Friday, 15 May 2015

Cheers After Acquittal

A man who was charged with murder after his wife's lover died during a scuffle was cleared, leading to the judge having to suppress cheers from the public gallery.

In the early hours of Saturday 25th August 1928 Police Constable Nicholson began following a trail of blood on the pavement, which led him to the corner of Crown Street and West Derby Street. There, he found 44 year old German John Seman, a tailor's dresser, lying unconscious with a wound in his neck.

Seman had managed to stagger to within 100 yards of the Royal Infirmary after allegedly being stabbed by 45 year old Maurice McCormack, the husband of the woman he had got into an intimate liaison with. At around 10pm on the Friday night McCormack had gone into a pub and seen the two of them together, then waited and followed both of them to Seman's home in nearby Iden Street confirming his suspicions

A few hours later Semans was seen outside McCormack's home in Metley Street with a knife, taunting him that his wife had sent him there. McCormack was seen to twice hit Seman, who was taken to the Infirmary by Constable Nicholson but never regained consciousness and died half an hour after admission. When McCormack was arrested at his home in Metley Street, he replied 'No I did not cut him' when being told that Seman had died.

When McCormack appeared at the Liverpool Assizes on 8th November, no witness was able to say that they had seen him with a weapon. When he gave his evidence he admitted striking Seman but said he did so in self defence as he had a knife, and that he had walked away apparently unscathed after the scuffle.

The jury took fifteen minutes to find McCormack not guilty of both murder and manslaughter, leading to cheers from the public gallery quickly being suppressed by the judge. There was further cheering as the acquitted man left the court, where he kept his face covered by a handkerchief as an elderly woman kissed him and two other men could barely contain their relief at the verdict.

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