4th March 1889
Reference Numbert18890304-318
VerdictGuilty > insane
SentenceImprisonment > insanity

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318. WILLIAM HANWELL (32) , Feloniously wounding Louisa Spiers, with intent to murder her.

MR. BODKIN Prosecuted.

LOUISA SPIERS . I live at 79, Alcroft Road, Kentish Town—I have been living with the prisoner as man and wife from about sixteen; we have got on well together, and I have a child by him—on this Sunday, about six o'clock, I was kneeling down against the fireplace doing some cooking, and saw him take an iron rod up, but I did not see him hit me; I fell giddy, and when I got up I saw him coming with a razor; he drew it across my face; I held it with my hand, and my hand was cut—I called for help; the landlord came up, and I ran downstairs, and was taken to the hospital—the prisoner has been very strange in his way during the last month or two; he never threatened me, but he has not slept at night; he has got up and gone out, and come to bed again—I have known him look under the bed, and say that people were there when they were not—he said that I did not care for him, and he always had it in his head that I had men in the house, without any cause at all—on the Monday before the Sunday when this happened I told him I could not stop with him any longer, and I left him and went to live with my

mother—he visited me twice during that week, and asked me to go back and live with him, and I refused—I moved from my mother's to Alcroft Road on the Saturday before this, and he came there about 10.30 a.m., and asked me for his clean clothes; I had not got them quite ready, and told him he should have them at 4.30—he came back at twelve o'clock, and stopped till ten at night, and then left and came back at eight the next morning—on that Saturday he walked up and down the room, and if I spoke he never answered—he seemed not right in his mind, and he has not been for very nearly two months—just before I was struck I had not spoken to him; he had been walking up and down the room, and I told him I thought he ought to see a doctor, but he never answered—he did not complain about his head on the Saturday or Sunday.

Cross-examined by the Prisoner. I remember your coming home on Saturday and paying the rent, and saying you were going to leave me; and you left me, and came back on Monday and fetched your things.

GEORGE WILLIAM MAYHEW . I am landlord of 79, Alcroft Road, Kentish Town—on this Sunday, about one o'clock, my sister called me from the back room—I went up, and saw the prisoner with a razor in his hand, cutting his throat—I knocked it out of his hand—I did not notice a wound in his throat—I went down and got a constable, and then he said, "Give it me back again"—I said, "I won't"—he was taken in custody.

JAMES EVES (Policeman Y)225). I was called and took the prosecutrix to the hospital—I found the prisoner in the second floor room, and told him I should have to arrest him for cutting and wounding Elizabeth Spiers, with intent to murder her—he said, "Yes, I did it"—this knife was on the table smothered with blood, and Mayhew gave me this razor—I found this poker in the room—the prisoner had a wound in his throat; it was bleeding—I took him to the station—he was afterwards taken to St. Pancras Infirmary.

WALTER DUNLOP . I am medical officer of St. Pancras Workhouse—the prisoner was brought there on Sunday, at five o'clock, suffering from a wound in his throat, which might have been caused by a razor—he said he did not know how he came by it—he was sullen and depressed, and not inclined to answer any questions—about eight o'clock I saw him again—he had become more excitable both in his talk and actions—he was wandering about the ward, fancying that the patients had bladders concealed about them, and that they squirted poison into him—on the next day he had delusions as to his fellow-workmen, that they conspired against him, and that they had a secret influence over Louisa Spiers which he could not describe—he was under my care till the 20th, when he was charged at the Police-court—he had then become quieter—his delusions had partially disappeared—I have not seen him since.

By the COURT. About 8.30 p.m. on the 19th I had a lone conversation with him; he was then of unsound mind, undoubtedly—he had various hallucinations—he said he smelt poison in the ward, which he found the woman had given to her child by him—I have not the slightest difficulty in stating that he is of unsound mind.

EMILY MATTHEWS . I am the wife of George Matthews, of 6, Lane Grove, Gospel Oak—the prisoner lived in our house—on 16th February he came to me and said that there were two hundred men after him—I told him it was not so, and asked him to shake it off—he said that two

detectives were sitting on the stairs, and he should go to Marylebond Police-court and give himself up, because he had accused his wife of giving the baby poison—I advised him to go to a doctor.

PHILIP FRANCIS GILBERT , M. D. I am medical officer of Holloway Prison—the prisoner has been under my notice since February 20th—I saw him directly he arrived—he was then dull and depressed, but was not suffering from any actual delusion—I have frequently spoken on these points, and they have gradually cleared away—he believes now that they were delusions, and that they did not exist—he is very much better; he is convalescent—from the appearances I saw I think he was undoubtedly insane.

WILLIAM HANWELL . I am the prisoner's father—I had not seen him for some months till he came to me some days before this—he seemed very strange, and his brother and sister noticed it as well, but it did not strike me that he was out of his mind—he called again in four or five days, and he seemed stranger still—I thought it was worry on his mind—I did not see him afterwards till I heard of the occurrence—he is a plasterer.

GUILTY of the act, being insane at the time. To be detained during Her Majesty's Pleasure.

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