A young mother who cut her son's throat after being left on her own with him was sentenced to death but then reprieved.
In 1940 Ruth Jones lived with her eighteen month old son Peter at 78 Barlow Street in Kirkdale. A man was living with them who was not Peter's father and when that relationship ran into difficulty and he left, she began to worry how things would turn out.
On the morning of 25th April Ruth, who was 24 years old, went into Peter's bedroom where he was still asleep in his cot and cut his throat with a razor. She then tried to do the same to herself before going to a relatives house nearby, telling them what had happened. When the police arrived, Ruth told detectives that she intended to do away with herself as well. She appeared at the police court that afternoon and was remanded in custody for two weeks, when she was committed for trial at the assizes.
When Ruth appeared at the Liverpool assizes on 10th June her hearing lasted only a minute. In barely audible tones she pleaded guilty and after Justice Wrottesley checked with her counsel that she understood the implications of this plea, he passed the death sentence.
Ruth stood motionless in the dock and walked firmly towards the cells flanked by two warders. just four days later, the Home Secretary recommended a reprieve and her sentence was commuted to life imprisonment. She was released after serving just two years of this.