Offence: Killing > murder
Verdict: Guilty > no_subcategory
Punishment: Death > no_subcategory
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[See Eighth Session, page 212.]
MESSRS. CLERK and BEASLEY conducted the Prosecution,
SAMUEL EMERY BARNES . I live at Highbury House, Holloway, and carry on there the business of a draper—Mrs. Maria Soames, of 27, Alfred-street, Bedford-square, was my half-sister—she was a widow—she died on 18th October, 1856—I last saw her alive on Friday the 17th, the day before her death—I had also seen her on the Wednesday before; that would be the 15th—I saw her that day at my house between 2 and 3 in the afternoon—she had come from her home to me.
COURT. Q. At what time did she come? A. I can't say that; I was from home—I did not see her till between 2 and 3 in the afternoon.
MR. BEASLEY. Q. Do you know whether the had taken her dinner then? A. She had dined at my house—she was perfectly well in health when I saw her that afternoon—her health was very good usually—she was then quite in her usual state of health—she borrowed 9l. of me—she asked me to lend her 10l., and I lent her 9l.
COURT. Q. Do you remember how was that 9l. given; in what money? A. No doubt it was gold, but I do not remember.
MR. BEASLEY. Q. How long did she remain with you? A. I should say the did not remain more than half an hour—some short time, three or four months, before her death, I had paid her upwards of 40l. as her share of a legacy that had been left her by her father—when she left me on the Wednesday she was quite in her usual health—I did not see her again until the Friday—I then saw her at her own house, in bed, about half-past 9 in the evening—I had received a letter from one of her daughters stating that she was unwell—I received that letter about 6 o'clock, and in consequence of that I went and found her in bed—she complained of sickness, and great pain in her body and head, I believe; I can't say that she said or pointed where, I remained there nearly an hour—I then went home—she was not any better when I went away; but I did not think her dangerously ill—I saw the prisoner there when I went there; she was in the room—I have no doubt that she was there all the time I was.
COURT. Q. Do you remember whether she was or not? A. I would not say positively.
MR. BEASLEY. Q. Did you observe what she was doing, or take any particular notice of her? A. Only that she seemed attentive to my sister in giving her what she required in the way of medicine and aliment—on the following morning (Saturday) I was called to see my sister again—a person came in a cab for me between 4 and 6 o'clock, to say that my sister was dead—I immediately returned with the messenger in the cab—I found that my sister was dead—I cannot recollect if I saw the prisoner, or who I saw in the house—I can't say positively whether I saw the prisoner there—I don't recollect that I had any conversation with the prisoner about my sister's death—there was an inquest held about the Monday or Tuesday after—it was held at my instance—I was there again on the Monday—I recollect a letter being received when I was there on the Monday—this (produced) is the letter—I did not see it delivered by the postman—it was given to me, I think, by Miss Rowe, one of the witnesses—it was brought upstairs to me—it was torn just as it is now—Mr. Whidborne was the medical man attending my sister—I do not think I applied to him for a certificate as to the cause of my sister's death; I should say not; my belief is that I did not—I never heard my sister say anything about going to be married again—I never heard anything of it—she had been a widow nine or ten months, I think, at the time of her death—I cannot positively say which was the nearest post-office to her house, but the post-office always made use of by the household and the neighbourhood is in Torrington-place.
Cross-examined by MR. OPPENHEIM (with MR. MONTAGUS WILLIAMS and MR. WARTON.) Q. Were you often at your sister's house? A. Yes; once a fortnight possibly—she merely had a legacy from her father—that was not paid to her shortly before her death; at various times—it was not paid in one sum—I paid her—I was executor to my father—I had the payment of the legacy—the amount was 100l.—it was paid to her at various time—
the last payment was on the Wednesday preceding her death—that was the 9l.—at no time did I pay her 43l. in one sum—the last sum I paid her, before the 9l., was 1l., on 11th October—the 9l. that I paid her on the Wednesday was part of the legacy—to the best of my belief she asked for 10l.—I knew the prisoner—I knew that she had been living for some time with my sister—I knew that she and my sister were on very friendly terms—my sister was in very good health—I have known her to have bilious attacks, but very seldom; once a twelve month—I have been present when those attacks came on—I have seen her ill with a bilious attack—she did not keep her bad—I have never seen her in bed with a bilious attack—I never recollect that she has suffered from vomiting at such a time—the vomiting might have been over—the 100l. was the sole legacy which her father left her—she had other income besides that which she obtained from letting her two houses—I should say, speaking roughly, her income was from 80l. to 100l. a year—I do not say that was in addition to what she received from letting rooms in the two houses in Alfred-street—she had other house property as well—I believe that the net income would amount, on the average, to from 80l. to 100l. a year, including the houses in Alfred-street, and every other source of income—I saw her on the Friday, between 9 and 10 o'clock—the doctor had been there then—I don't think I saw him there—it was at my request that the inquest was held—it came about by the means that I took; I was not satisfied with the suddenness of her death, and I moved about, and went to my own medical man, and he said, to satisfy myself I had better have as inquest—I saw Dr. Whidborne before the inquest took place—I attended the inquest—I have no doubt I gave evidence there—I might have said that when my sister called on me, on the Wednesday, she was dull in spirits, or low-spirited—I do not recollect whether I made that statement before the Coroner—I believe the prisoner was examined at the inquest in my presence, and Dr. Whidborne also—before the inquest there had been a post mortem examination of the body of my sister—my sister was not in the habit of coming to me and asking me to lend her money—I considered that I was indebted to her, and whatever money she had of me, at various times, was for the purpose of my getting out of debt—that was the legacy money, she had it at various times; 5l. or 10l., as she might want it.
COURT. Q. How long had her father been dead? A. Two years, I think.
MR. CLERK. Q. Was it for a loan that she came, or for a payment from, you on account of the legacy? A. She merely asked for money—I can't say whether she asked me for it by way of loan or by way of repayment—I have an accurate knowledge of what the amount of her income was—I have not the slightest hesitation in saying that it was from 80l. to 100l. a year; it varied, of course, with the nature of house property.
Q. You say she was dull in spirits on the Wednesday; did anything pass during your interview with her? A. Nothing whatever—I could not account for it.
ANN MARIA NAACKE . I am the wife of Herman Naacke, a German, who is a watchmaker—I am the eldest daughter of the late Mrs. Soames—I was married in 1856—I was living at home with my mother—I have a sister named Sarah—I am now twenty-six years of age; I was just twenty when I married—my sister Sarah was nearly nineteen; she is a year and four months younger than myself—I remember the prisoner coming to reside with my mother, at 27, Alfred-street, Bedford-square—it was in the winter time; about November, or before Christmas, 1855—the prisoner occupied the first
floor—she took it unfurnished—a person named Dixon came with her—they took the apartments together—she represented him as her brother—my mother occupied the front parlour on the ground floor, and the front kitchen—she slept in the front parlour; not all the time, but until the last of the time, and then she had a back attic to sleep in—she slept in the front parlour for some time while the prisoner was there—for some time prior to her death she had been occupying one of the attics; I cannot recollect how long—shortly before her death, at the time she was taken ill, I was living in the house, but I was much occupied in No. 13, opposite—I always slept in No. 27, and my sister also—I used to sleep with my mother, in the same room; not in the back attic; in the parlour—in October, when my mother was sleeping up stairs in the back attic; I and my sister slept together in the parlour—I do not know what led to my mother's going to sleep in the room up stairs, only that it was unlet, and she thought she would keep it aired—there was also a Mr. and Mrs. Stevenson residing on the second floor of the house—the prisoner became on intimate terms with my mother after coming to live in the house, in the latter part of 1855—my mother used to spend her time in the front kitchen the greater part of the day—the prisoner was there very often—my mother also often went to the prisoner's room—I do not recollect my mother going out of the house, one day in October, to go to my uncle, Mr. Barnes'; but I recollect her coming back again—I recollect the day; it was Wednesday, 15th October—I must have seen her that morning before she went, though I do not recollect it—I saw her when she returned—as far as I can recollect, I think that was between 4 and 5 o'clock—we generally used to have tea at about 5 o'clock, or a little after it might be sometimes—my mother had tea with us that evening; we all had tea together, I, my sister, and my mother—I do not recollect Mrs. Stevenson being at tea with us—my mother appeared quite well at tea that evening; in her usual health—her usual health was very good—for some long time before this she had nothing the matter with her—sometimes she had a bilious attack, but the last one was some time before that; I should think it might have been a twelvemonth; it was so long—she had had bilious attacks occasionally, at intervals—the attack generally lasted one day—she never saw a doctor on those occasions—she did not take medicine for them that I can recollect—some time after we had tea, on that Wednesday, the prisoner came down into the kitchen—that was while we were still sitting round the table; I cannot recollect the exact time—she invited my mother to go to her room—she said she wished to speak to her—she did not say, in my hearing, what she wished to speak to her about—my mother then, or soon after, left the kitchen and went up to the prisoner's room—I think I must have remained some little while in the kitchen—I was generally wanted about 8 o'clock, at No. 13, so, I suppose, I must have gone, but I cannot now recollect—I cannot recollect whether I saw my mother again that evening before I went to bed, but I think I must have done so—I had not observed any sickness or illness before I went to bed; not the least—I am quite positive that I had not noticed it—I first heard that she was ill about 6 o'clock next morning, when she came down stairs to call us—she came to our bedside, and said she had got a bilious attack, and she must go to bed, she was very ill with a bilious attack—she went up stairs to bed immediately—I did not go with her; I was in bed when she left the room—I got up soon afterwards—I saw her soon afterwards, in her room, up stairs—she was then very sick—she complained principally of great sickness and pain in her chest—I saw her retching—afterwards she retched without bringing
anything up; but the first day I cannot recollect—I cannot recollect how soon on the Thursday I saw the prisoner in my mother's room—I saw her in the day time, but I cannot recollect what time—I did not give my mother any tea, or anything during the course of that Thursday—I recollect her taking a few grapes that I gave her myself; I beg your pardon, that was on the second day—I did not see any brandy and egg given to her on the Thursday—the prisoner brought her something to drink on that Thursday, but she did not tell me it was brandy and egg—I was very little with my mother that day, so I cannot say whether she was vomiting seldom or frequently—when I saw her in the evening she was no better—the last time I saw her was on the Thursday night, quite late, about 11 o'clock—she was then no better—I proposed to my mother to sit up with her—I do not know whether the prisoner was in the room at the time—I did not sit up with her; Mrs. Hawkeshead, a cousin, did—she is now in America—I cannot recollect the first time I saw my mother on the Friday; I saw her very much on the Friday—she was still very ill, when I first saw her that day—she complained always of the sickness and pain in her chest—I saw her vomit and retch many times on the Friday—the retching was constantly; it might be every ten minutes or quarter of an hour—she appeared weaker on the Friday, from the constant retching, she said—Dr. Whidborne came on the Friday—I do not recollect how he came, whether he was sent for—I believe it was in the morning that he came—I do not recollect whether after that the medicine was sent to the house, or whether some one fetched it—I did not take it in myself—I recollect that some medicine came for her after the doctor had been—I saw the bottle of medicine—I saw medicine given to my mother by the prisoner—I remember the prisoner once said to me that Dr. Whidborne had given her the proper directions how to give it, and she would give it herself—after the medicine had been given to my mother the prisoner took the bottle from which it had been poured, down with her—I do not know where she took it to; she took it out of the room—I never saw the bottle in the kitchen or the parlour—when the medicine was given to my mother again the prisoner brought the bottle up with her—she took it away with her on each occasion—I did not notice whether the medicine, when it was given to my mother, did her any good—I did not notice that she appeared better, or that it did her any good—she did not appear to get any better during the time that I was attending her, until just before her death—I sat up with her on the Friday night; she said then that she felt easier—that must have been I should think an hour before her death—I think it was between 3 and 4 o'clock on the Saturday morning that she died—the prisoner was present at the time she said that—upon my mother saying she felt easier, the prisoner said it was time to take the medicine again—she fetched the bottle of medicine and gave some to my mother—after she had taken it she became immediately in violent pain, and she said she was sure it was the medicine that had done it, and she would not take it any more—I do not recollect that the prisoner said anything; oh yes, she said that it was sent to do her good; that was all—after taking the medicine my mother complained of violent pain in her chest—the colour of the medicine was a dark yellow—she got worse after she had taken it, and in, I think, it must have been about half an hour, she died—I went for the doctor, and returned in half an hour—I found the prisoner with my mother when I returned—she said that while I had been away my mother had been taken very bad, and she thought she would have died—my mother appeared worse then than when I had gone for the doctor; when I came back she could scarcely speak
—somewhere about half an hour after that she died—the appeared to be in violent agony up to the time of her death—she was complaining of the pain in the chest up to the last—a friend of mine, named Miss Rowe, resided in the other house, No. 13, but took her meals in No. 27—she came in just about the time my mother died—she was there at the last, just when my mother was dying—I cannot recollect whether I left her in the room with the prisoner after my mother was dead. Soon after the funeral the prisoner told me that my mother had borrowed 10l. of her—I was surprised at it—I do not know what I said—I had never heard during my mother's lifetime of her borrowing any money of the prisoner—the prisoner produced a paper to me, either at the time or soon after—she said my mother had written it—I read it—I suppose it must have been thrown away; I have not got it—I do not know what became of it—I received it from the prisoner—it is not above a year and a half I think since I saw it—I do not think it can exist now, for I have looked through all my papers—it was in my mother's handwriting; I am quite sure of that—there was on it "I promise to pay the holder or bearer the sum of 10l. on demand," and in my mother's name, "A. M. Soames"—I cannot recollect whether there was any date to it, or any stamp—I ultimately paid the 10l. to the prisoner—I paid her partly in cash, and she worked the rest out in rent—my uncle gave me 5l. of the money to pay her—I did not show the paper to my uncle—I cannot exactly say what income my mother had about that time—from what I reckoned up, as well could, it must have been about 150l., with what she got from uncle, including the legacy; that is as well as I can recollect or reckon now—my mother paid her bills regularly—at the time of her death there were a few bills left, for I should think about five or six weeks—my mother once said to me that her money affairs gave her a great deal of trouble, that was all—that was some short time before her death; not very long—I did not know of her having lent the prisoner money at any time—I had never heard anything about my mother's going to be married again.
Cross-examined. Q. Were there many lodgers? A. There were four lodgers, including the prisoner, in No. 27, and four in No. 13—my mother did not board them; there were three furnished lodgers for whom she bought tea and bread and butter—the prisoner and my mother were on very intimate terms—the intimacy between them commenced when the prisoner first came to my mother's house—I assisted my mother in the household affairs, and attended to the lodgers—my mother was always sick in her bilious attacks—on the Thursday when she was ill I only went once or twice into her room, until the evening—I was mostly sitting up stairs with her on the Friday—it was my mother that I asked to be allowed to sit up with her on the Thursday night, and it was she who would not allow me to do it—Mrs. Hawkeshead sat up—she was a relation, not a lodger—on the Friday, I was attending to my mother and nursing her quite as much as the prisoner—I was there all day—the prisoner kept continually coming up and down.
Q. How often during the day on Friday did your mother take medicine? A. I cannot recollect at all how frequently it was given—she vomited continually on Friday; she was retching and vomiting the whole of the day—she was not sick every time of the retching—I cannot recollect how often she was sick, it was very often—I cannot recollect that sickness took place on some occasions before she took the medicine; it was continually through the day, but I cannot recollect the particular times—Miss Rowe lived in one of my mother's houses; she is not a very young lady—she had one room in No. 27, and three rooms in No. 13—she was a dressmaker by trade—I must
have been present some part of the time just before my mother died—I am not quite sure whether I was present when Miss Rowe came into the room just before my mother died—my mother before her death did not say before me that she wanted to see Miss Rowe—Miss Rowe and my mother were on friendly terms—my mother had spoken to me about her money affairs being worrying, shortly before her death—some of the bills were unpaid—they were the house bills, to which I referred—I do not believe they amounted to over 1l. each—the whole amount of each bill was a little more than a pound—they were for several weeks—as near as I can recollect I think there were three or four bills unpaid, bills from three or four tradesmen—two of the houses were my mother's own; not the two in Alfred-place—the one she resided in she paid rent for—only the half-quarter's rent was due, I believe, when my mother died—she paid quarterly—I had never taken any of her things to pledge at her request before her death—I know she had sent one article, a silver milk-jug, to pledge—the prisoner continued to live with me about two months, I should think, after my mother's death; not at No. 27; she removed to No. 13, the other house—I do not think she gave me proper notice when she was going to leave—she did tell me she was going to leave before she left—she said she could not sleep there after the robbery—she paid her rent up to the time of leaving, through this bill or paper on which I owed her 5l.—I paid her a portion in money on that—it was soon after my mother's funeral that she first showed me this note—it must have been soon afterwards that she asked for half of it—I was examined at the Coroner's inquest.
Q. Did any conversation take place between you and your mother about her marriage, some time before her death? A. It was a joke; we were joking one day, I do not know what was said; I only recollect asking her, "Mother, you would not get married again?" and she said, "Oh, if I saw any good in it for you, I do not know what might happen;" that was all I ever heard—I cannot recollect what the conversation was which caused me to ask her that—I put the question to her because there was some talking about it at the time; the prisoner was speaking with my mother about it, joking with her—that was two or three months before my mother's death, as near as I can recollect—I do not recollect telling any one, within a few days after my mother's death, what I believed to be the cause of her death—I do not recollect going myself to the registrar's of the district soon after her death—I recollect going to Mr. Simpson's, the registrar's office, on one occasion; I cannot recollect what occasion it was—my maiden name was Ann Maria Soames—I cannot recollect whether, when I went to Mr. Simpson's, I said I had come to register my mother's death—he does not keep a shop, he lives in a private house in Gower-street—I cannot recollect signing a book in his office—I do not now recollect what I went there for—it might have been for my father's certificate; I do not know when I went—I do not know whether I went there a short time after my mother's death.
COURT. Q. Do you remember whether it was before or after your mother's death? A. No—I cannot recollect at all what time, or whether it was concerning my mother's death.
MR. OPPENHEIM. Q. Do you know who went to register her death? A. No, I do not.
MR. CLERK. Q. You say that your mother, when she had bilious attacks, had always been sick, do you recollect whether on those occasions she has ever complained of violent pains in her chest? A. No, not in her chest, but in her stomach, pinching pains in her stomach; she used to have the diarrhoea
as well—I do not remember who gave her anything to drink on the Friday, besides the medicine that she had—I do not recollect whether she was frequently complaining of thirst on the Friday—a silver jug belonging to her had been pledged; I cannot recollect how long that was before her death—it must have been after my father's death—he died in October, 1855—it must have been pledged after the prisoner came to live with my mother—I believe my cousin took it to the pawnbroker's—I did not go there—there was not above a shilling or two in my mother's room after her death—her purse was brought to me down stairs; I do not recollect by whom.
MR. OPPENHEIM. Q. Did your mother complain, or did she appear to you to be very weak on the Thursday when you saw her? A. In the evening past.
SARAH SOAMES . I live with my sister, the last witness—in November, 1855, I was living at home with my mother the deceased—I remember the prisoner coming there—I think that must have been in November, 1855—I recollect her saying she had lost a sum of money; that she had had her pocket picked in the street—I do not recollect the exact sum that she mentioned—I think it was about 70l.—I know it was a great sum of money—I did not hear of any steps being taken about it, or any policeman employed, and I was very much surprised at it.
COURT. Q. Was she in debt to your mother at all at that time do you know? A. I do not know.
MR. BEASLEY. Q. Do you remember Wednesday, 15th October, when your mother went away to go to your uncle, Mr. Barnes? A. Yes; I was at home when she started—it was in the morning—it must have been about 11 o'clock, I think—I should think it must have been about 4 in the afternoon when she came back—she, my sister, and myself, all had tea together—she was in a very good state of health when she came back—in her usual state of health, which was always very good—I remember the prisoner coming down into the room either while we were having tea or afterwards—it was in the front-kitchen—she came down stairs and wished my mother to come up stairs, she wished to speak to her—that was all she said—my mother went up with her—that was very soon after tea, and I do not recollect seeing my mother again that evening—I do not recollect what time I went to bed—I think it must have been about the usual time, 11 o'clock—I saw my mother about 6 o'clock next morning—she came down to call us—I was sleeping with my sister below, in the front-parlour—my mother said she was very ill indeed—that she had one of her bilious attacks and she must go to bed again—she did not describe the attack any further—it must have been a long while before that, that she had had a bilious attack—I do not recollect it for a long while—when she had one of those attacks it never lasted more than a day—she was always quite well the next morning, after a night's rest—I went up to her on this Thursday morning, about 7 o'clock, and took her some tea and toast—I think it must have been about 9 o'clock that morning that I first saw the prisoner—I do not know whether my mother had the toast—I know she drank the tea—she was dreadfully sick at that time—I saw her sick—every time I went up she was sick—I do not recollect that she was sick when I went up with the tea and toast—I saw the prisoner in my mother's room at 9 o'clock—she was speaking to my mother; attending to her—she was not giving her anything at that time—I saw her several times during the day give her brandy and egg mixed up with it—the prisoner told me that it was brandy and egg, and that it would
do her good—I did not see her prepare it—she brought it up ready prepared—I do not recollect how my mother was directly after it; but I know she was sick all the while, with scarcely any intermission—she retched dreadfully and complained of thirst—I took her tea a great many times that day and she seemed to like nothing else but tea, the was so dreadfully thirsty—she complained of very bad pains in her chest—she said she had never had such a bilious attack in h her life before—I was very much in the room on that Thursday—I made the tea for her—I do not know how many times the prisoner was in the room that day—I know she was there very often—she held the basin to my mother, sat by the side of the bed and talked to her, and sometimes gave her the brandy and egg—my mother was continually sick the whole of the day—it must have been about 11 o'clock that night, I think, when I left her—my cousin, Mrs. Hawkeshead, sat up with her that night—the seemed very weak when I left her; no better, if anything, worse—I saw her next day, Friday—I do not recollect when I first saw her—I must have seen her early in the morning—she was then very sick indeed; no better than she had been the day before—the symptoms were all just the same—she retched and vomited all the while—she was thirsty still—I gave her a great deal of tea the second day—the prisoner told me my mother was much better that day—I think it must have been about the afternoon or evening that she said that; I am not quite sure—it was after I had seen my mother—I left her that night for my sister, Mrs. Naacke, to sit up—the last time I saw her that night was between 11 and 12 o'clock, I believe—she was not quite dead when I came back—she was purged during the Thursday and Friday, but I do not recollect that so much as her being sick—I was called up on Saturday morning and got there just before she died—it must have been between 2 and 3 o'clock, I think, in the morning—I saw the physic.
COURT. Q. What did you see when you went into the room on Saturday morning between 2 and 3? A. I saw my mother lying on the bed, and she appeared to be dying; but I do not recollect who was in the room at the time, I only know I was very much astonished—I did not at all expect to find her dying—she appeared quite quiet.
MR. BEASLEY. Q. Did she die very soon after you got into the room? A. Yes—I saw the medicine on the mantel-piece in my mother's room on the Friday—I saw the prisoner take it down stairs with her—I did not hear her say anything about who was to administer it—on the Thursday, my mother told me to mend her petticoat, and it would be ready for her when she got well again.
Cross-examined. Q. What time were you and your mother taking tea on the Wednesday evening, the day before she was taken ill? A. I do not know the exact time, we usually had tea at 5 o'clock—I do not think the prisoner was taking tea with us, I am sure she was not—she was very intimate with my mother—that intimacy commenced from the first time of the prisoner's coming to lodge with us, but not so much, I think, as about the last two months—I attended to my mother's household affairs—I usually slept at No. 27; but that night, as my sister sat up with my mother, I went over the way to sleep with Miss Rowe at No. 13—I sometimes slept at No. 13, but very seldom—I slept then in Miss Rowe's room—I had no reason for ceasing to sleep in her room, only my uncle told me not to go over the way, but to sleep in the same house—I never did sleep with Miss Rowe before, only the one night—I had slept at No. 13, but not with Miss Rowe; not in her room—when I did sleep over there it was with our servant—was continually in and out of my mother's room on the Thursday, and on the
Friday also; but not so much as on the Thursday—my sister was more there on the Friday—I do not know who was in the room when I went there, when my mother was dying—Miss Rowe went there a little before I did—I do not recollect Mrs. Hawkeshead coming into the room on Thursday or Friday—I do not recollect seeing her, but I know she was there both Thursday and Friday—the prisoner was assisting me in nursing my mother—the sickness took place very frequently on the Friday—she was sick nearly all the Thursday and Friday, with scarcely any intermission—she appeared very weak on the Thursday, but still weaker on the Friday—she was weaker towards the evening—I think I recollect her saying that she was worried about her money affairs—I think that must have been shortly before her death—I do not know about the time—I did not attend the inquest.
COURT. Q. What sort of looking woman was your mother; was she tall like your sister? A. No; much the same as myself; rather stout, not very—she had very good health ever since I have known her—I never saw any Lowness of spirits in her, or anything to indicate that she meditated self-destruction—she had always very good spirits; very even spirits.
HARRIET JANE STEVENSON . I am the wife of Sampson Stevenson, now residing in Pratt-street, Camden-town—in October, 1856, I was lodging at Mrs. Soames's, with my husband, at 27, Alfred-street—I occupied the second floor—in October, I was expecting my confinement—I remember the evening before Mrs. Soames was taken ill, Wednesday evening—I was in Mrs. Soames's kitchen that evening, and my mother was there also; not in the kitchen, but up stairs in the house—Mrs. Soames had said she would be with me at the time of my confinement—I was not in the kitchen when the prisoner came there—I was confined on the Thursday morning. The deceased was with me in the kitchen that night, Wednesday night—Mrs. Soames and I were speaking together that evening about her being with me in my approaching confinement—I was saying to Mrs. Soames I hoped that I might be able to call her up that night, and she hoped that I might be able to do so—that was said merely in a joking tone—I was confined on the Thursday morning—my mother left me to go and call Mrs. Soames—I believe it was about 4 o'clock in the morning that I was taken in labour—Mrs. Soames came to my room—she said, "Oh! Mrs. Stevenson, I do feel very bad; I am afraid I shall not be able to attend to you, as I have been sick ever since I have been in bed"—she was sick in my room and vomited in a pail there—she did not remain in my room above two or three minutes—she then left to return to her own room—I did not see her again alive.
BARTHOLOMEW ARCHIBALD DUNCAN . I am a licentiate of the college of surgeons and physicians—I have attended a person of the name of Sarah Allen, of Alfred-street, Bedford-square—she is at present suffering from diptheria of a very severe character—I think it would endanger her life to come here to-day—it was against my will that she was here yesterday—I think her life would be endangered if she came out again.
Cross-examined. Q. When did you see her last? A. About three quarters of an hour back—she was in a room in the house, 26, Alfred-street—she was not in bed—she was sitting in an easy chair—she cannot lie down—I ordered her to be sitting.
EMMA ROWE . I am a single woman, and reside at 18, Alfred-place, Bedsord-square—in 1856 I occupied some rooms in the house of Mrs. Soames, at 27, Alfred-street, and also some rooms in No. 13 opposite—I used to take my meals at No. 27—I carried on my business at No. 13—I was at Mrs. Soames'
on Wednesday night, 15th October—she was then in a very good state of health—I saw her next on the Thursday morning, about 10 o'clock, or it might be a little later or earlier; I am not positive—she was then in bed, and was very sick indeed—the prisoner was there—she came into the room—in the course of that day she persuaded me not to see Mrs. Soames again—she said she was better to be left alone; that she would get better if she was left to herself—I did not see her again on that day—I recollect on one occasion before Mrs. Soames died being in the prisoner's room at No. 27; that was on the Thursday or Friday, I am not positive which—I saw two medicine bottles on the mantel-piece; one was larger than the other—one was a small phial about the length of my finger; the other was larger; I should say it was a half-pint medicine bottle, I am not certain—I asked the prisoner what was the large bottle—she said, "Mrs. Soames' medicine"—I asked her why she locked it in her room—she told me it was particular stuff, and it must be given by herself—I asked her whether myself or her daughters could not administer the medicine to the deceased—she said, no, the doctor told her that it must be given by her own hands—I asked her what the little bottle was—the told me that was her own—her room door was locked by herself when she was not there—on the Friday night Mrs. Soames' youngest daughter slept at my lodging with me—on the Saturday morning early I was summoned to Mrs. Soames' bedside—she died soon after I came—I was not with her when she died—I had gone back to my own lodging—I then returned to the house, and found that she was dead—neither of the daughters were in the room at the time I was there—about five, or perhaps ten, minutes after the death, or it might be half an hour, the prisoner called me into her room—she said she wanted to speak to me; that she had a secret to tell me—I asked her what it was—she told me that Mrs. Soames' death was not a natural death—I asked her why—she said the truth was that she was acquainted with some man, and that man had borrowed money from her to the amount of 80l., and he had deceived her, and she was tired of her life, and she had taken something to destroy herself—it was to a similar effect—she told me that she had taken it on the night that she was taken ill—she told me she had taken it in brandy and water, in her presence—I asked her why she allowed such a thing to be taken and not tell her family of it, or the medical man—she told me it was not her business; and then I told her she must be the villain.
COURT. Q. Give us the words as near as you can? A. I said, "You must be the villain"—she made no observation whatever upon that.
MR. CLERK. Q. Do you recollect whether, at that or any other time, you asked her anything about the man of whom she had spoken? A. At the same time she told me that there would be a letter come—I did not ask her anything about the man before that—she told me there would be a letter come about Monday morning, and if I took it in I was to give it to her—I said, "Very well"—the letter did come—she said the letter would come from some man, but not from whom; it was only "a man"—I took a letter in on the Monday morning—this is the letter (looking at it)—the prisoner was up stairs when the letter arrived, and she came down and took it out of my hands—I never saw that letter again for six years; not until this year—I was not examined as a witness on the inquest.
Cross-examined. Q. How long had you been living with Mrs. Soames before her death? A. About six years—I lived in No. 27 for six years—I sometimes, occasionally, went to the other side, No. 13, but I always lived at 27—on the night before Mrs. Soames' death I was sleeping at No. 13—I
had been sleeping there for six weeks previous—I was carrying on no business in particular then—I did do something at 27, but my place there was let to others; my rooms that I had there were let to two gentlemen—my business was dressmaking during the six years that I lodged at Mrs. Soames—I took work in—am I obliged to tell you how much I paid per week for my Iodging?—my room that I occupied at 27 was 5s. a week—I only had one room in that house; that was a bedroom—I had two rooms in the other house, for which I paid 7s. 6d.—I was on very friendly terms with Mrs. Soames—I was in the habit of being with her—I knew the prisoner from the time that she came and lodged at Mrs. Soames—I very frequently saw her in company with Mrs. Soames—I was not so often in company with the prisoner—Mrs. Soames used to tell me nearly everything, up to within six weeks of her death nearly—for six weeks before her death she was not so confidential as she had been before—the prisoner and I never had any reason to disagree at all during the time she was there—I can't say that we were on particularly friendly terms; as other lodgers, no more—we were not particularly intimate—I very often went into the kitchen which Mrs. Soames used to occupy; daily—I did not always find the prisoner there; I did sometimes; not so very often; not daily—I carried on the dressmaking business at 27—I know Mrs. Hawkeshead—during Mrs. Soames illness Mrs. Hawkeshead was more constantly there than any other person, with the exception of the prisoner—I only saw Mrs. Soames once when she was ill, and that was the first morning that she was ill, the Thursday morning—I did not see her again until just before she died—when Mrs. Soames and I were together we were often in the habit of talking a great deal—it was about breakfast time on the Thursday that I ascertained that Mrs. Soames was ill—I should say about 9 or 10 o'clock, or it might be a little later or earlier—I can't say exactly how long I was with Mrs. Soames on the Thursday morning; perhaps about half an hour—I am not positive; it might have been half an hour or a little more or less; I can't say—it was in the course of the day that saw the prisoner again—about mid-day—I should say, to the best of my knowledge, it was about mid-day that she told me I had better not go again into Mrs. Soames' room—I cannot tell when the medicine came—I never saw it only in the prisoner's room that time—that was on the evening of Thursday or Friday; I am not certain of the day—I know that Mrs. Soames was ill only Thursday and Friday—I cannot tell you whether the prisoner called me into her room, or whether I went in of my own accord, on the evening that I saw the medicine there—there were more there than myself—there was another gentleman there—his name is Necker, a German; not the husband of Mrs. Naacke, who has been examined to-day; a stranger to that gentleman; his name is Naacke, the other gentleman's name is Necker—I first spoke to the prisoner about the medicine—I did not particularly notice the colour of the medicine in the large bottle—I could not swear to the colour—I left the room soon after the conversation took place about the medicine; I can't state the exact time—when I left the room, perhaps I did not go to my own room; I might have gone down stair; I am not certain—I left the prisoner in the room when I left it—I did not see the prisoner lock the door, because there was another gentleman and herself in the room—I did not feel annoyed at the prisoner's telling me that I could not give the medicine to Mrs. Soames—I thought I was old enough to give it, that was all—she had never been ill before, so that I had had no reason to attend her—she did not have any billions attack that I ever attended her for—I remember her being a little poorly sometimes—I
was very often with her—I never recollect her but once not well all the six years I lived there, or ever to have a medical man—on the Friday night, the youngest Miss Soames slept in my room, at No. 13—I should say it was about 3 or 4 o'clock, on the Saturday morning, that I left my room and went over to 27—I can't say the time positively—I went because I was called—a gentleman called me; I heard him, I did not see him—we did not go at the time we were called—we were not gone to bed at the time—we went to bed after that, and in my sleep I thought I saw Mrs. Soames, and that made me get out of bed—I thought I saw her when I was asleep—I believe at this moment that I saw her apparent to my sight at the time—I can't say whether I was asleep or awake; I am not positive, but I thought I saw her—it was in consequence of my thinking that I saw her that I went over to No. 27—I went straight to Mrs. Soames' room—she was not in bed—she was sitting up—I can't say whether it was in a chair, I suppose it was—she was wrapped round with clothes, loose garments—I can't say whether Miss Soames went with me, I think I left her behind in bed—I did not wait for her—I think she was in bed, I am not positive—I am not certain whether Miss Soames came into her mother's room while I was there—I saw her in the next room—I was not present when Mrs. Soames died—I left the room, it might be ten minutes before she died, or it might be half an hour, as near as I can tell, according to the time that I heard of her death—I can't tell whether Mrs. Hawkeshead was in the room when I left it, just before the death—I know well that the prisoner was there—the daughters were not in the room; I remember one being in the adjacent room—I cannot tell you whether Mrs. Hawkeshead was there, it is impossible, I would if I could—after I left the room I went immediately to No. 13—that was when Mrs. Soames was sitting up in the room, when she was alive—I came back to No. 27 directly I heard of her death—I went on an errand and came back directly and delivered it—I went across to a medical gentlemen, who told me to ask what was the matter with her, and I asked her the cause and went back to him—it was a gentlemen that lived at No. 13—he told me to go and see what was the matter with her—I went, and went back straight to him and told him what was the matter with her—he was lodging in the house at the time—it might have been half an hour or ten minutes after had been in the room before Mrs. Soames' death, before I returned again to No. 27 and saw the prisoner—I am not positive of the time, but it was very short—when I went into the house after the death I first saw the prisoner in the passage, not in any room—I went into my own room, just to the door, that was on the ground-floor—I did not lose sight of the prisoner then—she wished the two young ladies to go to bed—I was present—I saw the two young ladies with her, that was in my bed-room—the gentleman, Mr. Necker, was there as well—the prisoner did not leave me after telling the young ladies to go to bed—we went together into her sitting-room—the gentleman did not go with us—the prisoner called me into her sitting-room; she asked me to go—she left my room door and called me to her room—she did not use the word "poison" in the conversation that took place in her room—she said "what she took she took in brandy and water"—she first said she had a secret to tell me—I asked her what it was, and she told me that Mrs. Soames' death was not a natural one; that she was in her room and she took a something in brandy and water; and she made away with herself, and took something that caused her death; and what she took she took in brandy and water—those were the words as near as I can tell now; it is six years ago—she said that she took that something in her (the prisoner's) pre-sence
—I will swear that—she said "in my presence;" and I then said, after asking her why she had not prevented it, "You are the villain"—I can't say whether it was the next day or the next week that I saw Mr. Barnes at the house—I saw him, I know, but I am not prepared to say whether it was the next day—I saw him between the death and the inquest—I did not tell him about this conversation—I did not mention it to the daughters—I did to Mrs. Hawkeshead, but not the same day—I mentioned it to her before the inquest; I swear that, but remember I did not mention it the same; I did not tell her exactly the same thing I have told you—I could not say now what I did tell her—I said it was not a fair death—that was not before the inquest, long after, months, years, it may be, perhaps two years after—I told nobody about it then—I told nobody about it before the inquest—I knew there was going to be an inquest—I do not know where it was held—I did not attend the inquest—I did not see Dr. Whidborne after the death and before the inquest, not to speak to him, that I know of—I thick I saw him, I am not positive; I may have done so; I could not tell you, to swear to it—I cannot tell you when was the first time after Mrs. Soames' death that I mentioned to any person what the prisoner had told me about her making away with herself—it is impossible to say when was the first time—I mentioned it when the prisoner was in Newgate—I cannot tell whether it was in May or June last—I then mentioned it to Mr. Barnes—I have seen a person of the name of Taylor within the last six months—I first saw him when I was examined at Kennington Lane, the first examination, I can't tell you the date—I saw him before the examination, perhaps an hour or two before—I had never seen him before that to my knowledge—I had some conversation with him when I saw him—I think the detective, Mr. Boden, introduced him to me as Mr. Taylor—it is six years since I last saw the prisoner before I saw her at Newgate—Mr. Barnes called upon me about this—I cannot tell you how long that was before I was examined before the Magistrate—it was while the prisoner was in Newgate for her trial about the former case—I cannot recollect the date—Mrs. Soames never said anything in my presence about her getting married, never in a joke—I was not present at the conversation she had with her daughter about it—Mrs. Soames never said anything to me about her being worried about money affairs—I did not continue to live in No. 13 after Mrs. Soames' death—I left there on 7th November—I lived there up to the 7th—the prisoner was living there also—she had not removed from 27, and I lived at 13—I met her once now and then after the death.
MR. CLERK. Q. You have mentioned a man of the name of Necker, was he a lodger in the house? A. Yes; at No. 27—he is a German—I have not seen him for some years.
COURT. Q. You say the prisoner said to you, "She took it in brandy and water, in my presence?" A. Yes; I asked her why she allowed such a thing to be taken and not tell her family or the medical man—I am sure I said, "the medical man"—I was examined about this before the Magistrate (looking at her deposition)—there is a little mistake in this deposition, I stated about the medical man, but there is a little mistake in it—I did not tell the medical man, because I thought I should be called at the Jury—I did not know I was obliged to go; I thought I should be called, and I should have stated all the case—I never intended for it to be kept so long—I was quite prepared to go—I told Mr. Barnes something leading to it—I told him a day or two after the death that I was out on business in a public-house, a little way from the house, and the barmaid told me that Mrs. Soames
was poisoned—it was at a public-house called "Strange's," at the corner of Alfred-street—it was a day or two after the death that I told Mr. Barnes this—it was in the kitchen at 27, Alfred-street—I told him that I had heard that his sister was poisoned—he asked me who told me, and I told him the man, Miss White, she is the barmaid—I said nothing more than that—I did not tell him what the prisoner had told me, because I told her I would never tell without I was obliged, and I thought I should be called at the inquest—I told Mr. Barnes this, because I wanted to be called at the inquest to divulge the secret—I mentioned it then and now also, before I was called before the Magistrate—I could not tell you who to, it was to somebody—I have not mentioned it publicly to anyone—I mentioned it to Mr. Barnes—I told him about it fully before I went to Newgate—I could not tell you the time exactly, but it was this summer, just before I went to see the prisoner in Newgate—I cannot tell you why I did not mention it to the young ladies, it is impossible—what the prisoner said to me was this: that she had a secret to tell me; that Mrs. Soames' was not a natural death; the truth was, that she was acquainted with some man, that that man had borrowed 80l. and had deceived her, and then she was tired of her life and she made away with herself, or similar to that, I could not exactly say; that what she had taken was in her presence, and in brandy and water—I asked her why she allowed it to be done? why she had not told her family and the medical man?—she said it was not her business; "Then I said, you are the villain"—she made no reply.
ELIZA FRANCES MATTHEWS . I am the wife of Benjamin Matthews, of 42, Amwell-street, Pentonville, grocer and oilman—I should have known Mrs. Soames twenty years by this time—at the time of her death I had known her sixteen years—I was on very intimate terms, indeed, with her; her health was particularly good—in consequence of a letter, I went to her house on the Saturday after her death; I saw the prisoner there then, but had no conversation with her—I went again on the Sunday, I saw the prisoner then, and she had a conversation with me respecting my deceased friend, over her body—she took me up to see the deceased, herself; she had the key of her room in her pocket—I was very much surprised at the appearance of my friend; her hands were clenched and her face was dreadfully distorted—I said to the prisoner, "Her's must have been a bad death"—and she shook her head and said, "Poor dear, poor dear, ah! you don't know all"—I said, "Not know all, not know all; what do you mean?"—she said, "Ah, poor dear, you don't know all, did you know she was going to be married?"—I said, "Married, certainly not"—I said, "Do her daughters know it or her brother, Mr. Barnes," I believe I said—she said, "Oh, no, it is a profound secret from all"—she said, "If it was not for that I think we should have her with us now"—I said, "What do you mean?"—she said, "The day after you were here (which was on the Tuesday), she went out to see the man she was going to be married to, and she found it very different to what he had represented"—I think she told me that she went in an omnibus up by the Angel, somewhere, to see this man, and it was finding out the altered circumstances of this man that had caused her grief and brought on the bile—she said, "She was in the habit of having her letters directed to me, under cover, so that her daughters should not know anything about it"—she said, "The man was always borrowing money, and there will be another letter to-morrow, and you will see it will be the old story, wanting to borrow money; he will be sure to want to borrow more money"—I said, "More money, I don't understand"—she said, "It is very shocking, is it not?"—I asked if she knew whether Mrs. Soames had lent
the man much—I forget the exact sum she said, but she told me she believed it was very considerable; but the letter would be sure to be to borrow more money, as usual—she said that Mrs. Soames had wanted to borrow money of her, and I think she told me that she had lent Mrs. Soames 10l., and would have lent her more if she had had it—she said, "Poor dear, I would have lent her anything if I had had it; I had such love for her"—I do not recollect any more of the conversation that we had just then, in the room—she told me she believed Mrs. Soames had made this man's acquaintance in going up to see her brother, somewhere at Islington; that it was a very wretched place that he lived in, and he had got a lot of children—the prisoner told me that she knew the man quite well; that she had seen Mrs. Soames meet him; I think: she said she had been with Mrs. Soames to meet him.
Q. Did you hear her say anything, during this conversation, about brandy and water? A. Yes; she told me that Mrs. Soames, from meeting this man, and from the upset, had caused her to have the bile, and she was taken ill in her room after drinking a little brandy and water—I then went down to tea with the daughters and some friends there—she afterwards brought in a little bottle and made a great mystery of it, and would not allow it to come near the light, and said there was some conspiracy against the house—I knew Mrs. Soames in her lifetime very intimately—I was there on the Tuesday before she was taken ill; I had never heard her, at any time, say anything about getting married, or about any one writing to her, or borrowing money—a short time before her death she came to my house on her road to her brother's, very much distressed, after there had been a robbery in her house of a lot of silver—she was quite well then.
Cross-examined. Q. This conversation that you have spoken of took place on the Saturday, did it not? A. Yes; the deceased had known me from a little child—I was a great friend of hers—I went to the house on the Sunday soon after dinner, about half-past 2, and remained till about half-past 8 in the evening—I cannot recollect whether I saw Mr. Barnes there that day—I saw him the day of the inquest, but whether I saw him before or not I could not be positive—I was not present at the inquest; I was at the house—I went every day to see the daughters, and I likewise saw the prisoner afterwards, and I asked her when I saw her, the first opportunity, if the letter came that she spoke about—I saw Mr. Barnes on the day of the inquest; not in the morning; I think it was after dinner, if I recollect rightly—I did not mention to Mr. Barnes anything about this conversation that I had with the prisoner—I saw the daughters on the Saturday; but they were so grief-stricken that they could hardly speak to me—I saw them on the Sunday; but I had no conversation with them upon this matter—I went down and had tea with them after the conversation—I did not say a word to them about this, because she told me it was such a profound secret that I was to keep it to myself; and I did not tell any one but my husband, when he came to fetch me home, and I told him immediately what had taken place—I told him directly I saw him; not directly I saw him, but directly we got out into the street together and were going home; I had not an opportunity before then—I could not say who the next person was that I mentioned it to—I know that my husband and I talked about it, and I think for the sake of the daughters it was kept quiet as much as possible, to screen their feelings; they felt their mother's loss very severely—I was examined before the Magistrate on this case—my suspicions were aroused—I first mentioned this matter on the
night the prisoner said there had been a robbery perpetrated on her premises—that was a second robbery—I cannot tell how long that was after Mrs. Soames' death—I should think it was about six weeks after, but I would not say positively; then I mentioned it—this was a second robbery that I heard of from the prisoner—I don't think it is so long as eleven weeks ago that I was examined before the Magistrate—it was talked of all among our family circle that Mrs. Soames' death was very mysterious—I mentioned the matter to Mr. Chipperfield, the attorney, before I was examined before the Magistrate—I did not see a person named Taylor before I was examined before the Magistrate—I saw Taylor in the courtyard; he was pointed out to me by some of the detectives, who said that was the man Taylor that the prisoner had been living with—that was the day I was waiting at the Lambeth police-court with my husband—I said I had seen him before, and my husband said he was the man that the prisoner said was there on the night that the robbery was perpetrated—I had no conversation with him—I knew that Taylor and the prisoner had been living together; I had seen it in the papers—I did not know that there had been a quarrel between them.
MR. CLERK. Q. You say that after the conversation on the Sunday you saw the prisoner some other day at the house? A. I think I saw her most days that I went there after that—I said to her one day, "Mrs. Wilson, did the letter come that you spoke to me about?"—I cannot say what day it was that I said that to her; it was before my friend was buried, I am quite certain—her answer was, "Oh! yes; sure enough it came, and with the old tale, too, as I told you, wanting to borrow more money"—the prisoner made the statement about a robbery having been committed, some six weeks after Mrs. Soames' death; that was at No. 13—that was the first occasion upon which I saw the man Taylor.
COURT. Q. On what day was it that she had this long conversation with you? A. On the Sunday—I particularly remember that; when the body was in the coffin—I mentioned it to my husband about 8 o'clock the same evening—she said it was such a profound secret from the daughters and Mr. Barnes, about this man that she was going to be married to, and that she had lent all the money to; that she only knew the secret, and that she imparted to me at her death—she said nothing about keeping the brandy and water secret.
The deposition of Sarah Allen was here put in and read as follows: "I am the wife of David Leslie Allen, and live at 26, Alfred-street, pianoforte-maker—I knew Mrs. Soames very well—I remember her death—on the evening of Saturday, the next day after her death, I went into her house—the prisoner opened the door—I said, 'Is it true that Mrs. Soames is dead?"—she said, 'Yes'—I went into the prisoner's room—I said, 'What is the matter?'—the prisoner asked me to go up and see her, and I did—I afterwards asked her again what was the cause—she said, 'I know; I know all her secrets, and I am the only one who does, but I want to keep it secret for the sake of her daughters; she has taken poison.' " Further examination: "I knew Mrs. Soames six or seven years, and was very intimate with her—I saw her last alive on the Wednesday morning before her death, between 9 and 10 in the morning; she was cleaning her door—she appeared to be very well then—I never heard of her being ill—she was a strong healthy person—when I saw her dead I noticed that her features were very much distorted, and her fingers partly clenched, and I said to the prisoner that I thought she looked a very dreadful corpse."
CHARLES JONATHAN NEWTON . I am a master chimney-sweeper, of 8, Lambeth-hill, Doctor's-commons—the prisoner was in my service as a workman—on 5th September, I gave him a list, the addresses of work, in the morning; he was supposed to do that and come back again—I saw him about 11 o'clock—I asked if he had received any money, and he said, "No"—he went to other places after 5 at night; one of those places was 15, College-square, Dr. Phillimore's—the prisoner paid me a shilling in regard to that—on the following Thursday, I spoke to him about Mr. Cox, and asked him what he had done there—he said, "The kitchen"—I asked him if he was paid—he said, "No"—I asked him if he had got his selfings—he said, "Yes, he had received twopence"—I called at Mr. Cox's for the money, and on the Saturday the prisoner went there with me—the housekeeper said she paid him, and Mr. Cox said, "I know she paid you"—the prisoner said, "Then if you paid me I paid it in"—there are no persons in my establishment to whom he can account, besides myself and my wife.
COURT. Q. How many places had he to go to on 5th September? A. Seven jobs, from 4 o'clock in the morning—it was when he returned from those seven jobs that I asked him if he had been paid, and he said "No"—at 5 o'clock he was to go to 15, College-square, and he gave me shilling for that job when he came back.
EMMA NEWTON . I am the wife of Charles Newton—the prisoner never paid me any money in respect of sweeping Mr. Cox's chimney, on Friday, 5th September—he paid me tenpence in respect of sweeping a chimney it 4, Bread-street-hill, on the evening of that day.
Prisoner's Defence. It is all malice that has brought me here. I gave the sixpence to Mrs. Newton, and she never rubbed it off the slate. I forgot all about it when Mr. Newton asked me whether I had been paid or not, on account of going to the other jobs. I had never been paid there before.
COURT to ANN MERCER. Q. Had you paid him before? A. I did last time and the time before—I did not generally pay him—it has gone on sometimes for a week or two without my paying him; but the last time I did pay him.
COURT to MRS. NEWTON. Q. Do you keep any account of the sums which you receive? A. Yes; I have my book here—I do not enter the sum in the book as soon as the prisoner pays it over to me; I scratch it off the slate—we have, on a slate, a list of the work to be done, and when he hands over the money I come and put "paid" on the slate—I always do that; I have never put it off and not done it at once—as soon as I receive the money from him I do it directly—I do not do it in his presence—he could see it if he liked.
Prisoner. I have sometimes paid the money to the children. Witness. I have sometimes sent the children out to get the money, and they bring it to me; but then I go out directly and ask him where it came from, and scratch it out directly—I mostly put the money on the drawers—I do not count it over at the end of the day and see if it corresponds with the wok which has been paid for—the work is not enough to require that.
COURT to CHARLES NEWTON. Q. What do you do with the money your
JOHN HENRY BAKER . I am a builder, at Boston, in Lincolnshire, I have known the prisoner some years—I knew her when she resided at Boston—I have here the probate of the will of a person named Peter Mawer—I am executor under the will—I knew him during his lifetime—he was a seaman at Boston.
COURT. Q. What is the date of the will? A. 15th April, 1854—Mr. Mawer died in October, '54, I think; I am not certain as to the date (MR. JUSTICE BYLES was of opinion that the probate was not admissible).
MR. CLERK. Q. Did you collect some rents for the prisoner? A. Yes—the balance I had to pay her in 1856, from property in Boston, after paying succession duty and everything, was 21l. 16s. 6d.—I am familiar with her handwriting.
COURT. Q. Have you seen her write? A. I have not seen her write, but I have had a great quantity of letters from her; on which I have acted.
MR. CLERK. Q. Look at that letter; (marked A) what is your opinion with regard to the handwriting of that letter? A. It is my opinion, to the best of my belief, that it was written by the prisoner, but in a feigned hand—my belief is that it is her handwriting—this other one (marked H), I am certain is from her.
Cross-examined. Q. You say you were in the habit of receiving many letters from the prisoner? A. I was—they were in a different handwriting to this which has been handed to me—this is in a feigned hand—I can hardly tell you when I first saw that letter—I saw it at the Lambeth police-court, but I do not know the date; it was at the time of the examination.
COURT. Q. Why do you say it is in the prisoner's handwriting? A. There are several of the letters which I form my opinion from, being so much in the usual way of her making; for instance, the "D" in the "Dear," and there is a peculiar curve in the cross of the "F"—the Wednesday is spelt in my letters the same as it is here, "Wensday"—I do not detect any other peculiarity at this moment, except the "W"—there is a peculiar style in the "W," in the third stroke, about half way up—those are the coin-cidences or likenesses which make me think it is in her handwriting—I want to be particular—to the best of my belief it is written as near in the prisoner's handwriting—of course, there is a little doubt about it, but I feel almost confident in my own mind—I do not think I should have known it as the prisoner's handwriting supposing it had been put before me, unless I had known something about the circumstances that I do now—if it were given to me promiscuously, perhaps momentarily, I should not; but I paid a great deal of attention to it before I was asked for an opinion—I paid particular attention to it for several moments before I formed an opinion—I am now of opinion that I believe it to be her handwriting.
JOHN SOFTLY SNEATH . I reside at Boston, and am editor of the Lincolnshire Herald—I have known the prisoner for about ten or twelve years I think—I have received many letters from her—I have seen her write—I have corresponded with her on business—from the knowledge I have in my own mind of her handwriting, I believe this letter marked "A" to be in the prisoner's writing—the letter marked "H" is in her handwriting—it is addressed to myself.
Cross-examined. Q. You say you have seen the prisoner write? A. I
have—that was in Boston about seven years ago—I believe this letter marked "A" to be in the prisoner's handwriting; it is in a feigned hand.
COURT. Q. Did you know the late Mr. Mawer? A. I did—I should think at the time of his death he was probably about something over sixty years of age—I am not aware that he had had an attack of gout—I frequently saw him; perhaps every week—I never heard him complain of it.
JOHN HENRY BAKER (re-examined). The prisoner had lived in the service of Mawer—I am not able to say how long; three or four years, to the best of my knowledge—I think he was fifty-four when he died—he had slight attacks of gout, but not anything very serious; he was confined to the house by them for a short time, but nothing of any account—I know nothing of my own knowledge about the medicines that he took. (Letter marked "A" read. Directed to "Mrs. Soames, 27, Alfred-street, Francis-street, Tottenham-court-road. Dear Maria, I hope you was not very hurt at my not being at home on Friday; I was surprised to hear a lady in black wanted me; I cannot let you have the 80l. now, but if you would let me have 10l. more, I will by next Monday come to the corner; don't say anything of what you are going to do, to anybody; send me word if you was not well after you got home on Wensday, as you was unhappy in the afternoon; direct this letter as the first used to be, for the old postman found fault in the street; be careful and come on Wensday; I will be the—; write by return. Yours.")
JOHN SOFTLY SNEATH (re-examined). This letter marked "H" is addressed to me; I received it at the latter end of December, 1855, or the beginning of January, 1856; (Read: "Dear sir, I wish you and your mother a happy new year; hoping you are both well as it leaves me at present; I have been to a loan office to see for 20l., to be paid back again by monthly payments; I have two securities, the landlady and a gentleman in the house; the only thing wanting is a reference to some one, to say I have the property of eight houses I named; he asked me if I could refer him to some one in Boston, as to say if it was so; I told him I was living on my income from houses and money out at use; the only thing I have told wrong is, that I am a widow; every one thinks I am a widow, therefore you must not alter what I have said about that; I dare say you will be wrote to; and if you will have the kindness to say that I am receiving my income that way, and I am capable of paying it, and have always been a punctual payer to every one, when in possession, I shall be very much obliged to you in so doing; of course you will be the best judge what to say, as you will have his letter before you, and I shall not know what he writes; if you will have the kindness to write to me what he asks you, in your answer, I shall then know what to say to him; I told your name, but I really do not think I told him where, so if you would have the kindness to ask the letter-carrier if he has a letter for you, they will say; I cannot remember that I told anything but Mr. J. Sneath; I do not know your private address myself now; I know it would not do to ask Baker, for he would soon say she may do without it, and would say, as leave as look at me, I had a husband; don't say anything to any one; I have not told any one but you about it. Yours respectfully, C. Wilson; in haste.")
JOHN COWER DIXON . I am clerk in the General Post-office, and have been for nearly seventeen years—the stamp on the envelope of this letter shows that it was posted at Torrington-place, that is near Russell-square, between 10 o'clock at night on the 18th, and 9 in the morning of 20th October, 1856; Sunday being the 19th.
SAMSON BYRNE STEVENSON . I am the husband of Mrs. Stevenson, who has been called as a witness—I am an upholsterer by business—I remember my wife being confined, at 27, Alfred-street, in 1856—I was out of town at the time—I came back on the Friday—I remember the fact of Mrs. Soames' death, and the inquest being held on her body—on the day of the inquest, after it was over, I saw the prisoner on the stairs of the house where we were living; No. 27—it was after returning from the inquest—she had her bonnet on—I asked her what was the result of the inquest—her answer was, "Plenty of cause for natural death"—she said, "How thankful I am; oh! if that fellow has given her anything"—she said nothing more; she stopped there, or I went on—I did not stop.
Cross-examined. Q. Did you see Mr. Barnes after that; before the inquest? A. No—this occurred after she returned from the inquest.
GEORGE FERRIS WHIDBORNE . I am a surgeon, practising at 61, Guildford-street, Russell-square—I was well acquainted with Mrs. Maria Soames, who died in October, 1856—I had attended her husband—I think he died about a year and a half before that—I had never attended Mrs. Soames herself—I had been in the habit of seeing her occasionally—I always thought her a very healthy person—she was of a very cheerful disposition—on Friday, 17th October, I was, for the first time, called in to attend her—I think it was somewhere about the after part of the day when I first saw her—I found her suffering from great sickness and pains in the stomach and bowels, and a good deal of spasm generally about the limbs, and great restlessness—to the best of my belief, I saw her vomit—I learned that there had been a great deal of vomiting prior to my arrival, and a great deal of purging as well—she looked very dejected—she complained particularly of sickness—in consequence of the state in which I found her, I made inquiries as to what she had taken that would be likely to produce such symptoms—Mrs. Soames told me something—I believe the prisoner was present at the time—I feel confident that she was—Mrs. Soames said that she had taken some pork pie, and that was all that she recollected taking lately, which she supposed might have disagreed with her—I thought the prisoner seemed very kind and very anxious about her condition, as any other friend, as I supposed her to be—she said she was sure the pork pie was very good, and, I believe, she brought it to show me—I feel confident that she did—I administered a mixture of aromatic confection and Batley's sedative, which is a mild preparation of opium—I sent that to Mrs. Soames, I believe, imediately after I saw her—it was a very short distance from my house—it was done immediately, as she was so seriously ill—I saw one of the daughters when I first saw Mrs. Soames—I do not recollect giving any directions, before I left the house, with regard to the administration of the medicine; as to who was to administer it—I do not recollect saying anything to the prisoner about it—I feel sure that I saw Mrs. Soames again before I went to bed on the Friday night—as she was so near my house and suffering so much I am quite convinced I must have seen a person in that state before going to bed—she was no better at all when I next saw her, and I increased the strength of the first medicine, the aromatic confection—during one of my visits to Mrs. Soames, on the Friday, I believe, something was stated to me about a man in an omnibus, and Mrs. Soames—to the best of my belief, that statement was made by the prisoner—I saw one of the daughters, besides the prisoner, when I called on Mrs. Soames—I do not think I saw any one else in her room—to the best of my belief, the statement that the prisoner made to me was this: that Mrs. Soames was in trouble; that she had anxiety and trouble relative to some intimacy that
she had made with this person in an omnibus—I do not remember that anything more was said—I felt surprised at it—I do not recollect whether, at any time when I was visiting Mrs. Soames, anything was said to me about her having taken anything—I was called to her again on the Saturday morning, the day she died, at an early hour—I believe it must have been before 6 in the morning—she was still alive, but very ill indeed; as ill as she well could be—I think I must have stayed there a quarter of an hour or twenty minutes, very likely—she was still alive when I left her; but, I thought, near her end—she died very soon after—when I first went there, on the Friday, I found her with certain pains, and there had been vomiting and purging—I believe the purging continued nearly up to her death—there was no cessation of bad symptoms.
COURT. Q. Where was it that she complained of pains about the body? A. More especially about the stomach and bowels; that was all—that was the particular seat of her pain.
MR. CLERK. Q. Was any application made to you after her death, for a certificate with regard to her death? A. I believe so; there must have been—to the best of my belief I refused it—I was examined as a witness at the inquest—I made a post mortem examination—I have no note now of the appearances which the body presented—to the best of my recollection, the mucous membrane of the stomach and bowels was inflamed—I do not recollect that there was any disease in any organ of the body, the head, or lungs; I attributed the death, at that time, to inflammation of the mucous membrane of the stomach and bowels—the effect of the administration of such medicine as I prescribed, in a case of choleraic diarrhoea, should have been to relieve pain and stop purging—I attributed the death to natural causes, at the time—I had seen the prisoner in the same house, some weeks prior to the death of Mrs. Soames; that was at the time that a person of the name of Dixon was residing in the house—I attended him as a patient; he died there—his illness was in June, and Mrs. Soames' in the October following—he died in June—at the time I was attending him I had some conversation with the prisoner, with regard to the administration of some particular medicine—that medicine was colchicum—the prisoner said that he had been in the habit of taking colchicum for rheumatics, and I, in answer to that, said that I considered colchicum a very dangerous remedy, and that it should not be administered except under the direction of proper attendance—she said she was aware of that; she understood that—I do not recollect anything more passing upon it.
COURT. Q. Did she say how she understood it? A. I do not recollect that.
MR. CLERK. Q. Do you, as a medical man, know whether colchicum would produce vomiting, retching, purging, and pain in the chest? A. I feel perfectly convinced that over doses of colchicum would do so—it would produce purging, sickness, pains in the chest and bowels, stomach and bowels, I should say.
Q. What do you mean by the chest, first you say chest, and then bowels? A. I say the stomach and bowels, generally over those parts—such effects would certainly not result from taking the medicine which I sent to Mrs. Soames—if anything unwholesome had been taken in the pork-pie, I should have expected it would produce in many persons purging, diarrhoea, and sickness—in some persons of weak constitution, I should say that would continue for a considerable time—the effect of purging on the unwholesome food in the stomach, would be, that the unwholesome food would be brought away—I do not think the pork-pie would kill—if the illness had arisen from
unwholesome food, I should have expected that my remedy would have cased her pain and quieted the sickness, and she would have got better—I certainly thought that the inflammation of the bowels, which I discovered in the body, was produced from something that she had eaten, and I certainly, at the time, thought that perhaps the pork-pie might have disagreed with her; but I was very much surprised that the remedies did not have the effect which is usual in such cases, that they seemed to fail—I did not think that such unwholesome food would have killed my patient.
COURT. Q. Do you still think that? A. I do—assuming poison to be out of the question, I could not suggest any cause of death—I really thought at the time that her illness was brought about perhaps by her taking cold and eating indigestible food; never baring known her ill before, I quite made up my mind she would soom get better.
MR. CLERK. Q. Do you, as a medical man, know whether a vegetable irritant poison taken into the stomach, would have produced all these appearances which you found? A. I should certainly say that a strong dose of a vegetable irritant poison would produce those appearances—I feel quite sure that doses sufficient to cause death might be administered in such a mixture as brandy and water, or brandy and egg, or in a medicine, without being discovered by the patient.
COURT. Q. Such as colohicum? A. Yes; that has not a strong taste, I should say.
MR. CLERK. Q. Has Batleys sedative some taste? A. Yes; I think a sufficient quantity of colchicum might be administered in that, to be injurious to life, without it being detected by the person taking it—I was present when the body was exhumed in the summer of this year, I think about two months since—Sergeant White was with me—I think it was on 9th June—I removed portions of the body; those portions were placed in jars, and I sent them to Dr. Taylor—they were placed in jars, partly by myself, and partly by my assistant—the body was in a complete state of decomposition—supposing death had happened from an irritant vegetable poison, I should say that there would be no marks discoverable about the body, in that stage of decomposition.
Cross-examined. Q. I understood you to say that you attended Mrs. Soames three times on Friday? A. Yes; the first time was between 11 and 12 o'clock, I believe—it was about the middle of the day—my second visit was, I think, just before I went to bed, I suppose about 10 o'clock; and my third visit was just before her death—to the best of my recollection, it was soon after 4 in the morning that they called me—when I paid my first visit, to the best of my belief, I saw Mrs. Soames' daughters there—I do not know Mrs. Hawkeshead; I do not recollect seeing her after the death; I have no recollection of seeing any one but the daughters and the prisoner, in attendance on Mrs. Soames—I thought the prisoner appeared very anxious indeed in attending to her—I do not recollect that Mrs. Soames, in my presence, objected to anything that the prisoner was doing—I believe I was fetched to attend Mrs. Soames by her daughter, Mrs. Naacke—I found she had suffered from vomiting and purging, and pain in the stomach and bowels—my opinion then was, that it was an attack of choleraic diarrhoea—I have stated that before—it was then that I administered to her a medicine composed of aromatic confection with Batley's sedative—that is the medicine which I generally administer when a person is labouring under this complaint—that medicine was sent immediately; there was no time lost at all—to the best of my belief, I saw her three times that day; I did not
say so before; but I have been thinking that it was to, because I was very anxious about her—I think my second visit most have been just before my dinner, at 5 o'clock—After that I increased the strength of the same medicine—I found that she was decidedly getting worse—I ordered embrocations to rub her with, and also mustard plasters—the symptoms which I observed Mrs. Soames to be labouring under, are the ordinary symptoms of choleraic diarrhoea—she was a good-sized person, not very much one way or the other; I should call her a middle-sized woman, florid and full, and healthy—I do not know that a person of that description would be more liable than another person to bilious attacks—I could see nothing about her that would have indicated it to me—choleraic diarrhoea is frequently preceded by common diarrhoea, or by what is termed bilious diarrhoea—choleraic diarrhoea is, I think, commonly understood a English cholera; I think you might so denominate it—if a person was attacked in the night morning by bilious diarrhoea, I should say that English cholera might supervene upon it the same day—it is not customary for a person so attacked with English cholera, to die within forty-eight or fifty hours of the attack; I have not known a case of it—it has not come under my observation—I think a weak constitutioned person might die within forty-eight or fifty hours of such an attack.
Q. Is it not known as a medical fact that persona of strong constitutions are attacked with English cholera, and die within forty-eight or fifty hours? A. I have no recollection of anything of the sort coming under my observation—I have not heard of it—I do not recollect reading of it—in the year 1854, I believe there were numerous instances of death from cholera in this City within forty-eight or fifty hours, I mean from Asiatic cholera—I keep a book in which I enter the names of the patients I attend—I have not got it with me—I can produce it within a quarter of an hour—I had it in Court all day yesterday, and it is now locked up, in the neighbourhood—I did not enter the nature of the medicine which I sent to Mrs. Soames—I do not always do that—I enter the visit; but my prescriptions are in a private prescription book, which I have in my pocket now—it is my private book, written for myself—if I chose to make an alteration in the prescription, I can do so—I have not any book in which I entered these special medicines; this is a sort of private pharmacopceia—it is a very ordinary course for gentleman in my profession to keep private formulas, and generally to give that medicine; it saves a great deal of trouble and writing—the aromatic confection and Batley's sedative is not what in ordinary language is called a plain chalk mixture—I should not call it so—I believe it is frequently called a prepared chalk mixture—in chemist's shops, if you ask for chalk mixture, they will give you chalk mixture with some aromatic confection in it—what is called a prepared chalk mixture does not contain Batley's preparation of opium—this was kept mixed; it is what I call my carminative or cordial mixture—it would be understood to be the ordinary chalk mixture, with aromatic confection; it is in everyday use—if you ask for the ordinary chalk mixture, it is the chalk mixture of the pharmacopceia; mine is not that; mine is my own private formula, which is an improved condition of the medicine; an addition to the chalk mixture—I am speaking from recollection when I say that I gave the deceased this particular medicine—I have no note—I have said that I gave her a prepared chalk mixture, because that is what I call my chalk and aromatic confection mixed—when I increased the strength of the medicine, I did it by increasing Batley's sedative and the aromatic confection—Mrs. Soames was in a very weak state when I saw her—when a
person it suffering from diarrhoea, and gradually gets worse, and does not send for a medical man, at the end of twelve hours she would be much weaker and in a worse state—the deceased was very seriously ill when I first saw her, and she very gradually got weaker—I was informed that she had been ill from the morning before—in causes of severe diarrhea, tincture of opium it sometimes given instead of Batley's sedative; but it is merely given as a more economical remedy; one is very much more expensive than the other—I do not consider that it because, in preparing Batley's solution, the astringent matter of the opium is partially lost—in my practice of something like thirty years, I have not found it out; I have had large hospital practice, as well as privates and I have found Batley's solution of opium answer my purpose, I may almost say, invariably—tincture of opium is used in parish practice more especially, not in private practice—the medicine which contains this opium staid certainly be administered with great care—all medicines that contain opium should be given with great care—opium is not an irritant poison—the person who takes it, or the person who administers it, must be very cautions that too much it not given in one dose—I label my medicines—although I do so, I sometimes tell my patients, as well how it is to be administered, especially if it be a medicine which requires caution in the administration of it—I may have told some one in the house to be careful how this medicine was administered, but I do not remember doing so—I saw the prisoner there—I believe I saw her at every visit—I do not recollect having any conversation with any of the inmates of the house, after the death, about tho cause of death—I can only recollect my being surprised at her dying so soon.
COURT. Q. Did you express that surprise? A. Certainly.
MR. OPPENHEIM. Q. Was it of your own accord, or at the suggestion of any member of the family, that you made a post mortem examination? A. I believe it was my wish to do so—I believe the examination was made the Wednesday, 22d October; that was the day of the inquest—I made the examination with my assistant—he was, a medical gentleman—he is not with me now, I believe he is in India.
Q. At the time of the post mortem examination did you make any analysis of any parts of the body, to see if it contained poison? A. To the best of my belief (it is now some five or six years since), the contents of the stomach were taken out, and taken to University College Hospital—I expected, if I found any poison, or anything that would satisfy me of the course of death, to find it in the stomach; and, as I think these things are much better done at an institution of that sort, it was taken there and nothing was found there to give me any satisfaction of poison being administered—I believe it was stated by me that no poison was found, or any trace of poison, more than simply common inflammation.
COURT. Q. By no trace of poison, do you mean no trace of any drug of any kind? A. No; of any irritant poison.
MR. OPPENHEIM. Q. What made you examine the body for poison? A. To the test of my belief it was buzzed about that she had either taken something herself, or that this man had administered poison, and the result was that the suddenness of the death induced me certainly to satisfy myself of the cause of death if I possibly could—this was bused about immediately after death—before that bussing about, I certainly did not entertain any idea that poison had been taken—if I had, I should very likely have used different remedies when I was attending her; most assuredly I should—I do not recollect that I made any notes of the post mortem examination—I sent the contents of the stomach, not the stomach itself; to University Collage
Hospital—we examined the viscera, and came to the conclusion that there was no poison or trace of poison in those portions—I did not make any notes of the examination—my evidence before the Coroner was given from recollection—it was given immediately after I had made the examination—the inquest took place on the Wednesday—to the best of my belief; the heart was examined—when I was examined before the Coroner, I recollected what I said—I certainly should not now so well recollect, after the lapse of six years, what symptoms were exhibited by the body, as I did then—I speak now of the inflammation of the mucous membrane, from recollection—I do not recollect stating, almost immediately after the post mortem examination, that there was nothing wrong in the mucous membrane; I might have done so—if I did say so, I then deemed myself correct.
Q. After her death, or at the time you were attending Mrs. Soames, did you imagine that she was labouring under distress of mind? A. To the best of my belief, I did not—I had never heard of anything of the kind—I had no reason to think that she was suffering from any distress of mind—I might have stated before the Coroner that I thought there was distress of mind—it is so long ago, I do not recollect—certainly I would not say that I did not—I might have said before the Coroner that there was nothing wrong in the mucous membrane—I presume that I should not have recollected now—I should not deny it, if I was told that I did say so—to the best of my belief, the heart was examined—I really cannot recollect whethere I observed any symptom of diseased heart—I do not recollect giving information to any one about certifying the death.
Q. If a person dies of choleraic diarrhoea, would there be imflammation of the peritoneum? A. I do not see that there is any necessity for that—I don't see that that should follow—the peritoneum is one of the coverings of the stomach and bowels generally; I believe there are three; you may call it the serous membrane of the outer covering of the bowels, and the inward lining of the abdomen—I call it the third covering—I believe it is generally called the outward lining of the bowels and the inward lining of the abdomen—to the best of my belief, that is the fact; it is a scientific fact.
Q. Did you, after death, say that you believed death had resulted from inflammation of the peritoneum and bowels? A. It is so long ago, that I really cannot bring my recollection to that—I do not recollect having said so within the last few weeks—when I was called upon to sign my deposition before the Magistrate, at the last examination, I said that I wished to alter that which I had stated before the Magistrate three weeks before—I believe I then said, "I stated, when examined here before, that after making the post mortem examination, I had come to the conclusion that death had resulted from inflammation of the peritoneum and bowels, and I now wish to state that I consider death resulted from inflammation of the bowels"—in using the term "inflammation of the bowels," I mean inflammation of the mucous membrane of the bowels—if a person dies from having taking poison, there might be inflammation of the peritoneum after death—peritonitis, and inflammasion of the peritoneum are the same thing—if a person takes poison, vegetable or mineral, I should have no doubt that peritonitis might result from it—if a person was suffering as Mrs. Soames was, I think it would be very customary for persons to administer brandy, with constant sickness and purging going on—I know that persons very often do what they ought not, without calling in a medical man—I do not recollect that I was asked by any member of the family, or by any person, to state how the death should be certified before the registrar—I have a great many certificates to issue in the course of my practice.
MR. CLERK. Q. It appears that you were examined twice before the Magistrate in the present year? A. Yes; I was detailing circumstances which occurred between five and six years before—in the first instance, I said that death had resulted from inflammation of the bowels, and peritonitis—on farther reflection I corrected that—it is my opinion now that death resulted from inflammation of the bowels only, to the best of my recollection—I say that irritant poison may produce peritonitis—constipation is a symptom of peritonitis—I do not think that you have vomiting much in peritonitis—there is excessive tenderness over the whole region of the stomach—I felt the stomach of the deceased—there was great pain on pressure, and apparent anxiety—I think the administration of an irritant poison would produce a great appearance of anxiety in the countenance—I thought there was distress of mind, from her appearance—I knew her, and had been in the habit of seeing her constantly since the death of her husband—I do not think that any disease of the heart would account for the symptoms which led to her death—I searched for poison in the viscera—I did not direct my attention to any particular poison—I had no reason to suspect any particular poison—at the time at which I made the examination, in all probability no vegetable poison would be discoverable in the body; there might be no trace—excessive purging might remove any trace of vegetable poison from the body—I expressed surprise at the time, at her Hidden death—looking at her previous health, the suddenness of her illness, sad all that I saw afterwards, I could not account for her death—I did not find any change in the character of the disease, from the time I first saw her up to its termination—it went on from bad to worse—I am not aware of any change.
COURT. Q. In your judgment, would a single dose of coloricum, unrepeated, account for the symptoms? A. It most be a very large dose—one very large dose might have produced those symptoms—I don't think the effect of one dose would have continued—I believe there have been instances where one large dose of colchicum has produced death, but that would, I believe, he very soon after—by "soon," I mean within the time this was, from one day to two days—I think the purging and vomiting would have thrown it off in a person of her constitution—she was a very strong woman—supposing colchicum to have been used, looking at what I saw, I should rather believe in a succession of doses than in one single dose—to the best of my belief, during her life-time, I expressed my surprise at the nature of her symptoms, to her daughter—I should certainly say that I did so twice—the prisoner was not present at that time—I am quite confident I said it to the daughter alone—I think I must have expressed my surprise to the prisoner; but I would not undertake to say that I did—I was most assuredly surprised during the progress of the disease.
JURY. Q. Would a person be likely to suffer thirst, retching, and vomiting, and pains in the bowels and stomach, from an attack of bilious cholers, or diarrhoea? A. Yes—I think it was two days after death before I commenced the post mortem examination—I believe the post mortem was on the morning of the inquest.
DR. ALFRED SWAINS TAYLOR . I am a doctor of medicine, and professor of medical jurisprudence at Guy's Hospital—I have for the last thirty years directed my attention particularly to cases of poisoning—I have studied and written on the subject—after five years' interment, I believe there would be no possibility of discovering a vegetable irritant in the body—supposing the death to have occurred on the Saturday morning, and an examination of
the stomach to take place on the following Wednesday, if a vegetable poison had been taken in a flned state, and there had been violent vomiting and purging, I should not expect, even if it were easy to discover it, that there would be a trace—I have been in Court and heard the evidence which has been given in this case—violent vomiting and purging, with pain in the bowels and stomach, are symptoms of English cholera—retching is an occasional, but not a very common, symptom—vomiting and purging are common, and pain in the bowels and stomach, which is relieved after the act of vomiting—I have not, in my experience, known of a case of a healthy person dying of English Cholers within fifty-two hours of the commencement of the attack—I cannot call to my mind that I ever heard or read of such a case—if English cholera is induced by taking unwholesome food, then one of two things would happen: either it might, after some days, lead to death by gastritis, inflammation of the stomach: or, the noxious matter would be speedily ejected by vomiting and purging, and the person would recover—it would lead to gastritis, and death after several days—the more common case is that the noxious matter in a healthy person is very speedily thrown off by vomiting and purging, and then the person would recover—that has been my experience with regard to unwholesome food—the persons have generally recovered—there has been violent purging and vomiting, and they have got well—in a case of gastritis, terminating fatally, there would not be vomiting or purging—at the moment gastritis is set up there may be slight vomiting, but those symptoms disappear when gastritis or enteritis is set up—constipation is one of the marked symptoms of gastritis, and would certainly occur before death, if death ensued from gastritis or peritonitis—in peritonitis, constipation is a marked symptom, and in gastritis also—I may mention, as a reason, that nature requires repose for recovery, and there is a want of action in all the parts, to allow the restoration of health—violent pain in the chest is not a symptom of English cholera—I have heard mentioned by Dr. Whidborne the medicine which he prescribed in this case—the effect of that medicine in a case of English cholera, if administered simply by itself, would be to act as a kind of sedative to allay the irritability of the stomach, and to lead to a cessation of the violent symptoms, supposing it depended upon natural disease—supposing a person to be suffering from natural diseass, of the character of English cholera, I should not expect to find increased severity in the symptoms, after the administration of such a medicine—I think it was a very proper medicine to administer, to allay the symptoms—an increase in the strength of that medicine would have a tendency to arrest the vomiting and purging—I have not known a case of death taking place, from natural disease, under such circumstances as I have heard described—I am acquainted with the action of colchicum and other vegetable irritants—the effect of the administration of doses of colchicum, is to produce a sense of fullness and heat in the throat, and violent pain in the stomach; bursing pain it is sometimes described—that is the effect of repeated doses, or one dose—I do not mean doses in the degree in which they are medicinally given; I mean larger doses—repeated, or in one large dose, it would produce nausea in the throat, burning sensation, severe griping pain in the stomach, vomiting, with violent retching, and copious purging of a watery liquid—thirst is also a symptom, and great restlessness, with great depression of strength—in most cases of irritant poisoning, there is great anxiety expressed in the countenance—in such a case the symptoms would progress in severity; that is the general course—nothing relieves them—such a medicine as that mentioned by Dr. Whidborne would, as a sedative, tend to relieve the progress
of the symptoms of an irritant poison—I do not think it would suffice to relieve them; but it would have a tendency to do so—the only relief to be experienced in such a case, is by the elimination of the poison from the body—the amount of relief would depend upon the quantity of the poison that had been administered; with a small dose the medicine might do good, with a large dose it would not.
COURT. Q. Suppose there had been poisoning by a vegetable poison, what would be the proper course to adopt? A. The proper course would be to promote vomiting at far as possible, and purging at the same time, and to keep the strength supported by the administration of any stimulating remedy—the treatment must depend upon the date of the case; if it was in the beginning, the vomiting and purging would tend to throw off any poison in the stomach; but after a few hours, the poison being absorbed, very little treatment of any kind would be of service.
MR. CLERK. Q. Suppose a dose of irritant poison to be repeated during the administration of the medicine, would that medicine have any perceptible effect in alleviating the symptoms? A. I think not; it would be a continual source of aggravation—in the case of natural sickness, of vomiting and purging, or anything of the character of English cholera, where proper medicine is administered, I should not expect to find the symptoms progressive up death; in the case of a healthy and vigorous person I should expect to find there would be a disposition to recovery, and great relief experienced by the vomiting and purging, from the noxious bilious matter being thrown off—I believe that a sufficient quantity of each a vegetable irritant as colchicum might be administed either in brandy-and-water, or brandy and egg, or aromatic confection, without the patient discovering that vegetable irritant in the substance—in the ease of a death from irritant poison, them is very often a fixed appearance of the features, as if of painful suffering at the last moment of lite—it is not a necessary symptom, but it is occasionally seen—when death arises from English cholera, exhaustion is generally the immediate cause of death—in cases of severe Asiatic cholera, countraction of the hands, and a distorted character of the features, is found—I have not known it in ordinary English cholera—in Asiatic cholera the death is, no doubt, from exhaustion and from the cholera together; but the body then is shrivelled and blue—in English cholera, I should not expect to find that contraction, and clenching of the hands, and distortion of the features, where death has resulted from exhaustion.
Cross-examined. Q. You made an examination of the body, or of the viscera, of Mrs. Soames, some few weeks ago, did you not? A. I made an examination of the remains on 29th July last—I then made a written report—I was not instructed in any way to examine for anything—I did examine for arsenio and other poisons—I examined for every poision that I thought likely to be found after so long a period of burial—I did not find any—I can speak more positively as to mineral opinons—there was certainly no arsenic, antimony, or mercury—Asiatic cholera sometimes visits this country—the symptoms in Asiatic cholera, generally speaking, commence with uneasiness of stomach, pain, vomiting, and purging of a bilious matter, and, as the case goes on, there are some times symptoms of fever; if the case progresses in severity, there is an epidemic state, and a person may die after four, five, or six days; but, generally speaking, in ordinary English cholera, there is recovery—Asiatic cholera is so remarkably different, that no medical man could possibly mistake it—in Asiatic cholera the person has icy cold lips and hands, and the fingers and toes are bluish—the breath is cold as it
issues from the body—there is only a half state of consciousness, and the discharge by vomiting and purging is a sort of whitish fluid, like rice-water—it is impossible to mistake it for English cholera.
Q. How long after a person is attacked by Asiatic cholera, do these symptoms exhibit themselves? A. In the case of a friend of mine, who died from it, they came on in seven or eight hours; he was dead in about nine hours, from a state of perfect health—the cases of cholera which occurred in this metropolis in 1854 and 1855, were a carious mixture—there was a combination of the Asiatic form of the disease with the ordinary English cholera, in which the English cholera appeared to be rendered much more malignant than usual; in the beginning of the attack the evacuations were paler, and then they gradually became like the evacuations in the malignant Asiatic form—a medical man is at once informed of it, by its being epidemicvomiting, purging, retching, thirst, pain in the bowels and stomach, would be the symptoms of English cholera—they would also be the symptoms of the combined form of cholera—it would commence in that form—the disease is epidemic when it is so severe.
Q. Are there not instances occurring monthly in the registrar's reports, of such deaths, when the disease was not, by medical men, thought to be epidemic, A. I place no confidence in them—many of those cases thus registered, I have found to be cases of poisoning—I know there are such cases registered, but they are not carefully done; they are not carefully recorded—I have in my mind at least six cases which have been registered as death from cholera, which have been from poison—when cholera is not epidemic, and where death is registered as death from cholera, I should immediately suspect poisoning—I would not say that my general belief would be that the death resulted from poison—I should require an analysis before I gave an opinion; but, at least in eight cases which I know have been registered as death from cholera, upon exhuming the bodies they have turned out to be from irritant poison; therefore, I say, I place no confidence in these isolated cases thus reported—when a person is attacked with combined or English cholera, it is not usual for them to suffer pain up to the moment of death—there are long intermissions—if death results from the administration of vegetable poison, the patient generally suffers from pain until the time of death—that is generally the result of vegetable irritant poison, if it is not expelled from the body—if the poison had been absorbed into the blood, it is not probable that the person, although of a healthy constitution, would get better—the poison might enter the blood in from half an hour to an hour, or even a shorter time than that according to the state of the stomach—if poison be eliminated from the body, no traces of it are found in a post mortem examination—if absorbed into the blood, it would depend upon the nature of the poison whether traces of it would be found upon a post mortem examination—the poison suggested to me, colchicum, would not—I believe it never has been found in the blood—I have said that a person suffering from the disease, the symptoms of which would induce a doctor to believe was cholera, and taking the medicine which Dr. Whidborne gave, I should expect to be relieved—there are certainly some cases which are not readily treated by medicine; but the general principle is, that medicine of that kind administered in ordinary cholera gives relief—I have heard of cases of cholera in which, although medicine be administered, relief did not ensue—it is the case in epidemic cholera, that, although persons take the proper remedies, they do not get better, but continue to get worse—that is a fact in all cases of disease—there are some diseases that do not yield to remedies—I have known persons
who have taken irritant poison, complain of pain in the chest—I think it in often referable to the action of the poison on the throat in swallowing—a burning sensation in the gullet has been one of the symptoms—if a person, suffering under cholera, vomits severely, and continues vomiting for two days, that might bring on pain in the chest; but I gather, that pain in the chest was an early symptom in this case—in oases that I have seen, or am acquainted with, I have generally referred it to the action of the poison on the throat—it might be muscular pain, resulting from the constant vomiting—I have not attended many persons for cholera—I have not practised for some years; but I have seen many such cases—for many years I have confined my professional practice to the subject of poisoning, to jurisprudential matters—the experiments I have made have chiefly been on dead bodies—I have, within the last few years, been called in to attend cases of poisoning by arsenic, and opium, and cases of that description—I have not seen many cases of cholera since I have ceased to practice—I have only occasionally practised within the last fifteen years or so—I have within that period been often called in to attend living persons who have been poisoned; I can't say in how many cases, they have been chiefly cases of poisoning by arsenic, and cases of suspected poisoning, chiefly by arsenic, and opium—I have not, within the last fifteen years been called upon to attend a person who had taken colchicum—a person may die from having partaken of diseased food, with all the symptoms exhibited by a person who had taken poison—it may produce the effect of irritant poison; in fact, it is an irritant poison—in such a case, I would not say that all the characteristics of poison would be exhibited—the principal characteristics would be exhibited; vomiting purging, and pain—death has taken place from the administration of one dose of colchicum in as early as seven hours.
Q. Do the symptoms exhibited by a person who has taken poison, show themselves very shortly after the poison has been taken? A. It depends upon the nature of the poison—colchicum has shown its action in from a few minutes to half an hour, or an hour—if colchicum be eliminated from the body, it might be contained in the early part of the vomiting; that which is first thrown off—it would depend upon whether or not it got into the blood; if it got into the blood none would be found in the vomit.
Q. If colchicum had been taken, and all the symptoms were exhibited by the person who took it, which you have heard detailed here, could any tract whatever of the colchicum be found in the body on the Wednesday after death? A. Taking what I have heard of the incessant vomiting, retching, and purging, and assuming that it was taken in a fluid state, if taken at all, I do not believe any trace would have remained, even if the body had been examined at the time of death, or soon after—I believe, from the retching, that the stomach was quite cleared out of everything—colchicum, in destroying life in the same doses, has, in the case of persons taking it at the same time, left in one case a reddish appearance of the bowels, and in the other case no appearance at all.
MR. CLERK. Q. You have, in answer to my learned friend, spoken of a combined form of cholera, in which certain symptoms are similar to those of what is commonly called English cholera? A. Yes; it commences in that Way—before that combined form assumes a fatal character, there is a change in the symptoms; the evacuations, instead of being bilious, become wholly altered in character, and it ultimately assumes the form of malignant cholera—in the case of a person suffering from English cholera, when sedative medicines are administered, there are intermissions of pain—assuming that
some irritant matter had been swallowed, I should attribute it to an effect upon the throat—supposing diseased food had been eaten, such medicines as those that have been spoken of, would not have effect until the diseased matter had been thrown off—if death resulted from the diseased matter, I should expect to find some of that diseased matter in the subject, in severe gastritis, and inflamation of the stomach and bowels—if the matter is not thrown off from the body, it produces severe inflammation, and death in consequence—if diseased food was such as to act as an irritant poison, and cause death, I should expect to find similar symptoms in the persons who shared that food.
JURY. Q. Would a vegetable irritant poison, such as colchicum, produce the same, and as speedy effect, if administered in solid food, as it would when administered in a fluid state? A. It would not more speedily when given in a fluid state, and upon an empty stomach—if there was food in the stomach it might delay its operation.
DR. THOMAS NUNNELLY . I am a Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons, and practice at Leeds—I have for many years had an extensive practice—I have, for some years past, frequently had occasion to turn my attention to cases of alleged and actual poisoning—I have heard the evidence given by Dr. Taylor, and the distinction drawn by him between the appearances of natural disease and cases of poisoning, and I generally agree with that evidence.
Cross-examined. Q. Do you agree with all that Dr. Taylor has said in reply to the questions which I asked him? A. Generally—the answer with which I should most disagree, would be as to the impossibility of discovering any vegetable poison, speaking generally; an to colchicum, I entirety agree with him—I think there are vegetable poisons, the presence of which it would not be impossible to discover after their absorption into the blood—I entirely agree with Dr. Taylor, so far as his evidence relates to this case.
ANN MARIA NAACKK (re-examined). I do not recollect saying anything to the doctor about Mrs. Soames being in trouble relative to some intimacy with a person she had met in an omnibus, or any man—I cannot say I did not—I do not recollect it at all—I heard about the man in the omnibus—the prisoner told me the night after my mother's death—I had not, before her death, said anything to the doctor relative to any trouble that my mother was in about a man she had met in an omnibus, because I did not know it—I don't recollect that I ate any part of the pork pie; my sister lays that I did—I do not remember the pork pie being brought down.
MR. OPPENHEIM. Q. Did you or your sister fetch the doctor? A. I do not think that anyone fetched Dr. Whidborne; I think he was in the house attending to Mrs. Stevenson—I do not recollect fetching him—I don't think I saw the doctor—I do not know whether or not I said to him that my mother was suffering from worry of mind owing to money affairs.
JURY. Q. When your mother came down in the morning, did she tell you at what time she was first taken ill? A. Yes; she said she had been ill all night.
COURT to SARAH SOAMES Q. Did you, to the doctor or anybody else before your mother's death, say anything about a man in an omnibus, or any man about whom your mother was in trouble? A. No; I had never heard of it—I had never heard of it before my mother's death—I heard of it then from the prisoner.
Q. Do you know anything of what became of the residue of this pork-pie? A. I know we had a portion to it brought down stairs, not that part that my mother had, but a portion of the same pie—we ate the portion that was
brought down stairs—there was nothing at all the matter with any of us—I did not fetch the doctor—I did not say anything to the doctor about my mother being worried with money affairs.
ELIZABETH HILL . I am now living at 40, Sidney-street, Brompton—in April, 1856, I came up from Boston with the prisoner, as her servant—I west with her when she took her lodging at Mrs. Soames'—that was in November—at that time there was a person named James Dixon living with her—before Christmas, 1855, I remember that she was short of money—I took and pawned her watch, and several things for her; some of her dresses and rings—that was before Christmas, and after Christmas I did somethig of the same kind once or twice—she said she had been robbed, and on Christmas-eve she got me to go down and ask Mrs. Soames in the morning if she would lend her a sovereign—she said she could not, she would lend her half-a-sovereign, and she gave the half-sovereign to me, and I gave it to the prisoner—she did not tell me how much she had been robbed of—I remember going to Blakey's, in Argyll-square; it is a private boarding-house—I left the prisoner, and got the situation there as servant—I went there on 18th February, 1856—before that the prisoner sent me to Blakey's about a loan—she told me to ask Mr. Blakey to be security for a loan for her—I did ask him, and he said he would not—she said she would ask Mrs. Soames to be her other security—I called on her before Mr. Dixon died—I went in to see her—that was in May—I saw her, and had my tea there—I stopped there some time—it was rather late in the evening when I left—when I was going out, I said, "You have got your apartments very nicely furnished," and she said, "Yes; I got a loan, and Mrs. Soames was one of the securities"—she told me that as I left the door—I did observe they were nicely furnished.
Cross-examined. Q. I understand you to say that the pawning of which you speak, took place at Christmas, 1855? A. Yes; before Christmas, it us on 18th February, 1856, that I went to live with Mr. Blakey—I was was sent to inquire about the loan before that—I did not say it was in June, 1856—it was just before Christmas, I think; before I went to live with Mr. Blakey—it was sometime between Christmas, 1855, and February, 1856—I left the prisoner's service in February, 1856, and It was in May, 1856, that I saw her with new furniture in her room.
GUILTY .— DEATH .
There was another indictment for murder against the prisoner.