Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 8.0, 11 May 2021), August 1881, trial of JAMES JAMES (45) (t18810802-752).

JAMES JAMES, Breaking Peace > wounding, 2nd August 1881.

752. JAMES JAMES (45) , Feloniously throwing spirits of salts on Louisa Lane, with intent to disfigure her.

MR. PURCELL. Prosecuted.

LOUISA LANE . I am a widow, and live at Peckham—on 12th June, about 12 p.m., I was going home, returning from my daughter's, and saw the prisoner at my gate—I heard a noise like taking a cork from a bottle, and he said "Take that" three times; "I know that is spoilt"—he was close to me; I saw a bottle in his hand—it took my breath as it went over me, and I put up my umbrella to save my face—it went all over me, from the collar of my jacket, over my dress, gloves, and umbrella—when I went inside I found my jacket and umbrella wet—I informed the police next morning, and gave the prisoner in charge in the evening—he has been a lodger of mine, but has left twelve months or more—I have been a widow four years, and he wanted me to live with him, but I refused—he has asked me lots of times—he said my children should suffer, for it, for they should find me stiff at their feet—he had said that a few weeks before, and has said it more than once.

Cross-examined by the Prisoner. My daughter came by rail—I met her at Broad Street station at 3 p.m.—I went to her house in the evening; it was not 12.30 when I got to my gate—you have persecuted me by your threats that my daughter should find me stiff at her feet—I did not speak to you at my gate—I did not offer to hit you with my umbrella, nor had you to ward off the blow—I did not charge you at once because my mother did not wish me to go out again—I knew where you lived—I have been there; I was bound to go because you would watch my mother's house if I did not—you have watched pretty well every house I have had, yet you took me to your lodgings on the Saturday previous, or else I should not have gone—I never went there by myself, except when you took me; only on one Sunday evening when you told me to come, and your niece began to quarrel; they were all drunk—my brother's wife asked you to settle a question between me and her—she said that I kept a brothel, but I never did—I told the inspector you had thrown vitriol. ever me—I have always spoken a good word for you on account of your being kind to my boy when he lay bad, and I shall ever say it.

Re-examined. This is my jacket and umbrella—it was not a rainy night, but I had my hand inside my umbrella, and put it up to save myself.

GEORE ETHERIDGE . I am a surgeon, of Queen's Road, Peckham—on 23rd June I examined this jacket and umbrella, and found marks of strong corrosive fluid—I have since tested them, and come to the conclusion that it is hydrochloric acid or spirits of salts—if it had fallen on her face it would have burnt her flesh, and it might have caused blindness.

Cross-examined. You said something about it being spirits of salts; I did not then know that you were the prisoner—it is used by plumbers for cleaning zinc—I was not asked to examine your coat.

JOHN JARMAN . (Detective P). I took the prisoner and told him he would be charged with throwing corrosive fluid over Louisa Lane; he said "No, I think you are mistaken"—on the way to the station he said "I did it for the purpose of keeping the umbrella out of my eyes," and he said the same at the station, but after the charge was read over he said "I deny it."

Cross-examined. I did not hear the inspector call you a liar.

FREDERICK FORTH . (Police Inspector P). The prisoner said at the station "It was not vitriol, it was spirits of salts. I had the bottle in my hand; I bought it for a man to mend some zinc gutters with."

Witness for the Defence.

MRS. TURNER. The prisoner took my lodgings and said he was a married man, and on the Monday his wife, as supposed her to be, came and looked to see what sort of lodgings he had; she stopped so long that I told my son I did not approve of it—the prisoner used to wait at the door for her to come and see him, and sometimes she came of her own accord; and on the Saturday night before that she was with him up to 10 or 11 o'clock in his bedroom—he generally went out and fetched refreshments for her, a little port-wine and pastry—he always conducted himself well.

The prisoner produced a written defence stating that he had the bottle of spirits in his pocket, and the warmth of his body caused the cork to blow out;

that he then made a paper cork, and when he spoke to the prosecutrix the lifted up her umbrella to strike him, and he put up his hands to save himself from the blow, and, having the bottle in his hand, the spirit went over her. The Prisoner received a good character.