Saturday, 29 June 2019

Pawned Clothes Triggers Killing

When a man returned home from work to find his wife had spent all their money on drink and pawned his clothes, he killed his wife in a fit of rage. However after being found guilty of manslaughter he was treated leniently by the judge. 

On 16th December 1865 Henry Greenwood returned to his Leeds Street home from his job as a foundry worker to find his wife Mary leaving carrying an empty jug which she tended to get filled with ale. He dragged her back into their room and on finding she had spent his 24 shillings wages as well as pawning some of his clothes, told her he would "do for her this time".

Other occupants of the floor heard screams and then Mary ran onto the stairs, her dress torn. Henry followed her and knocked her down before kicking her about the head and body. Leaving her for dead, he then went into Gore's public house in nearby Vauxhall Road. 

A neighbour named Mrs Croft went to Gore's and told Henry he had killed Mary, leading to some men restraining him. When a police officer arrived though he managed to escape and was eventually caught in Westmorland Place. On being charged with the death of his wife he replied "All right I am very sorry" and was described by the constable as being "perfectly sober".

A postmortem revealed the cause of death to be extravasation due to blood on the brain, as a result of external violence. An inquest before the Coroner Mr P. F. Curry returned a verdict of manslaughter and Henry was committed for trial.

On 27th March Henry appeared before Mr Justice Mellor, where representation were made that he had become exasperated by his wife's intemperate habits. It was also stated that the couple's daughter had been sent into service to avoid her mother's influence and even had her own clothes pawned. 

After some deliberation the jury found Henry guilty of manslaughter with a recommendation for mercy. He was then gaoled for sixteen months by the judge. 

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