3rd April 1905
Reference Numbert19050403-302
VerdictsGuilty > pleaded guilty; Not Guilty > directed
SentencesMiscellaneous > sureties

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302. ADA ELLEN SHACKELLS WHITE, Feloniously marrying Michael O'Connor, her husband being alive, and MICHAEL O'CONNOR, Feloniously aiding and abetting Ada Ellen Shackells White in the commission of that offence.


MR. DUNNETT Prosecuted; MR. BLACKWELL Defended O'Connor.

EDWARD DARBY (Detective-Sergeant N.) I know O'Connor—at 10.30 a.m. on March 18th he came to the Borough police station and said that he had ascertained that the husband of the woman, with whom he had gone through the form of marriage at Bermondsey Church, had put in an appearance on March 1st, and he wished to lock her up for committing bigamy—I asked him if he could tell me where I should be likely to find her—he said, "Before I married her she informed me she had been married before at a registry office at Romford to Harry Shackells White"—White is a book-keeper in the City, and they went to live at Manor Park—O'Connor said that Ada White's husband had been married before, and he was dead—the same evening I arrested Ada Ellen Shackells White—I was with Detective Camp, and she came and accosted me—I took her to the station and on March 19th O'Connor charged her—on the 27th he gave evidence before the Magistrate, when he said he already knew that his wife had been married—he had told me that the book-keeper had al-ready got a wife alive and therefore could not marry again, and that he understood he had died before they were married—he told that to the Magistrate—on leaving the Court I told him I should arrest him for aiding and abetting—I took a statement from Mary Gibbs, his grandmother—I then arrested him—that was not by order of the Magistrate; it was on my

own initiative—I then said, "Mary Gibbs has made a statement," and I read it to him—(Read): "Statement of Mary Gibbs. I am a widow and reside at 94, Abbey Street, Bormondsey, S.E. Saith: Ada Ellen Shackells White is my grand-daughter, and in December of 1903 was living with her mother, Mary Ellard, at No. 33, Hamilton Buildings, Long Lane, Borough. About a week before Christmas of above year James Carpenter, a man my daughter, Mary Ellard, was living with, brought Michael O'Connor to my fruit stall, at the corner of Denman Street, between 10 a.m. and 11 a.m. and said, 'This is Ada's young man.' I replied, 'Why, Carpenter, she is a married woman; you can't walk out with her neither can you many her,' turning to O'Connor. Michael O'Connor, replied, 'I don't care; I will take her and marry her, and will look after her.' I replied, 'If you do, you will get into trouble over it' He replied, 'I don't care,' and walked away with Carpenter. I next saw Michael O'Connor on or about the 23rd of December, 1903, when he called with Ada about 1 a.m. I came down and opened the street door, when O'Connor stated that James Carpenter had turned her out, and won't let her sleep there any more. I then took Ada in and gave her a bed. The following evening O'Connor called at my house and asked for Ada. I said, 'You are carrying on a fine game with my grand-daughter, you will find it will end very serious. You are leading her astray informing her that you can marry her when you know that she does not know whether he is dead. O'Connor then replied, 'It is all right, I shall marry her.' Ada came up to us at this remark, and she replied, 'Oh, Mike, don't get me in trouble, because I am married. I have not seen my husband for two years, and I don't know if he is dead or alive.' O'Connor then said, 'Come along, Ada, you will be all right; you will never see your husband any more.' They then both left the house. On the morning of February 1st, 1904, O'Connor called at my house, and said, 'Is Ada ready? I asked him in the passage, and said, 'You are going to do a nice thing for yourselves.' He replied, 'She will be all right, don't worry; it is nothing to do with you.' He then called out, 'Ada, are you ready?' and they both left the house to get married at St. James' Church, Bermondsey. I followed shortly after to the church and found that they had been married"—he said, "That is all right," or "Quite right"—the prisoner was charged and made no reply—I obtained the marriage certificate of Harry Shackells White and Ada Ellen Ellard before the registrar at Romford on September 1st, 190I—the witnesses were Mary Gibbs and J. A. Ellard—I also obtained the certificate of marriage on February 1st, 1904, between Michael O'Connor and Ada Ellen Ellard at St. James, Church, Bermondsey, and the witness James Ellard was present.

Cross-examined. When he said, "That is all right" I had charged him—I did not ask him if he understood the charge—I did not say, "you understand the matter," and he did not say, "That is all right"—when I arrested the woman she said she had not seen her husband for two years and was under the belief that he was dead—she went off into hysterics and you could not understand what she said—she did not say that she

believed that White had got a wife living when she married him—I got that from O'Connor—I have not heard other members of the family say that he had got a wife living—I have seen the girl's mother—I have not taken a statement from her—I do not know if she was present at the ceremony on February 1st; I have not inquired—I have not found out that the ceremony was after the publication of banns in a church—the prisoner did not come into the station to ask advice as to what he was to do—I have not talked the matter over with the inspector—there is no doubt that in the first place he came to ask advice—the inspector called me out of our room and said, "Will you see this young man, and see what he wants done?"—I said, "What do you want done?—he said, "I want to give my wife in charge for committing bigamy"—from what subsequently came to my knowledge, I decided on March 27th to charge him with aiding and abetting—I did not suggest to him that he should prosecute the woman—I told him if there was a case we should take the matter up at once, which we did—I do not know if the inspector told him that if the woman had gone through a bigamous marriage, he could give her into custody, but that is the advice I should have given—he did not say, "I want to know what I ought to do"—I took down what he said there and then.

MARY GIBBS . I am a widow and reside at 94, Abbey Street, Bermondsey—Ada Ellen Shackells White is my grand-daughter—she was married to Mr. Shackells White on September 1st, 1901—I was present at the wedding, which was before the registrar at Romford—my grandson, James Ellard, was also present—I do not know how long my grand-daughter and Mr. White lived together—sometimes we did not see her for twelve months—he was a book-keeper—I cannot tell you where she was living in December, 1903—I know O'Connor; I became acquainted with him about three days after Christmas, 1903—a Mr. Carpenter brought him to me at my stall—Mr. Carpenter said to me, "This is Ada's young man"—I said, "Why you know, Jim, that she is a married woman"—Michael walked up to me and said, "I intend to walk out with Ada"—I said, "You cannot marry her; she is married already, but we do not know whether her husband is dead or alive"—I know now that he is alive; we have seen him—he came to my house a week before Ada was charged—the prisoners were married on February 1st, 1904—I did not know then if Ada's husband was dead or alive, only that she told me she had not seen him for two and a half years.

By the COURT. I went and saw White's aunt, who told me that White's marriage was not legal, but she did not say that White had got a wife living, so could not marry again—I said, "In what way is it not legal?" but she would not say.

The RECORDER pointed out that according to the evidence it was not proved whether the female prisoner's marriage with White was legal or not, and that if he then had a wife living the female prisoner's marriage with O'Connor was not bigamous, and they were therefore man and wife at the present time, and held that there was no evidence that the prisoner in contracting the marriage, had a guilty mind, and directed the Jury to return a verdict of

NOT GUILTY . WHITE— Discharged on recognisances.

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