JOHN KIRBY.
8th April 1872
Reference Numbert18720408-353
VerdictGuilty > manslaughter
SentenceImprisonment > penal servitude

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353. JOHN KIRBY (19), was indicted for the wilful murder of Caroline Elisabeth Crew; and also on the Coroner's Inquisition with the like offence.

MR. M. WILLIAMS conducted the Prosecution; and MR. COOPER the Defence.

CLARA STEELE . On Sunday, 10th March, I was living at 2, York Row, Ratcliffe, which is kept by a woman named Wynn—I have left there now—about 12.45 that morning the prisoner and Caroline Smith (the deceased) and another man and woman came there—the prisoner and the deceased went into a back room down stairs, and the others went up stairs—shortly after that, I was in the kitchen, which is close to the back room, and saw the deceased come out of the back room—she came into the kitchen, where I was, and was doing her hair up—the landlady then went through the parlour, and saw the prisoner standing in the passage, and said to him "Good God, man, how you frightened me!"—he made no answer—the landlady then said to the deceased "Carry, your young man is in the passage"—Carry was going towards the back room and the prisoner was standing between the door and the passage—I then heard her say "Oh, he has stabbed me!"—I saw nobody else there—she walked into the kitchen with the knife in her side—I saw the prisoner brought back by a constable.

Cross-examined. They had no drink there—they came into the kitchen first of all, and then they went into the bedroom—they stayed there a few minutes—they were friendly and loving—they engaged the room for the night—the landlady was frightened at seeing him stand there in white—this is a common knife.

COURT. Q. Had you known this woman before? A. I had seen her once or twice before—she did not lire in the house—they had been I daresay ten minutes in the back parlour before they came out—there is a wall and the stairs dividing the kitchen from the back bedroom—I could not see the prisoner when she was doing her hair in the kitchen.

ANN WYNN . I keep the house, 2, York Road—on 10th March, a little before 1 o'clock in the morning, I was at my door—two young men and two young women came—the prisoner and the deceased were two of them—they asked me to accommodate them, and they went into the back room down stairs (the other female was named Williams)—shortly afterwards the deceased came out and gave me 2s. for the bed for them, and as I was going into the parlour, which is on the same floor as the back bedroom, I saw the prisoner standing in the passage—the deceased was then in the kitchen—I said "Caroline, here is your young man in the passage"—Caroline walked up towards him, and I went into the parlour—as soon as I got there I heard her scream out "Oh, he has stabbed me!"—I had just got the parlour door open—I ran out, and saw Caroline leaning against the kitchen wall, and this knife on the mat in front of the kitchen fireplace—she

pulled it out herself—the prisoner ran out of the house as hard as he could run, and he was immediately afterwards brought back by a constable, to whom I handed the knife—the prisoner seemed sober, but I did not take notice.

Cross-examined. I heard no angry words—the 2s. was for the bed for the night—she went up to him friendly and affectionately when he was in the passage, and not as a person would do who was at all frightened—I supplied no drink—his companion and another female were sleeping in the house, the other man seemed a friend of his—the two couples came together—I knew Caroline before—she had not been in my house long—she had not been doing that for some time, only she had a few words with her young man, and she was obliged to do the best she could.

COURT. Q. You expected he was going to bed? A. Well, he could see her in the kitchen, and she was putting a hair-pin at the back of her hair—she went into the bedroom first with him and was there five or six minutes—she was not undressed, but she had taken off her bonnet, shawl, and boots, and then she came into the kitchen and gave me the money—between the time she gave me the money and the time this occurred, she had not been into the back room again.

RACHEL WILLIAMS . I am an unfortunate girl, and lived at that time at 70, Sutton Street, St. George's-in-the-East—I went to this house with a man on the night that the deceased met with her death, and she went with the prisoner—she was a stranger to me—I was with my man in another room, and did not hear what took place till Mrs. Wynn called out "George! George! he has stabbed Carry"—the men were not drunk; they were more the other way.

ELLEN CREW . I am the wife of John Crew, of 6, Devon Road, Bromley—the deceased was my step-daughter—she went by the name of Caroline Smith—I went to the London Hospital, and identified her after she was dead—I had seen her alive on Tuesday, 20th March.

GEORGE GOLDSMITH (Policeman K 492). On Sunday, 10th March, about 1.50 a.m., I was in York Road, and heard screaming from No. 2—the prisoner came out of the house, and ran towards me—I stepped back, thinking something was wrong, intending to stop him—when he came up to me, I stepped on the kerb in his path—he said "You need not stop me, policeman; I have stabbed a woman; I will give myself up; if you will come with me I will show you where I done it"—I went with him to 2, York Road, and saw the deceased in the back kitchen—blood was coming through her stays—the knife must have glided off the steel—the landlady gave me this knife (produced); it opens with a spring back—I asked the prisoner if that was his knife—he said "Yes, that is the knife that I done it with"—on the way to the station he said "I wish I had killed her; that is how a good many more b—y cows ought to be served"—he also said "She wanted to best me out of 6s., and I would not be bested by her"—I took the deceased to the hospital; it was about 2.30 when we got there—the prisoner was drunk.

Cross-examined. He seemed in an excited state when he came up to me—he spoke in an excited state, as a drunken man would.

COURT. Q. What is the meaning of "to best me of 6s.?"A. I do not know, but I think it meant to rob him.

RACHEL WILLIAMS (re-examined). I went to the hospital, and helped to undress the deceased with the nurse, but I do not know whether she had any money or no—I did not see her pockets—the nurse is not here.

ELLEN CREW (re-examined). No money was returned to me with the deceased's clothes; only a thimble.

ODY WENHAM (Police Sergeant K 39). I was at the station when the prisoner was brought in—the deceased was first brought to the station, which is close by—I asked her if she saw the man who stabbed her—she pointed to the prisoner, and said "Yes; that is the man"—I read the charge over to him—he made no answer—he appeared to me to be the worse for drink—nothing was found on him.

MR. M. WILLIAMS to ANN WYNN. Q. Do you know whether any money was found on the deceased? A. I do not—she only gave me 2s.—she said nothing about any money when she gave it to me—she did not appear to have any other money in her hand—I did not search the room next morning, but it has been used several times since, and no money has been found.

JOHN THOMAS . I am house-surgeon at the London Hospital—I saw the deceased when she was brought in, and found a wound about an inch and a half deep, about three inches above the navel—I probed it—such a knife as this would produce it—it was half an inch long—I was present at the post-mortem—the knife had penetrated to the liver—she died on Thursday morning of hemorrhage from the wound—I did not see whether her clothes were searched—if any money was found in them it would be returned to the mother as well as the clothes.

Cross-examined. I think it was a direct blow—the knife was pretty sharp.

Re-examined. The blow must have been given with great; force to have glanced off the steel bone of these stays.

GUILTY of manslaughter only Seven Years' Penal Servitude.


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