Friday, February 12, 2010

Wilful murder against some person or persons unknown

THE TIMES Tuesday 15th May 1900


Mr. G. P. Wyatt, coroner, held an inquest at the Lambeth Coroner's Court yesterday on the body of MARY KATE WAKENELL, aged 42 years, the wife of Arthur Norman Case Wakenell, a shop assistant, who was found murdered at 44, Water Lane, Brixton, on Saturday morning.

Robert Burgess, a son, said that his mother and stepfather separated some five years ago. The witness last saw Wakenell eight or nine weeks ago, when he passed the house on the opposite side of the way and went into the Royal Oak public house.

His mother never met his stepfather, so far as he knew, outside; in fact she did not want Wakenell to know where she lived.

His mother got her living by mantlemaking, but had not done much the last few weeks.

The witness and his mother occupied two rooms in the basement at 44, Water Lane, for which they paid 7s. per week. His mother slept in the front room, and the witness in the kitchen at the back.

When he returned home from work shortly after 10 o'clock last Friday night his mother, who appeared as usual, was dressing to go out. He gave her some money, and about half an hour later she left the house.

She frequently went out at nights and drunk a little too much at times. He went to bed soon alter she had left, and did not hear her return.

At a quarter to 8 o'clock on Saturday morning he went into his mother's room and found her lying on the floor in her nightdress with a pillow over her face. He removed the pillow, thinking she was in a fit, and then saw a quantity of blood about her. He immediately called down the landlady.

There was a passage from his mother's room door to the area door leading to the street, and this was wide open when he went for medical assistance. His mother usually locked it when she came in at night. He identified the scissors produced as belonging to his mother.

Harriett Ada Burgess, a daughter of the deceased woman, stated that her stepfather was employed by Messrs. Parking and Gotto for some 14 years. He married her mother on September 3, 1892.

Her mother subsequently succeeded to some money, and he then left his situation and lived upon her. If she would not give him money to get drink he used to strike her. The witness was under the impression that her mother had met him about nine months ago at Camberwell.

Dr. J. F. Fielder, of 12, Water Lane, stated that he was called in and found the woman lying on her back with her legs drawn up. There was a cut wound on the neck 3"in. long. On the left side of the body near the upper border of the fourth rib, close to the armpit, was inserted one blade of a pair of tailors' scissors. The right eyelid was blackened as from a blow of considerable violence. Death had occurred some four hours previous to his arrival.

He subsequently made a post mortem examination of the body. There had been at least six attempts to cut the throat. There were seven stab wounds which lead punctured the liver, and another had penetrated the right ventricle of the heart.

The spleen was also punctured, and there were other minor wounds about the body. The wounds were V-shaped. He could not say whether theinjuries were inflicted by a right or left handed man.

It was impossible for the wounds to be self-inflicted.

The scissors produced were capable of inflicting all the injuries. In his opinion the blow she received over the right eye would be sufficient to stun her and prevent her from screaming.

Inspector D. O'Sullivan, of the W Division, stated that he was called and examined the room, but found no signs of a struggle. The police were instituting inquiries into the affair.

Police-constable Crayford, 141 W, stated that he had known the woman by sight for about four mouths. He last saw her shortly after midnight on Friday; she was then in the Effra Road, going towards Water Lane. She appeared quite sober. He had seen her out late at night with different men.
The jury returned a verdict of "Wilful murder against some person or persons unknown.

Source: Brixton Guide

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