Offence: Killing > murder
Verdict: Not Guilty > unknown; Guilty > no_subcategory
Punishment: Death > no_subcategory
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MESSRS. CHARLES MATHEWS and BODKIN Prosecuted, and MESSRS. WILD and MACMAHON Defended.
FLORENCE JONES . I live at 16, Spicer Road, Finch Road, Battersea—in December, 1897, I was living with my father and mother at Woolwich—I am single, but on December 17th, 1897, I was confined in a Home at Clapham of a female child—it was named Selina Ellen Jones—the lady in charge of that house recommended a Mrs. Muller to me, and the child was put into her charge till March, 1898, when it was taken from her
and put into the charge of Mrs. Wetherall, of Gee Street, St. Luke's, and I paid her 5s. a week from March to July, 1898, for the care of the child—I went there and visited it, and, as far as I saw, it had good health and flourished under Mrs. Wetherall—in July the father ceased to contribute, and I then paid only half-a-crown a week for it—I saw this advertisement in the Woolwich Herald on August 18th, 1899: "Adoption.—A young married couple would adopt healthy baby; every care and comfort; good references given; very small premium. Write first to Mrs. Hewetson, 4, Bradmore Lane, Hammersmith"—I wrote to the address, saying that I had a child, and asking how much she wanted to adopt it—I got an answer, saying that they wanted it for their own, and wanted £5 down—I answered that, and said that I could pay £3, and sent this photograph (Produced) of the child—it was sent back to me in a subsequent letter—it was taken in 1898, when the child was about nine months old—I asked for an interview, and an appointment was made to meet at Woolwich Station about Thursday, August 24th, a week before the child was handed over—I met the female prisoner at Woolwich, and went with her to my mother's house—mother said we wanted her to take care of it for a certain time, and then have it back again—I made arrangements to see the child once a fortnight, and mother said she would come up and see it presently—the prisoner said that her husband was a clerk in Hammersmith, and I understood her to say that she lived at 4, Bradmore Lane; that was the address in the advertisement—no arrangement was made about the money on that occasion—I said that I should always like to provide it with clothes—I told her I would tell Mrs. Wetherall that I was going to take the child away, and I wrote to the prisoner that she could have it on Tuesday—I made an appointment for the next Thursday after the interview at my mother's, to meet at Charing Cross Station—I then got this letter from the female prisoner; it is the only letter I got—(This stated that they had taken a new house in Hammersmith, and all the neighbours would think the child was their own, and inquiring at what part of Charing Cross Station they were to meet.)—Some days before August 3lst I bought some child's clothes—I took those clothes to Mrs. Wetherall on Thursday, and she handed me over the child that day, and all the clothes which it had been wearing—I took the child to Charing Cross Station, main line, and the clothes—I saw Mrs. Hewetson, as I knew her, at Charing Cross South-Eastern Station, and went with her to Hammersmith by 'bus—we went to the Grove, and stopped at a house there, and she said that that was the house she had taken—it was not occupied, but there were some workmen in it—I then went with her to 2, Southerton Road, Hammersmith—she said that the house belonged to a friend of hers, and told me to say nothing about the child not being hers, but gave me no reason for that—when we got to Southerton Road I was introduced to the friend, Mrs. Woolmer, as her sister-in-law—I had some tea in the house, and paid the prisoner £3, and gave her the bundle of clothes—I had definitely arranged to pay her £5—after tea the child and I and the prisoner came out, and went to Hammersmith Station—I then went home, leaving the child behind with the prisoner—I was to pay the other £2 on the next Sunday—she said that she would write me a letter, and let me know where—she was going to send her husband with the child to meet
me at the station—I got no such letter, and did not know what station to go to—notwithstanding that, I came up to Hammersmith on Sunday, September 3rd, and went to the house in the Grove, and found it was occupied by some other people—I then went to 4, Bradmore Lane, and found it was a newspaper shop—I had a conversation with the proprietor, Mr. Canning, and went to 2, Southerton Road, and saw Mrs. Woolmer—after that I went back to Bradmore Lane, and then went home—next day, September 4th, I went again, and then went to the Police-station and made a complaint, and afterwards to the West London Police-court—the next I heard of my child was a message from the police on the 27th or 28th to go to the mortuary at Battersea—I went there, and saw the dead body of my child—she had curly golden hair—she had been vaccinated on her left arm—she had a peculiar nose and a protruding navel—on September 28th, or later, I was shown a quantity of child's clothing, and recognised this red plaid dress which I gave her when she went to Mrs. Hewetson—it was in the parcel I gave to Mrs. Hawetson; the child was not wearing it—after making it I had this piece over (Produced), which I gave to Detective Gough—this is a coat which my mother bought for the child, and gave to Mrs. Weatherall—I recognise these other clothes as belonging to the child—I gave the first bundle to Mrs. Hewetson on August 31st—this next bundle is a pair of shoes, a pair of brown socks, and a petticoat—I recognise them as part of the child's clothing, but she was not wearing the socks and petticoat on August 31st—they were handed to the prisoner—I recognise these things marked O, P, Q and R in this bundle—they are clothes which belonged to the child—they were handed over on August 31st—this bib marked B was part of the child's clothing.
Cross-examined. The child had not lived with me from its birth—it had been with Mrs. Muller, and then with Mrs. Wetherall—I took the child from Mrs. Wetherall because she went to live over a stable, and kept no servant—there was not trouble about money, but the child's father did not keep up his payments—I did not like Mrs. Wetherall's actions with the child—I had a good deal of bother with her—£3 was all I could afford—I paid £2 for the new clothes, but the others were what she had at Mrs. Wether-all's—when I called on the Sunday and did not find either of the two addresses I was very anxious, and went to the police; but I had no idea what had become of my child—I was sent for to see if I could identify a child, but did not know it was my child—I went to Hammersmith, and from there was taken to Battersea—the child was partially decomposed—the mark on the navel was through the neglect of Mrs. Muller, but there was not very much the matter—the child's nose was very turned up, and its hair was yellow.
Re-examined. I did not like Mrs. Wetherall's conduct towards the child, and that was the object which induced me to take the child from her—I believed the house in the Grove was the house in which the child was to live—when I talked about returning on Sunday I expected to go to that house, and to find it there—I had seen my child pretty frequently in its life, and I have no doubt that the child I saw at the mortuary was mine.
Luke's—I took charge of Miss Jones' child from about March, 1898, to August 31st, 1899—I was paid 5s. a week, and then half-a-crown—I had no child of my own, and that was the only child living with me—Miss Jones came and saw it mostly every Sunday—it had very good health—it was vaccinated while with me on the left arm—while with me a little accident happened to its face—I put my thumb into its face when I was taking it to be vaccinated, and took a little piece of flesh off, which made the blood come and left a scar—she had golden curly hair, and rather a large navel—on August 31st Miss Jones came and took the child away—it had these shoes on (Produced), and I recognise the frock—I saw a bundle of clothes at the Police-court, and recognised them all except the plaid frock—on September 28th a police-officer took me to Battersea Mortuary—I saw the body of a little girl, and recognised it as Miss Jones' baby—I noticed the scar on its face, but nothing else—I only saw the hands and feet.
Cross-examined. The accident happened by my putting my thumb into its cheek, and I took a piece out—I had got very long nails, I never cut them; I do not bite them; they are now as they ordinarily are—I had the child on March 19th, and had it vaccinated in April—the scratch was done on the morning that it was vaccinated, 10 months before I parted with it—the doctor said, "You have scratched her face," and I said, "Yes"—there was very little blood from it—I had forgotten all about it—her navel stuck out, not much, only when she cried—that was the first baby I ever had—a detective came to me after 9 at night, and I went to Battersea—I think it was on a Wednesday—I said December 28th before the Magistrate—I saw the child's face, hands and feet—they were in a nasty state, going black—she had a flat nose and rather a large mouth—I have seen this photograph, and recognise the nose and mouth and the small hands and feet—I had some conversation with the policeman before I got there—he asked me, "Are there any marks about the child?" and I told him—I knew what I was going to the mortuary for—he told me he wanted me to see if it was Miss Jones' baby.
Re-examined. The sergeant asked me if there were any marks by which I could identify it, and I said, "A scar under the left eye"—I looked for that, and found it—that was the scar I had made; it was very black—she had during life very small feet and hands, a large mouth, and a turned-up nose, and the child in the mortuary had all those things—I have no doubt in my mind about it.
CHARLES ALLEN HOPPER . I live at 139, Greenwich Road, and I am the manager of the Woolwich Herald—advertisements pass through my hands prior to appearing in the paper—about August 16th I received this letter, having on the back of it this draft advertisement—(The letter read: "4, Bradmore Lane, Hammersmith, August 16th, 1899. Sir,—Will you please insert the following advertisement in the next issues of your four papers. Enclosed is 1s. 4d. in halfpenny stamps, and oblige.—Yours truly, M. Hewetson.") (Advertisement: "Adoption.—Young married couple would adopt healthy baby; every care and comfort; good references given; very small premium. Write first to Mrs. Hewetson, 4, Bradmore Lane, Hammersmith")—this (Produced) is the paper in which it appeared.
WILLIAM THOMAS CANNING . I live at 4, Bradmore Lane, Hammersmith—I am a newsagent there—I take in letters for people at 1d. a piece—I remember about August 16th the male prisoner coming and asking me to take in letters in the name of Hewetson—letters came to my premises addressed in that name—the male prisoner came for them, and took them away—I remember on a Sunday in September Miss Jones coming and calling on me—among other letters, I had noticed that one of them had the postmark of "Woolwich"—the last letter addressed to Hewetson came on the Wednesday before the Sunday on which Miss Jones called—I think about seven or eight letters came altogether.
AUDREY WOOLMER . I live at 30, Glenthorne Road, Hammersmith—last August I lived at 12, Southerton Road, Hammersmith, and on August 31st I had a notice in my window, "Apartments to let"—I remember on that day the two prisoners coming—the woman said she wanted a room for "me and my baby" for the night; that she was moving, but did not want her husband to sleep there—she gave the name of Hewetson—she said the baby was with her sister-in-law then—I let her have the room for 3s.—in the evening the woman and a person I now know as Miss Jones arrived—they were carrying a baby and a parcel—when I opened the door the prisoner said, "I have brought my sister in-law back with me; you don't mind, do you? Can I have some tea?"—they had some tea, after which they all went out—the prisoner said she was going to see her sister-in-law off by train—when the two prisoners came earlier in the day to secure the room, the male prisoner was standing on the mat while the arrangements were being made with Mrs. Hewetson—I never saw the man again after that—after Mrs. Hewetson and Miss Jones and the baby went out, Mrs. Hewetson and the baby returned—the prisoner said when she came back, "I do not want to sleep here to-night; my furniture has come, and my husband has got a bed up; will you fetch me down the bundle off the bed, because I do not want to go upstairs again"—I got the parcel for her, and she left the house immediately with the baby and the parcel—I did not see her again till I picked her out from among some other persons—I remember Miss Jones coming to me on the Sunday after the Thursday on which Mrs. Hewetson came.
Cross-examined. All I saw of the male prisoner was while I was making the arrangements with the female prisoner—he was then standing on the mat inside the door—he said he did not like his wife to go to an hotel.
Re-examined. I think he heard all that passed.
BEATRICE BOSWELL . I live at 27, The Grove, Hammersmith—last summer my father purchased that house—there was some work to be done in the house, and the workmen were at work there on August 31st, when we moved in—we have lived there ever since—I cannot quite recollect Miss Jones coming there on a Sunday after we moved in.
DAGMAR LOUGHBOROUGH . I live at 2, Grove Villas, Grove Road, Barnes—I am a married woman, and live there with my husband—we went into occupation about August 16th last—at that point of Grove Road there are three houses which stand together in a row called Grove Villas—No. 1 was empty, and remained so after we occupied
No. 2, and No. 3 was occupied by the two prisoners—when we came I noticed that there was a little boy there, whom I afterwards came to know as Freddy—he was about 10 months old—the prisoner kept no servant—I knew them as Mr. and Mrs. Chard Williams—I only went into No. 3 twice, and Mrs. Williams only came in to me once—she told me her husband was a tutor at a college at Clapham—I saw him about daily—Mrs. Williams said the boys at the college were having their holidays, and that was why he was at home—I remember going in to tea about a week or a fortnight after we went there—I saw the two prisoners and Freddy—he was the only child there in August; but in the first week in September I saw a little girl there, whom I afterwards came to know as Lily—I thought she was about two years old—Mrs. Williams told me the child's name was Lily, and she said it was her sister's child, who lived at Uxbridge, and that her sister was nursing the child's grandmother, who was dangerously ill, and that the child would have to remain with her for certainly a week—on that occasion I saw Mrs. Williams put the child into a corner and give it a smack—the child cried—after that I saw it out in the front garden once or twice—there are gardens at the front and back of the houses—it was playing about, as far as I could see, quite happily—on one occasion, when I was in my garden, the child was crying in No. 3, and I heard Mr. Williams say to Mrs. Williams, "Don't do that," and Mrs. Williams said, "You mind your own damned business, or I will serve you the same"—Mrs. Williams came out into the garden, and told me that Lily had dirtied on the floor, and she had beaten her with a stick for doing so, and left her lying in it, and Mr. Williams had taken the child up to the bath-room, and changed its linen and batced it, and that he had taken the stick from her—I said, "Poor little thing!" and she said, "Serve it right"—a day or two after that I went into No. 3 again, and Mrs. Williams showed me some weals on the child's back—they stood out as thick as my finger—Mrs. Williams said, "Look what I have done"—I said, "What would the mother say if she saw them?" and she said, "I don't care what the mother would say"—the marks were dark-red—she said that she had had Lily's brother under her care two years before, and she wondered they let her have the girl—she never told me what had become of the little girl's brother—I said, "It is a poor little mite," and she said, "She is fretting for the mother"—it was looking miserably thin—I never saw it out in the road or taken out for exercise, or anything of that kind—I only saw it in the garden—I heard it crying continually—I cannot say whether Mr. or Mrs. Williams were in the house on those occasions—on Saturday, September 23rd, I paid a visit to some relations at Greenwich—on that morning before I left home I heard Lily crying, and when I was going away Mrs. Williams came to the gate to see me off—I did not return home till the Monday following, the 25th—I got home about 7 p.m.—I heard nothing from the adjoining house on that night, but on Tuesday morning I saw Mrs. Williams and said, "How unusually quiet lily is!"—she said the mother had come and taken it home on the Sunday, and added, "It is a damned good job it has gone; now I feel in Heaven"—about that time she told me that Lily's mo her had left some of the child's clothes behind, and said I could have them if I liked in exchange for an art flower pot of
mine which she had seen in my house—it was arranged that she should take the flower pot, and I should take the clothes in exchange—she brought the clothes out into the garden—the clothes consisted of a plaid frock, two flannel petticoats, a pair of pink socks, three vests, three pairs of drawers, and an outdoor coat—all those were retained by me till I handed them over to Inspector Scott—I saw Mrs. Williams several times after that—I cannot say the exact date—I saw her in October—after I ceased to see her I saw Mr. Williams once, and I asked him when Mrs. Williams would return, and he said that the friend she had gone to nurse was dangerously ill, and he could not say when she would return—he said she had taken Freddy with her—I remember some furniture being removed from the house—I cannot say who removed it—it was moved at ten 10 o'clock at night—it was about three weeks after my return from Greenwich—my husband had just come in on that night, and he then left our house with the object of going to the landlord—I did not notice anything peculiar about Lily—I did not notice the size of her feet or hands, or if her nose was broken—I did not notice any scars on its face—this is a picture of the child (Produced).
Cross-examined. The nose was such as babies usually have—I did not see the child a great deal—it was miserably thin; not a bag of bones—it did not attract my attention because it was so thin—I was on friendly terms with Mrs. Williams; I did not know very much of her—I did not see her raise the weals on the child—I told the Magistrate that the marks were the sort of marks which might have been caused by the finger nails—I smack my children sometimes—I remembered most of these things when the police came—children do cry, but not constantly—I knew it was not Freddy crying—I did not occupy my time listening—children do fret a bit when they are away from their mothers—I do not suppose it was more than that—if I had not heard of the body being found in the Thames, I should not have thought any more about it—I fixed the 23rd because it was about a fortnight after the twelfth anniversary of my child's birthday—I cannot remember what I did on the previous Saturday—I know it was a fortnight after the 9th, because my little girl mentioned to her sister that it was a fortnight after the 9th—the prisoner mentioned that it was the 23rd; that is just the one Saturday I happen to remember—I only talked to the police about it when they came down—I can fix the date myself—when the child had gone on the Monday I saw Mrs. Williams, and she said that the child had gone back; the mother had taken her, and she felt in Heaven—she did not look happy or miserable—it was she who suggested to me the exchange for the flower pot—I had a child three years old—I did not want them; I wanted to have an exchange.
Re-examined. I very seldom punish my own children—with regard to the condition of this child's back, I never gave them such punishment as that.
By the JURY. I only saw the child twice—Mrs. Williams only came to see me once—she did not bring the child—she said, "See what I have done"—there was no conversation about what made the child cry.
By the COURT. When I left her I did not tell her when I was coming back, but she knew I used to go home from Saturday to Monday, because
I have told her—my husband was not with me—I told her when I was going.
Cross-examined. I do not know who came and asked me when my sister-in-law came, or whether it was last week—I do not remember what took place on Saturday, September 16th—the 9th was my niece's birthday—I do not know what took place on September 30th, the next Saturday—I have no written note of the 23rd—I remember it because it was a fortnight after my niece's birthday—a gentleman asked me whether I recollected my sister coming—that is the only Saturday I can remember, except my niece's birthday—I do not know that it was December 23rd when I was spoken to about it—I did not think anything about it.
JAMES SALE . I am a builder, of High Street, Barnes, and act as agent for the owner of 1,2, and 3, Grove Villas—they were new houses in July and August last—they have gardens in front and rear—in July I had an application from a Mr. Williams for the tenancy of No. 3, and the house was let to him by an agreement dated July 18th—this is the agreement (Produced)—it is for three years, at a rental of £28 a year—the name I knew him by was William Goodwin, Devonshire Road, Chiswick—he signed this letter in my office to the owner of the houses: "High Street, Barnes, July 18th, 1899. Mrs. B. B. Barker. Madam,—In consideration of having possession forthwith of the house and premises in Grove Road Barnes, for which I have this day signed an agreement for a three years tenancy from September 29th, 1899, I agree to pay you the sum of £3 10s., half a quarter's rent to that date, and to observe all the covenants of the agreement during that time.—Yours faithfully, WILLIAM GOODWIN. Witness, JAMES SALE "—the prisoner went into occupation almost at once—I cannot say the date, but I handed him the keys at the time that letter was signed—on October 20th I received this letter—(Read: "Durban House, Grove Road, Barnes, October 19th, 1899, My dear Mr. Sale,—Just heard from the governor; he is returning to town on Saturday evening. I am to meet him, and if I can get back in time I will call on you with the £3 10s. Should I be too late I will be at your house the first thing on Monday morning. Sorry to have kept you waiting.—WILLIAM GOODWIN")—on the same day as I got that letter I got a visit from Mr. Loughborough in the evening—he told me something, and two or three days afterwards I went with a carpenter—we had to break through a window to get into the house, which was then empty—we secured the door with a padlock and came away—we did not take any string, or rope, or anything there—I had about three conversations with the male prisoner altogether—I did not notice that he was deaf.
Cross-examined. I suppose I have got a pretty good voice—I did not have any difficulty in making him hear—his agreement started at Michaelmas, but for his convenience he went in about July 18th, for which he was to pay £3 10s.—he left without paying any rent—I did not notice anything extraordinary about his conduct—when I went to the house after he left I found it somewhat untidy—I was not there in September.
WILLIAM STOKES . I am a waterman, and live at 63, Asterly Road, Fulham—on September 27th, about 9 a.m., I was working a barge on the Thames off Church Dock, Battersea—I saw a brown paper parcel in the water tied up with string—I pushed it ashore—I saw a child's foot sticking out of the parcel—I saw Constable David Voice (451V), and called his attention to the parcel while it was still in the water—I left him in charge of it.
DAVID VOICE (451 V). On the morning of September 27th Stokes called my attention to a brown paper parcel in the Thames—I looked at it, and saw a baby's foot sticking out—I took it from the edge of the water to the mortuary at Battersea, where I took from the outside of it the paper in which the whole thing was wrapped up—then I came upon a kind of pink-coloured flannelette sewed round the body from the shoulders down to the haunches, with double white thread, and between the legs and around the haunches was a white napkin—the head was covered up with a white cotton bag, tied round the neck with a piece of cotton stuff, the same as the bag was—it was a piece of selvedge torn off—on removing the flannelette from the body I found it was tied up with a kind of sash-cord or blind-cord, the heels being drawn up over the chest, on each side of the head, under the ears; the left arm was thrust under the left leg, between it and the body; the right arm was squeezed between the body and the leg in a straight attitude and secured by the cord or line—I sent for Dr. Kempster, who cut and removed the cord—I cut nothing myself except the outside string and the paper—I took the pink flannelette off; but left on the head covering and the string on the body—this (Produced) is the bag which was over the head; this is the napkin which was round the bottom part of the body, and this is the flannelette which was sewn round the body, from the shoulders down to the haunches—this string was outside the brown paper; this sash-line was tied next the flesh round the arms and neck—I am familiar with knots and the making of them—I was in Her Majesty's Navy for just over 12 years, and there we learned to tie all knots which are required in the Navy—in the blind cord there are knots which are well known to those familiar with knots—there are three knots here known as the fisherman's bend, and here is another known as the half-hitch—there are 11 of those in the string round the brown paper; there were six half-hitches in the blind cord—a reef knot is well known to me, it is used for reefing sails—I find one in the cord round the body, and only one of that kind—"overhand" knots are known to me—seven of them were to be found in the cord round the brown paper, and one in the cord which tied up the body—I took particular notice of the position of the child's limbs at the time it was found, as well as the position of the strings and cords which bound it up—I have prepared a doll about the size of the child, with just the same presentment as I found the child when I took it to the mortuary—(The model was produced)—this shows exactly the position of the child's limbs and the way in which it was tied after the flannelette had been removed, and also it shows the cord
and the position of the knots—I have placed similar knots in the same places as near as I could get them—I was not present when the string was found in the house, but these pieces of cord were afterwards shown to me (Produced)—there is a piece of sash-line, a good bit thicker than the other—[described the piece which was about the child's body as blind-cord or sash-line—in this piece found in the house there is one overhand knot and one half-hitch—in this other piece there are three fisherman's bends, thirteen half-hitches, and eight overhand knots—the sashline has one half-hitch and one overhand knot—they are broken pieces tied together—this piece is a bit thinner than the piece found round the child's body—it is the same kind of stuff, but not quite so thick—the sash-cord and the blind-cord are all the same kind.
Cross-examined. I examined the wrappings round the body—there was no name on them—none of the string found in the house corresponds with the string round the body—I did not search the house—this is all the string I have—this sash-line is the ordinary sash-line which goes up the side of a window, but it would be a very big window to take a line of that description—if I went to an ordinary string-drawer I should not find knots like this—the overhand knot is a common knot, but the halfhitches are more remarkable—there are two kinds of fisherman's knots; one is used for attaching cat-gut to a line, and the other for attaching one end of a line to another.
FELIX CHARLES KEMPSTER . I am Divisional Surgeon of Police, and a member of the Royal College of Surgeons—on September 27th I was called to the mortuary at Battersea, where I saw the body of a female child tied up, and the head was wrapped up—there was a cloth still round the buttocks—the model is exactly as I saw the child before I cut the cords—the head was in a bag, and was tied round the neck—I removed it, and cut the cord which tied up the body—from the appearance of the body, it had been dead from three to six days; according to my opinion, it had been in the water for more than one day—its appearance was consistent with its having been placed in the water on the afternoon or night of Saturday, September 23rd—I noticed that the tongue was between the lips, the hands clenched—there was no appearance of any goose skin—the finger nails were blackened—there was no froth exuding from the mouth or nose, and no foreign body in the air passages—there was a large bruise on the left side of the head, extending from the temple to the back of the head, and covering a space, roughly, about the size of the palm of one's hand—I made a post-mortem examination 1 1/2 hours after I saw the body—I found a quantity of clotted blood between the skin and the skull—there was no fracture of the skull—the bruise was caused before death, and must have been given with considerable violence, and, in my opinion, intentional violence—it could not have been from any accidental fall, in my opinion, unless it had been dropped from a great height—the ordinary effect of such a bruise would have been to stun a child—I came to the conclusion that the child was about 18 months old—it weighed 19 1/2 lb., and was 31 in. in length—it was well developed—I noticed signs of constriction all round the child's neck, exactly corresponding to the tape round it—they were marks of strangling—I found that the lungs were congested, the right side of the
heart full of dark fluid blood, the left side empty—the bag of the heart had a slight excess of fluid—the other organs were normal—those last indications are consistent with asphyxia, or suffocation—the condition of the heart is proof positive of suffocation—there was no matter under the lungs or in the stomach—by the condition of the different organs I am of opinion that the child was suffocated by strangulation and not by drowning—I did not find any signs which one generally seeks for as an indication that the child was suffocated by drowning, except the heart, and that would be common to both—I had enough to satisfy me that the cause of death was suffocation, and that by the string round the child's neck—I think the child was put into the water when dead—I did not see any signs of the child having struggled after it was tied up, and that is one of the reasons why I think it was stunned at the time, it was tied up—the child had been vaccinated on the left arm—its navel was slightly protruding, owing to some of the changes which take place after birth—I noticed there was a little scar on the left cheek; it had become black from the water.
Cross-examined. The protruding navel was slight—it is a common thing to find a protruding navel—I do not think it has anything to do with the treatment—the scar on the left cheek did not resemble a finger scratch; it was more like a pin scratch—I think it must have been done some time before—in a reasonably healthy child the skin would heal more quickly than with older people—the body would sink when put into the water at first—it would rise when decomposition set in; the gases would inflate the body—I do not think a heavy body would rise more quickly than a thin one—I do not think that a fat person would decompose more quickly; my experience is the other way—I should say that it is correct to say that this child was a plump, well-developed child—the length of time before a body comes to the surface all depends on the condition of the body when placed in the water, the temperature of the water, and the atmospheric condition—in a thunderstorm or on the discharge of a great gun it would come up quicker, and it would come up quicker in summer than in winter—it is the decomposition setting in which causes the body to rise—on land, decomposition may set in very rapidly or very slowly—I have known cases where decomposition has set in in two hours, and other cases in four days—the two hours' case was after gun-shot wounds. In this case decomposition had set in—the skin was peeling off—the head and face were congested—discoloration is a different thing—the face and head being congested are symptoms of suffocation—the child had an excess of blood in the head, owing to the cord round the neck—if the body had not been put into the water, and if the weather had been cold, I should not have expected decomposition to have begun for about three days; having been put into the water, the action of the water itself would have delayed decomposition—it is not a usual experience that if a body be recovered from water after eight or ten days in summer, or a longer period in winter, no signs of decomposition will be seen—I have heard of Dr.Tidy, but my experience tells me it is very difficult to form an opinion—in this easel believe the weather was rather cold, which would retard decomposition—I cannot say if the action of the water would delay decomposition for six days—I cannot remember the
time of year—after a body is taken out of water rapid decomposition may set in, but it did not take place in this case—I did not examine the body for the scars for two or three days after, not till October 2nd, and it was quite easy to observe the child's features then—they would be horrible to an ordinary person.
Re-examined. The scar under the eye was very black—in my opinion there was nothing which I could see which would prevent the child having been placed in the water on the Saturday, and having been taken out on the following Wednesday morning—I think it might have been in the water from three to six days—if the body had been kept out of the water for some time it would decompose more quickly than if it had been put in at once.
By the JURY. The legs were not dislocated or broken; they were drawn up as children's legs can be drawn up—it would have required a good deal of force, and if the child had been conscious it would have struggled—an ordinary woman could have done it if the child had been unconscious, because then it would have been loose—if the child were conscious I think it would be a very heavy task for anyone—I do not think the blow could have been given by a hand or fist—it was given by a heavy blunt instrument, by banging the child against a wall, or by a blow on the head—I do not think it could have lived scarcely more than a minute or so after being tied up like this—the tape was very tightly tied round the neck, and it would not take" more than from 60 to 90 seconds to suffocate a person that way—suffocation would be more slow if the child was stunned—if it was tied up after the blow it would never be conscious of anything again—it is not usual for scars to afterwards blacken—this was due to mud which had worked in—it had even worked into the slight depression and left a black line—it is assumed that the child was alive on the 23rd, which would be four days—it does not follow that the body was in the water all the time—if it was kept in a warm room or in a cupboard it would decompose very rapidly.
JANE DAVIDSON . I am a wardress at Her Majesty's Prison, Holloway—I had charge of the female prisoner on December 18th, and at her request I gave her a piece of paper with some initials on it—she was in the cell at the time alone, and after a little time she handed me this letter as it is now (Produced).
Cross-examined. She wrote it to a friend named "Hetty"—I passed it to the warder in charge.
THOMAS HENRY GUERRIN . I practise at 59, Holborn Viaduct, and have had a good many years' experience in examining handwriting—I have had letter No. 13, which was produced by the last witness, and written on December 18th, put before me, and I have examined the writing—I have also seen No. 3, which was written to Miss Jones, and No. 5, to the Woolwich Herald, also letter No.9, envelope No. 10, and letter No. 11—I have compared the writing in Nos.3,5 9,10,and 11 with that in No. 13—in my opinion they are all written by the same person—(No. 9 read: "To the Secretary, Criminal Investigation Department, New Scotland Yard, W. Sir,—I must apologise taking this liberty, but I see by the papers that I, in conjunction with my husband, are suspected of
murdering the little female child found at Battersea on September 27th. The accusation is positively false. The facts of the case are these: I, much against my husband's wish, in August last advertised for a child, thinking to make a little money, the result of which was the adoption of this little child, with whom I received the sum £3. My next act was to advertise for a home for a little girl; I used some shop in Warwick Road, West Kensington, I forget the number, but I used the name of Denton, or Dalton, I am not sure which. I received about 40 replies, from which I chose one, from George Street or George Road, Croydon. The lady from Croydon, Mrs. Smith by name, agreed to take the child for £1 and clothes. I met her at Clapham Junction, the Falcon Hotel, on a Saturday about the middle of September; we were to meet at 7 o'clock. I arrived at time, but Mrs. Smith was 20 minutes late. I handed the child over to her, and she was then quite well. That is the last I saw of her. I have, it is true, been carrying on a sort of baby-farm; that is to say, I have adopted babies, and then advertised and got them re-adopted for about half the amount I had previously received. I have had five in this way; two died while in my care, but I can prove that every attention and kindness was shown them; no money was grudged over their illness. I can prove this by the people with whom we lodged, and also by the doctors who attended them. Two I have had re-adopted; one went to Essex, the other to Bristol, and the last one I parted with as above stated. From the accounts in the papers I am alleged to have carried on this system for six years; now, that, too, is utterly wrong. I am evidently mistaken for someone else, as the first one I ever adopted was in November, 1897. You will say, 'If innocent, why not come forward?' There have been innocent people hanged before now, and I must admit that at the present things look very much against me, but it is not fair to go entirely on circumstantial evidence. I am trying to find the woman to whom I gave up the child, but, unfortunately for me, I destroyed her letters, and if I came forward there would be no possibility of clearing myself unless I could find some clue about her. In conclusion, I must tell you that my husband is not to blame in any way whatever; he has always looked upon the whole matter with the greatest abhorrence, but only gave way to me because he was, through illness, out of employment; he never, however, once touched any of the money I made by these means.—Yours truly, (Signed) M. HEWETSON. P.S.—We left Barnes simply because we were unable to meet the rent, and some time before we heard of this lamentable affair. The shop in Warwick Road is a newspaper shop, the Hammersmith Road end, and only a few doors down on the right hand side."
GEORGE SAUNDERS . I live at 6, Chelmer Terrace, Chelmsford, and am a clerk in the office of The Essex Weekly News, which also owns The Essex Independent, The South end Observer, and The Barking Observer—on July 27th I received this letter: "27, Warwick Road, Kensington, W., 26/7/99. Sir,—Will you kindly insert the following in The Essex Weekly News series; enclosed is postal order for 1s. 6d., and oblige yours truly, G. DALTON: Advertisement: 'Home required for young child; terms 16s. per month, paid in advance; references given and required.—Mrs.
G. Dalton, 257, Warwick Road, Kensington'"—that advertisement appeared in the newspapers—the last date on which it appeared was August 3rd—they are weekly papers coming out on different days of the week.
Cross-examined. The advertisement would appear in one edition of each paper.
ELIZABETH SHEFFIELD . I live at 257, Warwick Road, Kensington, and take in letters for people at 1d. a piece—I remember last summer receiving a number of letters addressed to my premises in the name of Dalton—a man came for them—I am doubtful if I could recognise him—the letters were given to him—there were about 40 of them altogether—on one occasion a woman came with the man—I should not be able to recognise her, I only saw her once—that was about August.
Cross-examined. I do not know when the man ceased to come—it might have been the last week in August.
By the COURT. I was not receiving letters for the person named Dalton at any later time.
ELLEN ETHEL SMITH . I now live at 234, Albert Road, Addiscombe, Croydon, but last year I lived in George Street, Croydon—I lived there at Whitecliffe's Stores for about 12 months, and left on August 7th—I did not know of any other Mrs. Smith living at George Street—this George Street is the only one I know at Croydon—I do not know the female prisoner—to my knowledge, I have never seen her—she never delivered a child to me anywhere.
CHARLES EPTON . I am a postman, living at 7, Sheldon Street, Croydon—I delivered letters in George Street, Croydon, in September last—I have been on that duty for three or four years—in August I delivered letters to Mrs. Smith at Whitecliffe's Stores—in addition there is a Mr. Smith who has a confectioner's shop, and one who trades as a hosier in George Street—those are the only Smiths I know—I do not know of a street called George Road.
Cross-examined. There are four deliveries—I deliver there three times a day.
PERCY SMITH . I have a hosier's shop at 44, George Street, where I trade as Smith & Wilson—I am married—Mrs. Smith lives a short distance from Croydon—I have been in George Street four years—I have nobody named Mrs. Smith connected with my shop.
JOHN DUPLANE . I live at 62, Elderfield Road, Clapton Park—last December I was the proprietor of 26, Gainsborough Road, Hackney, which is a coffee-shop—in November I saw an advertisement in the Daily Chronicle, which my wife answered, in consequence of which Mrs. Williams came to my shop—she told me she was a widow with one child—she came to assist the Missus in the business—I engaged her for that—she brought the child four or five days after she entered upon her duties, which she did late in November—the child was called Freddy—the male prisoner came to my shop on December 7th—that was the first time I saw him—the female prisoner said he was her brother-in-law,
which I accepted—he did not stay the night, but he came the next evening, and he was there when the police came and arrested them—I was going to give up the business on the 11th, and had given Mrs. Williams notice; she was to leave on the Saturday morning.
Cross-examined. My tenancy expired on Monday, the 11th, and the prisoner was going on the Saturday previous—she lived on the premises—she seemed to treat Freddy well, what I saw of him.
JOHN WINDSOR (Sergeant, V). On the evening of December 8th I saw the little boy Freddy at Bridge Street Police-station, and took possessions of his clothing—he was wearing this petticoat, these shoes and socks (Produced)—on November 2nd I went to 3, Grove Villas, with Inspector Scott, and found in the kitchen this string and this piece of sash-cord—the house was empty, with the exception of some rubbish lying about.
Cross-examined. The pieces of string were tied together by Inspector Scott with a piece of tape.
JOSEPH GOUGH (Police-sergeant). I went with Inspector Scott on the evening of December 8th to Gainsborough Road, where I saw the male prisoner and took him into custody—I told him I was going to arrest him for being concerned with Mrs. Williams in the wilful murder of Selina Ellen Jones about September last—he said, "We are guilty of fraud, but innocent of murder"—he was then taken upstairs to where Inspector Scott was.
JAMES SCOTT (Detective Inspector). On December 8th T went to 26, Gainsborough Road, Hackney, with Sergeant Gough, where I saw the male prisoner in the kitchen, and told Gough to arrest him while I went upstairs, where I saw the female prisoner kneeling, apparently packing a trunk—I said, "I am Inspector Scott"—before I could say anything she said, "I know, you have come about the Battersea job; I knew it was you as soon as I heard your step on the stairs"—I said, "Mrs. Williams, I arrest you for the wilful murder of Selina Ellen Jones, and anything yon may say to me will be given in evidence against you"—she said, "Have you got my letter?"—I said, "Yes"—she then said, "That letter is God's truth; but I know I cannot clear myself; my husband was not in the house when I took the child away"—the man was then brought upstairs, and I repeated the charge to both of them; they made no reply—they were taken to the Police-station, and eventually to Battersea I found the little boy named Freddy at the Battersea Policestation on the following day—I looked through the trunk which Mrs. Williams was packing—I found a large quantity of children's clothing—on September 27th I received information of the finding of the body in the Thames, and on the first Sunday in October I saw in the Weekly Dispatch a reference to the finding of the body—on Monday, October 2nd, the first hearing of the inquest was held—there was some mention in the public press of the hearing—the inquest was adjourned till November 27th, when I was present, when it was concluded.
Cross-examined. The inquest began on October 2nd.
Re-examined. This black bag was in the prisoner's trunk.
she was at work as usual on Tuesday, December 5th—she came to me in the name of Mrs. Williams.
WILLIAM CHARD WILLIAMS— NOT GUILTY . ADA CHARD WILLIAMS— GUILTY .— DEATH.