The Southampton wife murder trial

At the Hampshire assizes yesterday, before Mr Justice Wright. William Mintram, 38, mariner, was indicted for feloniously, wilfully, and of malice aforethought, killing murdering ELIZA May Mintram at Southampton on 18th October.

Hampshire Advertiser

Sentenced to 12 years

At the Hampshire assizes yesterday, before Mr Justice Wright1. William Mintram, 38, mariner, was indicted for feloniously, wilfully, and of malice aforethought, killing murdering ELIZA May Mintram at Southampton on 18th October.
 
Mr Evans Austin2 and Mr G. L. Craik3 (instructed by Messrs. Hallett and Martin, as agents for the Director of public prosecutions), prosecuted  and Mr S.H. Emmanuel4, LL.D (instructed by Charles Ansell Emanuel and Emanuel) defended.

The court was crowded. His lordship took his seat punctually at the time fixed, and the prisoner was placed in the dock. He looked very pale, leant on the front of the dock with one hand while the charge was read, to which in a firm voice he replied,

"Not guilty, my Lord"

The jury was sworn amid impressive silence, which prevailed while the case was being heard, and prisoner took his seat on the dock.

Mr Evans Austin said, as the jury had heard, prisoner at the bar was charged with the wilful murder of his wife on the 18th October last. The prisoner was by trade a seaman, and had been some years employed by a shipping firm in Southampton.
 
Prisoner and his wife lived at 63 Winton Street. The houses in Winton Street were small dwellings, with a ground floor and upper floor, and the murder took place, as they would hear, in the back room on the ground floor of the house in which the prisoner and his wife lived. The prisoner was, owing to the nature of his occupation, sometimes at sea; but had experiences at times in which he lived with his wife. He did not know how long, but probably some weeks at a time he was at home at his house, 63, Winton Street.

The prisoner and his wife had five children. The eldest is 15, and the youngest five. On the night of the murder four of the five were in the house. The eldest daughter and the two youngest children were sleeping upstairs over the room in which the murder took place, and the oldest boy William was below stairs, waiting for the prisoner, with his mother. They were both sitting below. He should have to call the son William, who was

THE ONLY WITNESS ACTUALLY PRESENT

when the murder took place, and he would also have to call the eldest girl, he was at home at the time. The girl named Elizabeth May was upstairs at the time the murder took place, and the jury would hear from her how her attention was drawn to it.  Evidence which he should call would, he thought, leave no doubt upon the minds of the jury that the prisoner and his wife did not live happily together. The children would tell them that their father and mother frequently quarrelled, and the prisoner had threatened his wife before the date upon which this murder took place. They would also hear from two neighbours, Mrs Richardson and Mrs Cutler, that they knew, and had heard the prisoner and his wife quarrelling. They would also be told by police-inspector Boggeln5 that he himself had seen the prisoner some considerable time before this night.
His lordship: don't go too far back.
Mr Evans Austin said he would pass over the incident that his lordship had intimated went too far back, and confine his remarks to the evidence of quarrelling which took place about the time of the murder. Police-constable Smith, who would be called before them, would also tell them on that night, some few hours before the murder was alleged to have taken place, that he had heard quarrelling in the house, and had dispersed the crowd that had gathered outside the prisoners house.
His lordship: the same day[?]
Mr Evans Austin: Yes, my lord.
Continuing, he said that on the night of the murder it was Saturday evening, 18th October. The son William had been out, and he came in about 10.30.  When he came in his sister and two younger brothers had gone upstairs to bed. He found his mother, the deceased woman, sitting in the back room below waiting for his father to come in to supper. The table was laid for the prisoner's supper.  That was a knife and fork and a plate of meat on the table. Soon after the son William got in the prisoner came in. According to the boy's evidence it was about a quarter of an hour after he himself come home. He would tell them that directly the prisoner came into the room where the deceased was he hit her

A BACK-HANDED BLOW IN THE MOUTH

with his hand that way (illustrating the action). He then appeared to have hesitated what he would do, and a few minutes after this the boy would tell them that his father, the prisoner, took up the knife which was on the table laid for his supper, and went towards the deceased woman. He seemed to hesitate, and did nothing, and put the knife back upon the table. The boy then tried to get the knife away, but the prisoner, when he found his son about to take the knife away took up the knife again and stabbed the unfortunate woman in the back. She was sitting, the boys would tell them, in the room, and the evidence showed that the prisoner struck her with the knife in the left side of the back, about 2 inches from the middle loin of the body, and had penetrated through the left lung.  That, they would hear from Dr McDougall, who was called in almost immediately, was the cause of death.  After the murder took place the next person to appear on the scene was the daughter, Eliza May, who had been asleep upstairs with her two younger brothers.  She would tell the jury that she was awakened by talking. She would not be able to tell them what the talking was about. She heard nothing except the noise of talking, and that woke her, and presently she heard a fall, and came downstairs and found her mother lying on her back on the hearth-rug in front of the fire. The son William would also tell them when his mother was struck by the prisoner she fell off the chair onto the floor.  He would say he saw blood there, and the girl also tell them the condition in which she found her mother. The prisoner, when his daughter appeared on the scene, made a statement to her with reference to what he had done.  The daughter heard her brother crying, and went upstairs, and when she came down she appeared to have been frightened, and went out of the house.  The prisoner and the boy William appeared to have left just after the girl came downstairs, and Mrs Richardson, to whom he had referred, who lived on the opposite side of the street, would tell them that her attention was attracted to something, and she saw the prisoner coming out of his own front door, followed by the boy William. Another neighbour, Mrs Cutler, who would be called, would tell them that she saw Mrs Richardson going across to the house, and that she followed in with the prisoner. She would tell them that she saw the deceased woman lying on the floor, and in what condition she found her. He had already told them that

THE WEAPON WHICH THE PRISONER USED

was a knife  which was on the table laid for prisoner for his supper. Mrs Richardson when she arrived at the house found the knife on the floor quite close to the body of the deceased woman. She stooped to pick it up, but not unnaturally was afraid, as she would tell them upon the knife she saw blood. The two women would tell them of certain statements they heard the prisoner make with reference to the crime. They appear to have left the house, and Mrs Richardson sent for a doctor, and in response to her message Dr McDougall came on the scene. Then a witness named White was attracted to the house, and going in he would tell them that he found the prisoner standing by the back door, which led out of the book into the yard. He asked the prisoner what was the matter. Prisoner made a reply with reference to the act that had been committed. White then found the deceased woman lying on her back on the floor, and very humanely took off his coat, rolled it up, and put it under the deceased woman's head. He then got some water, gave it to the woman, and she drank a little of it, and then gave her last breath. As he had told them, the doctor had at that time arrived at the house, and he would tell them the condition in which he found the deceased woman. While the doctor was there PC Smith came, and he would also tell them what he saw there. Later inspector Boggeln came in, and prisoner also made certain statements to him, as well as to PC Smith.  With reference to the knife, he had told them that Mrs Richardson when she went into the house saw the knife lying on the floor quite close to the body of the deceased woman, and also that the prisoner left the house at the same time as his son William. When inspected Boggeln arrived at the house he saw the plate laid for the prisoner's supper. He noticed that the fork was there, but could find oh nice. He then made a search, and accompanied by the witness White he went into the yard at the back of the house, opening from the room where the murder took place.  The two witnesses searched for the night, and found it in the pan of the water-closet, which was in the back yard. White took out the knife and handed it to Inspector Boggeln. He would tell them there was some blood upon it, though naturally some of the blood that was on it at the time Mrs Richardson so it would be washed away. The

PRISONER WAS THEN CHARGED,

and taken to the police station. That was as concisely as he could put it, the outline of the tragedy. Witnesses would be called to bear out the statement he had made, and would also tell them that the general effect of what the prisoner said to them was that he was guilty of having done this act.  He would not tell them the actual words, but when they had heard all the evidence he proposed to call he thought they would have no hesitation in coming to the conclusion that this man wilfully murdered his wife. The prisoner was defended by his friend Mr Emmanuel, and the jury would have the benefit of having everything said in his favour that an able advocate could place before them, and no doubt would ask them to find that this person was goaded to commit this act, but he (the learned counsel) thought when the jury had heard all the evidence that would be placed before them they would say that the prisoner had no justification whatever – no sufficient justification – to commit this deed upon his wife. He had told them that the wound was a bad one, that the blow struck must have been struck with considerable force, because it penetrated right through the back of the deceased woman and into the left lung, as he had told them he had to call two of the children before them, and the lad William Mintram, who was the only person present would, he thought, make it clear to them that there was

NO QUARREL BETWEEN THE PRISONER AND HIS WIFE

at the time that this deed was committed. When the had heard the evidence he thought they would be satisfied that the prisoner was guilty of killing this woman without any provocation whatever.

William Mintram, prisoner's son, aged 13, told again the sad story that has been published. There was a plate of ham for supper, and when we went to pick up the knife after his had put it down, his father got the knife first and stabbed his mother three times – "'Ere, 'ere, and 'ere," said that lad, indicating with his hand three places between the shoulder blades.

Cross-examined by Mr S.H. Emmanuel : accused was sat when he hit his wife a back-handed smack in the mouth soon after entering the house, deceased at that time being sat in a chair close to him. 10 minutes or a quarter of an hour elapsed after that before accused hit his wife with the knife. They were both sat down to supper At the time. Nothing was said. Accused picked up a knife off the table, and went towards his wife, but went back and put the knife down. Accused was sober,  "I went to pick up the knife so that he shouldn't hit mother with it," went on witness, "but father got the knife first and hit mother with it." Deceased was watching her husband, but never rose from her chair or spoke.  She was sober. He did not remember anything being said about a pair of boots. – Mr Emmanuel put a number of questions to witness as to an altercation which he suggested took place between Mintram and his wife, during which the deceased's truck Mintram, but the lad answered the queries with "no," or "I don't remember."  He was sure his mother did not like her husband.
ELIZA May Mintram, 11, said

SHE WAS AWAKENED IN BED

by hearing her mother and father "talking." She heard a fall, and went down. Witness gave her answers hesitatingly at first, and by his lordship's direction Miss Carpenter, police-court missionary at Southampton, stood by the girl and encouraged her to speak out. Witness said when she got downstairs she saw her mother laid on her back, and her father Near her with his hands classed. Her father said "I done it, May," witness heard her brother upstairs crying, and went off and told him to be quiet. Then she and her older sister left the house by way of a back wall. The previous witness was not in the house When she first went downstairs. Her mother was sober. She heard them talking when she was in bed, but could not tell what about.
Cross-examined : A pair of boots had been sold that day; she sold them for her mother. The boots were too small for her brother, who they belonged to. When she came downstairs she saw a police man handcuffing her father.
Martha Richardson, of Winton Street, Southampton, wife of a Private in the Hampshire Regiment, at present in India, said hearing a knock at her door on the evening referred to, she went out and saw prisoner now walking down the road with his hands clasped, saying "My god, I've done it; I will give myself up like a man."  Just after he said, "No, I must go and have one last look and one last kiss," and returned to the house. Witness entered the house and saw Mrs Mintram laid on her back with the knife produced near her. She went to pick up the knife, but the sight of the blood on it "turned" her, and she left it. Prison said, "Rose, speak to me for the last time; speak to me, Kiss me," and stooped down by her side as if to kiss her. The dying woman's lips moved twice, as though she was whispering to him. Prisoner said to witness, "My god have I ever wronged you?" And she replied "don't upset yourself Mr Mintram" – Cross examined: he was very much upset.

Kate Louisa Cutler, wife of a fireman living in Winton-street, said she entered the house after seeing Mintram in the street, and found the deceased lying on the ground.  She heard Mintram say, "My god I've done it." She said, "done what?" But he made no reply.  The Mintrams had not lived together happily. Cross–examined: Afterwards Mintram said, "It ain't true", he appeared distracted.
Ernest J White, a young labourer, of North front, Southampton, said he saw Mintram, and heard him say "I've done it." Witness saw Mrs Mintram on the floor, and put his coat under her head and gave her a drink of water. She took a sip and then died. Afterwards, with Inspector Boggeln, he found the knife produced in the out-premises. – By a juror: Mintram had had enough to drink.
PC Smith said when he got to the house Mintram was on his knees. Dr McDougall said, "This woman is dead," and Mintram said, "I done it – I done it." He became very violent, and asked to be allowed to kiss the children. He was taken to the police station, and the body of his wife To the mortuary. Her clothing was saturated with blood, and was cut in a manner, corresponding to the wounds on her body. Mintram had blood on his clothes and on one finger.  He made no reply when charged. Earlier in the evening he had heard raised voices inside Mintram's house. – Cross examined: both the garments on the body which were cut through were thin.
Dr McDougall said the woman was dead when he arrived on the scene at 11.35. The wound was between the left shoulder blade and the spine, and that had caused death.  Prisoner said, "I am the murderer I have done for her." The body bore several bruises of recent date.  Cross examined: prisoner was in a dazed condition, and spoke under strong emotion and in an excited manner. He several times
THREW HIMSELF DOWN AND KISSED HIS WIFE.
– By a juror: the mouth of the woman smelt strongly of stale alcohol; prisoner was very excited. There was a pail of excrement in the room.
Inspector Boggeln said he had known the Mintrams. – Cross examined: he produced prisoners discharges for a period of 19 years – they were all marked very good.  Witness had heard that at the risk of his life Mintram volunteered to repair a boiler on the SS La Plata, and having done his work was drawn out unconscious.
This concluded the case for the prosecution.
Mr Emanuel first called the prisoner.
Prisoner, who was minus a collar, and looked very ill and distraught, said when he went in on the night referred to his wife started to bullyrag him, and he said "you've been drinking again." He spoke to her about a pair of boots, and also about a pail containing slops, which was in the room. She sprang at him, and he gave her a smack on the mouth. When he sat down to supper she sprang at him again;  he had the knife in his hand, and did not recollect anything else. He had no intention of killing his wife. He had been to the football match in the afternoon, and had a drop of drink. He was "middling" when he went home – between drunk and sober. – Cross examined: he did not remember his son being there, or himself leaving the house. His wife was
THE BEST OF WIVES WHEN FREE FROM DRINK.
But always bullyragging him when in drink. On the night referred to she called him all the names she could think of. He told her she ought to be ashamed of herself for leaving slops in the room, and she jumped at him. – By Mr Emanual: he had tried to get his wife to leave off drinking and had offered to take the pledge with her. He did not pick up the knife, advance towards his wife, And then put the knife down again.
Mr Austin said Mr Emmanuel would probably tell the jury that Mintram received provocation, and set up provocation and justification for crime
His lordship : Provocation is never justification - it is in mitigation.
Mr Austin, continuing, said Mr Emanuel would, he thought probable, ask the jury to find that prisoner struck his wife the blow practically in self-defence, but he thought they would be satisfied that the story given by the boy was the true one. He asked the prisoner questions, with the object of ascertaining how his story could be set off or set against the story told by the son, if he had heard the boy's story.  He got out of the difficulty by saying he did not see the boys there. The boy gave his evidence very fairly and his story was a perfectly consistent one. He asked them to say that that lad’s story was the correct one, and that the woman had not done anything to justify prisoner in taking her life. No matter how provoking a woman might be, it did not justify a man in taking her life.  No words, no names that a man might be called would justify a man in using a dangerous weapon upon the person who uttered those words to him. He said that it was a case of clear murder. One would have expected Mintram would have been able to account for the evidence given by the son in some other way than by saying he did not remember seeing his son at all. He thrust doubt upon the fact of a boy being there, and seeing everything that took place between the father and mother on that night.  The boys story was perfectly consistent, and prisoner was in the dilemma of having to get rid of it in order to justify himself for the commission of this client. He (the speaker) did not propose to allude, beyond a few passing words, to the domestic relations of these people. Mrs Cutler heard the prisoner and his wife quarrelling, as had been given in evidence, between seven and eight on the evening in question, and there was evidence of the police constable that at about 10.50 pm on the night referred to, he, on the outside, heard the two disputing inside, and the words were so loud that a crowd had collected outside.  He asked them to say that it was a clear case of murder. The jury could not, he submitted, thrust aside altogether the evidence of the boy, but if they were to believe the prisoner's story they must do that, as they must absolutely
IGNORE EVERYTHING THE BOY HAD SAID
with regard to the condition of the crime to justify them in finding the lesser verdict to murder. There was no alternative.  The prisoner had been in the witness box and said, practically, the boy was not there, or at any rate, "I don't remember to have seen him there."  In order to find a lesser verdict than the one the prosecution asked them to find, they would have to set aside all together evidence of the boy. The prisoner had told them that he had the knife in his hand when he struck the woman in a sort of casual way, but the doctor had stated that the room was a very deep one – about 31/2 inches in depth. The knife had penetrated right through the back into the lung, and the doctor had told them that the lung was collapsed. Added to that they had the evidence of the boy that at the time the blow was struck the woman was sitting in a chair. The doctor had explained and pointed out on the back of Mr Craik the position of the wound on deceased's body. With a knife used under such circumstances the wound would be almost in the position indicated. He submitted that if the blow had been struck in the way the prisoner asserted, casually, it would have been impossible to have inflicted such a terrible upon the woman as was actually inflicted.  He thought they would have no hesitation in coming to the conclusion that the blow was wilfully struck, and if so found, he asked them to say that Mintram was guilty of the crime charged – of wilfully murdering his wife.
MR EMANUEL, ADDRESSING THE JURY FOR THE DEFENCE
said they had heard two long speeches, one which was considerably laboured, for the prosecution, and it now became his duty to try and say something in favour of Mintram, nor did he think he would have much difficulty in bringing sufficient out to cause them to hesitate before they brought in a verdict convicting Mintram of the gravest offence known to criminal law. He would clear away some of the circumstances respecting which there was no dispute at all. He was not going to insult their intelligence by suggesting that the prisoner was not the cause of this unhappy woman's death; what he was going to suggest was that he had not that premeditation which was a necessary ingredient of the charge of murder. He was not going to say that Mintram was justified in what he did, but that the circumstances of the case were such as to enable them, in justice, to bring in the lesser offence of manslaughter. They must not take everything that Mr Austin had said, whether he had an opinion or not, on the course that he (the speaker) had adopted of procedure. Mr Austin had said many things which he ventured to think he (Mr Austin) did not mean. It was not for Mr Austin to judge and to say "I have this opinion and you must be of the same opinion." That was not the way in which a murder case should be conducted, or, indeed, any case. The jury were the sole judge, Mr Austin was not, nor was he. Mr Austin had
NO RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE VERDICT
and so was able to give his opinion after the evidence, and to leave the responsibility to them.  He (Mr Austin) was not responsible for the facts of the case or for his opinion upon those facts – it was for the jury, and the jury only.  It was not right for him to go there and tell them he had authority when he said this, that, and the other. Mr Austin's remarks were but in the way of submissions to the jury, but so long as They understood they were not bound by those remarks and his opinion he (the speaker) was satisfied. There was no doubt in this case prisoner was the cause of the unhappy woman's death.  He could not conceal that from them, and should not attempt, nor had he attempted to do so. Mintram's hand struck the blow, his hand caused the unfortunate wound, and her death.  When they came to consider the position in which the wound was they would find it was [one?] of the things, which, taken into consideration, helped to show there was no premeditation.  He suggested it was not in a place where a person who had premeditated murder would strike for the purpose of committing the act. When they came to take into consideration what actually passed then and afterwards, he should ask them to say that under those circumstances there was not the premeditation necessary for murder, but the unfortunate crime committed was the lesser one of manslaughter. He was not going to ask them to return a verdict of not guilty, but was going to suggest it would be their duty to find Mintram guilty of manslaughter. The evidence, apart from that of the boy William, was consistent with either murder or manslaughter, except in some part which he should point out as substantially corroborating the prisoner's story. The only living witness of the unhappy so were the prisoner and his unfortunate son.
Mintram
DID NOT REMEMBER HIS SON BEING THERE,
and it was very possible that he did not. Mintram went in on this night, having had something to drink, but he was sober enough to know that his wife was not in the condition she fought to be. They knew, and apparently the prisoner knew, at that time that the boots had been sold on that day by the deceased. The prisoner resented it when he came in, and could the jury have any doubt at all that words took place at of after the time he entered the house on the evening when the murder was committed. They could have no doubt, because an independent witness, the police constable, told them at the time, when the question was put to him, that it was 10.50 when he passed the house and heard words.  Evidence was that the prisoner came into the house at a 10:45, exactly 5 minutes before the words were heard.

PC Smith was recalled at the suggestion of his lordship, and in reply to a question Said he fixed the time because he told his mate it was close upon turning out time, and he would slip down the street and be back in the main street before turning-out time.

Mr Emmanuel, resuming, said there was a crowd there sufficient for PC Smith to disperse. That was corroboration and positive proof that prisoner and his wife were having words. He was not going to suggest that the son came there to commit wilful and corrupt perjury that his father might suffer the extreme penalty of the law, but he suggested that under the circumstances the boy might well be excused for forgetting what did take place and omitting to tell them. The boy did not say certain things did not take place, and did not contradict his fathers evidence. In the main point, his evidence was the same as his fathers and to that extent he corroborated what his father had said.  William Mintram did not remember that annoys took place, and that it did take place they could have no doubt. It took place about something, and the prisoner's evidence as to that something was
REASONABLE AND UNCONTRADICTED.
If that were so, how was the evidence of William Mintram, the son, so reliable that the jury must act upon it and that only. Many things that did undoubtedly take place he did not see, for instance the pail of offal in the room, the boy did not see or notice possibly perhaps because it was frequently there, and he would not notice it. The prison and the doctor spoke to it. Was it not likely under these circumstances the prisoner coming home to have his supper that it would form the subject of a dispute. The prisoner said it did. And he was not contradicted. Undoubtedly the subject of the talk was the boots sold and the pail of slaps in the room while he was there having supper.  The admission of the prisoner that he slapped his wife's face was a testimony to his candour, and why he should be believed. He did not seek to minimise what he had done on this occasion, Although he might have sworn that his son was not there, and he never slapped her in the face. Was William Mintram's evidence such as they could rely upon?  If true, and nothing was to be added to or taken away from it, was not the man's conduct that of a lunatic. He walked into the house, he sat down with his supper, there was nothing to complain of, there was no quarrel or trouble of any kind, then by way of a kind of relish to his supper he hit his wife in the face, and suddenly thinking "I may just as well give her a little bit of the knife," Got up to "jab" it into her. He put it down again, and when he thought his son was going to take it he picked it up again and killed his wife, she never having said a word from start to finish. That was the evidence they were asked to rely upon, and to reject the prisoners evidence. He submitted that they could rely on his evidence except where it was populated, and it was in one or two particulars, and he prayed that in aid of the prisoners statement, but where it did not agree he asked Julie to say that the boys was not sufficiently reliable for them to act upon, and his was the only evidence that contradicted what the prisoner said.  The prisoner told them that
A BETTER WIFE COULD NOT HAVE BEEN
when she was sober.  Had they not experience of good wives and women who were devils when they were drunk: had they not heard of married lives rendered unhappy by reason of the unfortunate taste of liquor, Which went absent caused married life to be as happy as possible, and when present caused unhappiness and quarrelling. He said when she was sober he and she lived happily together, but when drink came into the house or into them unhappiness followed. He was a very hard-working man of excellent character for work and conduct. Having taken his pleasure on the foot[ball] ground, he went home and found his wife the worse for drink, as he had said, and whether it were true or not she used the money that the boots were sold for he could not say, but that was undoubtedly the inference the prisoner had in his mind, that she had sold the boots that day and had received the money for them, the man be at work at the time, and she was the worst liquor. Seeing her thus, he said to her, "What? Drunk again?" and then they started about the boots. If she had been sober and without liquor this could not have happened, but with it the devil came forth, she rushed at him and then came the instance of the smack in the face he spoke of.
THE DEEPEST PART OF THIS UNFORTUNATE TRAGEDY.
Sitting down at table about to eat his meal, his meat before him, knife and fork in hand, he saw the pail of slops, And asked whether that was not a pretty thing with the back so near. The woman rushed at him and he stood up. He did not take up the knife, as that was in his hand, and there was not the premeditation they heard of in murders.  The woman rushed at him, and in an ungovernable temper, without any premeditation, he struck her, the knife unfortunately in his hand because he was eating his supper, and then bitter regret.  Had they any reason to doubt that the man was fond of his wife, and that in his sober senses he would be sorry to think that he could be suspected of doing anything of that sort.  Could they say beyond all reasonable doubt – he did not want to put it too high in favour of the prison – because in all human affairs there was doubt, but was the doubt in this case so small that the jury were going to say that the prisoner wilfully of his malice aforethought, or, to put it in less legal terms, with premeditation, killed his wife. That he killed his wife no one more regretted than the prisoner did; but did the jury think he intended to murder his wife.  He had told them he never did. If they thought there was premeditation the verdict must be wilful murder. If there were circumstances which caused them to doubt premeditation, and to think that it did not amount to murder, then it became one of manslaughter, which he suggested would be the safer verdict.  Unless the jury saw reason to reject the prisoner's evidence it was their duty to believe him, especially when he pointed out that in every material particular his evidence was corroborated. He asked them under these circumstances to say it was consistent with their duty to find
A VERDICT OF MANSLAUGHTER, AND NOT WILFUL MURDER.
His duty, a grave and heavy one, was discharged. He had been there on the part of the prisoner, not to blind their eyes to the gravity of the charge, he hoped not to minimise it unduly, and certainly only to act conscientiously in putting the points before them, because the jury could not discharge their duty properly without having the points put pro and con. That happened to be his duty, and he hoped and trusted that he had dealt with all the points that were material to the case. He thought he had, so far as his memory served him; but if in addressing them he had omitted anything, the jury should not think because he had omitted points that they had not to deal with them. They could not ultimately, if they brought in a verdict unhappily against the prisoner, shelter themselves behind him because he had not called attention to any points. If there verdict should be wilful murder there was only one punishment; but if they returned a Verdict of manslaughter the prisoner could be punished according to the gravity of the case. In the one case any error could not be [illegible] and in the other it could.  He was not saying this to frighten them, but the thrown the responsibility on them, and he would ask is, beyond all shadow of doubt, the prosecution had shown premeditation or was there a doubt that such was absent and They should find a verdict for the lesser offence.
His lordship
COMPLIMENTED MR EMANUEL
upon his speech for the defence – he had discharged himself of a difficult task most ably and [illegible].  The only mistake Mr Emanuel had ?? was falling into the common phrase that ?? not be murder unless they ??? The common law mean by premeditation nothing more than the doing of a highly dangerous ?? in such a way as to really??? The learned counsel has ?? rightly, that there was no question ?? this man - the question was whether [he was guilty] of murder of manslaughter.  he had [inflicted with?] a most dangerous kind of weapon, a [wound in] a most dangerous part of the body.  There was no trace of evidence or suggestion to show that he was driven to do it in self-defence.  That was the only thing that could be justification and [lead?] to acquittal altogether.  There was nothing to suggest that the woman had the power to [at]tack him in any such way as to justify him in [tak]ing her life.  There would be a ?? if he was not to be convicted [at least?] of manslaughter, which was an offence which allowed ? adaptation of punishment to the crime.
WHAT THE JURY HAD TO CONSIDER
was whether they could reduce the offence to manslaughter. The law of England ?? and juries to act on the view that nothing generally speaking, than an actual ?? amount to such provocation as to reduce ?? of that kind to manslaughter. He did not ?? should be putting the case at all ?? them the whole question was whether they ?? the woman was assaulting Mintram and ?? immediately before he struck her. It ?? that the crime was manslaughter, it ?? thought she was nagging at him, and ?? [acccep]ted the boy's evidence, ??[mur]der. If they saw sufficient reason to [doubt the?] boy's evidence, and accept Mintram ?? then it was manslaughter. Even ?? drunken woman was going for him with [the intention?] of hitting him, it was a most ?? use the knife, but it might be they ?? the sudden use of a knife already in his hands ?? another purpose.  The boy's evidence ?? of the [case stood?]  almost alone with ?? of the prisoner's own statement. Mintram ?? pretend to recollect anything about the boy ?
THE BOY'S STORY WAS VERY CURIOUS
- he said that without a word being said ?? went and hit his wife in the mouth, and then ?? nothing having been said sufficient to attract the boy's attention, went and picked up a knife ?? so obviously with the intention of using it ?? boy went to stop him, and after a ?? an interval that would have allowed [Mintram's?] blood to cool had there been any ?? and picked the knife up again and stabbed [the] woman.  That story was strange enough to ?? hesitation before they entirely adopted it. There were things very much against him certainly, P.C. Smith, whose evidence did not appear to be [subject?] to any question, heard them from the outside and they could hardly place reliance on the [boy's?] evidence after that : the boy's evidence was that [nothing?] was said. He thought they would be ?? their rights if they declined to say it was murder and that the offence should be reduced to manslaughter.
The jury retired to consider their verdict and after an absence of just under ten minutes returned and the foreman intimated that they had found the prisoner guilty of manslaughter - The announcement was greeted with applause, which was quickly suppressed.
Mr Emmanuel : You lordship will remember Mintram's good character.
His lordship said the jury had taken a ?? view, which he did not say was a wrong view at all.
THE EVIDENCE OF AN ASSAULT
was very slight, but the jury had taken the view that there was sufficient evidence for them to [act?] upon, but it remained that the crime was ?? most serious kind. The use of the knife could not be tolerated for a moment, or excused for a moment -  it was a most dangerous weapon used in a most dangerous part of the body, where prisoner must have known there was great risk of serious injury, and what was the?? or the impulse came ?? him it was impossible to say, or what was the ?[cation], in a second sense, might have been, although in law not admissible in any way to justify the act.
Prisoner had very narrowly escaped conviction for murder, and must be sentenced to
12 YEARS PENAL SERVITUDE.  
Mintram, whose face indicated relief, was then removed.
Subsequently Mr Emanuel applied that Mr Hassell, a mission worker, of Southampton, might be allowed to see Mintram, which application his lordship readily granted.


Notes

  1. Probably Robert Samuel Wright (1839–1904)
  2. Probably Henry Evans Austin (1858-?)
  3. Sir George Lillie Craik (1874-1929)
  4. Samuel Henry Emanuel (1865-1925)
  5. John W. Bogeln (1860-1940)

Related Biographies:

William Mintram