5th November 1912
Reference Numbert19121105-48
VerdictGuilty > with recommendation

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BEAL, William Charles Adolphus (19, engineer) , wilful murder of Clara Elizabeth Carter.

Mr. Bodkin and Mr. Cecil Whiteley prosecuted; Mr. Lister Drummond and Mr. Ronald Smith defended.

Police-constable FRANK GEORGE WAYLETT, 12 K, and Sergeant BOUSTEAD, New Scotland Yard, proved plan and photographs for use in the case.

WILLIAM HENRY BEAL , 84, Pond Road, West Ham, labourer. Prisoner is my eldest son. He has been in respectable employment up till June last. He joined the Royal Field Artillery, Special Reserve, and went to Portsmouth last year for his annual training, and came back somewhere about February this year. He kept company with deceased since last Christmas. She came to our house several times. They seemed to be on happy terms. I never saw them quarrel. I have seen them not speak, but nothing out of the way. Whilst he was out of work he used to go out every morning and take her to work and take her back home at night. He was not bad-tempered; he would lose his temper one moment but recover it the next. He brought the razor (produced) back with him from Portsmouth; also the case. I used it once or twice, but he did not like me using it, at he said I spoilt it, so he used to carry it about with him or hide it in the house. He once had a silver watch and chain. Clara had a wrist watch, and they agreed to exchange watches, and he wore her wrist watch and she wore his silver watch. Exhibit 6 (produced) is the wrist watch. On September 12 my son left home about 5.40 in the afternoon. He was a little bit cross on account of my not having enough food to give him, so he got up rather hurriedly from the table and went and shaved himself and then went out. I believe he was wearing the wrist watch as usual on his left wrist. After he had gone I looked for the razor because I required a shave, but could not find it. I never objected to his keeping company with deceased. He never complained of any violence by her on him except in a letter he wrote me from Brixton Prison. I think the letter is at home; he mentioned about a bottle in that, and that she had used hatpins on him. Letters produced of September 10 and August 15 are in her writing. Bundle of letters, including one dated August 22, are all in my son's writing.

Cross-examined. Deceased did mention to me about going to Australia if Will went. She was head and shoulders taller than him, and was a cheerful and good-tempered girl. Before he made the acquaintance of deceased my son kept company with Louie Hughes. He broke that engagement off when he went with deceased. He had one or two letters from Louie after he was engaged to deceased, but I don't think he walked out with her; he met her and deceased was very jealous indeed. She appeared very fond of my son and he appeared very fond of her.

Re-examined. Louie Hughes used to dog my son about. Of course, I have never seen her doing it because I never followed them.

WILLIAM GEORGE CARTER . 118, Pond Road, stevedore. Deceased was my daughter. She was 17, and was employed as a packer at Lusty's at Limehouse. She left home for work at 7.30 every morning, and got home about eight at night. She used to walk to work—half an hour's

walk. I have known prisoner since Christmas He used to fetch deceased in the mornings, and I have seen him on Saturdays and Sundays, and at night time at well. Exhibit 6 I made my daughter a present of about four years ago. The two seemed on friendly terms. I never objected to or interfered with their engagement in any way.

Cross-examined. She was a very cheerful, good-tempered girl; she was not at all hasty and she had very good health. She did go to the doctor some time ago, but only for indigestion, and the never missed a day's work.

SIDNEY DAVIS , 92, Coborn Road, Bow, clerk to Lusty. On September 10, about closing time, I went up into the room where deceased was at work to fetch something, and when I came down into the street prisoner came up to me and said, "Don't let me see you put your hand on that girl's shoulder again or I'll give you a good hiding" I denied it and said, "Don't be silly," and he said, "I'm her guardian "On September 12, about 7.15, I saw deceased standing at the door of Mrs. Pluckrose's shop talking to her. Her shop is next door to Lusty's. As I turned the corner by Gait Street I taw prisoner.

Cross-examined. I supposed he was her young man when he said he was her guardian.

Mrs. CLARA PLUCKROSE, 4, Parnham Street, Limehouse. Deceased was my niece. On September 12 I stood talking with her for a few minutes outside my shop, after she had left work, about 7.15 p.m. I saw prisoner peeping round the corner of Omit Street and deceased went off to him instantly. I never saw her again.

Cross-examined. I supposed she was engaged to prisoner; I had seen them together.

EDITH KING , 27, Beck Road, Abbey Lane. On September 12, at 8.30 p.m., I was walking along Abbey Lane with a friend, Amelia Walford, in the direction of Abbey Mills. We passed a young man and woman coming towards us. They were cuddling each other; they had their arms round each other's waists. The girl was walking nearest the railings. After we had got 10 or 12 feet past them I heard the girl cry, "Help!"We ran. back and I saw the girl lying on the ground and the young fellow fall and the rasor drop from his right hand. When he fell he got hold of the girl round the waist. We ran and told Mr. Harrup, and went back with him and then we went away.

Cross-examined. It was very dark and I could not see the two very distinctly as we passed them. I did not notice whether the girl had her arm underneath the young man's coat or whether his coat was partly round her. I did not hear them say anything or see any sign of any quarrel; they seemed very loving. It was "Help!"she cried, not a scream. I swear I saw the razor fall from his hand. I did say at the inquest, "I had not seen the razor before I saw it on the ground," but I did see the razor fall, and then I saw it on the ground.

AMELIA WALFORD corroborated.

ARTHUR BENJAMIN HARRUP , 125, Abbey Lane, general dealer. About 8.30 p.m. on September 12 I was in Abbey Lane and I heard

a woman scream. King and Walford came up to me and said, "Quick" I went back with them and found a young man and woman lying on the ground. I said, "What game do you call this, fighting on the ground?" and a small groan came from the woman. I struck a match and then prisoner said to me, "19," or "119, Pond Road." I knelt down and found both their throats were cut. The wrist watch produced was in prisoner's left hand. Police-constable Gobel had come up by then. He asked what the time was, as he could not get his own watch out because he was holding prisoner and the girl, and prisoner held his left hand up with the watch in it. I said, "Will you let me wipe the blood off it?" but he clenched it in his hand and would not let me. When I first saw them they were embraced together and struggling on the ground; she was struggling from him and he was struggling towards her.

Cross-examined. It was not very dark. There is a lamp-post shining right to the place where the job was done.

Police-constable ARTHUR GOBEL, 762 K. I was called to the spot. I found a man and woman lying on the ground with their throats cut, smothered in blood. I separated them; prisoner resisted me slightly. I applied first aid to the man and sent for assistance. I then found a razor on the ground, blood-stained and open; it was lying closer to the man; when I removed the man I found the razor, it must have been under him; it was on the right-hand side of him when he was lying on his back. The woman was on his right-hand side. I saw Exhibit 6 in prisoner's left hand. I asked the people round to tell me the time and prisoner held up his hand with that watch in it. The razor was open. Prisoner said nothing. The woman was not quite dead, but unable to speak.

Cross-examined. It was a bit dark, an overcast sky. I suppose I was about 10 yards away when I saw them first, but I could not see that there were two until I got close to them.

Police-constable THOMAS CRISPIN, 1071 K. I was called to the spot. The woman was apparently dead, so I took the man to West Ham Hospital on an ambulance and returned for the woman. Prisoner said nothing.

Police-constable MAURICE PAYNE, 569 N. I was called by last witness as he was taking prisoner to the hospital in an ambulance. At the hospital I took a lady's watch (Exhibit 6) from prisoner. His clothing was saturated with blood. In the right-hand side pocket of his overcoat I found a razor case, in two pieces. I also found some letters.

MONTGOMERY PATTERSON PATON , house surgeon, West Ham Hospital. Deceased was brought to the hospital and was dead when I saw the body. There was a great deal of blood. On September 15 I made a post-mortem examination. There was a wound in the throat from left to right, gaping and rather deeper on the left side. It was five inches in length. This injury was due to at least three cuts. All the tissues were severed down to the voice-box and the incision went right down to the muscles of the backbone. There was also a discoloration

on the ball of the right thumb. There were no other signs of external injury. Any one of the three cuts would probably have caused death within less than a minute. After any one of the three she could probably have called out, "Help I" but not after all three. She was not pregnant. Razor produced could have caused the wounds. Prisoner was brought to the hospital a little before the girl. He had a wound in his throat from left to right, superficial on the left, but deeper on the right; it sliced off the top of the voice-box and divided the superficial muscles and vessels, but all the main blood vessels in the neck escaped. That wound could have been caused by the same razor. In my opinion the wound on the man was selfinflicted and the wounds on the girl were not self-inflicted. The man progressed favourably from the morning after he was admitted and by October 2 was well on the way to recovery.

Cross-examined. It is not impossible that the girl's wounds were self-inflicted. It is possible that she might have had sufficient strength after inflicting the first wound to have inflicted the others. In the case of self-inflicted wounds you would expect, as a rule, the wound to be deeper on the right, one begins tentatively on the left and it gets deeper on the right, but it varies; in a case of madness a person usually begins very vigorously on the left and it tails off on the other, side. Assuming the man is standing with the girl on his right and inflicts the wound with the right hand, I think it is impossible to say that you would expect to find the wound deeper on the left than on the right. It depends on how he pulls the woman's neck and how the woman acts and how she turns away. I do not think the injury to the thumb was due to pressure of the razor; it was simply a bruise. There were no cuts on the hands. If a person is suddenly assailed by someone else who attempts to cut his throat, it would be extremely likely for him or her to put up their hands to shield their throats, but I should not be surprised if cuts on the hands of the victim were absent. It is common knowledge that in the case of a perfectly respectable girl leading an irreproachable life, or in the case of persons suffering from delusions or jealousy or love, certain forms of hysteria exist and they sometimes think they are pregnant without having had any connection with a man.

He-examined. My reasons for believing that the wound upon the man was self-inflicted are that it was in the site where suicide wounds are usually found and that the main vessels escaped. The girl's wounds were found in the region where the great majority of homicidal wounds are found.

Police-constable FRANK BUTLER, 219 K. I was in charge of prisoner at West Ham Hospital from September 13 to October 7. On October 2 prisoner volunteered the following statement to me. "The pareuts are the cause of this trouble from the first. She has tried three times to kill me—the first tame with a ginger-beer bottle, then with a hatpin, and then on this night we were walking with our arms round one another and I felt some sharp thing stick in my neck, and then somebody tried to take my wrist watch off me, and I remember

no more till I woke in here. We are both hot-tempered and she is a bit insane." He knew I was a police-constable.

Inspector ALBERT YEO, Lime house Police Station. On September 13 I saw the body of deceased at West Ham Hospital. On October 7 I saw prisoner on his discharge from hospital. I told him that I was a police-inspector and that he would be charged with the wilful murder of Clara Carter by cutting her throat with a razor at about 8.30 p.m. on September 12, 1912, and, further, with unlawfully attempting to commit suicide. I cautioned him and he said, "I have nothing to say then." I took him to West Ham Police Court, where he was charged; he made no reply.

Cross-examined. He did not say, "I have nothing to say now."

The jury intimated that they would like to hear whether prisoner made any statement or whether there was any evidence of any mark on prisoner's neck.

Police-constable BUTLER, recalled. When prisoner said, "I felt tome sharp thing stick in my neck," he did not point to his neck or give any indication whereabouts in his neck it was.

Dr. PATON, recalled. I did not see any trace of a hatpin having gone into prisoner's neck.


WILLIAM CHARLES ADOLPHUS BEAL (prisoner, on oath). I first met deceased four or five days before Christmas at a picture palace in Stratford and just before I went to Portsmouth on the 27th she asked me for an engagement ring, which I gave her. I was very fond of her. The letters that have been read passed between us while I was away. I came back on February 23 and saw her very frequently. I went back for training in June, and when I got to Portsmouth I was temporarily discharged as medically unfit for service, and I came back the same night. I went back to my job the following day, but my foreman could not start, me, and I lost my work. I was at work between February and the time I went away in June. Not being able to get work I naturally saw more of deceased. She was a very happy girl with me but not very happy at her work; she complained of people talking about her, especially her aunt, and several times said she would drown herself in the canal that runs by the side of the factory where she worked. She very often complained of dreams. When she talked about jumping into the canal I said, "Don't talk silly," or some remark like that. That would be a good two months before this occurrence. She had also several times in the month before this threatened to drown herself in the canal. Before I knew deceased I walked out with Louie Hughes for about two and a half yean, but my engagement to her was broken off when I got engaged to deceased, and after that I only saw Hughes once. Deceased knew that I had broken off with Hughes, but she was still very jealous. I never had any serious quarrels with deceased. On one occasion, about a month before September 12 she threw a ginger beer bottle at me and on another

occasion she struck at me with her hatpins. The bottle missed me and the hatpins only stuck in my coat. I used to walk with her to her work every morning and fetch her back in the evening. She was not very happy at her work, and once got a place as a servant, but her mother forbade her to go. I remember receiving a letter on September 10 from her saying she was afraid she might be in trouble, but I did not take much interest in it as I did not read it at the time and I never thought of anything like that. I swear I never had connec-tion with her. On September 12 I went to the factory in the evening and met her as usual about 7.15. As we were walking along she asked a e to marry her, and I said I could not as I was oat of work. She looked on the ground and thought. She asked me to go along Fish Gut, where the canal runs on either tide of a narrow path, and I said it was a dangerous place, and we would go our usual way. As we walked along Abbey Lane she was on my right next the railings and her arm was round my waist underneath my overcoat, because she said she felt cold, and my arm was round her waist, I was holding her left hand and I told her to put her right hand in my right-hand pocket of my overcoat, and she did, and we walked like that, She asked me two or three times about marrying her and I told her I could not. She was quiet for a time and then she asked me to give her a kiss. I turned my face sideways to kiss her, and as I did that I felt a sudden dig in the neck, and I fell down and felt the wrist watch being taken off my wrist, and I remember no more until I woke up in the hospital. I did not attack her on that night in any way or cut her throat.

Cross-examined. She was always happy and cheerful when she was with me and fairly good tempered. She threatened to take her life on several occasions in the month before September 12, but I did not think the was serious. I have never told anybody about it until to-day. There was no quarrel of any kind between us that night—I do suggest that the committed suicide through jealousy. She was jealous of Louie Hughes, although I gave her no earn for it. She had asked me to marry her before. There was nothing new in my telling her I could not just yet. I did not know the razor was in my pocket, but I sometimes carried it about with. I do suggest that she took it out without my knowing it, opened it, and then attacked me. I did not hear her call "Help," but she might have repeated of what she had done and then called out. It is impossible that either King or Walford saw the razor drop from my hand. I beard the police say that the rasor was found between her and me and on my right, but it could have fallen in that position out of her right hand. I think the two girls made a mistake when the? said the fell first: they mistook me for her as it was dark and we were both dressed similar. I have no Mea how the watch got off my wrist. When I wrote to her on August 22 saying "I shall find rest and peace one of these days, but not without revenge," that meant revenge on Louie Hughes'! people. I cannot make out what "You will not go unpunished: you will regret the way you are serving me," means at all. I had never threatened her.

Re-examined. That letter was all referring to the trouble about Louie Hughes and also to the fact that I had once attempted suicide to frighten father.

To the Court. I do not know what she means when she says in her letter of September 10, "Darling, all my thoughts are now whether I am in trouble or not; if so I must go miles away. May God help me to bear it." I do not think she meant she was in the family way. I do not think she would naturally ask me to marry her if she thought the was in the family way by me. She might have been by somebody else; I do not know what she did at work.

At the close of the judge's summing up the jury retired, but returned into Court after an interval and asked for further evidence.

Dr. PATON, recalled. It is impossible to say whether deceased was virgo intacta; she may have been, but as the hymen was broken one cannot say with certainty.

Verdict, " Guilty, with a strong recommendation to mercy on the ground of prisoner's youth."

Sentence: Death.


(Wednesday, November 13.)

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