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The Trial of Simon Kinver


Launceston Weekly News 10th May 1856:
Monthly Petty Sessions Tuesday May 6th; before F Rodd, T Pearse and HR Trelawney. Esquire.
Simon Kinver was charged with having on the 3rd instant, in the parish of Laneast, unlawfully and maliciously killed a sheep the property of Mr Thomas Adams. He was also charged with having on the 2nd May instant, at Laneast, maliciously maimed and wounded a lamb, the property of JK Lethbridge, Esq.
George Adams, examined by Mr Cowlard, stated that he lived with his father Thomas Adams, at Ludcott, in the parish of Laneast, adjoining the grounds of Mr Lethbridge. To his knowledge several sheep had been killed on Mr Lethbridge’s lands within 5 or 6 weeks. Has known the prisoner, Simon Kinver, from a child, who has been continually employed by Mr Lethbridge. Had been watching unsuccessfully, with others, as far as dogs went. Kinver stated he had seen dogs about, and had fired at them. His father had sustained no loss up to May 3rd. From circumstances, mistrusted that some of the sheep had not been destroyed by dogs. His suspicions induced him to watch Kinver’s movements of Friday, May 2nd. Began to watch at half-past 9 on Friday morning. Made previous arrangements with Blythe the hind. Mr Lethbridge’s sheep were put into a field called Higher Widdons, about half-past nine, in the morning, by Kinver and H Jenkins. These two walked from the gate to a hurdle leading to Rowlands Plantation. Was at the time watching in a marsh. The two men walked a short distance down by the plantation hedge. Saw Kinver hand his gun to Jenkin. Kinver then went across field towards Lower Widdon, and then returned to Jenkin. Kinver retook his gun, and Jenkin left him. In about 10 minutes the sheep had gone from Higher to Lower Widdon. The sheep broke at the point to which Kinver had previously gone. Kinver followed the sheep. Had then lost sight of Kinver, but followed and got into a place where he could observe what was being done in Lower Widdon. Through a tree, saw something dark on the ground, could not distinguish what it was for some time. Saw the object, Kinver, then get up, and walk a short distance to the bottom of the field, then lie down again. Returned to the place where he had previously been watching. On his return did not see Kinver, but saw him shortly after apparently rising. Saw him move after rising, and then lie down again by the tree. Just at this time some of the sheep broke from Lower into Higher Widdon. Kinver prevented those going out that had not, and drove those back, letting the others remain in Higher Widdon, in a short time these again returned.
Heard the Tregeare bell ring 12 o’clock, and at that time Kinver was lying down in Lower Widdon. Just after the sheep went into Higher Widdon, Kinver following them. While going out over the gap, one lamb got into Jenkin’s Marsh. Saw Kinver then lie down outside the sheep in Higher Widdon, and stay there until after 1 o’clock, then rise and enter the plantation. Witness then entered the field where the sheep were, and entered the plantation by the hurdle. There were several watching to see if the dogs would turn up until 4 o’clock. About half-past four, went to the place where he had been watching. At that time the sheep were in Lower Widdon. Did not see Kinver until quarter of an hour after, when he saw him walking along the head of the field to a gate leading towards Tregeare Down. Saw him go down a short distance by the side hedge farthest from Higher Widdon and then lie down again, remaining about 20 minutes, and then move on a short distance and lie down again by the same hedge until half-past 5. Then saw Kinver rise up, enter Higher Widdon by the gap, and go into the plantation by the hurdle, and immediately fire both barrels of his gun. Saw him return by the hurdle to the place where he was lying down in Lower Widdon, and remain there until a few minutes after 6 o’clock, when he was joined by H Venning. On gaining these two witness heard Kinver say that another lamb had been bitten.
Witness asked when? Kinder replied, when I fired, that there were many outside the hurdle, and that he saw then run off, and one bitten inside the hurdle, and on seeing the furze move, fired in that direction, took out the lamb, and carried it to the lower field. The lamb was at that time with the sheep in Lower Widdon.
Witness had been very carefully watching the two fields, and no sheep or lamb was in Higher Widdon from the time he began to watch until he gained Kinver. That is from half-past 4 to 6. Examined the lamb, the tail of which was nearly cut off; cut as far as the bone in one place, and the bone divided by another cut. There were also two cuts in the neck, on the same side, about an inch and half apart. The cuts were deep and small, and both in the same direction. Teeth could not have made such marks. A knife or sharp instrument might. The tail injury could not have been made by a dog. Purposely said nothing to Kinver about it. On asking him, he replied he had neither killed nor seen anything when he fired, only saw the furze move.
Kinver said he had heard something making a terrible noise in the plantation, in the forenoon, and that it must have been something larger than a dog. Ate |Tregeare, all hands examined the lamb, and said the wounds looked as if they were caused by a knife. Left Tregeare at 9 o’clock, overtook Kinver on way home, and said this was a terrible affair, and could not tell when it would be found out. Kinver replied, you are in as much danger as the rest. On Saturday witness met with John Jenkin a few minutes before 12, as we were to watch during the dinner hour. The sheep being in Higher Widdon, our object was to command the sight of the field. We met at the furze brake and little before 12. Saw Kinver at that time by the plantation hurdle, with Hawke the keeper. Kinver just after entered the plantation. We then lost sight of him. He was away from the field just an hour. Shifted my position several times to try if I could see him.
When I caught sight of him he was just outside the hurdle, walking down the field. Also saw two persons enter from the bottom of the field and join him. Do not know who they were. A few minutes after my return, information was brought to me, in consequence of which I went to a field of ours called Lane Park, and there I found a dead sheep, in a small enclosure hedged off from the field. The throat of the sheep was cut across the windpipe, all the veins being severed. The sheep was warm. Part of the windpipe and veins was gone, evidently cut away. The cut across the face was a perfect cut. On the off side of the sheep, detected the marks of the nails of a boot and footmarks. Part of the print was distinctly visible. There were sheep prints at same place. Between Widdon and the field where the sheep was, were two fields and the plantation. At the bottom of the first, saw that something had gone over the hedge. Outside the hedge nearer Widdon was a light print similar to those near the sheep. In a gateway nearer Widdon, saw similar marks. Went to Kinver and said, he must go with us to compare his boots with the marks. He said this is no sense, but did not object to accompany us. On comparing, the boots and marks corresponded exactly.
On the handle of Kinver’s knife was some blood, partly washed off, and a piece of wool inside. Said to him at Inn that he would clearly be convicted for killing our sheep and wounding several more. He replied, I ought not to be punished for what I did not do; I have not done one half of it; that he had company in the affair; that they were together when the lamb was killed. I asked him what field the lamb was killed in. He replied Widdon Park. I said, not the one that was killed when I was watching. He said, no, that one was not killed then, it died after; and that several had been killed in Widdon Park; and that he was watching at the time the lamb was killed.
Several other witnesses gave corrobative evidence, and the prisoner, who declined to answer and queries, was committed for trial at the next assizes.

Launceston Weekly News, 2 August 1856. TRIAL OF KENVER.
At Bodmin Assizes on Tuesday, before Baron Martin, Simon Kenver, 19, labourer, was charged with maliciously killing a sheep, the property of Thomas Adams, at Laneast, on the 3rd May.
Mr Coleridge was counsel for the prosecution, but was engaged in the nisi prius Court until a large portion of the evidence in this case had been taken by the learned Judge, by examination from the depositions. George Adams, son of the prosecutor deposed:- I live with my father at Lidicott farm. The prisoner was in the employ of Mr Lethbridge, who was my father’s landlord, and whose estate adjoins. Five or six weeks before this sheep was killed, my father lost some lambs, which I found lying dead on some of the adjoining estates. Sheep and lambs were destroyed from nearly all the flocks in the neighbourhood, five or six in a week; I have seen five dead at a time; they were cut and stabbed. In consequence of this, I went to watch, about 9 o’clock on the 2nd May. and sat in a furze brake opposite the field where Mr Lethbridge’s sheep were to be that day – follows much the same evidence as in previous petty sessions court – Confirmatory evidence was given by James Hodge, a labourer, who was at Lidicott farm on Saturday 3rd May; Richard Hawkes, Mr Lethbridge’s keeper at Tregeare; Joseph Bligh, Mr Lethbridge’s hind: who stated that between lady-day and the 2nd May, there had been as many as thirty-two sheep and lambs killed in the neighbourhood; and Kenver’s employment was to look after Mr Lethbridge’s sheep. Thomas Adams added that no one had lost sheep since, in the neighbourhood: and Benjamin Sambells that prisoner had attempted to escape.

The Sentence was that Kenver be deported for Fifteen years.
(Note: The spellings of Kinver/Kenver and of Lidcut/Lidcott/Lidicott are as written.)

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