Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Son Axes Father to Death

A son who killed his father with an axe after he had struck his mother was found guilty of manslaughter and leniently sentenced after the jury's plea for mercy.

On the evening of 18th April 1874 James Hanney, a 21 year old labourer, went to a public house with his father, also James Hanney and a man named Mr Gill.

After a dispute arose over paying for liquor the three men went to the Hanney's home at a court off Grosvenor Street, where Mrs Hanney refused to give her husband any more money for drink. He then started to throw ornaments at her, leading to her and her son moving into the yard for safety.

Hanney ran after his wife and son shouting and throwing more ornaments at them. This led to Hanney junior snapping and picking up whatever he could to throw back at him. His father then fell to the ground after being struck by an axe.

Neighbours called police who arrived and took Hanney junior, his mother, sister and Gill into custody. Hanney senior was taken to the Royal Infirmary where he was at first insensible. He lingered on until 24th April, being able to give a deposition that it was his son who had inflicted his injury with a sharp instrument.

After the inquest Hanney junior was committed to the assizes on a charge of wilful murder, appearing before Justice Archibald on 17th August. His defence maintained that there had been no malicious aforethought and that the deceased was a drunken man who ill used his family. The jury found him guilty of manslaughter and recommended mercy, leading to the judge imposing a sentence of five years penal servitude.

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