Sunday, 13 October 2013

Son Butchered By Father

Just a few days after William Davies was battered to death in Walton, there was a tragic incident in Toxteth when 2 year old Robert Edward Jones died after having his throat cut by his father.

The Jones family consisted of 31 year old Robert, his wife Mag and 4 children aged between 1 and 6. They lived at 18 Hemans Street, which was situated between Upper Hill and Upper Warwick Streets, where the Carter-Thackeray estate now stands. Mr Jones was a grocer in nearby Upper Pitt Street and had been known to be depressed for sometime and drinking heavily, although he had not been drinking on the night in question before the murder.

At around 5am on the morning of Saturday 17th August 1895 Mr Jones got up and made a cup of tea for his wife, who was in their bedroom with the youngest child while the three older children were in the back room. Shortly afterwards his wife got up to settle 2 year old Robert back down after he had awoke, then went back asleep. At around 7.30am though she was woken by her husband who was crying and told her that he had 'killed Bobby'. Mrs Jones then found her son sat up on the bed with his throat cut and blood pouring from the wound, but although a doctor was quickly sent for after 6 year old Ethel knocked at a neighbours for help, he was certified dead.

Jones, who had spent time in a lunatic asylum in Tuebrook earlier in the year, was arrested and appeared before the Stipendiary Magistrate that morning. He was pale and drawn in the dock, where he was remanded in custody for seven days on the charge of wilful murder. At the inquest in the Coroner's Court on the Monday, little Ethel told how she had woke up to find her father standing over her little brother who was bleeding heavily, while a carving knife was on the floor. She then said that he had calmly picked the boy up and sat him at the edge of the bed, before leaving the room. The jury accepted Ethel's evidence and returned a verdict of wilful murder against Robert Jones.

Mr Jones appeared at the next Liverpool Assizes on 29th November, where he was found 'guilty but insane.' The evidence of medical practitioners who had dealt with Mr Jones, in addition to the total lack of motive - he had been a doting father to his children - meant there was no doubt about what the verdict should be in this tragic case. He was sentenced to be detained at Her Majesty's pleasure.

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