21st October 1901
Reference Numbert19011021-747
VerdictGuilty > insane
SentenceImprisonment > insanity

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747. JAMES JOHN RICHARDSON (41) was indicted , and charged, on the Coroner's Inquisition, with the wilful murder of Thomas James Mills.

MR. A. GILL Prosecuted, and MR. PETER GRAIN Defended.

LAVINIA MILLS . I live at 3, Bedfordbury—I have been living with the prisoner—I had a child; it was two years old—on September 5th I went out about 9 p.m.—when I left, the child was in bed, and the prisoner was eating his supper—he was a salesman in Covent Garden—I returned about 11 p.m.—the prisoner was not there then, nor was the child—I have not seen it since—that morning the prisoner's eyes looked very strange—I asked him if he had been drinking—he said he had not—he went and looked at his eyes in the glass—he had been a teetotaler for some months—I never saw him unkind to the child—the day before he had bought a toy for him, and had taken him out without me.

Cross-examined. The prisoner has always been very strange ever since I have known him—he has always been very melancholy—he always imagined he had some complaint—once he bought a razor, saying that he was going to commit suicide—I threw it out of the window—he has always treated the child with great kindness, and has been fond of it—he told me that some men had made a remark to him about his eyes.

TRYPHENA DIMBELBY . I am a widow, and live at 3, Bedfordbury, on the second floor—the prisoner lived on the floor above me—on the evening of September 5th I heard a great noise overhead—it was a kind of hammering—I went up to ask the prisoner what was the matter—I knocked at his door—he said, "What do you want?"—I said, "If this noise continues I shall have to speak to my landlord"—I heard the child cry, and that is why I went up.

LOUISA CHAUVERRE . I am the wife of George Chauverre, a chef, living at 3, Bedfordbury, on the fourth floor, over the prisoner—I heard a noise of hammering on September 5th, about between 9.30 and 9.45 p.m.; I heard a child scream—I heard Mrs. Dimbelby go to the door—the noise continued, and the child cried again—I and my husband went down to the door—my husband knocked, and as the prisoner would not answer, my husband broke the door open and we went in—the child had stopped screaming then, it was lying on an armchair—it had no clothes on, and the prisoner was standing over it stark naked—he seemed to be banging it with his two fists as hard as he could—before we went down I heard him say, "Will you be a good boy now?"—we went for the police—he did not take any notice of us when we went in, but when we came oat he looked at us and shut the doors—I was present when the constable went in—the prisoner had washed up the floor, and had put a dressing gown on—the child was in front of him, and he was looking at it—I did not notice what was on the floor before it was washed; I was too excited.

Cross-examined. He did not take any notice of us when we first went in.

FRANK HAMILTON (247 E). I was summoned to Bedfordbury on September 5th, about 9.45 p.m.—I went into the prisoner's room, he was in his dressing gown, and nothing else—the child was lying on the floor—I asked the prisoner what he had been doing—he said, "I have done it, I have done it; it was my wish it should be done"—I looked round to see if I could see any knife—the child moved, and I bent down to see if it was alive, and the prisoner jumped up and said he was going—we had a struggle—he was very violent—I blew my whistle and got assistance—I took him to the station just as he was.

Cross-examined. He made a lot of rambling statements which I could not follow—he was worse at the station than he was when I arrested him—at the station he was like a madman—he had no control over himself.

JAMES GRAY (411 C). I was summoned to 3, Bedfordbury shortly before 10 p.m. on September 5th—I found a child there and took it to King's College Hospital—it was bleeding from the head and mouth—it appeared to have been washed—it was just moving when I picked it up off the floor—I did not feel it move until I got to the hospital, when it seemed to draw itself up and straighten out again.

ROBERT JAKES . I am House Surgeon at Kings College Hospital—the deceased was brought to me by the last witness about 10 p.m. on September 5th—it was then dead—there was a cut on the scalp; a piece had been cut clean out, about the size of a florin; both sides of the face were very much bruised, part of the nose and upper lip had been torn away, and one of the front teeth knocked out—I made a postmortem examination—the fourth and fifth ribs on the left side were broken, and

the sixth, seventh, and eighth ribs on both sides—there was a good deal of blood in the stomach; the skull was fractured on the left side; there was a small fracture on the right side of the scalp, just under the external injury—there was a good deal of laceration to the front part of the brain—the injury to the scalp was a perfectly clean cut—I cannot say what it was done with.

CHARLES CUTBUSH (Inspector, E). I was present when the prisoner was brought to Bow Street Police-station on the night of September 5th—he was extremely violent; it took five or six policemen to hold him—I charged him with the murder of his child—he said, "I did it for the child's good"—he afterwards said, "I did it; I thought I was doing it for the child's good"—then he remarked, "Me kill my child! I love my baby; wilful murder! you must be mad; I thought the baby had a nerve, so I bit it through the mouth and on the top of the head to do it good."

Cross-examined. In my opinion he was out of his mind when he was brought in.

LOUISA GREEN . I live at 49, Heaton Road, Peckham Rye.

Cross-examined. I have known the prisoner for some time—he was very excitable and funny in his way—I remember his threatening to commit suicide—once he said that if a doctor was not sent for he was afraid he should do something violent—he always treated the child with great kindness.

JAMES SCOTT . I am Medical Officer at Holloway Prison—I saw the prisoner on the evening of September 6th, and daily since—I think he is of unsound mind—I think he was insane on September 5th, and did not know the nature of his acts.

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

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