12th September 1892
Reference Numbert18920912-858
VerdictGuilty > with recommendation
SentenceImprisonment > hard labour

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858. KATE WOOD (27) , Feloniously attempting to murder Flossie Martin. Second Count, to do grievous bodily harm.

MESSRS. C. F. GILL and BODKIN Prosecuted and MR. WARBURTON Defended. CAROLINE POULTER. I live at 53, Cholmondeley Street, Beading—I have known the prisoner fourteen months—I first met her at Finchhampstead, in Berkshire, as Kate Martin—since then she married a man named Wood—I know Flossie Martin; I took care of her thirteen months ago, on account of the prisoner being married, and she wanted to shift her—my daughter-in-law took her from Miss Wood and brought her to me at Beading—I had no conversation with the prisoner about it—I was to have 5s. a week with it—the prisoner came and saw me after I had received the child—the child addressed her as her mother—I had the child up to 17th July this year—I received the 5s. a week up to the 3rd November last year—the prisoner would pay me very well, sometimes a fortnight in advance; the last time a month in advance, by postal orders—I was not paid from 3rd November to 17th July—during that time I heard that the prisoner was living at 9, Tadmor Street—I occasionally wrote to her; when she wrote to me about the child I answered her letters—I have here the last letter she wrote to me, it was on the 6th—on the 17th July I took the child to Tadmor Street—I saw the prisoner, and asked her if her husband knew I was going to bring the child, and was quite willing to take to it—she said, "Yes"—I did not say anything to her about the money that was owing—I did not see her husband—I left the child there, and never saw it again till this matter happened.

Cross-examined. She did not come to my house to see it since I left Beading; she did before that, only once or twice—she always seemed very kind to it, and fond of it.

Re-examined. It was six years old on the 2nd of last February—I do not know whether it is an illegitimate child; I was always given to understand so.

SARAH BIRD . I live at 9, Tadmor Street, Shepherd's Bush—the prisoner came to live there with her husband on the 2nd April last; she came from a Mrs. Austin—the husband took the room, the first floor front; he is a waiter—she had a baby with her when she came—on 17th July Mrs. Poulter brought Flossie Martin—the prisoner said it was coming for three weeks' holiday—my husband said he objected to another child being in the room; it was too many for one room—I told her that, and she said it was only going to stop three or four weeks for a holiday—on Friday, the 5th August, she went out with the child—she said she was going to take it to Paddington, to meet Mrs. Poulter, to take the child back again—while she was away a letter came for her, it was delivered to her husband; I don't know whether he opened it—she returned with the child on the Friday night—I said to her next day, "I hear Flossie has come back"—she said, "Yes; if the letter had come before I went I should not have gone"—she said her husband was very upset with her for bringing the child back—on the Monday she said she was going to Mrs. Austin's, her former landlady, to borrow the

money to take Flossie either to her grandmother or her aunt, I cannot be sure which—she went out with the baby; I can't remember the time, it was while we were having dinner—I did not see her again that afternoon, but I heard her come in, just as we had finished our dinner—Mrs. Austin lives about twenty minutes' walk off; between three and four she went out again with the two children—she did not say where she was going—she said Flossie was her cousin's child—I did not see her again that day—I heard her come in about a quarter to eleven at night, or a quarter-past eleven, I am not sure, I was in the kitchen at the time—I knew nothing about this matter till the police came to the house.

Cross-examined. While lodging with me she was a well-conducted person as far as I know—I have seen her every day; as far as I could see she was kind and affectionate to the child; I was never in her room—I have seen her with it on the staircase—she has complained in the ordinary way, of headache and toothache, not very much, once or twice in a week—the baby was about seven months old.

ARTHUR JAMES COOPER . I am house-physician at the Hospital for Women at Soho—I have a patient under my charge named Annie Austin—I have been in constant attendance upon her—she underwent an operation some time ago, and she is not fit to travel or to be here to-day.

AMOS ATKINSON (Detective X). I was at the "Oxbridge Petty Sessions when the prisoner was charged with this offence—Anne Austin was examined there as a witness in the prisoner's presence, and she had an opportunity of cross-examining her—I saw her at half-past nine this morning at the hospital in bed.

(The deposition of Anne Austin was read as follows): I know the prisoner, she lodged with me six or seven months till about April this year—she had no children when she came—she went away to be confined, and came back with a baby after three weeks—I understood from her that it was her first child—about a month ago she brought Flossie Martin to see me—four or five days after I went to see the prisoner at Mrs. Bird's in Tadmor Street—I asked her if Flossie Martin was her child, she said, "You are a witch"—I said, "Does your husband know it?" and she said, "Yes"—she came to me about the 8th August, about two o'clock, and asked me to lend her 5s., which I did—she said she wanted it to take the child away; she did not say where or to whom.

WILLIAM HENRY MORRIS . On 8th August I was acting as booking clerk at Shepherd's Bush Railway Station, that is seven or eight minutes' walk from Tadmor Street—I saw the prisoner there, she had a baby in her arms—she took a ticket, I am not sure where for—passengers to Slough would have to change at Westbourne Park or Bishop's Road—there are trains every ten minutes to Westbourne Park—we book through to Slough, but not to Southampton West—I identify the prisoner by a casual remark she made to the child, which called my attention to her—I had not seen her before to my knowledge.

JOHN PLUMRIDGE . I am a porter at the Slough station of the Great Western Railway—about nine in the evening of 8th August I was on duty there, and saw the prisoner with a baby in her arms and a small girl walking by her side—she asked me for the next up train for London—she was on the wrong platform—I directed her, and told her the next up train was 9.13—I saw her go over the bridge on to the right platform

—I did not see her get into the train, the train was a bit late—that train does not stop at Hayes, it stops at West Drayton—I afterwards saw several women at the Uxbridge Police-court, and picked the prisoner out.

CHARLES OSWOOD (Police Sergeant). I made this plan of the Hayes Station.

WILLIAM SKELTON . I am a butcher, at High Street, South Norwood—on the night of 8th August, about a quarter to eleven, I was on the up relief platform at Hayes, and on a seat I saw a little girl lying on her face—I spoke to her—she did not appear able to answer—a handkerchief was tied tightly round her neck, knotted under the right ear—Frederick Groves was with me—I ran to fetch some of the railway officials, and found a booking clerk—the child's face was smothered in blood, and its clothes and hands—the face looked as if it was being strangled—I held her head up while Groves tried to cut the handkerchief with a knife, but he could not, it was so tightly tied, he kept snipping it—it was a very difficult thing—(the child was called in)—that is the little girl—I took her to the Railway Arms, and asked the landlord to let us have some water to wash the child, or give it some drink—he refused—we asked him to allow us to have a cab to fetch a doctor he refused, and told us to take it back where we found it—the house is almost adjoining the Hayes Station—he refused us any assistance—I believe his name is Holmes—we took the child to a cottage opposite—the landlady there gave us water, and I carried the child until we met a police-constable—we then took it to a doctor's, and then to the Cottage Hospital—I asked the child her name—she gave her name and address, and also told us she had been to Reading—this (produced) is the handkerchief—it was cut away a bit at a time—I asked her how she got to the seat—she said she crawled there.

Cross-examined. The seat is some distance from the metals.

FREDERICK GROVES . I live at 73, Ledbury Road, Bayswater—on the night of 8th August, about a quarter to eleven, I was on the platform at Hayes Station, in company with Skelton—I noticed the child lying on the seat—I endeavoured to cut the handkerchief round her throat; it was tied very tightly—I had some difficulty in cutting it—I could not cut it from the front, I cut it from the back—I assisted in taking her to the Cottage Hospital.

JAMES BLAKE . I am a signalman at Hayes Station—on the night of the 8th August the 9.13 train from Slough was late—it passed through the station at 10.1—it would pass on the up relief line, next to No. 3 platform—at 10.45 I was called by Mr. Skelton—I saw Groves trying to cut the handkerchief—it had to be cut from the outside—there was great difficulty in cutting it.

FRANK CHAPMAN (236 X). On the night of 8th August I was called to Dr. Parrott's surgery at Hayes—the little girl's wounds were dressed there, and she was taken to the Cottage Hospital—I received this handkerchief from Dr. Parrott.

ALFRED GREGORY ALLAN . I am assistant to Dr. Parrott, of Hayes—on the night of 8th August, between eleven and twelve, the little girl was brought to the surgery—I examined her—she had a large contused wound on the right temple, such as might be caused by falling or sliding on gravel or some hard substance; she had two bruises on the left temple,

the right eyelids were completely closed, the left eyelids were closed next morning—the marks on the temple and leg were such as might be caused by a fall, and then by turning over from the shock of the fall she bled from the nose and head—there was a considerable amount of blood on the left side—it was an open wound—one tooth was missing from the upper jaw, and two were loose, the upper pænum uniting the jaw was broken, and the jaw was a good deal swollen on the right side I saw the blue mark on the neck—it was about half an inch wide, extending from the ear on both sides to almost the centre of the neck—it was such a mark as might be caused by some constricting band—it most have been very tight—I have seen the handkerchief—that tied tightly and knotted would produce such a mark—there was a bruise on the right forearm and elbow; also on the thigh and knee on the right side—the contents of the bowels and bladder had passed, the result of the shock, and she was sick after being in the surgery—she made some statement to me; I asked her some questions, and she answered them—her condition was very serious—she got better, and I think she will not be permanently injured.

CLARA MAID BIRD . I live with my mother in Tadmor Street—I knot the prisoner—on Monday night, 8th August, about a quarter to eleven, I saw her come home with the baby, not with Flossie Martin.

ROBERT ALLISON (Policeman 102 X). I received information, and about a quarter-past four on Tuesday morning, 9th August, I went to 9, Tadmor Street—I went upstairs, and saw the prisoner in bed with her husband—I told her I should have to take her to Notting Dale on perhaps a very serious charge—she muttered something about Southampton West—I cautioned her that anything she said I should take down, and it might be used against her on her trial—she then made a statement—I told her that a child had been found on Hayes platform, and from information I had received I should take her where she would be detained—she then made the following statement: "I travelled by train about four p.m. yesterday, to see my aunt at Southampton West, from Waterloo, and left the child on the platform, whilst I tried to find my aunt, who had removed; on my return I missed the child, and thought someone had picked it up and taken it to my aunt's; that WM the last I saw of my child; I then travelled back to Addison Road, via Clapham Junction"—I then took her away, and she was handed over to a constable from Hayes.

WALTER WELLBR (Inspector X). On 9th August I was on duty at Uxbridge Police-station—the prisoner was brought there—I read the charge to her; it was for attempting to murder nor child by placing a handkerchief round its neck; also throwing it out of the railway train she said, "I did not throw the child out of the carriage window."

AMOS ATKINSON (Recalled). This matter was placed in my hands, and on the afternoon of the 9th August I took the prisoner to the Cottage Hospital—I said to her, "I am a police officer; there is a little girl in there very seriously injured; she was found last night on the platform at Hayes Railway Station. You are supposed to be the mother, and to have caused the injuries; my object in taking you in there is to see in the child recognises you as her mother, and that you may have an opportunity of hearing what she says. You are not obliged to say anything; what you do say I have to report"—she said nothing; we then went

into the hospital ward, where the child was lying in bed—the prisoner at that time had a baby in her arms—she sat in a chair at the foot of the bed—the child looked towards her and smiled—the handkerchief was produced, and I said to the child, "Is that yours?"—she replied, "It is not mine, but auntie's"—I said, "What auntie?"—she said, "That auntie," and she motioned with her head towards the prisoner—I said, "Are you sure?" and she said, "Yes; I felt someone pulling the handkerchief so tight"—I said to the prisoner, "You hear what the child has said?"—she said, "Yes; early in the evening she asked me to put it round her neck; she felt cold"—at the Police-court, after one of the witnesses had spoken about Slough, the prisoner said, "I passed through Slough Station, up and down"—at the hospital, after the conversation with the child, the prisoner was very much overcome, and we had to assist her from the ward.

The prisoner's statement before the Magistrate: "I had no intention of throwing the child out of the window, or tightening the handkerchief round her neck, or hurting her in any way.

Witness for the Defence. SARAH WILLIAMS. I have known the prisoner seven years—I took charge of the child from between the age of six and seven weeks and four and a half yean—I had it at the end of March, 1886—the prisoner continued to see the child in my possession, and every week I had a letter—she was always a good mother to the child; very fond and always anxious for its welfare—she has borne the character of a humane and kind-hearted woman.

Cross-examined. The child came to me when the mother was well enough to come out of the Union—the child left me because the mother thought she could earn more money in London, and she said the child would be company.

GUILTY. Strongly recommended to mercy by the JURY.— Nine Months' Hard Labour.

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