A murderer escaping punishment, or a false accusation?

A 1478 a London coroner’s inquest jury, convened over the body of John Aventry of London, gentleman, reported that one Richard Edriche, a London hackneyman, had lain in wait to attack Aventry.

Edriche (they said) assaulted Aventry with a staff, giving him a wound from which he died about a month later. Edriche then (on 21 May 1478) fled to sanctuary at Westminster Abbey. The jurors also reported that Edriche had been aided by a host of accessories – a London mercer, a cook, a “housewife” named Agnes Thomson, wife of a fuller – but they appear not to have sought sanctuary.

Edriche came out of sanctuary and went to trial in Michaelmas term (fall) 1479, where he was acquitted. So – did Edriche get away with a homicide? Or was he falsely accused?

TNA, KB 9/348, mm. 1-2; KB 29/108, m. 23. Image Morgan Library.

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