whole hours, and I cannot but think
that the evidence presented as to the exchanging of the chain
at Death's will bear a different interpretation to what the
prosecution has put upon it. Suppose he had bought this
watch and chain at the docks that morning, suppose he knew
that, for that small sum of money he knew he had, he
could get a gold watch and chain, he would have some sus-
picion that the chain was not a good one or the watch not a
good one, and therefore, in order to remove that suspicion or
confirm it, he takes the chain to Mr. Death, the jeweller, to
ascertain whether it is gold that he has got. By exchanging
the chain at Mr. Death's he laid himself open to suspicion the
same as if he had pawned it. I believe he said to Mr. Tanner,
" I bought it in Cheapside, and gave 7s. 6d. for it," which
is almost the truth. He mentioned that he had been in
Cheapside, where Mr. Death lived. He never denied having
been at Mr. Death's, and I think I am free to say that his
visit there is open to the interpretation I have put upon it.
I leave it, however, entirely to your judgment.

Now, gentlemen, what I have submitted to you must leave
an impression short of anything like conclusiveness as to the
guilt of the young man at the bar. If the two hats have not
been satisfactorily shown to you to be one belonging to Miiller
and the other to Mr. Briggs, and if, as regards the watch and
chain, his conduct has been what I suggest, then I say that,
as respects the possession of this property, the facts are fairly
open to the interpretation which I have put upon them.

Now, gentlemen, there is a portion of the evidence which is
produced by the Crown in which the prosecution has attempted,
and I think I shall prove they have completely failed, to show


Franz Muller.

Mr. Serjeant the guilt of the prisoner. In the first place, they have said h&
had a pair of dark trousers on the Saturday and a pair of
light trousers on the Monday. Where, they ask, are the dark
trousers? The insinuation is that the dark trousers may have
been covered with blood, and that therefore the light trousers
were worn on Monday. This is an inference that would not be
drawn, I think, except in the mind of one who was determined
to find something wrong in everything. There would not
otherwise appear to be anything wrong in wearing a dark pair
on Saturday and a light pair on Monday. The prosecution
felt their case was weak, and they found it necessary to take
hold of anything they could grasp. But what had become of
the dark trousers? Why, he had them on on the Monday. Mrs.
Blyth, a thoroughly honest woman, who did not come here to
mislead you or to press unduly against the prisoner, said she
would not pledge herself to say whether he had on light or
dark trousers on the Monday. That is the index of a
thoroughly conscientious mind. She evidently had been friendly-
with the prisoner. She evidently, if her own wishes were to
be consulted, did not wish him to be convicted. Mr. and Mrs.
Repsch said he had light trousers on. What does Matthews,
say? " He had dark trousers on on Monday when I saw him."
Mrs. Repsch is asked if the prisoner had an overcoat with a
velvet collar, and she said he had. She was not asked whether
it was a very hot season of the year, but simply had he a
coat with a velvet collar. Well, yes, he had; but that proves
nothing at all. Mrs. Repsch would not swear that he had not
dark trousers on; but Mrs. Blyth, the conscientious woman,
was recalled at the last moment, and states that she saw him
with a coat on with a velvet collar on the Thursday, on the
14th of July, after the murder. If he took the coat to the
" Victoria " when he started for America, and if he had the
dark trousers on on the Monday, what right has the Solicitor-
General to ask where they are now? He has now no more right
to ask it than the greatest stranger. It is a superfluous ques-
tion coming from the prosecution altogether. The prosecution
has nothing at all to do with it. I must confess I never saw
any evidence that has so completely crumbled away as the
evidence that has been given with respect to the trousers and
the coat. He might have sold them on board the vessel, for

Mr. Serjeant Parry's Opening.

it appears that he was in want of money ; but, whether he Mr. Serjeant
sold them or not, the prosecution has nothing to do with it.
My learned friend Mr. Giffard made a most ingenious sugges-
tion. He asked the clerk whether he had any parcels with
him, and he replied that he had three two small ones and
one canvas one, 18 inches long, and my friend said, " Did there
appear to be anything sharp or pointed 1 " He asked him if
there appeared to be anything heavy, with rough edges. He
said he did not take any notice of that. Is this evidence
against the prisoner? Does it not rather appear as if their
case was not strong enough when they want to force on the
jury a question like this? We understand well what it was.
It was intended to imply that the parcel 18 inches long con-
tained garments stained with blood, and that the prisoner
intended to sink it when he got to sea. That is the suggestion
made, and I say it cannot be relied on in a case of murder. I
am sure you will reject that evidence, as it does not tell in
the slightest degree against Muller, but is rather in his favour.
I have already commented on the false statements
this young man is alleged to have made. I have offered to
you what I believe to be not an unreasonable explanation
of all those false statements, and I ask you to bear in mind
the plain, straightforward conduct of the prisoner throughout.
Excepting those false statements, there does not appear as
regards his conduct anything whatever that is wrong. I notice
that he has been spoken of as a fugitive from justice. Now,
that is utterly untrue; he did not fly from justice. For two
months previously he had expressed his intention of going to
America. That was not concealed from any one; he had told
it to his friends, and they all knew it. So far as the pledges are
concerned, he appears to have pledged in his own name, except
when Mr. Glass's shopmate was with him, and then he pledged
in his name, as he was justified in doing. There is no disguise
there. Then he goes to the docks and takes a passage in his
own name. He is supposed to have committed a heinous murder
on the previous Saturday. Now, do you not believe that a
man who had committed such a crime would, at all events, go
to America in a false name? Because a man who commits a
crime like this must be a great criminal. If he had done
this deed, how he could have taken a passage in his own


Franz Muller.

Mr. Serjeant name passes my comprehension. I cannot understand it,
Then, when he sails, his first act is to write a letter to his
friends, which you have heard read, which, I think, is not the
letter of a guilty man. His conduct on his arrival in America
is not opposed to the statements he has made. He is there
suddenly arrested. He is seized suddenly, and, I suppose,
almost dragged out of the room by Sergeant Clarke. He is
told all the circumstances of the murder of Mr. Briggs, and
he says, "I know nothing about it; I was never on the line."
I think I will show you that he was in the habit of travelling-
by omnibus generally, and that he never was on that line.
As far as the evidence goes, that is uncontradicted by any one.
He answers the questions that were put to him in the politest
manner, and it is remarkable that, in reply to Mr. Tanner, he
said he had a ring, but it had been stolen from him. When
asked, "Was it a red stone? " he said, "No, it was a white
stone, and I bought it in Cheapside for 7s. 6d." Now, he
had bought it for 5s., which was not far removed from the
value he stated.

Now, gentlemen, there is one part of this most anxious
inquiry of which I must speak as one earnest man may speak
to other earnest men when they are discussing a matter of the
gravest kind. I say there is one part of Jthis case which I
almost defy any one to reconcile with the prisoner's guilt. Mr.
Briggs appears to have been a man of about 12-stone weight,
and about 5 feet 8 or 9 inches high. He was in robust and
vigorous health, according to his medical man. The young
man at the bar, compared with Mr. Briggs, is a mere stripling.
The distance between the Bow station and the Hackney Wick
station is 1 mile 414 yards. The body of Mr. Briggs is found
upon the 6-foot way between the lines, 700 yards from Hackney
Wick station. Now, it takes three minutes for an engine
to go from Bow to Hackney Wick station. Therefore, when the
murder had been consummated, and the body thrown out, there
was only about two minutes, or a minute and a half. Do you
believe that a slight and by no means muscular young man
could have committed that murder in that time? I think no
less than eight blows were inflicted, and some of them must
have caused death. After eight heavy blows had been inflicted
on Mr. Briggs, his body must have been dragged along across,

Mr. Serjeant Parry's Opening.

the carriage, the door must have been opened, and the body Mr. Serjeant

thrown out, and all this while the train was in rapid motion.

Now, you can see for yourselves that I am not describing this

wrongly when I say that the prisoner is a young man possessed

of no great amount of physical force. His physique is slight

in the extreme. It is proved that Mr. Briggs was perfectly

sober, and it is said that he was sleeping.

Now, gentlemen, you have to say whether you can form an
opinion as to whether that struggle, which ended in the death
of a powerful, sober man, could have been sustained by the
young man at the bar. If you believe in your own minds
and consciences that this young man, with the physique that he
has, and which you yourselves can see, could not have mur-
dered Mr. Briggs, then you will acquit him. Gentlemen, such
an impression, if on your minds, will outweigh all the circum-
stantial evidence in the world. Is it not likely that this was
a premeditated murder, committed by men well accustomed to
traffic in robbery, and, if necessary, to secure themselves by
murder? I can imagine that two such men might have com-
mitted this deed, and I will prove to you that there were two
men in the carriage with Mr. Briggs. I would imagine that
two such men had followed Mr. Briggs, seeing him in the
omnibus or in King William Street, when he alighted from the
omnibus and went to the North London railway. They had
followed him, seeing his watch and chain and the black bag,
which they thought might contain money, and seeing also that
he was a man likely to have other property about him. I
should have thought that men of that character would have
committed this crime. And, gentlemen, what is the young man
at the bar? He is a journeyman tailor, following the most
peaceful of peaceable occupations. He is a young man of a
kind and trusting nature, putting confidence in those who are
around him. among whom he has secured the friendship and
goodwill of a woman like Mrs. Blyth. I say that a young man
who shows himself, as he must have done, to a woman like Mrs.
Blyth, and secures her good feeling, does that which tells a
great deal. Mrs. Blyth' s friendship has been of great service
to this young man. Mr. Blyth also, who is a respectable man,
speaks of him as kind and humane. Mr. Glass, who has known
him for four years, also says he was a kind and humane young


Franz Muller.

Mr. Serjeant man. Mr. HaflEa says the same. And this is the man who

has perpetrated this most hideous murder. That is what the

prosecution says. My learned friend the Solicitor-General
said he had seen the stick which was in the railway carriage,
and that it was covered with blood, and that, therefore, it
probably was the weapon with which the murder was committed.
He has undertaken to show you, or has suggested to you the
theory, that this young man, seized by the sudden temptation
to possess the property of Mr. Briggs, took his stick, beat him
about the head, carried the body across the carriage, and threw
it out of the window. Gentlemen, I say that is impossible.
I say that the prisoner at the bar could not in any way have
done that.

Allow me to go a little further into this. The
prosecution were at a loss to say with what weapon this could
have been done. Not a word was said about this either at
the Police Court or before the coroner. Not a single word
was suggested that this was the way in which the murder was
done by the young man at the bar, and, until that statement
fell from the lips of the Solicitor-General, it never entered my

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