3rd January 1842
Reference Numbert18420103-582
VerdictGuilty > unknown
SentenceImprisonment > other institution

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582. WILLIAM WELLS was indicted for a misdemeanor.

MR. CLARKSON conducted the Prosecution.

CATHERINE WITHEY . I am the wife of John Withey, we live on Great Saffron-hill, in the back-garret. The prisoner came to live in the front garret, the next room to me—he and the woman who was with him had a child, which was two years and five months old—they had been there a fortnight before this happened—after they had been there two nights, I heard screams from the woman two or three times in the night, and a little shrieking noise from the child, about the time I heard the woman

scream—on Thursday afternoon, the 30th of December, about four o'clock I heard some quarrelling with the prisoner and the woman—he came home and quarrelled with her about nursing the child—he said, "You have been nursing that b—y b—r"—I heard that, as my room door was open, and I put my head outside my door—the prisoner appeared to be sober—the woman said she had not been nursing the child—he said he knew she had, by her arm, and she should not nurse that thing while she was with him—they became quiet after that—I did not hear the child put to bed—the woman is in the family way—the prisoner and her locked their door and went out together between four and five o'clock—they did not take the child with them—I thought it was in bed—the woman returned about six—I saw her pass my room door—she was sober—I never saw her drunk—I heard the prisoner come home in an hour or two, and from his mode of speech I formed an opinion directly that he was very much intoxicated—he seemed as if he fell down—there was a noise as if somebody fell—he then began to call the woman to account about some half pence, and sent her out to get a rasher of bacon—I ran out to hear that—he said the child should not eat his victuals—the woman went for the bacon—it was about eight o'clock—I went to the door directly she passed by to go out—I heard the prisoner get up directly, and poke the fire—he came up directly towards the door where the bedstead was—I knew that by his steps—there was a crack at the door, and I could see his shadow pass—he went to the bedside—I heard the bedstead-stick rattle—it has got a bit of tin to it—it rattled as if he had beat it on the bed—I heard it three times, and about three blows, and the child shriek in a kind of stifling manner, three times—after that the prisoner went back to the fire-place, and poked it about, he sat down, and then walked about quite collected—he did not seem intoxicated at all—he began to whistle—soon after the woman came in, she went into the room, and I heard her ask him if he had been ill-using her baby—be said, "No"—sbe said, "I think you have, as it is awake now, and it seems to me to have been crying"—he said, "Well then, I have; have it so, if you will"—they began talking about how long she stayed—I called out, "He has been beating the baby, the villain; he has been beating the baby, take a candle and look, I will go for the policeman!"—the woman took the candle, and. went to the bed, and said, "O my God, he has' been beating it, there are three lumps on its forehead!"—they began to quarrel, and I thought he struck her—I said to my husband, "Speak to that man, he will murder the woman"—he called out, "What are you at there?"—the prisoner said, "What is that to you? if you interfere I will get a knife, and rip your b—guts out."

Prisoner. Q. When you heard me beating the child, why did you not open the door and come in? A. It put me in such a way I could not come in; I had a baby in my arms; I thought you might knock me down, and I had better wait till your wife came in.

ELIZABETH HILL . I am twenty-six years old—this baby is two years and five months old—I have not been married—I have lived with the prisoner about ten months—this is not his child—he knew I had this child when I first went to live with him—I have been living in the front garret, and Whithey in the back one—about four o'clock in the evening of Thursday, the 30th of December, I and the prisoner were at home—after eight at night we went out together—I returned about nine—the

child was in bed—it was asleep when I went out—the prisoner came home after me—he was intoxicated—he did not quarrel with me when he came home—he did not say any thing to me about the child—the child has never been christened—I used to call it Edward—I am at present in the family-way by the prisoner—I was examined before the Magistrate—the child was first ill-used by the prisoner about two or three months ago—at four o'clock on the 30th the prisoner came home, and asked me if I had given that thing (the child) any victuals, and I denied it—be said I had, and said, "You shan't give it my bread"—at night, when he returned intoxicated, he sent me out for some bacon—when I returned he was sitting by the fire—the child was awake, and was going to cry—I asked him if he had been beating it—he denied it—I said I thought he had—Mrs. Whithey called out to me, and told me he had—he denied it—I examined the child's head, and it had two marks on its forehead—it was examined by a surgeon last Sunday.

Prisoner. Q. Did I ill-use the child three months ago? A. You were out of work, and I thought you grudged the child sufficient nourishment—I never knew you to beat it before.

JOHN WITHEY . I am the husband of Catherine Withey, and live in the back-room—on that night I heard the prisoner abuse the child very much, and I heard the three blows as I sat at my work—it appeared to me to be by tome blunt instrument—it sounded like a bed-rail—the top of it was loose, and it rattled.

Prisoner. That shaking was by putting the child on the bed, and the bed-screws are very loose. Witness. No, I beg your pardon, they are very tight; I tried them that very day.

EDWARD BINGHAM (police-constable G 80.) I produce this rail, which I brought from the top of the bedstead—by shaking it produces the rattling noise that has been spoken of.

WILLIAM BENSON WHITFIELD . I am a surgeon. I saw the child on Sunday—it had had a blow on the forehead, and one on the cheek—there were marks of the blows and bruises—if the child had been in bed such an instrument as this rail would have inflicted such a blow as I saw on the forehead—the blow on the cheek was but slight—it might have received that from this rail.

Prisoner. Q. If the child fell off the bed, might it not have been injured? A. Yes.

Prisoner's Defence. I was sitting by the fire; the child fell out of bed; I went and took it up, and put it in bed again; I knocked the pillow with my fist to make a place for the child to put its head in; the child never cried.

GUILTY . Aged 28.— Confined One Year in the Penitentiary.

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