Thursday, 25 April 2013

Man Kills Sister In Law

In 1864 a Toxteth man killed his sister in law but managed to avoid the death penalty despite being found guilty of murder.

On Sunday 25th September 1864 Ellis Green, a 46 year old pavior, spent the afternoon drinking before turning on his sister in law Elizabeth Lowe, who lived with him and and his wife and children, for no apparent reason. At their Upper Harrington Street home he battered her about the head and when she fell on the floor kicked her and jumped on top of her, acts that were partly witnessed by his son Henry, who punched him to stop the attack which was so severe it attracted the attention of a neighbour who came around to see what was going on.

Elizabeth didn't die instantly, nor did she seek medical attention. It wasn't until the following Friday that a doctor was called and she was admitted to the Southern Hospital, where she died on the Saturday and  a postmortem discovered she had a fractured skull. Green absconded that day but was soon picked up in West Derby Road and taken before the magistrates court, where he claimed to have been provoked by his wife and her sister, saying that they had thrown plates and cups at him after he had said something they weren't happy with.

Green was charged with murder and when he appeared before the Assizes on 17th December, a surgeon told how Elizabeth had been struck with an iron object and also had boot marks on her chest. In summing up, the judge told the jury that Green's intoxication reduced his culpability but that had to be balanced against the fact there was no evidence of any provocation. After 45 minutes a verdict of guilty was returned and Green was sentenced to death.

Green was scheduled to be executed alongside Henry Brown on 7th January 1865, but a few days before a reprieve was granted and his sentence was commuted to penal servitude for life.

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