2nd April 1900
Reference Numbert19000402-274
VerdictGuilty > insane
SentenceImprisonment > insanity

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274. CHARLES HENRY MILES(19) was indicted for and charged, on the Coroner's Inquisition with, the wilful murder of Harry Hartley.

MR. C. MATHEWS Prosecuted, and MR. SANDS Defended.

EMMA HARTLEY , I am 18 years old, and live with my parents at 23, Denmark Street, Soho—I am a tailoress—I have known the prisoner 24 months—he was a tinker's labourer—we lived together for a month, but

we were not living in the same house—when I was living at 13, Arthur Street he lived in the same street—I moved to 23, Denmark Street in August last—he became intimate with me, and I had a child by him, which was born in the workhouse on August 19th, 1899, and was christened Harry Hartley—after its birth I went to live at Denmark Street, taking the child with me—the prisoner was living at 25, Beverton Street, Drury Lane, and I used to walk out with him—he paid 3s. a week towards the child's support, but he stopped at Christmas—I did not ask him the reason—I walked out with him after Christmas because he was the father of my child, but I was not wanting him to marry me—he wanted to marry me, but my father would not give his sanction—the connection between us was not renewed after the child's birth; it was only walking out—I have a sister at Lambeth, named Mrs. Meredith, and was in the habit of spending Sunday with her—the prisoner and I went there on Sunday, January 4th, and had tea with her and my brother-in-law—after tea the prisoner asked me to go out, but my sister said, "No, you had better stay where you are; it is not time to go home yet"—the prisoner seemed all right after that—I did not notice anything wrong, but my sister told me something afterwards—on Sunday, February 11th, we were again at Mrs. Meredith's to tea—the prisoner had a pipe in his mouth—I said, "Oh! take that thing out of your mouth," and knocked it out of his mouth, because he had hurt himself by smoking—I did not like his smoking a pipe, but I liked him smoking cigarettes—he picked the pipe up of the floor, and said, "Mind you and the baby do not go over the Embankment to-night"—after that he never showed his temper to me—we walked home, and he took me to my door—we parted good friends—I saw him next on Wednesday, February 14th, outside my door—I don't know what was the matter with him, but he did not speak to me; he walked away—he used to come into the house, and come upstairs and see the baby—he did not come at all during the week—on the following Saturday, the 17th, I saw him outside the door—I said, "Are you going to give me anything for the baby?" and after about an hour he gave me 1s.—about 10 o'clock I went to market for my mother, and on my way back I asked the prisoner if he could spare me another sixpence on Monday, he did not say anything, but struck me on my eye—I said, "Good night," and went upstairs—I felt pain in my eye—he gave me no money—on the next day, Sunday, the 18th, I went to the Meredith's with the child—the prisoner did not go with me—I came back alone about 10.45, and when I got to my own door I found the prisoner waiting outside it—I was carrying the baby in my arms—he said, "Give me the baby," and swore at me—I handed the baby to him—he ran away in the direction of St. Giles's Church, and I followed him, but lost sight of him just about the top of Seven Dials—I called after him, but he did not stop—I went home and knocked at my street door, but nobody came down—after a little time I went to one of my brothers-in-law, Henry Graham, and he and I and two girls went to the prisoner's lodgings, but did not find him there—we then went in the direction of Charing Cross, but could discover nothing of the child, and I returned home and found a detective there, who told me something, and J went to Bow Street Police-station—the

prisoner was perfectly sober that night—he was fond of the child in my presence—he used to kiss it—I thought when I handed it to him that he was going to take it as he had done before—it was dressed in this blue frock, black socks, white petticoat, white band, and a little white shawl (Produced)—on March 7th I was taken to the Parish Mortuary, Rotherhithe, and saw the naked body of my child.

Cross-examined. He was fond of the child and fond of me—all the time we were out together he was kind to me—my father objected to his marrying me—I had not asked the prisoner for money, and, as far as I know, my father had not—when we went out we did not talk very much—I have been in the habit of going out with him every Sunday—I had done nothing to make him angry with me—he was rather more quiet on the 11th; he was sulky a bit—I noticed a change of manner; he did not talk so much to me—I had a talk with him on the Wednesday, and I could not tell what was the matter with him—he was still in work—as far as I know, he had nothing to worry him—he talked just as he did before, but not so much—on this Saturday night I had a long talk with him—I asked him if he would give me the baby's money, and he did not give it to me for an hour.

By the COURT. That was not the first shilling he had given me since Christmas; he gave me several sums—he gave me 1s.6d.: after that he gave me two eighteenpences and two separate shillings.

By MR. SANDS. It was about 8 o'clock when I came down, and he gave me the shilling about 20 minutes to 9—he made no answer when I asked him; he went on talking about something else, and at 9 o'clock he put his hand in his pocket and gave me the shilling, and said, "If you do not like to take that you will get nothing"—immediately after that he went on talking about something else, and after another hour I asked him to give me another sixpence—he said nothing, but he struck me—I said that I would meet him on Sunday if baby's cold was better, but he did not come, and I went on by myself—he was always sober—I came back; I think it was a quarter to 11—he did not snatch the baby from me; he asked for it, and I gave it into his arms—he had never called me names before—he was very mild spoken—on this Saturday night he looked depressed, and he looked down, but would not tell me; I asked him more than once—he went from one thing to another; mixed up.

By the COURT. He was talking rationally about different things, but he went from one thing to another—he spoke all right—what he talked about he said rationally.

Re-examined. I noticed on the Saturday night that he was depressed—that was all.

HARRIETT LOUISE MEREDITH . I am a sister of the last witness, and the wife of Charles Meredith—I have known the prisoner some years, and during that time he has been keeping company with my sister—it was known that the child she had in August was his child—it was their habit to come to our house on Sunday afternoons, and stay to tea—they did so on Sunday, February 4th, with the child—the prisoner asked her to go out, but my husband forbade her, after which the prisoner seemed very cross—on the next Sunday, February 11th, I saw her knock a pipe

out of his mouth—he seemed very cross, and said, "You had better mind; you and your baby"—my husband made her sit down a little while, and they went away together—he was not cross when he left—on the next Sunday my sister and her baby came and spent the afternoon, but the prisoner was not with them—she remained till 10.15, and left with the baby—that was the last I saw of the child—I remember my sister asking the prisoner for money—he gave her 1s., and she asked him if he could not give her a little more—he said that he was not earning much money—that was not the night that the pipe was knocked out.

Cross-examined. They were always quite friendly, except when the pipe was knocked out of his mouth—he was quiet that day.

CHARLES MEREDITH . I am the husband of the last witness, and live at Princes Road, Lambeth—I remember my sister-in-law asking the prisoner to go out for a walk on February 4th—he went out, and in his absence I said something—I noticed his demeanour that-evening, because I thought there was going to be a repetition of what he had done before—he seemed just the same after I had given the refusal—the only excuse was that he was thinking of her mother and father, who did not want her to be out late—I said that it was not late—on the 11th, after she knocked the pipe out of his mouth, he said, "You will have to be very careful when you do go home to-night, or you and the child might go to the embankment"—I took no notice—he has used bad language to my sister-in-law—I think it must have been about January, as near as I can judge—he called her a bleeding carrotty cow—she did not seem to take much notice of that—I rebuked him and said, "It is a good thing her mother is not here; she is not carrotty, her hair is auburn"—they left on good terms, and that was the last time I saw him at my house—I was at home on the 18th—he did not come that day, but I had been up there—I had not been to work, as I had sprained my ankle; but I spoke to her at her mother's place.

Cross-examined. I always treated him as a friend—he behaved quietly, but he was rather fidgetty—he was always fidgetting about in his chair—he seemed a bit nervous—I first noticed that one week day this year—he seemed to get more fidgetty from that time—he seemed sulky once when I told him about what he had called her.

EMMA MATILDA GRINHAM . I am a school girl living with my parents at Denmark Street, Soho, in the same house with the Hartleys—on Sunday, February 18th, I was outside the house with my sister Eliza, and saw the prisoner—he kept on asking me each time I went outside for errands where Emma was, and I said, "I don't know'—I went down several times that evening on errands beginning at 7.30, and three or four times after that, and each time the prisoner was outside the door standing at the lamp-post—he always asked we the same question, and I always gave him the same answer—I went up the last time at 10.15, and left him standing there.

Cross-examined. I lived on the same floor, and the prisoner knew that.

EMMA HARTLEY (Re-examined). The usual time for me to meet him on Sundays was about 3.20—he did not go with me on that particular day because my brother-in-law told him not to come—I did not tell him

that because I thought it would upset him—I told him that the baby was not very well.

ELIZA GRINHAM . I am a sister of Emma Grinham, of 23, Denmark Street—I am 16—on Sunday night, February 18th, I was outside the door about 10.30, and saw the prisoner—he said, "Where is Emma?"—I said, "I don't know"—I went upstairs, leaving him outside the door.

EDGAR ADAMS (209E). On February 18th, about 11.30, I was on duty near Charing Cross, on the Thames Embankment, and saw the prisoner come on to the Embankment from Villiers Street, carrying a baby—he seemed exhausted as if he had been running—he was coming towards me, and turned to the left towards the water, and I lost sight of him.

Cross-examined. He did not try to avoid me—he was about a mile from Denmark Street Soho.

By the COURT. He had to turn to one side or the other—he crossed the road—there is a hoarding, and he had to pass a small barrow.

BARDELL (112E). On Sunday, February 18th, I was standing at the Police-station door, and the prisoner came up and said that he wished to give himself up for murder; he had thrown his child into the water from the Thames Embankment—he said the age of the child—he made a statement to the inspector, who read it to him, and she signed it—he said to me that he did not know why he did it; he was very fond of the baby; something all of a sudden came to him that he would throw the baby into the Thames; that there was a burning in his head, and probably he should get five years.

Cross-examined. He used the word "murder"—I did not speak to him first—he asked for a cigarette—he talked in a connected way about where he had been working, and I let him talk on—he said that if his mother had been alive it would not have happened—he talked about other subjects as well—he was with me halt an hour, talking most of the time—I only answered him "Yes" or "No"—he seemed a bit excited, and I thought he looked very strange—he was not strange when he first came up to me; he was calm—I hardly believed him—I thought he had had a dispute and had done it in a bit of bravado—he said, "I have had a lot of trouble lately," and "My head feels burning," "that the baby started crying!" and that all of a sudden something struck him—you can walk to Bow Street from Waterloo Bridge easily in four or five minutes.

WILLIAM CRAWFORD (Police Inspector G). I was on duty at Bow Street at 11.50, when the prisoner was brought in—he said that he wished to give himself into custody for murdering his child, aged 7 months—I told him that if he desired to say anything it would be put down in writing, and might be used against him—I took it down—he read it over himself and signed it—this is it: "I wish to confess that I have just thrown my son, age 7 months into the Thames from Victoria Embankment. He was dressed in blue pelise and cape. Its mother, Miss Emma Hartley, is living at 23, Dennmark Street. I saw her about 11.5 p.m. outside her residence. She had the child in her arms. I asked her to let me look after it, and I took the child out of her arms. I then went down Endell Street to Old Compton Street, to St. Martin's Lane, to Victoria Embankment, just past Wate-loo Bridge,

where I threw the baby into the river, and I then, came away.—CHAS. HENRY MILES"—after that statement had been made I sent for Miss Hartley, who made a statement to me—I then charged the prisoner with murder—he made no reply then, but as he was leaving the cell be said, "I would not have done it, but the mother of the child bad worried me for money, and I have been assaulted by her father."

Cross-examined. His manner was rational—I felt certain that he was perfectly sane, and that what he said was correct, or I should not have taken it down—heard nothing about "five years"—I asked him if he was all right—he said, "Yes; I would not have done it, but I was worried by my wife, and her father has assaulted me"—I asked him in the morning how he had slept—he said that he could not sleep; he had not slept—I heard him make a statement before the Magistrate—Emma Hartley did not say at Bow Street that he had never given her more than 1s.—I made inquiries, and found that the prisoner's aunt, Eliza Whitehead, died in a lunatic asylum at 84 years of age, having been admitted there two years previously, suffering from delusions, and the doctor said that she was suffering from general paralysis, and gradually became worse, and that it was probably through some form of excess—his mother was admitted to St. Giles's Infirmary, suffering from epilepsy, and was discharged—she was admitted again in July, and died from epilepsy and dementia—she used to talk to imaginary persons—she used to drink very heavily I found.

JOHN LANDGROVE . I am a water✗n, of 7, Nelson Street, Rotherhithe—on March 7th I picked up the body of a male child in the river, and handed it to John Weeks.

JOHN WEEKS (353M). On March 7th the body of a child was handed to me, and I took it to the parish Mortuary, Rotlterhithe, and left it there—it was afterwards seen by Mr. Alexander Grain

ALEXANDER GRAIN . I am a medical practitioner, of Jamaica Road—on March 7th I saw the dead body of a child at the mortuary, and made a post mortem examination—the cause of death was suffocation by drowning—it was a very healthy child.

The Prisoner's statement before the Magistrate: "Miss Emma Hartley has told one or two lies: the first was, I did not blacken her eye; the second is, I have given her more than a shilling since the child was born."

Evidence for the Defence.

RICHARD LEAMINGTON . I am a printer's labourer, of 76, Long Acre—I have known the prisoner for five years—he worked for the same firm as myself—he said that he allowed Emma Hartley 2s. a week for the child, and that her father wanted to strike him on several occasions for not marrying her—he was a good worker, but he was strange at times; he would dance and skip and laugh when he had work to do—he was sociable—he did not make friends—he sat By himself at times—that manner came on him soon after he lost his father and mother last September, but before that he was not just like other people; he was very quiet.

Cross-examined. He always did his work and earned his wages—I did not suspect that he was mad in any way, he seemed ail right—there was nothing about him which caused me any fear, but he threatened to take

his life after his mother's funeral in July; he said that he should go and drown himself pr else cut his throat—he was very much cut up by the loss of his mother, and having the child to support; the one came on the other—he said he could not afford to keep a wife on 14s. a week, having two brothers at home—he told me that after the confinement—the last time he told me that was about November.

By the COURT. He was only a labourer, sending shirts out and seeing that they were all correct; and sometimes when he took his glasses off he could not see—he came there as an errand boy first, and worked up—he got overtime, which sometimes brought it up to 18s.

By the JURY. He only got overtime on Friday nights—he would earn about 17s. with the overtime.

JAMES THOMAS . I am a printer—I have known the prisoner a good many years—the last time he worked with me was three years ago—he was very peculiar in his manner, and they used to call him Peluti—he was very cheeky at times, and threatened to fight you without any reason.

Cross-examined. I have known the family some time—both the father and the mother drank when they had the money, especially on Saturdays, and they did last year—I brought the prisoner to my firm, and he was employed there for three years; he left my department and went into the machinery, and afterwards he left and got another place—he did not appear to be a person to be afraid of—he got 7s.6d. or 8s. wages in my department.

WILLIAM HARTLEY . I am the father of Emma Hartley—I did not press the prisoner to marry her; I objected—I never pressed him to support the child—I never struck him, but I pushed him, and he fell down—that was last May, when I found what state my daughter was in.

Cross-examined. I found out that he was the father of her child, and there were some words between us—I pushed him; I would have struck him—I was not on good terms with him—he has been in the house at Christmas time, but I never spoke to him—be was not there with the mother and child—I do not know what he gave her to support the child; I never troubled about it.

GEORGE ALBERT HAMMERTON . I am the Divisional Surgeon—on February 19th I was called to Bow Street Station and saw the prisoner—he complained of pain in his head—I thought he was not quite right, but he spoke quite rationally in answer to my questions—I suspected epilepsy; he was very pale, and the pupils of his eyes were dilated—that was the only occasion on which I saw him; about seven hours after ho was taken to the station.

Cross-examined. I got nothing to confirm my suspicions of epilepsy, but it struck me at the time—I did not speak to him about what he had done; only about his ailment—the inspector asked me if he was ill, and I said he was quite fit to go before the Magistrate.

Re-examined. I was not examining him as to the state of his mind—the inspector sent for me to know whether it was desirable for him to remain in the police cells or go to the infirmary.

By the COURT. As far as I could see, he knew the difference between right and wrong.

JOHN ALFRED HURLEY . The prisoner has been employed under me since 1897—his behaviour was very good—he was a simple lad, he did not make friends—when he who doing nothing, he pulled a book out of his pocket—about a year ago he had a quarrel with another boy; about that time he lost his father and mother; he was only receiving 8s. a week; bur I knew than he was without a father, and raised his wages, and the man he worked with quarrelled with him and struck him on the head with a hammer—I did not know anything about it till I saw one of the boys washing his head, and I had him taken to King's College Hospital—he continued working, but I let him off easily, and when he came back from the hospital I let him go home—a few weeks before this crime happened I heard that he had been hounded into the office after he received his money, as if somebody had been running after him.

Cross-examined. I have had him under observation just under three years—I thought he was simple—we had a charwoman at home named Miles, and I suspected that he was related to her, and took an interest in him—I noticed no difference in him after the affair of the hammer last year—it did not strike me that his father and mother's death made any difference in his manner.

DR. SCOTT. I have had the prisoner under observation since February 19th—he is weak-minded and below the average of intelligence—he complained of pains in his head and giddiness—I could find no organic cause for the giddiness—I found no epilepsy at all—I have heard the family history—the cause of his aunt's malady is doubtful—he is 19 years old—I have heard that he had trouble in losing his father and mother, and was left alone—a weak mind would be very likely to be upset by that—I found no indication of a blow on his head—the death of his father and mother when he was only earning 8s. a week would not improve his mind—I have heard what Bardell said, and I that he gave himself up for murder, and that be said, "I expect I shall get five years for this; that does not fully account for his not appreciating what he had done—I come to the conclusion that his mind was confused when he was at the station; that he was mentally upset—I think he did know what he was doing, but did not appreciate it to the full extent—I have not heard that the girl's father asked him to marry her, I understood that he asked him to pay money-—I have also heard the father deny it—that does not weigh with me at all in forming a conclusion as to the state of his mind—I have heard from the witness Hartley that for the last fortnight before the occurrence his manner changed, and he became very silent and depressed—that would suggest an increase of the weakness—I heard he had been worried—worry and passion would affect a weak mind more than another—the change would not necessarily point to a weaker mind—if there was a change in his manner entirely without any cause for it, any temper, it might indicate weakness—weakness sometimes grows very rapidly—one sign is delusions as to facts.

Cross-examined. I gave particular attention to the prisoner, in strict conformity with my duty—I watch all persons who are to be charged with crime—I think the prisoner knows at present what he has done, and that it was wrong—his mind is below the average—I should not at any time have felt justified in giving a certificate that he is insane—I

cannot see anything in the evidence which would justify me in curtailing his liberty—weak-minded people are very likely to act from impulse.

By the COURT. The law would not allow weak-minded people to be put under control—from what I have seen of him, I believe that at that time he knew that what he was doing was wrong.

GUILTY, but insane at the time.— To be detained during Her Majesty's pleasure .

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