Tuesday, 29 September 2015

The Bootle Bath Murder

The killing of a Bootle woman who was found drowned in a bath in 1951 remains unsolved after her friend was tried for her murder but acquitted. It was a case which the defence barrister described as 'the most harrowing she had ever dealt with.'

Emma Grace was just 22 years old when she separated from her husband in the mid 1930s, going on to bring three children up on her own whilst working as a clerk for a pools firm. She lived in Irlam Road in Bootle in a house that was also occupied by Martin and Anna Neary and their three children. Each family had a floor in the house and they shared a bathroom.

On 25th May 1951 Emma's nineteen year old daughter Mary, a student nurse, returned home at around 5pm to find Anna sobbing hysterically. She described how she had heard Emma go to the bathroom and then raised voices, so when she went up to see what was happening a man had threatened her with a revolver then lifted Emma into the bath and drowned her before making off. When 39 year old Emma's fully clothed body was removed from the bath it was badly bruised and there had clearly been signs of a struggle.  

Anna was questioned by the police who were sceptical about her story, as they simply did not believe that the bathroom was big enough for one person to face great difficulty in drowning another while another escaped unscathed. As some of Emma's wages were found hidden within the fireplace in Anna's room, they concluded that she had committed the murder with robbery as a motive, refusing to believe her statement that a large man with hairy hands had committed the deed.

At lunchtime the following day Anna was charged and replied 'Why should I kill her, she has been awfully good to me.' A special court in Bootle was convened and Anna was formally remanded, leading to her shouting out 'This is not justice, God help me.' She was led away to the cells on what was her 27th birthday leaving her husband in the public gallery holding a young baby

Anna was 26 years old and had been born in France to Polish parents. After growing up near Lille, she had come to Britain after the war, during which she met her husband who was a serviceman with the RAF.

Martin's sister Margaret took the couple's children into her care, telling them that their mother was in hospital.

The trial opened at the Manchester Assizes on 11th July, with the the prosecutors outlining the case that the man with hairy hands had not been traced and as nobody else was in the house or could have gained access, then Anna was guilty. 

When Anna gave her evidence on the second day she stood by what she had told the police on the fateful night, that she had gone to the bathroom where she was locked in by a man with 'big ugly hairy hands' who then threatened her with a gun before drowning Emma. Anna then went on to to describe how there were a number of unknown male visitors to Emma and her daughter, one of whom she had expressed a wish never to see again as he had a nice wife. When asked by her defence counsel Rose Heilbron if she had killed Emma she replied 'No, never' and broke down crying, leading to a five minute adjournment to allow her to regain her composure.

In her closing speech, Miss Heilbron said there was no evidence of ill feeling between the two women and that Anna was not short of money so robbery could not have been a motive.

After retiring for two and a half hours the jury returned a verdict of not guilty. There was a round of applause from the public gallery but this came to an abrupt halt as Anna fainted in the dock and it took two minutes to revive her. She was still sobbing as Justice Barry said 'You may be discharged'. Anna then turned to the jury and said 'Thank you, I swear I did not do it.'

Outside the court, Anna buried her head into the arms of her husband as she was rushed to a waiting car. Miss Heilbron said that it was the most harrowing case she had ever been involved in and family members said that Martin and Anna planned to take a holiday in France. Although Martin's four sisters and two brothers had been of great help, Anna's mother was too poor to visit England during her daughter's imprisonment and trial.

The killing of Emma Grace remains unsolved.

Thursday, 24 September 2015

An Atrocious Crime in Bootle

A man who kicked a seaman to death that had insulted his wife was found guilty of manslaughter and sentenced to a long term of penal servitude.

On 7th August 1897 Joseph Willis, a healthy 33 year old seaman, was discharged from his ship after it docked in Liverpool and left carrying a hefty pay packet. Two days later he went to a house in Millers Bridge where a woman he knew called Elizabeth Scanlan lived. She had been drinking with fireman John Smith and his wife and Willis offered to buy some more beer for them.

Mrs Smith got quite drunk and began dancing and singing, then became so intoxicated that Mrs Scanlan had to to take her home in Derby Road. Willis left soon afterwards and met Mrs Scanlan as she was on her way back, and for some reason they both went back to Derby Road, where they found that Mrs Smith had fallen out of bed. They lifted her back in and decided that she would be okay as there were several people present in the room.

Willis and Mrs Scanlan returned to Millers Bridge to continue drinking and they were soon rejoined by Mrs Smith. She complained to her husband that Willis had insulted her he took little notice and when she hit Willis with a brick, John Smith knocked his wife down. Willis and Smith then began arguing themselves with Smith kicking out. When Willis fell down Smith then followed this up with a kick on the head. 

After staggering into the adjoining yard, Willis turned round to see Smith had followed him and he was punched in the head. The injured man managed to clamber onto a sofa but Smith went up and kicked him so hard he was flung from one end to the other. Willis was taken to hospital but was pronounced dead on arrival, death being the result of laceration on the brain.

A number of neighbours had heard the commotion and gave evidence against Smith when he appeared at the Liverpool Assizes on 6th December, charged with murder. One testified that when Smith caught up with Willis in the yard he said 'Is he not dead yet, I will finish him.' The defence tried to say that the brick thrown by Mrs Smith could have caused death, but the medical evidence suggested this wasn't the case. In summing up the judge said that a manslaughter verdict could be returned if there were grounds of provocation and the killing had been carried out in the heat of the moment.

After half an hours deliberation the jury returned a verdict of manslaughter. When asked if he had anything to say before sentence Smith replied that he could remember nothing about the incident. Justice Ridley told him that the verdict was right but that it was an 'atrocious crime' and sentence Smith to fourteen years penal servitude.

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

The Park Lane Tragedy

A man who stabbed his landlord to death after being evicted for insulting his wife was told by the judge how fortunate he was to be convicted just of manslaughter.

Towards the end of 1895 Anders Janson, a 57 year old Swedish man who worked as a shipwright, lodged in Park Lane at a boarding house run by John Lindstrom. After being there a year he had gained the trust of Lindstrom and was allowed to look after his cottage in Town Green for the winter.  

By the time he returned to Park Lane in the Spring of 1897, Janson's drinking habits had increased and this led to an argument which ended up in Lindstrom dying. At around 5pm on 25th March that year Janson was drunk and abusive to Mrs Lindstrom, leading to his landlord deciding to turn him out of the house. Without warning Lindstrom went into the dining room and grabbed Janson from behind and literally took him out into the lobby. Instead of running away though Janson took a knife from his pocket and thrust a knife into Lindstrom's abdomen, causing the bowels to protrude.

The police and a doctor were sent for and Janson made no attempt to resist arrest, saying that he had been kicked and punched by Lindstrom. Janson was taken to the Main Bridewell in Cheapside and initially charged with wounded and remanded for a week. His victim was operated upon but died at the Northern Hospital on 29th March, leading to an inquest at which  a murder verdict was returned. 

Janson was initially committed to the assizes on a murder charge but when his trial opened on 11th May Justice Wills said that the jury should only consider a manslaughter verdict. His defence was that he was genuinely scared and that Lindstrom was bigger and stronger than him. Captain Patterson from the Cashmere was brought up to testify to Janson's good character but this didn't prevent the jury from finding him guilty. 

Two days later Janson was brought up for sentence, with Justice Wills saying that he was 'sorry to have to sentence a decent looking man to a severe punishment.' However the judge described the killing as 'as near to murder as it could be' and said there was no excuse. He them imposed a term of twelve years penal servitude.

Monday, 21 September 2015

Killed By a Teacup

A man who rowed with his wife threw a teacup at her causing an injury that led to her death, leading to him being convicted of manslaughter for the second time in his life. 

On 13th February 1897 Margaret Lynch was found lying in a court off Saltney Street with a cut to her head. A relative took her to the Northern Hospital where the wound was dressed and on return home she said to Margaret's husband Thomas 'this is an awful affair, her back is black and blue.' 38 year old labourer Thomas admitted to throwing a teacup at his wife during a row but denied any involvement in the bruising.

Margaret refused medical advice to stay warm and was often seen outside in the cold drinking. The wound became infected and erysipelas set in, leading to her being admitted to the workhouse hospital on Brownlow Hill, where she died on 8th March. Thomas was arrested and committed to the assizes for trial after an inquest recorded a verdict of manslaughter.

At his trial on 13th May Thomas's defence counsel put forward the improbable scenario that 24 year old Margaret had slipped and fell on some already broken crockery. Given what he had admitted to one of his in laws when it happened, this was unsurprisingly rejected by the jury who found him guilty of manslaughter.

Mr Justice Wills deferred sentence for a day as he wanted to consider how much weight to attached to a previous conviction for manslaughter. Twenty years earlier Thomas, who was then using the surname Lennon, was sentenced to fifteen years penal servitude after killing his stepfather. After receiving confirmation from the police that he had behaved fairly well since being released, the judge told Thomas that as he had not used violence or intended any great harm, he must serve a sentence of four months hard labour. 

Sunday, 20 September 2015

Pawned Boots Lead to Wife Killing

In 1890 a man whose wife insulted him after she pawned his boots to buy beer killed her in a fit of anger, leading to him being imprisoned for fifteen years.

Robert Lynch was a 40 year old who lived in Fernie Street, Toxteth with his wife Theresa. He had always worked at sea but a hand injury had limited his ability to be taken on and the family began to struggle financially.

On the afternoon of 26th August 1890 Lynch sent his wife to pawn some boots and when she returned she gave him  a shilling, saying it was a shame he would only buy beer with it. Theresa was carrying a bucket and was chased out of the house by Lynch, who stabbed her in the side with a small pocket knife. She fell into the arms of a neighbour named Harriet Nelson and was taken to the Southern Hospital.

Lynch was arrested and told the police officer he had only kicked her, but after Theresa died on 1st September he was charged with murder. A post mortem had determined that the cause of death was peritonitis which had set in following the wounding.

Lynch appeared at the Liverpool assizes on 15th September, where his defence solicitor told the court that the killing had taken place with sudden impulse. This led to a verdict of manslaughter being returned and he was sentenced to fifteen years penal servitude.

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

The Bostock Street Tragedy

A row between a couple after an all day drinking session led to the all too familiar scenario of one dead and the other being sentenced to fifteen years imprisonment.

On 1st October 1890 Esther Martin hosted a gathering at her home in Bostock Street, which involved a lot of drinking from 10 o'clock in the morning. By late afternoon most had left or retired to bed when Esther heard moaning from the cellar. On going down to investigate she found her friend Sarah Scarisbrick lying there with her clothes ripped and blood coming from wounds in her shoulder and abdomen.

Sarah was still conscious and said she had been stabbed by another guest, Robert Jones, a 42 year old gas fitter with whom she co-habited. He was sat by her saying nothing. Sarah's sister Ellen Rainford heard the commotion and went to the cellar and on seeing what had happened, told him that he had now finished her sister off like he often said he would.

Ellen ran to find a a policeman and when two officers arrived, they bravely intervened to stop Jones when he took a knife out of his pocket and attempted to cut his own throat. A police officer arrived and on being arrested Jones said 'I can't say owt about it.' Sarah was taken to the Northern Hospital but died the following day from shock as a result of the wounds.

When Jones appeared at the Liverpool Assizes on 15th December, people who had been there on the day told how they had been arguing over whether or not Sarah would have a child with him. Sarah's family members said that Jones had a violent temper when drunk, but they were generally a contented couple.

Jones's solicitor made no attempt to deny that Jones had committed the deed. However he pointed to the lack of premeditation and amount of drink consumed. After Justice Cave directed the jury not to consider a murder verdict they found Jones guilty of manslaughter but there was little leniency in sentencing, as he was ordered to serve fifteen years in gaol.   

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Two Viragoes

A man who was attacked by two women died a week afterwards, but they were treated with leniency due to his own medical problems.

On Tuesday 17th June 1890 Joseph Graney visited his sister in Jenkinson Street. whilst there he got into an argument with two women that his sister lived with, Mary O'Neill and Catherine McCarthy. Both women then chased him out to the court and attacked him with fenders and buckets. 32 year old Graney was taken to his home in nearby Gomer Street where he died the following Monday.

The Liverpool Mercury correspondent who attended the following day's inquest described the two women as viragoes - defined as 'domineering, bad tempered women' in the Oxford Dictionary. The Coroner heard how a post mortem had found that Graney had lacerated wounds on his head and his chronic alcoholism made him more susceptible to injuries. Every organ in his body was found to be in an unhealthy condition. A verdict of manslaughter was returned and O'Neill and McCarthy who were aged 29 and 25 respectively and had already been arrested for assault were now committed to trial on the more serious charge.

At the Liverpool Assizes on 31st July counsel for the two women said that they had been acting in self defence but this claim was rejected by the jury and they were found guilty. The judge though showed a degree of leniency, Justice Vaughan Williams telling them that due to the 'unwholesome condition of their victim' he would impose a sentence of twelve months imprisonment with hard labour.

Sunday, 13 September 2015

Mother Convicted After Atrocious Cruelty

A woman whose baby died of starvation was sentenced to ten years imprisonment by a judge who told her he wished he could have sentenced her to more.

Early in October 1888 Ann Moss and her husband William, who were both aged 29, took lodgings with a Mrs Needham in Salisbury Street, Everton. The couple had four children whose ages ranged from two months to ten years.

The eldest child Hannah attended school and during the daytime Ann and William, an unemployed painter, went out drinking leaving the baby who was also called Ann, and a two year old boy in the care of their seven year old sister. Baby Ann cried constantly and when her mother was at home,she refused to breastfeed her. William was also heard to threaten to kill his baby daughter if she didn't stop crying.

The only time Ann took the baby out with her was when she went begging. She gained a lot of sympathy and was given baby clothes, but she pawned these to get money for drink. William spent most of his days setting up board games in pubs in return for free beer.

Mrs Needham and other lodgers pleaded with Ann to give her baby better attention, and even helped with bathing and gave her money for bread and milk. However Ann was never seen to buy any although she did attend a dispensary seeking help on 21st October. There, a doctor gave her medicine and weighed the baby, who was only four pounds instead of the usual fourteen or fifteen for a child that age. The doctor made it clear to Ann that if her baby died he would not issue a death certificate and would refer the matter to the Coroner.

Ann still didn't give the medicine and the Liverpool Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children were called in. They took baby Ann and her two year old brother William to the children's shelter in Islington. He was was dirty and covered with vermin and was so underdeveloped he couldn't even crawl. He responded to food and made good progress but his baby sister was not so lucky and died at Mill Road hospital on 26th October. 

Both parents were charged with manslaughter and appeared before Justice Wills at the assizes on 20th December. They were undefended and told the court that death was due to consumption of the bowels, but the medical evidence refuted this. Ann was found guilty of manslaughter and causing grievous bodily harm to young William, but her husband was found guilty only of the grievous bodily harm charge. 

Justice Wills ordered that they be brought back before the court the following day as he needed time to consider the sentence. When he addressed them, he said they had been involved in the 'most atrocious cruelty' and that it was 'scarcely short of crime itself to bring children into the world without having the slightest intention of looking after them.' Expressing regret that the law didn't allow for him to impose the sentence he thought adequate, he imposed a term of five years penal servitude on William and ten years for Ann.

Thursday, 10 September 2015

Manslaughter of a Man Unknown

A man was convicted of manslaughter in the 1880s but the identity of his victim, who had insulted the killer's wife, was never established. 

About 10pm on New Year's Eve 1887 a man went into a shop at 126 Westminster road, Kirkdale that was run by John Keeley and his wife. He was drunk and abusive to Mrs Keeley, who had him removed by a policeman who was passing by.

Westminster Road in 2016The man returned three times and on the third occasion John Keeley pushed him out of the shop and followed him into St Hilda Street. Keeley demanded an apology from the man for his earlier actions but he refused and the shopkeeper punched him twice, causing him to fall to the ground.

Keeley remained at the scene whilst an ambulance was sent for and assisted in getting him into it and to the Stanley Hospital.  Three days later the man died of a fractured skull and Keely, who had already been charged with assault, was now committed to the assizes on a charge of manslaughter but granted bail. Despite over one hundred people viewing the body, the police drew a blank in their enquiries to establish the dead man's identity. 

At the trial on 1st March the prosecution admitted that there was a scar and bruising on the unknown man's face before he had gone into the shop. The defence argued that Keeley had been subject to great provocation and the jury agreed, finding him guilty but recommending mercy.

Justice Grantham said that although there was no doubt that Keeley had been provoked, he was not justified in following the man and striking him. However he then imposed a nominal sentence of just eight days, equivalent to the time Keeley had served in custody since surrendering himself to the assizes and he was immediately released.

Wednesday, 9 September 2015

A Fatal Christmas Quarrel Over Beef

A row that broke out between family members over who should buy the beef for Christmas dinner led to a man killing his mother-in-law and being convicted of manslaughter.

On Christmas Eve 1886 Ellen Connell went from her Beaufort Street home to visit her grown up daughter, also Ellen, in Upper Frederick Street. Shortly after 8pm Ellen's son-in-law Edward McDonald, a 22 year old watchmaker, returned home along with his own mother. He was drunk and placed a bottle of whisky on the table but at first the four of them, as well as Ellen's other daughter Catherine Fitzpatrick, were all getting on well together.

Things began to go wrong when Ellen McDonald  told her mother in law to go for some beef and she refused. Edward was enraged by this and told his wife 'Don't you command my mother'. Ellen senior then intervened which only made Edward more angry and he grabbed her by the shoulders, pushing her down the steps and knocking her unconscious. Family members carried her into the house as blood poured from the ears and mouth.

Dr Johnston from Great George Square was sent for and he expressed little hope of recovery. McDonald was arrested at 3am on Christmas morning and said to the officer 'I did push her down the steps'. After Ellen died on 27th December McDonald was charged with manslaughter but when he appeared at the magistrates court on 3rd January, he was granted bail set at £25.

On 10th February McDonald surrendered himself at St George's Hall to appear before the assizes. He did not dispute pushing Ellen, but there was conflicting evidence from the different sides of the family, with McDonald's relatives saying he was sober and that the fall was an accident. Doctor Johnston, who had carried out the postmortem, told the court that the cause of death was a brain injury consistent with a fall. 

McDonald was found guilty of manslaughter and prior to sentence, Justice Hawkins told him that his witnesses had given a garbled and untrue account. He said that it would have been better to have said he committed the offence in a moment of temper and regretted it, but despite these harsh words a sentence of just six months hard labour was imposed.

Thursday, 3 September 2015

Killed By a Negligent Carter

In 1877 a carter tipped a boy out of his cart causing his death leading to him being convicted of manslaughter.

On the evening of 21st May 1877 Thomas Whitfield was driving a two horse cart in Bootle, carrying a load of planks. He drew up outside a public house in Dundas Street and went inside for some refreshment, during which time a group of about eight boys jumped in the cart.

When he came out of the pub Whitfield drove the cart to Derby Road and Millers Bridge when without warning, he tilted the cart, causing the children to fall from it. He then drove away without checking to see if anybody had been hurt. 

An eleven year old named John McNulty had his thigh trapped between the cart causing a fracture. He was taken to the borough hospital but died two days afterwards. Whitfield was apprehended and charged with manslaughter, appearing at the next assizes before Justice Hawkins on 25th July.

Witnesses at the trial said that Whitfield had appeared to look around as if to see if anyone was watching before he tilted the cart, but in his defence he said that it had tilted without warning due to a fault. He was found guilty but due and sentenced to six months gaol with hard labour.

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Negligent Discharge of a Mother

A woman who chose drink over looking after her baby boy was found guilty of manslaughter after he starved to death.

On the 2nd August 1876 a police constable patrolling in South Castle Street found thirty year old Jane Kelly lying drunk on the pavement. On closer examination the officer found that the baby boy she had in her arms was dead.  

Kelly and the baby, who was three months old and called John, were taken to the Northern Hospital. A post mortem revealed that there were no traces of disease in any of the organs and that the cause of death was insufficient food. John weighed just 5 pounds and 3 ounces, as opposed to the expected 12 pounds for a baby of his age. He was also covered in sores as a result of not being washed often enough, if at all.

An inquest on 12th August heard from neighbours of Kelly who lived in Olivia Street with a man named Cunningham. They said she was rarely sober and never breast fed the baby. Another told how soon after the birth, Cunningham had paid a neighbour five shillings to look after John for a week but Kelly then took him back.

After a verdict of manslaughter was returned Kelly was placed before the magistrates and given bail. When she presented herself at St George's Hall at the beginning of the assizes on 15th March the following year, she was so drunk that Baron Huddleston immediately ordered that she be detained in the cells. 

Five days later her case was heard and she was found guilty of manslaughter. The the judge told her that 'in this town there is too much drunkenness, it is necessary when death occurs owing to the negligent discharge of the mother that an example should be made of that person.' He then imposed a sentence of twelve months imprisonment with hard labour.

Tong Killer Acquitted

A German man who came to the aid of his landlady when she was getting battered by her husband ended up getting charged with murder himself but was acquitted by a jury. 

On the evening of Sunday 14th January 1877 a German shoemaker named Frederick Walter was in his lodgings in Ashfield Street when his landlord Henry Rohr returned home in a drunken state and began quarrelling with his wife in their bedroom.When he went to see what was going on but Henry pushed him back out of the door. Then after hearing more screams, Frederick returned with a pair of tongs and hit Henry,with whom he worked in a salt refinery, on the back of the head.

Mrs Rohr came to her senses and asked  Frederick to go for a doctor, which he did. Dr Lucas from Great Homer Street attended and found Henry to be in a concussed state and had him removed to the Northern Hospital. Two days later Henry died from compression of the brain to the dismay of Frederick, who had been on remand for violent assault. 

After an inquest returned a verdict of wilful murder, 28 year old Frederick was committed for trial at the assizes, where he appeared before Baron Huddleston on 20th March. Under cross examination Mrs Rohr acknowledged that her 47 year old husband was drunken ill tempered man who was bigger and stronger than Frederick. A servant named Anna Willenbrock admitted that she had heard screams from Mrs Rohr but also said that she had not seen Henry with a weapon, whereas Frederick retrieved the tongs and went back into the room.

Dr Lucas described the injuries, saying that although there were a number of lacerations many could all have been caused from the same blow and others as a result of a fall. He also said that Henry had a thin skull. The police officers who detained Frederick on the night of the assault acknowledged that he had co-operated fully and admitted striking his landlord. 

The trial closed with Frederick's statement being read to the court. This said that he had been punched and struck with a poker by Henry, who had also been kicking his wife. In summing up the judge immediately directed the jury not to consider the murder charge, but instead to return a verdict only in relation to manslaughter. The question they had to answer, in his opinion, was whether or not Frederick had a reasonable excuse for doing what he did. In saying this, he drew particular attention to the fact that Henry was leaning over his wife, who was prostrate, at the time of the attack.

The jury did not even leave their box and immediately returned a verdict of not guilty. Frederick was discharged from the dock in the knowledge he would now be able to return to his native Hanover and see his wife and children again.

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Baby Sent as Luggage Dies

A mother who inexplicably posted her sleeping baby in a box to Liverpool was arrested and charged with murder, but eventually sentenced to just six months in prison.

On Saturday 6th March 1858 Jane Parker called at the house of Elizabeth Eaves in Ormskirk Road, Preston, saying she needed help as she had gone into labour. The following day she gave birth to a baby boy which was perfectly healthy and Mrs Eaves allowed her to stay for a bit longer.  On the Tuesday 33 year old Parker paid Elizabeth for some frocks she had made for the baby, then left saying she was returning to a farm where she had employment. 

Parker instead went to a furniture brokers in Friargate and bought a box, asking the broker to address the box to a Mrs Eldon at 6 Harrison Street off Scotland Road. That afternoon, Parker placed the baby in the box after first having given it some gin to make it sleep. She then went to the Hoop and Crown Inn and gave a labourer named Henry Hall 3d to take the locked box to the parcels office at the railway station and dispatch it to Liverpool. Only then did she go to the farm where she worked, which was in fact owned by her parents in Much Hoole.

A few hours later a van driver called at 6 Harrison Street with the box, but a Mrs Regan who lived there said she knew nothing about it, but there was a Mrs Melville who lived nearby and perhaps there had been some confusion. The following morning, after being told of the attempted delivery, an intrigued Mrs Melville went to the parcel office at Lime Street. After the shock of discovering its contents were a dead baby, she was then taken into custody whilst further inquiries were made. 

With Henry Hall being traced as the sender of the box, he gave what information he could in respect of having been given it by a young woman. When the Much Hoole policeman noticed that Parker had returned to her parent's home without any baby having clearly been pregnant the week before, he decided to knock and see what she had to say. When Parker answered the door at 5pm on Friday 12th March and saw a policeman standing there, she ran to a cupboard and took out a bottle of laudanum, but the officer was able to prevent her drinking it. 

Parker was arrested and placed in the Preston Bridewell and at first she denied having even given birth. Hall was then taken to identify her and when a medical examination was ordered she confessed to her actions and claimed that a traveller had told her a child could survive in the box for two days. Asked about her reasoning for addressing the box the way she had, she could not give a satisfactory answer, saying only that she knew there was an Eldon Street in Liverpool. This information was then sent to the Liverpool police, who were now satisfied that Mrs Melville had just been extremely unlucky and had nothing to do with the affair, meaning she was released from custody.

On 16th March an inquest was held before the Borough Coroner Mr P F Curry. He praised the vigilance of Detective Caryle from Liverpool and the efforts of the Head Constable at Preston for 'bringing a great mass of evidence into one unbroken chain, link by link, one end resting upon the body of the child and the other under the control of this woman calling herself Jane Parker.' Saying that as it was not clear who the box was meant for, nor how long it would be before it was opened, he concluded that the destruction of life was certain once she had put the baby into the box. The jury returned a verdict of wilful murder against Parker, who was unable to be present as she was seriously ill with a heavy cold brought about by her long walk in the snow so soon after giving birth. 

Parker appeared before Baron Martin on 29th March, where the prosecution allowed her to plead guilty to manslaughter rather than try her for wilful murder. She was then sentenced to just six months imprisonment with hard labour.