2nd August 1881
Reference Numbert18810802-686
VerdictGuilty > with recommendation
SentenceImprisonment > penal servitude

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686. MARY PALMER (23) , Feloniously cutting and wounding a certain female child, with intend to murder it.


CATHERINE WILKS . I live at 11, Crockford Street, Hoxton—in February, 1880, the prisoner was brought to me by Mrs. Gulham, and asked me to take care of her child for 5s. a week, which I agreed to—she said that she was living as kitchen-maid at the Oxford dining-rooms—I kept the child till June 11, 1881—she very seldom came to see it—she paid me the 5s. a week regularly for the first month, and afterwards 4s. and then 2s. a week—I was very fond of it—she afterwards told me that she had removed from the Oxford to the Cambrian Stores; and I used to send there for my money—when she could not pay she told me it was because she could not afford to keep herself in clothes like the other servants—in April or May she came and said that she was going to take

the child away, but I from time to time made excuses—she said that her friend would keep it for nothing—she called for it several times; she called on Thursday evening, June 9, and wanted the child, but I made an excuse, and she said she would call the next Saturday night, which she did, and took it away between 9 and 10 o'clock—that was June 11—she said that she was going to take it to her friend at 21, Tichfield Street—I next saw it on 20th June at St. James's Workhouse, with a wound on its throat—she owed me about 4s. when she took it away—she said that it was her own child.

SUSAN BARNARD . I am the wife of Thomas Barnard, of 10, Bateman's Buildings—on 11th June, about 11.30 p.m., I saw a little child in Bateman's Buildings crying "Mamma, mamma"—this is the child—I saw something glitter, and found a knife sticking in its throat—I took it out and handed it to a policeman; it was covered with blood—I found a child's hood and a handkerchief in a public-house about thirty yards away, and gave them to the policeman.

MARGARET LEONARD . I am a servant at the Cambrian Stores, Regent Street—the prisoner was my fellow-servant—she was there when I went there—she showed a person two knives in my presence—this is like one of them (produced).

THOMAS CAWTELL . I am a greengrocer's porter, of 36, Bridal Lane—I have been acquainted with the prisoner ten months—she was living with me as my wife about six weeks before she was arrested—I did not know that she had a child—she used to go to work in the morning, and return in the evening—on 11th June, between 11.30 and 11.35, she came to the shop where I work and asked how long I should be—she went away till I had shut up and did not return—I went home and found her there—I was going to marry her.

WALTER BRADFORD . I am a surgeon—on 11th June, about 11.45, I was called to the police-station to examine, this child; and found a small wound in her neck behind the left jaw, apparently caused by a sharp instrument such as this penknife—it was in the vicinity of the jugular vein, and if it had touched it it would have been fatal.

NEWMAN TURPIN (Police Inspector): On 20th June, at 10.30 p.m., I saw Wilks and the prisoner speaking together in Bridal Lane—I said to Wilks "Is this the mother of the child you have seen in the workhouse?"—she said "Yes"—I said to the prisoner "I am a police officer, and shall take you in custody for trying to kill the child by stabbing it in the neck with a penknife"—she made no answer for two or three seconds; she then said "You don't want to show me up in the street; let me go and get my hat and jacket"—she did so, and I took her to the station.

RICHARD GAMESTER (Policeman). On 11th June Barnard handed me this knife; it had blood on it; I gave it to the inspector—the child was bleeding under her left jaw.

JAMES BENNETT (Police Inspector). On 11th June I received this knife from Pope at the station, and, handed it over to Turpin.

The prisoner in a written defence stated that she was confined in the work-house, and found out that the father of her child, though he had promised her marriage, was a married man; that when she took it from the nurse, not being able to pay for it, she laid it down by the side of the Women's Hospital, thinking it would be taken care of, but had not the heart to hurt it much.

GUILTY . Strongly recommended to mercy by the Jury.— Seven Years' Penal Servitude.

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