THE MANCHESTER FELONY REGISTER PART THREE - More press reports about murder etc, including the murder of Inkermann Wood's mother.



















































Manchester Archives have  launched The Manchester Collection via Find My Past of  the records from this prison. Many examples from this site were used in the publicity  packs and blogs etc to announce this launch. See link below.
Find My Past


Genes Reunited



Please read the opening introduction on this page before continuing here. Most of the remarks accompanying the Felony Register entries are based on contemporary newspaper reports and do not reflect my own views.


8164. John Hamer. (Bailed on Examination). When Received:  Jan 14th 1867. Offence and Where Committed: On the 26th Dec 1866 did unlawfully and carnally know + abuse one Elizabeth Ross, a girl under the age of 10 years, to wit of the age of 9 years at Bolton. Sentence: 15 Years Penal Servitude. Age: 49. Ht: 5ft 5 ins. Complexion, Hair, Eyes: Sallow, Grey, Hazel. Trade or Profession: Provisions Dealer. Where Born: Bolton, Lancashire. Last or Usual Address: Beater St, Bolton. Religion: Ch. Education: R + W Imp. Widower + 0 children. English. Wt in: 10 st 9 lbs. Wt out: 10 st 7 lbs. Marks etc: Scar on throat, slightly paralysed left side. When Discharged or Otherwise Disposed: April 7/67 Removed to Millbank.

As was usual in such cases, Home Office guidelines stipulated that there was very little reported. All that was printed was: John Hamer, 49, was charge with committing a criminal assault at Bolton, on a little girl under the age of 10. He was found guilty and the sentence was deferred.


8174. James BRODERICK. When Received:  Jan 19th 1867. Offence and Where Committed: On the 15th Jan 1867 did unlawfully maliciously + feloniously damage with intent to feloniously destroy + render useless a certain machine engine 8888 fixed in the cotton mill of one James Marshall by putting a piece of iron between a cog wheel + a driving wheel doing damage to the value of £6. 0. 0. at Heaton Norris. Sentence: 10 Days Hard Labour + to receive 5 strokes with a birch. Age: Last April 12 9/12. Ht: 4ft 4 ¾ ins. Complexion, Hair, Eyes: Fresh, Brown, Hazel. Trade or Profession: Factory Operative. Where Born: Stockport, Cheshire. Last or Usual Address: Turner St, Stockport. Religion: RC. Education: R + W Imp. Single. Both Parents Living. English. Wt in: 5 st 0 lbs. Wt out: 5 st 3 lbs. Marks etc: Cut on each eyebrow. When Discharged or Otherwise Disposed: March 18/67.

James Broderick, 12, was indicted for maliciously damaging an engine, the property of his master, Mr James Marshall at Heaton Norris. The prisoner was not defended. On 15th January, shortly before the dinner hour at Mr Marshall's mill, Broderick showed two of his companions in the room a small iron bar, and expressed his intention to put it in some part of the machinery. Shortly after midday he was seen in the engine room, and immediately upon the machinery being put into motion at one o'clock, the familiar bumping announced an obstacle to the movement of the wheels. The engine was promptly stopped and the iron bar Broderick had shown his companions earlier was found jammed between two of the cogs of a wheel on the upright shaft. The damage was only slight, but that was solely due to the speed the engineer reacted. Broderick told the Court that a boy named Knott had told him to jam the bar in the machine. Knott denied this claim. The Jury found Broderick guilty of putting the iron bar in the machinery, but they believed that there was no malicious intent. The Judge requested that they reconsider their verdict and they then returned a verdict of guilty with a strong recommendation to mercy. Broderick was ordered to be imprisoned for ten days and to receive five strokes with a birch rod. For one reason or another Broderick served considerably longer than the original sentence.


8311. James LIVESEY. When Received:  Feb 7th 1867. Offence and Where Committed: On the 4th Feb 1867 feloniously did make an assault upon one Betty Holt + violently against her will did feloniously ravish + casually know her at Birch Green. Sentence: 10 Years Penal Servitude. Age: 32. Ht: 5ft 5 ins. Complexion, Hair, Eyes: Sallow, Brown, Grey. Trade or Profession: Fuller Miller. Where Born: Mead Hill, Heywood. Last or Usual Address: Birtle Brow, Bamford. Religion: Ch. Education: R + W Imp. Married + 3 children. English. Wt in: 9 st 8 lbs. Wt out: 9 st 5 lbs. Marks etc: 2 moles below left elbow, cut on right wrist, cut over left eyebrow. When Discharged or Otherwise Disposed: April 11/67 removed to Millbank.

James Livesey, 32 was indicted for a felonious assault upon a young woman at Birtle-cum-Bamford on 4th February. The prisoner was found guilty and was sentenced to ten years penal servitude.


8439. Alfred Thomas HEAP. When Received:  Feb 20th 1867. Offence and Where Committed: Having feloniously killed and murdered one Phoebe Locke. Sentence: Acquitted. Age: 33. Ht: 5ft 8 ins. Complexion, Hair, Eyes: Fresh, Brown, Hazel. Trade or Profession: Surgeon. Where Born: Besses o’t’ Barn, Prestwich. Last or Usual Address: Gorton Lane, West Gorton. Religion: Ch. Education: R + W Well. Married + 1 child. English. Wt in: 8 st 10 lbs. Wt out: 8 st 10 lbs. Marks etc: Cut on right eyebrow, cut back of right thumb + 4th finger right hand. When Discharged or Otherwise Disposed: March 18/67.

Alfred Thomas Heap was charged with the murder of Phoebe Locke at Manchester on February 5th and also charged with the use of a certain instrument to procure a miscarriage. Phoebe Locke was the wife of a chemist and druggist in Ashton Old Road and was the mother of several children. In January she was about four months pregnant. Heap who had been living near the family in the Gorton for some time, where he had been carrying out the profession of a surgeon, although he was not properly qualified. Shortly before dark on 25th January Phoebe left her home and went according to the prosecution to Heap's house. There was no legal evidence to this effect. She was away from her home for about two hours and the prosecution suggested that during this period heap performed an “operation” with a view to causing a miscarriage. Mrs Locke walked home from Heap's house, about a distance of three quarters of a mile. The following day Phoebe became ill and got worse until on Tuesday 29th January she was delivered of a foetus. Over the next two days her condition improved and she was able to get out of bed. However on 1st February a relapse occurred and she began to haemorrhage badly. On 5th February Phoebe died of the haemorrhage with the Prosecution claimed was cased by the operation carried out by Heap.

The body was interred a few days after death but was later exhumed, and heap's committal was the result of the inquest. The main witness for the prosecution was a youth named Richard James who had worked for Heap as a shop boy or assistant for some time. He stated that on 24th or 25th January heap had told him that he was going to perform an operation on Phoebe. Later he told James that the operation had been successful, but later after he had called at Phoebe's home he told him that she was very ill. Heap also showed the foetus to James which had been given to him by Phoebe. A witness named Townsend stated that he and Heap had several conversations about the operation he had performed on Phoebe. He showed him how he had carried it out the operation. He showed Townsend the foetus and showed him how he had, “knocked it on its head”.

The Defence stated he would asked is there was not more than one conclusion that could be made from the evidence. If one conclusion was consistent with his guilt, he contended that there were many conclusions possible which would utterly exclude that idea. There was no evidence that Heap had seen Phoebe on any occasion when the offence might have been committed, before the Tuesday when he went to Mrs Locke's house and then he was only in her room for three or four minutes only, which was manifestly an insufficient time for the purpose. It was therefore not proved that Heap ever had the opportunity of using the instrument which had been produced as evidence against him. The prosecution had relied on alleged acts and statements from. The latter came from the young man James, evidently a loose fish, and his statements were that of an extraordinary nature that the Jury could only accept them only if they were convinced of the respectability of the person making them. Would Heap, after committing such a crime confide in James whose levity was not in doubt?

The Defence stated that Phoebe Locke had previously had six miscarriages and two children still-born. Everyone new that after one such occurrence there was an increased liability of a repetition of it. Mrs Locke evidently had some peculiarity in her constitution, in each previous case the misfortune had happened in the fourth or fifth month. It was not all that improbable that she should consult a man, like many a village apothecary, had by experience, acquired some reputation in such matters. That might have been done in the most ordinary and proper course, but putting it in the worst possible way for his client, he may have used the instrument to ascertain the position of the foetus. There was a wide gap between that and the claim that Head had performed an abortion. The post mortem examination seemed to be consistent with a premature birth.

The Judge in summing up stated that it was a felony to use any instrument to procure the miscarriage of a women except in a few cases, to save life. If in the commission of that felony, or as a consequence and effect of it, the woman died, the person committing such an act, was guilty of wilful murder. Upon this Indictment the Jury had no alternative, as they sometime had, between a verdict of guilty and not guilty of murder. But in order to convict Heap, the Jury must be perfectly satisfied that, not only had he committed the felony of attempting, by using an instrument, to procure abortion, but also that he had caused the woman's death. If the Jury had any doubts on either of these points, heap was entitled to an acquittal. There were some strong facts which pointed to Heap's innocence. They were, that according to the evidence, Mrs Locke had five previous miscarriages, at or about the fifth month of pregnancy, and that the most usual indication of pregnancy did not take place until the fifth month; so that if the woman had died, and nothing had been heard of Heap, her death would have seemed a very likely thing to have occurred. Mr Locke had given evidence in favour of Heap and the Judge stated that he believed the Jury would be of the opinion, that there was no case against heap unless they believed the evidence of James and Townsend. The evidence of these two men contained the main fact against Heap and the Jury must give it their best consideration.

After an absence of thirty five minutes the Jury returned with a verdict of Not Guilty of murder. The announcement was greeted with much clapping of hands in the body of the Court. There was then some debate about whether or not the second indictment on a charge of using an instrument to procure an abortion should be heard. At this point, being late on a Friday, the court adjourned until the following Monday. When the Court reconvened the Prosecution said that they wanted to proceed with the second case against Heap for reasons that they did not want to state publicly. The Judge stated that he thought that the case should not proceed. After a lot of discussion the Defence stated that they would not offer any evidence against Heap, therefore the Jury were directed to return of Not Guilty. Heap was then released.



8815. Joseph WOOD. When Received:  Apr 8th 1867. Offence and Where Committed: On the 2nd April feloniously wilfully + with malice aforethought killed + murdered one Elizabeth Ann Wood at Manchester. Sentence: 12 Years Penal Servitude. Age: 36. Ht: 5ft 7 ¼ ins. Complexion, Hair, Eyes: Sallow, Brown, Grey. Trade or Profession: French Polisher. Where Born: Mexbrough, Doncaster. Last or Usual Address: 10 Back Ash St, Manchester. Religion: Ch. Education: R + W Imp. Widower + 3 children. English. Wt in: 9 st 13 lbs. Wt out: 9 st 8 lbs. Marks etc: Scar right of forehead, mole left cheek, scar left thigh. When Discharged or Otherwise Disposed: Sept 11/67 Removed to Pentonville.

In their wisdom the Grand Jury ignored the bill for murder against Joseph Wood and returned one only for manslaughter. Wood had been in the Army for several years and had served in The Crimean War. After the war he had left the Army, with a pension, moved to Back Ash St, Oldham Rd and became a postman. On 2nd April Wood and his 10 year old son Inkermann went to the Salford Barracks to draw his pension. When they left the Barracks wood and his son called in several beerhouses. By the time he got home he was very drunk. There he found his wife downstairs who had also been drinking heavily. Apparently this was quite a normal occurrence on Pension day and for a few days afterwards. Soon after they got home Wood told his son to pull down the blind and lock the door. The boy did as he was told and Wood ordered his wife to go upstairs to bed.

One of the neighbours heard a scuffling noise, she then put he ear to the wall and heard Elizabeth shout out, “Oh Joseph, don’t”. Wood replied by saying that he would kill her. The neighbour heard the sound of heavy blows, but failed to go to Elizabeth’s aid. The Judge asked the neighbour why she did not intervene. The woman replied that, “people got no thanks” for going to interfere and she knew that Wood used dangerous weapons.

When Inkermann was called to the Witness Box, Wood was visibly effected by his presence. The boy stated that when his mother had gone upstairs she had got under the bed. He went on:

My father sent me downstairs for his razor and a knife. He told me that his razor was in the cupboard and the knife was on the table. I got them, and gave them into his hands, and got into the bed and covered myself with clothes. My father was beating my mother with a stick. While I was getting into bed, father began cutting mother with the knife and the razor. After I had been in bed for some time, my mother asked me to cover her with an old black frock. When I got out of bed I found my mother lying on the hearthstone covered in blood. I put a pillow under her head. She said to me ‘Inkermann get up and get me a spoonful of water before I die.’ Some time after I saw my father get up and lift her head up. It fell back upon the pillow.”

On cross examination, Inkermann contradicted himself on several occasions and appeared not to understand the questions.

The court later heard that at about 3 o’clock in the morning Wood went next door to a young married woman and asked her to take a look at his at his (pregnant) wife as he thought that she had gone into labour. The woman went in the house and found Elizabeth lying on the bedroom hearthstone, quite dead. The room was in a dreadful state and Wood had beaten Elizabeth with the handle of a seeping brush. Her head, breast and arms were covered in bruises but death had been the result of a wound on the right wrist. The wound would not have been fatal if she had received medical assistance.

The knife and the razor which Inkermann had given his father were lying on the floor, both were covered with blood. Two other witnesses stated that Wood was a very kind father and a good husband, but they also described the frequent quarrels between him and his wife. The defence stated that Inkermann was a hostile witness and that his testimony was unreliable to the “last degree”. The theory of the defending councillor was Elizabeth had got out of bed and stumbled and fallen on the knife or razor and thereby inflicted the wound on the wrist. He also stated that Wood had no notion how she had come by he injuries.

After this statement the Judge summed and the Jury subsequently found Wood guilty of manslaughter. In passing sentence the Judge stated that Wood had been convicted upon the clearest evidence. He was willing to believe that Wood was not fully conscious of the consequences of using the dangerous weapon which he had took into his hand; but it must not be forgotten that his partial unconsciousness was due to intoxication, and he could not plead that in mitigation of punishment, because it arose from his own voluntary act.

If Wood had been fully conscious of what he had been doing, the Judge stated that in all probability he would have been tried for murder and sentenced to death. As it was, the crime was a most serious one, for he had not merely beat his wife in a most cruel manner, but he has used an instrument which was likely to destroy life, and which he must have known, even in his state of semi-consciousness, ought never to have been used upon a woman. He must be kept in penal servitude for twelve years.


8852. John MACKEY or MACKIE. When Received:  April 13th 1867. Offence and Where Committed: On the 5th April 1867 did wound one Mary Mackey or Mackie with intent to kill + murder her at Bolton. Sentence: 12 Years Penal Servitude. Age: 33. Ht: 5ft 6 ins. Complexion, Hair, Eyes: Sallow, Brown, Blue. Trade or Profession: Forgeman. Where Born: Manchester, Lancashire. Last or Usual Address: Taylor’s fold, Bolton. Religion: Ch. Education: N. Married + 2 children. English. Wt in: 8 st 11 lbs. Wt out: 8 st 10 lbs. Marks etc: Cut on right eyebrow, cut on left cheek. When Discharged or Otherwise Disposed: Oct 4/67 Removed to Millbank.

John Mackey was indicted for attempting to murder his wife Mary Ann Mackey at Bolton. Mackey who was by trade a forgeman had been married to Mary Ann for five years. They had two children, the youngest been born 17 months previously. Shortly after the child had been born Mary left Mackey because of his cruelty towards her. She had managed to look after the one child and herself without any financial aid from Mackey. When they occasionally met they did speak to each other.

On the afternoon of 5th April Mary was passing a beerhouse in Bolton when she has heard Mackey callout to her. She went in the beerhouse and Mackey asked if he could buy her a drink. Mary refused but invited him to go with her to get some dinner. Mackey refused and slammed the door of the room shut. He then forced her to sit near him and grabbed her by the arms. Mary complained that he was hurting her, but he said this did not matter and he immediately tried to slash her throat with a razor.

Mary managed to fend off the razor with her shawl and tried to grab the weapon. She failed and Mackey inflicted three wounds on he chin and throat, causing a great loss of blood. Several people heard Mary scream and ran into the room in time to see Mackey throwing down the razor.

In Court it was proved that Mackey had repeatedly threatened to murder Mary. Shortly before the attempted murder Mackey had shown a friend the razor stating that he had brought it with him for the purpose of murdering his wife.

The Jury found Mackey guilty of wounding with intent to murder. The Judge remarked  that the crime had seemed premeditated and sentenced to 12 years’ penal servitude.


563. William RIDGWAY. When Received:  Oct 2nd 1867. Offence and Where Committed: On the 21st Sept 1867 did make an assault upon one Elizabeth Ann Ridgway then + there against her will did ravish + casually know [her] at Ashton Under Lyne. Sentence: 15 Years Penal Servitude. Age: 45. Ht: 5ft 6 ins. Complexion, Hair, Eyes: Sallow, Brown, Blue. Trade or Profession: Labourer. Where Born: Macclesfield, Cheshire. Last or Usual Address: North St, Audenshaw. Religion: Ch. Education: R. Married + 2 children. English. Wt in: 8 st 6 lbs. Wt out: 8 st 4 lbs. Marks etc: Glides slightly, lost upper front teeth, end of right thumb fractured. When Discharged or Otherwise Disposed: Dec 24/67 Removed to Millbank.

This very nasty case, as was the norm, did not get many column inches in the Press. William Ridgway, 45 was indicted for feloniously assaulting his daughter at Aston under Lyne , on 21st September. Ridgway pleaded guilty, and persisted in that plea after being warned by the Judge. His Lordship said he had no doubt of the prisoner's guilt, but it might have been more satisfactory to elicit all the facts in a formal way. He was sentenced to penal servitude for 15 years. There was a movement of approbation amongst the audience, some of whom hissed the convict as he was being removed.

The next cases involving those men known as the Manchester Martyrs and Miles Weatherill have been covered here and elsewhere. Executed at the same time as Weatherill was Timothy Faherty. Weatherill and Faherty were the last two people to be publicly executed at the New Bailey.

1375 Timothy FAHERTY: Offence and where committed: On the 25th December 1867 feloniously, wilfully and of his malice aforethought did kill and murder one Mary Hanmer (sic) at Droylsden. Sentence: Death. Age: 30. Ht: 5ft 7 ½ ins. Complexion, Hair, Eyes: Pale, Brown, Grey. Occupation: Factory Operative. Place of Birth: Town and County of Galway. Last or Usual Address: Moorcroft St, Droylsden. Religion: R C. Education: R + W Imp. Single. Irish. Wt In: 9st 4lbs. Wt Out: Dead. Marks Etc: Cut on right eyebrow, cut end of 3rd finger left hand, scar on right arm. When Discharged or Otherwise Disposed: Executed Apr 4/68.

Timothy Faherty was accused of murdering Mary Hanmar (sic) on Christmas Day at Droylsden. His plea was one of Not Guilty. They had lived in the same lodging house for some and although there was only an ordinary friendship between them, it was clear that Faherty wanted more out of the relationship. On more than one occasion he had asked Mary to marry him, but she had always refused. On Christmas eve Mary's daughter asked if he mother would accompany here to the Chapel at Gorton Brook Monastery but she declined at there would be no one to escort them back at the late hour from the Chapel. Faherty stated that he would go with them to which Mary replied: ”I should look well coming home with a man along Peacock's dead wall at four o'clock in the morning.”

The following day Faherty again visited Mary while she was in the kitchen of the house and was heard to say that he was going to travel to Ireland and wondered if he could take any message to her mother. Mary stated that she had already sent a message the week previously. Bridget Brodrick, the daughter of the landlady had heard this conversation left the room and went upstairs to hang her clothes up. The witness heard the sound of a knife and fork failing on the kitchen and heard Mary to say: “Get off with you; what brings you here after me?” Bridget fell asleep, but was awakened by the noise of a struggle downstairs. She heard the noise getting louder and closer to her room. Mary cried out: “ Don't, Tin, don't.” Immediately after Mary staggered into Bridget's bedroom. Her hair was down and her face was covered with blood. Faherty followed her in, closed the door and latched it. He then put his back to the door and bellowed out that he was going to kill Mary. Faherty then hit her over the back of her head with a poker. Mary fell face down, and Faherty struck her five more times on the side of her head and shoulders. In the confusion of the melee Bridget tried to escape the from the bedroom, Faherty caught her by her hair but she managed to get through the door. She leapt form the top of the stairs to the bottom where she fell into the arms of Thomas Brown.

Brown went up to the bedroom and found Faherty stooping over Mary and heard him to say: “Brown, I have killed her.” Thomas asked why he had attacked her and Faherty replied : “I love the girl, and I shall die for her.” The defence claimed that Mary had done something to annoy Faherty, the murder was not premeditated, something which sent him into a wild fury, wild enough to cause him to strike her with a poker.

In a very short summing up Mr Justice Lush stated that the defence council had used all his experience and ability to defend the prisoner and thanked him for his efforts. However, the Judge though that this was a clear case of murder, there was trace of any provocation which the law could recognise as mitigation for the crime. After a moments deliberation the Jury found Faherty guilty of wilful murder.

Mr Justice Lush, after assuming the black cap and reading a statement that the prisoner had made said: “ There is nothing in the statement you have made, which had it been proved, would at all have altered the character of this case. Everything has been bone for you that ingenuity and experience could do, but the Jury could come to no other conclusion that you are guilty of this murder. I do not wish to make any observations which might aggravate the remorse and horror you must feel, if you have any human sympathies about you, for having put to death upon whom you had set your affections, and whose only offence was that she could not respond to that feeling. What I do wish to impress upon you is, to make use of the short time you have to live, in order to obtain that mercy from above which, so far as I can see, you have no right to expect here. Consider that you days upon earth are numbered. I entreat you not to indulge in any hope that might be delusive that your life might be spared, but to make use of the aids that will be afforded to you in the short time that you have to live, and if you seek earnestly you will obtain, that salvation which will lead to everlasting through the blood of Jesus Christ, which cleanses from all sins, even from yours.

Sentence of death was passed in the usual form, and the prisoner was removed. He had stood firm and erect as as soldier on parade during the whole of the trial. The convict had passed 12 years in the 40th Regiment, and served in Australia, India and other countries.


3317. Thomas DONOHUE. When Received:  June 16th 1868. Offence and Where Committed: Having on the 20th May 1868 feloniously + wilfully + of his malice aforethought killed + murdered one Mary Ann Donohue at Salford. Sentence: 10 Years Penal Servitude. Age: Last May 40 1/12. Ht: 5ft 4 ½ ins. Complexion, Hair, Eyes: Fresh, Grey, Grey. Trade or Profession: Labourer. Where Born: City of Dublin. Last or Usual Address: 33 Wood st, Chapel St, Salford. Religion: RC. Education: R + W Imp. Married + 4 children. Irish. Wt in: 10 st 0 lbs. Wt out: 9 st 10 lbs. Marks etc: Pockpitted, cut inside 3rd finger left hand. Previous Committals: 1. Register in Last Case: 645. When Discharged or Otherwise Disposed: Set 12/68 Removed to Millbank.

Thomas Donohue was indicted for the wilful murder of his wife Mary Ann at Salford on 20th May 1868. The couple had been married for several years, had four children, and until about two years earlier had enjoyed a happy marriage. About that time Mary Ann assumed habits of intemperance, resulting in quarrels from time to time, and unhappiness arose. Some four or five weeks prior to 20th May, probably in one of her fits of intemperance Mary Ann left home taking one of the children with her, leaving to the care of her husband. A married woman by the name of Mrs Johnson, who lived nearby, took care of the children and assisted Donohue in his lonely condition. On the Monday preceding the 20th Donohue came home from work to find that his wife had returned. Some quarrelling and recriminations took place but there was nothing to suggest that had continued for a long period. During Monday and Tuesday night the couple were both at home as would appear to have been at least two of the children.

A little before 7.00 am on 20th May, Mrs Johnson saw Donohue standing at the top of an entry which led to which led to the back door of his house. He told her that he had been waiting for her so that he could thank her for looking after the children and he spoke in a sad way of the position that he wife had left him in. He also asked her if she was happy with the remuneration he had give her. Mrs Johnson replied that she was, and in course of the conversation he told her that he had lost his work as a consequence of his wife's conduct. Two other neighbours were present at the conversation and John ordered them two glasses of whisky at the adjacent spirit vault of Mr Gee. Donohue was bemoaning the fact that his

his children against him, as result he was now a most unhappy creature. He then broke down in tears. After a short while he composed himself and took up his glass of whisky saying: “This is the eleventh I've had this morning.” He then returned home.

The two neighbours later passed his house and noticed that the window of the bedroom was open and that the front door was closed. A cry coming from the bedroom was heard: “Oh Tom, don't” and shortly afterwards “Oh my God, what is this for?” Not long after the door opened and Donohue appeared there wearing only his trouser and a flannel waistcoat. Taking off the waistcoat he showed the neighbour his side, in which there were several wounds, from which blood was copiously flowing. Johnson yelled out: “This life has been lost through an evil woman.”

Mrs Johnson believing that this was the only mischief done asked: “Who has done this?” He replied: “This hand (meaning his own) has done.” Mrs Johnson set about looking for the Police. When an Officer arrived, he went into the bedroom from where the cries had been and found the lifeless body of Mary Ann on the floor, surrounded by a pool of blood.

The surgeon who made the post mortem examination found several wounds of a fatal character. Donohue's wound were also very serious and for some time his life was in danger. Before the Magistrate he made a statement to this effect: “I remember going out to my work, and through my wife I had to come back – I lost my work. I got some drink and don't remember anything afterwards. Since I have been in the Dispensary, from what I have heard, I believe I was the cause of her death.”

The surgeon stated that he had found four on the left side of Mary Ann's body. The most serious being the upper wound which had entered between the third and fourth ribs penetrating the aorta. Two of the other wounds would have also resulted in her death. The surgeon also stated that Donohue had six or seven wounds on his body and that his life was in imminent danger. He was in such a state of mental frenzy that is found necessary to put him into a strait jacket so that he would not tear the dressings of his side. Twenty six days elapsed before he was fit enough to be taken away by the Police.

The Judge in his summing up stated that the condition that the prisoner and his family had sunk to was deplorable to the last degree. Nothing could be more touching than the spectacle of that deserted home, the wife having gone away, leaving her children to be cared for she knew not how; and is was also affecting to see how readily the poor assisted one another in such emergencies. No wonder that the prisoner was a shattered and wrecked man, in such a state of things; no wonder that his whole moral was shaken; and it was not a matter of surprise that some sad consequences had grown out of it. The Jury must not allow those feelings to blind them as to the real nature of the transaction. It showed how weak human nature yielded to a criminal act. The prisoner, in his misery took to drink, as had been said, to drown his sorrow, and brought himself to a condition of mind which rendered it possible for him to commit the crime – whatever it might be – with which he stood charged. There was no question so difficult to deal with that of the effect, the quality, of a man's act by reason of his drunkenness. It was one that Judges had differed over again and again, and the Judge believed it to be impossible to lay down any absolute rule of law on the subject. The difficulty was one inherent in the very nature of things, and is consisted in this – that drunkenness induced in a man's mind an infinite variety of conditions. It might merely stimulate his bad passions, so that they became heightened to slight, or to a great degree, and yet leave him perfectly able to control himself if he chose – perfectly conscious of what he was doing, but giving himself up, as it were, to the full stream of his passions which he had excited by drink. However it might change him in this way also – it might reduce him, as they had seen over and over again, to a senseless [frenzy], and between those two states of excited passion and insensibility, there was an infinite graduation of conditions; and of course, under such circumstances, seeing that there were so many conditions of mind in which a drunken man might be, it was a difficult subject to investigate – difficult to say at which point criminality ceased, or the point at which it changed its character, as in the particular instance before the Jury, from murder to manslaughter. The crime of murder consisted in this – that there was a malicious intent to do injury, and if – though it might not have been intended to kill – death resulted from the injury, it would be murder. Usually malice was connected with the idea of premeditation – long premeditation sometimes - but that was not necessary. The malice necessary to constitute murder may be conceived in a moment. Of course it depended on the circumstances whether the Jury believed the malice was conceived in such a moment; but if there was an absence of that malice – if a man was excited by some provocation which suddenly raised his passion and he dealt a blow which caused death – then the Jury were at liberty mercifully to infer that he had not harboured malice for even a moment, but what he did was on the spur of the moment, as the result of provocation, and without thought. The Jury after a few moments' deliberation returned a verdict of manslaughter and the prisoner was then sentenced to ten years' penal servitude.


3384. John BRACKEN. When Received:  June 29th 1868. Offence and Where Committed: Having on the 21st June 1868 feloniously + wilfully killed + slain one Catherine Bracken. Sentence: 8 Years Penal Servitude. Age: About 33. Ht: 5ft 3 ¼ ins. Complexion, Hair, Eyes: Sallow, Brown, Grey. Trade or Profession: Labourer. Where Born: [Killglass], Roscommon. Last or Usual Address: Ancoats St, Manchester. Religion: RC. Education: N. Married + 3 children. Irish. Wt in: 9 st 6 lbs. Wt out: 9 st 3 lbs. Marks etc: Pockpitted, scar left elbow, natural mark on right arm. Previous Committals: 4 at City Gaol. Register in Last Case: 5419. When Discharged or Otherwise Disposed: Sept 12/68 Removed to Millbank.

This case was heard at the same Assizes as the trial for the Ashton Rioters (see here). As a result it only got the briefest of mentions: John Bracken, 33 was indicted for the manslaughter of his wife Catherine in Manchester on 21st June. He was found guilty. Sentence was deferred.

4690. Patrick RYAN. When Received:  Sept 18th 1868. Offence and Where Committed: On the 16th Sept 1868 did unlawfully carnally + feloniously know + abuse a certain girl to wit Mary Ann Coleman under the age of 10 years to wit of the age of one year + nine months at Rochdale. Sentence: Penal Servitude for Life. Age: Last march 50 6/12. Ht: 5ft 4 ½ ins. Complexion, Hair, Eyes: Sallow, Dk Brown, Hazel. Trade or Profession: Labourer. Where Born: Leitrim. Last or Usual Address: Ridley’s Ct, Whitefield St, Rochdale. Religion: RC. Education: N. Married + 4 children. Irish. Wt in: 8st 9 lbs. Wt out: 8 st 9 lbs. Marks etc: Cut right + centre of forehead, lost one upper front tooth, blue cut on right eyebrow. When Discharged or Otherwise Disposed: March 18/69 Removed to Millbank.

As according to Home Office Guidelines the details of the above case were not reported. The Judge took his seat at 10 o'clock and proceeded with the trial of prisoners whose cases do not call for a report; - Patrick Ryan, a middle aged man, was convicted of committing a felonious assault on a child under the age of two years, at Rochdale, on 16th September, and was sentenced to penal servitude for life. William Hibbert, 35 charge with having unlawfully taken Elizabeth Ann Holden, a girl under the age of 16, from the possession of her parents, at Ashton under Lyne, was convicted, subject to a point of law reserved for the opinion of the Court of Criminal Appeal – sentence deferred. On the opening day of the Assizes, Judge Lush had mentioned this case to the Grand Jury, stating that it was a very gross case of abduction. Hibbert had met the girl as she was going to school with a companion, and enticed her to go with him from Ashton under Lyne by rail to to Manchester. He took her to Manchester for a vile purpose, which he succeeded in accomplishing. The circumstances were such as to render him irresponsible for the moral crime, the girl being above the age of twelve years, and he was therefore indicted for abduction.


4984. Michael HUGHES. When Received:  Oct 12th 1868. Offence and Where Committed: Having on the 11th Oct 1868 feloniously wilfully and of his malice aforethought killed + murdered one William Conroy at Manchester. Sentence: 20 Years Penal Servitude. Age: Last June 19 4/12. Ht: 5ft 1 ½ ins. Complexion, Hair, Eyes: Sallow, Brown, Grey. Trade or Profession: Button Turner. Where Born: Drogheda, [Louth]. Last or Usual Address: 90 Portugal St, Manchester. Religion: RC. Education: N. Single. Irish. Wt in: 9 st 0 lbs. Wt out: 8 st 11 lbs. Marks etc: Scar right of nose, mole left cheek, scar below left knee. When Discharged or Otherwise Disposed: March 16/69 Removed to Millbank.

Michael Hughes and Bill Conroy were known to each other. On the night of Saturday 11th October Hughes called at the house in Poland Street where Conroy lodged at about eleven o'clock. Some beer was sent out for and the two chatted away on friendly terms for some time After midnight the conversation took a turn which led to Hughes claiming his brother could thrash Conroy. After some angry words had been exchanged, Mr Collins who owned the house, told them that he did not want any more wrangling and asked Hughes to leave. However they both went into the courtyard and stared fighting. Conroy, a large man of about sixteen stone easily got the better of the slight Hughes and threw him. Mr Collins stepped in and dragged Hughes about 4 or 5 yards away from Conroy, but he tore himself away and rushed towards Conroy stabbing him in the right thigh. The wound was to the femoral artery and resulted in a very quick death. The Judge addressing the Jury stated that there was no doubt that this was a case of manslaughter, although prima facie it was a case of murder. The Jury duly returned a verdict of guilty of manslaughter. The Judge stated that but for extenuating circumstances this would have been a murder trial, for which if found guilty, Hughes would have been sentenced to execution. This was still a crime of the highest magnitude, next to murder; indeed it was difficult to draw the line of distinction. The Judge was hesitant to sentence Hughes, a youth of tender age to life imprisonment and if he were to do so it would hardly have any greater effect than the sentence of twenty years.







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