21st April 1819
Reference Numbert18190421-66
VerdictGuilty > manslaughter

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566. WILLIAM JENNINGS was indicted for the wilful murder of Mary Ann Condon .

MARY CONDON . I am the mother of the deceased, Mary Ann Condon . I sell soup under the Piazza, in Covent-garden. The prisoner came to my house at three o'clock one morning about Christmas, I charged him with stealing a water-cock, and forbid his coming any more - this was about the 14th of January. Next morning, about seven o'clock, he brought me some coal under the Piazza, he said it was composition coal, and was like the Kilkenny coal, which would make a nice fire without smoke. He emptied the charcoal out of my box, and put it in there - there was about a man's hatful of it. He went away. I took it home about ten o'clock, and put a piece about the size of an egg on the fire; Mary Ann Condon and Mary Ann Cormac were near the fire at the time, also myself, and my son Thomas. The moment it was put on the fire it exploded, made a great report, and set every thing on fire; it burnt my face, apron, and shawl - it struck the children on the face, hands, and arms. Cormac was taken to the hospital immediately, with Condon. Cormac lived from Thursday until the Saturday, and then died. My daughter lived near six weeks after. I do not know what the ingredients were. The rest of it burnt in the basket. A spark caught the basket, which was near the fire, and all blew up.

Q. Do you think he meant to injure you - A. No.

- BURGESS. I am surgeon of St. Giles's workhouse, where the deceased, Condon, was. I saw her every day. She was burnt shockingly - nearly her whole body was burnt; she died in the workhouse on the 24th of February, which was six or seven weeks after the accident. She was in great pain all the time, and in my judgment the burning was the cause of her death. It produced so much debility and weakness that she was exhausted.

Prisoner's Defence. I thought it was patent coal.

GUILTY. Aged 33.

Of Manslaughter only .

Second Middlesex Jury, before Mr. Justice Park.

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