EXTRACTS FROM THE  MANCHESTER FELONY REGISTER PART FOUR
 

 

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MANCHESTER FAMILY HISTORY RESEARCH

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CONTENTS

HOMEPAGE

A  MANCHESTER RESEARCHER'S TALE

MANCHESTER AND STOCKPORT CERTIFIED INDUSTRIAL SCHOOLS

MANCHESTER COURT RECORDS

BELLE VUE PRISON RECORDS

NEW BAILEY PRISON RECORDS

STRANGEWAYS PRISON RECORDS

STRANGEWAYS PRISON: FIRST REPORTS

MANCHESTER MARTYRS' PRISON RECORDS

PRESS REACTION TO THE MANCHESTER EXECUTIONS PART I

PART II

PART III

WHAT  DID HAPPEN TO THE REMAINS OF THE PRISONERS EXECUTED AT MANCHESTER?

THE MANCHESTER FELONY REGISTER PT 1

PART 2

PART 3

PART 4

GREATER MANCHESTER RIOTS IN 1868

MANCHESTER AND LANCASHIRE STRAYS IN MILL BANK PRISON

MANCHESTER POOR LAW AND WORKHOUSE RECORDS

MANCHESTER POOR LAW UNION MINUTES

CHORLTON AND SOUTH MANCHESTER REGISTRATION DISTRICT

VOTING REGISTERS AND ELIGIBILITY IN MANCHESTER

1831 POPULATION FIGURES FOR MANCHESTER

MANCHESTER CENSUS COLLECTION DETAILS

PLACES OF WORSHIP IN MANCHESTER AND SALFORD

MANCHESTER PARISH AND CITY

MANCHESTER CITY CENTRE CHURCHES

MANCHESTER AND GENERAL INFORMATION

MANCHESTER BOROUGH POLICE FORCE

SECOND PART

THIRD PART

FOURTH PART

TRANSPORT IN MANCHESTER PART ONE

PART TWO

MANCHESTER INQUESTS WITNESS STATEMENTS INDEX

USEFUL LINKS

MANCHESTER FAMILY HISTORY CONTACT PAGE

   

 

THE MANCHESTER FELONY REGISTER

Manchester Archives launched The Manchester Collection via Find My Past of  the records from this prison. Many examples from this site were used in the publicity  packs and blogs etc to announce this launch. See the Manchester Collection at the link below. This page was published on this site after the launch.
Find My Past

Genes Reunited


EXTRACTS FROM THE SURVIVING FELONY PRISON REGISTER OF MANCHESTER AND SALFORD

PART FOUR


FIRST EXECUTION AT STRANGEWAYS

5936 Michael JOHNSON. When Received:  Offence and When Committed: On the 26th Dec 1868 feloniously, wilfully and of his own malice aforethought did kill + murder one Pat Nurney. Sentence: DEATH. Age: 20 9/12. Ht: 5ft 2 ½ ins. Complexion, Hair, Eyes: Fresh, Brown, Grey. Trade or Profession: Dyer. Where Born: Bolton. Last or Usual Address: Wood St, Ordsall Lane, Salford. Religion: RC.  Education: N. Single. English Wt In: 8 st 8 lbs. Wt Out: Dead. Mark Etc: Cut corner of left eye, scar back of right hand, two cuts 2nd finger of right hand. When Discharged or Otherwise Disposed: Executed March 29/6

At 8 o'clock yesterday morning [29th March 1869] Michael James Johnson was executed at Strangeways Prison for the murder of Patrick Nurney in Regent Road, Salford. The execution was conducted in private and according to the form prescribe in the recent statute. Johnson was  only 20 years old, but his character was bad, and the murder fir which he was executed was of an atrocious nature. He became involved in a dispute in a Public House and was ejected. The bar keeper threw him out again and again, and the unfortunate Nurney, who was in the bar, went to the door in order to close it after Johnson had left. This act annoyed Johnson so much, and without provocation drew a knife and Nurney in the groin, severing an artery and causing death in a few minutes. Johnson was arrested the following day.

At the trial many attempts were made to reduce the charge to manslaughter, but the Jury were compelled by the evidence to return a verdict of wilful murder. As is customary, an attempt was made to have the sentence reduce to penal servitude for life, but as there were no reasonable grounds to ask the Crown for clemency, no reprieve was forthcoming. The execution took place at the end of the B wing of the prison. A shed had been erected at the rounded end of the building to house the scaffold and all the other necessary appliances for carrying out the extreme sentence of the law. The shed faced directly towards the lofty boundary wall of the prison. The scaffold was erected at a height of seven feet above the ground and a curtain of black cloth was placed around it to conceal the lower part on the convict's body after the drop.

Johnson passed the night fairly well and received Calcroft [the executioner] at ten minutes to eight without losing his firmness. The short walk from the Condemned Cell to the scaffold did not take long. The Chaplain repeated during the interval the "Litany of Jesus", to which Johnson replied to in a moderately firm voice. At two minutes to eight Johnson appeared on the drop, the only spectators to the execution being six journalists, whose unpleasant duty it was to represent the public. Johnson stood quite still as the hood and rope were adjusted. He prayed with great fervour whilst the Chaplain who was pleading for divine mercy upon him.

Calcroft was unusually expeditious in completing the preliminaries and at exactly eight o'clock the drop fell. Johnson was a very slight figure and had lost much weight whilst in prison. The fall did not kill him immediately and he struggled for a short time. Eventually he hung motionless and life was apparently extinct a minute after the bolt had been withdrawn. The body was left to hang for the customary time and was then cut down, and later in the day an inquest was held upon it, with the formal verdict being returned in accordance with the law. The body was then buried within the walls of the prison, along side the Fenian murderers of Sergeant Brett, whose bodies had been removed from the New Bailey Prison.

FATAL STABBING IN SHUDEHILL

6716. John BERNADOTTI. When Received:  March 3rd 1869. Offence and Where Committed: Having on the 1st Feb 1869 wilfully + feloniously + of malice aforethought killed + murdered on John Oldham at Manchester Sentence: 20 Years Penal Servitude. Age: About 24. Ht: 5ft 8 ½ ins. Complexion, Hair, Eyes: Fresh, Brown, Hazel. Trade or Profession: Modeller. Where Born: Italy. Last or Usual Address: 8 Little Stable St, Cope St, Manchester. Religion: RC. Education: R. Single. Foreign. Wt in: 10 st 11 lbs. Wt out: 10 st 4 lbs. Marks etc: Cut fight of forehead, cut on left thumb. When Discharged or Otherwise Disposed: July 13/69 Removed to Millbank.

6717. Joseph RESTRON. When Received:  March 3rd 1869. Offence and Where Committed: Having on the 1st Feb 1869 wilfully + feloniously + of malice aforethought killed + murdered on John Oldham at Manchester Sentence: 20 Years Penal Servitude. Age: last April 27 11/12. Ht: 5ft 3 ½. Complexion, Hair, Eyes: Sallow, Dk Brown, Hazel. Trade or Profession: Slater. Where Born: Italy. Last or Usual Address: Carpenter Lane, Oak St, Manchester. Religion: RC. Education: N. Married + 1 child. 3Wt in: 9 st 3 lbs. Wt out: 9 st 0 lbs. Marks etc: 3 cuts right of forehead, 2 cuts on 2nd finger left hand. When Discharged or Otherwise Disposed: July 13/69 Removed to Millbank.

6718. Bartholomew GALGANI. March 3rd 1869. Offence and Where Committed: Having on the 1st Feb 1869 wilfully + feloniously + of malice aforethought killed + murdered on John Oldham at Manchester Sentence: 20 Years Penal Servitude. Age: Last Aug 37 7/12. Ht: 5ft 6 ½ ins. Complexion, Hair, Eyes: Sallow, Dk Brown, Grey. Trade or Profession: Modeller. Where Born: Italy. Last or Usual Address: 8 Little Stable St, Cope St, Manchester. Religion: RC. Education: N. Married + 2 children. Foreign. Wt in: 11 st 0 lbs. Wt out: 10 st 10lbs. Marks etc: Cut left of forehead, several cuts on 2nd finger right hand, cut on left thumb. When Discharged or Otherwise Disposed: July 13/69 Removed to Millbank.

Three Italian men, John Bernadotti, Joseph Reston and Bartholomew Galgani were accused of the murder of John Oldham. The men were all involved in a fight which took place on the night of 31st January. John Oldham later died of wounds in the Royal Infirmary. James McIntyre was also stabbed in the same incident. The morning after the incident, John Oldham was able to make a statement to the police.

I live at Copperas Street, in the city, and being now in Manchester Royal Infirmary, and, as I believe, about to die, I make this as my dying declaration. At about 12 o’clock last night, I was on the corner of Copperas Street, going home, and saw three men coming towards me. I called ‘mother’. The three men were talking to each other and jostling each other. I saw a tall man with a black moustache, and he appeared to take out of his right hand trousers pocket something shinning like a knife. I believe it was a knife. I was passing him on his right hand side, and when I was passing he struck me with the instrument he had in his hand, and I turned round, and when I had done so I was struck by a little man with white trousers on. The little man struck me on the left shoulder, at the back. When the man with the black moustache struck me I felt myself stabbed in the neck. I called out when I felt myself struck, and my brother came out, and I pointed out to him the man with the moustache who had first struck me. I know the man with the moustache well. He lives in Stable Street and makes plaster of Paris figures. I do not know the name of the man with the moustache, but know he is a foreigner. After the man with the moustache struck me he ran towards where he lives, and I lost sight of him because I fell; but directly afterwards when I had been lifted up, I saw the man with the moustache in the custody of a police constable, and I am quite sure he is the man who struck me in the throat. The little man ran away and I did not see him again. When the three men came towards me at first they were on the footpath, and I stepped off to make way for them. I had had three glasses of beer, but was quite sober. I had been talking to James Burns and John McIntyre, and they both stood at the other side of the street as I was struck. When I called out, Burns and McIntyre came across, but I did not see them do anything. I am a confectioner, and I occupy a passage next door to where the man with the moustache lives; and the tenant of the house where he lives has frequently wanted the passage from me. The three men now being before me, I can positively say that the man calls himself John Bernadotti is the man who struck me in the neck as before stated, and the man who now calls himself Joseph Reston is the man who struck me on the shoulders; and the man who calls himself Bartholomew Galgani keeps the house where the prisoner Bernadotti lives; but I did not see him do anything. He did not strike me, and I cannot say he was one of the three men I have spoken as of coming towards me on the footway. I did not see him after I was picked up.”

As they was a most unusual case, as newspapers report: "A Jury of one half foreigners was empanelled to try the prisoners".  At the opening of the Court case there were long legal discussions as to whether this statement was admissible as evidence, as John Oldham made this deathbed statement on the 1st February but did not actually die until 18th February. Eventually after consultations with a brother Judge, the Judge declared that the statement was admissible as evidence.

Several witnesses, who were in company with the deceased John Oldham, at the time of the attack, or the immediate area when is took place stated the following  facts. Before the attack upon the dead man, Galgani and Bernadotti and another man whose identity was unclear, came along the street. The dead man and a man name Matthews, two of whose friends were on the opposite side of the street, met them on the footpath, and were the first to be assaulted. A fight  ensued between Oldham and the accused and Matthews crossed the street to get out of the way. The scuffle lasted between five and ten minutes. Matthews, who was attacked by Galgani, knocked him to the ground, and went away not knowing that Oldham had been stabbed. One of Oldham's friends, John McIntyre was stabbed in the course of the fight, but by whom he was unable to say. Oldham was taken to by a Police Officer to the Royal Infirmary. The accused man Restron was identified by Elizabeth Hall of Tib St, as one of the people who commenced the attack on the deceased. Bernadotti was ceased by James Oldham a bother of the deceased, and given up to the Police. galgani was arested shortly afterwards. He was very drunk.

PC James Mullins said that he had received Bernadotti into custody from James Oldham, who charge him with the stabbing of John Oldham, upon going further up the street found the deceased lying in the arms of a man called Burns, bleeding from a wound in the neck. Later PC Mullins arrested Bernadotti, who was also in drink and was in possession of a knife. Both prisoner were covered in blood. A third knife was found where the fight took place by a youth called Fishwick.  Mr Pinder, a Surgeon, stated to the Court, that of the tree knives referred to, only the one belonging to Galgani had any blood on it. In his opinion that knife was the most likely to have caused the wound inflicted on the deceased.

At the close of the case for the Prosecution, the Judge asked Mr Hopwood (one of the Prosecutors), if he thought any case for Murder had been made out, as the evidence  clearly showed that there had been a general fight. He also stated that it was impossible to say which party had begun the fight. During the fight a man had been stabbed and killed. Supposing that any one of the accused, had during the fight, drawn a knife, and stabbed the deceased, would that be enough to go to the Jury as evidence of murder?

Mr Hopwood could not say it was. Therefore the Judge said he was inclined to advise the Jury to ignore the charge of Murder against the men in the dock. Then upon the question of Manslaughter, he asked was there any of concert amongst the accused to attack the deceased feloniously with a knife. The Prosecution stated that no other evidence was needed beyond the fact of the affray. There were also aiders and abettors. The Judge replied by stating: "If, before the affray (which commenced with a fight with fists) there was a concert to fight with knives, the case would be one of Murder. But you have just said there is no case of Murder. That assumes there was no previous concert. Is there, then, any evidence of concert during the affray, to fight with knives?"

Mr Hopwood replied: "If two men are engaged in a fight, and other choose to join in it, I submit that they are equally liable for the consequences, when the evidence shows that, in addition to fighting with fists, there was a use of knives." After a lot more legal argument about the  evidence, the Judge gave his summing up to the Jury. The questions they had to consider were : "First, did the prisoners , or any of them, during the scuffle, and in the heat of it, agree to fight as a party; and that a knife or knives, should be used as weapons of fight? If that received an affirmative answer, in point of law each of them was answerable for the act of the others. Secondly, If the Jury were not satisfied that there was no concert between the prisoners in that sense, could they say whether any of them struck the blow which caused the deceased's death? If they came to that question, and thought that  there was  no concert, it would not be sufficient for them to find that it must have been one of the prisoners who struck the blow. They must acquit them all, unless they could which of them it was. To establish common intention all that was required was that any two of the prisoners, seeing the fight and knowing that their companion was using a knife, should have gone to his assistance. Assuming, however, that there was no evidence of concert - could they say which of the prisoners struck the fatal blow? If they found proof of concert, and that one of the three struck, all were guilty; without concert, unless they could say by whom the blow was struck, all must be acquitted; but, if they were able to say which one it was, it was their duty to find him, and him alone guilty."

The Jury deliberated for an hour and a half, and found the prisoners guilty.

The Judge, in passing sentence, said the prisoners had been found guilty, by a careful and impartial Jury, of an atrocious crime. In his opinion each of them drew and used a knife. Had there been no provocation, the verdict would had to have been one of murder, and they would have sentenced to death and executed. Although there was sufficient provocation to reduce the crime, according to English law, below that of murder, yet everyone who had heard the case would believe that he provocation was of the smallest kind. In the fight no serious blow was struck, but they drew their knives and stabbed. Each stab was, as nearly as possible, the cause of death, and it was only a mere accident that McIntyre did not loose his life. This was a frequent crime in the northern counties and it must be extirpated. The case of the prisoners, although one of Manslaughter, was next to Murder.  The Judge stated that he did not care whether stabbing was un-English or un-Italian (he believed it was both); none but the most cowardly miscreants would use a knife when they knew that their adversaries had no such weapons. The sentence upon the prisoners was that they should be kept in penal servitude for twenty years.


DRUNKEN QUARRELL CAUSES WIFE'S DEATH

7416. Benjamin CRONSHAW. When Received:  April 19th 1869. Offence and Where Committed: Having on the 11th April 1869 feloniously + of his malice aforethought killed + murdered one Susannah Cronshaw at Manchester. (Convicted of Manslaughter). Sentence: 5 Years Penal Servitude. Age: Last March 39 11/12. Ht: 5ft 9 ¾ ins. Complexion, Hair, Eyes: Fresh, Brown, Grey. Trade or Profession: Tailor. Where Born: Accrington, Lancashire. Last or Usual Address: Miller Lane, Manchester. Religion: Ch. Education: R + W Imp. Widower + children. English. Wt in: 9 st 10 lbs. Wt out: 9 st 3 lbs. Marks etc: Scar on left eyebrow, cut each side of forehead, cut over fight eyebrow. When Discharged or Otherwise Disposed: March 14/70 Removed to Pentonville.

Cronshaw and his wife Susannah lived in a lodging house in Oswald St, Manchester. On the night of 11th May (the entry above clearly state the event took place on 11th April) then went ant drinking and returned about 11.30 pm, both were drunk. About five minutes after they returned home Cronshaw told his wife to give him some money so that he could buy more drink. She refused and Cronshaw punched in in the head. he asked her again, and again was refused. He then kicked here several times in the side. A fellow lodger in the house tried to intervene. Cronshaw told him to mind his own business, and if he did not, he would do him an injury. Cronshaw went out of the house, but returned about ten minutes later and again demanded money from his wife. She refused, but said that she would let him have money for beer in the morning.

For some reason Cronshaw started singing, Susannah joined in. This angered him and with considerable force kicked her three times in the left side. The force of the blows had propelled her into a passage. Cronshaw followed her into the passage, taking a loaf of bread from the table and  hitting her across the head with it. The force of which broke the loaf. The landlord had now put Cronshaw out into the street and Susannah stated that she follow her husband wherever he went. After a few minutes out in the street she collapsed and was taken to the Infirmary where she died about an hour after admission, from rupture of the spleen. The Assistant Surgeon at the Infirmary attributed the rupture of the spleen to the kicks which had been inflicted on Susannah.

The Judge stated that the fact no dangerous instrument had not been used, and the whole complexion of the case, showed that it was not premeditated murder. It was evidently a drunken quarrel, in which considerable violence had been used by the prisoner. The Jury immediately returned a verdict of Manslaughter. The Judge stated that the circumstances of the case were extremely bad. The prisoner's conduct was most brutal, and he should be neglecting his duty if he did not pass upon him a severe sentence. He ordered him to be kept in penal servitude for five years.

ATTEMPTED MURDER AT BLATCHINHWORTH

115. Lewis KERSHAW. When Received:  Oct 18th 1869. Offence and Where Committed: On Oct 18th 1869 did unlawfully + feloniously attempt to drown one Sarah Baker by pushing her into the Rochdale canal with intent feloniously + unlawfully + of malice aforethought to kill + murder her at [Blatchinworth]. Sentence: 20 Years Penal Servitude. Age: Last July 25 4/12. Ht: 5ft 6 ins. Complexion, Hair, Eyes: Sallow, Brown, Hazel. Trade or Profession: Factory Operative. Where Born: New Inn, Littleboro, Lancashire. Last or Usual Address: Featherstone, Littleboro. Religion: D. Education: R + W Imp. Married + 0 children. English. Wt in: 10 st 4 lbs. Wt out: 9 st 11 lbs. Marks etc: Lost a upper front tooth, cut 3rd + 4th finger left hand crooked (sic), cut inside left elbow. When Discharged or Otherwise Disposed: April 19/70 removed to Pentonville.

The Prosecutrix [Sarah Baker], was a weaver living in Rochdale. On 6th November she was with Kershaw's wife. They were walking to Todmorden in order to seek out work. The accused came upon the two women and asked where they were going. Mrs Kershaw told him where she was going and also asked him for some money. He replied that he had none to give, he had been out of work for six months himself. He offered to go with them to Todmorden, however he was ashamed to been seen with the women and asked them to walk along the canal tow path, while he stayed on the road. The women agreed to this. By the time they arrived at Benthouse Bridge in Blatchinworth Kershaw had become quite aggressive. He was now walking behind Sarah Baker, his wife being a yard or two behind when he grabbed Baker, shouted "Go in there your [ba*tard]," and pushed her into the water. Kershaw then turned towards his wife, who fearing the same fate screamed for her life. An old man named Whiswell was passing by and came to her rescue. Kershaw then ran off in the direction of Todmorden. Sarah Baker was in the water for some nine or ten minutes, clothes had kept her afloat. Mr Whiswell eventually managed to drag her to the bank using part of a nearby fence. She was almost dead.

In Court Sarah Baker and Mr Whiswell were questioned about the above facts. Kershaw in his defence stated that he had no intention of drowning Sarah Baker, they had a squabble and she accidentally fell into the water. The Jury disagreed and found him guilty of attempted murder. The Judge stated that Kershaw was morally guilty of the capital offence, and  it was only through the exertions  of Mr Whiswell that Sarah Baker survived. He was sentenced to twenty years penal servitude.


NOTHING REPORTED

1070. James RILEY. When Received:  Jan 6th 1870. Offence and Where Committed: Having on the 5th Jan 1870 feloniously + violently assaulted one Elizabeth Hall + then violently + against her will feloniously did ravish + casually know her. Sentence: 10 Years Penal Servitude. Age: About 40. Ht: 5ft 7 ins. Complexion, Hair, Eyes: Sallow, Dk Brown, Grey. Trade or Profession: Shoemaker. Where Born: Cavan. Last or Usual Address: Tipping St, Ardwick. Religion: RC. Education: N. Married + 4 children. Irish. Wt in: 9 st 8 lbs. Wt out: 9 st 11 lbs. Marks etc: Cut left of upper lip, small scar over left eyebrow. When Discharged or Otherwise Disposed: June 24/70 Removed to Millbank.

The  above crime did not get event warrant a mention in the press.

MANCHESTER COINING CASE

1739. James BURKE (alias Benjamin Rushbrook. Enquiry from Birmingham Gaol Nov2/87). When Received:  Jan 17th 1870. Offence and Where Committed: Having on the 15th Jan 1870 falsely made and counterfeited diverse pieces of coin apparently intended to resemble and pass for certain of the Queen’s current silver coins called half crowns at Manchester. Sentence: 14 Years Penal Servitude. Age: Last May 50 10/12. Ht: 5ft 7 ins. Complexion, Hair, Eyes: Sallow, Grey, Blue. Trade or Profession: Tailor. Where Born: Manchester, Lancashire. Last or Usual Address: 12 Spinning Field, Deansgate, Manchester. Religion: RC. Education: R + W Imp. Widower + 0 children. English. Wt in: 11 st 2 lbs. Wt out: 10 st 8 lbs. Marks etc: Nose cut + crooked, large scar on left eyebrow, cut left of forehead in hair. Previous Committals: 11, Cambridge Gaol (3), Warwick Gaol (3), City Gaol, Manchester (8). Enquiry from Wakefield in Apr 1869. Register in Last Case: 4608. When Discharged or Otherwise Disposed: June 24/70 Removed to Millbank.

1740. James LEDWARD (alias David Nicholson). When Received:  Jan 17th 1870. Offence and Where Committed: Having on the 15th Jan 1870 falsely made and counterfeited diverse pieces of coin apparently intended to resemble and pass for certain of the Queen’s current silver coins called half crowns at Manchester. Sentence: 14 Years Penal Servitude. Age: This march 44. Ht: 5ft 7 ¾ ins. Complexion, Hair, Eyes: Sallow, Grey, Brown. Trade or Profession: Tailor. Where Born: On the Sea. Last or Usual Address: 22 Holland Sq, Oldham Rd, Manchester. Religion: Ch. Education: R + W Imp. Widower + 2 children. English. Wt in: 11 st 1 lbs. Wt out: 10 st 7 lbs. Marks etc: Cut on left cheekbone, cut left of forehead, mole inside left arm, pockpitted. Previous Committals: 3 City Gaol. When Discharged or Otherwise Disposed: June 8/70 Removed to Pentonville.

1741 James WILKINSON. When Received:  When Received:  Jan 17th 1870. Offence and Where Committed: Having on the 15th Jan 1870 falsely made and counterfeited diverse pieces of coin apparently intended to resemble and pass for certain of the Queen’s current silver coins called half crowns at Manchester. Sentence: 7 Years Penal Servitude. Age: last Oct 27 5/12. Ht: 5ft 7 ins. Complexion, Hair, Eyes: Pale, Brown, Bluish. Trade or Profession: Packing Case Maker. Where Born: Manchester, Lancashire. Last or Usual Address: 21 Hardman St, Manchester. Religion: Ch. Education: R + W Imp. Single. English. Wt in: 10 st 5 lbs. Wt out: 10 st 0 lbs. Marks etc: Moles inside left arm, cut back of left thumb, small cut corner of left eye. When Discharged or Otherwise Disposed: June 8/70 Removed to Pentonville

The above trio can also be seen in the  Borough Gaol General Register. This refers to there time spent in Gaol whilst under remand. Ledward's entry states that he was born in East India as opposed to "At Sea". The General Register also records the fact that both Ledworth and Wilkinson received and sent several letters while they were on remand, indicating that they were quite well educated, as I think that can be proved by the report below.

At half past eight on 15th January two police Constables were on duty in Hardman Street, Manchester when one of the accused, Burke was seen by them. He was acting suspiciously and therefore they seized him. As they were doing this Burke dropped a paper which contained what was afterwards found to be three bad half crown coins. The Police then proceeded to a house, 21 Hardman Street and went upstairs  where they found one of the doors fastened. They forced it open and found the other two accused sat at a table. Ledward had a knife in his hand and Wilkinson a file. On the table was one good half crown and one fake. There was also a galvanic battery with wires [a battery consisting of a number of voltaic cells arranged in series or parallel], a basin containing nitrate of potassium and another containing quicksilver. On the fire there was a spoon containing some metal, and in the side oven a mould containing both sides of a half crown. Ledward dropped a half crown which later proved to be a fake. When the half crowns were compared to the mould they were found to correspond. The galvanic battery with the wire was used for taking a portion of the silver from the genuine half crowns and facing the counterfeit coins. There was also a piece of zinc with a wire in it found in the room and also some plaster of Parish. There was also a portion of a packet of magnesium found in one of the cupboards. It was later proved that Burke had purchased this form the local chemist.

The witnesses were crossed examined at great length by Burke, who also addressed the Jury at the close of the evidence, in a speech of considerable length. The accused were all found guilty. Ledward and Burke were sentenced to fourteen years penal servitude and Wilkinson to sever years penal servitude.

STIFF SENTENCE FOR  TWO SHILLING BURGLARY

1747. James ROCK (alias James Smith, Joshua Bushel). When Received:  Feb 21st 1870. Offence and Where Committed: Burglariously breaking + entering on the night of the 19th Feb 1870 the dwelling house of James Eyres and stealing 6 bottles + 1 pan value 2/- his property at Manchester. Sentence: 15 Years Penal Servitude. Age: Last Aug 44 7/12. Ht: 5ft 4 ins. Complexion, Hair, Eyes: Fresh, Greyish, Grey. Trade or Profession: Slater. Where Born: Dublin. Last or Usual Address: No settled home. Religion: Ch. Education: R + W Imp. Single. Irish. Wt in: 10 st 4lbs. Wt out: 9 st 11 lbs. Marks etc: Mermaid + dot below right elbow, cut centre + left of forehead, cut 5th finger left hand, cut left top of chin, 6 blue dots back of right hand. Previous Committals: 16, City Gaol (11). Register in Last Case: 5604. When Discharged or Otherwise Disposed: May 30/70 Removed to Pentonville.

1748. John SIDLEY (alias William Lord). When Received:  Feb 21st 1870. Offence and Where Committed: Burglariously breaking + entering on the night of the 19th Feb 1870 the dwelling house of James Eyres and stealing 6 bottles + 1 pan value 2/- his property at Manchester. Sentence: One Year Hard Labour + 7 Years Police Supervision. Age: Last July 19 6/12. Ht: 5ft 4 ins. Complexion, Hair, Eyes: Fresh, Brown, Grey. Trade or Profession: Hooker. Where Born: Manchester, Lancashire. Last or Usual Address: 80 Fleet St, Lower Mosley St, Manchester. Religion: Ch. Education: N. Single. English. Wt in: 8 st 5 lbs. Wt out: 8 st 8 lbs. Marks etc: [Sciopular] scars on throat cut left of forehead. Previous Committals: 3, City Gaol. When Discharged or Otherwise Disposed: March 4/71.

1749. James SMITH. When Received:  Feb 21st 1870. Offence and Where Committed: Burglariously breaking + entering on the night of the 19th Feb 1870 the dwelling house of James Eyres and stealing 6 bottles + 1 pan value 2/- his property at Manchester. Sentence: 5 Cal Mths Hard labour. Age: Last June 19 9/12. Ht: 5ft 3 ¾ ins. Complexion, Hair, Eyes: Fresh, Lt Brown, Grey. Trade or Profession: Finisher. Where Born: St Helens , Lancashire. Last or Usual Address: No Settled Home. Religion: Ch. Education: R + W Imp. Single. English. Wt in: 8 st 7 lbs. Wt out: 8 st 3 lbs. Marks etc: two upper front teeth broken, cut inside right arm, cut between 3rd + 4th fingers left hand. When Discharged or Otherwise Disposed: Aug 4/70.

When this trial came to Court the tree men were undefended. At about four thirty in the morning of 20th February, Mr Charles Knight, who occupies in common with James Eyres, Deansgate was awoken by noise. He looked out of the window and saw two men coming out of Mr Eyres' scullery. He communicated what he saw to PC Schofield and then they went to the other side of the house and found Rock coming out of the house with the other two accused men behind him. When searched Rock was found to be carrying a jemmy and some skeleton keys. The other two were carrying lucifer matches. A flag had been removed from the scullery roof of the window leaving a space large enough for a man to get through. The yard door was found open, and a padlock which had been secured removed. The bottle and pan had been taken from the scullery and placed in the yard ready for removal. The prisoners were all found guilty - Rock and Sidley admitted previous convictions.

 The Judge in sentencing the prisoners, read out a long list of convictions against Rock, including  two seven year sentences for stealing money and carrying housebreaking implements, and also a two years sentence for uttering [passing] counterfeit coins. He was sentenced to fifteen years penal servitude, Sidley to twelve months' imprisonment and Smith to five months' imprisonment.

RED BANK MURDERERS' HANGING

4157. Patrick DURR. When Received:  Aug 20th 1870. Offence and Where Committed: having on the 18th Aug 1870 feloniously wilfully + of his malice aforethought killed + murdered one Catherine Durr at Manchester. Sentence: DEATH. Age: Last March 42 5/12. Ht: 5 ft 6 ins. Complexion, Hair, Eyes: Sallow, Dk Brown, Grey. Trade or Profession: Labourer. Where Born: [Killamaugh], Roscommon. Last or Usual Address: 1 Brighton Ct, Brighton St, Manchester. Religion: RC. Education: R + W Imp. Widower + 2 children. Irish. Wt in: 9 st 8 lbs. Wt out: Dead. Next of Kin: Brother in Law, Mich. Lynch, Brighton St, Red Bank, Manchester. Marks etc: Blind of left eye, cut under left nostril. Previous Committals: 1, two years in City Gaol as Dunn. When Discharged or Otherwise Disposed: Dec 26/70 Executed.

Yesterday morning [26th December 1870] Patrick Durr was hanged inside Strangeways Prison for the murder of his wife Catherine. The execution, in accordance with the recently passed Act, was conducted strictly in private, the only persons present being prison officials and about half a dozen reporters. This is the second execution which has taken place in Manchester since the  law was changed. The convict was an Irish labourer aged 42. The murder he committed was surrounded by circumstances of peculiar atrocity. Durr, his wife and two sons resided in a small house in Brighton  Court, off Red Bank. For quite a period before the murder took place on August 18th he had been out of work and had given way to habits of intemperance. He had likewise the terrible misfortune to have a wife who was addicted to drink. On the evening of 17th August they were both at a beerhouse kept by Mr Sangster which they left about 11.00 pm, apparently not much worse for the drink and seemingly on good terms.

When they reached home they went to an upstairs room, where the youngest son aged about 14 was in bed. Soon after the couple began to quarrel and in the course of the argument Durr asked where his shirt was. His wife replied that it was at the mangle, but Durr did not believe her, and told her that he thought it was where everything else was - at the pawnshop. A little later he went downstairs to procure a rope and came back upstairs with it and then ordered his wife, "to come here". A request she regretfully obeyed. Durr then coiled the rope twice around his wife's neck,  then he dragged her to the ground, put his knee in her chest and pulled the rope until she was dead. The son who had witnessed the attack was too afraid to intervene.

After the  Judge had pronounced the sentence, he told Durr not to indulge in any hope of mercy, and the opinion he expressed was so generally concurred that no effort was made to obtain a reprieve or a commutation of the sentence. The execution took place at the western or lower end of the prison. The necessary appliances for carrying out the extreme sentence of the law are situated at the circular end of the west wing. The scaffold was erected about eight or nine feet from the ground. The lower part was draped with a black cloth to conceal Durr's body when the drop fell. Calcroft, the executioner, arrived at the Prison on Saturday night, was introduced to the prisoner shortly before eight o'clock yesterday morning. At three minutes past Durr appeared on the scaffold with his executioner. He was placed on the drop and after the necessary adjustments were made the bolt was removed at five past eight o'clock. Durr was not a heavy man and had lost a considerable amount of weight  while in prison, was not killed by the fall. Calcroft after steadying the rope, caught the prisoner's shoulders and gave him three or four shakes. He struggled for a little, but within two he hung motionless. After the usual time the body was cut down an inquest was held later in the day.


WITHINGTON MURDER - LIFE IMPRISONMENT

4818. William BRAKEY. When Received:  Oct 14th 1870. Offence and Where Committed: Having on the 1st Oct 1870 feloniously wilfully did of his malice aforethought killed + murdered one Susan Brakey, also charged with feloniously wilfully + unlawfully killing + slaying the said Susan Brakey at Withington. Sentence: LIFE. Age: About 60. Ht: 5ft 6 ins. Complexion, Hair, Eyes: Sallow, Greyish, Brown. Trade or Profession: Joiner. Where Born: [Weyew] Point, Down. Last or Usual Address: Burton lane, Withington. Religion: RC. Education: R + W Imp. Widower + 0 children. Irish. Next of Kin: address of relative Not Known Wt in: 9 st 7 lbs. Wt out: 9 st 4 lbs. Marks etc: 2 blue scars on nose, scar on right of chin, blue cut left of forehead. When Discharged or Otherwise Disposed: Feb 21/71 Removed to Millbank.

The Court heard that William and Susan Brakey had been married about 38 years and for the last couple of years had lived in Burton Lane , Withington. According  to a neighbour they had very  lived  on unhappy terms owing to the drunken habits of both. For two week before the occurrence which the accused was  now on trial for, the same witness said that they had been drinking incessantly and constantly quarrelling. At about 4 o'clock on the afternoon of 1st October, the witness, Mrs Owen was standing at her own door when Susan Brakey came to her and asked if she had seen William Brakey. She appeared to be sober at the time. The accused then appeared in view, coming towards the house, Mrs Brakey was visible at unease. The pair went into their home. Mrs Owen went into her own house. About ten minutes later she heard a noise which sounded like something falling against a cupboard. The noise was followed by a moaning. Mrs Brown went to her to investigate and saw the accused leave his house and go into a nearby beerhouse.

Susan Brakey appeared at the door with a wound on her head, from which blood was flowing freely. Mrs Owen got her a chair and asked her what had happened. All Susan Brakey could do was to point the brush handle, which was leaning against the door and the brush head belonging to it which was lying on the floor. Other neighbours came to offer their assistance and a doctor was sent for. Brakey came on the scene again and  was quizzed by the neighbours as to what he had done. He made no reply. Susan Brakey said; "He said that I had sold the beef." She then got up and produced the beef to prove that she had not sold it. Eventually the deceased was taken by cab to the Manchester Royal Infirmary wher it was discovered that she was suffering from a fractured skull. William Brakey was taken into custody and said that the act was done in a moment, he was drunk at the time and struck her with a brush. Susan Brakey died ten days after the assault and when Brakey was charged with her murder he stated, "I was a lunatic from drink, and I did not know anything about it."

 A number of witnesses confirmed the above events, some were cross examined by the defence with a view to proving that Brakey had marks from a blow to the arm inflicted by Susan Brakey using a poker. In his summing up the Judge said the question the Jury had to determine was whether the prisoner had struck the deceased with the intent to do her serious injury, or whether he had struck her with a weapon any reasonable man would know to be calculated to do serious injury. If they decided those questions in the affirmative, they should find the prisoner guilty of murder, unless there was in their opinion sufficient reasonable provocation to reduce the crime to manslaughter. A mere burst of passion prompting the act would not be sufficient to reduce it to manslaughter; nothing less than a blow could be urged in mitigation; and there was no evidence in the present case any such provocation had been given.

The Jury, after a brief consultation found Brakey guilty of manslaughter. The Judge, in sentencing Brakey, said that the Jury had a taken a very merciful view in this case and had saved his life. If the Jury had found him guilty of murder nothing could have saved his life. It was not his duty to inquire by which particular mode of reasoning the Jury had arrived at their conclusion. He felt certain that they had come to it conscientiously, and to the best of their judgments, and he accepted their verdict as the right one in the present case. Although the prisoner had been acquitted on the charge of murder, he had been found guilty of manslaughter, and it was for him to consider what the circumstances of the manslaughter were. To his mind, the blow which the prisoner struck and the effect of the blow showed that it had been brutally done, and with brutal negligence and carelessness. That was the verdict that he accepted at the hands of the Jury. The acts of violence were so bad in this town were so dreadful, and the corrupt state of life which they disclosed was so terrible, that he felt bound if possible to put an end to such acts, and to show people of the prisoner's class that if they would act so brutally they must abide the consequences. The Jury had found the prisoner guilty of a manslaughter nest door to murder, and he would treat it as such. The sentence was that the prisoner should be kept in penal servitude for the rest of his natural life.


MANSLAUGHTER - TEN MONTHS

5065. Francis McEVOY (convicted as MacEvoy). When Received:  Nov 4th 1870. Offence and Where Committed: Having on the 29th Oct 1870 feloniously wilfully + of malice aforethought killed + murdered one Catherine McEvoy at Salford. Sentence: 10 Cal Mths Hard Labour. Age: Last may 36 6/12. Ht: 5ft 5 ½ ins. Complexion, Hair, Eyes: Fresh, Brown, Grey. Trade or Profession: Slater. Where Born: Manchester, Lancashire. Last or Usual Address: 42 Queens St, Salford.. Religion: RC. Education: R. Widower + 4 children. English. Wt in: 10 st 10 lbs. Wt out: 9 st 10 lbs. Next of Kin: Son, Josiah McEvoy, 41 Queens St. Marks etc: Scar left of forehead + on nose, cut right of forehead, cut on left thumb + scar bend of elbow. When Discharged or Otherwise Disposed: Sept 30/71.

This particular case did not get a lot of coverage. By the time this case got to trial McEvoy faced a charge of manslaughter. He pleaded Not Guilty. On the night of the 29th October he had been drinking. The following morning he did not get up at his normal time. His wife, who slept in a separate bed, called him several times. He still did not get up, so his wife took a small stick to him and struck him. The blow woke him and in a wild temper he punched his wife on the temple. She had been ill previously and the blow caused an internal injury to the brain, resulting in her death. After the examination of a couple of witnesses, McEvoy changed his plea to Guilty. He was sentenced to 10 months’ imprisonment.

 

BATTERED TO DEATH WITH A POKER

5324. Edward GREATLEY. When Received:  Nov 25th 1870. Offence and Where Committed: Having on the 20th Nov 1870 feloniously wilfully and of his malice aforethought killed + murdered one Eliza greatly at Salford. Sentence: DEATH. Commuted to Penal Servitude for Life. Age: This month 48. Ht: 5ft 6 ½ ins. Complexion, Hair, Eyes: Fresh, Greyish, Grey. Trade or Profession: Labourer. Where Born: Farlow, nr Cleobury Mortimer, Shropshire. Last or Usual Address: 99 Tatton St, Salford. Religion: Ch. Education: R + W Imp. Widower + 0 children. English. Wt in: 10 st 6 lbs. Wt out: 9 st 12 lbs. Next of Kin: Mother, Jane Greatley, Farlow, Shropshire. Marks etc: Lost right arm, nose been broken, bald, cut right of forehead + right of upper lip, mole on right temple. When Discharged or Otherwise Disposed: Feb 23/71 Removed to Millbank.

Edward Greatley was charged with murdering his wife Eliza on 20th November in Salford. He had lived with his wife in a house in Tatton St, Salford. At about 10 o’clock on the night of 12th November, neighbour by the name of Mrs Broughton heard a scream and someone banging on the Greatleys’ door. When she looked out of her window she saw Eliza standing there covered in blood from wounds to her head. Mrs Broughton went over to Eliza to ask what had happened. Greatley was sat in the kitchen and could hear what was being said.

"He has hit me on the head with a poker, and the shoulder, and he has also jumped on my back.” This evidence was not heard during the trial, but it had been heard at a previous police court hearing.

Mrs Broughton took Eliza across the road to her house and bathed her wounds. While she was doing this another neighbour called Mrs Bradbury arrived and subsequently took care of Eliza in her home until the woman died on 20th November.

At the trial the prosecution claimed as was stated above that Greatley had battered Eliza with a poker and as a result had later died of the injuries. A poker had been found about 10 yards away from the house in the gutter and according to Mrs Broughton was the one used to inflict the injuries upon Eliza. The defence claimed that the Jury were being asked to send Greatley to the gallows upon the strength of an old woman’s unsupported identification of a common dirty kitchen poker. The poker had never been described as being covered in blood. The counsel stated that Eliza’s injuries could have been caused by being thrown and falling against the fire hearth or some other sharp corner during a fight with Greatley in the kitchen.

The Judge summed up by telling the jury that the issue they had to decide upon depended on two questions. Firstly, whether Greatley had deliberately struck his wife with intent to do her serious bodily harm and secondly, whether her death was caused or accelerated by such blows. If the answers to these questions were in the affirmative, then they must find Greatley guilty of murder. The judge stated that he must either be found guilty upon that charge or be totally acquitted as there was no evidence of provocation, either by words or blows, to reduce the crime to manslaughter. After consulting together for five minutes the Jury found Greatley guilty of murder.

The Judge donned the black hat and said: “Edward Greatley you have been convicted of the wilful murder of your wife, and after a careful examination, after an assistance by counsel of the greatest value, after a full investigation of the facts, I think that nobody who has heard this case, can doubt the verdict of the Jury was inevitable and is right. Once before on this assize have I had cast upon me this dreadful duty of sentencing a man to die because of his brutal and cowardly violence to his wife causing her death. Again I was obliged to sentence a man to penal servitude for life for the same horrible offence; and now it is my most painful duty to sentence you to die. By the mercy of our law, some evidence offered of an exclamation uttered by that unhappy woman was kept out from this case, but now I cannot forget it. Her statement was made I your presence; and it was this – that you not only struck her with that poker on her head, but that you also stamped upon her back, and I fear me much, that it is true. I thought it my duty, according to the merciful rules of English evidence, to tell the Jury that they ought not to take into consideration the effects of those other and minor injuries upon that unhappy woman your wife; but nobody who heard the case can not doubt that you not only struck he on the head, but that you struck her, and must have stuck her brutally, on various other parts of the body .”Greatley interjected: “She fell down stairs, my Lord.”

The Judge continued: “You make a statement which unfortunately, from a person in your position, I cannot and do not believe, your deceased wife having died from your brutal conduct towards her. I may also tell you - it is my duty to tell you – that I see no circumstances of extenuation in your case; no fact which, to my mind, can save you from your inevitable fate. I must therefore entreat you not to buoy yourself up with any hope whatsoever. Have no false hopes; but believe me that, as far as I can see, it is certain that you will die by the sentence which I am now about to pass upon you. Improve therefore the time that is allotted to you, and do your best to repent what you have done.” The Judge then passed the sentence in the normal manner during which Greatley showed considerable emotion. [At different times two forms of words seem to have been used: "You shall be taken to the place from whence you came, and thence to a place of lawful execution, and there you shall be hanged by the neck until you be dead, and afterwards your body shall be buried in a common grave within the precincts of the prison wherein you were last confined before your execution; and may the Lord have mercy on your soul," and "(full name of prisoner) you will be taken hence to the prison in which you were last confined and from there to a place of execution where you will be hanged by the neck until you are dead and thereafter your body buried within the precincts of the prison and may the Lord have mercy upon your soul".] Contrary to what the Judge had suggested, the death sentence was commuted to life imprisonment.


KNIFE CRIME

5412. Richard MULROY. When Received:  Dec 2nd 1870. Offence and Where Committed: Having on the 1st Dec 1870 feloniously with a certain knife caused certain grievous bodily harm to one Joseph McCormack with intent in so doing then + thereby feloniously wilfully + with malice aforethought to kill + murder the said Joseph McCormick at Great Heaton. Sentence: 10 Years Penal Servitude. Age: About 25. Ht: 5ft 5 ¼ ins. Complexion, Hair, Eyes: Fresh, Brown, Grey. Trade or Profession: Labourer. Where Born: Thurlow, Mayo. Last or Usual Address: Great Heaton, Middleton. Religion: RC. Education: N. Single. Irish. Wt in: 11 st 0 lbs. Wt out: 10 st 4 lbs. Next of Kin: Father, Daniel Mulroy, Chadderton, Manchester. Marks etc: Cut on right thumb, arms freckled, lost a front upper tooth. Previous Committals: 2, 14 days in the City Gaol 13 months ago. When Discharged or Otherwise Disposed: Feb 23/71 Removed to Millbank.

Richard Mulroy was charged with having on the night of December 1st assaulted and repeatedly stabbed on the head and neck, George McCormack, a fellow labourer who been sleeping with him in a granary at a farm house in Great Heaton, where they were both employed. The trial was short and the Jury found the accused guilty of stabbing with intent to do grievous bodily harm. The Judge said is was difficult to imagine a more horrible crime than, out mere sulkiness and brutal ill humour, to seize a large clasp knife like the one used in this case, and with it wound a comrade. If the Jury had found the accused guilty of the first count the Indictment, that of stabbing with intent to murder, he would have, without any hesitation sentence Mulroy to penal servitude for life. The Jury had rightly acquitted him of that count for it was not safe that he intended to kill the man. If he had killed McCormack he would have been hanged. I was however a serious fact that at the moment he was thwarted he had threatened to "stick" his comrade with a formidable knife, and upon the next occasion, about three weeks later, inflict serious wounds on McCormack with a knife. Penal servitude was a matter of certainty in almost all such cases, but as this case was a very bad case, the Judge sentence Mulroy to ten years' penal servitude

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THE MANCHESTER COLLECTION

GENES REUNITED


TRIAL OF SAMUEL SMITH

5493. Samuel SMITH. When Received:  Dec 10th 1870. Offence and Where Committed: Having on the 28th Nov 1870 feloniously wilfully + of his malice aforethought killed + murdered one Reuben Bottomley at Rochdale. Sentence: 15 Years Penal Servitude. Age: Last April 35 8/12. Ht: 5ft 4 ins. Complexion, Hair, Eyes: Sallow, Brown, Grey. Trade or Profession: Factory Operative. Where Born: Rochdale, Lancashire. Last or Usual Address: Henry St, Grove St, Rochdale. Religion: Ch. Education: R. Married + 3 children. English. Wt in: 9 st 6 lbs. Wt out: 9 st 1 lbs. Next of Kin: Wife, Alice Smith. Marks etc: Cut on each eyebrow, scar back of neck, mole near right ear, scar right of upper lip, 4 moles back of left arm, large cut inside left wrist. Previous Committals: 4, 2 mths in City Gaol for stealing a dog 7 mths ago. When Discharged or Otherwise Disposed: Sept 20/71 Removed to Pentonville.

The deceased, Reuben Bottomley was an elderly man, was once a master cotton spinner in Rochdale, but in the recent past he had hit hard times. On the evening of 27th November he spent an hour or two in the Castle Inn, Drake St, Rochdale with an unmarried woman called Greenhalgh. In the same room Smith was drinking with some other people, he told one of them on two occasions that he would punch the old man before the night was out, pointing to Bottomley. The inn emptied just after 11 o'clock, Bottomley and Greenhalgh remained in the street talking. Smith approached them and began angrily ranting at the old man. He quickly left the couple, but soon returned and yelled at Bottomley: "I have a good mind to break your neck. I will be locked up for thee yet, for I have not forgotten that fourteen years ago you did me out of a fortnight's wages." He was referring to a period when he had been employed by Bottomley. Bottomley replied by saying that he did not know him.

Smith and the woman Greenhalgh started a conversation with each other. The accused then returned to Bottomley and struck him, knocked him down and repeatedly kicked him with his clogs causing injuries and inflammation to the bowels from he died a few days later. The accused in his statement said that if Bottomley had not struck him on the face with a lantern first, he would not have touched the old man. In his dying deposition, Bottomley admitted having lifted the lantern towards Smith, who the knocked it out of his hand and kicked it to pieces. He did not, however, nor did any of the other witnesses, confirm the accused account. The Prosecution said that was for the Jury to deliberate whether or not there had been any provocation in this case. The defence simply said that this was a case of manslaughter, the accused like the deceased was somewhat worse for drink at the time, having no motive whatever for wilful murder, nor for harbouring any intention to kill old Bottomley in their course of their sudden and foolish dispute concerning the girl Greenhalgh. The Jury found Smith guilty of manslaughter and the Judge sentenced him to fifteen years penal servitude.

NOT OF SOUND MIND OR BODY

7753. David RANSFORD. When Received:  June 12th 1871. Offence and Where Committed: Having on the 31st May 1871 feloniously wounded one Samuel Derbyshire with intent in so doing then + there feloniously wilfully of his malice aforethought to kill + murder the said Samuel Derbyshire at Worsley. Sentence: Not Freed. Age: Last Dec 32 6/12. Ht: 5ft 8 ins. Complexion, Hair, Eyes: Fresh, Lt Brown, Blue. Trade or Profession: Oil Cloth Manufacturer. Where Born: Worsley, Lancashire. Last or Usual Address: Worsley Bridge, Worsley. Religion: Ch. Education: R + W Well. Single. English. Wt in: 9 st 9 lbs. Wt out: 10 st 0 lbs. Next of Kin: Father, David Ransford, same address. Marks etc: Bald front of head, 2 moles near left elbow, 2 scars + 2 moles on right arm. When Discharged or Otherwise Disposed: June 26/71 Removed to Prestwich Asylum.

It was reported in the newspaper of June 6th 1871 that David Ransford, a man of respectable appearance, appeared in the Police Court charged with the attempted murder of Samuel Darbyshire (sic). Mr Superintendent stated that the accused was not of sound mind and had not been for some time. He laboured under the misconception that Darbyshire had hired someone to shoot him, and on Wednesday he attacked him in Worsley with a stick and assaulted him dangerously. Police Constable Chappell arrested Ransford at his work place in Little Peter St, the previous morning. After being remanded for a week, the accused said that this would give him time to bring evidence that would a very different complexion to the case. The following week he was remanded to appear at the Assizes. According to The Criminal Registers for England and Wales the case was never tied as Ransford was committed to Prestwich Asylum.

These are extracts from the Prestwich Asylum records for this man, which are held at Lancashire Record Office.

Medical Case Book QAM/6/6/8

Register Number: 2748. Name: David Ransford. Age:-. State: [Married or single]:-. No. Of Children:-. Duration [of time in asylum]: Admitted 26th June 1871.

Occupation:-. Character:-. Education:-. Religion:-.

Assigned Causes: Moral:-. Physical:-. Hereditary:-.

Remarkable Symptoms:-.

He was sent here from the Salford Prison.

Additional particulars:- He was committed to prison on a charge of murder.

MANIA

June 27th [1871]. He says he has been subject to Epilepsy since a child - He suffers from the delusion that the “Sextant” of the Worsley Church follows him about for the purpose of doing him bodily harm, that he is constantly threatening to kill him.

July 29th. He appears more cheerful and intelligent, his general health is improving.

October 4th.Not mentally changed.

1873 January 11th. He effected his escape about Xmas and was not captured for several days. He has delusions about altering and rebuilding homes and making new roads etc – [Vasicoule] on left side.

1873 November 28th. Remains in much the same condition. Is morose and sullen. Does not often speak.


His condition over the next few months must have deteriorated and the following record is also held by Lancashire record office (QAM/6/8/7).

Warrant for the removal of David Ransford to the Broadmoor Criminal Lunatic Asylum.

July 10th 1874. The Right Honourable Richard Cross one of her Majesty's Most Honourable Privy Council and Principal Secretary of State [for the Home Office].

Whereas by an Act passed in the 23rd and 24th years of Her Majesty's reign instituted “An Act to make better provision for the custody and care of Criminal Lunatics”. It is amongst other things enacted that it shall be lawful for Her majesty from time to time by warrant under Her Royal Sign Manual to appoint that any Asylum or Place in England which Her Majesty may have cause to be provided, or appointed and may deem suitable for this purpose shall be an Asylum for Criminal Lunatics, and the provisions of this Act shall be applicable to any such Asylum.

And it is also further enacted that it shall be lawful for one of Her Majesty's Principal Secretaries of State by Warrant under his hand to direct to be conveyed to and kept in such Asylum any person, for whose safe custody during Her Pleasure, her Majesty is authorised to give order, or whom such Secretary of State might direct to be removed to a Lunatic Asylum under any of the Acts therein before mentioned, or under any other Act of Parliament, or any person sentenced or ordered to be kept in Penal Servitude who may be shewn to the satisfaction of the Secretary of State to be Insane or to be unfit from Imbecility of Mind for Penal Discipline, and the Secretary of State may direct to be removed to and kept in such Asylum any such persons as aforesaid who under any previous order of Her Majesty or Warrant of the Secretary of State may have been placed, and remain in any County Lunatic asylum, or other place of reception for Lunatics, and any person directed by the Secretary of State to be conveyed, or removed to and kept in an Asylum under the Act shall be conveyed to such Asylum accordingly, and shall be kept therein until lawfully removed or discharged and that with every person so conveyed or removed there shall be transmitted a Certificate as set forth in Schedule A to this Act annexed duly filled up, and authenticated, the contents of which Certificate shall be transcribed into the general register to be kept in every such Asylum. And whereas Her Majesty has been pleased by Warrant under Her Royal Sign Manual bearing date the 28th day of June 1861, to appoint the Broadmoor Criminal Lunatic Asylum in the County of Berks to be an Asylum for Criminal Lunatics under the Provisions of the said Act. And whereas David Ransford who was committed to Salford Prison to await his trial at the next Manchester Assizes on a charge of attempt to murder, became insane and is now confined in the Prestwich County Lunatic Asylum.

I do hereby in pursuance of the power vested in me by the above recited Act Act direct you to cause the said David Ransford to be removed from the said Lunatic Asylum to the said Broadmoor Criminal Lunatic Asylum in the County of Berks, and to transmit with him on his removal, a certificate in the form annexed duly filled and authenticated. And for so doing this shall be your Warrant.

Given at Whitehall the 4th day of July 1874, in the 38th Year of Her Majesty's Reign.

Written on the front of the folded document was:

Received into Broadmoor Asylum the within named David Ransford.

14th July 1874

David Wm, Cassidy

Deputy Superintendent

David Ransford – 1874

2748

The following letter was sent with the Warrant:

County Asylum Prestwich Whitehall,

Nr Manchester 8th July 1874

July 10th 1874

Sir,

In transmitting to you the accompanying Warrant for the removal of David Ransford to the criminal Lunatic Asylum at Broadmoor. I am directed by the Secretary of state for the Home department to request that you furnish the Superintendent of that Asylum with all the information you can supply as to the past and present condition of this person.

A newspaper report of the trial, if procurable, might be forwarded with the Patient. You are also requested to fill in carefully the From Schedule A.

I am sir,

Your obedient servant,

AJ Liddell

[To] The Superintendent of the County Lunatic Asylum at Prestwich.


WIFE THROWN OUT OF WINDOW

7987. George ELLIS. When Received:  June 30th 1871. Offence and Where Committed: having on the 15th June 1871 feloniously + of his malice aforethought killed + murdered one Catherine Ellis at Manchester. Sentence: DEATH. Received a conditional pardon that he be kept Penal Servitude for the term of his “Natural Life”. Age: Last Feb 51 5/12. Ht: 5ft 5 ins. Complexion, Hair, Eyes: Fresh, Brown, Blue-greyish. Trade or Profession: Carter. Where Born: Manchester, Lancashire. Last or Usual Address: 59 Williams St, Manchester. Religion: Ch. Education: R + W Imp. Widower + 3 children. English. Wt in: 11 st 7 lbs. Wt out: 10 st 13 lbs. Next of Kin: Son, George Ellis. Marks etc: Lost 2 upper front teeth, scar corner of right eye, blue dot on left wrist, blue mark above right elbow. Previous Committals: 4, 2 mths in City Gaol for stealing a dog 7 mths ago. When Discharged or Otherwise Disposed: Sept 20/71 Removed to Pentonville.

George Ellis, his wife Catherine and their three children lived in William St, Ardwick. The accused was not in regular employment was a man of intemperate habits, and the wife who was otherwise a quite an inoffensive woman , was also fond of drinking. the accused and his wife often quarrelled. At 10.30 on the evening of 14th June Thomas Ellis, one of the sons of the accused, who had been out returned home. His mother was in bed in a front room on the first floor. Thomas Ellis , who slept in a room at the back, went to bed as soon as he arrived home. At about 11.15 pm the accused came home and went into the room where his wife was. Thomas heard his father say to his mother," I suppose you are drunk". Catherine did not reply  and in a drunken manner the accused said, "the bed is not made."

Maria Stansfield, who lived three doors away from Ellis, stated that shortly after midnight that night she heard a man speaking in an angry manner, then she heard the scream of a woman and the words "Oh don't, I will be killed." Stanfield went to the widow and before she could open it she heard a dull sound like that of a heavy bundle falling. She raised the window and saw a woman lying on the footpath in front of the accused house. The next morning she went to the Ellis household and said to Catherine, who appeared to be very ill, that if she had known is was her who had been thrown through the widow, she would have come to her assistance. Catherine replied, "I am killed this time."

Charles Rhodes, a housing agent residing in William St five door away from Ellis, stated that when he was going to bet soon after midnight he heard a noise coming from the direction of the accused house. He heard a woman cry our , "George don't put me through the window, if you do I will be killed." Immediately after he heard the dull sound of as if a bundle had fallen down, and looking out of the window he saw a dark object lying on the flags and heard the words "Oh my God," as if someone was in agony. He then heard the noise of a window being closed. Shortly afterwards he was looking out of a window at the back of his house and say the accused coming from the direction of the backdoor of his house.

A man called Mycock found Catherine on flags and took her into her own house. She stayed there overnight and was  not taken to the Royal Infirmary until the following evening. Ellen Metcalf who lodged in the accused's house stated that she had gone out at about nine o'clock and returned about half past twelve, and found Catherine lying on the sofa. Mr Samuel Buckley, the house physician at Royal Infirmary stated that Catherine was admitted on the evening of 16th June. She was suffering from a contusion extending from the small of the back down the right buttock. There was also a small contusion on the right elbow. On Saturday he noticed symptoms of acute peritonitis, she died on Sunday morning and Monday he performed a post mortem on the body. Acute peritonitis was the cause of death. The defence called William Warrington, a lurryman who lived in William St, Ardwick. About a week before he was with the accused in the Corporation Inn, Tipping St. It was a Wednesday night Warrington met Ellis about eleven and went with him to the Corporation Inn, which they left a little after one o'clock. He went home with Ellis. They found his wife moaning pitifully on the sofa. She said she was ill and Ellis said: "Yes, you are bad with drink." He afterwards ordered her to bed as Warrington was going to lie on the sofa. Ellis and his son took Catherine away and Warrington slept on the sofa. Warrington stated that he had not previously been to the accused's home. Under cross-examination Warrington stated that he was sober. He had not been tipsy all that week. They left the Corporation Inn a little before one o'clock. Ellis did not go out during the time they were. He did not see Mrs Metcalf in the house, and he did not think that could have been in the room without  him seeing her.

After all the evidence had been hear the Judge summed up. He defined the crime of murder, and said that if the prisoner, of purpose, opened the window, and after throwing his wife out, shutting it again then that would undoubtedly be killing with malice aforethought. If however they believed that there had been a struggle, and by some means in the course of that struggle the deceased went out of that window, then it might possibly be manslaughter. The Jury retired and after about half an hour returned with the verdict of guilty. The prisoner was then asked by the Clerk of the Court if he had anything to say why sentence of death should not be passed upon him. He replied: "I have this to say, I am innocent, so help me God." The Judge, in passing sentence, stated; "You have been found guilty, with evidence satisfactory to my mind, of having murdered the person whom, of all others, you were bound to protect. You are a man who seems to have been given perpetual drunkenness, and to quarrelling this woman."

Ellis interrupted: "I have been tarred by a drunken wife."

The Judge continued: "It ended up in your going home opening the window and throwing out that woman, and closing it and returning to the place where you had left Warrington, who, I believe, tells what he thinks is the truth. That the woman died in the consequence of the violence I entertain no doubt. I do not mean to pain you or myself by going further into the case. the trial has been conducted patiently and impartially as any that I have heard. Everything has been said that could be said in your behalf. Witnesses have been examined and I believe the whole truth has been elicited. I have to perform the duty which the law directs. I have no discretion whatsoever, it is my duty to pass upon you the sentence of death."

Ellis cried out that it was better to be hung innocent than guilty. His sentence was later commuted.


ALLEDGED MURDER AT KNOTT MILL FAIR

1536. John RIORDAN. When Received:  April 9th 1872. Offence and Where Committed: Having on the 1st April 1872 feloniously wilfully + of his malice aforethought killed + murdered one David Whitehead at Manchester (convicted of manslaughter). Sentence: 10 Years Penal Servitude Age: Last Oct 39 6/12. Ht: 5ft 5 ins. Complexion, Hair, Eyes: Fresh, Brown, Grey. Trade or Profession: Tailor. Where Born: County Cork. Last or Usual Address: 48 Robert St, Ardwick. Religion: Ch (crossed out and replaced with…by Gov’s Order RC). Education: R + W. Single. Irish. Wt in: 9 st 9 lbs. Wt out: 9 st 3 lbs. Next of Kin: Address of relatives Not Known. Marks etc: Cut corner of left eyebrow, scar on bridge of nose, lost a front upper tooth, cut between eyebrows. When Discharged or Otherwise Disposed: Removed to Pentonville Aug 30/72.

John Reardon (sic) was indicted for the murder of David Whitehead at Knott Mill Fair. The charge mainly rested on the evidence of a witness named Peter Smith who said that on the night 1st April he was in charge of a shooting gallery, consisting of two long tubes at Knott Mill Fair. At About 11.15 the accused and three friends went to the gallery for the purposes of shooting at targets at the end of the tubes. They each shot one round with the accused being the worst shot. They decided to have another go, the three friend shooting first. Smith then handed the accused a loaded rifle. He saw him place the rifle in a regular shooting position and then turned away in order to load another rifle. After a lapse of two or three seconds he heard the gun go off in the wrong direction. Smith turned to see a man staggering and the accused pointing the rifle at this same man. Smith grabbed hold of Reardon and asked why he had shot the man to which he replied: "I shoot the [bas*ard] again if he touches me." Reardon tried to escape but Smith managed to hold on to him until the Police arrived.

A boy named Charles Crompton stated that as the accused was about to shoot, two you men passed behind him, and one said to the other: "I'll shoot you for who pays." Reardon turned round and said: "You [bas*ard] I'll shoot you too." He then aimed the gun at one of the men and it went off hitting the deceased. George Sheldon, who was brought from the County Gaol, where he was serving a sentence of 14 days' imprisonment for  pigeon stealing, said he saw the accused present the gun at Whitehead and shoot him. The muzzle was pointed to the ground as the shot was fired. Several other witnesses stated that they had seen Reardon shoot the deceased. The House Surgeon of the Manchester Royal Infirmary that Whitehead arrived at the Infirmary around 11.00 o'clock, but by then he was already dead. The next day he carried out a post mortem and found a bullet in the left side of the chest. The bullet wound was the cause of death.

The Defence called William Anderson, a boot closer who said he has accompanied the accused to Knott Mill fair on the night in question. Anderson stated that when Reardon was about to shoot, a man stood behind him said: "You cannot shoot." Withdrawing his gun from the tube and turning round Reardon said: "I'll shoot you." The gun hit Anderson and went off. The bullet hit Whitehead, who was not the man who had spoken. Anderson stated that he had previously shot the same gun and that the trigger went off very easily. Finally he added that Reardon had not held the gun to his shoulder. The Defence's case was therefore, that the gun had gone off accidentally.

The Judge, in summing up, said he should not have to ask the Jury about the nature of the weapon, because no one could doubt that a loaded gun was a deadly weapon. However hid did ask them to say whether the accused shot at anyone with the intention of hitting them. If he did shoot at anyone intending to hit him, though it might not be the deceased that he intended to hit, he would be guilty of murder. If he withdrew the gun from the tube in anger for the purpose of frightening anyone, and did so with negligence amounting to reckless and criminal negligence, he would be guilty of manslaughter. But if he did not intend to hit or frighten anyone, if he only withdrew the gun for the purpose of remonstrating with someone or accepting a challenge to shoot, and the gun went off accidentally or from negligence which was not reckless or criminal, he would not in that case be guilty of any criminal offence. They must not mix up mere negligence which was not criminal with negligence that was so reckless as to amount to criminal negligence.

The Jury after about a quarter of an hour's deliberation found the accused guilty of manslaughter. Sentence was deferred. The following day he was called for sentencing. The prisoners addressed the Judge from a written statement and said: "You are already aware that I have already undergone a sentence of penal servitude for seven years. During that time, whilst undergoing the sentence, I never has occasion to be brought before the Governor for any offence I may have been guilty of in his prison; and I did hope that in future my conduct would have been very different to what it formerly had been. When I was discharged I placed myself in the hands of the Discharged Prisoners' Aid Society. On Saturday 30th March, when I was discharged from Brixton, I came to town in the afternoon and went to the Aid Society in order that they might find me employment. I was to have gone to work the following week, but unfortunately for me it was fair time, and I went to the fair unhappily, and met the deceased. Having had two or three glasses of ale I became so nervous that I was not aware what I was doing, having been so long without any. I solemnly declare to your Lordship and the Supreme Judge of all in heaven and earth, that when the secrets of all hearts are known, and from whom no eloquence may avail in concealing anything from His all searching eye,  that there was no ill-will or anger, or any animosity felt in my heart towards the deceased or anyone on the fair day. Also that I did not discharge the rifle with any criminal intent, or to hurt anyone. But, being so nervous, the concussion of the rifle caused me to press the trigger, which would not have happened had not the concussion taken place. The fatal and lamentable accident would not have happened had not the concussion taken place. In mercy, I entreat your Lordship to consider the length of time I have been waiting for trial." [The trial started on 2nd August.]

The Judge, in passing sentence, stated that could not help having the greatest suspicion in his mind that the prisoner had intentionally fired the gun; but he endeavoured to guard the Jury against acting upon that suspicion. The Jury, notwithstanding the very strong evidence, acted upon the view that he did not point the gun with the intention of firing it. The prisoner's career had been a bad one, and he had been sentenced to a long term of penal servitude. From the statement that he had just read, it appeared that he had had opportunities of education and  of knowing right from wrong. Such crime as these must be punished severely, and he should sentence the prisoner to ten years' penal sevitude.

 

MANCHESTER'S FIRST DEATH BY HUNGER STIRKE?

1878. James Flynn. When Received:  May 23 1872. : Having on the 16th April 1872 feloniously wilfully and of his malice aforethought killed + murdered one Johanna Navin at Oldham. Sentence: Death Age: Last March 31 1/12. Ht: 5ft 6 ins. Complexion, Hair, Eyes: Sallow, Dk Brown, Brown. Trade or Profession: Striker. Where Born: Quebec, Canada. Last or Usual Address: New Inn, West St, Oldham. Religion: R C. Education: N. Single. Foreign. Wt in: 11 st 12 lbs. Wt out: Dead. Next of Kin: Address of Relatives Not Known. Marks etc: Mole on right cheekbone, cut right of upper lip, 4th + 5th fingers right hand fractured, cut right of forehead, pockpitted. When Discharged or Otherwise Disposed: interred at Bradford Cemetery August 16/72. Died Aug 12/72.

Johanna Navin was a factory worker, living in a court in John St, Oldham with her two children aged 5 and 8 years. Flynn, an iron founder was in the habit of visiting her. On Sunday 14th April he made one of these visits to her with the intention of spending a few days there. A woman who had been lodging with Johanna was sent away to find another place stay while Flynn was staying at the house. The main prosecution witness was Margaret Ann Navin, the deceased daughter. At about eleven o’clock that night, Margaret who had been sent to be earlier heard her mother screaming. She went downstairs to see what the commotion was about, but was told by Flynn in no uncertain terms go back upstairs. Instead of doing that, she was asked by her mother to go and buy a pound of bread and a quarter of cheese. Johanna went out for a pint of beer. When she had returned, she asked Flynn if he would like something to eat. Rather than partake of the food, it was stated in court that he “punched” Johanna out of the door. When she staggered back in the room, Flynn picked up a poker and threw it at her. It hit her on the left side of the head and brought about concussion of the brain, which resulted in her death two weeks later. Under cross examination Margaret stated that Flynn was “in drink” on the evening of the incident and was very crossed. She also said that her mother was not the worse for drink.

Another witness, a neighbour Nancy Dronsfield, heard a scream and went into the house to out what the problem was. She saw Johanna stood behind the door and Flynn sat by the fire and asked what the problem was. Johanna beckoned to Flynn with her thumb to indicate that he was the problem. Dronsfield returned to her house, but shortly after heard another scream and re-entered the house to see Flynn strike Johanna with the poker on the left side of the head. She stressed that he had not thrown the poker but was grasping it tightly and Johanna took the blow without flinching. Dronsfield tried to catch her body as she fell, she could not support the full weight. Dronsfield called Flynn a “wastrel” and asked if had to the house in order to murder the woman. Flynn replied by threatening to kill the children. After the attack Johanna was taken to the Workhouse to be treated by the Workhouse surgeon. She was unconscious, the parital bones were fractured and had been driven into her brain.

In his summing up, the Judge stated that the Jury would have to consider three questions. Did Flynn strike the woman intentionally with the poker? Was the poker a weapon which, when used as the accused had used it, would in all reasonable probability produce a grievous bodily harm dangerous to life? And, if so, did the accused, in using it, intend to kill or intend to do grievous bodily harm, reckless whether to the extent of taking away life or not? If the Jury felt that the answers to these questions were “Yes” then the accused was guilty of wilful murder. If the answer was “No” then he would be guilty of manslaughter. The Judge also stated that sudden passion did not lessen the crime of murder, unless it arose from provocation, which the law recognised as sufficient to reduce it. There did not seem to be any provocation in this case. The Jury, after a few minutes’ discussion, without leaving the box, returned a verdict of wilful murder.

The Judge, having put on the customary black cap, sentenced the prisoner. He said: “James Flynn you have been found guilty of wilful murder. That outrage that so many men of your class think themselves entitled to exercise towards defenceless women has ended in the death of this woman and the result is that it must end in your death. This crime is so dreadful and so disgraceful, and is so frequent, that I cannot hold out to you any hope that you will be pardoned by man. You can only be pardoned by God.” The Judge then passed the sentence of death in the normal way. However what was to happen subsequently could not have been envisaged by the Judge.

The following report appeared in the Manchester Courier dated Wednesday, August 14th 1872 under the HEADING “Death Of The Oldham Murder”. A similarly worded report was published in the Manchester Guardian.

The man James Flynn, who was sentenced to death at the late assizes of the murder of a woman with whom he lived at Oldham, and whose execution was fixed to take place on Monday next, died in his cell at the County Prison [Strangeways] shortly before three o’clock on Monday. His death was caused by exhaustion produced by his determination from the day of his conviction to take no food, evidently from a desire to perish in the cell rather than die on the scaffold. Every persuasion was used by the Governor (Captain Mitchell), the surgeon, and other officials to induce him to take food, but in vain. On the morning of the third day after his conviction the surgeon applied the stomach pump to introduce food, but such was the resistance offered by the deceased that the pump lacerated the interior of his throat, and rendered it unsafe again apply it. He still maintained his refusal to take food, and merely took sufficient liquids to moisten his lips and throat. The surgeon of the prison was constant in his attention to him, but could not succeed in inducing him to take any sustenance , and he expire in consequence, on the twelfth day after his condemnation to death. The coroner’s inquest, require by law on the death of any prisoner, will be held at the County Prison to-day. Since his condemnation the culprit conducted himself in an exceedingly violent and shocking manner. On one occasion he seized a stool or bench, and threatened to knock out the surgeon’s brains if he came near him, and he swore fearfully on every occasion that he was spoken to by any of the prison official.


BIRCHED FOR PIGEON STEALING

2764. James BRADBURN. July 2nd 1872. Offence and Where Committed: Stealing on the 10th June 1872 four tame pigeons the property of Charles Henry Slater + on the 26th 8 pigeons the property of Peter [Nellemson] at Withington. Sentence: 3 Days Hard Labour + 10 stokes with a birch rod. Age Last Mar 14 4/12. Ht: 4ft 11 ins. Complexion, Hair, Eyes: Fresh, Brown, Blue. Trade or Profession Errand Boy. Where Born: Preston. Last or Usual Address: Ladybarn, Withington. Religion: Ch. Education: R+ W Imp. Single. Both Parents Living. English. Wt in: 6 st 5 lbs. Wt out: 6 st 5 lbs. Next of Kin: Father, Thomas. Marks etc: Mole over right eyebrow, red natural mark on left arm. When Discharged or Otherwise Disposed: July 10/72.

2765. George BRADBURN. When Received:  Stealing on the 10th June 1872 four tame pigeons the property of Charles Henry Slater + on the 26th 8 pigeons the property of Peter [Nellemson] at Withington. Sentence: 3 Days Hard Labour + 10 stokes with a birch rod. Age: Last Dec 12 7/12. Ht: 4 ft 3 ½ ins. Complexion, Hair, Eyes: Fresh, Brown, Blue. Trade or Profession Errand Boy. Where Born: Preston. Last or Usual Address: Ladybarn, Withington. Religion: Ch. Education: R+ W Imp. Single. Both Parents Living. English. Wt in: 4 st 10 lbs. Wt out: 4 st 10 lbs. Next of Kin: Father, Thomas. Marks etc: Mole above left elbow. When Discharged or Otherwise Disposed: July 10/72.

The case of these two brothers did not warrant reporting other than mention their sentences as follows: One Day and Ten Strokes: James Bradburn, errand boy and George Bradburn, errand boy, for stealing pigeons at Withington.


UNFIT FOR PUBLICATION

4012. George WILSON. When Received:  Sept 23 1872. Offence and Where Committed: On the 15th Sept 1872 did feloniously wickedly + against the order of nature carnally know a certain ass and with the said ass did commit and perpetrate the abominable crime of buggery at Tottington Lower End. Sentence: 10 Years Penal Servitude. Age: Last Oct 50 9/12. Ht: 5 ft 5 ins. Complexion, Hair, Eyes: Sallow, Greyish, Brown. Trade or Profession: Blacksmith. Where Born: Bury. Last or Usual Address: No Settled Home. Religion: Ch. Education: N. Married. English. Wt in: 10 st 6 lbs. Wt out: 10 st 1 lbs. Next of Kin: Sister, Mary Anne Clough, Moore Side, Bury. Marks etc: Lost one upper front tooth, scar on left shin. When Discharged or Otherwise Disposed: Jan 2/73 Removed to Pentonville.

On the 6th December 1872 the Manchester Guardian printed the following extract:

CROWN COURT, Yesterday.

(Before Mr Justice Lush)

The court was engaged for nearly six hours in the trial of cases unfit for publication. The offences were committed at Aston-under-Lyne, Tottington and Manchester. The prisoners were three in number, and the following sentences were passed: - Richard Mayers, 21, six months; George Wilson, 51, ten years’ penal servitude; and William Walker, 22, nine months.


SENTENCE OF DEATH

4251. Michael KENNEDY. When Received:  Oct 12th 1872. Offence and Where Committed: Having on Oct 12th 1872 feloniously + wilfully + of his malice aforethought killed + murdered one Ann Kennedy at Salford. Sentence: DEATH. Age: Last Nov 57 11/12. Ht: 5 ft 3 ½ ins. Complexion, Hair, Eyes: Sallow, Grey, Grey. Trade or Profession: Overlooker. Where Born: Castleshaw, Monaghan. Last or Usual Address: 9 Brunswick St, Pendleton. Religion: RC. Education: N. Widower + 7 children. Irish. Wt in: 9 st 6 lbs. Wt out: Dead. Next of Kin: Daughter, Ellen. Marks etc: Cut over left eyebrow, lost all upper front teeth, 2 moles above right elbow. When Discharged or Otherwise Disposed: Executed Dec 30/72.

Michael Kennedy and his wife Ann had been married for 36 years. They had 14 children, of which only 7 were still alive. Until July 1872 Kennedy had been employed by the same firm for 10 years, but since then he had been unemployed. For the previous nine months he had been drinking heavily, which coincided with the death of a boy which affected Kennedy badly. Four years prior to the sad incident Kennedy had fallen into a main sewer. After this he was badly affected by drink, and it rendered him almost mad when he was under the influence. He had hurt his head in the accident and since then he had strange fantasies when he was in drink. It would take him three or four days to recover after a drinking bout. On the day of the murder Kennedy came to their home at 7 Brunswick place, Pendleton. He was not by any means sober and he was very angry because his meal was not ready from him to eat. After about half an hour, after he had eaten his meal, he went upstairs to get a pistol. On his return downstairs he shot and fatally wounded his wife.

In his evidence to the Court Police Constable James Flemming, stated that Kennedy walked up to him in the street and said: “I have shot my wife”. The Constable went back with Kennedy to his house where he found Ann Kennedy slumped on a sofa bleeding from a wound to the side of her head. He also found a pistol in the same room which had recently been discharged. Kennedy was arrested and taken to the police station where he was charged with shooting his wife. When he was formally charged he stated that he had shot his wife and that if she was not already dead, he hoped that she soon would be. He also stated that if he done the job right, he would have shot her in the heart. Some days later Ann Kennedy died and Kennedy was charged with her murder. The only comment he made was : “Drink and madness.”

The Court heard that before her death, Ann Kennedy had made a statement to the police. She had stated after dinner her husband had come downstairs, gone behind the chair in which she was sitting and asked her to kiss him. She replied: “I do not like to kiss drunken people.”

Kennedy retorted: “Perhaps you will rue it.” Then he shot his wife.

The Defence case relied upon the fact that the fall into the sewer had badly his personality. Kennedy claimed that he had no recollection of the incident. They pressed for the reduced charge of manslaughter.

The Judge told the Jury that there could be no doubt that Kennedy had caused the death of his wife. The only question that the Jury had to decide upon was whether Kennedy had been guilty of wilful murder, or whether they could see in the evidence anything that could mitigate or reduce his crime. If they thought that Kennedy had acted in such frenzy as not to know what he was doing, they must acquit him; they must find him guilty of murder or nothing. They could not find him guilty of manslaughter. Their verdict must be either one of murder or of acquittal on the grounds of insanity. He told them that drunkenness was no excuse for crime. If a man inflamed his bad passions by drink, and whilst under the influence of drink committed an act which he would not whilst sober, he was as guilty of crime as if he had done it when sober. But if a man by a long course of drunkenness contracted permanent and fixed mental disease, this might put another complexion on the case. However he did not think that this was the case in this instance. Unless the Jury were convinced that this had affected Kennedy they must find him guilty. The Jury found Kennedy guilty and the Judge stated that he felt this was the correct decision. He said that he did not think that under the present law, they could have come to any other verdict. He could not help saying that the case was a lamentable illustration of the evils resulting from habitual drunkenness. Kennedy was a man of advanced years, and who it appeared, conducted himself well whilst he remained sober. Under the influence of this wretched state of mind, he had terminated the existence of one with whom he had lived with for 36 years and who had born him a numerous family. This was a dreadful state of things. He could not trust to say more, but he sincerely hoped that the example of Kennedy would be a warning to those who drank to excess. The Judge passed the sentence in the normal manner.


DEATH IN LIQUOR VAULTS

4796. Edward BRADY. When Received:  Nov 8th 1872. Offence and Where Committed: Having lately wilfully + unlawfully killed + slain one Henry Austin at Manchester. Sentence: 20 Years Penal Servitude. Age: About 20. Ht: 5 ft 6 ins. Complexion, Hair, Eyes: Sallow, Black, Brown. Trade or Profession: Labourer. Where Born: County Kildare. Last or Usual Address: 82 Chester St, Manchester. Religion: RC. Education: N. Single. Irish. Wt in: 10 st 1 lbs. Wt out: 9 st 11 lbs. Next of Kin: Mother, Ann Brady, 3 Loom St, Oldham Rd, Manchester. Marks etc: Pockpitted, anchor inside left arm. Previous Committals: 16 City Gaol. When Discharged or Otherwise Disposed: Jan 2/73 Removed to Pentonville.

On the evening of 28th November Edward Brady went into the Bay Horse Liquor Vaults in Corporation Street, where also was the deceased, Henry Austin. The accused tried to order a drink, but the waiter refused him as he appeared somewhat intoxicated. Austin was sitting down quietly and smoking, when Brady approached him and knocked his pipe out of his mouth, and at the same time using extremely abusive language. Austin told him to go away and leave him alone. Brady hit him again. Austin threw Brady to the floor and held him by his throat and said: "Will you be quiet and I will let you up?" Brady agreed, but as he got up he kicked Austin twice in the stomach and ran off. From the injuries then inflicted Austin died. The defence put forward was that he was drunk at the time he committed the crime. The Judge stated that there was not a single circumstance in the case that could be offered in mitigation of a severe punishment. Austin was sentenced to twenty years penal servitude.

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THE MANCHESTER COLLECTION

GENES REUNITED

 

The clerk who was making the following entries changed his style and started entering the surname first. He also changed the order of the final entry, Where Discharged etc.

OUTRAGES ON FEMALES

6120 HENSHAW Thos. When Received:  19th Nov 1874. Offence and Where Committed: Having on the 10th Oct 1874 feloniously + wilfully assaulted one Alice Cheetham and then violently against her will feloniously did ravish + casually know the said Alice Cheetham at Ashton under Lyne. Sentence: 10 Years Penal Servitude. Age: last July 30. Ht: 5 ft 2 ½ ins. Complexion, Hair, Eyes: Fresh, Light, Grey. Trade or Profession: Collier. Where Born: Stockport. Last or Usual Address: 12 Barber St, Hurst, Nr Ashton. Religion: Ch. Education: R + W Imp. Married + 4 children. English. Wt in: 11 st 12 lbs. Wt out: 11 st 5 lbs. Next of Kin: Sarah Ann Kershaw. Marks etc: Blue mark corner of right eye, scar middle finger right hand, 2 blue dots on left hand and bend of elbow. When Discharged or Otherwise Disposed: Removed to Pentonville Jan 26/75.

6121. BROOMHEAD Jos. When Received:  19th Nov 1874. Offence and Where Committed: Having on the 10th Oct 1874 feloniously + wilfully assaulted one Alice Cheetham and then violently against her will feloniously did ravish + casually know the said Alice Cheetham at Ashton under Lyne. Sentence: Acquitted. Age: Last Dec 20. Ht: 5 ft 0 ½ ins. Complexion, Hair, Eyes: Pale, Brown, Blue. Trade or Profession: Collier. Where Born: Ashton. Last or Usual Address: 12 Grace St, Hurst, Ashton. Religion: Ch. Education: N. Single. English. Wt in: 8 st 7 lbs. Wt out: 8 st 7 lbs. Next of Kin: Father, Samuel. Marks etc: None. When Discharged or Otherwise Disposed: Dec 5/74.

6122. MARSHALL [ Unreadable]. When Received:  19th Nov 1874. Offence and Where Committed: Having on the 10th Oct 1874 feloniously + wilfully assaulted one Alice Cheetham and then violently against her will feloniously did ravish + casually know the said Alice Cheetham at Ashton under Lyne. Sentence: 20 Years Penal Servitude. Age: Last Feb 18. Ht: 5 ft 1 ins. Complexion, Hair, Eyes: Fresh, Light, Blue. Trade or Profession: Collier. Where Born: [Brisland], Cornwall. Last or Usual Address: 149 Queen St, Hurst. Religion: Ch. Education: R + W Imp. Single. English. Wt in: 10 st 2 lbs. Wt out: 9 st 10 lbs. Next of Kin: father, Edward Marshall. Marks etc: Scar right of forehead. When Discharged or Otherwise Disposed: Removed to Pentonville Jan 26/75.

As was the common practice with such cases, very little was reported in the newspapers, in fact they did not even print the charges against the accused. The following is is what appeared in the |The Manchester Guardian dated 7th December 1874:-

The Court was occupied during the entire of the day with the trial of prisoners charged with outrages against women. Thomas Henshaw, 30, Joseph Broomhead, 21 and William Marshall, 19 were all charged with an outrage on Alice Cheetham, at Ashton-Under-Lyne on the 10th October. Mr Hopwood QC and Mr Yates prosecuted; Mr Addison defended Henshaw and Marshall and Mr Cottingham defended Broomhead. The offence was committed at about eleven o'clock at night, on the Mossley Road, Ashton, when the prosecutrix was walking with a male acquaintance; and one of the witnesses said it was not an uncommon occurrence for a woman to be "upset" on that road. The Judge, referring to this evidence in his summing up, said if it was true the Magistrate and the Police of that district were very much to blame. Marshall was found guilty of the offence charged in the indictment, Henshaw was found guilty of aiding and abetting, Broomhead was acquitted. Marshall was sentenced to 20 and Henshaw to 10 years' penal servitude. James Smith, 24, John Irwin, 18 and John Miller, 25 charged with a similar offence in Manchester were acquitted. Mr Addison prosecuted and Mr Cottingham defended.

ANCOATS  CLOG KICKING CASE

7506. THORNLEY William. When Received:  22nd Feb 1875. Offence and Where Committed: Having on the 13th Feb 1875 feloniously wilfully + out of malice aforethought killed + murdered one John Keeling at Manchester. Sentence: 20 Years Penal Servitude. Age: Last Jan 27. Ht: 5 ft 3 ¼ ins. Complexion, Hair, Eyes: Fresh, Brown, Hazel. Trade or Profession: Maker Up. Where Born: New York, America. Last or Usual Address: No Settled Home. Religion: RC. Education: R + W Imp. Widower + 7 children. Foreign. Wt in: 11 st 10 lbs. Wt out: 11 st 0 lbs. Next of Kin: No Relations*. Marks etc: Scar along left eyebrow. When Discharged or Otherwise Disposed: Removed to [ unreadable] Jan 2/77.

The Defence opened the case by stating that Keeling and his friend had provoke a quarrel which preceded the violence charged against Thornley. The accused had been in the habit of attending the Bulls Head, Woodward St as a flute player, and spent Saturday afternoon and a part of the evening there. At ten o'clock Keeling and his friend, a man called Haydon, went into the Public House. The manager of Bulls Head, Mr Brooke Taylor, was alerted by his wife to the presence of them and stated that there was likely to be a row. Thornley stated: "Mr Taylor, these two men have got on to me and I do not know what for." Keeling and Haydon were trying to get hold of Thornley who on the other side of the counter. The accused told Taylor that one of the men had taken his belt in order to strike him with it. Taylor stated that he did not see a belt but seeing from the attitude of Keeling and Haydon they "meant to fight" and he ejected them from the from the room, leaving the accused in vault. No blows had been struck up to now. When Taylor got outside Keeling seized him by his jersey, cursed him and wanted to fight. Taylor got away from Keeling, tearing his jersey in the process. The two aggressors threatened to attack Taylor. Haydon said; "Let me at him with my [f***ing] belt." He rushed at Taylor and attempted to hit him with the but missed. Taylor retreated to the safety of the vault. Taylor told Thornley that he was of the opinion that they were very dangerous men. All the people left the vault and went outside. A few minutes later they returned and most people including Thornley stayed until closing time.

Haydon,  a porter from Woodward Street, claimed in Court that he was attempting to lead Keeling home when some men rushed  out of the vault and attacked them. Both he and Keeling were either knocked down or fell, Haydon quickly got to his feet to get help. When he returned with three other men he found Keeling lying senseless. He did not recognise any of the men who attacked them. Thomas Higgins  of Morris St said he saw the accused assault the deceased. James Allen of South Port St, a glassmaker said he saw the accused kicking Keeling as he lay on the ground in Morris St. A few yards away two other men were fighting. Allen stated that he saw Thornley kick the deceased about the body and the legs a few times, but he did not interfere. Thornley stepped back off the  footpath into the road., Keeling then got up and rushed at him, but was knocked down again and received kicks to the back of his shoulders, head and chest. Thornley then ran away. Another witness, William Roberts of Lawton St said that about 10.20 he was outside the Bulls Head. He saw the manager go into the Public House and the other two men walk off hand in hand in the direction of Woodward Street. He then saw several men come out of the vault and make their way towards Keeling and Haydon. When they reached them a fight broke out. Roberts said he saw one of the men knocked down and Thornley taking a running kick at him in the pit of the stomach.

Mr George Edward Legge Pearce, resident surgeon at the Ancoats Dispensary, said he was sent for to see the deceased. Keeling was dead when he arrived. He described the injuries he found. There was a bruise on the right temple and some froth coming from the mouth. There were no incised wounds on the body. On the following Monday he carried out a post mortem. In addition to what he described there was a severe bruise to the right jaw, another on the occiput  and a third upon the left temple. On stripping the body he found a severe bruise on the right scapula, a severe contusion on the back of the right forearm and another on the right shin. The brain, heart and lungs had not been effected by the violence. There was a discoloured patch on the anterior surface of the stomach at the cardiac end. There was a corresponding patch upon the posterior surface of the stomach. Blood was found in the mucous membrane of the stomach corresponding to the patches. The cause of death was the blow to the stomach, which had caused a severe nervous shock. A kick would have produced the injury.

In summing up the Judge stated that it would be competent for the Jury to reduce the crime to that of manslaughter if they thought the circumstances did not justify them in finding the prisoner guilty of the graver charge.  the Jury after a few minutes deliberation returned a verdict of manslaughter. The Judge deferred sentence. The following day sentence was passed on Thornley. The Judge said: "You have been found guilty upon evidence which left no doubt that you committed this crime. The evidence was perfectly satisfactory, and the Jury could have come to no other conclusion. You received a good character, and it is a great pity  who bears a good character for a great many years in the position you now are. But the facts were too strong against you. That you cause the death of the man who was lying on the ground is beyond all doubt; that you caused that death by kicking him with clogs that were armed with iron and nails is also beyond doubt; and the surgeon's evidence proves that the blow by which the death was caused must have been given with very considerable violence. I do not advert to other case that have occurred in this neighbourhood for the purpose of prejudicing the case against you,  but I do it for this reason, that it may be known throughout the country that clogs of that description are vey dangerous things on a man's foot. If a man with clogs on his feet, after kicking a man on the ground, runs back and kicks him again, as was proved in this case, it brings him within very great danger. And it was for that reason, although your learned counsel, submitted it at the end of the case that there was no case to go to the Jury upon the grave crime of murder, I felt it not my duty to stop the case, but leave the question to the Jury, and if the Jury had not taken a merciful view of the case you might have been standing before me to receive a different sentence. As it is I shall give you the benefit of the good character, but I must pass upon you a sentence of twenty years' penal servitude.

 

 SULPHURIC ACID THROWN OVER WIFE

8320. STANNEY John. When Received:  April 14th 1875. Offence and Where Committed: Stealing on the 4th April 1875 one horse, one saddle, and one bridle of the value of £30 the property of Daniel Mellor, also did cast + throw certain fluid called [oil of vitriol] at Sarah Jane Stanney at [ unreadable]. Sentence: Life. Age: Last Dec 21. Ht: 5 ft 3 ½ ins. Complexion, Hair, Eyes: Fresh, Light, Grey. Trade or Profession: Labourer. Where Born: Manchester. Last or Usual Address: No Settled Home. Religion: RC. Education: R + W Imp. Married + 2 children. English. Wt in: 9 st 0 lbs. Wt out: 8 st 8 lbs. Next of Kin: Wife, Sarah Jane. Marks etc: A light impediment in speech, mole left cheek, 2 cuts right of forehead, mole on left arm. When Discharged or Otherwise Disposed: Removed to Pentonville Sept 14/75.

John Stanney a respectable looking man was charge with throwing oil of vitriol [sulphuric acid] over his wife, Sarah Jane with intent to do her grievously bodily harm on 15th March 1875. No mention of the other charges was reported. The prosecution opened the case by stating the couple had been married in the previous April and had appeared to be living happily together. However Stanney had shown some signs of jealousy because he thought Sarah Jane flirted with other men. The couple shared a house in Oldham with Sarah’s mother and on the afternoon of the 14th March some people had come to the house to visit. One of the visitors was man called Helsby, who offered Sarah Jane some beer and talked to her for about an hour. The visitors left some time after 10 o’clock, whereupon Stanney accused Sarah Jane of flirting with the man. She replied that she had only been chatting with Helsby and that they had not caused anyone any harm. Soon after they went to bed. The next morning they seemed to be on good terms with each other. Mrs Stanney went out to the local shop at about 10 o’clock, as she was returning she met up with her husband, who was on his way out, about 10 yards from the house. He told her that she looked very nice. She smiled and went back inside the house. About half an hour later she was sat in the kitchen near her child’s cradle when Stanney returned, and after some small talk he went to the cupboard. From the cupboard he took a bowl into which he poured some oil of vitriol from a phial. He then went to his wife and put his hand on her neck. She thought he was going to kiss her and she raised he face slightly. Stanney then threw some of the liquid on her forehead, grabbed her arm and dragged her onto the floor. He tried to force her to swallow the liquid, a little of which she did, but she struggled and he gave up that attempt and threw the rest of the contents of the bowl on her face. As he did this he shouted out that anyone who wanted her could have her as a cripple and blind.

Sarah Jane, who had been badly disfigured took the stand and confirmed the evidence as being true. She also stated as consequence of some gossip she had heard, about five weeks earlier she had asked her husband if he was going to leave her. He had replied that it was true and he was, but before he did he would make her so that no one would look at her. Mr Robert Lloyd, a chemist and druggist from Oldham gave evidence next. He stated that sometime between 10 and 11 0’clock on the morning of 15th March he had sold a gill of oil of vitriol to Stanney, who had said he wanted it to clean out some copper boilers. A statement made to the police by Stanney was then read out to the court. He said the incident was his wife’s fault. He had spoken to her hundreds of times about speaking to Helsby. Helsby had repeatedly visited the house when Stanney had not been there, and he had warned his wife that he would throw oil of vitriol over hen. She had replied that she did not care.

The Defence stressed that the occurrence may have been an accident. It was not improbable that Stanney had shown her the oil of vitriol to frighten her and that she had grasped at the basin, which caused a struggled and resulted in the liquid being spilt over her. The Jury, without a moment of hesitation found Stanney guilty of attempted murder. After the verdict it was revealed that Stanney had been convicted of embezzlement in 1873.

Stanney was asked if he had anything to say before sentence was passed on him. He then read out a long statement in which he said it been an accident. He stated that he had been jealous of his wife relationship with Helsby. H had bought the oil of vitriol and had put in the bowl with the intention of throwing it over his wife. When he approached his wife he relented and stooped down to kiss her. She had seen the bowl and attempted to throw the contents over him and in the struggle then ensued the vitriol was spilt on her. The Judge expressed his disbelief at this version of events and after commenting strongly upon the atrocious nature of the act, he said if he allowed Stanney to escape one iota of the full sentence enacted for the repression of such crimes, he would be ill performing the duty he owed to Society. He sentenced Stanney to penal servitude for life.


PRISONER ATTACKED WARDER

314.DOHERTY Francis. When Received:  April 20th 1875. Offence and Where Committed: Having on the 12th April 1875 feloniously unlawfully and maliciously did stab + wound one [Harry] Rhodes with intent to murder him at [unreadable]. Sentence: Life. Age: Last Oct 27. Ht: 4 ft 11 ins. Complexion, Hair, Eyes: Fresh, Brown, Grey. Trade or Profession: Labourer or Calenderer. Where Born: Manchester. Last or Usual Address: 11 Davison Ct, Red Bank, Manchester. Religion: Ch. Education: N. Single. English. Wt in: 8 st 7 lbs. Wt out: 8 st 6 lbs. Next of Kin: Brother, Thomas. Marks etc: Scar inside right wrist, face blotched. Previous Committals: 2 at City Gaol. When Discharged or Otherwise Disposed: Removed to Pentonville Sept 14/75.

Francis Doherty, 27 was charged with having at Manchester on 12th April stabbed Harry Rhodes with intent to murder him. The accused was serving a sentence for a felony when the attack took place in the City Gaol. Harold Rhodes was a warder in that wing of the gaol where Doherty was incarcerated. As the result of a complaint against him made by Rhodes, Doherty had been confined in a dark cell for three days. On the evening of 12th April Rhodes was going round the different cells with the prisoners' suppers. When he went to Doherty's cell the warder handed  him his plate and can as normal. As Rhodes was filling the can, the prisoner stabbed him with a large pair of scissors under the left shoulder. Doherty shouted out: "That will finish you." He was about to repeat the blow when the warder grabbed hold of him and pushed him back into the cell and locked the door. The scissors which caused the wound were used by Doherthy in the process of making jute mats. The Jury returned a verdict of guilty and the prisoner was sentenced to penal servitude for life.

 

 MURDER OF A POLICEMAN AT WHALLEY RANGE - WRONG MAN FOUND GUILTY.

INFAMOUS CRIMINAL ADMITS GUILT


[7726]. HABRON [John]. When Received:  15th Aug 1876. Offence and Where Committed: Having [unreadable] feloniously wilfully + of malice aforethought killed + murdered one Nicholas Cock. Sentence: Acquitted. Age: About 23. Ht: 5 ft 5 ins. Complexion, Hair, Eyes: Fresh, Brown, Grey. Trade or Profession: Gardener. Where Born: Roscommon. Last or Usual Address: [Unreadable], Chorlton cum Hardy. Religion: RC. Education: R + W Imp. Single. Irish. Wt in: Wt out: Next of Kin: Brother William in this prison. Marks etc: Small cut left of neck. When Discharged or Otherwise Disposed: Nov 28/76.

[7727] HABRON [William] When Received:  15th Aug 1876. Offence and Where Committed: Having [unreadable] feloniously wilfully + of malice aforethought killed + murdered one Nicholas Cock. Sentence: DEATH commuted Penal Servitude for Life. Age: 18. Ht: 5 ft 3 ins. Complexion, Hair, Eyes: Fresh, Brown, Grey. Trade or Profession: Gardener. Where Born: Roscommon. Last or Usual Address: [Unreadable], Chorlton cum Hardy. Religion: RC. Education: R + W Imp. Single. Irish. Wt in: Wt out: Next of Kin: Brother, John, in this prison. Marks etc: Small cut left cheek. When Discharged or Otherwise Disposed: Removed to Pentonville Feb 15/77.

This is probably one of the most curious cases in the collection.


Three Irish brothers, Frank, John and William Habron were all initially charged with the murder of Police Constable Nicholas Cock whilst he was on duty. All three worked and lived at a nursery, Mr Deakin’s in Chorlton. The charges against Frank were dropped, those against the other two went to trial. The trial was complex and the prosecution’s case revolved mainly around circumstantial evidence. There was also some history between the brothers and PC Cock.

As usual the evidence was summed up by the Judge. He stated the case was of great importance, not only because all murders were important, but because this was the murder of a policeman on his beat, not in the course of any struggle, or in the course of any riot or disturbance of any kind. The murder was done as far as anyone knew, without any immediate provocation, and therefore it was in the highest degree desirable, and in the highest degree important, in the interests of the public that the person who killed the policeman should be found and brought to justice. No doubt the fact that a policeman was killed at so short a distance from the town, and in one of its most respectable suburbs, had given rise to considerable excitement. The question before the Jury was a very simple one and the Judge asked them to investigate it as they would any other question, without the slightest to consequences of the process in the process of investigation. The question was – did the prisoners, or either of them, murder Cock? That question resolved itself into two at the outset. In the first place was Cock murdered? Of that there could be no doubt. That his death was occasioned by the bullet that was extracted from him was plain beyond all question. There was not the slightest reason to suppose that he had inflicted it upon himself. If the Jury followed him thus far – if they came to the conclusion that the deceased was murdered – they must arrive at that conclusion entirely from circumstantial evidence. Then, did the prisoners, or either of them, commit the murder? Was the evidence consistent with the guilt of the prisoners, or either of them, or inconsistent with their innocence, and was the case one of suspicion, or of reasonable certainty? Starting with the conclusion that Cock was murdered by somebody, what they knew of human nature might be called to their aid, and must lead them to suppose that a murder would not be committed without some cause or motive. In this case they had evidence of threats being used by both the prisoners against the murdered man commencing as early as Whitsuntide. Commenting on evidence with regards to the footprints found at the scene of the crime, he reminded the Jury that there was no reliable evidence which would enable the Jury to say that a particular print was made by any of the boots worn by the prisoners unless it was the one print made by William Habron’s left boot. There was in connection with this part of the case several important points to be borne in mind. In the first place, The Jury must satisfy themselves that the witnesses desired to convey the truth; and probably they were satisfied upon that point. In the next place they must be satisfied that the observations made by Mr bent and his officers were correct observations. A little reflection would show them that it was not upon general appearances, but on minute particulars, that the whole value of such kind of testimony as this depended. With regard to John Habron, he asked what was the evidence that had been given against him, except the statement to Mr Bent that he was in bed at the time? Were there any footmarks shown to have been produced by John’s boots, except some general evidence that they were similar to those that would have been made by them? Upon general evidence of that kind it would be unsafe for any Jury to convict. The case put forward by the prosecution was one of circumstantial evidence, and he need not tell the Jury that where that kind of evidence was adduced there must be proof of not one particular circumstance, but of a multitude of circumstances tending to the same conclusion. With regard to the prisoner John Habron, in order to find him guilty it must be proved that he either fired the shot, or that he was there aiding and abetting the man who did fire it. As to the evidence against him, was there anything except the threats, the statement made by him to Superintendent Bent, and the statement afterwards made that he was in bed by half past nine. With regard to William Habron, was there any evidence that he was on the spot where the murder committed on the night in question? There was the evidence such as it was of the witness Simpson, and of the policeman Beanland. There was also the evidence of the footprints. The Judge asked the Jury to consider whether they were satisfied that the impression of the left boot, pointing towards Seymour Grove, was the impression of William’s boot. The points in favour of the prisoners were that they were men of good character, that they were roused up after the murder and they were found in bed, where they ought to have been at that time of the morning, and they were not proved to have been in possession of firearms either before or after the murder.

The Jury retired to consider their verdicts. After two and a half hours they returned with verdicts of Not Guilty for John Habron and Guilty for William Habron with a strong recommendation for mercy on account of his age. Having been asked whether he had anything to say why sentence of death should not be passed against him, William replied, “I am Innocent.”

The Judge, having ordered John Habron to leave the dock, sentenced the convicted prisoner as follows:”You have been found guilty by the Jury of having murdered Nicholas Cock, and it is my duty to pass sentence of death upon you. The trial has been long and necessarily so, for the evidence adduced against you consisted of a number of small details that had to be proved, and all of which had to be carefully gone into. The Jury having attended most carefully to the whole case, have found the verdict that you have just heard, and I shall simply just discharge my duty by passing sentence upon you. It will be my duty afterwards to transmit to Her Majesty’s Government the recommendation to mercy which the Jury have made by reason of your age, but having regard to the fact that they have found you guilty you must not be deceived, for this murder, which is now found to be a murder committed by yourself, was a cruel murder, and you must not therefore be surprised if the recommendation of the Jury is disregarded. That, however, is a matter which does not rest with me. It rests with Her Majesty’s Government, who will decide what ought to be done.” The Judge then passed death in the usual form. As the prisoner was removed from the dock he again stated his innocence. Fortunately for William Habron the sentence was later commuted to Penal Servitude for Life.

However, fortunate may be the wrong word, shortly before his execution, Charles Peace the infamous criminal admitted to his Prison Governor that he had in fact killed PC Cock. Peace had even attended the trial and watched Habron being sentenced to death. Habron was officially Pardoned by the Queen on March 17th 1879 and the Guardian reported on 4th April 1879 that the Government were to award William Habron compensation of £1,000.


EXECUTION OF THE CLARENDON ST MURDERER

This is one of the entries from the last page of the register. It is in very poor condition and also water damaged. Half of the entry is missing.

[886?] FLANAGAN [Unreadable] (alias Robinson). When Received:  Oct 5th 1876. Offence and Where Committed: Having on the 9th September 1876 feloniously wilfully and of his malice aforethought killed + murdered one Margaret Dockerty at Manchester; Sentence: DEATH. Age: About 39. Ht: 5 ft 6 ins. Complexion, Hair, Eyes: Fresh, Greyish, Hazel Trade or Profession: Mechanic.

William Flanagan, who was recently sentenced to death for the murder of Margaret Dockerty, a woman who he lived with was executed yesterday [21st December] within the precincts of Strangeways Gaol. Flanagan or Robinson as he was also called, formerly carried out the business of a broker in Hulme, for a brief time had been employed as a sheriff's officer. Recently he made a livelihood by betting and card selling at race meetings. He lived with Dockerty at a lodging house in Clarendon St, Hulme. On the morning of 8th September Flanagan and Dockerty  went the Manchester Races and returned home in the evening under the influence of drink. They quarrelled and Dockerty went into their  communal kitchen and complained about Flanagan's treatment of her. Flanagan roughly dragged her out of the kitchen into their own room. Later on singing and drinking broke out in the kitchen, Dockerty came in partly dressed and joined in with proceedings, dancing along to music which Flanagan was playing on a concertina. At midnight the entertainment finished and everyone went to bed. Between three and four o'clock in the morning PC Bate, who earlier heard the music, passed the house and heard sounds of a woman moaning, and of someone washing coming from Flanagan's room. He tried to look through the window but was unable to do. He concluded that it was probably a case of illness and then continued on his beat.

At about 8.30 in the morning Flanagan called from his bedroom door for some brandy to be brought to him and later at 10.00 he left the house. Before leaving, he told the landlady Mrs Kelly, that the conduct of Dockerty the previous day was: "past all bearing" and that she was ill and wanted a couple of hours' sleep. At 3.00 o'clock in the afternoon Mrs Kelly went into the bedroom and found Dockerty dead on the bed with her head nearly severed from her body. The  City Police were informed but it was not until the following Monday they discovered his whereabouts. He been apprehended about the time the body was discovered, by Salford Police on a charge of drunkenness. A pocket knife was found hidden in on of his socks and blood stains were on his clothes. He appeared before Magistrates and was remanded. On remand he tried to commit suicide by cutting his throat with a piece of tin which he had broken from the water can issued to him in the City Gaol. The wound healed and he was eventually tried on 25th November. A plea of insanity failed, he was found guilty of murder and was sentenced to death.

After the verdict Flanagan appeared no to worry about his fate, but at the day of execution approached, he became more attentive to the administration of the Roman Catholic Chaplain of the County Gaol, Fr Corbishley. However at time he acted in a wild and irrational manner, and it was thought that he was not fully aware of his situation. He was examined by several medical men, but they did not feel justified to recommend that the death sentence shout be carried out on the grounds of insanity.

The execution took place at 8.30. Long before that time,  for no obvious reason, despite the heavy rain, a large crowd had gathered outside the prison gates. Seemingly unaware of his fate, Flanagan went to bed at 9.00 the previous evening and slept soundly until awoken at 6.00 am. At the appointed time Flanagan was taken from the condemned cell to the scaffold. Mechanically he repeated the prayers spoken by the Chaplain. Flanagan was placed on the scaffold beneath the beam by Marwood the executioner. The rope was speedily adjusted and the white cap placed over his face. The bolt was then withdrawn and death appeared to  be instantaneous, the drop being an usually long one.

About twenty people witnessed the execution, including the Governor, the Chaplain, the Surgeon, the under Sheriff, other prison officials and a number of representatives of the press. After the body had hung for the normal time [an hour], it was cut down, an inquest held and then it was buried within the walls of the prison. Flanagan was the fourth person to be executed at Strangeways

The following correspondence between Mr Royle of Manchester and Mr Cross, the Home Secretary appeared in The Manchester Guardian dated 22nd December 1876. Mr Royle wrote:

"The prisoner, William Flanagan, who was at the Manchester Assizes convicted of the wilful murder of a woman, now lies under sentence of death at the County Prison, Strangeways, Manchester and I trust you will pardon me calling your attention to the fact of the prisoner having three times within the last four years attempted to commit suicide; he has also within that period been confined in a lunatic asylum for about six months. The prisoner was in my employment for several months prior to 10th June last, and the following Monday he absented himself; but a short time before the murder was committed he applied to me to re-engage him, which I declined to do, on the ground that he was insane. I believe he was perfectly sober when he made the application to me; there also appears no doubt that he was not under the influence of drink upon two of the three occasions he attempted self destruction. Mr John Swain, a clerk in my employment, was with the prisoner on 10th June last, and he was so satisfied that the prisoner was insane that he came over specially to Bowdon (where I reside) the following morning (Sunday) to inform me that the prisoner was insane; and a clerk of Mr Best, Solicitor of this City, saw the prisoner and Mr Swain together on 10th June, and Mr Best's clerk openly made the observation that the prisoner was mad. I also respectfully desire to call your attention to the fact that there appears no sufficient motive for the murder." - In reply a letter was received from the Home Office, in which Mr Cross expressed his regret that after full inquiry and consideration of all the circumstances of the case he had been unable to discover any sufficient grounds to [sway] him, consistently with his public duty, in recommending any interference with the courts of law

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