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The Greenwich Murder

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The Greenwich Murder

Post by Karen on Tue 24 May 2011 - 2:17

The Alleged Murder at Greenwich.

On Friday William Richardson, formerly assistant to the Astronomer Royal, at the Observatory, Greenwich park, and Ann Maria, his eldest daughter, were brought up on remand at the Greenwich police court, and placed at the bar before Messrs. Jeremy and Grove, the sitting magistrates, charged with secreting the birth, and privately burying at night in the garden of the male prisoner, a child which his daughter, the female prisoner, had given birth to at a house in Southwark, and which child she had borne to the male prisoner, under circumstances most horribly revolting.
The case was called by Mr. Finch, the chief clerk, at one o'clock, the night charges having been disposed of. The female prisoner was brought in first, and placed in the dock, and accommodated with a seat.
The first witness called was Elizabeth Reynolds, who deposed that she is a married woman and resides at No. 3, Weston place, St. Thomas' street, Borough. Mr. Richardson and the female prisoner came to her house. He said he wanted a lodging for his daughter, and a nurse to attend her, as she was near her confinement. This was on the 13th of September last. He wished for a comfortable and quiet place, and a bargain was entered into to pay 5s. per week for a single room, and 5s. more for attendance. He gave his card, and said he would consult Mrs. Richardson, and call again. Mr. and Mrs. Richardson called two days afterwards, and engaged the apartments on the proposed terms. The male prisoner here said that he engaged the lodging for two months certain. Mrs. Reynolds continued: The female prisoner took possession of the apartment, and was delivered on the 15th of September last of a male child. The child died ten days after its birth. The child, when born, was strong and healthy, and after the first week was seized with sudden illness. It was taken with violent screaming, and continued in that state all night. In the morning, Mr. Wood, of Union-street, Southwark, surgeon, was sent for. He came at half-past twelve. He was present again at eleven on the Friday night, and on Saturday morning, at four o'clock, its mother called witness, and said the infant was dead. Mr. Richardson and his wife came afterwards, and between three and four o'clock in the afternoon they went away together. The infant was subsequently taken away at night by Mr. Richardson in a blue bag. Witness told Mr. Richardson that it was necessary to get a certificate and have the birth registered, as also its death. He said he had done so, and had given the child a name, but would take the body home, to save expense. Could not account for the child's illness. Mr. Wood saw the child on the day of its death and the following day. The mouth was much inflamed. Mr. Wood sent some balsam of honey, &c., to wash its mouth. It was a fine, healthy child, and had never been put to the breast. Mr. Richardson said the mother was of delicate constitution, and could not suckle it. It was fed with a spoon. Witness considered it a "love child," and asked no questions. Richardson said his daughter's name was Robinson, and that her husband was gone abroad for three years, and that he had agreed she should remain with her family after her accouchement, and till Mr. Robinson returned to England, as they had not commenced housekeeping. Mr. Wood gave a medical certificate. She applied for it, and gave it to Mr. Richardson or his wife. Mr. Wood said witness knew more of the baby's illness than he did. Witness has had four children of her own. She took the infant from its mother, and thought it had the thrush. The thrush leaves a whitish appearance, but this was of considerable redness, and changed her opinion. The next day Mr. Wood said he was surprised at the child's death. Mr. Richardson said he need not be surprised, as the child had been ill some days. Mr. Richardson came almost every day. Witness fed the baby; Mrs. Richardson and her daughter did so sometimes.
Richardson here asked the witness if she recollected what he said when she told him of the child's death? and she replied that he said "he would not have lost it for 50 pounds."
Thomas Jones, labourer, deposed that Mr. Richardson employed him to dig a hole in his garden; this was in last September, on Thursday or Friday. Thinks it was September. The prisoner said he was going to London. He said to witness, "Dig a hole in the corner of the gravel path." He dug it three feet long and four deep. He was to get it done against the prisoner returned, as he meant to have a bit of a drain to draw the water from the house. Witness dug the hole, and prisoner came home between five and six that evening, and said it would do very well. It was open three days, and on the Monday following I filled in the gravel by his order. He said he had altered his mind, and should not have the drain, but did not say why some of the gravel had been filled in.
Stephen Varney, bricklayer, deposed that he was employed by Richardson, on the 27th of September. Witness went in the evening, and asked for Mr. Richardson. The daughter said that her mother and father were gone to London, and would return at 9 o'clock. Witness waited, and Mr. Richardson returned, carrying a coffin under his arm, wrapped in two silk handkerchiefs. The coffin was about two feet long. Prisoner said he was sorry he had kept him waiting so long. They went into the house and sat down together. Prisoner, who was very warm, said that he had walked all the way from London. During this he was putting the coffin under the sideboard. He took a chair, paid the men, and then witness. He then said, "Call next morning." Witness took no verbal notice of the coffin. Witness saw no hole in the garden.
Amelia Richardson, aged 15, a well dressed girl, deposed that she lives with her mother and sisters in Friendly place, Newtown, Deptford. On the 27th of September she lived with her father on Royal hill, Greenwich. She saw a man dig a hole there in the garden. Witness held a light that night, at her father's request, between eight and nine o'clock. Witness knew what was going to be done. Her sister Ann and her father went to the end of the garden together, and her father put the coffin into the hole, and put some gravel over it. She held the light. Nothing was said at the time. No conversation about the child's death has been before her. She asked what the hole was for, and her father said, "for the baby."
The prisoner here warned the witness as to what she said, and to speak nothing but the truth.
The witness resumed: She did not go willingly with the light, but her father commanded her.
By Mr. Jeremy: Her sister was much affected, cried, and said, "Poor little thing," alluding to the baby. Her father has acted with great violence towards her as well as her sister, when not obeying his harsh commands.
By the prisoner Richardson: It was the same baby that she had seen in her sister's arms in London. She did not refuse to go out, but did not wish to hold the light.
Mr. Oak Mitchell said, he had made a post-mortem examination of the body, and had, since that, tried various tests, one of which was with the view of finding arsenic, but it had been unsatisfactory, and had puzzled him. He had since consulted the coroner, who had determined to send the remains to London to undergo a strict examination by a most experienced practical chemist, in conjunction with Dr. Leeson, Forensic Lecturer at the London hospitals, and resident in Greenwich.
Sergeant Wilson produced a medical certificate, which, he said, was written by Mr. Wood, the surgeon, of Union street. The deceased's name was therein written as "Horatio Theodore Richardson." The lodging was taken in the name of Robinson. He had searched, and found the register had been made.
The prisoner said, in answer to the magistrate, that he wished to give, verbatim, a statement of facts from first to last concerning this charge.
Mr. Jeremy said he was not bound to do so, but if he did it would be taken down as evidence by the clerk.
Prisoner's solicitor recommended him to refrain from doing so at present.
The prisoner said, however it might affect him in the eyes of the world, he wished the humble truth to appear. He wished, at all personal sacrifices, to go verbatim into every fact. He never considered the birth or death of the infant had been concealed. He merely wished that the body should not be thrown out of the churchyard. It could have been more secretly disposed of in London. He had no thought that the remains would have been disturbed, at least in his lifetime. In June his daughter was unwell. Dr. Sturton, of Nelson street, Greenwich, attended her. He (prisoner) went into the country upon some business, in Yorkshire, and on his return he found that symptoms of her being pregnant presented themselves. He stopped the medical treatment, in order that abortion should not ensue. His engaging a nurse and a doctor proved there was no intention on his part to make a secret of the birth or death. His wife and daughter both had attended in engaging the apartments. He then read several letters from his wife, daughter, and son, showing the affection that subsisted in the family, which proved nothing as to the alleged charges.
Prisoner then said that he went to London on the 27th of September. He afterwards got the coffin made and brought it down by railway, and had not, as a witness had said, walked all the way. He admitted that himself and two daughters attended by candle light to bury the body. He concluded by saying he deeply regretted and repented of all the circumstances, particularly of his own conduct. He had done everything to provide well for a large family, and this was the only event he had to deplore through life.
Mr. Jeremy said the prisoner had taken the apartment for his daughter in a false name, "Robinson" for "Richardson;" this, together with other circumstances, would have to go before a jury. They would consider the motive and the whole circumstances.
Dr. Mitchell remarked that he thought some acrid substance had been given to the child.
The female prisoner, on being asked if she wished to say anything to clear herself, said she was very sorry for what she had done, but it was her father who had compelled her to do so.
Mr. Jeremy: To do what?
Prisoner: To give way to my father.
Mr. Jeremy asked her what she went to West place for? - Prisoner said that she wished to say no more; she had no desire to prosecute her father now. He had been guilty of similar conduct since her return home. Her mother and sister did not know of his conduct. She had been at Mr. English's, a baker, in Blisset street, once at midnight for protection, fearing that her father would violate her. That was in December, 1844. She wished to say no more. She was not willing to submit to him. Her father and mother quarrelled that night; she was frightened. Her mother left home that night.
Amelia Richardson recalled: Remembers her sister Ann going to the Greyhound Inn, Greenwich, one night since the child was born, to get a bed. Her father went too. They could not get one and returned. She heard her father call Ann. He said "Come here." She said, "I am not coming." He said that if she did not come she should not stop in the house another minute. She said "I don't want to come." He said, "Then go out directly - get your things and leave." She was partly undressed; she went out, and father followed her; they returned soon.
Mr. Jeremy here said to the male prisoner that he was charged with concealing the birth and also the burial of the deceased child. He had no doubt of the latter charge. The only question was his first going and giving different names, and saying that the female prisoner's husband was abroad; and the instructions alluded to, as being given to the registrar, which was not done at all, and if so, in the name of Richardson instead of Robinson, the name of the alleged husband. These matters were for a jury to consider, and, after the medical evidence, he could not say that the prisoners might not have to answer a much more serious charge.
The prisoners were then remanded for a week.
The magistrates refused bail for either of them.

Source: The Weekly Chronicle, February 1, 1846, Page 5

Last edited by Karen on Wed 25 May 2011 - 15:20; edited 2 times in total

Karen Trenouth
Author of: "Epiphany of the Whitechapel Murders"
Author of: "Jack the Ripper: The Satanic Team"

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The Inquest of the Infant

Post by Karen on Tue 24 May 2011 - 23:27


This extraordinary inquest was resumed on Monday at the Morden Arms, Brand-street, Greenwich, before Mr. Carttar.
Mr. Wood, of Bridge street, Southwark, deposed that on the morning of the 16th of September a person named Reynolds called on him, stating that a lady had taken lodgings at her house, who had come there to be confined. Witness called, and there saw Mrs. Reynolds, Mrs. Richardson, and the young woman. Finding the labour not likely to come on, although progressing favourably, he left. About 3 o'clock on the following day (17th) witness was sent for, when he immediately attended, and in about half an hour afterwards delivered her of a male child. Mrs. Reynolds and the young woman's mother were present at the birth. Remained about half an hour after the birth, when he left the child in the care of Mrs. Reynolds. On the 18th again saw the child, when witness understood it was to be brought up by hand. Witness remarked that it would be difficult so to do, as it was a weakly child, although he had then no fear of its death. The reason Mrs. Reynolds gave for the child being brought up by hand was from "peculiar circumstances." Witness continued to attend for five or six days, during which the child, although weak, was tolerably well. On the morning of the 25th, Mrs. Reynolds called upon him to attend the child. Found it suffering from inflammation of the mouth, throat, and eyes. Could not say from the cursory examination of the infant's mouth whether there were any blisters. Witness told Mrs. Reynolds the child had got the thrush, and sent the usual medicine, alterative powders, composed of 2 grains of mercury and chalk, 2 grains of soda, 1 grain of rhubarb, or 2 grains of compound chalk powder, could not recollect which. On the 26th again called; but as the child was asleep would not have it disturbed. Mrs. Reynolds said it had been more composed. On the morning of the 27th Mrs. Reynolds called and informed him the child was dead. In the evening of that day Mrs. Reynolds called for a certificate of the child's death. Witness remarked that it was unpleasant the child had died so soon, when she said, "Not so, if he (witness) knew all." As witness had seen the child, and knew it had been properly attended to, did not refuse the certificate. Described the cause of death as arising from marasmus, which means a general wasting away - it is by some termed "atrophy." The inflamed state of the mouth and throat did not excite suspicion, having seen children in that state before.
Dr. Oak Mitchell deposed to sealing up the residue of the body, and delivering the same to Mr. Huish, assistant to Dr. Leeson, at St. Thomas's Hospital.
Charles Huish, chemical assistant to Dr. Leeson, deposed to receiving a jar sealed up from the last witness, which he delivered in the same state to Dr. Leeson.
Dr. H. Beaumont Leeson, physician at St. Thomas's Hospital, and lecturer on chemistry, deposed that on Saturday last he received from the last witness a sealed jar, containing the remains of an infant. In the intestines, brain and viscera decomposition had taken place, and had become a pasty mass. He took the whole of this mass, which he boiled in distilled water, having previously ascertained that the water was perfectly pure. After boiling it for some time, he acidulated it with pure muriatic acid, and again boiled it, conducting the operation in a porcelain vessel, and then filtered it through new calico. Witness then submitted it to various tests, the principal made use of being Reinsche's test, that being the most delicate test for arsenic. A portion of the liquid witness then mixed with an equal portion of muriatic acid, mixed it with an equal quantity of distilled water as previously made use of. He then took two pieces of bright copper, which had been carefully cleaned in nitro sulphuric acid. These two pieces he then boiled, the one in the distilled water and muriatic acid, and the other in the liquid in which the body had been boiled, the effect of which would be that if arsenic were present it would give to the copper a dark colour, similar to iron, but if no arsenic were present the copper would remain comparatively clean and bright. (Dr. Leeson produced the two pieces of copper, accordingly precisely with the appearances stated above.) This experiment witness repeated several times. Witness then took a piece of copper so treated, and having cut it into slips, placed it in a tube of hard German glass, heating the tube and copper to a red heat. Under these circumstances, witness expected to sublime the arsenic from the copper, and found it did so, obtaining on the glass tube that peculiar dark stain indicating the presence of metallic arsenic. The heat was then continued, and a small current, and a small current of air was allowed to pass through the tube. By so doing the metallic arsenic was oxydated, and thus converted into arsenious acid, or the common white arsenic of the shops. Witness then examined the white arsenical crust through a microscope, and ascertained that it consisted of small octohedral crystals peculiarly characteristic of arsenic. Witness then took a small portion of distilled water and boiled it in the tube to dissolve the arsenious acid. Having thus obtained a solution, he applied the usual liquid tests; made use of ammoniac nitrate of silver, which gave a light-yellow precipitate, characteristic of arsenious acid. To another portion he added ammonia, sulphate of copper, which gave a green precipitate, also characteristic of the presence of arsenic, and termed "Scheele's Green." Through a third portion, he passed a stream of sulphurated hydrogen, which gave a yellow precipitate, also confirmatory of the presence of arsenic. Witness then took a third piece of copper coated as the last, which he placed in another glass tube, and heated it as before; and whilst so heated passed over it pure hydrogen gas, which he ignited at one end of the tube - holding over the flame a small vessel of white porcelain, on which was deposited a black spot, as in making use of Marsh's test, of which this is a modification. Witness also applied his nose to the end of the first tube, and smelt the characteristic smell of arsenic. Witness also subjected a portion of the liquid to the action of a galvanic battery, having a pole of platinum attached to the copper end of the battery, and a piece of clean copper to the zinc extremity, which obtained a silvery deposit of arsenic. Witness's impression was that, in the portion he examined, something like ten grains of arsenic were present - more than sufficient to cause death. Witness judged the quantity from the facility with which he obtained the results. All the remains had been boiled down except the legs and arms. It was impossible for the child to have survived after the quantity of arsenic he had detected.
Mr. Huish recalled: - Was present during the experiments made by Dr. Leeson, and entirely agreed with him in opinion.
Charles Robins, residing at 1, Abbey Street, Bermondsey, undertaker, deposed that he had seen the coffin, and identified it as one of his make. In September last, about the middle of the month, on coming home from a funeral, he was informed that a person had applied for a coffin for a still-born child. About six o'clock a person came for the coffin, and as the coffin was to go into the country by railway, witness had it made extra strong. Believed he said it was to go into Yorkshire. Witness had not seen Richardson, but he had seen the daughters, and recognized him from the wonderful likeness. He was talking to witness for half-an-hour in his shop. He paid 5s. 6d. for it. He took the coffin away in a bag, either blue or green, but witness thought it was a blue one. Witness could not be positive as to the precise day in the month of September, but could by reference to his books.
Mrs. Reynolds, the landlady of the house at which the young woman (Richardson) was confined, and who nursed her, Thomas Jones, Stephen Furman, and Amelia Richardson were then examined, but their evidence was merely a repetition of that given at the police court last week.
A host of witnesses were then subsequently examined, but their evidence was merely confirmatory without tending to throw any additional light on this most mysterious affair.
Mrs. Reynolds was recalled as to any conversations that she might have heard pass between Richardson and his daughter Ann, when she stated she could not give any evidence on that point, as they invariably conversed in French.
Julia Richardson a younger sister was then examined. She deposed that she went up on the Sunday previous to the death of the infant. Went up with her father and mother, and was present when the body was brought home on the following Saturday. All her sisters were then present, and saw the coffin. In answer to a question by the coroner, the witness said there were "seven sisters," including her sister Ann, the mother of the child.
Mrs. Richardson deposed that she is wife of William Richardson, late of the Royal Observatory. Her daughter, Ann Maria, was confined in September, 1845. Did not know that she was in the family way until she was six months gone. Mr. Sturton, surgeon, was the first person who acquainted her of the fact. On being taxed her daughter acknowledged it, and asked her not to be severe. Witness promised to do all in her power for her. A fortnight previous to her confinement Mr. Richardson engaged apartments in town for her. Witness with her husband went to London by railway. On Wednesday, September 17, her daughter was confined. Witness next day went to Greenwich, and informed her husband. On Friday, the 26th, she received a letter from her daughter, saying the child was dying. She went up to town, and the nurse said she had been up all night with the child. At eleven o'clock witness laid down, and at one she was awoke by the child crying. Its mother gave it gruel. Witness warmed the gruel over a candle. In two hours after it died. The child was brought up by hand. Her husband bought a coffin; the child was put into it, and the coffin put into a green bag. Witness, her husband, and daughter returned to Greenwich by railway. Her husband carried the coffin on his knee. The coffin was placed in the library, and remained several days, until the body became offensive, when her husband got a labourer to dig a hole in the garden, where it was buried. She could swear positively that the child was in the house from Saturday to the following Friday before it was buried. She has no drug chest. Does not think that her husband kept poison in the house. Some of the baby's powders were brought home after its death and burned. Her husband was discharged from the Royal Observatory at the end of October, by direction of the Lords of the Admiralty. No reason was assigned - believed it was in consequence of his daughter having a child by him. He had been there twenty-eight years, and was entitled to a pension, but had made no application. Witness did not know what the child died of.
The room was then cleared, after the jury had sat upwards of eleven hours, and after a short consultation the inquiry was adjourned until Friday at three o'clock.
The inquiry lasted from twelve o'clock at noon until nearly midnight.

Source: The Weekly Chronicle, February 7, 1846, Page 7

Karen Trenouth
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Re: The Greenwich Murder

Post by Karen on Wed 25 May 2011 - 15:21

After finding this article on the early life of Amelia Richardson, I am struck by two important pieces of information: viz,

1.) This gives Amelia's reported distress at the inquest of Annie Chapman another cause other than advanced age or arthritis or the courtesy of being offered a seat.

2.) That while both Religion and Science war with each other in order to prove to all mankind that the "other side" is evil, they are ignoring the similarities that can be found in both communities, such as, vice, crime, rape, incest, lying, murder and theft, and then, ultimately, the impunity that is given to the higher members of both.

The Greenwich Murder.

Mr. Bullock took his seat in the old court at 9 o'clock, and directly afterwards William Richardson, 49, described as an astronomer, and Anne Maria Richardson, 22, spinster, were placed at the bar, to plead to the indictment found against them at the March session, for murder.
The indictment alleged that the prisoners feloniously administered to a male child of tender age, to wit, eight days old, a certain quantity of deadly poison called arsenic, and that the did thereby kill and murder the said child. In three other counts the deceased was described as a male child whose name was unknown, and also as Theodore Horatio Richardson, as Theodore Horatio only, and as Theodore Horatio Robinson.
The prisoners pleaded "Not guilty."
They were then arraigned upon the coroner's inquisition for the like offence, and to this they also pleaded "Not guilty."
At 10 o'clock Lord Chief Justice Denman and Mr. Baron Alderson entered the court, and the prisoners were then again placed at the bar, and were given in charge to the jury.
Mr. Bodkin, Mr. Huddlestone, and Mr. Clark appeared for the Crown; Mr. Clarkson and Mr. Ballantine defended the prisoners.
Mr. Bodkin addressed the jury and said, - That having heard from the reading of the indictment the nature of the charge that was made against the prisoners, it became his duty to detail to them the circumstances upon which they would have to decide the awful question of the guilt or innocence of the prisoners at the bar. The case was one almost without parallel. The prisoners at the bar not only stood in the relative position of father and daughter charged with the murder of a helpless infant, but that infant there was no doubt was their own offspring, and the result of an incestuous intercourse between them. He stated this to them because he was aware that it was impossible for them not to have become acquainted with the fact from other sources; and as he felt that such a circumstance must tend to create horror in every well-regulated mind, he had to entreat them not to allow the prejudice that would thus naturally be created to weigh unfairly against the prisoners, but that on the decision they should eventually come to they would be governed solely by the evidence that would be adduced in support of the specific charge now made against them. The learned counsel then proceeded to narrate the facts in support of the charge, and the following witnesses were then examined: -

Charles Pearce deposed that he is a labourer in the employ of a bricklayer at Greenwich, and on the 22nd of January last he was engaged in digging for a cesspool in the garden of the male prisoner's house at Greenwich, and while so engaged, he found a coffin, which contained the dead body of an infant.
John Hiscock, the employer of the last witness, proved that he took charge of the coffin, and the dead body, and afterwards handed them over to the police.
Mr. Thomas Oak Mitchell deposed that he is a surgeon at Greenwich, and he first saw the body of the deceased on the 23rd of January. The next day he made a more minute examination, which induced him to remove the contents of the abdomen, with the view to their undergoing a minute chemical examination; and he afterwards, assisted by another medical gentleman, applied tests to the liquid he so removed, in order to endeavour to ascertain the existence of poison. The results of their examination were not very satisfactory to him, but he conjectured the existence of arsenic in the stomach, and in consequence of this the remaining contents of the stomach were given to Dr. Leeson to undergo further analysis.
By Mr. Clarkson: The interior of the body was in a state of almost entire decomposition, but he could ascertain the sex of the child, and in his opinion it was born alive. He cut the body into four pieces and placed it in a jar. The contents of the stomach were placed in another jar, and he afterwards threw away some portion of them in his garden. The witness then detailed the experiments he used in endeavouring to ascertain the presence of different poisons. There was no trace of oxalic acid or mercury, but there were traces of the presence of arsenic.
Re-examined: Dr. Leeson had nothing to do with that portion of the contents of the stomach which he first experimented on.
Dr. Leeson was next examined. He confirmed the opinion given by the last witness, and also stated that he had himself made other examinations with the same object, and that the ultimate result was that he had no doubt whatever that the body contained arsenic, and that the quantity was at least four grains and one-tenth, which he also said was quite sufficient to cause the death of a child. Dr. Leeson went on to say, that if arsenic were administered to an infant, it would probably first cause great pain in the stomach, then a redness and soreness in the throat, and there would also probably be blisters upon the tongue and throat, and the usual results of inflammation in the stomach, great thirst, &c.
By Mr. Clarkson: Very great care and attention were necessary in the experiments made with a view to ascertain the existence of poison, and some tests formerly relied upon were now rejected as fallacious. He should not himself rely upon any one individual test, but the result of the whole of his experiments satisfied him to a certainty of the existence of arsenic in this case.
By the Lord Chief Justice: I have no doubt whatever of the fact.
Charles May proved that by direction of Dr. Leeson, he obtained a small quantity of the earth from whence the body was taken.
Dr. Leeson was recalled, and he stated that he analysed the earth so produced, and that it did not contain any arsenic. He thought it right to do this, not because he entertained an opinion that earth might contain arsenic, but because, as he was aware that there was an impression that the earth of churchyards contained arsenic, he thought it would be more satisfactory to make an examination of the earth from whence the body was taken.
Mr. Heinsch, assistant chemical lecturer at St. Thomas's Hospital, proved the receipt of the jar containing the contents of the stomach and portions of the body of an infant from the last witness, and that he was present and assisted Dr. Leeson in making certain experiments upon them, with a view to ascertain whether any poison existed. The witness then gave a minute technical detail of the experiments resorted to by himself and Dr. Leeson, and expressed an opinion that nothing but arsenic could have produced all the results to which he had alluded, and, in his opinion, the quantity discovered was four grains and one-tenth, but he could not undertake to say that this was sufficient to have destroyed the life of a child.
By Mr. Clarkson: Many poisons, both mineral and vegetable, have recently been discovered. It was considered by some of the medical faculty that the bones of human beings contained arsenic. Arsenic, he believed, was also found in combination with copper, and in the earth whence copper was taken. He could speak with certainty to there being arsenic to the extent of four grains and one-tenth in the body, but he could not state that this was all the body contained.
Re-examined: The belief that human bones contained arsenic was only entertained by a portion of the faculty. He had seen experiments tried with a view to ascertain the fact, but they did not result in the production of arsenic.
Elizabeth Reynolds deposed that she resides with her husband in Weston street, Bermondsey. On the 12th of September the male prisoner came to her house, and engaged the front room on the first floor, saying that it was for his daughter, who was near her confinement, and he wished her to be comfortable. On the 14th he came again, accompanied by his wife, and on this occasion he said that the name of his daughter was Mrs. Robinson. On the following day the female prisoner was brought to the house by her father and mother, who left her there. On the Wednesday the male prisoner came to the house alone, and at that time his daughter was in bed, and she had been delivered of a child the same morning. The child appeared to be perfectly healthy, and was fed, as children generally are, with rusks, and "tops and bottoms." On the Wednesday following the day on which it was born the child first became unwell. The male prisoner had been to see his daughter about four o'clock on the afternoon of that day, and up to this time the child appeared quite well, and not to have any ailment whatever. The prisoner went up to his daughter's room where she was lying in bed, and witness was occasionally in and out of the room, leaving him alone with his daughter, and they had tea together about five o'clock. Between four and five o'clock witness was out of the room more than half an hour at one time. About eight or nine o'clock the same night, the child was taken with violent screaming. This was about half an hour after the male prisoner had left the house. The child seemed to be in great pain, and screamed until it had no power to scream any longer. It continued in this state all night, and in the morning a medical gentleman, named Wood, saw it, and he sent some powders for it, one of which she administered on the Friday. The mother of the female prisoner came to the house on the Friday, and remained until the child died, which was on the next day. During the Thursday the child presented some of the appearances of having the thrush, and after that it remained in a state of stupor until its death. The female prisoner wrote a letter to her father on the Friday, and the next day after the child was dead he came to the house and appeared to be very sorry for the death of the child, and said that he should take it home to Greenwich and get it buried, as it would be less expensive, and the same evening he brought a coffin to the house, and the body was placed in it, and it was then put in a bag, and the male prisoner and the mother took it away with them. Before the child died she told the male prisoner that it would be better to have the birth registered, and the next day he said it was all right, and he had had it registered. His daughter asked him in what name, and he replied, "Theodore Horatio." The child's food was generally kept in a teacup in the same room occupied by the female prisoner. When the prisoners were together they conversed together a good deal in the French language.
By Mr. Clarkson: Witness did not understand French. She did not know the age of the female prisoner, but her mother told her she was 22. The male prisoner told her who he was, and gave her his real address. She thought all along that the child was a "love" child, and she was not at all deceived by the female being called Mrs. Robinson. The female prisoner appeared to be very fond of the child, and frequently expressed her regret at its sufferings. She did not see the child die, but when she went into the room she found it lying dead by her side. From her experience as a mother witness was perfectly well aware that children were seized with screaming from pain in the bowels, arising from perfectly natural causes. She believed that the mother of the female prisoner occasionally fed the child.
Re-examined: Witness told Mr. Wood that the child had the thrush, and she supposed that he sent medicines for that disorder.
By the court: The baby was in the bed nearly the whole of Wednesday, and it was generally fed every half hour. The cup containing the "pap" was on the hob by the fire.
Mr. William Reynolds, the husband of the last witness, was next examined, but his evidence was not material.
Mr. Wood deposed that he saw the child on the 25th, and he observed that the eyes were very much inflamed, as was also the mucous membrane of the throat. He considered it was suffering from thrush, and he sent some powders for it. He did not see the child until the day after it was first attacked. When he was informed of the death of the child he certified the cause of its death to be marasmus, or wasting away of the vital powers. He did so because the child appeared to him to be indisposed and to waste away from its birth.
By Mr. Clarkson: He saw the child on the Thursday, and it appeared perfectly quiet and composed. It did not appear to him to be in a state of coma. He could not say positively whether one of the ingredients of the powders he sent for the child was chalk or rhubarb.
By Mr. Baron Alderson: He was not told of the child having screamed a great deal on the Wednesday night. Sometimes the disease of the thrush is attended by pain in the stomach.
Thomas Jones, a labourer residing at Greenwich, proved that in the month of September he was in the male prisoner's employ, and used to work at his house on Royal hill; and he remembered on a Thursday in that month the prisoner ordered him to dig a hole in the garden, and he did so, and showed it to the prisoner, who said it would do very well. On the following Saturday he saw the prisoner come home with a bundle under his arm, but he could not say what was in the bundle.
Cross-examined: He was quite sure it was on a Thursday when he was told to dig the hole. He always said it was Thursday, and never that it was either Thursday or Friday. The deposition he had made before the magistrate was put into his hand, but he persisted in saying that the occurrence took place on Thursday.
Jacob Paterson, another labourer, proved that he had heard the male prisoner say something to the last witness about digging a hole, and also said that to the best of his belief it was on a Thursday.
Cross-examined: Could not speak positively to the day.
Stephen Turner, a bricklayer, proved that when the prisoner came home on the Saturday night he observed that he had a coffin with him. When he got into the house he placed the coffin under the sideboard and placed two handkerchiefs over it.
At this stage of the proceeding the court and the jury adjourned for the purpose of taking some refreshment. The trial then proceeded.
Mr. William Sturton deposed, that he is a surgeon residing at Greenwich. In June last he attended upon the female prisoner, and ascertained that she was then pregnant. In the month of October he attended upon the male prisoner, who at that time told him his daughter had had a child, and that he was the father. He added, that society would view it as a great moral crime, and he was afraid he should lose his situation. He likewise stated that the child was dead.
Cross-examined: He appeared very depressed, and seemed to be under great apprehensions of poverty, and said he should die in the workhouse.
By the Court: He was very ill from ulcerated sore throat and fever, and for a day or two his life was in danger. His wife had informed witness of the connexion that existed between the prisoner and his daughter, but requested him not to allude to it to him.
Baron Alderson: Was it while he was in the state you have described that he told you of the incestuous intercourse that existed between him and his daughter?
Witness: It was.
Joshua Edward Kearsey, apprentice to Mr. Riches, a chemist, at Greenwich, proved that in August last he had some conversation with the male prisoner about poisons, and he showed him a bottle that contained arsenic. The prisoner said, "Oh, that is arsenic is it?" Witness said it was. The prisoner then asked how much it would take to kill any one, and he told him a very small quantity. About a week after the 12th of September, he saw the prisoner again in the shop of his employer, and he saw Mr. Riches give the prisoner a packet which contained arsenic, and he at the same time saw him write something upon the paper.
George Corney, another person in Mr. Riches' service, proved that he was present when the last witness showed a bottle of arsenic to a third person, but he could not identify the prisoner as that person. After he left the shop he recollected that Kearsey told him that the person was a professed atheist.
Kearsey recalled: After the male prisoner left the shop he told Corney that he belonged to the Observatory, and that he was an infidel or atheist.
Mr. Cross, the registrar of births, deaths, and marriages for the Weston-street district, proved that there was no entry upon his register either of the birth or death of Theodore Horatio Richardson, and he never heard of any application to make such an entry.
George Wilson, a police sergeant, deposed that he apprehended the female prisoner on the 23rd of January, upon the charge of concealing the birth of her child. She then said that she was delivered of a child at Mrs. Reynolds', in Weston-street, Southwark, on the 15th of September, and that it died a few days afterwards. He asked her if she had a certificate of the death, and she replied she had not, but she believed her father had. He asked her what became of the child, and she told him that her father took it away with him in a coffin, and buried it. She likewise said that it was her father's own child, and that he was the father of it. She added that she was present when her father buried it, and that one of his labourers had dug the hole, but she did not think he was aware what it was for, as it was not dug like a grave. She then told him that her father was at Pocklington, in Yorkshire, and he proceeded to that place on the 25th of January and apprehended him. He asked to see the warrant and on finding that he was merely charged with secretly burying the body with a view to conceal the birth of the child, he said that could not be, for a medical gentleman and a nurse were engaged. He then wished to know whether there was any other charge against him, and witness told him there was none that he was aware of.
By Mr. Clarkson: The female prisoner appeared anxious to state all she knew upon the subject. He cautioned her that he should be obliged to inform the magistrate what she said, but she still seemed desirous to give him information.
Mr. John Drake Finch, the principal clerk at the Greenwich Police Court, produced the statements made by the prisoners while under examination before the magistrate.
The different statements and the letters referred to, were then put in and read. The female prisoner made the following statement: - "I am very sorry for what I have done. My father compelled me to do what I have done, to give way to him, I mean - I mean as to the connection. I knew the object of my being taken to Weston-street - to be confined. I will let it pass by what he has done to me. I went once to Mr. English for protection. I was afraid my father was going to do something to me."
The male prisoner said - "I wish to speak truth, however much the awful circumstances are against me. I never wished to conceal the birth or death of the child. I could have had it buried in London for a few shillings, much more secretly. My desire was, not to have the remains of the child disturbed. In June last my daughter was unwell, and Mr. Sturton was engaged to attend her. I went away, and when I returned I found she was pregnant, and I withheld any medicine that would tend to procure abortion. There was no concealment. I engaged a nurse and a doctor. On the 15th I took my daughter to the apartment I had provided for her, and I returned home. The next day I received this letter from my wife: -

"3 Weston-street, September 16, 1846. My dear William, - Anne has passed a sleepless and miserable night, slow wretched pains, almost reaching each other, have never left her. We had the doctor this morning about ten o'clock. He said it was her labour, and that all was right, but that it would be some hours before she would be out of her trouble. She is very much exhausted, being three nights without sleep, and never free from pain. I shall remain until she gets it over. The doctor is going to call at two o'clock, but he said it might be midnight, or even longer, before it would be over, but I can say no more. Hoping all is well at home, with kindest love to yourself and children. Yours A.R. Mind dear Billy."

The male prisoner then proceeded to state: - "This shows the care which was taken of my daughter and the infant. On the 17th I heard that the child was born. I believe I went up to see my daughter. On the 25th I received this letter from my daughter: -

"3, Weston-street, September 23, 1845. - Dear Father: I wish you would come up this afternoon to see the baby, for he seems very ill. His cold has gradually gotten worse since you were here last. We had the doctor yesterday afternoon, and he said there was something the matter with the blood, and unless that cleared he would not thrive. He has had a cold from his birth, and now it seems to be upon his lungs; his throat is very sore, and he can scarcely swallow anything. The doctor sent him some powders, and lotion to wash him with. Last night, from about ten to twelve, he was low, and seemed scarcely able to breathe, Mr. and Mrs. Reynolds thought he would not live during the night, but he seemed to get a little better after twelve o'clock. I am very poorly; I have gotten a severe cold, sore throat, and headache. Hoping your cold is better and the family are all well, give my love to momma and all the dear children, and the same to you. Believe me to remain your most dutiful daughter, A.M. RICHARDSON. - P.S. Excuse my scrawl, for I am quite in a tremble."

"On the 25th I went to the house to look after the child, and it died on the 27th, in the morning. I went and got a coffin made, and expressed my anxiety about the child. Every attention was paid to it, and I brought it to Greenwich by the railway."
The male prisoner subsequently made the following additional statement: - "I have never done anything to contribute to the decease or cause the death of the child, and God knows it. My sole care was to preserve the child. I declare before God and this people that I never saw the article or bought any arsenic. The only thing that caused me to bury the child in my own ground was, that it should not be disturbed. I might have eluded this inquiry. All my children and my wife know that I have ever mourned the death of the child."
Mr. Clark said, that the name of Amelia Richardson, a daughter of the male prisoner, appeared upon the back of the bill, and if his learned friend desired it, she should be placed in the witness box.
Mr. Clarkson said, he should like to ask her a question or two.
Amelia Richardson was then called and sworn, and in answer to a question put to her by Mr. Clark, she said that she is 17 years old, and the male prisoner is her father.
By Mr. Ballantine: She remembers the night on which her father brought home the coffin. It was on Saturday, the 27th of September. A hole was dug in the corner of the garden on the following Thursday, and the body was buried on the Friday night, and witness held a light when it was placed in the hole by her father.
By Mr. Huddlestone: She could not speak positively to the day on which the body was buried.
By the Lord Chief Justice: She is quite sure the hole was dug after the body was brought home.
Mr. Clark said this was the case for the prosecution.
Mr. Clarkson submitted to the court that there was no evidence against the female prisoner to call upon her for a defence.
The Lord Chief Justice, after consulting with Mr. Baron Alderson, said he did not think there was any evidence to show that the female prisoner had any share in causing the death of her infant.
Mr. Clarkson then addressed the jury, and commenced by observing that in the course of his own somewhat long experience in courts of criminal justice he had never risen to address a jury to combat with such circumstances as had been detailed in the course of the present inquiry. He, appearing as the counsel for the prisoner, felt it difficult to control the horror which those circumstances created in his mind, and so far to divest himself of the prejudice which they almost unavoidably created as to enable him to do that justice to the case of the accused which he, wicked and rejected as he admitted himself to be, still was entitled to at his hands. He was glad that their lordships had relieved him from the task of offering any observations on behalf of the female prisoner. It was admitted that there was no evidence calling upon her for an answer; and the only question that remained was, whether there was sufficient evidence to bring the charge home to the male prisoner? He had, by his own conduct, to a certain extent, crippled the advocate who had to defend him upon the charge of murder; for, although he might feel the strongest conviction of his innocence of that specific crime, yet he could not, at the same time, but be aware that the fact of the degrading and horrible connexion which existed between the prisoner and his own child must, of necessity, create an almost overwhelming feeling of prejudice. He entreated the jury to divest themselves, so far as they possibly could, of any such feeling; and he did not doubt that if they calmly considered the evidence, they would see that it was not sufficient to make out the charge against the prisoner of having wilfully administered poison to the deceased child and so caused its death, and which charge alone he was now called upon to answer. The learned counsel then proceeded to go through the evidence, contending, as he proceeded, that there was not only no distinct proof that the child died of poison at all, but that there was also an absence of anything like direct evidence that the prisoner had ever purchased poison, or that he had administered it to the deceased.
The Lord Chief Justice summed up the evidence, and in his preliminary observations remarked upon the fact of the learned counsel who had opened the case for the prosecution having retired almost immediately afterwards, leaving his junior to examine the whole of the witnesses, and to conduct the case to the end. He said that in such an important case as this he did not think this ought to have happened, for it could not be expected that the gentleman who was the junior counsel could be so well acquainted with all the facts as his leader, and this circumstance had thrown a great deal of additional anxiety and labour upon the Court in the examination of the witnesses. His lordship then proceeded to read the whole of the evidence, commenting upon the material portions of it as he proceeded.
The jury retired at a quarter to seven o'clock, and returned into court at a quarter past eight o'clock, finding a verdict of Not Guilty.
At the sitting of the court on Thursday, the learned judge said that he felt bound in justice to Mr. Bodkin, the senior counsel, who had been engaged on the part of the prosecution in the trial of William and Anne Maria Richardson, for murder, to state that he was compelled to leave the court while the trial was proceeding, for the purpose of attending to his parliamentary duties. Mr. Bodkin said, he was deeply indebted to his lordship for stating publicly the cause of his absence from court during the trial. No doubt, had Mr. Bodkin been in attendance, he would have replied to the speech of Mr. Clarkson, being entitled to do so from the prosecution being instituted by the Crown. Richardson and his daughter left Newgate in the course of half an hour after the termination of the trial.

Source: The Weekly Chronicle, May 17, 1846, Page 2

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