Monday, 1 June 2015

Jealous Seaman Shoots Lover

A Javanese seaman who shot his lover dead after he saw her talking to an Englishman in a pub was cleared of murder but convicted of manslaughter.

At the beginning of 1944 Mohamaed Lamri, a 33 year old seaman from Java, began co-habiting with 22 year old Elizabeth Anderson in a house in Smithdown Road. On 1st April that year Lamri saw her talking to another man in a pub and asked her why she was doing that, leading to her replying that she had known the male for a number of years.

Smithdown Road in 1951 (www.liverpoolpicturebook.com)
That evening another resident of the house where the couple lived, Frances Brown, heard a scream and ran upstairs to their room. Elizabeth was sitting on the bed holding her stomach and said that she had been shot by Lamri, who threatened to do the same to Frances if she called the police. She ran off and fetched Elizabeth's mother, who was told by her daughter that 'it was an accident mummy', the revolver going off after she tried to take it from Lamri. By then, the two of them were sat on the bed with their arms around each other smoking a cigarette.

Elizabeth was taken to hospital where she died the following morning. When Lamri was arrested, he claimed that he wasn't even in the room when the shot was fired, but medical evidence was that the wound could not have been self inflicted.  He was charged with murder and appeared at the Liverpool assizes on 14th June for a trial which lasted three days, partly due to an interpreter being required. Mr Justice Croom-Johnson said it was terrible that a man was being tried for his life in a language he did not understand.

Under cross examination those who were there on the day acknowledged that Elizabeth had shown no resentment to Lamri after the shooting and they not looked under any strain a few minutes before. Lamri was not called to give evidence by his counsel Edward Wooll K.C. Addressing the court, he said that although such relationships were deplorable Elizabeth had died a gallant death and had sought to absolve him of any blame. After some deliberation the jury found Lamri guilty of manslaughter and he was sentenced to eighteen months imprisonment with hard labour.

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