24th November 1879
Reference Numbert18791124-29
VerdictNot Guilty > unknown

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29. MICHAEL JAMES WELSH (53) was indicted for and charged on the Coroner's Inquisition with killing and slaying James Sullivan.


KLIZAETH WELSH . I live at 7, Catherine Place, Poplar—the prisoner is my father—I had a stepbrother named James Sullivan—he Mas 23 years of age—he died on 16th November—on Sunday morning, 16th November, between 12 and 1, James Sullivan came into the house—he lived next door—my father asked him was he going so bed—my brother used bad language, and took up his fist to strike him—my father said "Do you want to knock my other eye out"—he has lost one eye, my brother knocked it out three weeks before—my brother struck him in his well eye, and my father said "You may as well take my life as take my other eye"—after that I heard my brother cry that he was stabbed—I did not see anything in my father's hand—my brother fell on the couch—I ran into the kitchen and gat some water—

my father said "I will get the water"—he did so—I did not see what he did with it—my brother had said "I mean to do for you"—he said that when he came in—he was half drunk—my father was sober—there was no other person in the room but my mother.

PATBICK SULLIVAN . I am a brother of the deceased—on Saturday, 15th November, I was living at 7, Catherine Place, Poplar, with my stepfather and my mother—I saw my brother James at 9 o'clock at Black wall, and had a little drop of beer with him then—that was the last time I saw him alive—I got home about 20 minutes past 1 on the Sunday morning—I found my brother lying on the couch in the front room, and the last witness—I tore his clothes open, and put my hand on the cut—I took him to the hospital—as I returned home that night, at a distance from the door I heard some one running in a direction from the house—I could not say who it was—I stopped with my brother till he died at 10.30.

BENJAMIN WARREN . I am a shoemaker at 47, Robin Hood Lane, Poplar—the prisoner's house is at the back of our yard—at 11.30 in the morning of the 16th; I found this knife on our fowl-shed, about 6 yards from the prisoner's yard—there as no knife there on the Saturday.

SIDNEY COLLINS WATKINS . I am surgeon at the Poplar Hospital—James Sullivan was brought there about 2 o'clock in the morning of the 16th November—he was suffering from loss of blood from a wound on the left side of the chest, between the third and fourth ribs—it was a punctured clean-cut wound—he died at about 10.30 that same morning, from the wound—on the post-mortem I found that the instrument had penetrated the lungs, and so caused death—a knife of this kind would produce such a wound—a great deal of force must have been used.

JOHN GUSHING (Police Sergeant) On 18th November I took the prisoner into custody—I told him he would be charged with causing the death of James Sullivan on the 16th by stabbing him—he said "It was not done intentionally. I was not in fault; I was in the act of drying my singlet to put it on when I go to bed; it was accidentally done; I had a knife in my hand that I took out of the cupboard. I was cutting a piece of tobacco; I threw my hands up, but I don't know how it was done. I was going to poplar to give myself up"—I took it down.

STEPHEN ROWLAND (Police Inspector K). After the prisoner was in custody, he made a statement to me which was taken down in my presence by the inspector on duty, and the prisoner signed it. (This repeated in substance the former statement, and stated what he did was in self-defence, without any intention of serious injury.)


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