Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Woman Cuts Her Husband Instead of the Bread

A woman whose abusive husband berated her for not mending his trousers properly stabbed him to death after he then told her to cut more bread for their children's supper.

On 2nd June 1903 at around 10pm, twelve year old Mary Lyon returned to her home in Salisbury Street, Everton after playing out. She was then asked to make sure her mother's friend Margaret Constantine got back to her home in Birchfield Street safely as she was drunk.

Mary saw Margaret back home, leaving her mother Catherine in Salisbury Street with her father Charlie and eight year old brother Charles. Both her parents had been drinking and Charlie said to Catherine 'You have not mended my trousers right.' She ignored him, leading to Charlie slapping her in the face and saying 'Cut more bread for the children.' With their son Charles watching in horror, Catherine pushed her husband away whilst holding the bread knife, which stabbed him in the chest causing him to fall onto the sofa.

Catherine ran into  the street screaming and a passer by named Henry Dowling came to see what was going on. She took him inside and Charlie was lying on the sofa. Young Charles said 'My mama done it' and Catherine responded 'I did not mean to do it.' Mary then returned from Birchfield Street and encountered the tragic scene.

Charles was pronounced dead on arrival at the Royal Infirmary, where the post mortem established that the wound to the heart was five inches deep. Catherine was arrested and admitted she was responsible for the killing, but insisted she had not meant to cause any harm. 

The inquest returned a verdict of wilful murder and Catherine was committed to the assizes for trial. However the Grand Jury, which carried out a preliminary review of the facts, decided that she should only stand trial for manslaughter. She was found guilty and sentenced by Mr Justice Bigham to three years penal servitude.

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