CHARLES LYON.
29th January 1855
Reference Numbert18550129-300
VerdictGuilty > with recommendation
SentenceImprisonment

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300. CHARLES LYON was indicted for feloniously killing and slaying Jane Lyon; he was also charged, on the Coroner's Inquisition, with the like offence.

MESSRS. CLARKSON and COOPER conducted the Prosecution.

GEORGE LENNARD . I am a painter, and live at No. 1, Arthur-street, Old Kent-road; the prisoner lives opposite, and keeps a chandler's and greengrocer's shop. On 19th Jan., at 5 o'clock in the evening, I was coming from my work—as I turned the corner into the street, I saw the prisoner's wife shoved from inside their door into the street by main force, and the door slammed to—she then turned round and hammered at the door with the knocker, and she said, "My husband has kicked me"—I had nearly got up to my door by this time—I called to my wife, and stood with her at my door—the prisoner's wife continued knocking at their door for about two minutes—she then came across to me—there was a great

quantity of blood running down from her person, between her petticoats—when she was about half way across the street, the prisoner opened the door and said, "Look at her, she is drunk"—she said, "I am not drunk, look at the blood where you kicked me"—he said, "It is not blood, it is more like water"—she then came across to my door, and sat on the step of the door—the prisoner shut his door and went in; I supported the woman up between my knees—I sent for a constable directly; before the constable came the prisoner came across, and asked his wife to go in—she said, "I sha'n't, you have kicked me, and you have murdered me"—he then went back, and shut the door again—the constable then came—there was then blood to be seen from one side of the street to the other, where she had walked—the constable asked where the prisoner was—the deceased said he was in doors, and the constable went into the house to him; in about a quarter of an hour he came out with the prisoner, and crossed the street—the woman was then lying between my knees—the prisoner said to her, "My dear Jane, will you come in"—she said, "Yes"—he lifted her up in his arms, and carried her in, and she said, "You are my lawful husband, you have murdered me, and you are my murderer"—I was afterwards called over to the house, and saw the woman—I was present at her death; in my opinion she had had no liquor in the least, no more than I have now—the prisoner was sober.

Cross-examined by MR. BALLANTINE. Q. The woman was quite sobert? A. Yes; I swear that—I swear that she said in my presence, that he kicked her—I have been examined before—I am sure she said he had kicked her—I have always remembered that—she said, "You have kicked me, and you have murdered me"—I swear that: she said, "My husband has kicked me, and he has killed me"—she was speaking to her husband—she said it in the street to me; I have been over to the prisoner's house since this affair, not constantly, not every day—I have not been taking any money from there, or removed anything, no furniture, nor any article—I swear that—there is his son, I have not removed the property, the boy did it himself—what has been removed, he has removed; I do not know what he has removed—I have not been removing his property, and turning it into money.

GEORGE WELLS (policeman, P 271). On 19th Jan., about 5 o'clock in the afternoon, I was called by Lennard; I found the deceased sitting down on the cill of the door, supported by Lennard—she was bleeding most profusely—from what she told me, I went to the prisoner's house; I told him he must consider himself my prisoner for, violently assaulting his wife, whereby her life was in danger—he made no reply—I remained with him some time; he requested me to shut up the shop—he then asked me to take him across to his wife—I went across with him, and he asked her to come in doors—she said, "Charles, you are my lawful husband, you are my murderer, and you have murdered me"—he then took her up in his arms, and carried her into his kitchen; I accompanied him—when we re-entered the house, I said nothing to him—he told me that she had been out, and she flew at him when she came home, and said she would have his heart's blood out, and he said to me immediately, "Would you not have done it under the same circumstances?"—I said, "No, nor no other man"; and he pointed to the kitchen and said, "There is where it was done"—I took him to the police station—in going along he told me that he should be most happy to die on the scaffold for her, for then he should know his worst—on the following morning, as I was taking him to the police court,

he asked me if it was true his wife was dead—I said it was—he made no reply, I then again assured him it was the fact that she was dead—he said, "I have killed her, and I can meet nothing but death"—his wife had died about a quarter to 11 o'clock on that same night; when I saw her she was in a dying state, a doctor was there with her—I produce a pair of boots, which I took from the prisoner's feet—they are heavily nailed—he was wearing them that evening.

Cross-examined. Q. You have been examined before about this, both before the Magistrate and before the Coroner? A. I have so—I did not, when I went into the house, say, "You must consider yourself in my custody for violently assaulting your wife, by kicking her"—I did not use the word "kicking"—I said, "whereby her life is in danger"—it was not then that he said, "I am very sorry, but she flew at me, and caught me by the throat, and said, 'I will have your heart's blood out'"—that did not take place at first.

JAMES DANN (policeman, P 35). I was on duty at the station house when the prisoner was brought there, about half past 6 o'clock in the evening—I wrote down the charge, and read it over to him; it was for violently assaulting his wife—I told him it was a very serious charge—he said, "Drink is the cause of it; she has brought it all upon herself—I saw him at half past 9 o'clock next morning, and then announced to him his wife's death—he said the policeman had told him she was getting better—I said that was incorrect, she died at 11 o'clock last night—he said, "Is she really dead?"—I said, "She is"—he said, "It is all her own doing"—I said, "Why, you caused the injury by kicking her"—he said, "I did not kick her; we had some words, she seized me by the neck handkerchief and fell backwards down two steps in the passage; I partly fell, and trod upon her, but did not kick her; the cause of quarrel was, she went out to purchase a new bonnet, and returned the worse for liquor."

Cross-examined. Q. He appeared very much grieved, did he not? A. He did, at the announcement of his wife's death—he did not point out to me where she had fallen—there are two steps leading from the passage into the kitchen of his house.

CHARLES FRANCIS M'DONALD . I am a surgeon, and reside at No. 1, Alpha-place, Old Kent-road. I was called in to see the dying woman—I first saw her between 5 and 6 o'clock in the evening of the 19th—she was in a very excited state, as far as talking goes—she appeared in a sinking state—the lower part of her dress was saturated with blood—I took her up stairs, and laid her on the bed—I then examined, to see from what part the blood came—it came from the private parts—I could not tell at that time what was ruptured—she continued to sink, and died—after her death, I examined her person—I observed a bruised spot near where the blood came from—a kick or a blow might have produced that—on removing the skin, I found a rupture of the femoral artery—the hemorrhage from that rupture was the cause of death—the rupture corresponded with the external mark, and the bleeding was through the tissues of the upper part of the private parts—I observed other bruises about her person.

Cross-examined. Q. Did you clearly trace the rupture to the bruise? A. I think so; I have not the slightest doubt about it—the skin was not broken—it was just over the pubic bone, just above the groin—the artery comes out over that bone—the rupture was immediately under the bruise, and within a quarter of an inch of it—the arteries of the lower extremities of all women who have borne many children are diseased, from

the pressure upon them in labour—I understood she had had fourteen children—six are living—if the prisoner had fallen upon her with his knee, that would have accounted for the bruise—it is very difficult to say whether she was or not under the influence of liquor when I first saw her—she was either under the influence of liquor or very much excited—her temperament was very excitable—hemorrhage is exceedingly depressing; it would not at all tend to excite a person—I have a doubt whether her excitement was from liquor; when I made the post mortem, her stomach smelt very faintly of gin—I made that examination on the Tuesday, after her death on the Friday—all the tissues were locked up so that I think it might be expected that the smell could not go off in the interval—it is true that spirit evaporates, but here it was locked up in the stomach—I should, of course, expect to find the smell more strong immediately after death—my impression at the time was that she was under the influence of liquor, from her excited manner of speaking—she used a good deal of bad language—the hemorrhage would tend to diminish any drunkenness—if she had been drunk, it would to a certain extent sober her—in cases of hemorrhage, we generally find persons in a state of torpor or collapse, unless they are under the influence of liquor; they sink very rapidly.

MR. COOPER. Q. You judge of her being in liquor, more from her state of excitement than anything else? A. Yes, only from that—it might he only her excitable temperament; that would cause it equally with liquor—I could form no impression as to what the cause of the excitement was.

----LYON (examined by MR. BALLANTINE.) I am the prisoner's son; I am seventeen years old. I go round the streets with green grocery for my father—I was out of the way when this happened—I have never seen my mother do anything to my father—I have not seen her with a knife in her hand—I have seen her throw cups at him—my mother was very violent at times in her passion—I have heard her threaten to stab my father, and say that she would do for him—I am the eldest of the family; there are five younger—me and my mother used to do the work, and father used to go to market—three of my brothers and sisters have been in the workhouse since this—they were not in the workhouse until this occurred.

GUILTY. Aged 44.—Recommended to mercy on account of the provocation

he received— Confined One Year.


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