24th February 1896
Reference Numbert18960224-262
VerdictGuilty > manslaughter
SentenceImprisonment > penal servitude

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262. THOMAS WILLIAM CRIPPS (29) was indicted for the wilful murder of Elizabeth Ann Biles; he was also charged on the Coroner's Inquisition with the manslaughter of the same person.



ROBERT GILBERT (408 X.) On Wednesday, January 29th last, about 12.50 a.m., I was on duty in Prince's Road, Netting Hill, and heard a disturbance in William Street—I found the prisoner and a woman outside 37, William Street—the woman said in his presence, "I charge this-man with striking my baby 'across the head with a shovel"—I said, "Fetch the baby down for me to see"—she went into the house and; brought out the baby; there were no marks of violence on it; there was a smear of blood on the forehead; the prisoner said, "That has come off her hand, where she has been scratching me; look here, see what she has done," and he showed me marks down his face and neck; they were recent marks, and they were bleeding at the time—I said, "Will you charge her with the assault?"—he said, "No"—I advised them both to go indoors—the deceased went in—he said, "It's no use my going in; I shall get no rest to-night"—she was standing at the door, shrieking at him—they were abusing each other; he outside, and she in—I requested him to go away, he refused, and I took him to the station and charged him with disorderly conduct and obscene language—after the charge was taken I found a razor in his inside coat pocket; it was taken from him—he was brought up at the Police-court the same morning and fined 4s., which he paid—the deceased was present at the time—I saw him with her afterwards, outside the Court—she commenced quarrelling with him, and said, "You deserve six months for bruising my body"—under my avoid he went away, and went into a public-house, and the deceased, in company with another woman, followed him—at his request the razor was handed to the deceased at the station after the charge was taken—it was subsequently found in the room; this is it—on January 30th, about half-past nine at night, I saw the prisoner again, in Princes Road, at the top of William Street—he said, "It was through you I got locked up the other night; she is a wicked woman; if I leave her, and go away from her, and send her money, she goes to my old people's house in Chelsea and breaks the windows, and smashes the doors open! Oh, God! what am I to do?"—I advised him to go home—he said the baby fell off the bed undressed

when he came home at half-past six, screaming, with no light in the room—"She is a wicked woman; trying to put me away; if I go home there will be another row; perhaps she will bring a fellow home to sleep with her; then I and the baby will be pulled out of bed, and we shall have to sleep on the stairs, the same as I have had to do before, when she brought home a man, who gave her 6s."—I think he then left me, and went indoors—he was crying, and seemed very much distressed—he put up his hand to his head, and said, "Oh, God! what shall I do?" several times—about five minutes to one in the morning I passed the house—I heard them quarrelling, and using obscene language on both sides, but no threats.

Cross-examined. He told me that she had been locked up several times for assaulting his parents at Chelsea—that is so, because he would not go and live with her—after paying his fine, he came away perfectly peaceful and quiet, and she came up and commenced quarrelling and following him—he said, "I have given her £1, and sometimes 25s. a week, but she is not satisfied with that; I don't wish for her to go out."

JOHN MICHAEL LEONARD . I am a labourer—on Thursday night, January 30th, between half-past eight and nine, I was in the Earl of Zetland public-house, at the top of William Street—about nine the prisoner came in; I knew him by sight, not by name; I noticed that he had a scratched face; I asked him who had done it—he said, "Woman again"—it looked to have been recently done; it was not bleeding—he had a pint of ale—he stayed there till about half-past eleven—he left me and came Out for about five minutes four or five times during the evening—he said, "When I get home and see my old woman I will give her something"—I knew the deceased by sight; I saw her three times—the prisoner had been drinking; he was not to say drunk, but as if getting over the effects of drink; he was rather excited, not to say drunk—I came outside, and he came out and said, "I think I will go home"—he went down William Street, where he lived, and that was the last I saw of him that night—we had had four or five pots between five of us.

Cross-examined. When I first saw him with the scratches he did appear rather excited—I did not know that he had been charged and convicted at the Police-court; he looked excited and upset; he spoke quietly enough; he could walk all right; he told me he had been a seaman—the ale he had was 4d. ale.

GEORGE TERRY . I live at 23, William Street—on January 30th, about nine in the evening, I was in the Earl of Zetland public-house—I saw the prisoner there and got into conversation with him some time after a drink together—I had known him for about four weeks—he lived in the next room to me, with the deceased; they were frequently quarrelling; I could hardly hear the man speak a word—I have frequently seen her stamping on the floor and jawing at him; I have not seen or heard any violence beyond words—in the public-house on the 30th he said something about being bound in 4s. or some days—later on he said he meant to do it—we had been tying knots and talking about the stokehole; I said I was never down the stoke-hole, I had been going aloft—we were writing puzzles on paper, and he said he meant to do it—whether he meant to do what we were writing or not I don't know; that was all that took place; nothing more than quarrelling with his wife.

Cross-examined. I was examined before the Coroner—I said there that she used to worry him, that he was very quiet, and there was hardly a word out of his mouth in answer to her; that is the truth; the quarrel and nagging was always her fault—this was at No. 23, where they lived then—he had left there about a fortnight.

JANE MADDIGAN . I am the wife of John Maddigan, a labourer, living at 37, William Street—the prisoner lived there with the deceased About a fortnight—she was with me two days; then she took the room underneath, and was there about ten days—my room was the top room, on the third floor, on the left; their room was under mine, on the right, over the kitchen—she was a most violent woman—I have heard her quarrelling with him on several occasions—on the night he was locked up And fined 4s., I saw her tearing him down the face, and he merely pushed her, he never laid his hands on her—I knew her by the name of Mrs. Payne; she always went in that name to me—she would go out with me in the morning, and if we went into a public-house she would go out with men—I have said to her, "Could you not sell a few flowers instead of going with men?" but she would take no notice—on the night of the 30th I did not see anything of her—I saw him about a quarter to nine, outside the Zetland—I went home about nine, and went to the prisoner's door for my oil bottle—he was standing in his room, with no boots on; he was then drunk—he said he could not let me have anything till she came home—I saw nothing of the child—after that, I went out; I returned about half-past twelve—I had to pass their door to go upstairs—I heard nothing when I went in—afterwards, between half-past twelve and one, I heard the deceased come in, and I heard her swearing and speaking about A shilling, and calling out Tom—I came out on the landing—we were talking, and the deputy of the house, who collects the rents, called to me to go indoors, and I went in and went to bed, and heard no more.

Cross-examined. When I came in, his door was shut—when, she came in she was jawing about a shilling, quarrelling with him—when I came on my landing she quarrelled with me, and wanted to fight me, and used bad language—I did not hear her burst open her door—I had known her about four years—she was not always living with him; at that time she had been, and she had been away from him—she did not tell me that he had been to sea three times to avoid her—I know he has left her, and she went to his parents' house, in Chelsea, to find what had become of him—she told me she had had a month for breaking their windows—when drunk she was very quarrelsome—she was generally the worse for liquor of an evening—she never came home till the public-houses had shut—she used very bad language towards him—she flew at him and scratched his face; all he did was to put her on one side—the money she got she spent in drink and clothing—she told me she had spoken to two men to give Cripps a good hiding—that was two years ago last Christmas—on January 25th I was at the Pulham Bridge public-house with her, drinking at the bar—the prisoner passed by, and she threw a glass at him—in spite of air this he appeared fond of her, but she was very jealous of him—the baby was about six months old—I never saw the prisoner raise his hand to the deceased—she has actually pawned the coat off his back to get drink.

AMY GODWIN . I live at 36, and am deputy of 37, William Street, where the prisoner and deceased lodged—I knew her by the name of Biles—on the night in question, about a quarter to one, I was in 36, and was aroused by a noise in 37—I got up and went in—I heard Maddigan and deceased quarrelling—they were swearing at each other in loud voices—the deceased was in her own room, with her door shut—I knocked at her door and told her to be quiet, and I told Maddigan to go to her own room; she was sitting on the stairs and shouting at the deceased—I followed her up to her own room—I then came downstairs and knocked at the deceased's door, telling her to hold her noise till the morning—I heard no other voice than hers—I then went back to bed—I stayed there from three to five minutes—in about ten minutes I heard a noise like a smash of china in No. 3 room in 37, on the ground floor, the deceased's room, which is on the same floor as mine in 36—I got up and dressed, and I heard a noise like a gurgling in the throat—I went out to the gate and saw the police sergeant—I said something to him, and took him to the prisoner's room—I saw blood on the ground—he was tracing the blood-stains—on going into the room I saw a great quantity of blood, the table upset, and everything disarranged and on the floor, and turning round, I saw the baby lying in a pool of blood on the floor—I saw a razor lying near the fireplace; a constable picked it up—the bed appeared to have been slept in—I saw some beer-cans on the front of the fireplace, and one at the back of the table, upset, and the table was on its side—I did not see any blood on the bed—I afterwards saw the prisoner in custody—he had on a coat and socks, but no waistcoat and no boots.

Cross-examined. The door of the room was fastened by a bolt and a lock—the door had been violently burst open; the staple was forced out, the lock was off, and we could not fasten it again; crockery was lying all over the place; I noticed a small broken earthenware milk jug, such as cream is sold in; it was usually kept in a cupboard at the far end of the room; it would hold about a gill—that was near the side of the bed—there were splashes of blood on the top of the jug, but not on the sides—there were three cups; all the crockery in the room had evidently been thrown about.

CHARLES GARNER . I live at 37, William Street, in a room on the ground floor, on the other side of the deceased's room—on the night of January 30th I heard her come home; she was calling Tom, and could not get in—there was no answer, and she kicked and banged, and burst it open—I heard her saying Tom, and asking the reason why the door was fastened against her—the prisoner was answering her back; I did not hear exactly what passed; while she was talking the woman above shouted down, and angry words passed between them, calling each other names; I heard Mr. Maddigan say, "Don't stand there arguing the point; go down and fight her"—she went down, and was still quarrelling when the deputy came in, and told them to be quiet—the next thing I heard was a smashing of crockery, and then the woman came out, and I heard a gurgling noise, and somebody going out of the street door, and a, few minutes after I heard the police whistle—I got up and went out, and a short distance from the house I saw the woman lying on the ground, about forty yards from the door; I went and had a look at her; she never spoke—before I heard the kicking at the door everything had been quiet

for twenty minutes or a quarter of an hour—I heard the woman cry out, "Tom, Tom, why did you fasten the door?"—I saw the door shortly after, it had been burst open; it was about a quarter of an hour or twenty minutes after Mrs. Goodwin came on the scene that I heard the smashing of crockery.

BEATRICE RICHMOND . I was passing along William Street the night this happened, about half-past one—I saw a woman come out of the gate of 37; she had no bonnet on; I heard a sound like one gargling the throat—as she got to the lamp-post I saw that she was bleeding very much—I saw her fall to the ground, and blood gushed out from the wound—I spoke to her; she did not answer; I called "Police," and two constables came.

JOHN WILLOUGHBY . I live at 11, William Street—on the night this occurred, about, half-past one, I was passing 37, and heard a smashing of crockery—I stood there for a few seconds, a minute or two, then I walked on, and as I walked on I saw a woman come out of 37—I looked back, hearing a noise; she turned to the right as she came out, and went towards Princes Road—I then saw the prisoner come out of the house; he passed me and turned to the left—I could not say whether he had a small hat on, or no hat; he had no boots on, he was, running—I followed him down the street, but lost sight of him; it was dark—I then went to the woman; she was lying on the path; I saw that her throat was cut, and blood was streaming from her; while I stood there I saw the prisoner cone up to the spot where the woman was lying—a constable was them then—the prisoner said, "Oh, here I am, copper; I did it; I hope she is dead"—and while he was going down the street I heard him say, "I have had my revenge"—he also said, "I should like to kiss somebody "; the child was brought out of the house—that was when he had given himself up to the police.

Cross-examined. There was quite a little crowd there then—it could not have been more than two minutes after I heard the smash of crockery that the woman ran out of the house, with her throat cut.

BENJAMIN EVERETT (Police Sergeant 47 X.) On the night of this occurrence I was with Sergeant Taylor in Princes Road, which adjoins William Street—I heard a woman's voice in William Street, and on going to the place I saw the deceased lying on the ground, with her throat cup and bleeding; she was about forty yards from the door of 37—the deputy of the lodging-house spoke to me, and I followed her into the ground-floor room on the left—it was in confusion—the table was upset; blood had spurted all over the room; there was a large pool near the side of the bed, and a child of about six months was sitting near it—after seeing the room I went back to the woman, and while I was with her the prisoner came up from Princes Road—there were a few persons round—he said, "Here I am, copper; 1 done it; I hope she dies; I will take a bit of rope for her; I paid 4s. out of my pocket through her yesterday; I meant to do ft, the cow"—I took him into custody—op the war to the station we had to pass 37, and the deputy came out with a child in her arms—he asked to kiss the child, which I allowed him to do—at the station he was charged with the murder—I handed him over to the inspector, and went back to the woman—the prisoner appeared to be perfectly sober.

Cross-examined. The station is about 200 yards from where I arrested

him—I think he was in the station nearly an hour before he was charged—I left him in charge of the inspector—he had marks of violence on both sides of his face; they had blood on them—he was wearing a tie round his neck—I saw blood on the shirt-front.

FREDERICK TAYLOR (Police Sergeant X.) I was in company with Everett, I heard a voice calling "Police"—I went to the spot where the woman was lying, and, from what I saw, I went for Dr. Jackson—I afterwards went to the prisoner's room at 37; it was all in confusion and blood, one plate was broken—on the floor I picked up this razor, about a foot from the fender; it was wet with blood—I ran to the station; there the prisoner saw me looking at the razor—he said, "Let's look"—I held it up, and he said, "That's what I did it with"—I afterwards gave it to the doctor, also a scarf which the prisoner was wearing, it had marks of blood on it.

JOHN FENEMORE (Inspector X.) On January 31st I was in charge at Notting Hill Station at 1.35 in the early morning, when the witness Richmond came 'and made a statement to me, in consequence of which I sent the ambulance to William Street—about five minutes to two the prisoner was brought to the station and placed in the reserve room—I told him to sit on the seat—he said, "All right, Mr. Inspector, I am fined 4s., you know; she accused me of hitting the youngster with a shovel; I have had a bit of my own back; I have cut her throat, and I hope she is dead, that's all"—I had taken that charge when he was brought in for disorderly conduct.

Cross-examined. The moment he came in he made that statement—when charged he said, "I reserve my defence,"

GEORGE KING (Inspector X.) I was present when the prisoner was charged—I searched him; while being searched he said, "There is only one thing I hope, and that is that she is stiff and dead before I get the rope round my neck"—that was after he had been charged; after he said, "I reserve my defence."

Cross-examined. I have made inquiries about him—at the time of this matter he was in work—I have been to his employers; they give him an excellent character as a workman, and steady and sober when at work—I have made inquiries about the deceased—I did not know her personally; she has been convicted of breaking the windows of his mother's house, and on February 22nd, 1895, she was in prison six weeks for violently assaulting the prisoner with a poker, and on December 2nd, 1895, one month hard labour for assaulting his sister—I was informed by his foreman, and also by his master, that she had been there, and caused great annoyance and disturbance; so much so that they had to remove the prisoner into another building out of her sight—I was informed that he had gone to sea three times to avoid her; I have seen two of his discharges—she has frequently gone to his parents' house, when he was at sea, and kicked up a disturbance, because they would not tell her where he was—she was a very violent woman; I cannot get any one to say a word for her.

Re-examined. He has been guilty of assaulting her—she was about twenty-eight years of age.

THOMAS MOORE (143 L.) The prisoner was convicted in April, 1894,

of an assault on the deceased, and sentenced to two months' hard labour by Mr. Sheill at Westminster Police-court.

Cross-examined. I was present—the woman appeared in Court with bandages round her head—after the charge I saw her go into a public-house, and when she came out the bandages were off, half an hour afterwards; her head was then all right.

HERBERT ALEXANDER JACKSON . I am Divisional Surgeon of police at 11, Portland Road, Notting Hill—at two a.m. of January 31st I was called to William Street by Sergeant Taylor; I saw the deceased lying on the footway dead—I had her removed to the Police-station yard, and subsequently to the mortuary; I only made a superficial examination at that time afterwards; I made a full one—on the right side of the neck there was an incised wound eight inches long, dividing the jugular vein, and nearly through the carotid artery; on the left side of the neck there was an incised wound five inches long not touching the vesseles—on the right hand there was an incised wound on the ring finger, and on the middle finger on the back, each about an inch long—on the left side of the head there were two bruises—the long, deep wound was the fatal one—the woman bled very quickly to death from such a wound; it was not self-inflicted—it was not a back-handed wound—I examined the shirt, scarf and socks handed to me by the police—on the shirt there was a quantity of blood in front; I also saw the razor with marks of blood on it.

Cross-examined. It would be a gross exaggeration to say that her body was covered with bruises, the only bruises I saw were on the scalp; those might have been caused by a fall.

By the COURT. I did not see the prisoner at that time; I saw him at the inquest on February 14th, and before the Magistrate—he had some-scratches on the side of the face, and on the neck, apparently done, with a nail; they were healing—there were some marks on his throat, as if he had had an abscess which was healing, no marks of violence; there were two small marks, they were not such as could be made by a sharp instrument; they were old wounds healed up, they were scars.

MRS. MADDIGAN (Re-called.) The crockery in the deceased's room was kept on the top of the cupboard.

BENJAMIN EVERETT (Re-called.) I think there were a few pieces of potato and fried fish in the room.

GUILTY of Manslaughter.— Seven Years' Penal Servitude.

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