Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 8.0, 05 October 2022), January 1820, trial of THOMAS BROOPHY (t18200112-43).

THOMAS BROOPHY, Killing > manslaughter, 12th January 1820.

251. THOMAS BROOPHY was indicted for killing and slaying Catharine , his wife .

MARGARET KINSLEY . I live in Nottingham-court, St. Giles's ; the prisoner and his wife lodged in the two pair back room. On Sunday, the 5th of December , about twenty minutes after one o'clock in the morning, the prisoner came home - his wife was within three weeks of being confined. He went up stairs, and had not been in the room five minutes before I heard a noise - I thought they were at words. I heard her say,

"Let him be." A child three years of age was in the room. After that, I heard something very heavy fall on the floor - in a few minutes his wife called out Murder! five or six times, in a low voice. She was in health; I had seen her about eight o'clock. I went up, and as I entered the room the prisoner stood with the door in his hand, which was open. I asked him what he had been doing? he said he had done nothing to her. She sat at the bed-side, on the floor; I went to her, and saw a quantity of blood under her and near her. She said the prisoner pulled her out of bed, that she fell on her back, and was much hurt. He was on the landing-place and could hear, but made no answer. She said she supposed it would bring on labour, and told me to shut the door and not let him in, as the floor was not in a fit state to be seen. I put her on the bed, the blood then increased very much. I called the landlady up. The prisoner was going down stairs before me, I hurried him down. Mrs. Gardener and I went up, the blood still kept increasing. She died in about three-quarters of an hour.

Q. Was the prisoner in the room before she died - A. Yes. She fainted; he came into the room with some liquor, and said,

"Come here, old woman, here is something to drink." He wanted to put the bottle to her month. I took it from him, and said she was dying, and that after he had ill-used her it was a poor recompence to make her drunk. He cried over her, tore his hair, and said he would not leave her. He appeared uneasy about her. The landlady brought the watchman; he said he wouldnot go with him, he would stay with his old woman - they took him away.

Q. While he was in the room did his wife say what had happened - A. No. He was in liquor.

ELIZA GARDENER . I live in the house, and was called in. The prisoner went out of the street-door. I saw the deceased, as Kinsley described, bleeding very much. I fetched the watchman and beadle. The prisoner was then sitting on the bed, crying over her. He said she was a hard-working woman, and had been carrying heavy loads to Covent-garden. She was speechles. He said he had done nothing amiss to her. The beadle said he must go with him; he said he would not leave his old woman. They persuaded him to go with them for the doctor. We called Mr. Burgess up, they took the prisoner to the watch-house. The prisoner always said she fell by the side of the bed, and he never knew she had received any harm until Kinsley came with a light. I know she was a passionate woman.

JOHN KENDRICK . I am a beadle. I was called to the house, and found the deceased speechless; the prisoner was leaning over her crying, and appeared distressed. There was a great deal of blood on the floor. I took him into custody.

JOHN SKEFFINGTON . I am a watchman. I was called in; the prisoner said he had done nothing to her.

JOSEPH BURGESS . I am a surgeon. I was fetched to the deceased; she was alive, but speechless, and dying, apparently, from the loss of blood - she was near her time. The impression on my mind was that she was flooding to death from the rupture of vessels within. I examined her for the purpose of delivering her, but found it impossible. I could discover no external bruise whatever. On opening her I observed a small fissure, or opening, near the urethra, which communicated with a branch of a large blood-vessel, from which the blood had discharged. She died from the loss of blood. At that advanced period of pregnancy the vessels are much extended, a blow or fall might have ruptured it, but I think not without one or other of them.

Q. It does happen at times - A. Yes, great exertions all day, and strong passion will do it, but I should rather attribute it to a blow or fall.

Prisoner's Defence. I had been drinking with my shopmates, she came to the public-house, and drank with us, we then went and bought different articles. She went home, and I stopped with a friend. I went home about a quarter before one o'clock, she was abed in her clothes, and began to blow me up for sing out. I said,

"If you blow me up I will go and walk the streets all night." My little boy said,

"Don't go, father" - I hit him a slap. She said,

"D - n you, don't murder him!" She jumped out of bed, and fell against the bedstead. I did not think she was hurt until the woman came up; I then went and got her some liquor. They said I must go to the watch-house; she held out her hand, and said,

"Tom, don't go with them."

NOT GUILTY .

First Middlesex Jury, before Mr. Justice Burrough.