23rd May 1881
Reference Numbert18810523-579
VerdictGuilty > unknown
SentenceImprisonment > penal servitude

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579. JAMES LEWIS (40) was indicted for and charged on the Coroner's Inquisition with the manslaughter of Lydia Carne.


ANNIE JOHNSON . I am single, and live at 101, Mint Street, in the front parlour downsiairs—the prisoner and deceased lived upstairs in the back room—on Saturday afternoon, 16th April, between 5 and 6 o'clock, I was sitting in my room having tea with John Monger; he was living with me—the deceased had been out that day drinking, she was very drunk; she came to the street door, the prisoner came up just behind her I heard her making use of very bail language to him—he asked her to go up and get his tea ready—she told him to go himself—he asked her for the two-shilling piece—she said she had not got it—he then knocked her down and struck her twice outside my door—she went upstairs and he followed her—they were quiet until between 9 and 10 o'clock, then I heard her say "Get off the bed and go away, I don't want you"—he said "Get my tea ready;" she said "Get it ready yourself; "he said "Get the two-shilling piece;" she said "I have not got it, it is as much mine as yours"—I then heard her come across the room and fall against a chair, and she laid a few minutes and she said "You have kicked me in my back, I will lag you"—I did not hear anything more, I went out—I did not see any fail downstairs—I saw her next morning, but did not speak to her—on Monday afternoon her sister said something to me—I went out about 10 o'clock, and was out about an hour and a half—the woman died on Wednesday night—I did not see her between the Monday and Wednesday.

JOHN MONGER . I am a lead-pipe maker—I lived with Johnson at 101, Mint Street, in the front parlour downstairs—on Saturday evening, 16th April between 5 and 6 o'clock, I was at home; I heard the prisoner and

deceased at the street door quarrelling about a two-shilling piece and about some tea—I heard him tell her to go upstairs and get his tea, she said "Get it yourself"—I then heard a fall against our door—I then heard two blows struck, and I heard her make an offensive noise with her mouth and say "You can't hurt me"—after that she went upstairs and he followed her, and that was all I heard—I went out about 6.30, and did not return till past 12, all was quiet then.

HENRY CARNE . I am a labourer, the deceased was my sister; she was about 25 years of age, I am 15—I occupied the same room with her and the prisoner—on Saturday night, 16th April, I got home about half-past 8 o'clock—the prisoner was lying on the bed and my sister too, both asleep; they were both dressed—I went out again and returned about 11.30, they were still on the bed—I went to bed—the prisoner afterwards got up and said to me "I gave her 2s. to go and get some tea"—he said that two or three times—he then hit her with a strap; it did not wake her—he then took her off the bed by the waist and threw her on the floor; she woke then—he then hit her in the face with the strap, which caused a black eye—she said "I will lag you"—he then picked up a piece of wood, a bit of a fish trunk, and made aim at her head; it missed her—she was standing at that time—he then punched her and kicked her twice—she was then on the floor; I am not sure that his foot kicked her, but it went under her—she said "I will go and fetch a policeman"—she went to the door and he followed her and went outside—I saw nothing more till I saw him carry her up in his arms and lay her on the bed—I did not hear her go downstairs—I did not hear anybody fall downstairs—she was out drinking all next day, Sunday—she did not complain to me on the Monday—on Thursday morning I woke up about 6 o'clock and found her dead in the bed, and quite cold—the prisoner had gone, he had slept there that night—when he came home in the evening he told me he thought she was in a deep sleep, and he could not wake her.

By the Prisoner. I don't know whether she fell downstairs—I did not hear any fall downstairs; I was in bed at the time—my sister was drunk when you threw her down; she fell pretty heavy.

LAURA. DOWNING . I am the wife of a sailor, and live at 101, Mint Street, in the back parlour, downstairs; the prisoner's room was over mine—on Saturday, 16th April, I was at home—between 9 and 10 that evening I heard a heavy fall over my head; it was as if somebody had thrown them down—after the fall I heard him say, "Why did not you get my tea?"—she did not say anything before that, but afterwards she said, "You have kicked me; oh my back"—he said, "It served you right, why did not you get my tea, as I gave you the money?"—I did not hear any more after that—I went out about 10.30, and did not return till 12.30, when everything was quiet—the prisoner had been living there with the deceased for some months—I did not hear or see any fall downstairs that night.

ELIZABETH CARNE . I live at 9, Redcross Court—the deceased was my sister; she had been living with the prisoner between nine and ten months—on the Sunday after this had happened she made a complaint to me, and I walked with her to Guy's Hospital—I did not go in with her—when she came out she had some strapping on—on the Tuesday after that she showed me her back: there were two large bones sticking out just at the back, and a bruise at the lower part, and she had a black

eye—I got an order for the parish doctor, who came and saw her—I saw her dead at 6 on Thursday morning.

Cross-examined. My sister told me that some strange man had kicked her in the small of the back—she did not say it was you—I said, "Did he kick you?" and she said, "I don't know; I was drunk."

THOMAS DAY . I am senior dresser at Guy's Hospital—on Sunday night, 17th April, between 7 and 8, two women came to the hospital; one of them complained about the lower part of her back—I examined her, as far as she would allow me—she would not allow me to examine her to my satisfaction—I strapped up the lower part of her back where she complained of pain—she told me she had fallen downstairs—I did not see any bruises.

THOMAS DELAHAY (Police Inspector M). About 3 in the afternoon of 21st June I received information of the death of this woman, and went to 101, Mint Street, where I saw the prisoner—I asked him if he could account for the woman's death; he said, "I can't account for it any more than what she told me as she was going to the hospital on Sunday night, that she had fallen downstairs"—at the station he was charged with causing her death—he said, "We were drinking in a public-house; about 5 on Saturday evening I gave her 2s. to get some tea with; she went with other women to a public-house and spent a shilling, then went to another public-house and spent the other shilling; when I returned home she was drunk, and there was no tea for me; she then wanted to go out, I told her not to go out, and she then fell downstairs; I went downstairs, picked her up, and carried her upstairs and put her on the bed"—I noticed the staircase leading from their room: there is a small landing, about a yard square, at the top, and a fencing on each side.

ALFRED MATCHAM . I am surgeon to the parish of St. George's—on Tuesday morning I received a parish order to go to 101, Mint Street, and there saw the deceased in bed in the first floor back, very ill, and suffering much pain; she could not turn over in bed—she was too ill to be removed to the infirmary—I found the lower part of the ribs on the left side strapped up—she had a black eye, and the face was swollen—I gave her medicine—I did not see her again till after death.

ROBERT GIBSON BROWN . I am medical officer to St. George's Work-house—on 23rd I made a post-mortem examination of the body of the deceased—it was well nourished; very much bruised, some more recent than others—there was was very serious mischief in the right kidney, the pelvis of the kidney was full of blood; there was a corresponding external and internal bruise—that injury was the cause of death; from urenic poisoning, and also shock to the system—I have been to the house and examined the staircase—I do not think the injury to the kidney could have been caused by falling down that staircase; it might have been caused by a kick or by some direct external blow—she had a drunkard's liver, but that was not what she died of.

Prisoner's Defence. She told her sister she had been out drinking with tome strange man, who kicked her in the back. She had been drinking all day, and fell downstairs.

GUILTY .— Five Year' Penal Servitude.

Before' Mr. Recorder.

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