Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 8.0, 11 June 2023), December 1887, trial of WILLIAM BRICKLEY (t18871212-147).

WILLIAM BRICKLEY, Killing > murder, 12th December 1887.

147. WILLIAM BRICKLEY was indicted for and charged on the Coroner's inquisition with the wilful murder of Johannah Brickley.

MESSRS. POLAND and MEAD Prosecuted; MR. AVORY Defended.

WILLIAM BRICKLEY . I am the son of the prisoner—I am getting on for 16 years of age—I live with the prisoner at 4, Grown Street, Fulham—he is a gas labourer, who worked at the Walham Green Gas Works—on Saturday, 19th November, I met him in the evening as he came from work—I went with him to his sister's, Mrs. Davis, 24, Lodge Avenue, Walham Green—we stopped there about an hour—my mother came—my father was drunk—I left with my father and a young man—on our way home my father went into the Sheriff public-house—my mother came up and waited outside—I saw my father take this knife out of his pocket and scrape out his pipe—we all went out together—my mother sent me to a fish shop; I was away about 5 or 10 minutes or a little more—when I got back I saw a crowd in the passage of our house—I had left my father and mother going home, against the Rose and Grown, at the top of the street—I did not go all the way home with them—there was no quarrel between them before I left.

Cross-examined. I can give you no idea how long it was before I got back home—the fish shop is three or four minutes' walk off—I went to buy fish for my mother's and my supper, my father's supper was on the table—this was the knife my father always carried, his ordinary pocket-knife—I

have often seen him clean his pipe out with it before—after he did it he shut up the knife and put it away in his pocket—I did not see him again that evening till he was at the Walham Green Station.

MARY BYE . I am the wife of John Bye, a labourer, and live with him at 4, Crown Street, Fulham, where the prisoner lived with his wife—we had the front downstairs room, and they had two rooms on the second floor—on Saturday night, 19th November, I heard some people come in and go upstairs to the prisoner's apartments about 9 o'clock as near as possible—about two or three minutes after they got upstairs I heard a woman call "Ho!"—I recognised it as Mrs. Brickley's voice—next I heard a woman coming downstairs moaning—I went out, and saw Mrs. Brickley—I found something dripping, which I afterwards found to be blood—Mrs. Brickley then called for Mrs. Burt, who occupies the next room to me—she came out; Mrs. Brickley fell—I went into the street and screamed, and then Mrs. Marshall and other people came in neighbours from next door—I heard Mrs. Marshall call out at the foot of the stairs "Mr. Brickley, you have killed your wife"—he said "If I have, I am very sorry; I did not mean to do it; I loved her as I love my life"—then there was a call for the police, who came, and the deceased woman was taken away.

Cross-examined. I did not see Brickley at the time that observation was made; he was upstairs; he spoke from off the landing—I did not see him when he came in—the prisoner lives on the floor above me—I am on the ground floor; it is only a four-roomed house—they had the back and front room; the front room was the living room—Mrs. Brickley was in the room when she called "Oh!" as far as I could understand—I could hear her call from the front room over my head—both fish shops are within two or three minutes' walk—I did not see him go out of the house.

MARGARET MARSHALL . I live at 3, Crown Street—on this night, about half an hour before it happened as near as I can think, I saw the Prisoner go by my house with his wife in the direction of their home—I saw he was very tipsy; his wife was sober—half an hour after I heard a scream—I went into No. 4, and saw Mrs. Brickley lying in the passage—I said "Mr. Brickley, you have killed your wife"—he said "If I have I am very sorry, for I did not mean to do it, for I loved her as I love my life"—I waited with the deceased woman till the doctor came.

JOHN DOLLORRY . I am a labourer, living at 2, Crown Street, Fulham, next door but one to the prisoner's-between 9 and, 10 o'clock on the night of 19th November I saw a crowd outside No. 4—I went in the passage, and saw Mrs. Brickley lying there, and then went upstairs—I saw the prisoner standing at the top of the stairs crying bitterly—he asked who was coming upstairs—I said "It is me" and afterwards "Jack Dollory"—he told me to come up, and asked me if the woman was dead—he said "Is that you, Jack?"—I said "Yes"—he said "Is she dead?"—I said "No; if you keep yourself quiet she will be all right directly"—he said "It is all her own fault; I am very sorry; it is all her own fault; I did not mean to do it."—I went downstairs; he followed and went out at the back—I went into the prisoner's front room after the woman had been conveyed away—I touched nothing.

Cross-examined. I saw the supper table laid—there was some steak

and 'taters, and some meat on a fork, I believe: knife and fork and a chair at the table, I believe—there was nothing unusual in the appearance of the room, and nothing disturbed as far as I saw—the prisoner was drunk, and seemed very excited, when I spoke to him—he did not follow me downstairs till two or three minutes afterwards—I thought he was going downstairs to return again—I heard him come downstairs and go out at the back.

CATHERINE ROGERS . I live at 31, Crown Street, Fulham, with my husband, a labourer—I have known the prisoner by sight, passing—on Saturday night, 19th November, about 11 o'clock, the prisoner came into my house—he seemed in a wild state of mind, and he said to me "I beg your pardon; I have come to the wrong house; I have killed my wife, and I did not mean to do it: I shall get six months; the police are after me, and it was done accidental"—I told him to leave my place as I should get into trouble if the police were to come and find him there—he commenced rubbing his hands and tearing his hair, and seemed in a regular wild state, and with the greatest difficulty we got him out at the back out of the way.

Cross-examined. I had never spoken to him before—when he said "I beg your pardon," he did not say who it was he wanted—he was quite drunk—the actual words he used were "It was merely done accidental"—when he left he was wringing his hands and tearing his hair.

RALPH THOMAS (Policeman T 160). On 19th November I was fetched to 4, Crown Street, where I saw a woman lying on the floor in the passage in a pool of blood—I found Mrs. Burt there—I sent for Dr. Webb, who came, I suppose, three minutes after I was there—he ordered her to be taken to St. George's Hospital—I assisted to take her there in a ambulance—when I got there she was dead; the doctor pronounced life extinct.

HENRY JONES (Inspector T). On this Saturday night, 19th November, I went to 4, Crown Street, about half-past 11—I went upstairs to the front room, first floor—there was a plate containing meat and potatoes on the table, with knife on the right-hand side and fork on the left—a piece of meat was on the fork—the plate appeared just as if someone had just about commenced to eat—I noticed blood in the room; it started from the side of chair near the window nearest the fireplace, and from there went in drops all round the room to the door, and on the wall nearest the door there was quantity of blood—there was a pool of blood at the doorway and on the landing and at successive places down the stairs—on the handle of the knife on the table near the blade there were two spots of blood, one very small and one about the size of a pea—there was greasy matter in the knife, as if it had been used for food—the prisoner was not in custody then—I looked for him but could not find him—about half-past 2 in the morning I was searching No. 27 in the same street—we knocked at the front room—the prisoner eventually came to the door—as the door was opened he was in the passage—he spoke first—he said "I know what you want; I am very sorry for it; it was all her fault"—I said "Your wife is dead, and you will be charged with killing her; anything you say may be in evidence against you"—he said "I am very sorry to hear it; I came home to have a bit of dinner; I was eating it with my knife; it was all her fault"—I took

him to the station, where the charge of causing the death of his wife was entered—I read the charge to him—he said "You don't mean to say she is dead, sir?"—my opinion is he had been drinking heavily—his coat was on a chair in his front room—I found in the outer coat pocket this ordinary clasp-knife, shut up—there was no mark on it at all—this is the knife that was on the table; it is an ordinary table knife.

Cross-examined. The coat was on a chair on the side opposite the window, on the left-hand side going in at the room door, as if taken off in the ordinary way and thrown down—that chair was not at the table; there was a chair at the table—it looked as though a person had been eating—when I knocked at No. 27 someone opened the door after two or three minutes had elapsed—I did not ask the woman if the prisoner was there—he himself came down and opened the door to me; he was dressed.

HUGH WEBB, M.K.C.S . I live at Fulham—soon after 10 o'clock on Saturday, 19th November, I was called to 4, Crown Street, and on going there I found a woman lying on the floor of the back room, just inside the doorway, on her left side, with her head near the wall and her feet towards the bed, with her left arm underneath her—the clothes of the left arm and shoulder were saturated with blood, and until I cut off the clothes from the arm I could not find the would—I cut off the clothes from the arm, and found an incised wound at the outer and back part of the arm, an inch long and three inches deep, bleeding very little then—it was apparently from behind forwards, almost horizontal, passing between the bone of the arm and the skin on the inner side of the arm—she did not speak, and she appeared to be suffering from loss of blood—she just moaned and murmured; she did not articulate—I gave her brandy and dressed her wound, and sent her to the hospital in the ambulance—she died on the way to the hospital—I did not go too—I think if I had been called in earlier I could have helped her—on making the post-mortem examination I found several large vessels coming from the main artery and veins were cut through; that, together with the shook, was the cause of death—I found nothing more—the wound could decidedly have been inflicted with the larger of these blades of the clasp-knife—the size of the blade, half an inch wide and about three inches long, would correspond entirely with the size of the wound—great violence would be necessary—at another post-mortem examination that I made I found reasons which would induce me to believe that at the time the woman would be susceptible to shock—on examining the heart I found a fatty deposit of some considerable amount, and the stomach was very much dilated and very full of a recently-swallowed meal, and in addition to that there were eight or nine very large pieces of bolted steak of an extraordinary size; two of the largest that I measured were two inches long, and one inch and seven-eighths thick, almost two inches cube—that would render her particularly susceptible to shock.

Cross-examined. I have seen the table knife. (MR. JUSTICE STEPHEN measured this, and said that it was seven-eighths of an inch wide, and six inches long.) I have said that I do not think the wound could have been caused by the table knife because the point is not sharp enough, not because of the breadth—I found no trace of blood on the knives, except on the table knife I have described already; I saw that—the woman was suffering from a fatty heart—she was a stout woman generally—the place

in the arm is a place where there would be a great deal of flesh; it is a fatty part in a woman's arm.

The Prisoner's Statement before the Magistrate. "I have got nothing to say. I remember nothing at all how it occurred."

MARY BYE (Re-examined by MR. AVORY). When I heard something dropping I said to Mrs. Brickley "Is that water?"—she said "No, it is blood."

GUILTY of Manslaughter .—(The prisoner had been twice previously in custody for assaulting his wife.)— Seven Years' Penal Servitude.