Monday, 22 February 2016

Two Days Jail For Baby Boot Killer

A man who threw a boot at his wife but instead killed a baby was sentenced to just forty eight hours behind bars.

On 10th October 1864 at around 5pm Joseph Whittle finished work as a baker and went to his Duncan Street home, expecting his wife to have his tea ready for him. She wasn't home and when she did return drunk, she refused his request for food and shouted what the Liverpool Mail described as 'filthy and abusive language' back. 

In anger Whittle took off his boot and threw it at his wife, who ducked out of the way. At exactly the same time Mrs Hanson, who also lived in the house, came into the room carrying her six week old son John. The boot struck the baby on the head and he was taken to the South Dispensary where some medicine was given.

Two days later John died, a postmortem revealing that there was compression on the brain as a result of external violence. The inquest on 14th October returned a verdict of manslaughter and Whittle was committed for trial, but the Coroner allowed bail on sureties of £40.

Whittle surrendered himself at St George's Hall on 24th October he was found guilty but with a strong recommendation for mercy by the jury. Mr Justice Mellor then sentenced him to imprisonment without hard labour for a period of just two days, allowing him to return to work on the Monday.

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