Saturday, 29 February 2020

Toxteth Mother Unfit to Plead

A mother who drowned her son in 1960 was detained at Her Majesty's pleasure after a medical expert declared her unfit to plead.

On the afternoon of 18th December 1959 Jessie Parkinson, a 34 year old divorcee who lived with her father in Alt Street, Toxteth, drowned her 21 month old son Henry by holding his head under water in the bath. 

The poor child's body was then dressed in nightclothes and placed in a bed. The tragic scene was then discovered by Jessie's father when he returned home from work. He called an ambulance and when it arrived Jessie tried running away, but was caught by the driver. Henry was pronounced dead on arrival at the Royal Liverpool Hospital.

On being arrested, Jessie first told the police that a man had killed Henry and escaped down a grid. When she was told the grid cover had not been disturbed she then said "I held it under the water for a long time, I don't want it to suffer anymore. He is in his proper place, the cemetery".

At her committal hearing in January, a pathologist said that Henry had been well nourished. Jessie's sister and father said she was mentally balanced and had loved her son. Se was further remanded in custody pending a Crown Court trial.

On 9th February 1960 Jessie appeared at Liverpool Crown court where evidence as given by Dr Calder, Chief Medical Officer at Manchester's Strangeways gaol. He said that Jessie was unfit to plead and the judge ordered that she be detained at Her Majesty's pleasure.

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