A man Kirkdale man who killed another man after he made offensive remarks about the woman he was with walked free from court after the judge was satisfied he had not intended to cause any serious harm to his victim.
On the evening of 2nd August 1825 Mathias Kelly was walking next to a field near Kirkdale Gaol with a lady called Mary Calton. A man called John Warn, who neither of them knew, shouted something insulting to the couple and threw a brick at his elbow. Kelly responded by throwing the brick back and then struck Warn when he feared having the brick thrown back at him. This didn't deter Warn, who threw the brick at Kelly's head and cutting it. Kelly then punched Warn in the face and he fell backwards onto the ground.
A friend of Warn's called the Watch and Kelly quickly left the scene with Colton, not realising the extent of Warn's injuries. Kelly arrived at his mothers house in Sir Thomas Street at 11pm and had the wound dressed by his mother's servant Mary Allen. At around the same time Warn was arriving at the Infirmary suffering from bleeding to a three inch wound to the head. He was examined by a surgeon and died a few days later, never having regained consciousness. An officer of the Watch who had stopped Kelly when he saw him bleeding recalled this and had the foresight to take further details, then managed to take him into custody.
Kelly was tried at Lancaster at the end of that month. Witnesses testified that the place where the altercation took place contained lots of loose rubble, and doctors who examined Warn felt the injury from which he died was a result of being cut as he fell down, not the actual blow. With others testifying to Kelly's good character, the jury concluded that Kelly was guilty of manslaughter and that he had been provoked in the first instance. Jusice Bayley then respited sentence, effectively letting Kelly go free in the knowledge he would be re-sentenced should he get into any further trouble.