Thursday, 13 August 2020

Husband's Attempted Suicide After Death of Wife

When a man was arrested after the death of his wife following an argument, he tried to hang himself while in custody. He was charged with manslaughter, but acquitted at the Assizes.

On 22nd July 1851 a Eileen Anderton, living in Soho Street, heard arguing coming from the room of her lodgers, Thomas Hogarth and his wife. Initially she didn't intervene as it was a regular occurrence but when she heard her say '"Oh Tom that's enough for me" followed by silence, she called to her husband and they both went to investigate.

Mrs Hogarth was on the bed unconscious. Thomas said that she had been throwing potatoes at him and she would be fine if Mrs Anderton could fetch her some water. Their fourteen year old son then returned home after going out to watch fireworks and soon afterwards his mother passed away. 

Police were called and Thomas taken to the Rose Hill bridewell. During the night he attempted suicide by suspending himself with his tying a handkerchief from one of the window bars. He was cut down in a distressed state but needed no hospital treatment and remanded pending an inquest. 

Mrs Anderton gave evidence at the inquest that Thomas was of drunken habits and been out of work, having once been a stableman. Mrs Hogarth supported the family by doing laundry. On the night of her death, Thomas had been complaining about the quality of his supper, having not had meat for a week. Their son said that his parents often quarrelled and that his mother was very headstrong. 

The surgeon who carried out the post mortem said that her stomach was full, mainly of potatoes and that there were no mark of violence on the body. He did say that it was possible she could have been hit in the stomach and there would be now marks. Unusually, Thomas made a statement himself, in which he claimed that his wife had fallen over whilst running at him after throwing the potatoes. The jury returned a verdict of manslaughter, believing that she had fallen as a result of a blow. 

At the Assizes the following month, the prosecutors offered no evidence against Thomas, leading to his acquittal and discharge.