A man whose patience snapped after he was mocked and beaten by his partner, causing him to hit her with a hatchet and cut her throat, was found guilty of manslaughter and jailed for ten years.
On 25th August 1902 Francis Burke returned to his lodgings in Gladstone Street after work to find that Catherine Daly, with whom he cohabited, was not at home. After his landlord John Shingler said that he had no idea where Catherine was and his sister Lizzie, who lived nearby, said she had not seen him, Francis went back home and made some chips for his tea. While he was eating them Catherine returned, sporting a black eye.
When asked how she got her injury Catherine, who was quite drunk, replied that she had been fighting with a woman named Mary Daly, the wife of her brother. John Shingler's wife tended to the eye whilst Francis sat on the front steps drinking some beer that he had sent out for. Catherine then started hitting him about the head and carried on drinking along with Lizzie who had since came round to see if everything was okay. Lizzie then joined Catherine in mocking Francis for not doing anything when he was being repeatedly slapped.
Eventually Francis's patience snapped and he got up and threw Catherine into a chair, but this didn't stop her getting up and hitting him again. After Lizzie left Francis and Catherine went to bed but in the early hours John Shingler was woken up by the couple arguing and he then heard a cry of 'murder'. On running to investigate he found that Catherine was lying on her back covered in blood and Francis was attempting to cut his own throat with a carving knife.
Other lodgers managed to get the knife from Francis while Mr Shingler ran to the Northern Dispensary for a doctor and also found a policeman. Catherine was still alive and pointed to Francis when asked who had cut her. She was taken to the Northern Hospital where she died on 1st September, having been able to make a deposition stating that she had been hit over the head with a hatchet and then had her throat cut. Francis was himself close to death and remained in the Workhouse Hospital in Brownlow Hill for a month, on one occasion ripping the bandages from his throat. He was not considered fit to be committed for trial for murder until 2nd October.
Francis appeared at the assizes at St George's Hall on 5th December, where he said he recalled nothing from the moment he threw Catherine into the chair. After twenty minutes deliberation the jury found him guilty of manslaughter on the grounds of extreme provocation. He was then sentenced by Justice Jelf to penal servitude for ten years.