Rape, and Assault with Intent

There has been one historic trial for rape, and another of assault with intent within the Rosemarket area.

These two cases are as follows and have been taken from newspaper articles as reported at the time.

Some parts of the testimony have been removed as these are considered inappropriate for this article.

Note:  Throughout the following, mention is made to “prosecutrix”.  This is an old term meaning a female victim of a crime.

Date:                     August 25th 1847. 
Victim;                  Catherine Saxon.
Accused;               Henry Thomas. 

Commission of Rape

Henry Thomas, a plasterer, was this day charged with the commission of a rape on the person of an aged woman named Catherine Saxon.

It appeared from the evidence that the prosecutrix was at Pater market on the 24th.  She returned across the Ferry in the evening with a view, to catch the seven o'clock train. Missing it, however, by a minute or two, she was necessitated to walk, and when near Shipping was overtaken by prisoner, who walked with her as far as Rosemarket, where he induced her to enter a public-house, and there treated her with a glass of spirits and water.

After resting a short time, she quitted the house alone, but just after crossing the bridge between Furzy Hill and Bazelford the prisoner again came up, and this time approached her with rudeness.

She endeavoured to repel his advances, but presently became exhausted by her exertion, and the prisoner then having previously compressed her lips forcibly to prevent her screaming he forced her against a hedge where he knew her criminally in opposition to her will.  When freed from his embraces she proceeded along the road, but from weakness, was unable to proceed beyond the house at a friend, in which stood a short distance off, and there she passed the night.

It should he added that she lost no time in communicating the defendant's disgusting usage of her, and when she came into the town on the following morning her first errand was to apprize Sergeant Kelly of the outrage. The prisoner was committed to the Assizes. We understand that prisoner is a married man, and has a large family. The prosecution against him was concluded.

Due to the seriousness of the alleged offence Henry Thomas  was committed to take his trial at the next Assizes Court. 

This court sat on the 18th of March 1858.   It was reported in the newspaper that “The case, of course, revealed particulars which it would serve no end of morality to disclose we, therefore, as in all such cases, withhold the evidence and simply give the verdict, which was one of acquittal”.

Assault with Intent

Date:                    October 21st 1853. 
Victim;                  Elizabeth Cole.
Accused;              David Isaac Davies (Aged 19) .

Elizabeth Cole, deposed that she was 20 years of age. On the 6th of August last, she was on her way from Llanstinan House (where she was in service) to Pennar, the residence of her father. She arrived at Haverfordwest about half past 12, and went to the house of Mrs. Shankland, the Coach and Horses. Prisoner came in there about quarter to five. She had never seen him before.

When she was leaving, he took hold of her bundle, saying he was going to the launch, and would accompany her. Mrs. Shankland's girl came with them so far as the Merlin's Hill, when the girl asked him if he was coming back, and on his refusal, said she would come on too.

The prisoner replied that she may do as she liked, but he was going on. She also asked him to go back. The girl returned, and they proceeded towards Neyland.

They went on quietly so far as the Lamb and Flag, where she was compelled to accompany him, as well as to a house at Freystrop, as he would not give up her bundles, although repeatedly asking for them. At the latter house she paid for one of two glasses of ale, under the promise that if she would do so, she should have the bundles and go along without interruption. The bundles were ultimately got out of the room by the woman of the house without his observation, and she proceeded on her way to Rosemarket.

He soon overtook her as she had stopped to ask a carter to take her up, but he could not assist her as he was going towards Langum. When the prisoner came up, he took the bundles from her by force, and said if she would not come on, he would give her a good thrashing.

When between Targate and the Quarry he asked her to sit down, which she refused as she was not tired and wished to go home. He then threw her down on a bank on the side of the road. [The witness here described the nature of the assault, which is unfit for publication.]

She begged him to allow her to get up, and screamed "murder" several times. He stuffed grass in her mouth, and threatened to kill her if she did not yield. She replied that she would suffer death first. Her face and arms were much injured in the scuffle.

When Mr. and Mrs. Williams came up, he said, "What is here." The prisoner then let her go and she ran towards Williams and begged of him for "God's sake to help her." Williams at first refused, but on learning who she was, protected her.

The prisoner was given into the custody of Mr. Cozens, of Targate, & Williams's wife and prosecutrix proceeded towards Haverfordwest.

The prisoner soon after overtook them, and on the road said he would have his ends yet before reaching Haverfordwest, and that Williams would not reach Haverfordwest that night.

The prisoner followed them to Haverfordwest, when he was given into custody. Mr. and Mrs. Williams were examined, and deposed to hearing screeches for about half a mile before they came to the spot where they found the prosecutrix and the prisoner, which continued at intervals until they came up, at first very faint, but as they approached nearer, they distinctly discerned the cry of "Murder!"

These witnesses described the prosecutrix when they came up as without shawl or bonnet, hair down, much terrified, and in a very exhausted state.

When on the road to Haverfordwest the conduct of the prisoner was very violent. He challenged Williams with keeping the prosecutrix from him. Williams asked her if that was so, when she replied that she would suffer death before she would walk the road with him again."

The prosecutrix and Williams and his wife were cross- examined at some length, but nothing was elicited to shake their testimony.

Mr. Cozens addressed the Jury for the prisoner in a lengthened speech. He described the affair as love at first sight;" and as the prisoner is descended from a Jewish father, and the delivering of a ring, according to the Jewish law, is a complete marriage, he may in that light have considered himself as husband, and the prosecutrix as his wife and bound to stick to her to the last; and suggested to the Jury that if the parties had not been disturbed, nothing more would have been heard of it.

Witnesses were called to speak to seeing prosecutrix and prisoner going along the road, and at the Lamb and Flag, and at Freystrop, on good terms.

One of the witnesses, however, on cross-examination, admitted that the prosecutrix was outside of the house at Freystrop, crying for her bundles, and that he from sympathy had got her bundles and given them to her. And another of the witnesses admitted having heard the prosecutrix repeatedly ask the prisoner for her bundles.

Mr. John Lloyd, solicitor, gave the prisoner (who had been in his service a number of years) a most excellent character.

The Chairman summed up in a very careful and lucid manner. There were, he said, two counts in the indictment.  One for an assault with intent, and the other for a common assault only. In his opinion, the prisoner must, from the evidence, be found guilty of the more serious charge, or not at all.

The law on the subject was that if the attempt of the description charged was made, against the will of the party at the time, and by force, the perpetrator was guilty of the offence, not withstanding, any previous conduct leading him to believe that she would be a consenting party.

The jury had nothing to do with the question of conduct previous or subsequent to the commission of an offence only as a test of credibility that had to do only with the sentence of the Court. In this case, however, nothing had come out, although subjected to a very long examination and cross-examination, to impugn the credibility of the prosecutrix or her witnesses, indeed the conduct of Williams throughout was highly creditable to him and the evidence for the prisoner had no reference to the offence, only to the credibility of the witnesses.


The Jury immediately returned a verdict of guilty, and the Chairman, in a very feeling and impressive manner, passed the sentence of the court. The prisoner had, he said, been convicted of a serious and aggravated crime, and but for the interruption, would have affected one which, a few years ago, would have subjected him to the penalty of death, and now to transportation for life, and for the offence of which he was found guilty, he was liable to two years' imprisonment.

The prisoner was then sentenced to eight months' imprisonment, with hard labour. The court broke up at eight o'clock, having sat for ten hours.