The Belfast News-Letter published the following story in its edition of Tuesday the 19th of February, 1828:-
DREADFUL ATTEMPT TO MURDER IN LONDON
MR. Mullay, an Irish gentleman of some smal1 fortune being anxious to obtain employment, was advised to put an advertisement in the papers, offering a douceur of between £500 and £800, by way of a loan, to any gentleman who would procure a situation.
Amongst numerous answers, he received one calling upon him to ask for Mr. Howard, between twelve and four, and he would hear of something satisfactory.
A HOUSE IN RED LION SQUARE
Mr. M. called on Friday at the address, in Red Lion Square, Holborn, and saw a person, who represented himself to be a poor relative of a gentleman of influence, who had it in his power to procure any situation.
Mr. M. said that he was willing to lend a moderate sum of money, interest free, to any person who would procure it for him.
THE UPSTAIRS ROOM
Mr. H. requested that Mr. M. would walk up stairs, and on the first landing of the attic floor he pushed open a door, from which there was a descent of nearly four feet by a step ladder into a corridor, at the end of which there was small room, neatly furnished, into which he and Mr. M. went.
Nr. H. told Mr. M. that if he would call on Saturday at one o’clock, he would introduce him to Mr Owen, the gentleman who was to procure the situation.
He at the same time intimated, that as Mr O. was a high man, it would be necessary to have the cash in readiness.
BACK ON SATURDAY
Mr. M. accordingly called on Saturday, when Mr. H. received him in his room, and asked him whether he had the money with him.
“Yes,” said Mr. M., and shewed him £450.
“Oh, Very well”, said Mr. H. “I expect Mr. O. instantly.”
Mr. M. waited two hours.
He observed a clasp-knife on a shelf and a trap ball bat.
ANOTHER DAY ARRANGED
He determined to wait no longer.
Mr. H. desired him to call on Monday, and he would certainly see Mr. O.
Mr. M. did call, but no Mr. O. appeared, and Tuesday was fixed for the meeting.
Mr. M. was shown into the small room we have described.
Mr. Howard seemed to be greatly agitated, and walked about the corridor eying Mr. M. intently.
A NOTE TO MR. O.
At length he spoke of Mr. O.’s delay, and desired Mr. Mullay to write a note to that gentleman.
Howard then wrote a note, and requested his visitor to copy it.
While Mr. M. was copying the note, Mr. H. put the poker into the fire, but it fell out and scorched the hearth rug.
HE WAS ATTACKED
Mr. H. then went to the door, locked it, and, seizing the trap ball bat, struck Mr. M. on the head with it.
Mr. M. started upon his feet.
His antagonist had the bat in one hand, and the knife in the other.
Mr. M. rushed upon him and grasped the knife, in doing which, he received another violent blow over the temple with the bat. The blood rushed copiously down his face. He still held the knife, and succeeded in breaking it in two, not, however without having his fingers desperately cut.
Howard continued to strike away with the bat, and made several attempts to cut at Mr. M.’s face with the piece of the knife which he still held.
HE HAD TO LET GO
Mr. M. at length got him down, but the blood flowing from his head into his eyes, he was obliged to let go his hold, and the struggle became more and more dreadful.
Mr. Mullay cried out “murder, Murder;” but Howard said, “It is of no use – I have assistance at hand.”
He ran to the window, dashed his head through it, and repeated his cries.
The spot, however, was skilfully selected for a scene of such a nature. He was heard by nobody from the window.
COVERED WITH BLOOD
Mr. M. then seized the poker, and knocked Howard down.
Howard cut at him desperately, but his thumb, by accident got into the mouth of Mr. M.
They were both by this time covered with each other’s blood.
Mr. M. was the stronger man; he got his knee upon the other’s cheat. Howard begged for quarter, and said, that if Mr. M. would let him rise, he would tell all.
He allowed the fellow to rise, but held his hands.
Howard was quite exhausted.
Footsteps were distinctly heard, and Mr. Mullay again seized the poker, when Howard said, “I request, that you will say that it was a quarrel we had.”
Mr. M. ran to the door and opened it, and the persons of the house rushed in, amongst who were two or three females, whose shrieks, when they saw the floor covered with blood, reached the street.
The street keeper of the Red Lion-square then took Howard into custody.
Mr. Cheese, agent to the London Trading Fund Association, has furnished some further particulars connected with this affair.
Upon entering the room, the first object of Mr. Cheese was to separate the parties, his impression being, as Howard stated, that a quarrel had taken place between them which terminated in a duel.
Mr. C. led Mr. Mullay to the kitchen to have the blood washed from his hands and face, and to ascertain the extent of the injury he had sustained.
AN ATTEMPT ON HIS LIFE
It was then that Mr. Mullay informed Mr. C. of the attempt upon his life, upon which the latter called the street-keeper to take Howard into custody.
They were proceeding to the apartment, when they met him on the stairs, and he exclaimed to Mr. Cheese, “Why did you not let us fight it out? I will never brook an insult from any man, much less from as rascally Irishman.”
By this time some officers from Hatton-garden arrived, and searched the room for the bat, and the broken knife.
The bat was found covered with blood; but neither parts of the broken knife could be found: and it is supposed that Howard had flung them out of the window.
We have also ascertained from the same authority, that Howard has been engaged in controversial disputations.
Mr. Mullay’s wounds are of a very serious kind, and he had been unable to attend Hatton-garden office to give evidence,
Howard is a man of a very respectable appearance, and about 45 years of age.