26th June 1876
Reference Numbert18760626-264
VerdictGuilty > with recommendation
SentenceImprisonment > penal servitude

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264. ALEXANDER FRASER (42) , Feloniously wounding Agnes Fraser with intent to murder. Second Count—with intent to do grievous bodily harm.

MR. DOUGLAS METCALFE conducted the Prosecution.

AGNES FRASER . I am the prisoner's wife—I live at 33, Perth Street, Stepney—I did not live with the prisoner at this time—on Saturday, 11th May, about 11 o'clock in the evening, I was in the Mile End, at the corner of the Cambridge Road—I met the prisoner there—he asked me if I had anything to give him—I said I had not—he asked me if I would treat him—I said "No"—he then struck me on the side of the face; I cannot remember any more—he crossed the road—I crossed too and said "You are a bad man to hit me because I have nothing to give you"—he put his fingers in my mouth and stretched it—a policeman came up and I said "I charge this man"—he said 'I did not see him strike you and I cannot charge him, you go that way and he shall go the other"—I crossed the road and he went another way, towards Commercial Road—I went straight down the Mile End Road till I came to the Three Cranes public-house—I bought a trotter outside the door; that is about five minutes' walk from where the policeman separated us—the prisoner came round the corner from behind and took hold of me by one shoulder and I felt the knife in my throat, he held me by one shoulder and put the knife along my neck with the other hand, and he said "Now, where are you"—I don't remember any more, I felt the knife cutting me, I felt two cuts—I then got away from him and got into the public-house somehow—this (produced) is the knife, I know it quite well, it is a table knife that we had in use when I lived with him.

Cross-examined by the Prisoner. I did not speak to you that night, only in answer to your question, we were very unfriendly—I did not say I would knock your eye out—I am sure you wilfully put your fingers in my mouth—we have been separated more than once, thrice, or thrice, but at this time about a month—my friends were supporting me and have been ever since; I have not been well enough to work—I have three relations to help me, my sisters support me—I don't walk the Mile End Road till 12 o'clock at night—when I left you I took an empty room and bought a bed and put it there, and that was the only thing there when you were locked up—I never stayed from home except from your violence when I was really afraid of you.

By THE COURT. The reason I was out so late that night was I was uneasy about my little boy. he leaves off work about 10 o'clock and I thought he might be in the main road—I don't know what my sister who lives with me does for a living; I don't know what keeps her out till 1 o'clock; I don't trouble myself about her.

CORNELIUS MURPHY . I am a tailor, and live at 59, Christian Street, Commercial Road—on this evening I was standing outside the Three Cranes—I heard the last witness scream "Oh, God, he is going to murder me!",—she ran to the public-house door—I saw the prisoner with a knife in his hand; he followed her into the house—I saw him going to give her another stab—two men caught hold of him and another man took the knife out of his hand—a policeman was fetched and he was given into custody.

Cross-examined by the Prisoner. I did not see the commencement of the row—I know nothing about taking any money out of your pocket or your hat or handkerchief.

WILLIAM PRICE . I am a labourer, and live at 59, Great Suffolk Street, Borough—I was in the Three Cranes on this night—I heard screams of "Murder!" and on turning round I saw the woman lying on her back at the door, and the prisoner with a knife in his hand just in front of the door—the mob forced him inside—somebody hit him a punch under the ear and I caught hold of him—he said "She is my wife and I will kill her."

Cross-examined by the Prisoner. I am sure those were the words you made use of; it was not somebody else who said "She is his wife and he will kill her."

JOHN JAMES PHILLIPS . I was potman at the Three Cranes—I saw the woman outside eating a trotter—I went inside the house, I had scarcely been in two or three minutes when I heard cries of murder, and on turning round I saw the woman lying on the ground on her back, bleeding from underneath the left ear, and the prisoner standing over her with a knife in his right hand—I took it away from him, with the assistance of another man—the mob interfered and got him outside, and I saw no more of him.

GEORGE HOLSTON (Policeman R 38). I was called and took the prisoner into custody—I told him the charge, he said "I did not do it with a knife, I did it with a centre punch"—I received the knife from the potman—I took the woman to the hospital as she was bleeding so freely—the mob were very angry with him—I had a hard job to get him away.

STEPHEN HENRY FISHER . I am house-surgeon at the London Hospital—the prosecutrix was brought there on the Saturday night—I examined her, and found two incised wounds, one on the side of the neck about 1/2 an inch deep and about 4 inches long, it went round the neck; it was not a dangerous wound—she is a stout woman, and it did not reach through the layer of fat under the skin, it was in a dangerous place—the other wound was in front of the left ear, reaching 1 1/2 inches directly forward, and about 1/4 inch deep, they were such wounds as might hare been caused by this knife; she was. admitted into the hospital, and was under my care ten days—there was a good deal of bleeding.

The Prisoner's Statement before the Magistrate. "When she met me she ran at me, and said she would knock my eye out. I took the knife out of my pocket where I had it for cutting up any bit of cigar I might pick up, and I made a slash at her to keep her away, without any intention to hurt her, then I was set upon by her clique; she is a very furious woman and can stand up and fight any man. I only acted on the defensive."

Prisoner's Defence. I had no idea of hurting her, we have been married seventeen years, and had five in family. I was very fond of her, and am now, but I don't like her ways; about three weeks previous to this she went away, and has been living with a sister of hers who has left her husband, and they both walk the streets in the Mile End Road late at night. When she has met me on former occasions she has scratched my face and blacked my eyes, we have both been bound over to keep the peace. On this occasion she came up to me and said she would knock my eye out. I never thought this was a knife. I thought it was a pair of callipers, and I made a slash at her with it.'

AGNES FRASER (re-examined). I charged my husband with an assault, he made a very plausible statement to the Magistrate, and the Magistrate" said "If you cannot agree you had better part, and I shall bind you both over to keep the peace"—I took the Magistrate advice and left him altogether—I took this empty room for myself, and my sister came to me as her husband had deserted—I believe she is supported as my husband says, by prostitution—my son earns from 6s. 6d. to 8s. a week, he works at the rope ground—a sister of mine who lives in Hoxton has been my chief support.

EDWARD MACDONALD . I am a working man, and live at 196, Cambridge Street, St. George's-in-the-East—the prisoner and his wife had a furnished

room in my house from the 5th February till this occurrence—he conducted himself most respectably until his wife formed some association with some females whom I did not like to see come into the house, neither did Mr. Fraser, and whatever occurred between them at that time I believe was owing to those characters she kept company with—she remained out ne night, they had a dispute about it and then she went away altogether—there were bickerings and quarrels between them, but I never knew him to abuse or strike her—I have heard her call him a cuckold, and use very abusive language besides; since then he has taken to drink, and has lost a good employment through it.

GUILTY on Second Count—Recommended to mercy by the jury considering the provocation on the part of his wife Five Years' Penal Servitude.

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