17th September 1877
Reference Numbert18770917-729
VerdictGuilty > manslaughter
SentenceImprisonment > penal servitude

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729. GEORGE CHAPMAN (48) , For the wilful murder of Sarah Elizabeth Devereux; he was also charged on the Coroner's Inquisition with manslaughter.

MR. CROOM conducted the. Prosecution; and MR. H. AVORY Defence.

ALICE AMBLING . I am fifteen years old, and live with my father and mother, at 12, Seward Place, St. Luke's—the prisoner has lodged there three years—Elizabeth Sarah Devereux lived with him as Mrs. Chapman—on Saturday night, 28th July, they came in together about 11.20—I saw them in the street before they came quite to the door, and at No. 11 I saw kick her in the door on her back, as she was standing up—she then went into the yard at No. 12, and the prisoner followed her at once—when they were into her room I heard her hallooing and fetched my brother John—I saw him go into the room, and shortly afterwards Devereux and the prisoner came out to the foot of the stairs, and I saw him kick her in the back—they then went upstairs together to their own room.

Cross-examined. I did not see them when they went out at 10 o'clock, or at all that evening till I saw them in the street coming home—she was then very tipsy—I did not hear him say anything—I did not hear him tell her to go upstairs or hear her say "You will hit me if I do," or hear him reply "No, I wont"—I was at the street door looking down a passage. my brother was at the foot of the stairs at that time.

JOHN AMBLING . I am a brother of the last witness—on 28th July, at 11.45 p.m., I went into the yard—I did not see Mr. and Mrs. Chapman there at first, but I did afterwards—I heard him call her a cow and saw him kick her, but I cannot say where—they then went into the house, and she sat on the foot of the stairs—he said "Go upstairs"—she said "You will hit me again"—he said "No I wont"—he said to me "You will see her upstairs wont you"—I said "All right"—I got a lamp off the table in my room and went upstairs with her to her room and lit their lamp—Mrs. Chapman went upstairs before me and sat on the corner of a sofa—the

Prisoner then came up and hit her on her mouth—I said "Don't hit her any more"—he said "You go on out of the room or else I'll hit you"—I saw him pull her off the sofa before I left, on to the floor—I asked him to be quiet and he threatened to hit me again—he then kicked her on the ribs—I left the room leaving them there—I heard him swear and call he a bcow—she was on the floor when I left the room, and he was standing right over her looking at me—he was quiet just then—about a minute or two after I had gone I heard a scuffling on the floor of their room—I went up again, but only just put my head in—I saw her lying in the same place, and the prisoner was pulling all her clothes off—he pulled them all off, and then got a can of water and poured it all over her—I went downstairs leaving her on the floor in that state—I spoke to my mother and saw her go upstairs to the prisoner.

Cross-examined. I was there in the evening when they went out, but I do not know what time it was—I saw them go to my mother's room, they were both sober then and on good terms with each other—I next saw them in the yard when my sister spoke to me—the deceased was a little drunk, and I think the prisoner was drunk—I think she was the worst—he was not so drunk as he generally was—he was drunk, but I have seen him worse—he did not hit her on the stairs—he had his own clothes on, boots and all—when he pulled her clothes off I did not bear him say anything to her about getting into bed—I did not go upstairs with my mother—I shall be nineteen on Monday—he only kicked her once when I was upstairs—she did not say anything after she got into the room, before he hit her on the mouth, nor did I say anything—he went straight up and hit her on the face.

ANN AMBLING . I am the wife of Samuel Ambling, of 12, Seward Street—the prisoner and deceased have lived with me about three years—on 28th July, about 10 p.m., they paid me their week's rent—they seemed pretty comfortable together, and did not seem as if they had been drinking—they left the house together and returned a little after 12 o'clock—my son then spoke to me—I went up to their room and saw her lying on the floor quite naked, except a jacket across her shoulders—her arms were through the jacket—the prisoner was standing by her feet with only his shirt on—I asked him what he had been doing of—he said that she had lost her money and he had been beating her—I told him he ought to be ashamed of himself and said "Don't beat her again"—he said he would not—I told him to go to bed, and he got into bed while I was in the room—the deceased was bleeding from her nose and mouth—I pulled the bolster off the sofa and put it under her head—I spoke to her so that, the prisoner could hear me, and shook her by the chin—I called her and she raised herself up on her elbow, but she did not speak out loud—she said "oon"—I said "Sally, get up"—she was able to see where the prisoner was, and after she saw him she cuddled herself down all in a lump—I then put her head on the pillow, covered her shoulders over with a piece of a table cover which was on the sofa, and went downstairs—about ten minutes after I had been downstairs the prisoner called out "Mrs. Ambling," twice, and when I got on to the stairs he said "Sally is dead"—I went into the room and found her where I had left her, but not as I had left her—the things I put on her had been pulled off again—she was lying in the same place but not in the same position—I had left her on her side and I found her on her back—I put my hand on her heart—I called out and my husband came up—it was the best part of an hour before a doctor came; very nearly 1 o'clock.

Cross-examined. I could tell that the deceased had been drinking, and so had the prisoner, but not very much—I do not think she was so bad as he was—he sat in my parlour all night, and Sunday I did not see him, but I heard he had been there—he was taken in custody early on Monday morning when I was not in the house.

Re-examined. The deceased was on the floor when I went up, and I was not able to form an opinion as to how drunk she was—the prisoner was quite sober when he went out but he was in liquor when he came home—he was not so drunk in the bed-room as not to know what he was doing—he slept in my parlour and left between 7 and 8 o'clock, but I was so worritted I did not see him leave.

WILLIAM MILLER (Detective Officer). On "Monday morning, 30th July, about 2 o'clock, I took the prisoner at a barber's shop, at 207, Whitecross Street—I went up to the second floor front, opened the door, and found him lying on the floor at the foot of the bed—I said "George, get up, you will have to go to the station with me for causing the death of a woman in Seward Street"—he said "All right, Miller"—he got his coat and hat and said she was drunk, and there was a young man who had assisted him home with her, and a young woman living a few door from No. 12 saw them in the City Road when she was knocking herself about, but he did not know the name—he asked me if I would find her, and I told him I would if I could—he was the worse for drink—this was twenty-four hours afterwards—I took him to the station.

MARTIN LUTHER CLIFT . I am a surgeon, of 83, Central Street—on Sunday morning, 29th July, I was called to Seward Street at 1.10, and found a woman lying on the floor on her back—Mrs. Ambling was with me—the woman was dead and had been so about an hour—on the same evening, by the Coroner's directions, I made a post-mortem—her age was about forty—the body was well nourished—I found a bruise on the left eye, the right eye had been blackened from a blow, and was contused, and the nose was recently fractured, within a few hours or a day—I think the nose bad been fractured quite recently, because it was bleeding when I first examined the body—there was a bruise on the right hand, arm, and shoulder, and on the right shin bone—the cause of death was rupture of the spleen and effusion of about two pints of blood into the abdominal cavity—that, in my judgment, would cause death—the rupture of the spleen had been caused by violence; a blow, a kick, or a fall" on a sharp instrument—I found no external wound corresponding with the rupture of the spleen—I found no external mark to indicate a fall upon any sharp instrument, therefore I exclude that from consideration—a kick on the ribs would be likely to cause the rupture of the spleen, and I found the four ribs on the left side and. the filth rib on the right side fractured; those ribs were too high in the chest to cause the rupture of the spleen—that had nothing to do with the death.

Cross-examined. On the rupture of the spleen death would be rapid, because in this case the effusion was so great; ten minutes would be the outside—the spleen was very distended, owing to her recently having had a meal—either food or drink would increase its distention.

By THE COURT. Anything which excites the stomach would distend the spleen, and food does that of course—I do not think it would be more distended in consequence of being excited by ardent spirits—the mere fact of intoxicating liquor acting upon the brain would have no effect

upon the spleen—she had recently had a meal, which would account for its distention—after the rupture it would be quite possible for her to walk up to the period of her death.

JOHN AMBLING (re-examined). When he went into the yard, the prisoner, besides calling her a b——cow, said "I will settle you to-night"—I forgot all about that until I saw it here to-day in my depositions before the Coroner.

The Prisoner's Statement before the Magistrate: "I was quite ignorant of what I was doing at the time. I have not the slightest recollection; I was too far gone in drink.

GUILTY of Manslaughter— Fifteen Years' Penal Servitude.

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