Mary Hindes.
18th May 1768
Reference Numbert17680518-39
VerdictGuilty
SentenceDeath > death and dissection

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388. (M.) Mary, wife of John Hindes , otherwise Mary Jones , widow , was indicted for the wilful murder of Joseph Smith , an infant about the age of seventeen months, by drowning him in the Serpentine-river in Hyde-park ; she stood charged on the coroner's inquest for the said murder, April 17 . *

John Smith . I am father to the infant Joseph Smith , I live in Green-street, Grosvenor-square; on Sunday morning, the 17th of April, the prisoner brought half an ounce of green tea and half an ounce of bohea, and three pennyworth of crumpets, and breakfasted with my wife and I; after that I went out to carry my Lady, the Countess of Thanet, to whom I am chairman; I did not come home till about six in the evening; I asked my wife where Joe was; she said Molly (meaning the prisoner) has just carried him out to buy him a cheesecake; she thought I should be angry if she told me how long she had been gone with him; I went out again to fetch her from where she had dined; I was angry with my wife for letting the prisoner take him out: I came home again I believe about ten at night, the child was not come home; I and my wife, and another, went about to see after the prisoner and child, but could hear nothing of them; we went to St. George's workhouse, the prisoner then belonged to it; she was not come in; the next morning I went there again about seven, she was not there; I went to several alehouses, the landlord at the White Horse in South Audley-street said there was a woman there with a child, but could not say it was the prisoner; about nine the next morning I heard a child was drowned in Hyde-park, whose child I did not know; I went there, and found it was my child; it was lying by the side of the water of the Serpentine-river in the Park, between the two bridges in the road to Kensington; there were no marks of violence upon it, and it had all its clothes on as when it went out; then I sent word to the coroner, we took it away at almost five that afternoon; I found the prisoner in St. James's workhouse the Tuesday se'nnight following; I went to her, and said, you are a fine woman, what have you done to me; she said, I do not know, my life must pay for it.

Q. What was your reason for finding fault with your wife for letting the prisoner take the child out?

Smith. Because she is apt to get in liquor, that was the only reason.

Q. How long had you been acquainted with be prisoner?

Smith. Almost three years.

Q. Had she used to come often to your house?

Smith. Yes, often on Sundays, and sometimes on a week day; my wife once helped her to a place, and from that time they got acquainted.

Q. How did she use to behave when she came to you?

Smith. Always extremely well and civil to me and my wife; she was apt to get in liquor sometimes.

Q. How did you look upon her as to her mind?

Smith. I always took her to be in her senses, as I am at this time; she would rattle and chatter when in liquor.

Q. Had your wife or you ever any quarrel with her?

Smith. No, never, except once, she said she would come and nurse my wife, and I would not let her; whether my wife told her of that I do not know, she never expressed any resentment to me; she has dined and supped with us, and always used to be fond of this child, but the child was not fond of her; she sometimes would bring it a cake.

Prisoner. He used to call me Mad Moll.

Smith. That was when she got in liquor, but I never observed any marks of madness; she is a woman I thought I could have trusted my life in her hands.

Matthew Concanning . I am clerk to Justice Spinnage; on Tuesday the 26th of April, about nine at night, the prosecutor applied for a warrant to take up the prisoner, whom he said he had found in St. James's workhouse; she was brought about a quarter of an hour before ten; she acknowledged being at Mr. Smith's house to breakfast, and agreeing to dine together upon bacon and greens; that she took the child in her arms, in order to go and and buy it a cheesecake; that she called with it at two public-house, and in the evening went with it into Hyde-park, and carried it to the water, rather after dusk; that she watched an opportunity of doing it, when no person should be passing, and then she throwed it in, and left it; she was asked if her heart did not relent, and she go back to give it assistance; she said, no; she was asked how she could do so inhuman an act, or whether she had any resentment or anger against the parents; she said, no, she had not, she loved the father and mother as if they were her brother and sister; it was said to her, sure she could have no resentment against an infant of that age; she said she had none, but the child would struggle against her, and would never come to her arms; she was asked what could induce her to do such

an act; she said she was wearied of life, she had had a great many disquietudes with her husband, that he was gone to sea, or was dead, and he had taken a couple of children from her, and put them into the Foundling-hospital, which had given her a great deal of anxiety; she concluded with saying, she was desirous of dying, and that led her to do that sort of an act, for which she said she knew she should receive no mercy of the jury, or something of that sort: an observation was then made by the Justice, then if you was determined to die, why did you not drown yourself; she made this remarkable answer, I know the difference betwixt that and self-murder; hearing her say she was desirous of dying, the Justice asked her if she was apt to be afflicted with frenzies, or was ever disordered in her mind; she said, no, she was not; he asked her, whether the moon had any effect upon her at the change; she said, no; she said she often thought of her husband, and as often as she thought of her disquietudes with him it awakened her grief: it being late that night, she was committed for a re-examination the next day; then she did mention something of having been disordered in her mind, she said she had been beside herself sometime.

Q. Did you take her to be out of her mind on these two examinations?

Concanning. No, I did not, there did not appear the least mark of infanity; she was asked where and at what time she had premeditated, to do this act, whether at the time of taking the child out from home, or some time after; she said she had no immediate thought of doing it at the time she took it out from the mother's house, but at the time of going in at a public-house she saw an old acquaintance of her husband's, and that brought to her mind former uneasinesses, and then it was she formed a resolution of going and drowning the child, by the means of which she knew she should die; she then said she went to one alehouse, then to another, and then into the Park in the evening, and watched an opportunity that no person was coming, and then throwed it in. I think she said it was about the middle of the day, that she had been out to buy some bacon, and the child brought it home, and she watched an opportunity of taking it away while the mother was selling some sallad: something was then mentioned of her having done an act like this before; she said that was really an accident, that other child sprang out of her arms.

Nathaniel Lun . I am the landlord of the house, the prosecutor Smith is my lodger; on that Sunday morning, a little after eleven o'clock, I went down stairs to get Mr. Smith to tap my beer; while his wife was tapping it, I saw the prisoner and deceased child below stairs; the prisoner said, I will take Joe out and buy him a cheesecake; she answered, no, do not take him out, or you shall not take him out; I left the mother, child, and prisoner there together in the kitchen, I never saw the child after till I saw it dead in Hyde-park; I have seen the prisoner there more than fifty times before, she never appeared to be insane at all.

Phebe Green. I keep the sign of the Hovel in Upper Grosvenor-street; the prisoner brought a child into my house about one o'clock (I saw it after it was drowned, it was the same;) when I saw it at play in her arms, I thought she was not the mother of it, it was a fine child; she had a pint of beer, and staid about an hour; she offered to pay for the beer; about a quarter of an hour after she had paid for it, I told her she had paid; she said, I thank you, madam, I am a poor woman (I thought she was either fuddled or mad.)

Q. Did she stagger?

P. Green. No, she did not, I watched her in her going away, she walked very well.

Elizabeth Price . I have known the prisoner five years by coming into St. George's workhouse; I have the care of the people that work plain-work there, she was taken in as a poor person of the parish upwards of five years ago; she went out on Sunday morning the 17th of April, I never saw her again till I saw her here; she used to go out to work, and was very capable of doing any thing she undertook to do; she was a woman that behaved very civil, she was backwards and forwards there five years.

Q. Was there any thing more particular in her than in other people?

E. Price. I never observed the least disorder in her mind, except when she drank.

George Sweetman . I went to Mrs. Green's, and had a pint of beer that Sunday; there was the prisoner and a child, I sat opposite the prisoner, she stared very hard at me. Sir, said she, is your name Sweetman; I said, you do not know me; do not you know me, said she, you arrested my husband sixteen years ago, his name was John Hindes ; then I recollected I did arrest a person of that name about that time; said she, I have had a great deal of trouble, I hav e been out of my mind, and in the workhouse; I said, I heard her husband was dead; she cried, and said he left her in the year 1758, and went abroad, and she did not know whether he was alive or not;

presently she got up and kissed the child, and said, my dear, you are sleepy, I will take you home; then she took the child, and went away.

Q. What did you think of her?

Sweetman. I thought she had had a little too much liquor, but not to say drunk; this was about two o'clock.

Henry Lewer . I live at Knightsbridge; on Monday the 18th of April in the morning, I went up to fetch my handkerchief, coming down stairs I saw something lie in the water at the foot of the old bridge in Hyde-park; I ran down stairs, and told people I thought there was somebody drowned there; I went and got over the Park wall, and saw the child in the water, I took and drew it out on the ground.

Joseph Ayres . I am porter at St. George's workhouse; the prisoner went out on the 17th of April, and I have not seen her since till now; I have known her there two or three years, I never found her delirious at all.

Prisoner's defence.

My lord and gentlemen, it was owing to a disturbed mind through a bad husband; I have been wearied of my life a long time, I had rather die than live.

Guilty . Death .

She received sentence, this being Saturday, to be executed on the Monday following, and her body to be dissected and anatomized; she petitioned the court to allow her a week, upon which the court ordered her execution on the 17th of June.

See her tried for a crime of the same nature, No 28, in Sir Samuel Fludyer 's Mayoralty.


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