Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Manslaughter in a Lodging House

When two men had a fight in a Kirkdale lodging house one was convicted of manslaughter after the other was found dead in the communal room the following morning.

Lord Chief justice cockburn
In 1878 Giles McMahon, a 38 year old labourer, lodged in Derby Road, Kirkdale where another labourer, 44 year old Edward Sheehan also loved. On the night of 26th May that year both men were in the reading room with other residents and although neither was drunk, they had had some beer.

Sheehan made a comment about McMahon that he objected to and rushed towards him and knocked him over, pressing his knee into his chest as he lay on the floor. They struggled a while before being separated but McMahon resumed the attack, only stopping when Mr Brewer the lodging house keeper intervened and sent him to his bed.

Rather than go to bed himself, Sheehan opted to stay in the reading room where he was last seen resting his head on his hands. The following morning he was found dead, with a post mortem establishing the cause of death as rupture of the vessels of the brain.

McMahon appeared at the assizes on 25th July before Lord Chief Justice Cockburn. After being found guilty of manslaughter he was sentenced to eighteen months imprisonment.

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