Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 8.0, 25 October 2021), March 1898, trial of ASNETH COHEN (22) (t18980307-232).

ASNETH COHEN, Killing > infanticide, 7th March 1898.

232. ASNETH COHEN (22) was indicted for the Wilful Murder of her newly born female child.

MESSRS. C. F. GILL and BIRON Prosecuted, and MESSRS. GRAIN and KERSHAW Defended.

RACHAEL CLENOIVICH (Interpreted). I am the wife of Abraham Louis Clenoivich, and live at 116, Commercial Street—the prisoner is my sister—she is 22 years of age—she had been living with us for four years—she helped me in the house-work—we were supporting her—I have six children—my sister slept in the back room on the third floor—three of my children slept in the same room—the front room is a work-shop, no one sleeps there—I did not know that she was in the family way—on Saturday night, January 22nd, when she went to bed she was all right as far as I knew—next morning I went up to her between ten and eleven and found she was not up—she usually got up at seven o'clock—my daughter told me something about her and I sent her up some tea—she stayed in bed during the day—I went upstairs and saw her a little after three o'clock—I said "What is the matter my dear," she made no answer—later on when it was dark ray girl came and told me there was a baby on the pavement and I went upstairs again, and found my sister up and dressed—on the floor in the

room I saw marks of blood, and I asked her what was the matter, she told me that she had her monthly, she told me nothing else and I saw nothing more—she was dressed to go out, she had on a jacket and dress but no hat—I did not hear her go out—I did not see her again till she was in custody—there is a door from the front room in to the passage—I knew that a child had been picked up in the street before she went down, I did not know it when I went up to speak to her, I heard it afterwards—I don't know how long after that my sister had left the house—I did not see her to speak to before she went away.

Cross-examined. When I saw my sister for the last time on that Sunday I knew there was a baby in the street, but I did not know where it came from—I knew my sister was in the house then—when my daughter told me there was a baby in the street—I did not go and see my sister—I was examined before the Coroner—I said then, "A little after three p.m. I went up to see what was the matter—I found her in bed, I asked her what was the matter and she did not answer—I did not think it strange because it always is so with her"—I do not know if the prisoner can speak in English and understand it, we always speak in Yeddish.

FANNY CLENOIVICH . I am the daughter of the last witness—I am 16 years old—I sleep in the same room with the prisoner and the two other children—on January 22nd, I went to bed before the prisoner—I remember getting up and seeing the prisoner in bed—it was nine o'clock when she asked me to bring her a pail of warm water and put some mustard in it—I got it I had to go downstairs for it—I saw my mother then and said something to her—I took a cup of tea up which the prisoner asked for, that was a little later than when I took up the pail of water—I went up again at one o'clock she was still in bed, and again at about three o'clock—she can understand English but she cannot speak very well.

LEAH LIMBERGER . I live at 155, Commercial Street, with my parents—I remember going along Commercial Street on a Sunday afternoon—just as I was passing by Lockhart's shop I saw something coming down from the window and when I got near I saw it was a little baby—I don't know where it came from—I ran away—I saw it come to the ground—I did not tell anybody what I had seen, nobody was walking in front or behind me—it is a long street.

ELIZABETH SPILLER . I am a charwoman—I live at the White Hart at Little Durham Street—I was passing along Commercial Street, on this day, the coffee-shop is next to No. 116—I saw some people there and I went up to see what was the matter, and I saw a new born baby lying on the pavement, it was naked and bleeding from the mouth and head—I saw it move—it tried to cry but could not—I picked it up, wrapped it in my apron and took it to the Commercial Street police-station—there was quite a little crowd when I arrived on the scene.

FRANK OLIVER .—I am a divisional surgeon of 2, Kingsland Road—on January 23rd, I was called to the police-station in Commercial Road, and was there shown an infant child, it was alive, I heard it cry feebly, it appeared to be newly born, I should imagine within an hour, it appeared to have had no skilled attention, the cord had been torn asunder, it was full-timed—the head was somewhat out of shape, the left thigh was broken—I stayed with it till it died, death was caused by a fall from

a window three storeys high—I went with Inspector Taylor to 116 to a back bedroom on the top floor, and after examining that room I went to the top room front, I think the window was then closed, but it appeared to have been disturbed, and there were two blood stains on the floor.

Cross-examined. This was no doubt a first child—I directed the prisoner to be taken to the infirmary, she was ill and distressed—from her condition I came to the conclusion that she should not be then charged—her health was so much affected.

SAHAH SHOLOSKY (Interpreted). On the evening of January 23rd the prisoner came to my house, 35, Pedley Street—she said "I have had a quarrel with my sister and brother-in-law," and asked if she could sleep with me—she did to—I did not notice anything about her, I had not seen her for the last six months, she left next morning at 9.30 and I saw her no more—I am not related to her.

SARAH CLENOIVICH . I am the wife of Reubin Clenoivich, and live at 74, Dalston Lane—I am no relation to the prisoner, I have known her for some time—on January 25tb about mid-day she came to my house—she looked ill—I asked what was the matter with her—she said she had had a misfortune, that something had come from her which she had thrown out of the window, that she did not know what it was—I had heard at that time something about it—I said to her that I heard that a baby had been thrown out of a window—she said, "Do they say it is a baby, I am sure I don't know"—I said, "Did you hear it cry"—she said, "No, I felt so dazed, I was mad"—I asked if her sister was with her—she said, "No, nobody"—I asked her if she had told her sister that she was pregnant—she said, "No, I did not like to tell her."

Cross-examined. She looked very ill.

HERBERT LARDER . I am medical superintendent of Whitechapel Infirmary—on January 25th, about 3.45, the prisoner was brought there—I saw her immediately on her admission—she did not appear to understand what I said, from ignorance of the language—I examined her, and she had been recently confined—she required immediate attention.

Cross-examined. I examined her several times afterwards—she was very weak, and is of a highly nervous temperament, and very likely under the circumstances might be subject to puerperal mania.

JAMES TAYLOR (Police Inspector). I was present when the prisoner was charged on February 14th—she said, "I opened the window and threw the baby out."

Cross-examined. She spoke in English, so that anybody could understand her—I am prepared to swear that she didn't say, "I opened the window and threw it out"—she was not placed in the dock, she sat down in the station—I had read over the charge to her—I should hardly say she was dazed or mumbling; I don't recollect saying she was dazed—she was ill and was taken back by the doctor's directions.

STEPHEN WHITE (Inspector H). I was present at the inquest on February 14th—after the jury had given their verdict, I told the prisoner she would be charged with the wilful murder of a female child by throwing it out of a window—she said, "Yes, I threw the baby out of the window; it was on the Sunday night—I hope they won't kill me."

Cross-examined. I saw her on January 25th at Dalston Lane Station in company with the doctor—she then appeared ill and dazed—the wag in the Infirmary—I did not charge her then: I did at the station—she was mumbling, I could not say dazed—she did not appear to be exactly the tiling—she spoke perfectly plain—she said, "I opened the window and threw the baby out."

GUILTY of the act, but not being responsible at the time.—To be detained in Holloway Prison during Her Majesty's pleasure.