15th September 1851
Reference Numbert18510915-1807
VerdictGuilty > unknown

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1807. MARY ANN JOHNSON , unlawfully neglecting to provide proper food and nourishment for her female infant.

MR. HUDDLESTON conducted the Prosecution.

JANE HUNT . I am a widow, and live at 2, Three Herring-court, Cripplegate. On Friday, 22nd Aug., the prisoner came to lodge there, and brought two children, one by her side, and another in her arms, which appeared to be eighteen months old, but was not able to walk or talk—while the prisoner was there she was always drunk, and in a state of stupor—she was in the habit of going out for drink, and bringing it home in a bottle—she had plenty of money—on the Tuesday she was so much intoxicated that

she fell from her door at the top of the stairs to the bottom—on the Thursday I went up-stairs with two more people, and found the infant in a most awful disgusting filthy state for any one to leave a dog or cat in—there was part of the crust of the bottom-part of a loaf lying by its head—three of the child's fingers were clung together from the filthy state of its nose, and with the other hand it had managed to pick out pieces of bread from the loaf—I took it down-stairs, washed it, and gave it some milk—I sent my lad up to the mother the same night to ask if she would let me give it some gruel, and she positively refused, and I offered to take it down and warm it, but she refused to allow me—on the Friday, in consequence of its having cried so bitterly on the Thursday night, I was determined to go and see it, for I thought it had died and I found it lying on the bed insensible, as though dead, without any covering on it, and the prisoner drunk by its side—I roused the prisoner as well as I could, and said, "If you do not light a fire, and give the child nourishing food, the parish authorities shall be made acquainted with this, for I am certain the child will die"—I gave information to Mr. Lloyd, the parish surgeon—he gave me directions, in consequence of which the child was takes to the police, and ultimately before Sir George Carroll—the child was a complete skeleton with scarcely skin enough to cover its bones—the fire was not lighted more than once during the week the prisoner lodged there—the other child was supplied with food from one of the neighbours—the prisoner told me her name was Johnson, that she was married, and her husband was a commercial traveller in the City—the infant was a girl, and she used to call it Mary Ann.

Prisoner. Q. What had you, your husband, and me to drink on the moreing I was given into custody? A. I never took any drink with you, and I have no husband—I did not have a quartern of rum with you, which you purchased with your last sixpence—I did not want yon to pawn a bed—I never spoke to you, except about the child—I said, "Do you hear your dear child crying?" and you said, "Yes; she is very bad, and so am I"—I know the prisoner had money, because she let some fall on the stairs, and she said she had two sovereigns.

THOMAS LLOYD . I am a surgeon, of New Basinghall-street, and am the medical officer of the East London Union. This child was brought to me on 29th Aug.—it was very much emaciated, which was the result of gross neglect—it appeared to be suffering from want of food and proper nourishment—it was taken to the workhouse, and wholesome food administered to it—I do not think it would have lived twenty-four hours, if proper means had not been taken—it improved, and gained strength in the workhouse, ind in three or four days I scarcely knew it—it died on 11th Sept. from inflammstion of the lungs—I am not able to trace the death to the cause of neglect, but in consequence of being in that state it lost its chance of recovery—if it had had proper nourishment before, it might have overcome the disease.

THOMAS BAILEY . I live at 14, Circus-street, Bryanstone-square. In May, the prisoner took a room of me, and paid me 2s. a week while she remained, which was nearly three months—she had two children, and told my wife that her husband was a commercial traveller, but I found out afterwards that she was in keeping—she had plenty of money—she neglected the younger child very much, and it was in the most filthy dirty state it was possible to be in, not fit for a pig to be in—she was scarcely sober while she was with us, and was once locked up in the station-house in consequence—after that she was very good for a month, and the children improved rapidly—the then took to drink again, and was ten times worse.

JOSEPH HODGES (City-policeman, 120). I took the prisoner on 29th Aug., she was in a state of stupor, having been drunk and partially recovered—the child was in a beastly filthy state—it was a mere skeleton, and appeared to be quite sore—on the Monday following it was so much improved I scarcely knew it—I saw no food in the prisoner's room, except a dry crust.

Prisoner. Q. Was I lying or standing in the room when you came? A. Standing.

Prisoner's Defence. The child has always been delicate; I have done all in my power for it; I put it out to nurse, for which I paid 5s. a week; Mr. Bailey and his wife were always drinking with me.

GUILTY . Aged 28.— Confined Six Months.

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