Rose Earle lived in Chesterfield Street with John Fletcher, a commercial traveller, and their four month old baby, also called Rose Earle. On the morning of Monday 14th August 1899 Rose, who had told John a few days earlier that her mind was going, called her domestic servant Ellen Woolley down to the cellar. When Ellen arrived Rose told her that she had 'done it' and took her to the front bedroom where baby Rose was lying on the bed in a pool of blood.
Whilst on remand at Walton Gaol doctors had serious concerns about Rose's ability to enter any pleas or understand the court proceedings. She often refused food as she believed it had been poisoned and said that she had been called upon by God to destroy herself. Dr Wigglesworth from the Rainhill Asylum said that she was unfit to plead and the judge directed that she be detained during Her Majesty's Pleasure.