R v Anderson; R v Morris

JurisdictionEngland & Wales
Judgment Date02 May 1966
Judgment citation (vLex)[1966] EWCA Crim J0502-2
Docket NumberNo. 1949/65 and
CourtCourt of Criminal Appeal
Date02 May 1966
Lascelles Fitzalbert Anderson
Emmanuel Morris

[1966] EWCA Crim J0502-2


The Lord Chief Justice of England (Lord Parker)

Mr. Justice Edmund Davies


Mr. Justice Marshall

Mr. Justice Roskill

Mr. Justice James

No. 1949/65 and

No. 1877/65


Royal Courts of Justice

MR. G. LANE, Q.C. and MR. J. MACHIN appeared as Counsel for the Applicant Morris.

MR. A.J. SKINNER, Q.C. and MR. P. WALMSLEY appeared as Counsel for the Applicant Anderson.

MR. BERNARD CAULFIELD, Q.C. and MR. CHRISTOPHER FRENCH, Q.C. appeared as Counsel for the Crown.


These two Applicants were indicted at Nottingham Assizes last July with the murder of a man called Welch. In the result the Applicant Anderson was convicted of what was then non-capital murder, and Morris of manslaughter. Anderson was imprisoned for life, and Morris was sentenced to a term of three years' imprisonment. They now each apply for leave to appeal against their convictions.


The facts must be stated in a little detail. The prosecution case in effect was that on the 24th May last year, this man Welch met Anderson's wife. She was a white person and a convicted prostitute. Anderson and his co-accused were both coloured. She apparently took Welch back to her flat, where it was said he had tried to strangle her. She ran into the street pursued by Welch, met the Applicant Morris, told him what had happened, and Morris and Welch fought. A time came when, so the prosecution said, Anderson arrived on the scene, learned from his wife what had happened, got a knife in Morris' presence, and went off with Morris and his wife in a car to find Welch. When Welch was found, it was said there was a fight as a result of which Anderson stabbed Welch to death. That was the prosecution case and it was supported by the evidence of Mr. Anderson, and particularly of a man called Christopher.


Mr. Christopher described how he had found Morris and Welch fighting, that he pretended to be a Police Officer, separated them and in fact went back with them to Mrs. Anderson's flat. On the way Mrs. Anderson told them what had happened and how he, Welch, had tried to strangle her. He also described Anderson's arrival on the scene, his anger when he was told by his wife what had happened, and then proceeded to give this evidence which clearly affected both of the Accused. According to Christopher, Anderson, in the presence of Morris and himself, went into the kitchen and armed himself with a knife before they set off to find Welch. A little later, they apparently arrived at the "Granby" Hotel, which was an address which Mrs. Anderson had given them, where she understood Welch was to be found. The evidence of the wife of the Licensee was that after closing time the door bell rang, and when she went down, she found these two Applicants there asking for a man who was said to be of the name of Wisbey or Wesbey. It so happened, according to the wife of the Licensee, Mrs. Binless, that about that moment a man came along, and that Morris had said: "Here he comes now", She then described the incident in which undoubtedly this man Welch was stabbed.


According to her, the taller of the coloured men, undoubtedly Anderson, was punching Welch and Morris was standing at his back apparently not taking any definite part in the fight. She went on to describe how the time came when Welch seemed to be trying to push past Anderson, and she got hold of Welch's coat and tugged him. What happened then was that Welch appeared to dive, as she put it, quickly into the door of the public house, and collapsed and died. In fact he was stabbed in three places, one 3½ inches deep and into the heart.


The Police proceeded to question these two Applicants; when Anderson was asked if he knew anything about this man who had died, he replied: "No, God Almighty, no", and later said: "It was all over in two minutes. I do not know what really happened". He then proceeded to make a statement under caution, the gist of which was that Welch had attacked him, held him and struck him, and went on: "I maybe had my knife in my pocket and I took it out. It wasn't even two minutes. I don't know what happened to the knife". In fact a bloodstained knife was found in an alley way outside the hotel.


Morris when questioned at first told a lie. He said he had not been in Station Street where this incident took place; he said that he had been in his room from half past five to quarter past eleven and had not been near the scene of the incident. Later he confessed that that was a lie, and according to the Police said this: "I will give you the truth. I fight with this man but I not use knife. I do not know about the knife being used. I will give you a statement about it". In evidence he said that what he was there referring to in fighting Welch was not the incident when Welch got stabbed but the incident earlier in Cranmer Street when Mrs. Anderson had come up to him followed by Welch, and in a statement given afterwards he stated the same, in other words that he had had no part in the fighting in Station Street, but had undoubtedly fought Welch at an earlier stage. He also denied that Anderson, had armed himself with a knife in his presence, and denied that he had any idea that a knife was going to be used. He also denied taking any part in the fight during which Welch was stabbed.


In passing, it is to be observed that Anderson's evidence to a large extent was to the same effect. He did say that he had a knife with him, that he had used it having lost control of himself, but he denied that Morris had helped in any way. Indeed, he went further, and said that he called upon Morris to help him and that Morris refused to do so.


So far as Anderson is concerned, there was clearly evidence upon which the Jury could arrive at their verdict, the verdict of murder, and in fact before us no suggestion has been made that there was any misdirection in regard to Anderson in the summing-up. So far as Morris is concerned, there was indeed very little evidence that he had taken any part in the fight in Station Street. Indeed almost the only evidence was this statement of his in which he admitted fighting a man which, as he alleged, although the Jury must have found to the contrary, was referring to the earlier incident in Cranmer Road.


The position today is that evidence has been produced which throws, to say the least, a doubt as to how far the Jury were entitled to accept the evidence of Mr. Christopher as accurate. I say no more than what has been discovered with regard to Mr....

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18 books & journal articles
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    • Singapore Academy of Law Journal No. 2019, December 2019
    • 1 December 2019
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    • 1 December 2022
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