16th September 1878
Reference Numbert18780916-826
VerdictGuilty > unknown

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826. THOMAS SMITHERS (31) was indicted for, and charged on the Coronor's Inquisition with, the wilful murder of Amy Judge.

MESSRS. STRAIGHT and MEAD conducted the Prosecution; and MR. ST. AUBYN the Defence.

SARAH WHEELER . I am a widow, and live at 30, Cross Street, Battersea—the deceased, Amy Judge, was my daughter—she was about 29 years of age—between 9 and 10 years ago she married a man of the name of Judge—she lived with him some time—he was convicted, and served a term of two years' imprisonment—I think that was two years after their marriage; it must be about six years ago—before his conviction she had two children by him, who are alive now—during the time Judge was in prison she formed the acquaintance of a man named Hunt—she lived with him as his wife, but. not till Judge came out of prison—when Judge did come out, they lived together again as man and wife—before that Hunt had left the country for New Zealand—she and Judge remained together for about five months, and he was then convicted again—during his second imprisonment my daughter formed the acquaintance of the prisoner, and she afterwards lived with him at 30, Cross Street, Battersea—I occupied a room in the house—Mr. and

Mrs. Nansen were lodgers in the house, and my daughter's children also lived there—the prisoner was employed at Wood's Hotel, Furnival's Inn, as scullion—on Saturday, 20th July, he was away from work—in the afternoon my daughter went to the City to take her machine to be repaired, and the prisoner went to the boat-pier to meet her; they came home together with Hunt about 5 o'clock—Hunt stayed with them for about two hours—they had a glass of ale—my daughter said she had met Hunt in the City, and she had brought him home—when they came in together she said "Here is an old friend, mother"—that was the first time I had seen him since he had left for New Zealand—the prisoner did not appear to like his being there he seemed rather cross about it—he did not say anything then—my daughter said she should take her little girl as far as London Bridge with Hunt and Smithers, and they all left together about 7 o'clock—in about two hours and a half Smithers returned alone—I said "Have you not gone with them?"—he said "No, they did not want me"—I said "What nonsense, you ought to have gone with them"—he said "No other man shall ever have her, I will do for her; I will have my revenge"—he said he had left them on the platform, that they wanted to take a ticket for him, but he did not go with them, they went one way and he the other, he went to Ludgate Hill—he said that Amy had given him a two-shilling piece, I think it was—he said very little that evening—he said again that he would do for her, no other man should ever have her—he remained in during the remainder of the night—he was very restless, very; out of one room into the other—I said "She was waiting, you may depend, somewhere, and lost all conveyance home"—he said that she was with Hunt—I tried to persuade him that she was not, that she had got her child with her—at 2 o'clock I went to bed—next morning he was still in a restless state—he used the same words, that he would do for her, that he would have his revenge—I offered him the newspaper to pass away the time, saying "Not that there is anything cheering in it, there are so many murders"—he said a great many people brought it on themselves—about 11 o'clock my daughter came back with the child and Hunt—she said that she had stayed with Mr. Hunt's sister, and that she and her little girl had slept together, that they had company, and it was too late for any conveyance home, and there fore they had slept there—the prisoner said "I don't believe it"—I said of course I thought it was quite right, she had her little girl with her and they slept together—I then left the room and went into the back parlour; I think the prisoner remained in the front parlour—Hunt only remained to have some ale together, he did not to stay dinner, he left at 2 o'clock—they sat conversing together one part of the time while I was there about New Zealand, but I was preparing dinner, and did not remain in the room long—Hunt and the prisoner talked together—after Hunt left we had dinner, and I then cleared the table and went into the back parlour, leaving Smithers and my daughter alone in the front parlour.—about 4 o'clock my daughter came into the room where I was, followed by the prisoner—to the best of my recollection he said "What do you intend to do. Amy?" she said "Oh, don't bother, mother wishes to go to sleep," or "don't want to be annoyed," or something to that effect—they then left the room together—about 10 minutes afterwards Smithers came into my room and said "Where is Amy?"—I said "Gone upstairs, I suppose"—he left the room—I did not hear him go up, but in less than 10

minutes after that, it might be seven or eight minutes, I heard some dreadful screams coming from the bedroom above the room where I was—I went up and knocked at the door and tried to get in, but could not—I called for Mr. Nansen to come and burst the door open—I heard the door unlock, and my daughter fell into my arms, streaming with blood, and saying "He has killed me; he has killed me, mother"—I did not see the prisoner—I called to Mr. Nansen to assist me into her room with my daughter, and when we got a few steps further she said "He has murdered me, mother;" she never spoke after that; she died in about a quarter of an hour—when I found the dying state she was in I sent for the doctor and the police.

Cross-examined. Up to this time my daughter and the prisoner always appeared to live very comfortably together—he had been living with her in this house nearly three years, and the children also; I lived with her on account of the dear children; he was very kind to the children too.

SARAH NANSEN . I am the wife of Joseph Nansen, and lodged at 30, Cross Street with my husband—on the Sunday afternoon I heard some screams and cries for assistance from Mrs. Wheeler—my husband and I both rushed up—when the bedroom door was opened I saw the prisoner come out of the room—he pushed behind Mrs. Wheeler and went downstairs—I then saw the deceased come and stagger into her mother's arms; she said, "He has killed me, mother, he has killed me"—after the prisoner went downstairs I heard the door slam—I helped to take the deceased to my room, and went to fetch a doctor—I did not get one; they were not at home—the police fetched one—as I went down I saw a knife lying at the foot of the stairs—I did not touch it; I saw the policeman pick it up.

FREDERICK HAYTER (Policeman W 92). On Sunday afternoon, 21st July, about 5.30, I was called to 30, Cross Street, by Mrs. Nansen—at the bottom of the stairs she pointed out a knife to me—I produce it—I went upstairs and saw the deceased; she was then all but dead—the knife was afterwards handed to Dr. Bond in the same state I found it—there was fresh blood on it at the time.

SAVILLE JAMES COOMBES . I am a M. R. C. S., and practise at 481, Wands worth Road—on Sunday afternoon, 21st July, between half past four and five, I was called to 30, Cross Street—I there found the woman lying on the floor dead—on the right fore-arm there was a wound some four inches in length; it severed all the arteries, and cut right down to the bone—that one wound was of itself quite sufficient to cause death—I also found eight or nine punctured wounds on her back.—I did not at that time notice any wounds in front; that came out on the post-mortem examination—I did not make that examination myself; I was present; Mr. Tandy made it—the wounds I saw were such as might be caused by such an instrument as this knife—they were of various depth.

GEORGE HAZELL (Police Sergeant W 18). I went to 30, Cross Street, and found the deceased lying on the floor on her back fully dressed; that was after the doctor had arrived—the back of her dress was torn—the body was unclothed in my presence and I received the clothes, I kept possession of them and have them here, they were all saturated with blood—I found marks on them where the knife had gone through, front and back, there were several in the chemise—I noticed the wound on the arm, I found a corresponding cut through the dress—I examined the bedroom and noticed

blood on the carpet, bed and mattress, and everything was wet with blood.

GEORGE TANDY . I am a M.R.C.S., and practise at 24, Queen's Crescent, Battersea—I made a post-mortem of the deceased on Monday the 22nd, or Tuesday, I had seen her on the Sunday—there was a large wound on the forearm, cut right through to the bone—on the right shoulder there was a wound extending down to the bone about an inch in length, there was a wound in the stomach which penetrated into the peritoneal cavity, that was directed obliquely, so that it ran nearly or about an inch in depth—there were five other wounds in the back, one directed into the right armpit was about an inch in length and two inches deep, there was another on the right bladebone, and another on the left bladebone, both deep wounds—there were two other wounds, one on either side of the spine, one half an inch deep and the other an inch—those were all the wounds—they might all have been produced by this knife—the main cause of death was the wound on the forearm, the others would certainly assist, from great loss of blood.

WILLIAM POUND (Police Inspector H). On 22nd July I was on duty at Leman Street Police-station—the prisoner came there about a quarter to 10 in the morning—he said "I have come to give myself into custody"—I said "In custody, what for?" he said "I believe ou are looking for a man named Smithers"—I said "Is your name Smithers?"—he said "Yes;" I called him round into the office and searched him, and in his pockets I found two white cotton pocket-handkerchiefs, one stained with blood, and two pieces of paper of no importance—he asked me to give him the hand kerchiefs back—I declined—he said "I have been walking about since Wednesday morning, give me a drop of water—I am very hungry"—I said "Will you have some coffee and bread and butter?"—he said "No, a drop of water and a crust will do"—I sent for a twopenny loaf and gave to him, with some water—I afterwards gave him into the custody of Inspector Easterman—he said nothing about the murder.

ALFRED EASTERMAN (Police Inspector W). I am stationed at Clapham—on 22nd July I received the prisoner from the last witness and conveyed him to Clapham Police-station—he made no remark—he was told the charge at the station by Inspector Pound, the charge of murdering Amy Judge—he was undressed in my presence, and I delivered the clothes to Dr. Bond.

THOMAS BOND . I am a Fellow of the R.C.S., of 50, Parliament Street—I am lecturer on forensic medicine at Westminster Hospital—among other things I received from Inspector Easterman a shirt—I found blood spots on the wrist and lower part of the sleeve, some small spots higher up the sleeve, also a spot of blood on the breast—I examined this knife micro scopically and chemically, and found undoubted stains of blood on it.

The following Witnesses were called for the Defence.

MARY ANN WALKER . I am the prisoner's grandmother; my first husband was his grandfather; his name was Thomas Smithers—he was taken away from home in 1839 to St. Pancras Infirmary—he went to Hanwell in the early part of 1840, and died there on Palm Sunday, in April—Joseph Smithers was my son by my first husband, and the prisoner's uncle—he had been in Colney Hatch for two or three months; he was taken out and went to Westbourne Park, and took a business there, and when he was going to Gower Street he threw himself under a train at Hammersmith—the prisoner's

father was Thomas—my husband's brother, the prisoner's Uncle John, died at Colney Hatch—that is three members of the family who have been mad.

Cross-examined. The prisoner's father died nearly twenty years since; he was rather strange in his manner; he was never in confinement; he had to be held down when he was near dying; he died of chronic bronchitis—there were three other children besides the prisoner, two girls and one boy; they are alive—I have got a little grandson only 8 years of age who is very strange in his manner; he is my son's child; it runs in the male line—the prisoner's mother is alive and is here—the last time I saw the prisoner was last summer—I did not know that he was living in Cross Street; I had lost sight of him—he never came nigh me; I had seen very little of him before that.

By the COURT. I noticed that he very often looked very strange and bad, staring at you; I used to feel rather timid of him, but of course I did not think at the moment of anything wrong—I knew of his being ill ever so many times with fits; I have seen him have fits at my daughter-in-law's before he went to Russia—that was some years ago—I have seen him in fits more than once; he would sit on the sofa in the parlour and would jump up and go into another room and beat himself about very fearful; he would fall down in a fit and foam at the mouth; I have seen that more than once—it came on suddenly.

ELIZABETH SMITHERS . I am the prisoner's mother—he is 31 years of age—he went to India, I believe, in 1863, and remained there about twelve months—when he came back he had four or five fits a day—he knocked himself about very much—I had to have four men to hold him—he fell and lay for a very long time afterwards unconscious—he would sleep a very long time afterwards—he remained at home about nine or ten months, because he was subject to these fits—he afterwards went to Russia about nine years ago—he stayed there about twelve months—he went as an upholsterer on board a steamer, to do the cushions.

JAMES ROGERS . I am a coal merchant at Herne Bay—I know the prisoner—I knew him in 1869—he signed articles with me to go on a voyage to Calcutta in the steamship Hindostan—I signed as carpenter, and he as ordinary seaman—a man named Wallace Bell also signed—he is now at sea—the voyage lasted three months—during the voyage the prisoner was subject to fits—he had seven or eight during the passage—I have no idea what fits they were—his features were greatly distorted, and he was foaming at the mouth; his hands were clenched—when he had these fits we used to put cold water over him in buckets—it took three or four men to hold him—I saw him frequently after landing at Calcutta—he was living with me—he appeared to prefer solitude, giving way to lassitude—he was greatly affected by the climate—he used to wander about by himself—I have known him to be gone all day, and stay till night—at different times he stopped away more than a day—he had fits in Calcutta, the same sort as before—in 1870 I went to Russia with him in the same vessel from Hull to Cronstadt in the steamship Thomas Wilson—he had no fits during that voyage—I saw him in the same sort of fits three or four times while we were in Russia, but not quite so bad—he did not appear to be affected quite so much in the cold weather—I have lost sight of him for upwards of the last three years—I met him then in London quite casually.

Cross-examined. He was a passenger on the voyage to Russia—he went

to be employed as under-steward on the steamer on the Volga—I left him there—I was there nearly twelve months—I have no idea what he was doing when I saw him afterwards in London—he did not tell me—we merely had four or five minutes' conversation—we lived and slept in the same room in Calcutta.

CHARLES ARNELL . I live at Wood's hotel, Furnivals Inn, of which my father is the proprietor—I manage the business for him—the prisoner has been in our service as scullery man for two or three years past—he was always very sober and very temperate—he used to come by day and go home at night—he was at times exceedingly moody, although very obliging—he would at those times almost refuse to do his work—he seemed to be under the influence of something or other—on one occasion he asked my permission to leave—I said "I don't see anything the matter with you"—he said "I am perpetually being bothered by something"—I asked him what it was—he said that some spirit or other was annoying him—I told him it was ridiculous to suppose such things as that—he said he could not help it—on another occasion he asked leave to go and bury his mother, and I allowed him to go, and his mother is alive now—he also told the servants I had given him money in order to bury her—I never did so—I never took him to be thoroughly mad, but I thought him very very strange—he was a very good servant.

Cross-examined. His hours were from 7 o'clock in the morning till half past 8 o'clock at night—I did not know that he was living at Battersea—it was about 12 months ago that he said he was bothered by something—he said he was very much bothered by some spirit or other that seemed to be continually dodging him about—he did not say in what way, except by following him about, and he fancied it was always about him—the conversation about going to bury his mother was about six months ago—he was in my employ when this took place, but he had been absent for four days on account of indisposition; he did not come to work on the Wednesday before this happened; he wrote me a letter afterwards, saying he was not well—I have not got that letter, it simply said that he was not well, but he hoped to be able to resume work, shortly—he did not say what was the matter with him—I don't know on what day it was written, there was neither date or address on it; I think it was the day after he left, on the Thursday; I received it before the Saturday—his work was to clean the stewpans and such like, and he used to assist the vegetable maid at times if he liked; he was always a very handy man to assist in anything, he did his work pretty well.

By the COURT. I do not think he had any fits while with us, he had a fall off a stool and cut his head and was insensible for some two hours—that was about 15 months ago—it did not seem to leave any bad effects.

LOUISA BARRETT . I am employed at Wood's Hotel—I was in the kitchen there when the prisoner was scullery man—I had frequent opportunities of seeing him during the last two years and more—he was very kind and did everything that everybody asked him; he was a very willing chap—some times he was rather strange in his looks—he frightened me very often, he used to stare so and looked so funny at me, and I used to put my hand over his eyes and tell him not to do it because he frightened me—he once fell down and hurt his head, and was senseless for a long time—he was on a stool and he came over giddy, And fell on the back of his head—I can't

exactly remember how long ago that was—he very often complained of his head—he used to say to me "My head feels very queer lately; I think I am going wrong"—I used to say to him "Why do you feel like that?" and he said he did not know; he used to have the feeling come over him so, he did not know what was going to happen; something was going to happen, he had a nasty sensation, and he could not see, his eyes went dim very often—he was a very sober man—I only saw him tipsy once all the time he was there—I went away for a holiday and came back on 17th July—he then said he was not well; he felt very strange in his head, rather queer, very funny—that was on the Wednesday night, the last time I saw him—I asked what was the matter with him; he said he did not know, he felt bad—I told him to go and lie down on the bed if he was not well—he went home.

By the COURT. He had been absent twice before for about two days at a time, because he said he was not well, that he was giddy in the head—the fall he had was about twelve months ago; he was not laid up after it, he went home; he was lying in bed all day; he was not up to do any work—he came to work about 12 next day and went on working for some time—he had two falls and cut his head open; he was running along and caught his head against a zinc tank—that was after the other fall—it did not lay him up; he bled very much—I never saw him with a knife—the cut was a very deep cut indeed; he had the mark for a long time.

RICHARD CRESSWELL . I am a surgeon, and reside at East Moulsey—I have been consulted by Mr. Arnell's friends relative to this case, and have had an opportunity of examining the prisoner since he has been in custody—Mr. Sparke, the assistant-surgeon to the gaol of Newgate, was present at the time—I examined the prisoner, and had some conversation with him—I have heard the evidence to-day—it is a well-known recognised fact in medical science that insanity is hereditary; I mean of course sometimes, not always; it often skips one generation and develops itself in the next—I have heard the fits deposed to by his mother and by the sailor; I should say those were epileptic fits; they have all that character; I don't think the biting of the tongue was mentioned; that is usual—the foaming at the mouth, the violence, the falling down and requiring several persons to hold him, are consistent with epilepsy—persons who suffer from epileptic mania are very apt to commit sets of violence.

By the COURT. There certainly seemed a weakness of memory about the man—I did not talk to him about the actual murder; I asked him as to events that had taken place before, what he done in his life—I heard of some crime that he had committed; I alluded to that, and told him it would be to his advantage to tell me—he could not remember where he was living 14 years ago—I was speaking of the event I had heard of, which was supposed to have happened 14 years ago—I assumed that he was living at some particular place, and he said he could not remember it—did not talk to him about anything that occurred so recently as a year or a month ago—this interview took place yesterday—it lasted a quarter of an hour—he had no difficulty in understanding my questions—he seemed a man of very little education—his memory was a blank as to the offence I put to him; he said he had no recollection of what I was speaking about.


JOHN ROWLAND GIBSON . I am a M.R.C.S., and am surgeon of the gaol

of Newgate—the prisoner came into my charge on 31st July, and remained under my control and inspection down to 2nd September—I had daily opportunities of seeing him during that time—he did not to my know ledge suffer from any epileptic fit in that time, and I have no reason to believe that he did—I should of course have been informed if anything had been known of it—I observed nothing to lead me to the conclusion that he was other than a person of sound mind—my examination was nothing beyond mere observation from day to day—I had some long con versation with him once or twice—I was made acquainted with the grounds of the application for the postponement of the trial—I thought it right to inquire fully into that matter—I directed my mind to forming an opinion as to the condition of his—I noticed nothing abnormal about him, nothing particular—he complained of his head from time to time, not of any particular pain, but of certain sensations in his head; he said he felt as if his head-cap was being lifted off, a common sensation—I did not notice any particular weakness of memory; he gave me a very clear narrative of all that I asked him, all matters connected with his history up to the period of the event.

By the COURT. I went into the matter leading up to the act itself—I think I must not state what he said about that—of course it was my duty, in making an examination, to ascertain whether there was any delusion, or any indication of insanity, leading to the commission of the act—I do not think it is part of my duty to tell what he said; supposing he had given me a clear narrative of all that had occurred, showing a motive, or anything of that sort (I do not say it was so), it surely would not be my duty to disclose what he might regard as a confidential communication on a matter of that sort—if he disclosed to me indications of insanity I think it would be my duty to state at the trial such indications as I observed—I have been in the habit of giving evidence for many years, and when a matter touching the act itself has been spoken of, learned judges have continually said to me, "You must not speak of that"—I, of course, defer to your lordship, and will answer—I will state this with the greatest readiness, that so far as regards the act itself he said he did not recollect it—he told me that he had been living with this woman, and that she had made the acquaintance of some other person who had money, and she preferred living with him, and having the money which he had at his disposal, and that this man was brought home to the room where he was—I have nothing else particular to say—I did not examine him him with a view to record every question and answer—it was merely to enable me to judge whether his answers were consistent with reason, and, as far as I knew, with fact—that is really all the conversation I recollect bearing on the matter—I went into a good deal of his history, as to being in India and Russia, and how he had engaged—he recollected and told me all about that—he told me he had had some fits, and I understood him to say that he had been confined when he was in Russia.

JOHN SPARKE . I am a M.R.C.S.—I acted as medical attendant at the gaol of Newgate during the absence of Mr. Gibson, from 2nd September until yesterday—during that time the prisoner was under my daily notice—I saw nothing about him to lead me to the conclusion that he was a person of unsound mind—I was not informed that he suffered from epileptic fits during that period—I saw nothing of the kind—his health

appeared moderately good—he complained now and again of his head, and I treated him for slight biliousness—he is of a somewhat bilious temperament. By the COURT. I was present when Mr. Cresswell examined him—he was questioned as to something that was said to have occurred many years ago; he recollected the affair, but did not recollect in what town or in what year it occurred—beyond that I recollect no particular weakness of memory—they spoke especially with regard to epileptic fits; he spoke of his having had such fits in India; he had told me before that he had a sun stroke in India, which he then described as an epileptic fit—he said nothing at all about the present charge.

SARAH WHEELER (Re-examined). The day in question was the first time I had seen Hunt for some years—my daughter had not been much away just before that time—she could not have been living with Hunt just before this took place; I don't think she had seen him more than a week—he told us on the Saturday, the 20th, when he came back from New Zealand—I cannot tell when my daughter first saw him after his return—she had not seen him before the 20th; that was what she told me, I have no reason to think otherwise—she could not have spent a night with him before the 20th, I was at home in the same house with her every night the child who was with her was eight years of age on 19th August last—the prisoner had no fits while I was in the house, I am quite sure of that, I must have known it if he had—I never saw the knife before this sad affair.

WILLIAM ROBERT HUNT . I came back from New Zealand on 23rd June—I first saw the deceased on the Saturday previous to this affair—I do not recollect the date particularly.


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