18th November 1889
Reference Numbert18891118-48
VerdictGuilty > with recommendation
SentenceImprisonment > penal servitude

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48. HENRY SPEED (31) , Feloniously wounding Sarah Caroline Speed, with intent to murder. Second Count, to do grievous bodily harm.



SARAH CAROLINE SPEED . I am the prisoner's wife—I lived with him at 75, Burford Road, West Ham, until 15th October; we kept a common lodging-house—I was married to him in 1876—we had lodging with us two people named Bailey, and a man named Low, he left at the beginning of February last—I lived peaceably with my husband from our marriage down to 1880, then he began to drink, and from that time downwards we had occasional quarrels, and in May, 1883, he was bound over to keep the peace towards me—since then there was a quarrel on our way back from a solicitor's, and he gave me a black eye—on the morning of 25th September this year we had a quarrel in bed, and I got up and left the room, he followed me and said he would hit me under the left ear, and I should fall dead at his feet—after that he left the house, as he said, to buy a lock, and in consequence of what he had said I left, not to return—I met the man named Low, who had previously lodged in the house, and I lived with him that night and for about three weeks—on 15th October I returned to the house about 5 o'clock; I had tea with Mrs. Bailey, and after tea went out again; up to that time I had not seen my husband—I went up a street and met Low, and went with him to two public-houses—I returned back home about eleven, drunk—I don't remember seeing my husband—I remember no more then—I don't remember going into the kitchen and lying down on a form—I remember falling from the form to the floor; that woke me up; I had been asleep—I saw my husband kneeling by my side—he did not speak to me that I know of; he gave me what I thought was a blow from his hand under the left ear—I did not know anything about the cut till I found the blood flow—I was picked up by Hylett, and the police and a doctor came—I am not out of the doctor's hands now—I gave evidence at the Police court on 6th November.

Cross-examined. I did not see my husband when I went in at five, or when I came back at eleven—I don't remember anything that happened after I came back—I remember seeing my daughter Rose, not the other, Sally, she is thirteen—I do not remember saying, "I will be b----if I will; I have a man that I have been living with."

ROSE SPEED . I am a daughter of the prisoner and last witness; I am eleven years old—I lived at home with them—my mother went away in September and came back on 15th October at quarter-past eleven; I was in the kitchen, she was drunk—she was sick first, and then she went and laid down on the form and went to sleep—she fell off the form on the floor; father was not in the kitchen at that time; he was standing at the front door smoking his pipe; he came into the kitchen while mother was lying on the floor—that was about quarter-past twelve; he had a knife scraping the dust out of his pipe—he went and knelt down beside mother and he cut her throat—I saw him do it, close to the jugular vein; he did it so, first down, and then along—he took the knife out of his pocket; that was after I saw him scraping out his pipe—he put it back into his pocket

after he cut her throat, and then he turned out the gas and went upstairs to Mr. Bailey, the lodger—mother remained on the floor, I holloaed to Mrs. Bailey, she came down, and Mr. Bailey went for a policeman—John Hylett came and held mother in his arms, then a policeman came, and a doctor came and attended to her—I did not hear father speak to her before he did this—I should have heard if he had—I don't remember whether she spoke to him; I don't think she did—I saw no struggle between them.

Cross-examined. Father came home ten minutes after mother; he came in the kitchen; he did not stay there; he went to the door—I did not try to get my mother to go to bed, nor did my sister; one of the lodgers did—a man offered her eightpence to get a bed of her own—she said she had a man that could keep her—that was just as she came home—she said she had been living with a man while the had been away; it was after that that she fell down—father did not see her fall; she was lying on the ground when he came in; he had his pipe in his hand; he had not his knife in his hand then—he took it out when he was standing opposite the form—after that he went to pick mother up, and she fell down again.

JOHN HYLETT . I am a porter, and live at 75, Burford Road, Stratford—about half-past one in the early morning of 16th October I heard screams of murder from the kitchen; I went downstairs and found Mrs. Speed lying on the floor, and blood coming from her throat; I picked her up in my arms, and did what I could to stop the bleeding until the police and the doctor came—I did not see the prisoner.

AMY BAILEY . I am the wife of William Bailey, and have been lodging at 75, Burford Road since September, 1887; the prisoner was our land lord—of late he has been somewhat given to drink—some time in June I saw Mrs. Speed with a black eye; she made a statement to me about it—in September she left the house—the prisoner spoke to me about her; he seemed very uneasy about her; he said several times he wished she would come home and see to her family; at another time he would say she was best away, and if she came home he should do for her—I heard him say that two or three times, but he repented of that—he seemed very much deranged in his head at times; he seemed in great trouble about her—I heard him say afterwards, "Oh no, I won't; if she would come home I would not say a word to her"—he was drinking a good deal at this time—I was at home on the 15th October—I saw him in and out of the kitchen several times that night—Mrs. Speed had come home that afternoon, and had tea with me—his mother-in-law told him in the evening that she had been home; he said he knew all about it, and he asked if I had given her any money; I said no, but she had been in the kitchen and taken one or two shillings for a couple of single men's beds—he said, "That's all right"—that was between six and seven in the evening—I saw him again about nine standing on the kitchen step; Mrs. Speed had not returned then—I went to bed just before eleven; about one I was awoke by a knock at my door; my son opened the door, and the prisoner came in—he was fully dressed—he said, "I have killed her"—my husband said, "Nonsense;" the prisoner said, "I have; I have killed her stone dead; Bill, you know I have been drove to do it"—he seemed in very great trouble about it—I jumped out of bed and left the room; the prisoner followed me down to the kitchen; there was no

light, only by the two fires—the gas was out—I saw the wife lying on the floor, and a wonderful quantity of blood; I said to the prisoner, "Pray let us have a light;" he went to the meter and turned on the gas, and then lighted the burner—I ran and called my husband down, and Mrs. Speed said, "He has cut my throat"—the prisoner stooped over the form and took his wife's hand into his kindly—whether he kissed it or not I could not say, as he immediately left the house—in about twenty minutes the doctor came—when I came back from calling my husband I found two of the kitchen doors bolted—they were open before that.

Cross-examined. When the prisoner came up to my room he seemed in very great trouble; he did not seem to know what he was doing or saying; he kissed me and said, "Be a mother."

WILLIAM EDWARD BAILEY . I am the husband of the last witness—about one in the morning of 16th October the prisoner came to my room; he sat down and said, "Bill, I have murdered my wife"—I said, "Non sense"—he said, "I have been drove to do it, and I told you before that I would do it"—I again said, "Nonsense"—he said, "I have killed her stone dead; I will kiss your wife and your children, and I will kiss you also, and I will go and kiss my children, and give myself up"—my wife left the room and he followed her downstairs, and I did not see him again that morning.

Cross-examined. He was in a very excited state, and hardly knew what he was doing or saying.

WILLIAM WILLS CROFT (Policeman K 254). On 16th October I heard cries of "Murder! and Police!" which took me to this house, where I saw Mrs. Speed lying on the ground with her throat cut—in consequence of what I heard I went in search of the prisoner; I found him at 28, Preston Road, about twenty-four yards off, where his mother lives; when he saw me he said, "I know what you have come for, I know you want me; I have done it, and here is the knife I done it with"—he handed me the knife, and I produce it—on the way to the station he said, "I have done it, and I hope to Christ she is dead."

Cross-examined. I am quite sure of the words—I am speaking from memory—that was what I said before the Magistrate—he was in an excited state.

Re-examined. He appeared as if he had been drinking a little—he knew what he was saying.

JAMES CHARLES FOLEY . I am an M. D. and licentiate of the Royal College of Physicians, Edinburgh—I practice in High Street, Stratford—about half-past one in the morning of 16th October 1 went to 75, Burford Street, and saw Mrs. Speed lying on the floor in the kitchen in a large quantity of blood; she seemed to me to be dead—there was a wound in her neck about three inches in length, of an irregular shape, and wide enough to admit of the tip of my forefinger, it was about half an inch deep; it had the appearance of being the result of three actions, as if the point of the knife had been introduced first, then a cut in the shape of a distinct curve from that, and then in a line more or less straight from that curved line; there were three distinct stages of the wound—I found it was not a mortal wound, there was no arterial bleeding, the jugular vein had escaped, I sewed up the wound; the quantity of blood lost was very great, considering that no vessel had been opened—it was a wound that might have caused death—I had her put to bed; she was under my care

for about three weeks; in fact, she is still under my care; she is still suffering from partial paralysis, which causes her utterance being so bad; her life was in danger—such a knife as the one produced might have caused the wound.

Cross-examined. There was only one wound—I do not think that falling on the knife would cause that sort of wound.

WILLIAM BOOTS (Police Inspector). I was at the station when the prisoner was brought there—he was charged with feloniously cutting and wounding his wife with a pocketknife, with intent to do her grievous, bodily harm—he said, "I should like to say something"—I said, "If you wish to make a statement you can do so, but it is my duty to caution you that what you say will be taken down in writing and produced at your trial"—he replied, "I am quite willing to make a truthful state ment of what happened"—I took down what he said, read it over to him, and he said, "Quite right, "and signed it—this is it (read," My wife has been away three weeks today, living with another man, John Low. About 11.30 p.m., on the 15th inst., my wife came home the worse for drink, and came into the kitchen and laid on a form in front of the fire; my two daughters asked her to go to bed; she said, 'I am b----if I will, I have a man I have been living with.' I was standing at the front door at the time and heard her fall; I went into her with my daughter Rose; I had a knife and pipe in my hand; I was cleaning my pipe out; I moved across the table and sat cross-legged. I prayed her to go to bed. She said, 'No, I will not, so long as I like.' I said, 'Have you come to torment me after leaving my children lousy and dirty; I went to pick her up, with the knife in my hand. She struggled, and in the struggle the knife stuck into her; then I knew I had done something wrong. It was an accident. I could not stop to see what I had done. I went to my neighbour and told him I had stuck a knife somewhere in the throat of my wife, and I went to my mother-in-law and told her what I had done. "

GUILTY on First Count. Recommended to mercy, having done the act under strong provocation.— Seven Years' Penal Servitude.

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