16th August 1858
Reference Numbert18580816-784
VerdictGuilty > unknown

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784. MICHAEL MURPHY (26), was indicted for feloniously killing and slaying Eliza Simpson. He was also charged on the Coroner's inquisition with the like offence.

MESSRS. SLEIGH and M. J. O'CONNELL conducted the Prosecution.

ANTONIO MARTINE . I live at 5, Keate-street, Spitalfields, and am a labourer—about 4 o'clock on Tuesday morning, 6th July, I heard cries of murder which roused me from my sleep—I sleep on the ground-floor—it was a woman's voice—I got up and went upstairs to the second landing—I there found the prisoner kicking Eliza Simpson—I had known the prisoner by living in the neighbourhood, and also Simpson; she lived with a man named Fitzgerald in the same house with me; they occupied the garret—Simpson was lying down, and the prisoner was standing up; I saw him kick her—he wears a wooden leg—there was no candle there—it was light enough to see, it was 4 o'clock—I saw him kick her again at the back of her head; that was with the wooden leg—while he was doing it, Simpson cried "Murder"—I said to him, "You will kill the woman,"—he said, "If you come near, you black b—, I will serve you the same,"—he made another kick right on her left eye—she succeeded in getting up and came down stairs, holding him by the shirt, to give him in charge to the police—he cried, "Let go my shirt,"—she said, no, she would give him in charge of the police,—she walked down the stairs; she did not fall at all; she walked down from the second landing to the first—he threw her down the other

landing—I did not see him throw her down—I saw her after she was down stairs, in the corner of the yard, and I put on my clothes and ran for a policeman—I did not see one, and I came back again and saw the prisoner standing in the corner kicking the woman—I said, "You are kicking the woman again,"—he ran after me, and I ran in doors and shut the door—I saw Simpson again about 8 o'clock that morning; she came into my room, and sat down and talked to me; she was then very bad indeed, her eye was very swelled—she complained of pain at the back part of her head; she held her head in her hand—I had seen her the day before—there was nothing the matter with her head then—she died on the following Monday.

Cross-examined by MR. COOPER. Q. Are you single or married? A. Married—I never saw the deceased in liquor—she was in the habit of drinking—I never saw her tumble about—she was not ill before she had the kick—she had a very slight black eye on the Monday; it had been well five weeks.

MOSES DANIELS . I am a general dealer, and live at 8, Keate-street—at 4 o'clock on the morning in question, I was in bed, and heard a shriek of murder in a woman's voice—I got up in my shirt and went to the street door, and I saw the prisoner give the deceased three very hard hits with his fists—she was standing at the time, and he knocked her down with the third blow—when she fell, he kicked her in the face, and said, "You b—cow, take that;" the kick was with his wooden leg, he had no shoe on the other foot and no coat on; the sleeves of his shirt were tucked up—I can't tell rightly in what part of the face it caught her, but as she turned over on the right side, he kicked her on the left side of the face, and she cried, "Oh my eye is out;" he gave her two kicks—I was not above ten or twelve yards from them, I was undressed, I went in to put on my clothes, and when I came out again the prisoner was gone, and the woman was removed to her own apartment.

Cross-examined. Q. You saw him do this? A. Yes, and she afterwards lay on the ground senseless—I did not see her seize him by the hair of his head—I came out on hearing the shriek of murder and police.

RICHARD FITZGERALD . I work at the docks—the deceased lived with me as my wife, and had done so for twelve years—we occupied a room, at 12, Keate-street, Spitalfields—on Tuesday, 6th July, I left home about 2 in the morning, when I passed the Swan public-house, I heard the deceased's voice there talking to somebody, but I did not see her—on the previous Monday, up to the time we went to bed, she was in good health—there was nothing the matter with one of her eyes, only a small effect of a blow, that had been done some weeks previously; it was not a black eye, only a small stain; it was not black at all, it was a little bloodshot, nothing perceptible; with that exception she was as well on the Monday as I am now—I returned home between 7 and 8 on Tuesday evening—her head was then swollen to that degree, that one eye was completely shut up, and the left jaw was swelled almost like a mummy, as if it was fractured, and her face was very much disfigured—she complained to me about the back part of her head—she was very bad from the Tuesday till the Saturday night, almost as bad as she could be, and on the Saturday night I and Mrs. Daniels took her to the hospital—she had advice there—I brought her back home again, and she died on the following Monday morning—while she was ill, she complained mostly of the back part of her head, she used to put her hand up to her head; she also complained of her jaw, she could hardly eat anything; it caused her great pain to open her mouth, it flew to the back part of her head.

Cross-examined. Q. Had she not before this happened complained of a blow on the eye? A. That was some weeks previously; I do not know how that was done, the slight mark I speak of was the remains of a black eye.

SARAH COLEMAN . I am a widow, and keep the White Swan public-house in Keate-street, Spitalfields—on Tuesday morning, 6th July, between 1 and 2, the deceased, Eliza Simpson, was in front of my bar—she had three half-pints of porter—she left when I closed the house; she was then quite well and hearty—she had the old relics of a black eye, that had happened five weeks ago: with that exception, she had not the least mark on her face—I saw the prisoner at my house that morning—he came about a quarter-past 1—he stopped until 2, when I closed the house—towards 4 o'clock that morning, I heard a cry of murder, and I saw the prisoner come out of 5, Keate-street, followed by Simpson—she said, "You vagabond, I will stick to you; I will give charge of you"—he replied, making use of a bad word, "If you don't leave off, I will pay you again"—she followed him to the end of the court, and held hold of him—he was in his shirt sleeves, for he had left his coat and boots at my house; likewise his fiddle—I looked out of a side window and said to him, "Leave off, don't injure the woman; what have you been up to?"—he went round in front of the house (it is a corner house) she still followed him, to give charge of him, continuing to lay hold of his shirt, and he said, "If you don't leave go, I will pay you again"—when they got in front of the house, he hit her—she had got hold of his hair—she fell; he was on the top of her, and he hit her twice and kicked her on the left side of the head with his wooden leg; she remained on the ground after he had kicked her, between 5 and 10 minutes, with her arm on her head, quite insensible—I went to the back window to see if I could see a policeman: I saw one in the Commercial-road, but not within call—in the meantime, the prisoner stood over at the opposite side, apparently in a very great rage: he was jumping about, and his brother went and knocked at the door for him to be let in—he lodged nearly opposite—the woman was taken in to 7, and I went in to bed—when I got up in the morning, I went to see how she was; I found her in a very bad state, dreadfully bruised and beaten—she complained dreadfully of her head—she had a bruise on her jaw and a serious black eye, and she said she could not see out of it—that was the left eye: it was the right eye that had the remains of the black on it—I saw her every day during the week, and three or four times a day—she continued to complain dreadfully of her head, and said she should go mad with it; she had it bound up, and had a lotion to foment it with.

Cross-examined. Q. Was she in the habit of coming to your house? A. Yes; for the last four years—the prisoner was seldom in my house—he was a fiddler—he and the deceased were not drinking together that evening—she was not a woman of loose character—they were friendly: they were on the greatest terms of friendship, I mean, as to speaking merely: there was no animosity—on the 11th, the night before she died, she came to my house, and brought some things to leave, as she had no money; she had one half-quartern of rum; she said she thought it would lull her pain—she came herself, and her husband took her upstairs; it was as late as 11 o'clock—while she was in front of the bar, on the morning of the 6th, there was another woman there who struck her, but she was not hurt: it was not a fight—the back part of her head came against the partition, but it was not hurt in the least—I would not have minded having two or three such knocks—

she? did not complain of it—the woman struck her with her fist—it might have been two blows: they had been quarrelling a little before—I was not examined at the inquest—I was subpœnaed here—the prisoner's brother was there as a witness—he is here

MR. SLEIGH. Q. When was this altercation between the women? A. Between 1 and 2—it was in front of the bar—I was present the whole time and I forbid it—this was before she was struck by the prisoner—I closed my house at 2, and went to bed, and it was about half-past 3, as near as I can tell, when I saw the deceased again—she remained in the house half an hour after the altercation was over—during that time, she did not complain of any injury that she had received from the other woman.

CAROLINE FARNSBURY . I am single, and live at 3, Keate-street—about 4 o'clock on the morning of 6th July I was in bed, and heard screams of murder—it was a woman's voice, it came from 5, which is pretty well opposite 3—there are no windows in the casement—I can see the landing of 5 from my room—I saw the prisoner and the deceased on the landing—he had got hold of her by the hair pf her head, and he punched her three times in the face and knocked her down, and after he had knocked her down, he kicked her—she still kept screaming out, "Oh, you have murdered me!"—I told him to leave off abusing her, or I should go and fetch a policeman; he said, "If you come down, I will serve you the same," and made use of bad language—he then came down stairs, and she followed him, saying she would give him in charge—they came down the street, and I shut my window, and saw no more of them.

JAMES EDMONDS . I am a surgeon at 2, Spital-square—on Monday morning, 12th July, very early, I was called by the police to go to 5, Keate-street, to see the body of Eliza Simpson—I found her lying on the bed undressed, and quite dead, but warm—I made a superficial examination of her head and face—there were three principal bruises over the head and face, one over the left temple and eye, that was the most severe; there was a large one on the lower jaw, on the left side, and one on the right upper lip—there were also slight bruises about the body, nothing of any importance, nor were there any broken bones—I examined the body to see, but could discover none—forty hours afterwards, I made a post mortem examination—the viscera generally were perfectly healthy—I opened the head; on raising the scalp I found the flesh beneath the discolouration on the left temple, bruised down to the bone, and infiltrated with blood—I removed the skull cap in the usual way; I found it remarkably thin, I don't think I ever saw one so thin—the membranes of the brain were somewhat congested, but there was nothing remarkable about them—the substance of the brain was perfectly healthy throughout, but lying on it and compressing it, was a large coagulum of blood, corresponding to the bruised temple—the skull was not fractured anywhere—the effusion of blood on the brain might be caused by a blow or blows from a wooden leg—there was also a large quantity of fluid blood effused beneath the membranes of the brain, floating over the left side of the brain—blows from a wooden leg would produce those results and appearances—blows on other parts of the head might possibly conduce to those appearances without manifesting any external injury; but I should think that not at all likely, for this reason, that where this blood was found there is a small artery that supplies the membranes of the brain with blood, that artery enters the brain at its base, behind the eye, and runs up in a groove through the bone in such a way that it is sometimes lacerated or ruptured by the springing of the

skull, without a blow, and therefore that might take place from a blow on any part of the hemisphere—I do not expect that was the case here, I think it was the blow on the temple—the coagulum I saw corresponded with the blow on the temple, and this vessel is beneath where the coagulum was—I examined the back part very carefully, but saw no trace of any blow or any injury whatever—I certainly did not examine the scalp at the back particularly; I did not dissect it, but there was nothing there of any importance—I ascribed the death to the injury which produced the discolouration on the left temple, there was nothing else observable in any other part of the body to account for death.

Cross-examined. Q. Seeing the external bruise and seeing the coagulum of blood inside, you conjecture that the blow inflicted externally, produced the blood, and consequently death? A. Yes—a head falling against a piece of wood might have produced the external injury, or falling down stairs, or falling upon any hard substance—I do not think a blow from a woman's hand in fighting would do it—it is difficult to say how long before death the injury might be inflicted, and the coagulum formed; it might be three or four, or two days, or possibly a couple of weeks.

PORTER WILLIAM DUNAWAY (Policeman, H 129). I took the prisoner into custody on 13th July, at Gravesend—I told him he was charged with causing the death of Eliza Simpson in Spitalfields—he said, "Very well."

MR. COOPER, for the defence, called.

JOHN MURPHY . I am the prisoner's brother, and live in Lower Keate-street, next to the White Swan public-house—on Monday night, 5th July, I went to bed about 9 o'clock, quite sober, with the hopes of going to work next morning at 6—I was called up about 1 o'clock, and I went and had part of some beer with my brother, a man named Butcher, and other parties at the White Swan—Eliza Simpson was there; she was in a state of drunkenness in front of the bar, smoking a pipe; she pulled me about sundry times—I left about 3 o'clock, or thereabouts—before I left I saw a woman take Simpson by the hair of the head with her right hand, and with her left knock her head continually against the front of the wainscoating of the bar-parlour—I could not say how many times she did it, but they were repeated blows in the face and head—Simpson struggled with her till she got free—I had known her for a long time, she was continually given to liquor, in fact, she has scarcely ever been free from black eyes since I have known her—she had the remains of one then—I saw that done, by a man who lives with the landlady of the house, and a man named Butcher, knocking her about in front of the bar; she had caught hold of the man by the hair of his head—she was in the habit of pulling people about in that manner when she was drunk, and the men were both striking her—When I left the White Swan, I went home to bed—I was called up again by my wife about 4 o'clock—I then saw my brother and the deceased at the corner of Keate-street, she had hold of him by the left arm of his shirt and the hair of his head, in a stooping position; and he made a blow at her; before that he said to her, "If you dont leave go of me, I shall strike you;" she would not, and he struck her, I believe in the mouth—I did not see him strike her any more—he made an attempted blow, but I don't believe he struck her—he then recovered himself, pulled some halfpence out of his pocket, and said they wanted to rob him—I said to him, "Now I think you have been in that company long enough, get away out of it"—I had seen her the week previously—3 or 4 in the morning was her time to go to bed.

GUILTY .— Confined Twelve Months.

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