Oliver Deveau gives evidence on oath

Oliver Deveau the Chief Mate of the 'Dei Gratia' was in charge of the boarding party. He found one pump out of order, and only used the other on his way to Gibraltar. He found the fore hatch off and also the lazarett hatch off with a great deal of water between decks. The clock and compass were spoilt and destroyed respectively. The Court record states that he found no beer or spirits in the ship, and the cargo had not shifted.

The Chronometer, the sextant navigation book and the ship's register and papers were also missing. There was not a log line ready for use.

Let us at this point forget about steaming mugs of tea, ships cats, everything in supposed pristine condition. Certainly there were no half eaten breakfasts, and no phial of oil balanced on the sewing machine. The vessel was observed out of control for two hours before she was boarded, and had experienced storms and heavy seas in the days prior to her discovery.

The court record states "The Galley was in a bad state, the stove was knocked out of its place, and the cooking utensils were strewn around. The whole ship was a thoroughly wet mess. The Captains bed was not fit to sleep in and had to be dried."

Now we come to a crucial bit, Charles Lurd, crew member states; "We found no boats on board", he could not state how many there should have been he felt sure there had been a boat at the main hatch from the fixing there.

There is much speculation in the fictional accounts about a sword with blood stains, pointing to violence, however in the court record the Mate Oliver Deveau states he did not see any blood anywhere. Although he saw the sword it was in its sheath and was rusty. He gave it little significance. The popular mystery has blood marks and a bloody sword, with the evidence of the inquiry sealed. What it really says is that the sword had been cleaned with lemon, and the result was iron citrate, not dried blood. No need for DNA testing, Dr Patron and the science of the day was sufficient.

The only dry clothes found were dry because they were in a watertight seaman's chest. Everything else was wet. There is a mystery of the clock face being upside down, but not because of any 'time warp' the Mate had removed it to clean it and put it back wrongly.

In his conclusion the Judge praises the crew of the 'Dei Gratia' for their great courage in view of the risk to both vessels in dividing the crew, and their great skill shown in bringing both vessels safely to Gibraltar.