16th October 1882
Reference Numbert18821016-951
VerdictGuilty > with recommendation
SentenceImprisonment > hard labour

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951. JOSEPH FELTHAM (41, a blind man) was indicted for and charged on the Coroner's Inquisition with, the manslaughter of Sophia Swallow.

MR. HURRELL Prosecuted.

EMILY LYNE . I am the wife of William Lyne, a French polisher, of

20, John Street, North Street, Marylebone, and am the daughter of the deceased Sophia Swallow—I was shown her body, which I recognised—I heard that she was living with the prisoner—my father is in the workhouse.

EMILY RUSSELL . I live at 138, St. John Street Road—the deceased was my sister—I last saw her on Saturday week, the day of her death—I can't remember the date—she was then quite well, but not quite sober—she was a woman of intemperate habits—I saw her and the prisoner together the evening before in the street—they were on friendly terms then—I did not see him again till the Sunday evening, when he came to tell me of her death—he said they were both the worse for drink on the Saturday evening; that they went home and he got her upstairs and left her on the landing, he could not get her any farther; that he went out for a short time; when he came back he found her in the doorway or passage on the other landing, and nearly fell over her; thinking she was asleep, and being very much the worse for liquor, he went to bed; early in the morning he awoke, and finding her not in bed, he went into the passage and found her still there, as he thought, still asleep, and he dragged her into the room—I asked if he had struck her—he said no; that when he got up between 7 and 8 o'clock he began to think something was wrong, and he called up another person in the house and then found she was dead—I found her lying on the floor dead when I went to the house.

ANN EMMETT . I am the wife of Charles Emmett, a labourer, of 7, Little Bath Street, Clerkenwell—I have lived there five years—the prisoner and deceased lived there about eighteen months—they occupied a back room, first floor—on Saturday, 7th October, between 9 and 9. 80, I met them on the stairs coming up as I was going down—I said "Who's there?"—she said "It's me, Ann, don't be cross"—I said "All right, go in and go to bed"—after that the prisoner came and asked me to assist her upstairs—I said "No," on account of his having accused me of taking 3s. that he lost—I saw him strike her on the stairs three times with this stick (produced) on the back of the head—he held the thin end of it and struck her with the other—after that I saw her outside the door that leads to their room, asleep as I thought; I had seen her worse for drink than she was then—she said "Oh, you old beast, you old brute"—he went out and left her on the landing—I heard nothing after that—the prisoner is quite blind—he was not sober—she was worse than he was—she was going up the stairs on her hands and knees, and he was pushing her up and striking her with the stick.

MARY ANN CLYNES . I live at 7, Little Bath Street, Clerkenwell, and am the wife of Joseph Clynes, a labourer—I saw the deceased on 7th October, at 20 minutes past 9, at the Ben Jonson public-house—she had been drinking, but not a great deal; she was all right in other respects—I saw her again on Sunday morning, when the prisoner came and knocked at my door.

JAMES THORNTON GILBERT . I am a licentiate of the Apothecaries' Company, of 79, Gray's Inn Road—I was sent for on Sunday morning, 8th October, between 9 and 10, to 7, Little Bath Street—I found the deceased lying on the floor quite dead; she was on her left side, her head resting on a pillow—I think she had been dead from four to five hours—she was perfectly

cold; rigor mortis had sent in; her fingers were flexed, the nails slightly discoloured, her face very much congested—blood and froth was oozing from the mouth and nose—there was a mark of a bruise on the upper lip, another on the lower lip—there was a small swelling about the back part of the head, behind the left ear, a recent blow, administered during life—I should say all the bruises and marks were caused before death—I saw a pool of blood in the passage about the size of the palm of my hand—on a post-mortem examination I found a clot of blood under the scalp immediately corresponding to a swelling on the top of the head, and another clot actually pressing on the brain—on examining the brain, which was fairly healthy, I found in both lateral ventricles blood and serum, and a small clot of blood in both—the cause of death was apoplexy, stimulated by the blows on the head, but the apoplexy might have come on without the blows in her condition; she being a great drinker, it might have attacked her at any moment—she was in a highly diseased state all through—I don't think that tumbling about on the stairs would have caused the injuries I saw; in my opinion it must have been direct violence.

WILLIAM HENRY DAY , M. R. C. S., of Chapel Street, Pentonville. I was examined before the Coroner—I saw the body of the deceased at the inquest—I have heard Mr. Gilbert's evidence—in my opinion the cause of death was traumatic apoplexy; that is, apoplexy from violence as distinguished from spontaneous apoplexy—the blows on the head are quite sufficient to account for the rupture of the vessels at the base of the brain.

The prisoner in his defence denied striking the deceased, but suggested that being drunk she must ham fatten, and so received the injuries.

GUILTY. Recommended to mercy by the Jury. Six Months' Hard Labour.

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