Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Woman Kills Sister in Law in Fight

When a two sisters in law had a fight in Gascoyne Street one died after hitting her head on the pavement, leading to the other being convicted of manslaughter.

Around midnight on Monday 14th August 1865 Jane Goodier returned to her home at Bevington Street, which she shared  with her husband who worked as a labourer. When asked how there was a large amount of her hair missing she said that she had been drinking at her brother's home in Gascoyne Street and that his wife, Alice Vallally, had 'licked her.'

Two days later Jane had two fits and was confined to bed. Her condition gradually grew worse and she died on the Saturday. The previous day, police had apprehended Alice and charged her with dangerous assault. 

At the inquest, held before Mr P F Curry, evidence was given by Elizabeth Lloyd, Jane's step daughter. She had been to Bevington Street on the evening in question and saw Alice hit Jane with a shovel after Jane had helped herself to some broth. She then described how Alice then jumped on top of Jane and pulled some hair from her head, egged on by her husband, Jane's brother. Elizabeth said she helped Jane get up and they left the property to go home, only to be chased by Alice.

A man named John Mitchell said he had seen Alice attack Jane in the street and helped the victim to Eldon Place. The last of three blows, he said, led to Jane hitting her head on some paving stones and becoming dazed. A neighbour of Alice's named Jane Robertson told the coroner that she had seen the two women fighting in the house, but that Jane had threatened Alice with a knife and thrown a jug at her before leaving, leading to Alice chasing after her.

Dr Samuel, who conducted the postmortem, was of the opinion that Jane had died from head injuries as a result of hitting her head on the paving stone after the fall. This led to the jury returning a verdict of manslaughter and Alice was committed to the assizes on a coroner's warrant. 

At the assizes on 14th December Alice was found guilty of manslaughter but recommended to mercy by the jury. The judge, Mr Baron Pigott, told her there had been a great deal of provocation and as she had already served four months on remand, imposed a sentence of just one month in prison.

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