Elizabeth Harrard, Killing > infanticide, 6th September 1739.

Reference Number: t17390906-8
Offence: Killing > infanticide
Verdict: Guilty
Punishment: Death

437. Elizabeth Harrard , of Isleworth , was indicted, for that she being big with a certain Male Child, the said Male Child she did, alone, and secretly, bring forth alive, and which Male Child, by the Laws of this Realm, was a Bastard. And she not having GOD before her Eyes, &c. as soon as the said Male Bastard Child was born, with Force and Arms, on the said Male Bastard Child, so alive, feloniously, &c. did make an Assault, and with both her Hands, the said Child, into a certain River, called the Powder-Mills River, did cast and throw, by reason of which casting and throwing into the said River, the said Child was suffocated and drowned, of which Suffocating and Drowning it instantly died , July 10 .

She shas likewise charged, by vertue of the Coroner's Inquest, for the said Murder.

John Thackery . I am Beadle of Isleworth : On Saturday the 14th of July, Mr. Ions, a Farmer there, found a young Child in the Powder-mills River, and I was ordered to go and fetch it. I went, and saw the Child in a Meadow, covered with a little Grass. It had been taken out of the River before I came, and did not seem to be swelled, or to have any Water in its Body; but on the left side of the Head it had had a Blow; the Blood was congealed, and the Place was so soft, that I could have thrust my Finger into the Scull: I took it to the Stock-house, and on Monday the Overseers of the Poor sent to Mr Wright, the Coroner, for Letters to bury it. While they were gone, a Woman came to me, and told me she suspected the Prisoner, who worked in the Gardens, and gathered Fruit. I went after her, but did not take her; the Overseers of Teddington brought her to us, and our Churchwardens ordered me to get her a Bed, because she was not in a fit Condition to be sent to Newgate. On Wednesday the Coroner sat on the Body, and he ordered me to shew it to the Prisoner. She begged I would not bring it near her, for (said she) 'tis my own Child, - born of my own Body. I asked her how she could tell That, unless she saw it? She said, it was, and she was very sorry for it: But she did not see it, nor would she suffer me to open the Coffin. When she was first brought to us, we told her under what Circumstances we found the Child, and she did not then say any Thing to it; but on Thursday Night I sat up with her, and in the Middle of the Night she asked me, if I had been to see after John Gadd? I told her no, I did not know him. She said he was at Drayton; that he went there last Monday, and had taken a Field of Wheat to reap; that she was with him last Sunday Night, and was to have met him again had she not been taken.

Elizabeth Nell , Midwife. When the Prisoner was taken, I was sent to examine her. I asked her if she had had a Child? She said, yes; she was delivered on the Monday before, in a Field as she was going over a Style, and some Men coming by, she went away and left the Child behind. I told her, that Story did not appear feasible, and asked her if it was born alive? She said it was not: And I reply'd I was sure it was born alive by its Head; for it was very much bruised and swelled, and the Blood was congeal'd, which I apprehend it would not have been, had it been born dead. After I had told her I was a Midwife, and it would be better for her to tell me the Truth; she said - then, Mrs. Midwife, I will tell you the Truth: - The Child was born alive, and liv'd a Quarter of an Hour, but as she was sitting in Pain by the River-side, with the Child in her Lap, it rolled out of her Lap into the Water. I asked her again, how long it liv'd, and what she wrapp'd it in? She said, it lived half an Hour; that she tore a Piece of her Apron to wrap it, and that it had been dead half an Hour, or an Hour before she threw it in. I enquired of her, if she had made any Preparation for its being born? She told me, she had two Caps given her, but she had given them away again. The Child was brought to my House, before they carried it to the Cage; and I plainly saw its Death was occasioned by the Bruise on the Head, for no Water appeared in it, and it was very fresh when I first saw it.

Elizabeth Thackery . When the Prisoner was taken, she was carry'd to the Sign of the Bell; I went thither and ask'd her, if she was the unfortunate poor Creature that had had a Child? Yes, (she said) and it was found drown'd. I enquired of her, who was the Father of it? She told me, - John Gadd was the Father, and that she was not marry'd to him, but she had lived with him in an odd Manner, a Year and a half, and

had miscarr'yd of a Child, by him, once before. She said, she was very poor, and was delivered of this Child as she was going over a Style: That it was born alive, and she heard it cry a little, but she had nothing to wrap it in, except a Bit of her old Apron, and she was so very ill, she did not know what to do with herself. She said, John Gadd was a very wicked Fellow, and she did not know but he might make away with it, tho' she just before had told me, - that she, herself, put it into the Water, and she did not say any thing was done to it, before she put it in. I saw the Bruise on the Side of the Head.

The Midwife. 'Tis not impossible that Bruise might be given it, by throwing it into the Water.

Prisoner. I went to Richmond to see for Work, and when I got there, I fell in Travel, and sat down for two Hours to ease my Pains. While I was there, the Beadle of Richmond came to me; I asked him for the Help of some good Women. He threatened me, and brought me cross the Water; then he called me Bitch, and bid me shift for myself. So I went to Twickenham, and there likewise I was refused Relief, and the Beadle of that Place, led me out of that Town, and left me in the Fields; where I was so bad, that I was almost dead, and did not know whether my Baby was dead or alive.

The Midwife. She did say something to me, about the Beadle of Richmond refusing her Help.

Samuel Goodwin . The Day the Coroner sat on the Child, the Prisoner told me, that no Person was with her when she was delivered, but this John Gadd, whom I have often seen with her, under my Haycocks. She likewise said, That a Quarter of an Hour after she had been delivered, John Gadd took her Apron from under her Head, and having tore a Piece off, he wrapped the Child in it, and went away, and she never had seen him since. Guilty , Death .


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