Monday, 4 May 2015

Children Thrown Into Canal By Mother

An unfaithful mother who had no idea where to turn threw her children into a canal then handed herself into the police when she couldn't go through with her own planned suicide.

In 1926 Annie Lavin was 28 years old and living in lodgings with with her husband Patrick and two young children. They were not getting on well with other tenants but had difficulties finding accommodation elsewhere, leading to Annie and the children moving in with her mother temporarily.

On 9th June of that year Annie's mother found that she had renewed a liaison with a married man, with whom she had had an affair prior to meeting Patrick. Annie was given an ultimatum to end this relationship or get out and not knowing what to do next, she spent most of the day wandering aimlessly around Stanley Park with the children, two year old Patricia and four year old Walter.

By the time dusk fell Annie had ended up looking over the bridge into the Leeds & Liverpool canal at Burlington Street. Seized by a sudden impulse that all three of them would be better off dead, she picked up the children one after the other and threw them into the water. She then hurried away from the scene, but after running about a quarter of a mile she confessed to a policeman what she had done.

Annie was conveyed to the Bridewell and other officers used lamps to search the water by the bridge. Walter's body was found around midnight but Patricia's was not recovered until 430am.  In Annie's blouse was a razor blade and a letter addressed to her husband which began: 'I was never as I should have been to you. You have been too good to me and I have played on that.' Annie told the police that she had not gone ahead with her own intended suicide as she was unable to climb over the bridge rail.

After being charged Annie appeared at the Magistrates' Court where she was remanded in custody. She sobbed violently in the dock and had to be helped out by a sympathetic wardress. At the inquest Annie's mother Mrs Richardson told the coroner that she had once attempted suicide on Christmas Eve and frequently ran away from home. After a verdict of wilful murder was returned she was committed for trial at the next Manchester assizes.    

On 8th July Annie's plea of insanity was accepted and she was detained at The King's Pleasure, being transferred to Broadmoor where she gave birth to another child who was immediately taken into care by the authorities.

Annie was released in 1931 and resumed her marriage with Patrick, who worked as a platelayer for the Mersey Docks and Harbour Board. They lived at Rushmere Road in Norris Green but after an initial period of happiness she soon began to brood again for the two dead children and the child who had been taken into care. On 3rd August 1932 after Patrick had left for work Annie wrote a note saying she had been ill and worrying for her children. She then gassed herself to death. At the inquest, a verdict of 'suicide while of unsound mind' was recorded.

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