A man who habitually abused his wife and eventually caused her death after elbowing her in the face was sentenced to just two months imprisonment.
On the evening of Saturday 1st October 1864 John Robinson, a forty year old tinplate layer asked his wife Catherine for money for ale, but she refused his request. John then struck her with his elbow in the face and stomach, leading to her screaming for help from the landlady of the house where they lodged in Cavendish Street, which was situated where the St Johns Ambulance offices off Scotland Road are now.
The landlady Mrs Winter tried to stop the bleeding but was unable to do so, but John would not get out of bed to assist in taking his wife to the dispensary. When heavily pregnant Catherine threw some blood at her husband he threatened to knock her downstairs if she asked him again.
In the early hours John eventually agreed to go to the dispensary, from where they were referred to the Northern Hospital. As she was being helped there, Catherine said to her husband 'Take more time for I am dropping, this is the last walk I will have.'
On the Monday Catherine was visited in hospital by a detective. She said the bleeding had started when she fell over after carrying some tins on her head, then it had occurred again after being punched in the face by John. He was then arrested and taken to the police office where he admitted assaulting his wife, but said he had only slapped her with the back of his hand.
Catherine gave birth to a stillborn male child on 6th October, doctors estimating that she was eight months into her pregnancy. Heavily effected by the loss of blood, her condition deteriorated and she died on 18th October. A post mortem revealed that both bones in the nose were broken as a result of considerable violence.
At the inquest two days later the couple's fourteen year old son said that his parents had quarreled for as long as he can remember and that his father had often said whilst drunk that he would kill her one day. Mrs Winter said that another lodger had drawn her attention to the attack and that she feared Catherine was being killed. The jury returned a verdict of manslaughter and the Deputy Coroner Mr Wybergh remanded John pending his trial at the assizes.
At the Liverpool Assizes on 14th December the defence pleaded that Catherine had contributed to her own death by carrying the tins on her head. John was found guilty but with a recommendation for mercy. The judge, Mr Justice Mellor, said there were mitigating factors on the case and James was sentenced to a period of imprisonment of just two more months.