Saturday, 7 June 2014

Death by Poker

An argument over money led to two sisters assaulting another woman with a poker and being convicted of manslaughter after the victim died of her injuries.

On the night of 23rd June 1885 31 year old Elizabeth Miden, who lived in a court off Gore Street in Dingle, got into an argument with two sisters. They were 34 year old Mary Proffit and 21 year old Rose Meadows, who both lived in the same court. The sisters dragged Miden off her doorstep and as Meadows held her down, Profit struck her with a poker.

Miden took herself to the Southern Dispensary and had wounds above her eye and to the back of the head bandaged up, then was discharged. On her way home she was again assaulted by the sisters, with Meadows ripping her bandages off. Miden was then taken to the Southern Hospital, where she contracted erysipelas due to the cut above her eye getting infected. She died on 6th July.

At the Coroner's Inquest, Meadows and Profit claimed that they were arguing over money and Miden had gone to get a poker, which is why they used one as well in retaliation. With respect to pulling the bandages off Miden's head, Meadows said that first she had had hair her pulled by Miden. The jury returned a verdict of manslaughter and both sisters were committed for trial at the Assizes.

On 31st July the jury heard how the condition that led to Miden's death was caused in part by the wound, but was also due to her drinking habits. Both sisters were found guilty and Mr Justice Manisty said that the wounds were not serious and it was Miden's drinking habits that had hastened her death. He sentenced them to six months imprisonment with hard labour, saying the disgraceful scenes of of getting drunk and acting like brutes must be stopped.

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