Thursday, 8 January 2015

Killed by a Gimlet

A fight in which a teenager killed a man by poking him in the eye with a small tool led to him being convicted of manslaughter.

The incident took place at a coopers shop in a coal yard in Marlborough Street on Saturday 18th February 1843. John Wilkinson, who was 28 years old, got into a quarrel with Moses Doyle, who was only 13 but looked two or three years older.

It was not clear what started the row but after Wilkinson threw punches at Doyle a worker named Owen Handwright got between them and tried to calm the situation down. However as he spoke to Wilkinson, Doyle picked up a rusty gimlet - a small tool that is a sort of cross between a drill and screwdriver - that was lying around and stabbed Wilkinson in the left eye.

Wilkinson was taken to the Dispensary where the wound was dressed and he then returned home, but on the Monday afternoon he was shaking quite badly and a doctor was sent for. On examining the wound,  he found a small circular hole that appeared quite deep and called in another surgeon. Despite their best efforts, Wilkinson passed away two days later.

A post mortem examination found that the wound extended to the brain which had been lacerated, causing inflammation and an absess. This was the direct cause of death, leading to Doyle, who lived in Marlborough Street with his parents and two sisters being taken into custody. He was charged with manslaughter and appeared before at the Liverpool Assizes on 10th April. He was found guilty and sentenced to 14 days in Kirkdale gaol.

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