Monday, 21 September 2015

Killed By a Teacup

A man who rowed with his wife threw a teacup at her causing an injury that led to her death, leading to him being convicted of manslaughter for the second time in his life. 

On 13th February 1897 Margaret Lynch was found lying in a court off Saltney Street with a cut to her head. A relative took her to the Northern Hospital where the wound was dressed and on return home she said to Margaret's husband Thomas 'this is an awful affair, her back is black and blue.' 38 year old labourer Thomas admitted to throwing a teacup at his wife during a row but denied any involvement in the bruising.

Margaret refused medical advice to stay warm and was often seen outside in the cold drinking. The wound became infected and erysipelas set in, leading to her being admitted to the workhouse hospital on Brownlow Hill, where she died on 8th March. Thomas was arrested and committed to the assizes for trial after an inquest recorded a verdict of manslaughter.

At his trial on 13th May Thomas's defence counsel put forward the improbable scenario that 24 year old Margaret had slipped and fell on some already broken crockery. Given what he had admitted to one of his in laws when it happened, this was unsurprisingly rejected by the jury who found him guilty of manslaughter.

Mr Justice Wills deferred sentence for a day as he wanted to consider how much weight to attached to a previous conviction for manslaughter. Twenty years earlier Thomas, who was then using the surname Lennon, was sentenced to fifteen years penal servitude after killing his stepfather. After receiving confirmation from the police that he had behaved fairly well since being released, the judge told Thomas that as he had not used violence or intended any great harm, he must serve a sentence of four months hard labour. 

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