Tuesday, 6 October 2015
Free From Jail to Kill his Wife
A man who had served a three year jail sentence for stabbing his wife killed her just six weeks after his release and was found guilty of manslaughter.
In the early hours of Tuesday 8th October 1901 Ellen Timlin was asleep at her lodgings in 42 Baptist Street when she was awoken by another member of the household, 32 year old Thomas McAllister. He was raging and told Ellen that he had killed his wife and would kill somebody else.He then started kicking out at Ellen but stopped when his wife Catherine returned.
Thomas told Catherine he was sorry for what he had done and she replied that she was a bad woman. The couple then went upstairs with Thomas saying he would look at the wound, which had been caused with a pocket knife, after a cup of tea. He later came back down and told Ellen that it was 'only the scratch of a pin' and that he had washed it and covered it with a plaster.
On the Thursday night Catherine was complaining of severe pains and admitted herself to the workhouse hospital, telling staff there that she had been separating a fight. The next night her condition had deteriorated and a detective inspector was called in to see her. She now said that she had been walking with Thomas's mother at the corner of Springfield and Christian Streets and that he had stabbed her in a fit of jealousy. A magistrate's clerk was summoned to take a formal deposition but by the time he arrived Catherine had died.
A post mortem revealed that the cause of death was haemorrhage caused by the wound which had punctured Catherine's left lung. When Thomas was arrested he said 'I am as innocent as a child, she went out on Wednesday to separate a fight and when she came back she complained of a pain underneath her breast.' At the inquest Ellen Timlin described Catherine as a'hard working steady woman' whilst Thomas was someone with a 'hot temper who is given to drink.' The Deputy Coroner Mr Gibson said there was no provocation to justify reducing the verdict to manslaughter and on this direction a verdict of wilful murder was returned.
At the Liverpool Assizes on 3rd December Ellen Timlin repeated the evidence that she had given at the inquest. After ninety minutes deliberation the jury found Thomas guilty of manslaughter leading to cries from Thomas who begged for mercy 'for the sake of my poor old mother and two orphaned sisters, the shock will kill her.'
Mr Justice Bucknill however was in no mood for lenient sentencing, especially as Thomas had only come out of prison six weeks before the killing, having served a three year sentence for cutting and wounding his wife. Referring to him as a 'worthless drunken blackguard' he said that the jury had been merciful enough and imposed a sentence of fifteen years penal servitude.