A man whose violent conduct towards his partner in front of his son led to her death was convicted of manslaughter and jailed for twelve years.
Moses Phillips, a baker in his early forties, began co-habiting with Mary Whitehead in Combermere Street, Toxteth early in 1875. The relationship was a not a peaceful one, with Phillips often using violence towards Mary when either he or her were drunk.
On 29th April 1876 Mrs Charnock, who lived in Laxey Street,was passing their home when she heard screams and saw Phillips punch Mary. She confronted Phillips, who threatened to do the same to her if she didn't go away. Later his ten year old son Richard arrived at the house and saw his father kick Mary in the abdomen whilst he was wearing his boots and she was on the floor
Two days later Mrs Charnock went to see how 34 year old Mary was and was shown two badly blackened arms. On 8th May she was admitted to the Southern Hospital suffering from gangrene in the thigh and erysipelas. With her health now in a fragile state depositions were taken from her and Phillips was arrested and remanded charged with violent assault.
Phillips admitted 'chastising her with his hand' but after Mary died on 10th May a post mortem revealed that gangrene was the cause of death. It was conducted by Dr Caddy who told the inquest he believed this had been brought on by the violence, with the bruises being consistent with being kicked.
When Phillips appeared at the Liverpool Assizes on 25th July Mrs Charnock told the court what she had seen. His son Richard was in the awful position of testifying against his father but did so honestly, saying he had seen him kick Mary and that he was wearing boots at the time. After the jury found him guilty of manslaughter, Phillips was sentenced to twelve years penal servitude by Mr Justice Lindley.