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away with my son about a quarter past 6 in the evening.
Edward Braston said—I am the son of the last witness. I took two boxes for the deceased from my mother's house to a place in Marylebone, and afterwards accompanied the prisoner to the same house. We did not get there until nearly 7 o'clock. The prisoner had drink at three publichouses as we went along. Before he went into the house he told me that we were to bring the boxes away. I waited in the parlour with the prisoner. In a short time the deceased came in, and I heard the landlord of the house say to the prisoner, "That's her; don't kick up any disturbance at all." The deceased did not see the prisoner, and she proceeded up stairs, and the prisoner took a candle and followed her immediately. After he had been gone a short time he called to me to fetch the boxes, and I went up and found the prisoner aud his wife talking together, but could not hear what they said. The prisoner said to me, pointing to a box, "Here, my lad; take this down stairs." I took up the box and went down stairs. As I was leaving the room I heard the deceased screaming, and the prisoner was hitting her. I told him not to beat his wife, and he turned to me and said, " Trouble your head with your own business." He struck her three or four times before I left the room. He hit her about the body, and struck her downwards. I did not see that he had anything in his hand. As I was going down stairs I heard the deceased scream "murder." I put the box down in the parlour, and then went up stairs again to fetch the other box. I met the prisoner on the stairs, and he told me to
fetch the yellow box down, and he said he would carry it away. When I went into the room the prisoner's wife was lying by the fireplace. I did not hear her groan or make any sound, but saw that there was blood upon her face. I carried the box down as I had been told, and found that the prisoner was gone. I went out to look for him, found him in the street, and observed blood on his right hand. I told him to come back, for he had killed his wife. He said he had not. I repeated that he had, and he said, "If I have, do you tell the policeman." I then called a policeman, and the prisoner was taken into custody. I never saw the deceased strike the prisoner. The prisoner and his wife did not appear to be quarrelling when I first went into the room. I heard the prisoner say something about a man named Thompson having been intimate with his wife. I did not see anything in the prisoner's hand while he was striking his wife, but he struck the blows as though he was in the act of stabbing.
George G. Manning said—I keep the house No. 33, North Street, Marylebone. I knew the deceased by the name of Nott. On the night of the 8th of November the prisoner came to the house accompanied by the last witness, and asked if Mrs. Bare was at home. I told him I knew no such person, and mentioned the names of my lodgers, and said there was a Miss Nott, when he said that was his wife's maiden name, and went on to say that there was property of his in my house, and that my daughter had induced his wife to come and live there. I told him that was not true. The prisoner then said he would burst open every door in the house if he could not get bis property, and said it was two boxes. I told him I would assist hi in to get his property if it was there, and that Miss Nott would be in at 9 o'clock; she was so very regular that I could depend upon her. I asked the prisoner to walk into the parlour, and we sat there for a long time, and the prisoner made use of very bad language towards his wife, and said that she and the other one (meaning Mrs. Hands) were no better than common prostitutes. I told him I hoped to the contrary; that I had not seen anything wrong, and did not believe there was anything wrong in their conduct. The deceased came home about 9 o'clock, and immediately went up stairs. I told the prisoner as she came in that she was the woman he wanted to see, and gave him a lighted candle. He followed her up stairs, and I went out to find a policeman, as I expected some disturbance. When I returned home I found the deceased in her own room dead. The prisoner wanted to get the boxes before his wife came home, and if I would have permitted him, I believe he would have broken open the door and taken them away.
Rebecca Mannipg, wife of the last witness, proved that after the prisoner went into his wife's room t^e heard them talking together, but could not distinguish what was said. They appeared to be talking quietly. In a short time the prisoner called the boy up stairs, and tpld him to take the boxes down. All bad been quiet up to that time, but immediately after the boy was told to take the boxes down witness heard violent screaming, and something fell heavily to the around, apparently like the table 'Khairs in the deceased's room.
The screaming did not continue more than two minutes, and when it ceased the prisoner cams down stairs, and as he passed her in the passage she observed that bis hands were covered with blood. Witness immediately went up stairs and found the deceased upon the ground, leaning over a chair close by the fireplace. Her hair was all about her face loose, her eyes were wide open, and one of her bands was tightly clenched. There was a wound upon her face, from which the blood was flowing. Her bonnet was under the grate. She threw her head back, there was a noise in her throat, and then she died.
Selina Beckett, a lodger in the same house, gave evidence that she heard loud quarrelling between the prisoner and his wife. The prisoner said he would not go out of the house without the boxes. The prisoner accused his wife of going to a low public-house with some prostitutes. She afterwards saw the prisoner striking his wife. She heard the prisoner say to the deceased, "I want nothing of you but my boxes, and, so help me God, I won't leave the house till J get them."
Mary Robinson deposed, that she was acquainted with the prisoner and his late wife, and after she left him he repeatedly inquired respecting her. About a fortnight before this occurrence the prisoner came to her house aud asked her if she knew where his wife was. She told him she did not, and he then said that his wife was in the country nursing an old lady a hundred miles off, and he added that he did not mind tramping a hundred miles to have revenge, for revenge was sweet. In the course of the same conversation the prisoner said that if he could lay his hand upon his wife she would not forget it.
Rebecca Ljneham proved that shortly before the death of the deceased a man, whom she believed to be the prisoner, purchased a file at her husband's shop. He first purchased a flat file, but on the same day changed it for a triangular file. The file produced was of the same description as the one she sold to the man.
Joseph Church, a police constable, deposed that, about 9 o'clock on the night of November 8, he saw the prisoner come out of a public-house in North Street. He said to witness, "Are you going to do anything in this?" I said, "What have you done?" He said, "I have done a something—something between me and my wife," and his voice faltered. The prisoner appeared to have been drinking. Being informed of the murder, he took him into custody, and went to the house. Witness left the prisoner in charge of another constable, and went up stairs and found the deceased lying dead upon the floor. Upon searching the room he found the blade of a file between the bars of the fire-grate, and the handle split in two in different parts of the room. There was blood both upon the handle and the blade of the file. The point of the tile appeared to have been recently ground.
Other officers proved the exclamations and admissions of the prisoner while in custody; and his apparent compunction when informed that his wife was dead.
Mr. N. Davidson, surgeon, described the condition of the deceased. She was quite dead when he arrived, and blood was flowing 'from a number of wounds upon her person. There were sixteen
wounds upon the face and front of the trunk, and several others in the back. All the wounds were of a triangular shape, and were such as would be produced by a file. One of the ribs on the left side was broken, and upon opening the body he discovered that the pulmonic artery was severed. That injury alone was quite sufficient to account for death.
Mary Hands, the woman with whom deceased lived, spoke to the propriety of her conduct: there was nothing whatever to give ground for the accusations the prisoner made against his wife.
Mr. Ballantine, for the prisoner, commented on the facts of the case as disclosed by the evidence, which, he said, evidently pointed to the conclusion that the prisoner was guilty only of the lesser offence of manslaughter. The evidence all tended to show that the only object the prisoner originally had in view was to obtain possession of the boxes and their contents; and that if he had really intended to destroy his wife, it was not likely he would have purchased such an instrument as a file, but would have procured a knife or some similar weapon, which would much more readily have answered the purpose. Again, it was not likely if, as wa3 suggested, the prisoner went to the residence of the deceased, on the night in question, with the deliberate intention to destroy her, that he would have taken the boy Braston with him; and the jury might reasonably infer that he had no such intention, but that the act was committed upon some sudden quarrel and excitement arising between the parties upon the subject of the boxes which the prisoner claimed.
The learned Judge, in summing up, "said that it appeared to be admitted that the unfortunate deceased had met her death at the hands of the unhappy man at the bar, and the learned counsel who appeared for the prisoner appeared to have directed his efforts in his behalf solely to endeavour to induce them to acquit him of the crime of wilful and deliberate murder, and find him guilty of the crime of manslaughter. He also appealed to their mercy; but it was his duty to tell them that they had no right to give effect to any such considerations, and that the oath they had taken as jurors bound them to return a verdict according to the evidence, irrespective of any consequences that might ensue. If the jury could see any circumstances in the case which they considered justified them in coming to the conclusion that the act of the prisoner did not amount to the crime of wilful murder, they would acquit him of that crime and find him guilty only of the minor offence;
but if, on the other hand, they should feel that the evidence left no reasonable doubt that the prisoner had wilfully destroyed the life of his wife, in that case their duty to the country and the sanctity of their oaths demanded that they should say so by their verdict.
The jury, after some consideration, returned a verdict finding the prisoner "Guilty of manslaughter;" and the learned Judge sentenced him to be transported for life.
From the circumstance that cases of wife-murder had lately become shockingly numerous; that in some cases of brutal assaults the Judges had passed sentences apparently inadequate to the offence; and that there had been some remarkable inequalities in the severity of the punishments awarded to different classes of crime, this case excited much comment. It was a general opinion that crimes of a homicidal nature were not at this time sufficiently dealt with.