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Full text of "Trial of George Joseph Smith"

THE LIBRARY 

OF 

THE UNIVERSITY 

OF CALIFORNIA 
LOS ANGELES 



motablc British trials 



George Joseph Smith 



NOTABLE BRITISH TRIALS 
SERIES. 



Madeleine Smith. Edited by A. Duncan Smith. 

Dr. Pritchard. Edited by William Roughead. 

The Stauntons. Edited by J. B. Atlay. 

Franz Muller. Edited by H. B. Irving. 

The Annesley Case. Edited by Andrew Lang. 

Lord Lovat. Edited by David N. Mackay. 

Captain Porteous. Edited by William Roughead. 

William Palmer. Edited by Geo. H. Knott. 

Mrs. Maybrick. Edited by H. B. Irving. 

Dr. Lamson. Edited by H. L. Adam. 

Mary Blandy. Edited by William Roughead. 

City of Glasgow Bank Directors. Edited by 
William Wallace. 

Deacon Brodie. Edited by William Roughead. 

James Stewart. Edited by David N. Mackay. 

A. J. Monson. Edited by J. W. More. 

Oscar Slater. Edited by William Roughead. 

E. M. Chantrelle. Edited by A. Duncan Smith. 

The Douglas Cause. Edited by A. Francis 
Steuart. 

Mrs. M'Lachlan. Edited by William Roughead. 

Eugene Aram. Edited by Eric R. Watson. 

J. A. Dickman. Edited by S. O. Rowan- 
Hamilton. 

The Seddons. Edited by Filson Young. 

Sir Roger Casement. Edited by Geo. H. Knott. 

H. H Crippen. Edited by Filson Young. 

The Wainwrights. Edited by H. B. Irving. 

Thurtell and Hunt. Edited by Eric R. Watson. 

Burke and Hare. Edited by William Roughead. 

Steinie Morrison. Edited by H. Fletcher 
Moulton. 

George Joseph Smith. Edited by Eric R. Watson. 



IN PREPARATION. 

Mary Queen of Scots. Edited by A. Francis 

Steuart. 
Neill Cream. Edited by W. Teignmouth Shore. 
Dr. Philip Cross. Edited by P. J. O'Hara. 
Henry Fauntleroy. Edited by Horace Bleackley. 

Pur tnulars may be had from the Publishers. 
Wm. Hodge & Co.. Ltd.. Edinburgh and London 




Mr. Justice Scrutton, 



[J, Russell .v So 



Trial of 

George Joseph Smith 



EDITED BY 



Eric R. Watson, LL.B. 

Author of "Eugene Aram: His Life and Trial"; Editor of the 
"Trial of Thurtell," &c. ; a Member of the Medico Legal Society 

8o\o(p6vov XiftyjTos tvxo-v <ro, \tyu. 
Aeschylus KA2ANAPA 




EDINBURGH AND LONDON 

WILLIAM HODGE & COMPANY, LTD. 



PRINTED BY 

WILLIAM IIODUE AND COMPANY, LIMITED 

GLASGOW AND EDINBURGH 






<?4. 



Go 

ARTHUR NEIL 

SUPERINTENDENT OF POLICE, C.I.D. 

SCOTLAND YARD 

TO WHOSE UNTIRING EFFORTS THE CONVICTION 

OF SMITH WAS MAINLY DUE 

THIS VOLUME 

IS 

WITH HIS PERMISSION 

DEDICATED 

BY 
THE EDITOR 



1669431 



PREFACE. 

The trial of George Joseph Smith is without a parallel in the history 
of crime in any age or country. The singularly revolting means by 
which the murderer accomplished the destruction of his victims, the 
spectacle of Justice, in all its pomp and circumstance, solemnly decid- 
ing whether one transparently worthless man should live or die at a 
time when the war claimed a daily holocaust from among the youngest 
and bravest of the manhood of Britain, the novelty of the questions 
of forensic medicine, the complexity of the evidence given by some 
120 witnesses, twice as many as were needed to establish the guilt of 
Palmer — all combine to make this a notable trial indeed. A shrewd 
American lawyer, after a few weeks spent in observing our Courts, 
said, " British justice! It's dear, but it's prime! " And certainly 
we may, I think, regard with complacency this patient and costly 
investigation, pursued day after day at such a period. 

I have to thank numerous people for their assistance in prepar- 
ing this volume; firstly, the Right Honourable Lord Justice Scrutton, 
for the loan of his photograph and for the favour of his views on the 
medico-legal issues ; Sir Archibald Bodkin, for the loan of his photo- 
graph ; Sir Edward Marshall Hall, for the loan of his copy of the 
shorthand notes and for some autograph memoranda by the murderer ; 
Mr. Montague Shearman, for like benefits, and the loan of much 
correspondence not actually put in as exhibits. 

Dr. Bernard Spilsbury has most kindly revised all the medical 
evidence, and has assisted me as to certain gynecological and patho- 
logical matters, respecting the illnesses and deaths of the " brides." 
Mr. Neil has placed all the Scotland Yard material at my disposal, and 
Detective Inspector Page has very kindly lent me his photographs 
bearing on the case. Detective Inspector Grose has also rendered 
me assistance in presenting the manner in which the police worked 
up the case. The clerk attached to room 93, C.I.D., has also laid 
me under obligations by visiting me with dockets and documents from 
the " Yard." If one has any regrets at publishing so infamous a 
story of crime, the main one is that the ease with which murder 
may be thus accomplished may lead others to emulate Smith's 
example. Indeed, the Egyptian police have reason to believe that in 



viii PREFACE. 

a certain city in Egypt in 1909 a certain husband anticipated the 
methods of the subject of this study. 

Since the completion of my introduction the principles of criminal 
evidence in cases where system is alleged have again been discussed. 
In an address I delivered before the Medico-Legal Society in London 
on 30th May I pointed out that the decision in Armstrong's case, 
where there was a case for conviction without the evidence as to 
Martin, did nothing to clear up the matter left in doubt in Smith's 
case, viz., whether evidence of facts showing system is admissible to 
establish a case which, without it, is not even a primd facie case. 

Eric R. Watson. 
June, 1922. 



CONTENTS. 

PAGE 

Introduction, 1 

Leading Dates in the G. J. Smith Case, 59 

First Day— Tuesday, 22nd June, 1915. 
Mr. Bodkin's Opening Speech for the Crown, ------ 63 



Second Day — Wednesday, 23rd June, 1915. 

Evidence for the Prosecution. 



Arthur Amos Elliott, - - 75 

George Burdett, 75 

Mrs. Caroline Thornhill, - 75 

Herbert Mundy, 76 

George Howard Mundy, - - 81 

William Ralph Marshall, - - 83 

Inspector Arthur Neil, - - 83 

Mrs. Maud Crabbe, • 88 

Frederick Robert Crabbe, 86 

William Thomas Wilkinson, - 89 



Arthur Frederick Eaton, - - 90 
Harold Alexander George 

Stevens, 91 

Mrs. Sarah Tuckett, 92 
Wadsworth Burrow Lillington, 93 

Carrie Esther Rapley, - - 95 

Frederick Henri Wilbee, - - 100 

Percy Ruffitt, - - - - 101 

William John Masterton, - - 101 

Albert Frederick Hudgell, - 103 



Third Day— Thursday, 24th June, 1915. 



Philip de Vere Annesley, • - 105 

Frederick Henry Barwood, - 112 

Alfred Apps Hogbin, - - 113 

Percy Millgate, - - • - 115 

Dr. Frank Austin French, - 116 

John Kitchingham, - - - 124 

Rutley Mowll, - - - - 124 

John Kitchingham (recalled), - 127 

Mrs. Francis Stone, - - - 127 

Mrs. Alice Mintner, - - - 127 

Mrs. Ellen Millgate, - - - 128 

James Percival Galpin, - - 130 

Thomas Head Sledall, - - 130 



Elsie Lord, - - - - 131 

Ernest Hudson Bellamy, - - 131 

William Seymour M 'In tyre, - 132 

Frederick Jonathan White, - 132 

John Henry King, - - - 133 

Frederick John Lazenby, - - 133 

Sidney Howard Pomeroy, - - 133 

Charles Barber, - - - - 133 

Frederick Wyatt Denning, - 134 

David Moses Phillips, - - 134 

Albert Wiseman Bailey, - - 134 

Arthur Bertram Pender, - - 134 



Fourth Day — Friday, 25th June, 1915. 



William James Knowles, - - 135 

Charles Frederick Pleasance, - 135 

Dr. Harold Burrows, - - 140 

Charles Burnham, - - - 141 

William Henderson, - - - 144 

Mrs. Elizabeth Burnham, - - 144 

Norman Charles Burnham, 146 

Mrs. Annie May Pinchin, - 146 

Claud Edward Allen Reedhead, 147 

Robert Joseph Robinson, - - 147 

Mrs. Annie Page, - - - 148 

Dr. Bertram Stone, - - - 148 

Frank Percival, . - - - 151 



Charles Henry Wayling, - - 151 

Susanna Marsden, - - - 151 

Mrs. Margaret Crossley, - - 151 

Mrs. Alice Crossley, - - - 157 

Joseph Crossley, - - - 160 

Mrs. Annie Page (recalled), - 161 

Frederick Joseph Eckersall, - 161 

Mrs. Ada Brown, - - - 161 

Cecil Heane Lindop, - - - 162 

Robert Pemberton Lever, - - 162 

Gordon Hier Evans, - - - 162 

William Harris Clefford, - - 162 



CONTENTS. 



Fifth Day— Saturday, 26th June, 1915. 



William Haynes, 

Mrs. Sarah Haynes, - 

Robert Valiant, - 

Dr. George Billing, - 

Samuel Tudor, - 

John Hargreaves, 

Frederick Hargreaves, 

George Francis, - 

John Haldman Robbins, - 

Frederick Webster Cozens, 



163 
163 
164 
166 
169 
171 
172 
172 
172 
175 





PAGE 


Percy Ruffett, - 


- 176 


Mrs. Marriet Smith, - 


- 176 


William Cyril Winckworth, 176 


Mrs. Emma Heiss, 


- 177 


Ada Annie Lokker, - 


- ITS 


Isaac Dennison, - 


- 178 


Arthur Griffith Lewis, 


- 179 


Percy Ruffett (recalled), 


- 179 


Arthur Neil (recalled), 


- 179 



Sixth Day— Monday, 28th June, 1915. 



Ethel Susan Lofty, - - - 182 

Emily Marion Lofty, - - 182 

Dr. George Henry Barker, - 183 

Thomas Rayner Cooper, - - 183 

Louisa Blatch, ... - 184 

Stanley Heath, - - - - 189 

Henry Neal, - - - - 191 

Thomas Arthur Bird, - - 192 

Walter Schroder, - - 194 

Dr. Stephen Henry Bates, - 195 

Florence Green,- - - - 200 



Sidney Philip Mitchell, - - 200 

Frederick Beckett, - - - 200 

Herbert Francis Beckett, - - 200 

Arthur Russell Davies, - - 200 

Thomas Fuller, - - - 201 

Frederick Kelvington, - - 201 

Selina King, .... -202 

Charles Penfold Ballard, - - 202 

Harold Reid, - - - - 203 

Dr. Bernard Henry Spilsbury, - 204 



Seventh Day— Tuesday, 29th June, 1915. 



Rutley Mowll (recalled), - - 210 

Frank Austin French, - - 211 

Rutley Mowll (recalled), - - 212 

Dr. Bernard Spilsbury (recalled), 212 

Dr. William Henry Willcox, - 238 



Edith Mabel Pegler, - 
Arthur Neil (recalled), 
Frank Page, 
Arthur Neil (recalled), 
Harold Reid (recalled), 



252 
257 
258 
259 
260 



Eighth Day — Wednesday, 30th June, 1915. 
Mr. Bodkin's Closing Speech for the Crown, - 
Mr. Marshall Hall's Speech for the Defence, - 
Mr. Justice Scrutton's Charge to the Jury, 
Verdict and Sentence, 



261 
262 
268 
309 



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS. 



Mr. Justice Scrutton, 



Frontispiece 



G. J. Smith, facing page 

Mr. Archibald Bodkin, 

Beatrice Constance Annie Mundy, 

Facsimile of a note written by G. J. Smith and handed by 
him to Mr. Marshall Hall, K.C., 

Heme Bay Bath, 

Alice Burnham, 

G. J. Smith, "Esq.," 

Blackpool Bath, 



Facsimile of a note written by G. J. Smith and handed by 
him to Mr. Marshall Hall, K.C., 

Margaret Elizabeth Lofty, 

Mr. E. Marshall Hall, K.C., 

G. J. Smith, from official photograph taken in Brixton Prison, 



51 
63 

76 

91 
118 
141 
161 
167 

177 
182 
262 
309 



He did not pass in purple pomp 
Nor ride a moon white steed, 

Three yards of cord and a sliding board 
Are all the gallows need : 

So with rope of shame the herald came 
To do the secret deed. 

We waited for the stroke of eight, 

Each tongue was thick with thirst ; 

For the stroke of eight is the stroke offate 
That makes a man accursed, 

And Fate will use a running noose 
For the best man and the worst. 



INTRODUCTION. 
I. 

A Narrative of the Life and Crimes of 
George Joseph Smith. 

George Joseph Smith, the most atrocious English criminal since 
Palmer, was born on January 11, 1872, at 92 Roman Road, Bethnal 
Green, his father being George Thomas Smith, an insurance agent, 
and his mother Louisa Smith, nee Gibson. The son early displayed 
criminal tendencies, and seems to have been sent to the reformatory 
at Gravesend at the tender age of nine, remaining there till he was 
sixteen (statement of Mrs. Love, Lewes, Oct. 11, 1899). 

When he left the reformatory he went to live with his mother, 
but he speedily took to evil courses, and got seven days for a small 
theft. That would be about the year 1890. On February 7, 1891, he 
was sentenced to six months' hard labour at Lambeth Police Court, 
in the name of George Smith, for stealing a bicycle. He stated to 
Miss Thornhill, his only lawful wife, that he served three years in 
the Northamptonshire Regiment, and he referred to a service with 
it to Sergeant Page on his arrest, while to the witness Crabbe he 
referred in vaguer terms to a period of military service, when he was 
a gymnasium instructor. The police attach little importance to 
this supposed devotion to Mars. What is incontrovertible is that 
b 1 



George Joseph Smith. 

on July 24, 1896, he received twelve months' hard labour at the 
North London Sessions for larceny and receiving — three cases in 
all — in the name of George Baker. At this time he was known to 
the police as the associate of a woman unknown, whom he placed 
in various situations and induced to steal for him. 

After coming out of prison, he proceeded to Leicester, where 
he opened a baker's shop at 28 Russell Square. While residing 
there he met, towards the end of 1897, Caroline Beatrice 
Thornhill. and, after a short acquaintance, during which he 
suggested cohabitation without marriage, married her on January 17, 
1898, at St. Matthew's Church, her relatives, who strongly dis- 
approved of the bridegroom, not attending the ceremony. His 
bride had previously been a friend of a girl he employed in his shop, 
and she was only eighteen or nineteen years of age at the time. On 
this occasion Smith gave the name of George Oliver Love, and 
described his father as a detective of the name of George Love. The 
business failed in about six months. " Mrs. Love " went to a cousin 
in Nottingham, where " Mr. Love " pursued her. 

Bringing " Mrs. Love " with him to London, he forced her to 
take various situations in London, for which he supplied the reference 
— posing as her late employer. He himself did no work. He also 
obtained situations for her at various places on the south coast, such 
as Brighton, Hove, and Hastings. At the last-mentioned resort the 
unhappy " Mrs. Love " fell into the hands of the police. Without 
going into particulars, it suffices to say thai Smith succeeded in 
making his escape for a while from the clutches of the law, only, 
however, to be arrested in London on November 11, 1900, on a 
charge preferred by his wife, whereupon he was taken to Hastings, and 
on January 9, 1901, two days before his twenty-ninth birthday, he 
was sentenced to two years' imprisonment, with hard labour, for 
receiving stolen goods. He remained in durance until October 10, 
1902, when he was released, and he was next heard of in Leicester 
trying to find " Mrs. Love," but he did not succeed, her brothers 
chasing him out of the town. " Mrs. Love " had reason to fear for 
her safety if she remained anywhere within the reach of her George, 
and she accordingly left the country, taking ship to Canada, where 
she continued to dwell, except for a brief visit to Leicester in 1912 
and 1913, until summoned back to England by the Scotland Yard 
authorities in 1915. 

Smith was not, however, without a second wife, even at this 
early stage. Partly for the gratification of his strong animal pro- 

2 



Introduction. 

pensities, and even more because he much preferred to exploit women 
rather than work for himself or them, he had availed himself some 
time during 1899 of a temporary absence from his Beatrice to cast 

his basilisk glances over Miss , a very respectable and industrious 

boarding-house keeper in the metropolis. He went through a cere- 
mony of marriage with her in 1899 at the registry office, St. George's, 
Hanover Square.* From time to time he would return to her, 
demanding money of her, and sometimes showing her large sums of 
gold, for the possession of which he would account as later he did to 
Miss Pegler. I shall recur to his relations with this unhappy woman 
in the concluding part of my Introduction. Her last glimpse of Smith 
was through a grating looking out upon the exercise yard at Penton- 
ville Prison, where her " husband," his sentence of death confirmed 
by the Court of Criminal Appeal, was in utter despondency pacing 
up and down, awaiting his removal to the gaol of Maidstone, the 
place appointed for him to expiate his iniquities.! 

Some time in 1908, in the name of George Love, he got some very 
subordinate employment in a West-End club ; he seems to have been 
dismissed for inefficiency, so far as can be judged from a letter 
written when awaiting his trial for murder in Brixton Prison in 
1915. This letter, characteristic for its vile grammar and spelling, 
its incoherence, and its braggart assumption of " my marked love 
of poetry and the fine arts," begged a favourable statement from 
the steward. 

In June he was in Brighton, and he encountered on the front 
Mrs. F. W., a widow. He gave the name of George Joseph 
Smith, posed as a man of means, and pursued Mrs. W. to Worth- 
ing, where she was employed. The usual proposal of marriage 
followed; " he insisted on seeing my bank book." The amount was 
£33 13s. He professed to be a dealer in antiques; they remained 
at Worthing about three weeks, and the lady made arrangements 

to withdraw her balance. She introduced him to a Mrs. M , 

a friend, but that lady took an instant and violent dislike to the 
antique dealer. On July 3 the happy pair went to Camden Town 
Post Office to withdraw the money. Smith would have appropriated 



* The office is in Prince's Row, Buckingham Palace Road. — E.R.W. 

t The identification of Smith by this woman is confirmed in a letter to me 
from the prison governor, dated 28/6/21. The chaplain, who attended Smith at 
Maidstone, stated in an article in the Weekly Dispatch of December 4, 1921, 
that the woman withdrew her identification, but this appears to rest only on 
Smith's unsupported statement, and is at variance with my information. — E.R.W. 

3 



George Joseph Smith. 

the lot, but Mrs. W. left in £3 13s. ; so £20 in gold and two £5 
notes were placed on the counter and snatched up by Smith. " He 
knew I had no pocket," said Mrs. W. 

The usual inexpensive jaunt followed — this time to the White 
City — the usual excuse to leave the inamorata, the usual speedy 
return to the apartments, and the usual lying note about forwarding 
the box on. The total value of Mrs. W.'s belongings that Smith 
took was about £80 to £90 (statement to Inspector Neil, 26/2/15). 

Now was about to begin the one romance of this sordid life. 
Smith, with Mrs. W.'s money and effects, went to Bristol, where 
he set up a small shop at 389 Gloucester Road as a second-hand 
furniture dealer. At 368, in the same road, dwelt Edith Mabel 
Pegler with her mother. On July 1 she advertised for a situation as 
housekeeper, where a servant was kept. Smith replied to her 
advertisement, and she speedily consented to keep house for him, 
although he was not in a position to afford a servant. After a week's 
acquaintance, Smith had so captivated Miss Pegler' s maiden heart 
that she consented to be his, although his means were very nebulous — 
a mythical aunt who allowed him money, and " that he went about 
the country dealing." The marriage was solemnised at St. Peter's 
Registry Office, Bristol, on July 30, by special licence, Smith being 
married for the first time in his real name, describing himself as 
thirty-three years of age, a bachelor and general dealer, son of 
George Smith, deceased, figure artist [exhibit 162]. 

Smith's relations to the only woman to whom he did not behave 
with inhuman cruelty, although to her he lied and to her begrudged 
the smallest sums of his ill-gotten wealth, sufficiently appear from 
her evidence at the trial. Two matters may here be noted, however. 
He gave poor Alice Reavil's* modest trousseau to his Edith, saying 
ho had been doing a deal in ladies' second-hand clothing. And it 
appeared from Miss Pegler' s first statement to the police, taken by 
the late Detective-Inspector Cole and Sergeant Page at Bristol, that 
Smith only once during all the years she knew him had a bath, at 
Weston-super-Mare, and that he had never inquired at any of their 
various apartments for a bath, and that he had more than once 
remarked to her that he did not believe in using baths in apartment 
houses which other people had access to. At the trial, it will be 
noted, under the encouraging suggestions of Mr. Marshall Hall.t she 



* She was called at the police court ; but not at the trial. Her statement is 
stated in substance at p. 21 of this Introduction. 
t Now Sir Edward Marshall Hall. 
4 



Introduction. 

was disposed to magnify somewhat the passion which ranks next to 
godliness, so far as it moved Mr. Smith. 

About June, 1909, Smith was in Southampton with Miss Pegler, 
and using his customary licence of wandering forth o' nights without 

her, he encountered Miss S A F . Posing as George 

Rose, bachelor and dealer in antiques, he laid immediate siege to her 
heart, but for a time they did not meet. In October he renewed his 
protestations; after a fortnight, during which he made play with 
the mythical monied aunt and mysterious resources in the bank, of 

which, needless to say, Miss F saw nothing, she capitulated, and 

they were married on October 29 at the local registry office by special 

licence. The rest of Miss F 's story is soon told. 

They took the train to Clapham Junction, and put their belongings 
in the cloakroom, while they went to find apartments. " Mr. Rose " 
knew that his inamorata had £50 in cash before he married her, 
and he lost little time in ascertaining the full extent of her resources ; 
he looked at her bank book whilst she was unpacking, and was 
delighted to find that she was worth £260, without including about 
£30 of Government stock. By 2nd or 3rd November the whole £260 
in notes and gold — he had asked for it all in gold — was in Mr. 
Rose's possession — he denying to his yielding bride the price of a 
taxi fare. She had already given him the £50. On November 5 
the proceeds of the sale of the Government stock were handed over 
to Mr. Rose in his wife's presence, and, having now acquired every- 
thing but what she stood up in, the antique dealer and picture restorer 
was moved by a very natural desire to expand his bride's mind (as 
he was soon to enlarge her knowledge of human nature) by taking 
her to the National Gallery. Here, by a coincidence which befell 
him again in Miss Reavil's case, Mr. Smith was obliged to retire and 
leave his submissive lady, promising to return in a moment. He did 
return — to their lodgings, where he packed up every stitch of clothing 
the poor, deceived, and betrayed girl possessed, and when, after 
waiting an hour at the Gallery, she returned to their apartments, 
she found only three empty boxes and his cycle, which was left in the 
cloakroom. As in Miss Reavil's case, he sent a lying letter and a 

further registered letter. Miss F , with but a few pence left in 

the world, went to a friend's house for the night, and never saw Mr. 
Rose again until he was in custody on a charge of murder, on April 
24, 1915. 

Smith, true to his invariable practice, now rejoined Miss Pegler, 
he writing to her to meet him at Southend. On November 16 he 

invested £240 of Miss F 's fortune in buying 22 Glenmore Street, 

5 



George Joseph Smith. 

Southend, the price of which was £270, £30 remaining on mortgage. 
During his visit to the Gallery he had doubtless gazed at the master- 
pieces of our greatest land and seascape painter, and he told his con- 
fiding Edith that the funds he had so surprisingly become possessed 
of represented a fortunate deal in a seascape by Joseph Mallord 
William Turner. 

After leaving Southend, the Smiths went to Ashley Down Road, 
Bristol, where he resided, maintaining himself on further loans 
until September 2, 1910, when the amount owing was about £93. He 
was still borrowing on the Southend house, for he sent a receipt 
for a loan received from the Woolwich Equitable Building Society, 
from which he had purchased the property. For particulars of 
these transactions the reader is referred to W. J. Masterson's 
evidence. 

Smith was now nearing the end of his resources, and he pro- 
ceeded to search for another dupe. In the neighbourhood of Clifton 
— perhaps in those charming Leigh Woods dear to the memory of 
every old Cliftonian — he encountered Beatrice Constance Annie 
Mundy. She was the daughter of a deceased bank manager, and 
was at the time thirty-three years of age. Soon after her father's 
death her relatives persuaded her to execute a voluntary settlement 
of her property acquired under her father's will. Particulars of this 
settlement will be found in Ponting's deposition and Annesley's 
evidence. Here it may be said that her fortune amounted to some 
£2500 in gilt-edged securities. Smith soon won Mi.s.s Mundy's 
confidence and affection, and they became engaged after a few days' 
acquaintance. He arrived on August 22 with Miss Mundy at 14. 
Rodwell Avenue, Weymouth, where they took two rooms, and on the 
26th they were married at the registry, he giving the name of Henry 
Williams, thirty-five, bachelor, picture restorer, son of Hemy John 
Williams, commercial traveller. Miss Mundy, of course, gave 
correct particulars. 

" Mr. Williams " was prompt in discovering that his bride 
received her income monthly from her trustees at the rate of £8 a 
month, and that there was due her some £138, which they retained 
in hand to meet emergencies. On the very wedding day we find him 
instructing Mr. Wilkinson, solicitor, of Weymouth, to write to Mr. 
Ponting, the Mundy family solicitor, of Warminster, for a copy of 
the late bank manager's will. He then discovered the existence of 
the settlement, which protected the corpus of the property from his 
grasp; but still he could secure the £138, and he took the most 
energetic steps to obtain it. These steps appear in the evidence 
6 



Introduction. 

of Messrs. Wilkinson and Eaton, and in the deposition of Mr. 
Ponting, put in after his death, before trial. To put it shortly, by 
September 13 he got possession of all the accumulated arrears in 
gold, less about £3 for Mr. Eaton's professional charges. He at 
once absconded, leaving Miss Mundy penniless and almost without 
clothing, and he wrote her the cruel and disgusting letter which 
will be found in the evidence of Mrs. Crabbe, the landlady. 

He returned to Miss Pegler, and, as will be seen from Master- 
son's evidence, he arranged to pay off his debt to the Equitable, 
writing from Ashley Down Road, and on September 21 he called at 
the office and paid off the £93 mortgage. To account for his 
absence at Weymouth he told his faithful Edith that he had 
" been to London and round the country." The pair did 
not stop long at Bristol, but moved to an address in Southend 
— not Glenmore Road — where they took premises and set up a 
small antique and general dealer's shop. There they remained 
for about four months, going thence to Barking Road, to Waltham- 
stow, and once more to Bristol, Smith carrying on in each place the 
same sort of business in antiques. It was early in 1912 that they 
set up in Bristol, at Bath Road, Brislington. 

For seven weeks life ran on uneventfully for Miss Pegler, when 
her husband began to show symptoms of restlessness. He said he 
would go to London and round the country dealing. He accordingly 
left her, with very little money, to run the small shop during 
his five months of absence, writing on the few occasions when he did 
write from the Woolwich Equitable Society's address. As Smith 
did not support her — he sent her only £2 in five months — and 
the business was not a thriving one, Miss Pegler sold it for a few 
pounds — about £5 — and returned to her mother at 102 Ashley Down 
Road. When she next saw her husband she beheld the murderer 
of Beatrice Mundy (Pegler 's statement at Bow Street, 20/4/15). 

By what the police believe to be the only genuine coincidence in 
the case, the errant footsteps of Smith took him in March to Weston- 
super-Mare, where Beatrice Mundy had been stopping since February 
2 at the house of Mrs. Tuckett, a boarding house named Norwood. 
I will give the story of the reunion of " Mr. and Mrs. Williams " in 
Mrs. Tuckett's own words. On March li Miss Mundy went out about 
eleven to buy some flowers for Mrs. Tuckett, who expected her back 
in half an hour. She in fact returned at one. " She said "—I quote 
Mrs. Tuckett — " as soon as she went out she found her husband 
looking over the sea. She was very excited." At three he 
arrived. I shall dwell later on the instantly unfavourable impres- 

7 



George Joseph Smith. 

sion he made on Mrs. Tuckett. The following passage is from her 
examination-in-chief : — 

Mr. Bodkin* — After these questions that you put to the prisoner did 
he leave? 

Mrs. Tuckett — I told him it was my duty to wire to her aunt. 

Mr. Bodkin — And did he remain in the house that night? 

Mrs. Tuckett — Oh, no. She went with him. She said, " I suppose I may 
go with my husband." I said, " I cannot hold you back, you are 30 ! " She was 
over 30; 31 or 32. She left with him. She never took anything with her. In 
fact she had promised me to come back that night. I did not see her again. 

Apparently it was not only the good Mrs. Tuckett who read the 
sinister mind of the man, for in the letter of March 15 (exhibit 64) 
he refers to the " heated arguments which would have occurred if my 
wife and self had to face you and your friends this evening." 

Incidentally he bilked Mrs. Tuckett of about <£2 10s., but any 
annoyance she felt at this was probably removed by the compliment 
the judge paid her at the Central Criminal Court three years later. 

Mr. Justice ScRUTTONf— I am obliged to you, Mrs. Tuckett, for the clear 
and audible way you have given your evidence. 

The next move of " Mr. Williams " was to get into touch with 
his wife's relations — with a view to an ostensible reconciliation and 
the extraction of more money. He accordingly dragged the sub- 
missive lady to the office of Mr. Lillington, of Messrs. Baker <fc Co., 
solicitors, of Waterloo Street. The visit was paid on the very day of 
the apparently accidental meeting ! With extraordinary effrontery, 
Mr. Williams proceeded, in his wife's hearing, to give a totally un- 
true account of the circumstances under which he had decamped with 
her money in August, 1910. He professed, too, to have "borrowed" 
£150 from her to repay a loan, and, on the solicitor's suggestion, he 
gave his wife a note for that sum, with interest at 4 per cent., and 
Mr. Lillington, on the instructions of husband and wife, wrote the letter 
(exhibit 61) which will be found in his evidence. Mr. Lillington, 
perceiving that Mr. Williams was doing all the talking and 
that the wife was " in an assenting demeanour," challenged 
her as to the truth of every one of the husband's statements, 
and in every instance she confirmed them. He strongly advised her 
to send the promissory note to her uncle, but, of course, Mr. Williams 
frustrated any such intention. When Mr. Lillington saw them for 



* Now Sir Archibald Bodkin. t Now Lord Justice Scrutton. 

6 



Introduction. 

the second and last time on March 16, Mrs. Williams still had the 
note at their lodgings — and it never turned up again. 

Leaving Weston-super-Mare, this singular couple travelled about, 
staying at lodgings in different towns, and late in May they left 
Ashley and came to Heme Bay. Here, on May 20, " Bluebeard 
of the Bath," as Mr. George R. Sims has dubbed him, walked 
into the house of Mr. F. H. Wilbee, J. P., of that town, a 
considerable owner of small house property there. Within that 
house was a little office, where, at rather a high desk, there sat 
and had been sitting for thirty-six and a half years — not thirty-five 
years, Mr. Bodkin — Miss Carrie Esther Rapley. He did not 
know it — this cheap accapareur de femines with the appearance of a 
butcher and the breeding of a scavenger — but he had met one of 
those women, and there were several in the case, whose feminine 
instinct, like the protective antennae of insects, warned them that 
here was a dangerous man. Miss Rapley was not a young woman, 
but because she was a woman, Smith, without any friendships or even 
acquaintanceships among men, immediately proceeded to become 
expansive. I will let her admirably clear evidence speak for itself, 
only regretting that I cannot give it word for word. She becomes 
suspicious at the first interview. She asks for a banker's reference, 
and he produces a Savings Bank book. She asks to see it; he puts 
it back in his pocket. He is evasive about his means; but his wife 
has money. " I might just as well tell you she is a notch above me," 
and he grows more expansive. In the end he takes the house he 
had come to inquire about, 80 High Street, on a yearly tenancy, at 
£18 a year, rent payable monthly. The agreement (exhibit 7) 
calls for little comment; it was, however, a yearly tenancy; Mr. 
Williams wanted a monthly one, and he gave up the house, after 
paying two months' rent in advance, the second payment being 
at that singular interview with Miss Rapley which we shall come 
to later. 

It will be recalled that soon after the marriage Mr. Williams 
became aware of his wife's voluntary settlement; he had already 
obtained a copy of this about September 5, 1910, but he obtained 
another later, through her, about June 10, 1912, and this he brought 
to the office of Mr. Annesley, solicitor, of Heme Bay, on June 18. 
That he was in need of raising money at once appears from the 
evidence of Mr. Hudgell, clerk to the Woolwich Equitable' s solicitor, 
who produced exhibit 132, wherein was a letter asking for the money 
due on the sale of the Southend house, "as it is very urgently 
required "; the letter bore date May 12. A copy of the voluntary 

9 



George Joseph Smith. 

settlement was laid before Mr. G. F. Spear, of the Inner Temple, 
to advise. Mr. Williams, in short, wanted to know how he 
could get hold of the corpus of the wife's property. The 
trustees were very unlikely to consent to a revocation of the 
settlement in the circumstances; they were far from unlikely to 
exercise their discretion in buying the wife an annuity; if she died 
intestate, her estate would go to the next-of-kin under the Statute 
of Distributions, and the husband would get nothing; but if she, 
with £2500, left a will in his favour, and he, without a shilling, 
executed a similar will in her favour, and she died? Counsel's 
opinion came back on July 2; it was Bessie Mundy's death warrant. 

The mutual wills were drawn up by Mr. Annesley and executed 
by the parties on July 8. Next day Mr. Williams came to the shop 
of Mr. Hill, ironmonger, and " cheapened " a £2 bath down to 
£1 17s. 6d. ; he did not pay for it, but returned it on July 15. Its 
dimensions were later carefully taken by Detective-Inspector Neil. 
It may here be said that it had no taps or fixings at all ; it had to be 
filled and emptied by hand, and the inspector found exactly how many 
pails would be needed and how long it would take to carry them 
from the kitchen to the fatal room in order to fill that bath. 

On the next day after that purchase Mr. Williams took his wife 
to Dr. French, who had been qualified about two years, and had set, 
up in practice at Heme Bay, saying that she had had a fit. Being 
unaware of the symptoms of epileptic or any other fits, Mr. Williams 
prudently forebore to enter into particulars, and Dr. French put him 
" leading questions," which enabled him to recall just what the 
doctor suggested and no more — limbs twitching, yw& moving, and 
so on ; there was no suggestion of the dreadful scream which almost 
invariably heralds an epileptic seizure (as distinct from the petit 
mal), and Mr. Williams said no word about a scream. Hie 
doctor prescribed bromide of potassium, a useful general 
sedative, a specific in epilepsy and an anaphrodisiac. In answer 
to the doctor's questions, Mrs. Williams did not recollect anything 
about a fit; she had never had any, and only complained of a 
headache. 

On Friday, July 12, Williams fetched Dr. French to see his wife 
in bed. The doctor saw nothing amiss, except that her hands were 
clammy, the weather being very hot, heart normal, tongue not very 
clean, face a little flushed; she looked like one awakened from sleep 
on a hot night. The doctor prescribed more bromide. At 3 p.m. 
he saw the pair again, when Mrs. Williams looked " in perfect 
health"; she complained of nothing worse than lassitude, the 
10 



Introduction. 

weather being so hot. Before she went to bed that night she wrote 
the following letter to her uncle, which she registered. It was 
produced to him at the trial (exhibits Nos. 80 and 81). 

Last Tuesday night I had a bad fit, and one again on Thursday night. It 
has left me weak and suffering from nerves and headache, and has evidently 
shaken my whole system. My husband has been extremely kind and done all he 
could for me. He has provided me with the attention of the best medical men 
here, who are constantly giving me medical treatment, and visiting me day 
night. 

I do not like to worry you with this, but my husband has strictly advised 
me to let all my relatives know and tell them of my breakdown. I have made 
out my will and have left all I have to my husband. That is only natural, as I 
love my husband. 

At 8 a.m. next morning — Saturday, July 13,* Dr. French was 
handed a note. It ran, " Can you come at once? I am afraid my 
wife is dead." The doctor hurried round to 80 High Street and 
found the door ajar; he entered and went upstairs with Williams, 
and saw Mrs. Williams lying on her back in the bath. Particulars of 
her position will be found elsewhere in the Introduction, and in the 
evidence of Dr. French. Her head was beneath the water, and on 
removing her body the doctor found that the pulse had ceased to 
beat; the body was not yet cold, but all attempts at restoration 
proved useless. A square piece of Castile soap was clutched in the 
right hand. Williams assisted the doctor while he was trying arti- 
ficial respiration by holding the woman's tongue, her false teeth 
having been removed. The face was dusky and congested with 
blood. Finding her beyond human aid, Dr. French left the house, 
and about 10 a.m. police constable Kitchingham arrived, and saw 
the body lying quite naked; he also saw the bath three parts full. 
He took a statement from Williams (exhibit 168) and went away. 
Williams now went out to arrange for the laying out of the body, 
and he first approached Mrs. Millgate, with whom he afterwards 
boarded, and who lived next door. She said that she was too busy 
to come, but at 2 p.m. she called at 80 High Street, and learning 
from Williams that the woman the doctor was to send had not 
come, she went upstairs with him. What then happened I give in her 
own words : — 

Mr. Bodkin — What room did you go into ? 



* All three " brides " died on a Friday night or Saturday morning. Alice 
Burnham on Friday night, December 12, 1913, and Margaret Lofty on Friday 
night, December 18, 1914. The convenience of holding the inquest before the 
relatives could attend need hardly be pointed out. — E.R.W. 

11 



George Joseph Smith. 

Mrs. Millgate— The middle bedroom ; and he said, " She is in there." He 
stayed outside on the landing and I went in, and I said, "In here." And I went 
in, and not seeing anything but the bath, I looked behind the door, and I saw 
Mrs. Williams lying on the floor quite naked. 

Mr. Bodkin — Quite naked ? 

Mrs. Millgate — Yea ; that gave me a great shock, and I started back and 
turned suddenly round and said, " Oh, dear, it is not covered over." And he 
looked frightened as I started back. Mr. Williams looked frightened as I 
started back. 

Mr. Bodkin — Did you then cover the body up ? 

Mrs. Millgate — Yes ; I went back again into the room, and I noticed she 
was lying on the edge of a sheet, and a lot of it was to her feet, and I picked it up 
and covered over the body. ... I asked him to fetch me a pillow, just to 
put under her head, as her head was on the bare floor, and he said to me 

Here the witness, who was rather deaf, was interrupted, and she 
did not give his reply. In her evidence at the Police Court she 
spoke to seeing blood near the corpse's waist.* . The medico-legal 
aspect of this I shall deal with in Part II. Williams had early in 
the morning asked Mr. Millgate for "a few pieces of rag for the 
woman to wipe up some blood." Alice Minter, who actually laid 
out the body about 4 p.m., asked for " just the usual things — 
nightdress, brush and comb, bath sponge, and a towel." 

Whatever the explanation of the blood, it was Williams who 
wiped it up. 

Mr. Rutley Mowll, solicitor, of Dover, and coroner for East Kent, 
was informed of the death on the day it occurred by the police — 
probably by Kitchingham, who was coroner's officer. He was for 
holding his inquest forthwith, but he found the inquest could not 
be conveniently taken that day, so he gave directions to hold it at 
4.30 p.m. on the Monday. The Mundy family had heard by wire 
from Williams of the death that Saturday morning, very shortly 
after receiving the last letter from Bessie, which has been set out. 
The wire ran, " Bessie died in a fit this morning; letter following. — 
Williams " (exhibit 82). 

On the Monday exhibit 83 arrived ; it was the letter set forth in 
Herbert Mundy's evidence. " Words cannot describe the great shock 
1 suffered in the loss of my wife," wrote the bereaved husband. 
No word was breathed by him as to the holding of any inquest, nor 
as to the date of it. When Herbert Mundy next heard, " Crowner's 



* " I saw a dark stain on the floor on a level with the woman's waist. At 
the time I thought it was blood." Mrs. Millgate at Bow Street, Times, 17 
April, p. 4, col. a. On February 18, 1915, she said to Inspector Neil at Heme 
Bay, " I am almost sure there was some blood on the floor close to the body." 

12 



Introduction. 

Quest Law " had done its best — or worst — and Mr. Mowll, displaying, 
as he said, "more than ordinary perspicacity,"* and having "taken 
very great care," and having " thoroughly and carefully thrashed 
out " the case, returned through his jury a verdict that " the 
cause of her death was that while taking a bath she had an epileptic 
seizure, causing her to fall back into the water of the bath and be 
drowned, and so the jurors say that the said deceased died from 
misadventure." 

The more than ordinary perspicacity of the coroner enabled him 
to state that, " assuming the husband was fond of his wife — and 
there was no evidence to the contrary, but a great deal of evidence 
that he was — it was a terrible blight." (I may pause to remark that 
Mr. Williams had shed copious crocodile tears during the inquest, 
as next day he did over Miss Rapley's desk, but in the case of that 
shrewd lady the simulation of great grief was not successfully 
attempted.) Mr. Mowll went on to say that " a request had been 
made to have a post mortem, and if he had had the request earlier — 
(he had it by the earliest possible moment the Mundy family could 
make it) — he should then with an abundance of caution have 
requested the doctor to make an examination." 

The first the Mundy family heard of any inquest was in a letter 
from Mr. Williams, dated July 15, the day of the inquest, running — 

Dear Sir, — I hope you received my letter this morning. The result of the 
inquest was misadventure by a fit in the bath. The burial takes place to-morrow 
at 2 p.m. I am naturally too sad to write more to-day (exhibit 35). 

On the Sunday, July 14, the dead woman's brother, G. H. 
Mundy, wrote two letters, one to Williams, the other to the coroner. 
They were substantially the same, but not identical, and the purport 
of them appears from Mr. Mundy's evidence. It was this, " As 
Bessie's brother, I must insist that, as she died so suddenly, a 
post-mortem examination must be held before she is buried, for 
the satisfaction of all the family. Please see that this is carried 
out."t 

Whatever the minute discrepancies between Mr. Howard Mundy's 
letter to Williams and his letter to the coroner may have been, 
the coroner saw no reason to afford the Mundy family the time to 
attend the inquest. The coroner and Williams compared their letters 
(see the first examination of Mr. Mowll), and the result was that 



* See Evidence of Rutley Mowll recalled, p. 210. 

t Gf. R. Mowll's evidence as to the Exhibit 66— the letter to him referred to 
at p. 126. 

13 



George Joseph Smith. 

only Smith, alias Williams, alias Love, alias James, alias Baker, 
alias Lloyd, and Dr. French — a Heme Bay practitioner of two 
years' standing, strangely described by his patient as " the best 
medical men here, who are constantly giving me medical treat- 
ment/'* gave the evidence upon which the verdict recorded was 
returned. The funeral was carried out by Mr. Hogbin, who had 
also provided the furniture for 80 High Street. " It was to be 
moderately carried out at an expense of seven guineas." 

Mr. Bodkin — And a grave? 

Mr. Hogbin — He said he would not purchase a grave. The grave was 
8s. 6d., the interment fee. (It was a common grave. P. Millgate's statement 
at Bow Street, 15/2/15.) 

The funeral, which had been provisionally fixed to take place on 
Tuesday, July 16, took place as arranged, as the inquest had gone 
" favourably," and two days later Smith resold to the undertaker 
the piano and other furniture at 80 High Street for £20 4s. (exhibit 
256). On the morning of the funeral, timed for 2.30 p.m., the 
bereaved husband walked into Miss Rapley's little office, and, putting 
his arms and head on her high desk, he commenced to sob. " She 
is dead," he groaned. " My wife; she had a fit during the week. 
I went out. She went to have a bath, and she must have had 
another fit, for when I came back I found her dead in thj bath." 
Miss Rapley was too shocked to make any comment, so Mr. Williams 
proceeded, " Was it not a jolly good job I got her to make a will? " 
Miss Rapley was more shocked. Mr. Williams became angry, " Well, 
is it not the correct thing when people marry for the wife to make 
her will and leave everything to her husband, and for him to make 
his and leave everything to her? " he snorted. " Did you make 
yours? " asked Miss Rapley. "Yes," said Mr. Williams. " I then 
looked him very straight in the face and I said (so testified Misa 
Rapley), ' I thought you told me you had not got anything V " 
" Oh, well, I made my will all the same," was the weak reply. 

He then told Miss Rapley of the previous day's inquest — the 
first she had heard of it. She persisted, " Did you let her relatives 
know? " " Yes, I did, and the brutes sent a letter to the coroner 
saying it was a very suspicious case." Still Miss Rapley persisted, 
" Let me see, where did you say her relatives lived? " "I never 
told you where they lived," snapped Mr. Williams. Miss Rapley saw 

* Bessie Mundy's letter set out, p. 1 1 ante. There were then in practice at 
Heme Bay twelve doctors, and Dr. French, who qualified in 1910, was the junior 
of them all. 

14 



Introduction. 

him once more at Heme Bay; he had come to pay the second and 
last instalment of rent; incidentally, he -wanted her to find him a 
nice little place in the country — not more than £400. When she 
next saw Mr. Williams he was in custody on three charges of 
murder. 

On July 17 Mr. Williams called on Mr. Annesley, the solicitor 
who had drawn up the wills, and instructed him to obtain probate of 
his wife's will. A caveat was lodged by the Mundy family about the 
end of July, but was withdrawn by Ponting & Co. on August 8, and 
in the course of the autumn of 1912 all the securities covered by the 
settlement (with the exception of £300 Cape of Good Hope stock 
retained until early in the following year against a liability of the 
estate for unpaid calls on shares in a moribund company) were 
handed over to Mr. Williams. His exact dealings with the Mundy 
securities, which he turned into gold and notes and then into house 
property, and then again into cash and finally into an annuity, were 
traced in minute detail by Detective-Inspector Neil. Many different 
banking accounts were used by Smith all over the south and west 
of England ; details of operations on these accounts will be found in 
Appendix VII. In short, Smith got by receipts £2403 15s. against 
payments of £2042 9s. 5d.* 

Probate was granted about September 11. Illness in the 
Mundy family and delays caused by Smith's own interference rendered 
the negotiations somewhat protracted, and " Mr. Williams " was 
very reluctant to pay Mr. Annesley' s bill, or to furnish Messrs. Pont- 
ing with any particulars about himself. Under date August 1, 1912, 
he writes to Mr. Annesley, " I was educated at Whitechurch, Glasgow 
(sic), after which I went to Canada — returned to London. I have 
always been of an extremely roaming disposition, never keeping 
a diary, but continually up and down the country buying and 
selling pictures, &c. I never remained in one particular town 
more than a week or so." On August 4 he writes, " Now, in regard 
to my history, which was requested by them, that also is bluff. It 
is not the matter of history inasmuch as the only proof required is 
whether I am the lawful husband of the deceased. If it was a 
matter of history, what on earth is the use of a will? " 



* The correspondence in relation to the winding-up of Mrs. Williams' estate, 
carried on between Mr. Annesley, Messrs. Ponting, Smith, and others, is con- 
tained in no less than 215 letters and telegrams ; the professional letters are 
very much like others, but the personal ones of Smith, from their spelling, style, 
and persistent enquiries after money, are very idiosyncratic. — E.R.W. 

15 



George Joseph Smith. 

The Inspector was equally indefatigable in tracing the purchases 
and sales of house property. The net result was that Smith purchased 
the houses for £2187 10s., and sold them for £1455, a loss of over 
£600 in a few months. Particulars will be found in the evidence of 
Messrs. White, King, Lazenby, Pomeroy, Barber, and Denning. He 
invested £1300 in an annuity in the North British and Mercantile 
Insurance Company.* 

I will now pick up the threads of the story of Miss Pegler. That 
lady was never able to ascertain where her spouse resided when away 
from her. His rare letters came through the "Woolwich Equitable or 
from some accommodation address. When he met her at Margate, 
as we shall presently see, and she told him that she had tried to find 
him at Woolwich and Ramsgate, he was very angry, and said he 
should never tell her his business again. He did not believe in women 
knowing his business (Pegler's statement at Bow Street, 20/4/15, 
taken by Inspector Cole and P. S. Page). 

About the end of July or the beginning of August Miss Pegler 
received a letter from Smith asking her to join him at Margate ; she 
did so. They stayed a week, and went on to Tunbridge Wells and 
other places mentioned in her evidence. She naturally asked him 
what he had been up to. He was angry, as has been said, but he 
condescended to inform her that he had just returned from Canada, 
where he had been very fortunate in buying a Chinese image for a 
song and selling it for £1000. Mr. and Mrs. Smith appeared to have 
lived together for over a year, he leaving her early in October, 1913, 
to go round the country; he explained that he had to do some dealing, 
as he had dropped £600 over his houses. When he returned after 
his calculated murder of Alice Burnham. he said he had just 
come from Spain, where he had bought some old-fashioned jewellery, 
which would bring him in £200 eventually. A very singular incident 
had occurred just before Smith went away to marry and murder Alice 
Burnham. He made the acquaintance, in August or September, 
vhile they were at Weston-super-Mare, of a young woman of twenty- 
eight or thirty years of age, of the name of Burdett, as far as Miss 
Pegler could recollect. She was a governess, and Miss Pegler several 
times saw the boy and two girls she had in charge. Some intimacy 
developed, and the Smiths asked her to tea. She came about four 
times, sometimes bringing the children. Smith told his Edith that 
he was going to insure the young lady as an " investment." And 



* Payable half-yearly in April and October, £76 Is. Od. a year. See 
Pleasance's evidence. 
16 



Introduction. 

an insurance agent actually called to discuss the matter, and Smith 
took Miss Burdett to see him. A policy for £500 was provisionally 
arranged. Miss Pegler, much against her inclination, accompanied 
Miss Burdett to see the insurance company's doctor, and Miss Burdett 
was passed as a first-class life. Miss Burdett knew quite well that 
the Smiths were married, and for some reason Smith cancelled the 
policy — if, indeed, it was ever issued — and recovered his premium 
(Pegler's statement at Kentish Town, 8/5/15). 

When Smith left Miss Pegler, he proceeded to Southsea, where 
he met Alice Burnham, his next victim, apparently at the chapel 
she attended. She was twenty-five years of age, and was nursing 
an old gentleman named Holt. She was a stout, but healthy 
young woman, and had made a very good recovery from 
a somewhat serious operation. Within a very few days 
Smith had induced her to consent to an engagement. With 
that minute attention to matters of money so characteristic 
of him, " George " brought his bank books and private 
papers when he came to propose, and from what we know of him 
we may be sure he lost no time in ascertaining from his new flame 
exactly how her financial affairs stood. On October 15 the deluded 
girl wrote to her people announcing her engagement. Smith 
also wrote his letter of October 22 (exhibit 179 in Mr. C. 
Burnham 's evidence) . In accordance with the intention 
therein expressed, Smith and Alice Burnham journeyed to 
Aston Clinton on Saturday, October 25, and were met at Tring 
station by her father, with his pony and trap. They remained until 
October 31, the visit being cut short by the behaviour of Smith, which 
the family found so objectionable that Mr. Burnham asked his 
daughter to leave. Indeed, from the first Mr. Burnham felt the 
strongest dislike of Smith, whom he described as a man of " very 
evil appearance, so much so that he could not sleep whilst Smith 
was in the house, as he feared Smith was a bad man, and that 
something serious would happen." Smith avoided Mr. Burnham as 
much as possible (Charles Burnham's statement at Aylesbury police 
station, 16/2/15; Superintendent Wootton's letter from Aylesbury 
police station, 21/1/15). 

Notwithstanding the chilling hostility of the family, Alice and 
Smith gave notice of their intended marriage at the church at Aston 
Clinton. That intention, however, they abandoned, and, returning 
to Southsea, they were married on November 4 at the Portsmouth 
Registry Office, he giving his true name, describing his age as 

17 



George Joseph Smith. 

forty, and his condition as bachelor, of independent means, son of 
George Thomas Smith, deceased, artist, flowers and ficrxire. 

It may here be noted that Mr. Burnham had inquired at Somerset 
House, but no trace of Smith's birth could be found. 

Alice Burnham's means at the time of her marriage were these — 
in the Savings Bank, £27 19s. 5d. ; due from her father, £100 and 
interest on his promissory note; due from her sister, Mrs. Pinchin, 
£10. She had also a quantity of jewellery and clothing. 

It is best to tell the story of what happened in Inspector Neil's 
own words, as giving the reader an example of an official narrative, 
which presents the main facts with a telling succinctness 

20/10/13 she drew all her money from the bank, £27 19s. 5d., and on 

3/11/13 prisoner introduced her to Mr. Pleasance, an insurance agent, with 
the result that she was insured for £500.* On the 

4/11/13 the prisoner married her at Portsmouth Registry Office in the name 
of George Joseph Smith (ex. 3). He immediately commenced 
application to Mr. Burnham for the £100, which Mr. Burnham 
declined to send as he was suspicious of the man and desired to 
know something of his antecedents, and for this purpose consulted 
Mr. Redhead, solicitor, of Aylesbury, who wrote to the prisoner 
asking him something about himself, and in reply Mr. Burnham 
received an insulting post card (ex. 183) stating that his mother 
was a cab horse, &c. Every obstacle was put in the way of 
the money being sent, and the prisoner threatened to commence 
proceedings. Mr. Burnham was eventually advised to part with 
the money, and on 

29/11/13 he forwarded £104 Is. Id. to his solicitor, who sent it on to prisoner 
through his solicitor. It is known that this money was paid by the 
prisoner into his own banking account. On 

4/12/13 the insurance on Miss Burnham's life was completed and the 
premium of £24 17s. Id. paid. This was no doubt the money drawn 
out of the P.O. On 

8/12/13 Miss Burnham called on Mr. March, solicitor, Portsmouth, and made 
a will in favour of her husband. On 

10/12/13 prisoner and Miss Burnham went to Blackpool and called on Mrs. 
Marsden at 25 Adelaide Street, but declined to take rooms there as 
there was no bath there, and they were recommended to go to 
Regent's Road where they took lodgings with Mrs. Crossley. The 
same day they called on Dr. Billing where the prisoner explained 
that his wife had a headache in consequence of a train journey. She 
was prescribed for. On 



k As will be seen, in this and the Lofty case, an All-life Policy was at first 
desired, but an Endowment Policy was effected. — E.R. W. 
18 



Introduction. 

11/12/13 Miss Burnham asked for a bath, which was prepared by Mrs. 
Crossley, and shortly after the prisoner went to Mrs. Crossley and 
said he could not make his wife hear. She was found dead in her 
bath by prisoner and Mrs. Crossley. Dr. Billing was sent for, and on 

13/12/13* an inquest was held and a verdict of death from drowning was 
returned. A funeral was arranged for to take place on 

15/12/13 and on the day before Miss Burnham's mother and brother went to 
Blackpool to be present at the funeral. The same day Smith left 
them (immediately after the funeral) and said he had to get back to 
Portsmouth. They never saw him again though he promised to 
write. He went to 80 Kimberley Road, sold all Miss Burnham's 
belongings and then went to London where he approached Kings- 
bury & Turner, solicitors, Brixton, on 

18/12/13 with a view to them obtaining probate. On 

22/12/13 he returned to Miss Pegler at Bristol, when he said he had been to 
Spain and had done fairly well. On the 

19/1/14 he received the money from the insurance under Burnham's will 
through Heath & Eckersall, Cheltenham, to whom he had gone after 
Kingsbury & Turner had obtained probate. He resided in Chelten- 
ham some time with Pegler. The money paid under the insurance 
was £506, and on 

22/1/14 with this money he increased his annuity t to the extent of £500 
With Miss Pegler he then went back to Bristol. 

Here for a time I will leave the Inspector and resume my 
narrative. 

Smith had so completely estranged the affections and warped the 
mind of Alice Burnham during the brief period of their engagement 
that she actually brought herself to write the letters of November 22 
and 24, which will be found in Appendix V. She also went so far as 
to instruct Mr. Robinson, a solicitor, to write to her married sister, 
Annie Pinchin, demanding the return of £10 which she had lent her, 
later on, however, on the sister's marriage, telling her to regard it 
as a gift. The £10 was repaid on November 28 by registered letter 
(exhibit 234). 

It is needless to anticipate the story of what happened at Black- 
pool ; the medico-legal aspects are dealt with later. But one or two 
matters call for mention here, because the witnesses did not refer to 



* A Saturday. The inquest on Bessie Mundy would also have been held on 
a'Saturday, only it was found inconvenient. See R. Mowll's evidence p. 126. 
— E.R.W. 

t He had informed Mr. Fleasance about October 8 that he would be increasing 
his annuity by £500 after his birthday, when the rate would be more favourable. 
See Pleasance's evidence. — E.R.W. 

19 



George Joseph Smith. 



them in their evidence. On the afternoon following the murder of 
Alice Burnham, Smith returned with a full bottle of whisky; in the 
evening there was only a little drop left. He spent part of the 
afternoon playing the piano. He told Margaret Crossley that he 
had been in the Marines, and had shaved off his moustache a fort- 
night previously. He declined to pay the bill for the food supplied 
to Mrs. Burnham and her son. Mrs. Crossley had great difficulty 
in getting him to pay for his own board and lodging. He promised 
to recompense her for the trouble she had been put to, but he never 
did (statement to Inspector Neil, Kentish Town, 10/2/15). To 
Joseph Crossley he said that he wanted a deal coffin, and on Crossley 
replying that he would not bury his wife like that, even if he had 
not a penny in the world, Smith retorted, " When they are dead they 
are dono with." 

A matter of some importance was noticed in Superintendent 
Wootton's letter from Aylesbury, already quoted horn. 

I desire to draw your attention to Smith's letter to Mrs. Burnham dated 
13/12/13, giving an account of his wife's death, &c, in which he states that the 
inquest would be held early next week, whereas it was held on the day the 
letter was written. 

In consequence of this deception, the second inquest was of the 
same perfunctory character as the first. It was all over in half an 
hour, and many points of suspicion were never brought out — as that 
Valiant,* the coroner's officer, noticed that the distracted " hus- 
band " had carefully removed his coat and rolled up his right shirt 
sleeve before raising his " bride's " head out of the water, and that 
Mrs. Haynes had noticed a very considerable quantity of hair at the 
sloping end of the bath (the deceased had been sitting facing that 
end) on the Sunday morning, when she went to clean the bath. 

Again, Smith was a transparently uneducated man. Yet his 
statement that " I am a gentleman of independent means, and have 
never followed any occupation," aroused no incredulity — though he 
had told his very landlady he had been a Marine ! The only witnesses 
were Dr. Billing, Mrs. M. Crossley, Valiant and another sergeant, 
and Smith himself. He duly contrived — assisted, maybe, by the 
bottle of whisky he had consumed — to make his lachrymal glands 
perform their function, and his freely flowing crocodile tears moved 
all hearts except Mrs. Crossley's. 



* Valiant's deposition is very brief ; he says, " The police have no suspicion 
of foul play.' 
20 



Introduction. 

The coroner had another inquest to hold and the 8 p.m. train 
to catch— all between 6.30 and 8; so with little ado the jurors of 
Our Lord the King found that " the deceased Alice Smith came to her 
death at Blackpool aforesaid on the 12th day of December, 1913. 
The deceased suffered from heart disease, and was found drowned in a 
hot bath, probably through being seized with a fit or faint. The 
cause of death was accidental." 

The deception as to the letting off the water in Smith's letter to 
Mrs. Burnham is dealt with in the summing up. In that letter he 
described the death as " the greatest and most cruel shock that ever a 
man could have suffered." 

Smith fled hastily from the scene of his crime. He left his 
address with Mrs. M. Crossley on a postcard. On the back she wrote, 
' Wife died in bath. We shall see him again." When the card 
(exhibit 175) was shown to her at the Old Bailey, two years later, the 
usher was directed to show her and the jury only the address side of 
that card. What Mrs. Crossley wrote — like what the soldier said — 
was not evidence. As he sped down the street she hurled after him an 
opprobious name — " Crippen." 

With that sordid love of money which never forsook him, he 
realised all his wife's wardrobe and jewellery, just as he had sold 
Bessie Mundy's linen to a Margate dealer before Mrs. Millgate had 
got it back from the laundry.* 

He returned to Edith Pegler, and with her recommenced those 
aimless wanderings from place to place — Bournemouth, Torquay, 
<fec, until about August 14, when, once more in Bournemouth, he 
marked down his penultimate victim in the person of Alice Reavil, 
a domestic servant. 

She gave evidence at Bow Street, and her statement, as taken 
by Inspector Cole and P.S. Page, lies before me now. 

Oa 7 or 8 September I was in the gardens on the front, sitting on a seat, 
when a man came and spoke to me. . . . We had some conversation, 
in which he said he admired my figure. After an hour's conversation, in 
which he informed me he was an artist, and had £2 a week from some land 
in Canada, he made an appointment for 6 p.m. the same evening. I met 
him as arranged ; he did not tell me where he was staying ; I never knew. 
Next day I met him as arranged, and he then told me his name was " Charles 
Oliver James." He said he had been to Canada, and his agents sent him 
his money. He also said he understood I had some money. I met him every 
evening, and I returned to Woolwich on the 14 or 15 September. After the 
third or fourth day of our acquaintance he asked me to marry him, and I 
consented, and he said he would put his money with mine and he would 



See Mrs. Millgate's evidence, p. 120. 

21 



George Joseph Smith. 



open an antique shop. . . . He asked me how much money I had, and 
I said about £70 odd, and some furniture, including a piano. He asked me 
to sell them, and I decided to. . . . We went to the registry office and 
were married by special licence [this was on 17th September]. In the mean- 
time I had sold my belongings, and they realised £14. After we married 
we left Woolwich for Waterloo, and went to 8 Hafer Road, Battersea Rise, 
where he had taken two furnished rooms. . . . On the way he showed 
me a lot of bank notes, and he asked me for my £14 to put in the bank 
with his. I gave it to him. When we got to our lodgings ... he 
produced a post office withdrawal form for me to fill up to draw all my money 
from the bank. I filled it up, and added, " with interest to close account," 
and we went out together to post it. . . . He put it in the box. I 
signed the withdrawal form in my maiden name, and he gave instructions 
to the landlady to take it in. . . . About three days later the warrant 
for withdrawal was delivered, and he took it in. This was on Saturday, 
19th September, 1914. He kept the warrant. All my clothing was at this 
address, and was kept in four boxes. On 21st September we went to the 
post office, Lavender Hill, to obtain the money. . . . He told me to ask 
for all £1 notes, but they gave me four £10 notes and two £5 notes, and 
the remainder in £1 notes and cash. In all I received £76 6s. and some 
coppers. He picked up the notes and I the cash — the odd six shillings. I 
never saw the notes again. . . . The same evening we packed our belong- 
ings, with the intention of getting another house. He went out to get a 
man to take the luggage to Clapham station, and later a man arrived with a 
barrow and took it away — as I thought, to the station. . . . He told the 
landlady we should go away next day; he paid the bill — I think 10s. — I had 
bought all the food we had. 

On 22 September we left the house. . . . We got on a tramcar, 
and on the way he spoke of Halifax, Nova Scotia, and asked me if I would 
like to go. He took penny fares, and we got off at some gardens. We 
walked through the gardens, and on getting to the other end he said he was 
going to the lavatory, and asked me to wait. I did so, and waited about an 
hour. He did not return, so I returned to 8 Hafer Road, and found the 
attached telegram waiting for me. [It ran, " Wait home for letter. Next 
post. — James."] I remained as requested, and some hours later I received 
the attached letter (registered), posted at Battersea. (See Appendix.) I 
stayed at Hafer Road the same night, and returned to 39 Plumpstead Common 
Road next day. None of my boxes arrived, and I have not seen them since. 
On 22nd February ... I attended Bow Street, and I identified a man 
known as George Smith as my husband. ... I communicated with the 
post office, and obtained the numbers of the notes paid on the warrant, When 
I married the prisoner he was clean-shaven. I value my clothing, jewellery, 
&c, at about £50. The result of my meeting with prisoner was that I was 
left with only a few shillings and the clothes I was actually wearing. What 
he had taken consisted of the whole of my life's savings. 

Smith now for the last time rejoined Edith Pegler, taking with 



* With Miss Reavil's money Smith opened a savings bank account at 
Weston-super-Mare, and closed it after paying Miss Lofty's premium. See 
Mitchell's statement in Appendix viii 

22 



Introduction. 

him Alice Reavil's modest trousseau. This — or, rather, what re- 
mained of it — he gave to her, remarking that " he had been to a 
sale in London, and had bought some lady's clothing. He had 
some left, and gave it to me. It was kept in a black trunk, which 
I had not seen before. The lady's clothing taken a-^ay by the police 
was brought to Weston-super-Mare by Smith " (Pegler's statement 
at Bristol, 23/2/15). 

During the period between the Reavil marriage and the Lofty 
murder, Miss Pegler thought about November, 1914, "He remarked 
to me that, if I interfered with his business, I should never have 
another happy day, as the world was wide, and he would forfeit it all. 
This was because I had spoken about his annuity. Just after Xmas, 
1914, we were living in apartments at 10 Kennington Avenue, 
Bristol, and I said I was going to have a bath. He said, ' In that 
bath there? ' — referring to the bathroom — ' I should advise you to 
be careful of those things, as it is known that women often lose 
their lives through weak hearts and fainting in a bath.' " (Pegler's 
statement at Bow Street, 20/4/15). 

Towards the end of 1914 the Smiths were in Bristol, when a 
mood of restlessness once more swept over George Joseph, and he 
said he " would have a run round again before Xmas with another 
' young fellow ' — it was always a ' young fellow ' — he had met in 
Clifton." The " young fellow " was Margaret Elizabeth Lofty, 
spinster, aged thirty-eight, daughter of the late Rev. Fitzroy Fuller 
Lofty, who had died in 1892, leaving a widow, one son, and three 
daughters. Miss Lofty soon responded to Smith's overtures; a dis- 
appointment in love a year before — it turned out that the man had a 
wife already — had rather unsettled her for her vocation as companion 
to elderly ladies in quiet cathedral cities; and Smith, whatever he 
lacked in address or education, left nothing to be desired from the 
point of uxoriousness or virility. She seems to have perceived that 
her mother and sisters would be critical of her fiance; so she writes 
them pious untruths ; she is going away to be clandestinely married, 
and she writes, under date December 15, 1914, Bristol station- 
Dear Elsie— I am off to a situation and meet my lady here. We go, I 
believe, to London for a day or two. Don't worry . . . Your affectionate 
sister, Peggy. 

And she encloses a note for her mother in similar vein — all untrue. 

As she had but about £19 in the Savings Bank, a life policy 
became imperatively necessary from Smith's point of view. He 
is " John Lloyd " now. He has ceased to be of independent means, 
3 23 



George Joseph Smith. 



and has become a land agent, like his father before him, one John 
Arthur Lloyd. Accordingly, the unsuspecting victim is sent to the 
office of the Yorkshire Insurance Company, 4 St. Stephen's Avenue, 
Bristol. She did not strike Mr. Cooper, of that office, as at all a 
good business woman when he first saw her on November 24. She 
called again next day, and filled in a proposal form for a £700 
endowment policy. One regrets to note that she told several 
untruths when applying; it is needless to suggest who inspired 
them. She said she was of independent means, whereas she had 
but £19 odd; she said that she did not contemplate matrimony, 
whereas she was bent on nothing else; she said that she brought 
her birth certificate because Mr. Cooper had suggested it, whereas 
he had done no such thing; the question of proving her age had 
never been mentioned by him (report from Bristol police, 21/1/15). 
She wished the issue of the policy to be expedited as much as 
possible, and the insurance was completed on December 4, when she 
paid the premium, no doubt with money supplied by Smith — it was in 
the form of new Treasury notes — because she had not enough of her 
own in the bank. She struck Mr. Cooper as having learnt a good 
deal — " had the business at her finger ends " — about insurance 
matters since her first visit, and he thought she must have been 
prompted by some one (report of Bristol police and Cooper's statement 
at Bristol, 23/2/15). 

On December 17 the parties were married, Smith of the occupa- 
tion of land agent and in the name of John Lloyd, aged thirty-eight, 
his bride of the same age ; she gave, of course, a correct account of 
her parentage. They left Dalkeith House, 4 Stanley Road, Bath, 
from which they had been married, the same day, and, with no 
luggage beyond a hold-all and a gladstone bag, took the train to 
London, and went to 16 Orchard Road, Highgate, where Lloyd 
had booked rooms on the previous Monday, paying 6s. deposit. 
The house was owned by a Miss Lokker, and a Mrs. Heiss managed 
it in her absence; there were reasons why they had to be especially 
careful, in 1915,* that they did not take in undesirable lodgers 
without references; in fact, they had had such lodgers, and they 
had been robbed (Detective-Sergeant Dennison's statement, Kentish 
Town station, 25/3/15). 

Lloyd, when he called on the Monday, had asked to see the bath. 
He looked at it " as if he was measuring it with his eyes," and he 

* Miss Lokker was a Dutch subject and Mrs. Heiss a German. At Bow 
Street Mrs. Heiss said, "I did not like the way he asked about the bath."— 
tj. ft. W. 

24 



Introduction. 

said to Mrs. Heiss, " This is rather a small bath, but I dare say it is 
large enough for some one to lie in." He looked at her and smiled, 
and she said, " It is." He decided to take the rooms, paid his 
deposit, and left. But he had made so bad an impression by his 
manner that Miss Lokker had decided by Thursday that she would 
not let him the rooms. When he arrived with his bride, about 3 
p.m. on that day, the door was opened to him by a Mr. Van Rhym, 
who said, " You cannot have the rooms now; they are not ready," 
and told him to return at 6 p.m. Lloyd appeared annoyed and nasty, 
and left his luggage in the passage and went away. Detective- 
Sergeant Dennison had so advised when he visited the house at 
2.30, at Miss Lokker's request; he had acted for her in the matter 
of the other undesirable lodgers. Lloyd returned a little after 5 
p.m., but Mrs. Heiss was so frightened by his evil appearance that 
she would not let him in ; he kept knocking and calling out to people 
in the road that, if it were not for his wife, he would have knocked 
the man (Mr. Van Rhym) down. 

Dennison had arranged to call again at six, and Miss Lokker, 
in some alarm, went through a neighbour's house to look for him. 
Lloyd was at the door. " He was in a temper, and asked me 
if I had anything to do with the house. I said, ' No.' He said a 
lot I do not remember, but I know I asked if he had given a refer- 
ence. He said, ' I have never heard of such a thing. I have plenty 
of money and a banker; that is good enough.'* He said he had 
been everywhere abroad, but had never been treated as he was being- 
treated. He said, ' I can see it is all planned. All I want is my 
money and luggage back; I have taken rooms somewhere else.' He 
did not know I was the landlady, and all the time he was talking 
to me he was running the place down." 

At six o'clock Dennison opened the door to Mr. and Mrs. Lloyd, 
and said, " You cannot have the rooms, because you cannot furnish 
references." In reply to Lloyd's question, " Who are you? " the 
officer cautiously replied, "lam acting on behalf of the landlady." 
Mr. Lloyd turned to his bride, exclaimed, " They don't want us," 
and, having been given back his deposit, was shown the door by the 
detective; he departed in a passion. (Details have been taken from 
the Kentish Town statements of the parties named ; they gave similar 
evidence at the Central Criminal Court.) 



* According to a letter by Mr. Neil to the C.I.D. of January 19, he said, 
"They had just returned from Canada." What Miss Lofty thought of this fable 
we can only surmise. — E.R.W. 



25 



George Joseph Smith. 

Mr. Lloyd sought apartments nest at 14 Bismarck Road, High- 
gate,* where Miss Blatch had a furnished room to let. He came with 
his bride, without luggage, paid seven shillings deposit, and went 
away, as he said, to fetch the luggage. Before agreeing to take the 
room, Mrs. Lloyd had inquired if there was a bath; the answer was 
in the affirmative. f During her husband's absence Mrs. Lloyd told 
Miss Blatch that she did not know her husband's plans, but they 
were going to Scotland for their honeymoon. It is needless to travel 
in detail over the evidence of the witnesses as to the death at Bismarck 
Road. I will condense the narrative in the Inspector's style. 

About 5 p.m. on 

17/12/14 Smith in the name of Lloyd arrives at 14 Bismarck Road, and takes 
a room after enquiring if there is a bath, and at 8 p.m. on 

17/12/14 he takes "Mrs. Lloyd" to see Dr. Bates at 30 Archway Road, who 
prescribes for her, and on 

18/12/14 Mrs. Lloyd goes to the office of Mr. Lewis, solicitor, of 84 High 
Street, Islington, and makes her will, bequeathing everything to 
her husband, who was appointed sole executor. On the same day 
she draws out her whole balance in the savings bank from Muswell 
Hill Post Office, £19 9s. 5d., having given notice of withdrawal on 
the fifteenth, and on 

18/12/14 she returns to Bismarck Road, and at 7.30 p.m. on 

18/12/14 Mrs. Lloyd asks for a hot bath, and at 8.15 p.m. on 

18/12/14 P.O. Heath is called to the house and he finds Mrs. Lloyd dead, 
and on 

20/12/14 Mr. Lloyd calls on Mrs. Beckett and desires to have the funeral next 
day, and on 

22/12/14 Mr. Schroder holds an inquest, which he adjourned to 

1/1/15J when the jury found that Mrs. Lloyd died from suffocation by 
drowning in the water, Mr. Dale, instructed by Mr. Aylwin, 
appearing for Lloyd, and on 

4/1/15 Smith, as John Lloyd, calls on Mr. W. P. Davies, solicitor, of 60 
Uxbridge Road, Shepherd's Bush, and produces the will of Mrs. 
Lloyd, nie Lofty, and her marriage certificate and her life policy, 
and instructs hiin to obtain probate. On 



* Since renamed, a delicate compliment to the French, Waterloo Road. — 
E.R.VV. 

t They first came about 5 p.m. It is a little difficult to reconcile this with 
the storv told by the Orchard Road witnesses of his return with Miss Lofty. — 
E.R.W. 

X Mr. Lloyd had returned to Bristol on December 23, strolling in casually 
about 8 p.m. to Edith Pegler's mother's house. He left for Shepherd's Bush on 
December 31. 

26 



Introduction. 



19/1/15 in consequence of information received, Detective-Inspector Neil com- 
municates with the Aylesbury police and with the G.P.O., and on 

21/1/15 Inspector Wootton replies from Aylesbury, and reports are received 
the same day from Bath and Bristol. On 

22/1/15 three documents reach the police, Mrs. Lloyd's bankbook, her with- 
drawal order, and receipt for £19 9s. 5d., and on 

22/1/15 Inspector Neil submits his first report, subject "Suspicious deaths," 
from Kentish Town, and on 

1/2/15 having kept daily observation on Mr. Davies's premises the police 
see Mr. Lloyd enter the office. On leaving he is stopped by 
Detective-Inspector Neil and Police-Sergeants Page and Reed, when 
he admits he is also George Smith, who married Alice Burnham, 
who died in her bath at Blackpool. " As it was thought he might 
be in possession of fire-arms he was searched, but none were found." 
He was not dressed in mourning, and the only evidence of such 
found was a black tie in his bedroom at his new address — 14 
Richmond Road — where was found a hold-svll with a quantity of 
ladies' clothing. Lloyd was identified as Smith the same night by 
Mr. Burnham and Mrs. Pinchin, and on 

2/2/15 he is charged with causing a false entry to be made in the marriage 
register at Bath. (It was false not only as to his name, &c. , but. as 
to his and his wife's period of residence in Bath previous to the 
marriage. ) He is remanded at Bow Street, and on 

23/3/15 he is further charged with the wilful murder of Bessie Mundy, Alice 
Burnham, and Margaret Lofty, and after several remands is com- 
mitted on all three charges on 

12/5/15 and on 

9/6/15 a true bill is returned against him at Lancaster Assizes for the 
murder of Alice Burnham, and on 

15H7/15 a true bill is returned at the C.C.C. in respect of Miss Lofty. 

16/6/15 a true bill is returned at Maidstone in respect of Miss Mundy, and 
the two country indictments are removed to the C.C.C. under 
"Palmer's Act." 

Alice Reavil alone of the women defrauded and deserted gave 
evidence during the proceedings at Bow Street. Smith, on almost 
every occasion, lost all command over himself, hurling imprecations 
at Inspector Neil and Mr. Bodkin, who appeared for the Crown and 
was reviled by the man in the dock as a " criminal and a manu- 
facturer of criminals." Mrs. Crossley was, as at the Old Bailey, 
denounced as a lunatic. After the prisoner's committal, Mr. 
Montague Shearman apologised for his client's outbreaks, but he 
behaved little better on his trial until a withering rebuke from the 
judge put an end to his ill-timed and ill-bred interruptions, betraying, 

27 



George Joseph Smith. 



as they did, the wreckage of his nervous system, the not unnatural 
consequence of forty-three years of life misspent in crime and 
debauchery. 

As some little mystery has prevailed as to the manner in which 
Scotland Yard was first put on the track of the murderer, it may be 
said that Mr. Charles Burnham noticed an account of the Highgate 
inquest in the News of the World, and forwarded it through Mr. 
Redhead to the Aylesbury police. Mr. Joseph Crossley had also seen 
some report of it, and he sent it to the C.I.D. with a cutting report- 
ing the Blackpool inquest.* The Aylesbury police communicated 
with the Blackpool police and with headquarters, which then,- 
through Detective-Inspector Neil and Inspector Cole and P.S. Page, 
commenced elaborate investigationsf in over forty towns in England, 
taking statements from 150 witnesses, of whom 112 were called at the 
trial, and examining the details of one account at Parr's Bank, Heine 
Bay, of accounts at three branches of the London City and Midland 
Bank, at Tunbridge Wells, Bath, and Portsmouth; of accounts at 
four branches of Lloyd's Bank at Bristol, Cheltenham, Lamport, and 
Weston-super-Mare; of three accounts at the Capital and Counties 
Bank at Bristol, Cheltenham, and Weston-super-Mare; of one account 
of the National Provincial Bank at Weston-super-Mare; of another 
of the Wilts and Dorset Bank ; and of two of the London and South- 
western Bank at Highgate and Shepherd's Bush, to say nothing of 
sis Savings Bank accounts, of which four were in the names of Smith's 
victims and the other two in the names of John Lloyd and George 
Smith. 

The police did not receive infoi-niation from Heme Bay until Mr. 
Lloyd was already charged with the two later murders. It was on 
February 15, 1915, that Inspector Neil told the prisoner that he had 
reason to believe he was identical with Mr. Williams, whose wife had 



* He wrote under date January 3, 1915, pointing out the striking similarity 
of the two cases. — E.R. W. 

+ The police communications between Highgate, Blackpool, Aylesbury, Bath, 
Bristol, and to the C.I.D. have been placed at my disposal by Mr. Neil. As 
they are documents of a confidential nature, I have so handled them, quoting 
here and there to make a point that does not appear in the evidence. It seems 
that Mr. Schroder was not satisfied about the Highgate death, and would have 
preferred an open verdict. Mr. Kilvington, for the Lofty family, was, however, 
satisfied. Mr. Burnham had always suspected foul play, but felt he could do 
nothing in face of the Blackpool verdict The astute Mr. Neil, even as late as 
January 19, 1915, went so far as to write, "Although we have no real grounds 
for suspicion that the death was otherwise than accidental ... it is desirable 
that he should not have the money in question for a while." Great precautions 
were used to prevent Smith suspecting that he was under observation, and that 
inquiries were being pursued about him. — E.R. W. 

28 



Introduction. 

died in her bath at Heine Bay. On the 18th of that month her 
body was exhumed, examined by Dr. Spilsbury, and reinterred. 
In his report of February 20 the Inspector adds, " I am of opinion 
that we have not, so far, discovered the full list of this man's 
crimes." 

A feature of the proceedings at the Police Court was the 
inordinate interest taken by women in the accused ; they would, as 
early as eight in the morning, take up their station in queues outside 
the Court, bringing lunch with them, and they literally hemmed the 
prisoner in, by pressing so closely around the dock that they actually 
touched him (see The Weekly Dispatch under dates May 16 and July 
4, 1915).* 

The trial at the Central Criminal Court opened on June 22, 1915, 
and lasted until July 1. It was the longest and the most important 
murder case tried in England since Palmer's, sixty years before; in 
one respect it constituted a record — no fewer than 264 exhibits were 
put in; the witnesses came from over forty different towns, and 
numbered 112, of whom 18 were solicitors or solicitors' clerksf and 
14 were officials from banks. 

The legal and medico-legal aspects of the trial receive special 
consideration in Part II. ; the full report later given renders it super- 
fluous to anticipate here the story unfolded at such length. To the 
horror of Mrs. Millgate, when she saw the naked corpse behind the 
door, and the amazement of Miss Rapley at Mr. Williams's appalling 
callousness, may be added the dramatic incidents, when Mrs. Cross- 
ley, of Blackpool, and Miss Blatch, of Highgate, were taken by 
counsel over the very moments when, unknown to them at the time, 
the murderer was at his dreadful work in the little bathrooms above 
where they were sitting in the peaceful pursuit of household duties. 

Not even a verbatim report can convey their emotional distress, 
but I will quote a few words from the official report kindly lent 
by Sir E. Marshall Hall. 



* The verdict of the inquest was the subject of Parliamentary enquiry, and 
on 14th July, 1915, Mr. Raffan asked the Home Secretary whether he will in- 
stitute an inquiry into the circumstances which led to the verdict of accidental 
death being returned at Coroner's inquests on the bodies of Bessie Mundy, Alice 
Burnham, and Margaret Lofty, whose deaths were subsequently shown to have 
been caused by murder, and whether he can state the legal and medical qualifi- 
cations of the Coroner who held the inquests. Sir John Simon, " I will look 
into this matter, but its consideration must stand over until the Court of 
Criminal Appeal has dealt with the prisoner's appeal against his conviction which 
is now pending ; " and on 22ud July Mr. Booth asked an identical question. Sir 
John Simon merely referred him to his previous answer. — E.R.W. 

+ Excluding Mr. Mowll and Dr. French who was a qualified solicitor. 

29 



George Joseph Smith. 

Mr. Bodkin — Whilst you ami your daughter and son-in-law were in the 
kitchen, did you notice anything about the kitchen? 
Mrs. Crossley — I noticed the ceiling. 
Mr. Bodkin — What did you notice about the ceiling? 
Mrs. Crossley — The water was coining through. 
Mr. Bodkin — Would you like a little water? 
Mrs. Crossley — No, it worries me to think of the time. 

****** 

Mr. Marshall-Hall — Did you think he had something to do with his wife's 
death ? Now then, answer me that question. (The witness mumbled something. ) 
I cannot hear a syllable. 

Mr. Justice Scrutton — Ask the question again ! Somebody moved or 
coughed just at the time we wanted to hear. 

Mrs. Crossley — I shall not answer the question, what I thought. 

Mr. Hall — You won't answer the question ? 

Mrs. Crossley — No. 

Mr. Hall — If you won't answer it 

Mrs. Crossley — I cannot answer it, what I think about that. 

But she had already, by what she wrote on the back of exhibit 
175, answered what she thought about it. 

Miss Blatch, after that terribly grim story of the splashing heard 
above, the wet arms on the side of the bath, and the final sigh, the 
organ pealing forth its funereal notes for full ten minutes from the 
sitting room, the slamming of the front door, the ring at the bell, 
the calling out to the dead woman, was asked, " Where were you 
when he so called out? " "At the bottom of the stairs." " Did you 
go up then? " "I said, ' I cannot come, Mr. Lloyd.' 

" I rushed upstairs to another gentleman I thought was in the 
house. ... I rushed to the door. I did not notice anything. 
He said he would go for the police. I said I would go 
myself. 

Mr. Justice Scrutton — Did you put on your hat before you went out? 

Miss Blatcii — I put no hat on. 

Mr. Justice Scrutton — When you saw the prisoner with the body in his 
arms and the legs in the bath, did you look for any time? 

Miss Blatch — No, I looked for no time ; I felt her arms and went down- 
stairs. 

The defence was, as in Palmer's case, the least impressive part of 
the trial. Never, except in the Sandhill's crime,* was Mr. Marshall 



* The murder by Holt, between Blackpool and St. Anne's, of Mrs. Elsie Breaks, 
who had just made a will in his favour, bequeathing him the amount of her life 
policy. It well illustrates "the desperate and shortsighted wickedness" of 
murderers that Holt committed his murder within four miles of the similar 
murder by Smith by whose fate he was unwarned. — E.W.R. 

30 



Introduction. 

Hall so destitute of material; his miserable client — all the bravado 
knocked out of him, and speaking, when he interrupted to his own 
detriment, in a voice which a lady present likened to a patient's when 
only partly under chloroform — was an impossible witness, damning 
though his absence from the box necessarily was. Counsel combated 
the theories of Drs. Spilsburyand Willcox, and employed a favourite 
argument with him that one would have to go back to the days of 
the Borgias to find such depths of wickedness as the prosecution 
alleged. One substantial point he made — Would Smith, if he had 
intended to murder Miss Burnham or Miss Lofty, have gone 
to the expense of an endowment policy, when for about half the 
premium he could have got an all-life policy, which would have 
served his purpose ju6t as well? As will be 6een, Smith only 
abandoned the all-life policy on Miss Burnham when a further 
premium was demanded from him to cover the risk of marriage; 
and he probably found that an endowment policy masked his 
designs better from his two brides, besides furnishing his advocate 
with a plausible argument. Still, it must have cost Mr. Smith a 
pang to forego £500. 

The inevitable verdict was reached on the final day in a very few 
minutes. Some reporters, who must have been poorly accommodated, 
said that the prisoner heard it unmoved; in truth he was collapsed, 
so that a doctor stood near him. He was " very pale — almost livid. 
That tell-tale patch of red on his high cheek bones flushed angrily." 
Called upon by the Clerk of the Court, his lips refused their office. 
" Then, with an effort, he gasped, ' I can only say I am not guilty.' " 

Like Baron Bramwell, in sentencing the " Flowery Land " 
pirates a half-century before, the judge forebore to add anything to 
the words of his sentence, but, unlike the Baron, he concluded with 
the usual invocation of Heaven to be merciful to the doomed man's 
soul. It is no part of a judge's statutory or other duty to add these 
words. Smith thanked his counsel, the judge thanked the jury and 
Inspector Neil, and thus ended one of the most remarkable murder 
trials, both from the atrocity of the criminal and the ingenuity with 
which the net was spread around him by the C.I.D., in the annals 
of British crime. 

Smith was removed to Pentonville, pending his appeal, which 
was heard on July 29. A violent thunderstorm raged during the 
proceedings, and, after a peculiarly loud peal of thunder, the accused 
man looked nervously at the roof of the Court, as if he seemed to read 
his destiny in the wrath of the heavens. Mr. Marshall Hall traversed 
much the same ground in his main argument as at the Old Bailey — that 

31 



George Joseph Smith. 



there was no prima facie case of the murder of Bessie Mundy apart 
from evidence of system; that such evidence was not admissible until 
a case to go to a jury had been built up aliunde. If the prisoner had 
given evidence that the death was accidental, then such evidence of 
system was admissible in rebuttal, but was not admissible in chief; 
there was no evidence of any physical fact by the prisoner causing 
Bessie Mundy's death, and no evidence as to surrounding circum- 
stances ought to have been given in respect of the deaths at Blackpool 
and Highgate; that' evidence of what took place at Mr. Annesley's 
was improperly admitted, as it was an interview between solicitor 
and client, and therefore there was a privilege not to disclose it; that 
the question put to both Dr. Spilsbury and Dr. Willcox* was the 
death consistent with accident? — was the question for the jurv,t that 
the suggestions of the judge that the prisoner might have lifted the 
bride into the bath and that he might have employed drugs were 
improper, as supported by no evidence; and that Mrs. Thornhill's 
twice-repeated remark about the prisoner's sentence of two years 
had improperly influenced the jury. Mr. Bodkin shortly replied on 
the circumstantial evidence of an act of murder followed by evidence 
to show design, and he commented on the position of the body as 
inconsistent with epilepsy, which was very unlikely to begin at 
thirty-five years of age. Mr. Hall did not reply. The Court, after 
the Lord Chief Justice had paid a compliment to the powerful and 
able argument of counsel — none the less forcible for being condensed 
so as to deal with the real points of the case — dismissed the appeal. 
The prisoner, who had only once taken his gaze from the faces of his 
judges, turned ghastly white, and was at once removed. 

He remained at Pentonville until August 4, when, pursuant to his 
sentence under Palmer's Act, he was removed to Maidstone. The 
few remaining days of his life he passed in great prostration and 
almost constant tears. On August 9 he wrote a letter to Edith 
Pegler. He listened to the Wesleyan minister who was 
sent to comfort him and to the chaplain; but he discovered 
no trace of penitence, and made no confession. His execu- 
tion was fixed for August 13, at eight o'clock, Pierpont 
and Ellis being the executioners. The last morning found him 
in a painful state of collapse; he was assisted to the scaffold, 



Now Sir William Willcox. 



+ Lords Brougham and Lyndhurst both condemned a very similar question 
by Buller to Hunter in Donellau'a case. See Sir T. Martin's "Life of Lynd- 
hurst," p. 281, ?i.— UK. W. 



32 



Introduction. 

which it took three minutes to reach — thrice the usual time — 
from the moment the executioners entered the condemned cell. 
Outside a large crowd had collected, many of whom were women 
— and many women of all ranks gazed from the windows of 
neighbouring houses — and the loud babble of their voices could 
be heard in the cell while the preparations were being made, 
and the voice of the chaplain was drowned as he recited the 
opening words of the burial service. As eight o'clock struck a 
great silence fell on the multitude, and it lasted while the helpless 
man was almost carried in a blaze of summer sunshine across the 
prison yard to the fatal shed. He had to be supported on the drop. 

What were his last thoughts? It is idle to speculate. Had he 
ever heard of Nero and his cunning and cruel attempt to drown his 
mother Agrippina? Had he, with his smattering of book knowledge, 
ever heard of the last recorded utterance of the most infamous of the 
Imperial Caesars — Quulis artifex pereo? If, stupefied and terrified 
as he was, he was capable of coherent reflection, we may be sure his 
last thought was one of self-pity — what an artist to perish, to have 
thought out a new mode of murder, and only to end like any common 
cut-purse of the old hanging days ! 

At the inquest held the same day in the prison, evidence was given 
that death was instantaneous and painless from fracture of the cervical 
vertebrae; the body was formally identified by Inspector Neil, and 
then consigned to the destroying quicklime — naked as his brides had 
lain naked — exposed to the gaze of strangers. 

Deep down below a prison yard 

Naked for greater shame, 
He lies, with fetters on each foot, 

Wrapt in a sheet of flame. 



II. 

(A.)— Questions of Law. 



The points of law raised on the Appeal will be found in the 
Appendix; the main contention, as at the trial, turned on the 
principle of A. G. v. Makin, as to which the lay reader may stand 
in need of some enlightenment. 

The principles regulating the admission of evidence of other 
acts than that charged, in order to show system, are discussed in a 

D 33 



George Joseph Smith. 



number of authorities, and are somewhat too technical for a full 
analysis in an Introduction intended mainly for the general public. 

When such evidence is admitted, it is admitted to show, " not 
that the defendant did the acts which form the basis of the charge, 
but that, if he did such acts, he did them intentionally and not 
accidentally, or inadvertently, or innocently."* Only a minority of 
the cases illustrating the principle were murder cases. Palmer's 
case is often put forward by legal purists as a case where, though 
there were other indictments against the prisoner for the murder 
of his wife and brother, the suggestion of the murder of these " was 
never made or hinted at."f Of well-known murder cases, in 
which such evidence was admitted, R. v. Geering was a charge of 
the poisoning by arsenic of the prisoner's husband in September, 
1818; there were three other indictments against the prisoner 
charging her with the murder of her son, George, in December, 1848; 
with the murder of her son, James, in March, 1849; and with the 
attempted murder of her son, Benjamin, in the following month, 
all by the administration of arsenic. The evidence of the circum- 
stances of the later deaths and of the illness in the last case was 
admitted by Lord Chief Baron Pollock on two grounds (1) to show 
that the death of the husband, whether felonious or not, was 
occasioned by arsenic; and (2) to enable the jury to determine 
whether the taking of the arsenic was accidental or not. It was not 
admissible as tending to prove a subsequent felony. 

Neill Cream's case was another of murder by arsenic poisoning. 
It was a very celebrated trial, but it did not figure in the law re- 
ports, nor did Mr. Justice Hawkins give anyreason for admitting the 
evidence, because, as he stated in a letter to Mr. Justice Windeyer,| 
any comments he might have made in pointing out the relevancy of 
the evidence would have been very prejudicial to the prisoner. The 
murder of which Cream was convicted was of an unfortunate named 
Matilda Clover, and, the defence suggesting in cross-examination death 
from delirium tremens, evidence was given, after the close of the direct 
evidence relating to Clover, of the deaths of three other unfortu- 
nates with the same symptoms, and of the attempted administration 



* "Laws of England" IX., 380. 

t Stephen's "General View of Criminal Law," 270. A broad distinction 
between a case like Palmer's, on the one hand, and Smith's or Armstrong's, on 
the other, is that in Palmer's case the defence was that Cook's death was due to 
natural causes, and not to misadventure or suicide. That other persons Palmer 
had access to had died mysteriously was, therefore, regarded professionally as 
a matter of prejudice. 

tThe letter will be found in 14 N.S.W.R. Appendix. 

34 



Introduction. 

of a pill to a fourth, who, however, evaded taking it. In the 
letter referred to Mr. Justice Hawkins goes, I think, rather further 
than any British authority has gone, when speaking judicially. " I 
dissent," he wrote, " from the suggestion that such evidence 
can only be admitted in corroboration of a prima facie 
case which a judge would be justified in leaving to a jury i* it stood 
alone. The admissibility of evidence in itself material and relevant 
to the inquiry can never be dependent on whether it is used to cor- 
roborate evidence already given, or is offered as an independent piece 
of evidence."* 

The principle has been well stated in R. v. Francis (false pre- 
tences), L.R. 20, C.R., at p. 131, by Lord Chief Justice Coleridge — 
" It seems clear . . . that when the fact of the prisoner having 
done the thing he is charged with is proved and the only remaining 
question is, whether at the time he did it he had guilty knowledge 
of the quality of his act or acted under a mistake, evidence of the 
dass received must be admissible. It tends to show that he was 
pursuing a course of similar acts, and thereby raises a presumption 
that he was not acting under a mistake." 

This was applied in the New Zealand case of R. v. Hall, where 
the prisoner was tried for the murder by antimony of Henry Cain on 
January 29, 1886. The hypothesis of accidental administration was 
distinctly before the jury. The judge, wrongly as it was held, 
admitted evidence to show that from June to August 15 of that year 
the prisoner was in attendance on his wife, and that antimony was 
found in his possession and in her excreta. In holding the evidence 
improperly admitted, the Court said — " The evidence is admissible 
as proof of the intent, where the prior fact of administration has 
been sufficiently established by independent testimony : ... by 
prior proof must be understood that there was sufficient evidence 
of the fact to go to a jury. This preliminary question the presid- 
ing judge must determine."! 

In the case before them the New Zealand Court of Appeal saw 
no satisfactory evidence of a. design, which required for its achieve- 
ment the deaths of Cain and Mrs. Hall — in other words, there was no 
nexus between the two deaths. 

A. G. v. Makin is now generally regarded as the leading case, 
and the instructive judgments of the New South Wales Court of 
Crown Cases Reserved are quite as valuable as the report of the case 
in the Privy Council. Its resemblance to Smith's case lies in the 



* He was so clear in his opinion that he refused to reserve Neill Cream's 
case for the C.C.R.— E.R.W. 
i R. v. Hall, 5N.Z.L.R. 93. 

35 



George Joseph Smith. 

presumption of the physical fact constituting the murder charged 
from the evidence as to the other deaths ; in other words, of the facts 
showing system. Just as Smith was never proved to have been in 
the bathroom at Heme Bay when Bessie Mundy was expiring there, 
so the Makins were never proved to have done any physical act to 
Horace Amber Murray by which he could have been deprived of life. 
The homicidal act — its manner unknown — was inferred from the 
facts showing system, the other bodies found, and the overwhelming 
evidence of motive. The state of the law will be found clearly sum- 
marised in Mr. Herman Cohen's edition of Roscoe's Criminal 
Evidence at pp. 101-106. 

The law appears as a result of the authorities to be this — 

1. No direct rule can be laid down as to the moment at which 

evidence of facts showing system becomes admissible. 
Roughly, the moment is when its relevance appears clear to 
the presiding judge. 

2. Direct evidence of the physical act constituting the crime is 

not necessary before evidence of system becomes admissible. 

3. The introduction of such evidence, tending to prejudice the 

accused, is not permissible before an issue has been raised 
in substance, if not in words, to which it is relevant, e.g., 
in Smith's case, that he was absent from the bathroom at 
all material times. 

4. The evidence, to be admissible, must be (a) to prove a 

course of conduct; or (b) to rebut a defence of accident 
or mistake; or (c) to prove knowledge by the prisoner of 
some fact. 

5. Whether such evidence would be admissible if there were no 

prima facie case without it, quaere. 

This was the matter left in doubt in Smith's case; as the Court 
expressly said, " We have come to the conclusion that there was 
prima facie evidence that the appellant committed the 
act charged quite apart from the other cases." Mr. Justice Win- 
deyer had said in the Makins' case, " It appears to me that the 
evidence . . . need not amount to such a case as would be 
required to justify the judge in leaving it to a jury."* 

Mr. Marshall Hall's contention that the judge should not have 
put to Drs. Spilsbury and Willcox the question whether the deaths 



* 14 N.S.W.R. at p. 19. 
36 



Introduction. 

could be consistent with accident, as that was the question for the 
jury, recalls a conversation between Lords Brougham and Lynd- 
hurst in old age; they were discussing Sir Francis Buller's oft- 
criticised question — whether the laurel water, in his opinion, was 
the cause of Boughton's death — to the great Hunter in Donellan's 
case. Lyndhurst — " I think that Buller had no right to put the 
question. The point was not in the province of any witness — it 
was the very question which was to go to the jury. What do you 
eay, Brougham? " Brougham — " Buller was wrong; there can be 
no doubt of it whatever."* 

(B.) — Questions of Legal Medicine. 

All cases of death from asphyxiation, whether proceeding from 
drowning, hanging, strangulation, or suffocation, present certain 
characteristic post-mortem appearances. Shakespeare has given an 
enumeration of them in language of which all men have long recog- 
nised the beauty, while medical men have recognised its fidelity. 

Warwick, gazing on the corpse of Gloucester, exclaims — ■ 

See how the blood is settled in his face. 

Oft have I seen a timely parted ghost, 

Of ashy semblance, meagre, pale and bloodless 

Being all descended to the labouring heart, 

Who in the conflict that it holds with death, 

Attracts the same for aidance 'gainst the enemy ; 

Which with the heart there cools and ne'er returneth 

To blush and beautify the cheek again. 

But see, his face is black and full of blood, 

His eyeballs further out than when he lived, 

Staring full ghastly like a strangled man ; 

His hair uprear'd, his nostrils stretched with struggling ; 

His hands abroad display'd, as one that grasp'd 

And tugged for life and was by strength subdued. 

Look on the sheets, his hair, you see, is sticking ; 

His well-proportion'd beard made rough and rugged, 

Like to the summer's corn by tempest lodged. 

It cannot be but he was murder'd here ; 

The least of all these signs were probable, t 

Where, however, a death is due to drowning — and many bodies 
die in the water from other causes, such as syncope, shock, or a 
stroke — only about 25 per cent., according to Ferrier (Quain's 
Dictionary, sub verb. Drowning), die <f pure asphyxia, while in 12*5 



* Sir T. Martin's " Life of Lyndhurst," 28 In. 

t Second part of King Henry VI., Act III., Sc. ii. 



George Joseph Smith. 



per cent, of deaths in the water there is no asphyxia at all. Sus- 
pension of efforts at respiration due to early loss of consciousness 
affect the post-mortem appearances, both internal and external. Less 
water is swallowed ; there is less congestion of blood in the face, and 
less bloody froth in the lungs and mouth. 

Death may occur from drowning without any water being found 
in the stomach (Dixon Mann, 240, 241). As to the time sufficient 
to produce death, where there is complete submersion, if the efforts 
to breathe are continuous — in other words, if consciousness is not 
lost from some independent cause — one minute and a half will suffice 
(Taylor I., p. 650; " One and a half minutes complete submersion 
is fatal, provided that the ordinary respiratory efforts are made 
while submersion is complete "). In one case there was complete 
insensibility within a minute (Taylor I., p. 647). Where a girl 
fell into the water in a state of syncope, she recovered after six 
minutes' immersion ; and trained divers, who, of course, do not 
attempt to breathe under the water can remain submerged for 
two or more minutes, but of two divers going under water with 
apparatus whose air supply was cut off, one who was brought to 
the surface within a minute and a half survived, while the other, 
who was not brought to the surface under two minutes, did not 
survive (Taylor I., p. 647). 

As to the degree of violence necessary to overcome the resist- 
ance of an adult who is being murdered in this manner, Taylor says 
— " It is the result of twenty years' experience of these cases that the 
resistance which a healthy and vigorous person can offer to the assault 
of a murderer intent upon drowning . . . her, is in general such 
as to lead to the infliction of a greater amount of violence than is 
necessary to ensure the death of the victim " (Dublin Quarterly 
Journal of Medical Science, Feb., 1853).* 

But this authority, high as it is, needs to be profoundly modi- 
fied where the struggles of the victim are confined by the sides of a 
bath. There being no example of a similar murder to those alleged 
against Smith to be found in any works on forensic medicine, one of 
the detectives engaged on the case persuaded a young lady of his 
acquaintance, who was a practised swimmer, to sit in a bath, in 
swimming costume, which was filled to the same height as the Heme 
Bay bath. She was aware that the experimenter was about to sub- 
merge her if he could; she was aware that his intentions were not 
felonious, and she was accustomed to having her head under water; 



* Apart from the mysterious blood in the Mundy case, there was no evidence 
of violence in any of the three cases, except slight bruising of an arm in the 
Lofty case.— E.R.W. 

38 



Introduction. 

yet with all these circumstances in her favour as compared with 
Smith's victims, she was unable to get her head above water, after 
it was once submerged, and consequently unable to cry out, and she 
almost instantaneously ceased to struggle, whereupon the experiment 
was at once discontinued; but not before the experimenter had 
satisfied himself not merely of the possibility, but of the ease, with 
which an ordinarily vigorous man could destroy life in the manner in 
which Drs. Spilsbury and Willcox opined Smith might have murdered 
Miss Mundy (see their evidence).* 

Other experiments carried out in empty baths satisfied several 
detectives that, using certain means, a woman might be held under 
water without inflicting any bruises upon her. 

I will now proceed to a separate consideration of the three cases. 
The Heme Bay bath was 5 feet long, inside, at the top; 3 feet 
8 inches along the flat bottom ; the width at the sloping end was 2 feet 
at the top and 1 foot 6 inches at the bottom ; at the other end it was 
1 foot 7 inches and 1 foot 1^ inches. Its depth was 1 foot 4 inches 
at the sloping end, and \ inch more at the other end. The deceased 
was 5 feet 9 inches high, and this 1 was the position in which Dr. 
French found her — " The face was upwards, the trunk at the sloping 
end, the feet out of the water resting on the side of the bath a little 
below the edge. The position of the body kept the legs from slip- 
ping down. The head was submerged, and the trunk partially so. 
The mouth was under water; her arms rested by her side. The 
right hand contained a piece of soap. The bath was just over three 
parts full. (In other words there were at least 12 inches of water 
in the bath.) The legs were out straight — straight from the 
trunk."! 

As to the theoiy of epilepsy, which was accepted by the jury, I 
will let Dr. French speak for himself — " Further than his saying that 
she had temporarily lost consciousness, he could not get anything 
very definite out of him." Although the grounds for regarding it as 
an epileptic fit were very slight, he prescribed bromide of potassium! 
(not only a specific in epilepsy but a general sedative). The prob- 
ability of a woman having her first epileptic fit at thirty-five appears 
to be over twelve to one.+ Quain states that only 6 per cent, of cases 
first occur after thirty years of age. The probability of a person 
having a fit of this sort and not giving the warning scream, which 



* Mr. Smith's own review of the medico-legal aspects of his case will be 
found in his letter in the Appendix. 

+ From his deposition at Bow Street. 

% Allbutt VII., 769. It is twelve to one for both sexes, but there are twenty 
per cent, fewer women epileptic at this age. 



George Joseph Smith. 



is so characteristic as once heard is never to be forgotten, is about 
three to one. 

The probability of a person having such a fit and getting into 
the position described, the lay as well as the medical reader can, 
after perusing the medical evidence, judge for himself. 

Mr. Mowll and his jury did not see the bath nor ascertain the 
position of the body in it ; they had no measurements, and they never 
tested, as Inspector Neil did, the possibility of the bath being filled 
by the deceased woman in the half hour that Smith said he was out 
of the house. 

The theory of epilepsy finds little support, again, from the post- 
mortem appearances; the face was dusky — blue all over — and much 
congested with blood ; there was froth, which flowed out of the mouth, 
and on pressing the chest water flowed out of the mouth, facts indi- 
cating continued efforts at respiration after the face was submerged, 
and negativing the notion of a fit. 

The piece of soap clutched in the right hand was a matter of 
some comment. Counsel spoke of the expression that " drowning 
men clutch at a straw " as figurative. In a sense it is; but the 
figure of speech rests on a well-known truth of forensic medicine. 
There is unusual unanimity amongst the authorities on this point. 
Professor Glaister refers to " the presence of objects in the firmly 
clenched hand — as weeds, grass, sticks, or other objects," as a safe 
indication that death was due to drowning (Med. Jur., 127). 

" It is certain," says Poore (Med. Jur., 570), " that a man 
who is drowning does clutch at anything with which his hands come 
in contact." " The presence of substances clutched in the fingers — 
due, in the first instance, to a vital act subsequently rendered per- 
manent by instantaneous cadaveric rigidity — is evidence of sub- 
mersion during life " (Dixon Mann, 237). " Vain clutchings are 
made at whatsoever comes within reach " (Ferrier).* It is also 
generally stated by the authorities that instant rigor mortis, " last- 
ing until putrefaction, is more common in drowning than in any other 
form of violent death met with in civil life" (Taylor I., 656; 
cf. p. 650, and Dixon Mann, 236). 

Re-examined as to the soap, Dr. French said that if a person died 
euddenly with a piece of soap in her hand the grasp would be con- 
tinued after death; and Dr. Spilsbury, recalled, said, " If only 
consciousness is lost, the soap would probably drop out of the hand 
by the relaxation, but if death occurred immediately, then the object 



* Ferrier adds, "The indication of such instinctive efforts form the most 
mportant evidence of submersion during life. 

40 



Introduction. 

might be retained owing to this condition of instantaneous death 
stiffening," and the body would retain its ante-mortem position. 
Taylor has stated that some of the bodies after the Regent's Park 
disaster of 1867 were " stiffened in the attitude of active exertion, 
the hands and arms being thrown forward as if sliding or skating " 
(I. 651). In that case, however, the cold may have produced stiffen- 
ing by solidification of subcutaneous fat, which may have been con- 
founded with true rigor mortis (cf. Prof. Harvey Littlejohn, Edin. 
Med. Rev., Feb., 1903, p. 137). 

A difficulty that remains as to the piece of soap is that if Dr. 
French's memory was to be trusted after three years, cadaveric 
rigidity had not set in when he saw the soap in the hand. :< I do 
not think it was stiff. ... It was limp." " Any part of it was 
not stiff? " " No."* 

A word as to the blood seen by Mrs. Millgate about the waist 
of the body. As Mr. Marshall Hall 6eems to have suggested that 
each fatal seizure occurred during a period — a suggestion that renders 
Smith's conduct in each case still more astounding and revolting — 
it may, with diffidence, be suggested that this blood, the nature of 
which was never explained, may have been due to post-mortem bleed- 
ing from the vagina. In the case of the " Ireland's eye " murder, 
Mrs. Kirwan was found to be bleeding from the ears and private 
parts. After the conviction of Kirwan, Dr. Alfred Taylor con- 
tributed a paper and Dr. Thomas Geoghegan another on the medico- 
legal aspects of the case. Dr. Taylor wrote — " It is a rare condition 
of asphyxia and not a constant accompaniment or sign of the suffoca- 
tion or strangulation of females." And he adds — " I have not known 
it to occur in drowning." Dr. Geoghegan, from the experience of 
colleagues, found it quite common in the strangulation of women in 
judicial and suicidal hanging. " Vaginal bleeding has been frequently 
noticed in hanging and strangulation," he says, but while admitting 
that the " subject appears not to have sufficiently attracted the atten- 
tion of medical jurists," he seems to regard it as peculiar to death 
from strangulation, as apart from other forms of asphyxia, t 



* The firm clutching in the hand after death of articles retained by it 
in articulo mortis is common to all cases of asphyxia. Mary Paterson, Burke and 
Hare's beautiful victim, had " twopence half penny, which she held fast in her 
hand." Mrs. Hostler, another victim, "had ninepence halfpenny in her hand, 
which they could scarcely get out of it after she was dead, so firmly was it 
grasped." Burke's Courant Confession, Appendix I., Trial of Burke and Hare. 
— E.R.W. 

t Taylor's paper will be found in the Dublin Quarterly Review of Medical 
Science, February, 1853. That of Dr. Geoghegan, Professor of Forensic 
Medicine to the R.C.S., Ireland, has been separately published, "An Examina- 
tion of the Medical Facts " in R. v. Kirwan. Taylor's paper is also reprinted in 

41 



George Joseph Smith. 



It -will probably suggest itself to medical readers that the great 
venous congestion in all cases of asphyxia may render such post- 
mortem bleeding no less likely in asphyxia from drowning as from 
other causes of death of the like sort. In the few cases in our 
reported criminal trials there were other things to account for the 
bleeding that was observed, and authority is very scanty in the 
treatises on legal medicine. 

The cutis anserina, which Dr. Spilsbury found, was of little 
importance in determining the cause of death. It is a sign of 
exposure to water at the time of death, and not of death from the 
immersion in water (Taylor I., 650). Dr. Spilsbury agreed that it 
was found in sudden deaths, other than from drowning, but the 
weight of authority seems to be that cutis anserina has no value 
bearing as on the cause of a death occurring in water. 

A last word on the Mundy case. Smith, it will have been noted, 
informed the relatives that " Bessie died of a fit in a bath." That 
is not what Dr. French said — he was always clear that death was due 
to drowning — but the appearances, in the case of a body of a man 
of thirty, who died of an epileptic seizure in a bath and not from 
drowning have been recorded by Taylor (I. 659, 660). Much 
congestion of the brain was noted, in the right ventricle only 
a small clot of blood, otherwise the cavities of the heart were 
quite empty. The body of Miss Mundy was so decomposed when 
Dr. Spilsbury examined it that he could say little as to either heart 
or brain. 

In the case of Alice Burnham, very little water was found in 
the body by Dr. Billing — so little that he even doubted that death 
was due to drowning. As we have seen, the absence of water is 
not inconsistent with death from drowning. The Blackpool 
bath measured 5 feet 3 inches long inside, and the flat bottom 
was 3 feet 9 inches long; the width at the sloping end was 
2 feet 3 inches at the top and 1 foot 2 inches at the bottom ; 
at the tap end the width was 1 foot 3£ inches, and 1 foot at the top 
and the bottom respectively. The depth at the centre was 18 
inches : and the bath was full to within H inches of the top, even after 
the head was raised out of the water. The body was quite 
limp when Dr. Billing saw it; he opined that death was due 
to drowning, but we are without any description of the post- 
mortem appearances in this case. From the absence of any- 
thing about the colour of the face or of a bloody froth about the 



" The Kirwan Case." (Dublin : J. B. Gilpin, 1853). Any species of suffocation, 
said Robert Christison in R. v. Burke, may cause a discharge of blood after 
death. !See Burke and Hare, p. 195.— E.R.W. 
42 



Introduction. 

mouth and lungs, and from the small quantity of water found, it is 
a legitimate inference that death in this case was not brought about 
solely by asphyxiation, but that there may have been an early loss 
of consciousness before the efforts to breathe had become veiy dis- 
tressing.* 

As to the theory of epilepsy in this case — and it was hardly 
maintained by Mr. Marshall Hall — not only was there no sugges- 
tion of the monitory scream, but a history of an alleged fit at 
nine years of age, followed by no more at the critical period of 
puberty, and only succeeded by one after a will just made in favour 
of an impecunious husband about seventeen years later, may justly 
be dismissed as of no importance, as Dr. Bertram Stone dismissed 
it, " because the history is so indefinite." 

The post-mortem appearances in Margaret Lofty's case point to 
asphyxiation as the main cause of death. The lips were blue and 
swollen, the whole of the face was congested and the eyelids swollen, 
and there was froth exuding from the mouth and nostrils. Of 
violence the only traces were one externally visible bruise above the 
left elbow, on the outer side, and other bruises, recent, beneath the 
surface. Dr. Bates perceived no blood near or about the body ; 
some bloodstains on an undergarment were susceptible of a very 
obvious explanation, and indicated neither violence nor the existence 
of a period at the time of death. Evidence of old pleurisy and peri- 
tonitis was noticed by Dr. Bates, but no suggestion was made that 
either disease had any bearing on the death. There was no evidence 
as to the position of this body in the bath. When first seen after the 
murder by Miss Blatch the corpse was being held up by Smith over 
the bath, the legs being still in the bath, and whether she had 
faced the sloping or the narrow end was not made clear. The bath 
was 5 feet 6 inches long at the top, 4 feet 2 inches along the flat 
bottom; at the top of the sloping end it was 2 feet 1^ inches, narrow- 
ing down to 1 foot 6 inches. At the tap end the width was 1 foot 
6 inches, narrowing down to 11^ inches. There was no evidence as 
to the height of the water in the bath. 

A view remains to be examined, which may serve to explain the 
extraordinary sexual familiarity which established itself so early and 
so easily in the relations of Smith with his brides — the last in 
particular. It was brought to my notice by a correspondent that 
hypnotic suggestion might have played a part in causing these three 
women, not only to place themselves in the very singular situations 



* The reader may consult Brouardel's well-known treatise, of which there 
is an English translation, "La morte et la morte subite," and Dixon Mann, 
pp. 38-40, and again at p. 329, where he records a sudden death from heart 
paralysis caused by excessive mental perturbation. — E.R.W. 



George Joseph Smith. 



in which they did, but even, without physical effort on the part of 
Smith, to drown themselves ! Sir Edward Marshall Hall, whom his 
conspicuous and my more modest public engagements prevented my 
conferring with until a late stage in the preparation of this volume, 
in a letter states: — " I am convinced he (Smith) was a hypnotist. 
Once accept this theory, and the whole thing — including the unbolted 
doors — is to my mind satisfactorily explained." Little is known to 
professors of legal medicine in England of the power of hypnotic 
suggestion to cause a person to do an act morally or otherwise 
repugnant to him or her. 

Albert Moll, as quoted by Georges du Bor, states that hypnotic 
suggestion plays no part in the seduction by a man of a woman. 
That woman would have given herself to that man anyhow. A. E. 
Davis,* in his " Hypnotism," after ridiculing the sexual psychology 
of " Trilby," in which Svengali, by mesmeric art, compels the 
surrender of the heroine to his revolting person, she being all the 
while in love with Little Billee, proceeds to state that, in his experi- 
ence, it is quite impossible, by hypnotic suggestion, to compel per- 
sons to do an act which is morally, aesthetically, or on grounds of 
religious or similar scruple repugnant to them (pp. 110-111). 

Such, too, was the effect of the evidence of Dr. K , now a 

member of the bar, in a case in which he was plaintiff (Kingsbury v. 
Howard, July, 1898) in a contested probate action, and in which he 
was alleged to have induced his lady patient to make a will in his 
favour. His defence succeeded. On the other hand, the authorities 
collected by Wingfield in his " Introduction to the Study of 
Hypnotism," are far more guarded. Moll thinks that, by repeated 
hypnotic suggestion a person could be " willed " to commit a crime. 
Forel proved this by compelling a subject to fire twice at a man with 
a pistol, loaded, but not to his knowledge, with blank cartridge. Von 
Eulenberg, von Schrenck-Notzing, and other eminent German and 
Austrian psycho-therapists seem to agree. I think I am correct in 
stating that in Russia once, and in France twice, a woman has suc- 
cessfully put forward as a defence in homicide hypnotic compulsion 
by a man.f 

In my view, the simple explanation that the unhappy women were 
in love with Smith explains all. The respondent, in one of the two 
famous political divorces of the mid-eighties, said of the co- 

* Professor of Psycho-therapy to Liverpool Hospital. 

f Lord Justice Scrutton informs me that he accepts neither the hypnotic 
theory nor the theory that poisonous vapour was put in the bath water. Digital 
pressure per rectum on the spinal column is an alternative based on a doctor's 
personal experience with a violent lunatic. — E.R.W. 

44 



Introduction. 

respondent, " If Charles had asked me to stand on my head in the 
middle of Piccadilly, I would have done it." 

Certain definite evidence, moreover, indicates the use of some 
physical violence by Smith — the hair at the sloping end of the Black- 
pool bath, the overflowing of water from it, the sound of the wet 
arms and the sighing, as of one struggling to get breath, at High- 
gate. Smith's own autograph note to Mr. Shearman, which that 
learned counsel gave to me, to my mind, went strongly to show that 
he — an ex-gymnasium instructor — knew how to accomplish such 
murders without bruising the victim. And the experiments of Mr. 
Neil confirm the possibility. 



III. 

Studies in Psychology (I.) — The Psychology of Sex. 

A popular and prolific French author (M. Paul Bourget) has in 
a work marked by all the vigour of youth and all the enthusiasm for 
his subject of a good Frenchman, endeavoured to analyse the con- 
stituents of a " lady's man." Looks count for little; education for 
nothing. " Mais le tact de l'homme a femmes est quelque chose 
de tout particulier-presque un organe-comme les antennes chez les 
insectes — presque un instinct, car l'education n'y ajoute guere. Cet 
homme, par example, du premier coup d'oeil, juge exacement quel 
degree de chance il a aupres d'une femme a laquelle il est presente. 
II dira mentalement — Celle-ci est pour moi, celle-la, non."* And, 
after a consideration of typical men, he concludes — " Mais ils avaient 
tous ce fond de temperament ou git la force vitale." 

Smith's protective antennae seem to have guided him well enough 
in the search for likely victims; whe/e they failed him was in the 
inability to warn him of the women in whom his pronounced sexu- 
ality aroused an instant and an enduring antagonism. On men, on 
the other hand, he produced no impression, but one of insignificance 
and commonness — " Just like any butcher " was Mr. Neil's appre- 
ciation. 

It has long been recognised that two radically different types of 
men favourably impress women : the type possessing a marked 
femininity of character enabling its possessors to understand women 
from their own point of view, and those of a very pronounced mascu- 
linity, who succeed by riding rough-shod over the finer feelings of 
women, and whose success is due to the arousing of woman's primi- 



* " La Psychologie de 1' Amour Moderne." 

45 



George Joseph Smith. 



tive desire to be mastered — a desire which is normal within limits, 
but when abnormal is styled by the professors of sexual psychology 
Masochism, to distinguish it from its counterpart, the abnormal 
desire to inflict pain (within limits physiological in the male at least), 
which is known as Sadism, each term being derived from the man of 
letters, who stands as a type of the abnormally submissive and the 
abnormally masterful and cruel. 

George Joseph Smith was undoubtedly a male whose love for 
mastery over women, including the infliction on them of humiliation 
(witness the letter to Bessie Mundy of September 13, 1910, the cir- 
cumstances of each desertion of a robbed bride, and the invariable 
exposure of the nude corpse of a murdered bride to the gaze of 
strangers of either sex) approached the pathological limit where 
the normal masculine desire merges into Sadism; but, unlike Neill 
Cream, Chapman, or Jack the Ripper, Smith was not driven to 
murder through an overmastering impulse of Sadism, the pecuniary 
motive being the all-powerful one, murder being only undertaken 
where robbery could not be accomplished without it. In Cream's 
case the motive of pecuniary advantage through blackmail was very 
unsubstantial, and there is little doubt that the half crazy doctor 
was a victim of the most dangerous of sexual perversions, one which 
accounts for a great deal of what is most unsavoury in the divorce 
Court. As to the physical attractions of Smith, he had, it seems, 
a certain magnetism about his eyes. A woman writer in a popular 
morning paper has told of the " Irresistible feline luminosity in the 
eyes " of the sexually attractive man; and Smith's first bigamouxly 
married bride has described him thus — " He had an extraordinary 
power over women. This pcner lay in his eyes. When he looked at 
you for a minute or two you had the feeling that you were being 
magnetised. They were little eyes that seemed to rob you of your 
will."* He was accustomed to indulge in such practices as wife- 
beating. " Often," says the authority quoted, " he has beaten me 
black and blue. Once he locked me in a cabinet folding-bed." 

Smith made no pretence of fidelity to this bride; indeed the 
occasion of one flogging arose out of an amour. I will give the story 
in the woman's own words. " Often he used to brag to me about 
his numerous women acquaintances. Once I met one of his victims 
with him and warned her to her face about him. She was greatly 
shocked, and said she had always regarded him as a good, religious 
man. That night he came home and thrashed me till I was nearly 



* See the Weekly Dispatch, August 15, 1915. The spell of his eyes was 
noticed by his counsel in their first interview with hira in Brixton prison. In 
their case the look in his eyes caused a sensation of fear. — E.R. \V. 

46 



Introduction. 

dead." Whether or not his various " victims " were so simple as 
to believe in his whole-hearted devotion, it remains an everlasting 
truth that women are not much attracted by want of enterprise 
in the male. To a wife, at least, to have a roue for a husband is 
an indirect compliment to herself. As Valera says (" Dona 
Luz," p. 205), " Even the most moral and religious young woman 
likes to marry a man who has loved many women ; it gives a greater 
value to his choice of her." Professor Hans Gross well says — " Only 
the very young, pure, and inexperienced girl feels an instinctive 
revulsion from the real rout, but other women, according to Roche- 
brune, love a man in proportion to the number of other women who 
love or have loved him. This is difficult to understand ; but it is a 
fact that a man has an easy task with women if he has the reputation 
of being a great hand with them. Perhaps this is only an expression 
of the conceit and envy of women, who cannot bear the idea that a 
man is interested in so many others and not in themselves. As 
Balzac says, ' Women prefer most to win a man who already belongs 
to another.' The inconceivable ease with which certain types of 
men seduce women, and at whose heads women throw themselves in 
spite of the fact that these men have no praiseworthy qualities what- 
ever, can only be so explained. Perhaps it is true, as is sometimes 
said, that here is a case of sexuality expressing itself in an inexplic- 
able manner." Johnson's famous dictum falls naturally alongside 
the Austrian jurist's. " ' Ladies set no value on the moral character 
of men who pay their addresses to them ; the greatest profligate will be 
as well received as the man of greatest virtue, and this by a woman 
who says her prayers three times a day.' Our ladies endeavoured 
to defend their sex from this charge, but he roared them down : 
' No, no; a lady will take Jonathan Wild as readily as St. Austin, 
if he has threepence more. . . . Women have a perpetual envy 
of our vices ; they are less vicious than we, not from choice, but 
because we restrict them.' " 

Havelock Ellis has observed that " There is no such instinctive 
demand on woman's part for innocence in a man," but he adds by 
way of qualification — " This is not always or altogether true of the 
experienced woman."* 

But while, as we have seen, Smith without money, manners, 
education, or even appearance to recommend him, produced in- 
variably an effect on women, though that effect was at times the 
reverse of favourable, men carried away no distinct impression of 
him. Mr. Burnham did indeed dislike him, but so faint was the 
personal impression that he was unable to pick him out at Bow Street. 

* " Studies in the Psychology of Sex " VI., 44. 

47 



George Joseph Smith. 



One witness alone, Mr. J. H. Robbins, is shocked by Smith's greed 
after money — "when he claims half-commission on the murdered 
Blackpool bride's policy ; but for the most part the quiet professional 
men, with whom he comes in contact, see nothing to notice about 
him. The solicitors, the doctors, the bankers, house agents, insur- 
ance agents — even the coroners, those men of more than ordinary 
perspicacity — to each and all he appears in no wise out of the 
ordinary ; indeed, upon the bank managers he must have produced 
a mildly favourable impression, for he opens account after account 
in false names, without references, and in one case to the manager's 
knowledge has only an accommodation address, " where they call 
themselves confectioners. It is a sort of small mixture of milk and 
groceries."* P.C. Heath, who, as having had a good opportunity 
to notice him at Bismarck Road, was asked by Inspector Neil to 
keep watch for him outside Mr. Davies's office, was unable to identify 
him. His eyes, with their suggestion of mesmeric powers apart, 
there was nothing in his appearance or manner that struck Mr. 
Shearman, who had constant opportunities for studying him at Bow 
Street and at the Central Criminal Court. His main endeavour 
seemed to Mr. Shearman to be to pass for a gentleman of in- 
dependent means and of culture. To produce such an impression 
he went so far as to wear a frock coat and tall hat at Heme Bay 
in August, where such raiment would certainly arouse remark. 

Yet he had only to be in physical propinquity to a woman, and 
she at once became aware that she was in the presence of a man of 
some mysterious powers over her sex. To the wife of a high legal 
functionary he appeared an attractive man ; that acute criminologist, 
the late H. B. Irving, during the trial was seated next two fashion- 
ably attired ladies of pleasure, and these vied with one another in 
praise of the prisoner's charms. At the Police Court the eagerness 
with which women thronged round him in the dock was the subject 
of indignant comment in the papers ; and at the Old Bailey the police 
had special instructions to make it as difficult as possible for women 
to be present. On the other hand, even in cold print, the dislike 
of the man that instantly possessed such witnesses as Mrs. Tuckett 
and Miss Rapley appears unmistakably. 

There is one masculine failing which women find it peculiarly 
difficult to overlook in a man; yet Smith possessed this failing in a 
marked degree — petty meanness in the matter of money. To Edith 
Pegler he sends only the smallest sums, and his ideas of a honey- 
moon jaunt stop short at places which are either free to the public 



* Mr. E. H. Bellamy's evidence. 

4S 



Introduction. 

or are to be entered for a modest expenditure; it is Brockwell 
Park, the National Gallery, or a shillingsworth of the White City; 
and he leaves Alice Reavil to pay for the food ! 

" In all the transactions of his infamous life," wrote Mr. Sims 
in " Bluebeard of the Bath," " whether he was Jekyll or whether 
he was Hyde, he was abominably mean. He never squandered 
a farthing of his ill-gotten gains. He rarely, when absent 
from his Bristol wife, sent her any money. When he decided 
to murder Miss Mundy he bargained for the bath, did not pay 
for it. and when he had committed in it the murder for which 
he had obtained it, he sent it back again, not even paying a 
small amount for the hire of it, although by using it he had obtained 
between two and three thousand pounds. He never wasted a farthing 
on any of the young women whose money he was going to get by 
murdering them. When arrested, although he had made many 
thousand pounds by the most economical form of murder possible, 
he was wearing a suit of clothes for which he had not paid. They 
had not been paid for when he was hanged." 

He sells Bessie Mundy' s clothing before it has come back from 
the laundry and does not settle the laundry bill, which Mrs. Mill- 
gate has paid. He disposes of Alice Burnhanrs wardrobe and rings, 
and grudges her remains a pitch-pine coffin when deal would do as 
well. He takes Miss Mundy away from Weston-super-Mare, and 
does not settle with Mrs. Tuckett the £2 10s. owing. He takes Mr. 
Crabbe, a working man, away from his work to witness his marriage 
and does not pay him a penny. He promises to remunerate Mrs. 
Crossley for her trouble, and gives her nothing but his address for 
her to forward him the local papers. And he tries to get out of 
paying Mr. Annesley's bill.* 

Though he claims half-commission from Mr. Pleasance over Alice 
Burnham's policy, he leaves her mother and brother to pay for their 
modest lunch at the " Company House," where he has choked the 
life out of their dear one. But when he is in danger himself, no 
considerations of expense restrain him from securing what he 
deems the best professional aid. 

How it came about that such a man was able to impose his will 
so absolutely on three different women, each coming from a home 
superior to his, and each boasting a greater degree of education, 
and to leave on each an impression of kindness, truthfulness and 
genuineness so absolute that, forsaking the natural ties of the flesh, 



* On December 28, 1912, Smith writes that on " counsel's advice" he is not 
paying Mr. Annesley his fee. I believe the reference to counsel to be a pure 
invention. — E. R. W. 

E 49 



George Joseph Smith. 

they surrendered all to him that they had in the world — their bodies 
and their belongings with equal abandon — can best be treated in a 
study of the criminal himself in some detail. 



Studies in Psychology (II.)— L'uomo Delinquente. 

The fascination which very depraved men exercise over women 
has long stimulated criminologists to discover — hitherto with little 
success — what common attribute bad men possess which makes them 
so ingratiating to the sex. " Duval, the ladies' pride. Duval, the 
ladies' joy," in common with the other highwaymen, doubtless owed 
his success to the false romanticism with which the " Beggar's 
Opera " and less enduring literary tributes contrived to invest the 
lives of the knights of the road. But the uncomely Sheppard, the 
hideous Peace, the commonplace Palmer, those " two singularly 
common and ordinary persons," Pranzini and Prado, and many 
another whose crimes are unsung, were equally, in their day, the 
objects of passionate adoration, in some cases on the part of women 
much above them in station, and their shameful and well-deserved 
ends a fruitful cause of tears and heartaches. 

" This former conductor of Pullman cars," observed M. 
Bourget of Pranzini, " is mourned in many a lady's bed." Smith, 
however, like Dougal, the Moat Farm murderer, belongs specifically 
to that small band of criminals, of whom Vitalis is an exemplar, who 
thrived on the exploitation of feminine weakness and, so far as is 
known, avoided forms of crime in which the ability to deceive 
women would not have availed. 

The resemblances between Dougal and Smith are more than 
superficial. The Moat Farm murderer had also been in the Army, 
and his known relationships with women included (1) Miss Griffiths, 
whom he married, and who died in Canada under suspicious circum- 
stances, being hastily buried without a death certificate; (2) a 
second wife, a young women of means whom he married on August 
14, 1885. She died in a few weeks in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and 
was buried beside the first wife in a neglected grave; (3) a Halifax 
girl, with whom he lived and by whom he had a child. He several 
times threatened to murder her, and abandoned her; (4) a widow, 
by whom he had two children, and whom he then left to take small 
positions in clubs at Stroud Green and Southend; (5) a young 
unmarried woman of means, with whom he got in touch through a 
matrimonial agency. He induced her to live with him and to sell 
her property and give him the proceeds; (6) the third Mrs. Dougal, 
a good-looking woman, whom he married against her parents' wishes 
50 



Introduction. 

in August, 1892; (7) an elderly lady, with money, who took a 
public-house for him at Ware. He was suspected of arson here, 
and was convicted of forgery; (8) his last victim, Miss Camille 
Holland, an elderly lady of means, whom he met after serving his 
sentence. She was very musical, artistic, and literary, and also 
very religious. In point of education and status she was far above 
Dougal. Yet she lived with him as his wife, without scruple. 

At the time of the murder of Miss Holland, Dougal was 
endeavouring to seduce — if that word be not too mild to cover what 
went to the verge of an attempted crime — their maid, and he was 
industriously running after several other young women in compara- 
tively humble life. In all cases the women's property was at his 
disposal equally as their persons. He had the education of an 
N.C.O. of the old-time Army, but was far from being a man of 
polish. Educationally, however, he was the superior of Smith. '' Mr 
Philip Curtin " and others having represented Smith as a man who 
affected belles-lettres and who could turn out a pretty sonnet or 
billet-doux to a lady, let me here say, once and for all, that a man 
with smaller pretensions to literary skill one could not come across. 
He was utterly incapable of writing a grammatical sentence or of 
spelling the commonest words. In a note before me now he writes 
" wader " repeatedly for " warder," and " difficulity, " " voilence," 
and " brusies " for the familiar woi'ds they are meant to represent. 
In a letter to the secretary of a West End club he writes " diss- 
advantage," " attatched," " obivious," and " conserned " ; and 
in a letter to Mr. Davies he writes " in fain," " attemt," and 
" solomn." Like some better educated people, he never could dis- 
tinguish " principal " from " principle." Though we had been at 
war with Germany for nearly a year when he was tried, the acquaint- 
ance of Mr. Smith with public affairs and with history was well 
evinced by the note (reproduced in facsimile) in which he speaks of 
" several jerman or foreign women." As for his grammar, it was 
nearly as bad as his heart, and sufficiently appears from his letters 
put in as exhibits. 

What, then, is the explanation of the fascination of Dougal 
and of Smith? Readers of Havelock Ellis will remember that that 
shrewd observer has remarked that nowhere does the trained 
observer meet with more sensual women than are to be found in 
quiet homes and country vicarages. What to the common eye seems 
a demure young woman of the middle class is to the eye of 'Me vrai 
l'homme a femmes " a woman who may worship at the chapel or 
in her father's church, but in secret she is also a worshipper of the 
pagan divinity Priapus. " Those cunning little eyes," which 

51 



George Joseph Smith. 



" blinked uneasily " while Mr. Justice Scrutton was lashing their 
possessor with his tongue, could read very well the mind of a woman, 
and could see whether in the depths of her eyes could be traced the 
smouldering fires of passion, all the more ready to burst into flame 
from the constant repression of desire forced on her by the daily 
round and common task, be it governess or lady's companion, or 
young lady in business. 

And having once gained the sexual mastery, how absolute is the 
villain's control ! He writes to Bessie Mundy — " I have caught 
from you the bad disorder ; for you to be in such a state proves 
you could not have kept yourself morally clean." He decamps with 
Bessie's money, and apparently with most of her clothes, and when 
they next meet, at Weston-super-Mare, " there he was looking over 
the sea," and despite the remonstrances of Mrs. Tuckett, she goes 
off with him in her shift, not troubling to come back to pack a 
bag with a night-dress ! He takes her to the solicitor's, and there, 
before her, concocts the most unblushing lies — it is he who, through 
some indiscretion, had supposed himself infected. The man of law 
writes as instructed. Smith writes to the brother in stilted style 
reminiscent of poor Aram's compositions — " I know not how I 
shall offend in dedicating my unpolished lines to you, nor how you 
will censure me for using so strong a prop to support so grave a 
burden " — and Bessie adds, " My dear Howard, I trust you will try 
and forget the past as I have done " — (she who had written, " The 
man came across my path. ... I am very sorry. ... I 
feel it is a mercy I am rid of him. I do hope my husband will be 
caught. I feel I have disgraced myself for life ") — " I know my 
husband now better than ever before. You will be pleased to know 
I am perfectly happy." Perfectly well, according to Dr. French 
when he last saw her alive about 3 p.m. on the Friday, she sits 
down to write that letter, which arrived with the telegram an- 
nouncing her death — " I have made out my will and left all to 
my husband. That is only natural, as I love my husband." What 
art has the monster practised that deep-rooted loathing and deserved 
contempt are banished and confiding submission rules this poor 
creature on whom Death is so soon to lay his icy grasp? 

Alice Burnham, though younger in years than either of the other 
murdered brides, was more accustomed to the ways of men. She had 
contracted a malady, which was not named in Court, though it will 
be found discussed in the evidence of Dr. Bertram Stone, under 
re-examination, and again in the cross-examination of Dr. Spilsbury, 
when recalled. It had set up septic peritonitis, and, without lifting 
the veil, which the Court suffered to remain drawn, it may be added 
52 



Introduction. 

that it was thus alluded to in a letter from Dr. Stone to the North 
British and Mercantile Insurance Company, " I have obtained leave 
both from Mrs. George Smith and her husband to give full details 
of the unfortunate episode in her life. Mr. George Smith is aware 
of all that occurred." 

The knowledge so obtained by Smith may account in a measure 
for the influence wielded by him over the least weak-willed of the 
victims. How absolute that influence was appears from the cor- 
respondence. Alice writes to her father on November 22, giving 
him until the first post on November 25 to pay her the ,£100; but 
on the 24th of that month she had already instructed solicitors " to 
take extreme measures." It had taken only some two months for 
Smith to root out all her natural affection and sense of filial duty. 
and to plant in their 6tead a boundless belief in himself — " I have 
the best husband in the world," wrote the deluded, doomed bride 
a few short hours before she was robbed of life. 

If, in reviewing the ghastly sequence of events during the few 
days at Blackpool, one may permit oneself to indulge in the whim- 
sical method of De Quincey and to recognise that " murders have 
their little differences and shades of merit, as well as statues, 
pictures, oratorios, cameos, intaglios, or what not," then the mur- 
derer will be seen to have advanced in his dreadful art since the 
Heme Bay affair. So certain is he of accomplishing his object that 
he carries out the crime in a room directly over one he knows to 
be in occupation; having fulfilled it, he descends to that room, and, 
struggling to appear unconcerned, engages in talk about a fire 
engine ! He must have learnt something, too, about the possibility 
of resuscitating the apparently drowned; alone, at 80 High Street, 
he can leave his victim submerged for as long as he pleases ; but in 
the Company House every moment is precious. The murderer 
returns with his bride just before eight; about 8.15 the water is 
observed to be dripping through the ceiling; at 8.35 Joseph Crossley 
is summoned back from his work to fetch the doctor to what Smith 
knows to be but a corpse. Immediately Dr. Billing sees Alice 
Burnham he exclaims, " She is dead." 

Tidy has recorded a case, which must surely be exceptional, of 
recovery after twenty minutes' immersion.* Smith on each occasion 
was present when artificial respiration was tried. It would need the 
pen of De Quincey or an Edgar Allan Poe to conjure up the 
scene, if at Regent Road, Blackpool, or Bismarck Road, High- 



* " Legal Medicine" II., 376, from Amer. Jo. Sc, April 22, 1853. He gives 
other cases of ten and fifteen minutes and one of an hour, which last he cannot 
accept. — E.R. W. 

53 



George Joseph Smith. 



gate. Smith had watched the return of animation and had beheld 
the awful physical traces of his crime one by one disappear 
under the doctor's art — the congested blood leave the cheeks, the 
lips resume their normal hue, the eyes, " staring full ghastly," 
take on again the tender look they wore when conscious life was 
suspended, and then, as comprehension came back, had seen 
the " bride " ljft her accusing finger, from which he had already 
snatched the rings, fond emblems as she supposed of hal- 
lowed love, to denounce the cold-blooded assassin, who but a few 
short hours before had held her in his arms and caressed her with 
all the tenderness with which devotion can mask the impetuous desires 
of the lover ! 

When we dwell on the commonplace incidents of the fatal Friday 
— the tapioca pudding, the inquiry if it had been relished, the evening 
stroll, the appalling deed while the homely north-country family are 
enjoying their late tea below, the casual entry of the murderer — ' ' full 
of agitation " withal — and realise that every detail of this seem- 
ingly insignificant winter's day was part of a well-laid scheme thought 
out many weeks before, and that the sinewy arms, while they hold 
the bride in the transports of love, are cunningly measuring her 
powers of resistance to a very different description of attack, we 
realise how uttex*ly apart from normal men, even from criminal men 
of other types, the cold-blooded, mercenary murderer stands. One 
would have thought that Nature would have stamped on the linea- 
ments of such fiends some warning of their dreadful characters; yet 
it has not been found so. De Quincey says of Williams — " The con- 
current testimony of many witnesses, and also the silent testimony 
of facts, showed that the oiliness and snaky insinuation of his de- 
meanour counteracted the repulsiveness of his ghastly face, and 
amongst inexperienced young women won for him a very favourable 
reception." 

A correspondent of mine, whose father had once travelled with 
Palmer in a railway carriage, tells me that the father was very favour- 
ably impressed by the all-pervasive bonhomie of the poisoner. 
Hideous as Peace was, he was yet ingratiating. Nature seems 
to have endowed murderers with an extraordinary plausibility ; 
they have a peculiar facility in lying, which Sir James Stephen 
noted a generation ago. 

Nemo rtptntt vtnit turpissitnus, sang the Roman satirist, and 
Smith, in his last crime, was destined to transcend even his own 
performances. From the time Margaret Lofty left Bath (after those 
untruthful missives to her relations about the mythical old lady) to 
the time when P.C. Heath was summoned to her dead body at Bis- 
54 



Introduction. 

marck Road, was but some thirty hours. The bridegroom, his 
dreadful purpose locked in his bosom, comes at three in the after- 
noon of December 17 to the house in Orchard Road, and is repulsed 
from the door. There was " a bath that a person might lie in " in 
that house, and the man fears he will be baulked of his prey. His 
rage finds free vent in the street. He drags off his feverish bride 
to other apartments, then to the doctor's, where she is naturally 
silent. Next day — and by what endearments he charmed away the 
vexations and anxieties of that Thursday and smiled away her maiden 
shame, murder all the while in his heart, my pen shall not essay to 
set forth in words, our language has no vocabulary in which to 
record such infamy as man never yet had descended to — next day, 
any suspicion Margaret might have entertained has vanished. It 
is nothing to her that he has been afraid to meet her relations ; 
that he has compelled her not only to conceal the approaching 
marriage, but to lie about it, and to lie to the insurance company. 
It is nothing to her that at the cheap apartment house, where he 
has booked rooms for the honeymoon at sixteen shillings a week, 
a detective in plain clothes has refused him admittance. Over- 
night she has written from the second lodging-house, where she 
was so soon to meet death — " He is a thorough Christian man, 
whom I have known since June. . . . He has been honourable 
and kept his word to me in everything. ... I am perfectly 
happy." 

In the whole rogues' gallery there surely was never a knave so 
plausible as this, never one who, until detection came and his self- 
control suddenly gave way, could so completely mask his feelings. 

Any man who reads carefully the evidence as to what happened 
at Bismarck Road, upon parts of which, as the learned judge observed, 
it is difficult to comment, must be aghast at the psychological puzzle 
this amazing criminal presents. The passionate lover of a single 
day's wedded life, just a week after the murder, sits down and pens 
the very bald and business-like statement (exhibit 109). It reads — 
" Certificate of birth, certificate of marriage, certificate of death, 
wife's will, policy, receipt for premium paid, official acceptance, 
receipt for burial." 

One recalls that page in Palmer's diary, where under the date 
21 Wednesday (325-40) is recorded " * * * Cook died at 10 
o'clock this morning. Jere* and Wm. Saunders dined. Sent 
Bright a 3 mos. Bill," and under the date 25 Sunday — 25 after Trin. 
(329-36). "At Church Hamilton preached— dined Yard." 



The notorious Jeremiah Smith, attorney. 

55 



George Joseph Smith. 



And yet superior persons wonder why, since bad people do not 
take any interest in the lives of good people, good people perversely 
wish to read about bad people ! 

But what elevates Smith to the highest pinnacle of infamy is 
that he played upon the very tenderest and most sacred of all our 
feelings to accomplish his crimes. Of bigamists and seducers and 
betrayers of women there have been and will continue to be many 
notable examples; but, complex as our human nature is, Smith pro- 
vided the first, as his judge believed he would also furnish the last, 
instance of a man caressing in the closest embraces of marital love 
a woman, the exact moment and manner of whose death at his hands 
he had in his mind, while his lying lips were uttering to her words of 
the purest passion. He is wholly apart, from the point of view of 
sexual psychopathy, from the lust-murderer or mutilator, whose 
6exual erethism discharges itself in the commission of an act of 
homicide, or maiming, or in some form of infliction of pain. Smith 
plays with every success the part of an uxorious and devoted 
husband, and all the time the exact cash value of his bride to him 
as a corpse is present to his mind. The tender words and sighs of 
passion, fondly believed to be reciprocated, are breathed into ears 
which will hear unmoved in a few hours' time those same lips 
sighing and panting for life as the cruel water closes over them and 
for ever puts them to silence. 

It would need more than De yuincey's pen, even, to call up 
before the shuddering reader that scei e in the bathroom at Bismarck 
Road. The poor bride, her whole being throbbing, with a tempera- 
ture of 101, the tiring winter's afternoon, in which there has been 
so much to do, a will to make here, money to withdraw there, 
closed by the fall of night, returns to their modest rooms; at 
once he soothes her ; Miss Blatch enters, and there she is on her 
knees by the fire and he reading the paper — a picture of domes- 
ticity ! She would like a warm bath; there are reasons; she 
w T ould feel more comfortable. Utterly confiding, this bride of 
a day lets her bridegroom come in and invade her privacy. The 
natural shame of a woman before a man is gone already. She 
has given herself to this honourable Christian man, and henceforth 
she is his. 

It is not decent to speculate — save in the privacy of the indi- 
vidual mind — as to what exactly happened in those few fatal moments 
round about eight o'clock on the night of December 18. It is barely 
possible to hold the pen and in the mind's eye try to visualise the 
scene. 

The muscular arms, that could rend a chair asunder, are wrapt 
56 



Introduction. 

around the yielding body, hie eyes look into her eyes, the melting, 
liquid light of passion shining in each. A last tender kiss seals 
eternally those lips, which have, perhaps, just uttered some confiding 
words of love. The strong hands grip the unresisting body ; a fierce, 
feline look steals into the cunning eyes that a moment ago beamed 
so kindly. As her head plunges under the water what thoughts flood 
the mind of Margaret Lofty? Drowning people, we are told, in the 
brief space of consciousness left them, pass in review every incident 
of their lives. What recollections and reflections must have raced 
through her brain ! Each caress, every tender word, those letters, 
in which were revealed the harmony of their souls — all rushed back 
to her in that crowded last moment of consciousness. And he? 

He is looking with professional concern for the signs, which are 
the heralds of death. The eyeballs are beginning to project — good ! 
The face is blackening — excellent ! She did get her head above 
water for a 6econd and gave a little sigh • that was disconcerting, but 
it will pass for nothing, and he has locked the door. All will be 
over before he unlocks it. He can lift her head out of the water 
now, and judge the progress of the case. A bloody froth streams 
from mouth and nostrils — it is finished ! Now to steal to the 
parlour downstairs and play as unconcernedly as he can upon the 
organ. What notes did it peal forth? Some dirge? Some 
march funebrel Then out into the bleak night on an errand 
to buy tomatoes. And when he comes back there is that knocking 
on the door which, as in " Macbeth," transfers our sympathy 
("of comprehension by which we enter into his feelings and are made to 
understand them — not a sympathy of pity or approbation ") to the 
murderer. " In the murdered person all strife of thought, all flux 
and reflux of passion and of purpose, are crushed by one overwhelm- 
ing panic; the fear of instant death smites him with its ' petrific 
mace.' But in the murderer . . . there must be raging some 
great storm of passion — jealousy, ambition, vengeance, hatred — which 
will create a hell within him; and into this hell we are to look."* 

Smith, not being " such a murderer as poet will condescend to," 
the hell within him provided no material for sublime tragedy ; merely 
materials for one of the longest and costliest murder trials these 
islands have ever known. 

And if we could look into that hell within him, after he heard 
the fatal words, " This appeal is dismissed," the only torments we 
should find him suffering from would be the ' ' chagrin at the mistake 
in not securing immunity." The mercenary murderer, without 



De Quincey on " Murder considered as one of the fine arts.' 

57 



George Joseph Smith. 

exception, can feel no contrition. The learned judge, in passing 
sentence, must have realised this. " An exhortation to repentance 
would be wasted on you." And in the two last letters from Maid- 
stone, the one to his solicitor, the other to Edith Pegler, the usual 
canting and hypocritical expressions are mingled with the usual in- 
vectives against his judges and the unjust world which has consigned 
an innocent man to his doom. 

The history of crime, like other history, " with all her volumes 
vast, hath but one tale." His end was like the end of all the others, 
except that he met it abjectly. 

" The world contains," wrote Sir James Stephen, " an appreci- 
able number of wretches who ought to be exterminated without 
mercy when an opportunity occurs." 

Though 

Fate will use a running noose 
For the best man and the worst, 

I do not think the most ardent advocate of the abolition of capital 
punishment will deny that Fate, through the instrumentality of 
Messrs. Pierpoint and Ellis, made a most proper use of her 
running noose on August 13, 1915. 



58 



Leading Dates in the G. J. Smith Case. 



1872 


11 January 


1891 


7 February 


1891-1893 




1896 


24 July 


1897 




1898 


17 January 


1899 




1900 


11 November 


1901 


9 January 


1908 


3 July 




30 July 


1909 


June 




29 October 




5 November 


1910 


26 August 




13 September 


1912 


14 March 




20 May 




2 July 




8 July 




9 July 




10 July 




12 July 




13 July 




15 July 




11 September 


1913 


4 November 




29 November 




4 December 




8 December 



George Joseph Smith born at Bethnal Green. 
Sentenced at Lambeth for larceny. Six months' hard. 

labour. 
Said to have served in the Northamptonshire Regiment. 
Sentenced to twelve months' hard labour for larceny 

and receiving. 
Goes at the end of the year to Leicester. 
Marries Beatrice Thornhill in Leicester. 
Goes through a form of marriage with Miss at 

St. George's, Hanover Square Registry, London. 

Arrested in London. 

Sentenced to two years' hard labour for stealing and 
receiving at Hastings. 

Defrauds Mrs. under a promise of marriage. 

Marries Edith Pegler at Bristol. 

Meets Miss F . 

Marries Miss F at Southampton. 

Absconds with all Miss F's property. 

Marries Bessie Mundy at Weymouth. 

Absconds with all Miss Mundy's cash. 

Meets Miss Mundy at Weston-super-Mare. 

Takes 80 High Street, Heme Bay, on a yearly tenancy. 

Counsel's opinion on setting aside the settlement 

reaches Heme Bay. 
The mutual wills are made. 
The bath is ordered from the ironmonger. 
Smith takes Miss Mundy to Dr. French. 
Miss Mundy writes that she has made her will, &c. 
Miss Mundy is found drowned in the bath. 
A verdict of death from misadventure is returned. 
Smith gets probate, and by the end of the year has 

received all Miss Mundy's estate. 
Marries Alice Burnham. 

Mr. Burnham sends £104 through his solicitor. 
Policy on Miss Burnham's life is completed. 
Miss Burnham makes her will. 

59 



George Joseph Smith. 



1913 12 December 

13 December 
15 December 

1914 19 January 
22 January 
17 September 

21 September 

17 December 

18 December 

22 December 

1915 1 January 
4 January 

1 February 

23 May 
22 June 

1 July 
29 July 
13 August 



Misa Burnham is found drowned in ber bath at Black- 
pool. 
A verdict of death from misadventure is returned. 
Miss Burnham is buried in a common grave. 
Smith receives the insurance money on his wife's death. 
Smith increases his annuity. 
Marries Alice Reavil. 
Absconds from Alice Reavil. 
Marries Margaret Lofty at Bath. 
Miss Lofty is found dead in her bath at Highgate. 
The inquest is opened. 

Verdict of death from misadventure is returned. 
Smith goes to Mr. Davies to obtain probate. 
Arrest of Smith. 
Committed for trial. 
First day of trial. 

Smith is convicted and sentenced to death. 
Smith's appeal is dismissed. 
Execution of Smith at Maidstone. 



60 



THE TRIAL 

WITHIN THE 

CENTRAL CRIMINAL COURT, 

Old Bailey, London, 
TUESDAY, 22nd JUNE, 1915. 



Judge — 
Mr. JUSTICE SCRUTTON. 

Counsel for the Crown — 

Mr. Bodkin, 

Mr. Travers Humphreys, and 

Mr. Cecil Whiteley. 

(Instructed by the Director of Public Prosecutions.) 

Counsel for the Prisoner — 

Mr. E. Marshall Hall, K.C., 
Mr. Montague Shearman, and 
Mr. Grattan Bushe. 



(Instructed by Mr. W. P. Davies.) 



61 



.--*- 




Mr. Archibald H. Bodhin. 



First Day— Tuesday, 22nd June, 1915. 

The Clerk of the Court — George Joseph Smith, you are 
charged on indictment that you, on the 13th day of July, in the 
year 1912, feloniously, wilfully, and of your malice aforethought 
did kill and murder Bessie Constance Annie Mundy. Are you 
guilty or not guilty? 

The Prisoner — Not guilty. 

(A jury was then sworn.) 



Opening Speech for the Crown. 

Mr. Bodkin — May it please your lordship, gentlemen of the jury, 
we think that the best way in which to discharge our duty at the 
present stage of the proceedings is without, or practically without, 
comment to narrate to you the facts of this case in an order which 
will enable you to watch the actions of prisoner, the arising of the 
motives which actuated him, and the development of the case to the 
tragedy which was its close. Smith, the son of George Thomas Smith, 
an insurance agent, was born at Roman Road, Bow, on 11th January, 
1872. The first we know of him is that, in the name of George 
Oliver Love, he was married at Leicester, on 17th January, 1898, to 
Caroline Beatrice Thornhill. He was then carrying on business as a 
baker and confectioner in Leicester, and continued to do so after the 
marriage. They separated in 1903, and in 1905 " Mrs. Love " went 
to Canada. She is now again in England. In 1908 Smith made the 
acquaintance of Edith Pegler while he was living in Bristol, where 
he was a dealer in second-hand furniture. He seemed to have been 
living quite alone, and desired a housekeeper, and Miss Pegler was 
selected. On 30th July, 1908, Smith and Miss Pegler were married. 
From that date up to the time of his arrest he consorted with her, on 
and off. They lived a curiously unsettled life, for they had numerous 
changes of residence, and went to different parts of the country. 
Throughout these changes Smith carried on the business of dealing 
in secondhand articles. Then came long disappearances of Smith 
from Miss Pegler, which the prisoner explained by stories of which 
you will judge the truth. They went to Croydon and Southend. At 
the latter place they stayed at Glenmore Road, and then returned 
to Bristol. In July, 1910, they took a second-hand furniture shop 
at Ashleydown Road, Bristol. It was not a profitable business, and 
one day the prisoner said he had met a young fellow whom he had 

63 



George Joseph Smith. 



known in London, and "was going round the country dealing with him. 
He was absent from Miss Pegler for five or six weeks. During that 
time she heard from him, but the letters bore no address. Some of 
them were posted in London, and some in Weymouth. On 13th 
September the prisoner suddenly and unexpectedly reappeared at 
Bristol, and rejoined Miss Pegler. He said he had not done much in 
the way of business, but had made about £20. He also said he had 
passed through Weymouth on the way to London. He and Miss 
Pegler afterwards went to different places — Bath, Walthamstow, and 
Bristol. In the spring of 1912 Smith said he was going again round 
the country to do some more dealing. He was absent from the spring 
of 1912 until the end of July or the beginning of August, 1912. One 
letter he sent to Miss Pegler came from Woolwich. He had been 
transacting some business with a building society there, and it was 
through this society that Miss Pegler was able to get into communica- 
tion with him. A feature of Smith's movements in 1912 was his use 
of accommodation addresses. 

I will now deal with the subject of the indictment — the story of 
Miss Mundy, who was the daughter of a bank manager at Warminster, 
Wilts. She was thirty-one in the summer of 1910. Her father died 
in 1904, at the age of sixty-six. He had two children — George 
Howard Mundy and Bessie Constance. His wife died when Miss 
Mundy was an infant, and Miss Mundy used to live at home in the 
society of her father and her brother George, who married and set 
up house for himself in another part of the country. It would seem 
that Miss Mundy thought it better not to live at home, and she 
adopted from the time of her father's death that solitary kind of 
existence which many women adopt — living as paying guests or inmates 
of boarding-houses in different parts of the country. Her father was 
a gentleman of some property when he died, and he left a share to 
his daughter Bessie. It amounted to over £2500. By his will he 
appointed his brother, Mr. Herbert Mundy, as his executor, and also 
his son George. In November, 1905, the executors and Mr. Ponting, 
the family solicitor, thought it right, from the inexperience and 
unbusiness-like habits and general characteristics of Miss Mundy, 
that there should be a voluntary settlement of her £2500. Mr. 
Ponting prepared a deed of settlement, which Bessie voluntarily 
entered into, making over her property to her uncle and brother. 
The property consisted of a number of shares and marketable stock. 
These shares and stock were transferred to the trustees, and they 
paid the income of them to her for life. She could not by deed during 
life, but could by will at her death, dispose of the property. Several 
provisions were inserted to protect her and secure the property to her 
for her benefit. One of them provided that, in case of marriage, 
the property should be for her separate use, without power of antici- 
pation. No change of method of dealing with the property or the 
interest arising out of it was permitted by the trust deed without 
64 



Opening Speech for the Crown. 

the full consent of the trustees, who were, as he had said, close 
relatives. The way in which the trusts were administered was this: 
Mr. Herbert Mundy, the uncle, interested himself most in the 
matter, and undertook to collect the dividends and interests from 
time to time, and he used to pay over to his niece about £8 a month, 
so that she should be able to pay the expenses of living in these 
boarding-houses. In August, 1910, Miss Mundy was living at Clifton, 
a suburb of Bristol, in a boarding-house, and under circumstances 
which are not known she met the prisoner while he was passing as 
Henry Williams. That was at the early part of his first absence from 
Miss Pegler. The prisoner met Miss Mundy in Bristol, and, after a 
short acquaintance only, they went through the ceremony of marriage 
at a registry office on 26th August, and were known as Mr. and 
Mrs. Williams. The prisoner described himself as a picture restorer, 
and his father as a commercial traveller. The marriage took place 
at two o'clock in the afternoon, under a licence, for which an extra 
fee had been paid for the purpose of expediting the ceremony. Before 
the marriage the prisoner and Miss Mundy called at the office of Mr. 
Wilkinson, a solicitor, an entire stranger to them. It was noticed 
that prisoner did the talking, the woman sitting silently most of the 
time, and completely acquiescent. The purpose of the visit was to 
get Mr. Wilkinson to write to Mr. Ponting and obtain a copy of the 
will of Miss Mundy's father. That was done, and the will was 
handed to the prisoner. Mr. Ponting also sent a copy of the settle- 
ment, and the two documents and the effect of them were discussed 
with Mr. Wilkinson. Mrs. Williams, as Miss Mundy was called, was 
advised in the presence of the prisoner to consult Mr. Ponting. The 
prisoner objected. He told Mr. Wilkinson that he was a picture 
restorer, and had come from London, but he resented any inquiry 
into his private affairs. He asked if a loan could be raised upon 
the deed of settlement, but was advised to see Mr. Ponting. Having 
got the documents, Smith did not go to see Mr. Wilkinson again. 
I must call your attention here to two letters which were written by 
the prisoner about this time to Mr. Herbert Mundy. The first, dated 
26th August, merely referred to the marriage. The second, written 
three days later, suggested that payment should be made to Miss 
Mundy by money order instead of by cheque. The letter continued — - 

Bessie hopes you will forward as much money as possible at your earliest by 
registered letter. Am pleased to say Bessie is in perfect health, and we both are 
looking forward to a bright and happy future. — Yours faithfully, Henry Williams. 

Both before and immediately after the marriage, you will observe, 
it is money — the money of this lady — which interests the prisoner. 
Subsequently Smith called upon another Weymouth solicitor, a Mr. 
Eaton, and informed him that his " wife " was a beneficiary under 
the will of her father, and that, as the interest from the securities 
was more than the monthly allowance her uncle made to her, there 
f 65 



George Joseph Smith. 



was money which had accumulated in the uncle's hands. The 
prisoner said he had no doubt that his wife's relatives supposed him 
to be after her money, so that it was better to make application for it 
through a solicitor. He went on to say that there was no ground 
for such a supposition, because until after the marriage he was not 
aware that his wife had any property. " Mrs. Williams " said she 
had known her husband for six months, and wished him to have the 
money to set up as a picture restorer in "Weymouth. The money, 
amounting to £135 2s. lid., was authorised to be sent by Mr. Pont- 
ing, and, on the morning of 13th September, the prisoner, who knew 
it was coming and had made elaborate preparations, called for it at 
Mr. Eaton's office. He and his " wife " went for a walk, and on 
their way called at the solicitor's office. Mr. Eaton wished to give 
the prisoner his cheque for the amount, but he objected, and pressed 
for cash, which was given to him. Mr. Eaton suggested that the 
lady, as it was her money, should open an account at a bank, but the 
prisoner again objected, saying there were several accounts to pay, 
and he wanted money for his business. From that morning walk 
the prisoner returned alone to the lodgings. When he entered the 
house he said, " Is there a telegram for me? " There was a tele- 
gram. He had had ample opportunity to leave the woman and send a 
telegram during the walk. The prisoner opened the telegram, and 
told Mrs. Crabbe, the landlady, he had to go to London at once on 
special business. He said, " Tell my wife when she comes in to 
expect me back on Monday." He also told Mrs. Crabbe that his wife 
would get her cheque at mid-day, and would pay the bill for the 
lodgings. He went out of the house, and Mrs. Crabbe and her 
husband never saw him again. In the afternoon there came a 
registered letter for " Mrs. Williams," enclosing another letter for 
Mrs. Crabbe. This letter said — 

To Mr. and Mrs. Crabbe. 

I don't know how long I shall be away so I have asked my wife if I don't 
return in a week to hand this note to you . . . While my wife is alone she 
will pay you 25s. a week for her board and lodging, and she will put 30s. a week 
in the Post Office Savings Bank. Please see she does this. 

The prisoner anticipated that the money would come on 13th Sep- 
tember, and there was one longish letter which, I suggest, was written 
beforehand. I must, in order to give you the character of that letter, 
road portions of it. It is a letter of the most instructive kind — a 
letter which more than anything else, except one incident which we 
are coming to presently, shows the kind of woman which Bessie 
Mundy was. I will not read all of it, because there are things in it 
which I think I am absolutely justified in omitting. Let me tell you 
this, that these things which are omitted involve the grossest insults 
a man, let alone a husband, could offer to a woman who believed 
him to be her husband. 
66 



Opening Speech for the Crown. 

Mr. Justice Scrutton — No, Mr. Bodkin, you must read the 
whole of the letter; if people come to Court to hear a case of this 
kind, they must put up with what they hear. 

Mr. Bodkin — I bow to your ruling; that was the reason I did 
not propose to read the whole letter. 

[Counsel here read the letter set out at length, at p. 87, in 
Mrs. Crabbe's evidence, and proceeded — ] 

You will notice there is not a thing in that letter which is not 
repeated three times over, and minute directions are given as to 
what she is to do, the part she is to play — just as if you were instruct- 
ing a child — over and over and over again — nothing left to her, all set 
out in black and white, and repeated over and over again. 

On the same day it was written, 13th September, the prisoner 
rejoined Miss Pegler at Bristol. The following day he wrote to the 
Woolwich Equitable Building Society saying he wished to settle up 
his account with the society, and would visit Woolwich. So, you see, 
Henry Williams, of Weymouth, has disappeared, and George Joseph 
Smith is writing to the Woolwich Equitable Building Society the next 
day to pay off some money. On 21st September he visited Woolwich 
and handed over the sum of £93 7s. lid. All the available property 
of Miss Mundy which was covered by the trust had passed into his 
hands, and you will find him getting the purchase deeds of a house 
at Southend. 

To continue the story, in March you come to his second absence 
from Miss Pegler. Miss Mundy communicated with her relatives 
through Mr. Eaton, who was very kind to her, and then, unfortunately 
for her, she took up a solitary kind of life. In March, 1912, she was 
living in the house of a Mrs. Tuckett at Weston-super-Mare. Then 
occurred what to me is one of the most astounding incidents in the 
case. On the morning of 14th March Miss Mundy went out shopping, 
and before she returned to the house she had met the prisoner, and 
they had gone off together to a solicitor's office. She was speaking 
of him as her husband in most affectionate terms, and at the solicitor's 
office a kind of reconciliation took place. He met her in the street — 
the man who had written that letter which I have read, the man who 
so gauged her mental capacity as to suggest the lie and detail to her 
the stories she was to tell — he met her by accident in the street, 
and instantly this woman is again under this man's influence abso- 
lutely. The solicitor wrote to Mr. Herbert Mundy saying that Mr. 
and Mrs. Henry Williams had adjusted their differences and were now 
living together again at Bath. Mr. Mundy replied as follows : — 

I am in receipt of your letter of yesterday's date, informing me that Mr. and 
Mrs. Williams are living together again as man and wife. I have also heard from 
Mrs. Williams by the same post, but giving no address. The circumstances of 
the marriage and the subsequent desertion are so extraordinary and painful that 
I refrain from making any comment. 



George Joseph Smith. 

On 18th March the prisoner wrote to Mr. Mundy a letter in which he 
said — 

Manj' people would rather stir up strife than make peace. ... I intend 
to be not only a true husband, but to finally make my peace, step by step, with 
all. those who have been kind to Bessie. Why, in the name of Heaven and 
Christianity, should people stir up trouble when it would be more honourable to 
do their best to make peace ? 

After the reconciliation Miss Mundy and the prisoner went to Wool- 
wich. From there Smith wrote to Miss Pegler, talking of a visit 
to Canada, evidently anticipating a longish absence from her. In 
May Miss Mundy and the prisoner were at Heme Bay, where a house 
in the High Street was taken on a monthly tenancy, and £20 was 
spent on the furniture. " My wife has a private income. I have 
nothing," Smith told Miss Rapley, the clerk to the owner of the 
house, adding, " My wife is a notch above me." In June some more 
money had accumulated under the trust, and £33 was sent to Miss 
Mundy. Out of this sum came the £20 for the furniture. So it Avas 
her money which furnished the house. I will next deal shortly with 
the mutual wills which were drafted at Heme Bay. The trust 
settlement of Miss Mundy's property could not be revoked without 
the consent of the trustees, which it was hopeless to attempt to 
obtain, and, further, whatever was done by will as to the destination 
of the property could be upset at any moment by the trustees selling 
the securities and buying an annuity upon the woman's life. That 
was what prisoner found himself up against on 2nd July, and then 
began the scheme to encompass the woman's death. From 29th May 
to the beginning of July they had been living in the house without a 
bathroom or a bath, but on 6th July prisoner went into an iron- 
monger's and characteristically bargained for a bath exposed for Bale, 
a bare structure on four legs, knocked 2s. 6d. off the price, and 
agreed to pay 37s. 6d. for it. The bath, which was without any 
fittings, was placed in an empty room on 9th July, and you will note 
that on Sth July formal mutual wills replaced the draft wills. The 
next step in the scheme is the visit on 11th July of Mr. and Mrs. 
Williams to Dr. French with a story of symptoms suggestive of 
epilepsy, although the next-door neighbour, Mrs. Millgate, who saw 
Miss Mundy daily, described her as appearing to be perfectly healthy. 
On the morning of 13th July Dr. French was summoned by a note 
which read. " Do come at once. I am afraid my wife is dead." 
Goin<? to the room, he saw his patient lying dead in the bath. She 
was face upwards in the bath, with her body quite submerged, and 
the mouth and face under water, her legs straight out from her hips, 
and her feet resting on or against the narrow end of the bath. The 
accused made a statement that he pulled her head up and rested it 
on the side of the bath before he wrote the note. When the doctor 
came he found the body well down under the water. Whether the 
68 



Opening Speech for the Crown. 

suggestions of fits made to the doctor on 9th and 11th July in any- 
way predisposed him to form any opinion — mind you, he never saw 
her in a fit — the doctor had no suspicion at the time in regard to 
the case. It is most unusual, I understand, for a woman to have a 
fit for the first time at the age of thirty-three. The position of the 
body, you will learn, was quite inconsistent with her having a fit. 
After the death the prisoner dispatched a telegram to Miss Mundy's 
uncle, saying — ■ 

Bessie died in fit this morning. Letter following. 

The letter which followed I will now read — 

Dear Sir — Words cannot describe the great shock I suffered in the loss of my 
wife. The doctor said she had a fit in the bath, and I can assure you and all her 
relatives that everything was done that was possible to do on her behalf. I can 
say no more. 

No post-mortem was held, and the only witnesses were the 
husband and the doctor. The prisoner stated that they got up on 
that morning at 7.30, and at 8.10 the note had been written to the 
doctor, delivered, and the doctor was there. Smith said he did not 
carry up the water to the bath, which would require twenty journeys 
from the kitchen to fill — bucket after bucket. And this woman was 
supposed to be suffering from an epileptic fit. Yet while he is out 
to get some fish she develops activity up and down, up and down, 
with the water. " Death from misadventure from drowning from 
some fit " was the verdict at the inquest — death from drowning — no 
doubt about that; but the fit part of it is, in my submission, purely 
conjecture, and is solely based on the foundation laid by taking the 
woman to the doctor and describing to him a superficial sort of 
appearance which might give the impression that the person had a 
fit. One thing which at the inquest was never done by coroner or 
jury or any one was to ask two simple questions. What were the 
measurements of the bath? What were the measurements of this 
woman? The woman was well developed, and was 5 feet 8 inches 
in height. The extreme length of the bath at the top is 5 feet, and 
at the bottom 3 feet 8 inches. Its width at the top is 2 feet, and 
at the bottom 1 foot 6 inches. And yet this well-developed woman 
was found submerged in this bath, with her legs out straight from 
the hips. There is a simple and terribly effective way in which a 
person in a bath can be drowned. If in a bath of water, which, of 
course, grows deeper as you go down into it, some one had lifted the 
legs, the immediate effect would be for the trunk of the body to be 
drawn down the sloping part into the water, and, as you will be 
told, almost immediate unconsciousness and rapid and silent death 
inevitably result. A person in a bath in that position, with legs up, 
is almost powerless — and Miss Mundy's legs were found to be up 
against the end of the bath. 



George Joseph Smith. 

So the inquest ends; no delay, no postponement for something 
of this terrible story to be available, and with the verdict given, 
prisoner then sits down to write a letter to Mr. Herbert Mundy, 
telling him of the verdict of the jury, and adding, " I am naturally 
too sad to write more to-day." That letter did not reach him — 
perhaps was not intended to reach him — until after the funeral was 
over. It was impossible for any relatives or anybody representing 
the relatives to be present at either the inquest or the funeral. And 
to her grave there followed the prisoner and the baker from next 
door. I will next quote from the prisoner's letter indignantly 
protesting against " the mean and most unmanly conduct " of 
Miss Mundy's brother in writing to the coroner to ask for a strict 
inquiry. That letter ended — 

The only comforter I have now is in the great God Himself, to whom I pray, 
and on whom I rely for sufficient strength to meet this calamity. 

The house at Heme Bay was given up, and within two days the 
prisoner was writing to Miss Pegler to meet him at Margate, which 
she did. He said he had been to Canada, and had picked up a 
Chinese image, which he had sold for £1000. Miss Mundy's relatives 
entered a caveat to the will, but withdrew it, and the will was duly 
proved, the prisoner being sole executor and legatee. The estate was 
sworn at £2571 13s. 6d. Between November, 1912, and March, 
1913, the proceeds of certain securities which formed Miss Mundy's 
property went in the main into a banking account which the prisoner 
had in Bath. During the same period he drew fourteen cheques for 
large amounts, which he cashed into gold over the counter. He drew 
out about £1750, and in the same period he purchased seven houses 
in Bristol, for which he paid £2180. Later he sold six of the houses 
for £1365. In the name of George Joseph Smith he opened a banking 
account at Landport, Portsmouth, on 2nd October, 1913, and into 
that account £1300 was paid. After spending a couple of months 
with Miss Pegler in Kent, the prisoner again left her and took lodg- 
ings by himself at Southsea, telling Miss Pegler that he was going 
to Spain to do dealings. With £1300 he purchased an annuity of 
£76. It is only fair to Miss Pegler to state that she had not the 
slightest knowledge of what the prisoner was doing in his periods 
of absence, and that she never knew Miss Mundy. 

Those, gentlemen, are the facts of this case immediately rele- 
vant to the charge of wilful murder of this woman, Beatrice Con- 
stance Annie Mundy, and- this case, as I said when I commenced, is 
of a very grave character, and one to which you will give the most 
earnest attention, in the interests not only of the prisoner, but 
also of the public. 

[At this point the jury withdrew from Court while Mr. Marshall 
Hall argued at length against the admissibility of evidence touching 
70 



Opening Speech for the Crown. 

the other two deaths. He cited the same authorities and developed 
the same line of argument as in the Court of Criminal Appeal. The 
learned judge, without calling upon Mr. Bodkin, decided that the 
evidence was admissible, and the jury returned into Court.] 

Mr. Justice Scruttox — Gentlemen of the jury, while you have 
been absent the legal point has been discussed whether, on a charge 
of murder — murdering Miss Mundy — evidence can be given that two 
other women with whom the prisoner went through the form of 
marriage also died in baths. I have admitted the evidence, and you 
will therefore hear from Mr. Bodkin the facts as to two other cases. 
The charge, however, on which you are trying the prisoner is the 
murder of Miss Mundy. You are not to use the evidence you hear 
for this purpose — that he is a man of bad character, and therefore is 
more likely to have murdered Miss Mundy because he may have 
murdered somebody else. The evidence is admissible, in my view, 
not for that purpose, but for the purpose of helping you to draw an 
inference whether the occurrence, namely, the death of Miss Mundy, 
was accidental, or whether it was designed by the prisoner; or, to 
put it in another way, as evidence to show you whether he had a 
system of murdering these women with whom he went through a 
form of marriage in order to obtain their money. 

I shall have to address you in summing up to explain that to you 
more carefully, but you will listen to the evidence now, as Mr. 
Bodkin explains to you what it is going to be, and as it is afterwards 
given, for the purpose of seeing whether it helps you to say whether 
the death of Miss Mundy was accidental or whether it was by the 
prisoner's desiring to obtain a sum of money. Do not use it for the 
purpose of inferring that he is a man of bad character, and therefore 
he is very likely to have committed the crime. I shall have to 
explain to you further at the end of the case the distinction, but that, 
broadly, is the point on which you have to consider the evidence. 

Mr. Bodkin — Subject to what my lord has just said, I will now 
give you some details concerning the case of Alice Burnham, who had 
been for some years before November, 1913, nurse to an invalid at 
Southsea. Mr. Charles Burnham, her father, had made a gift of 
money to each of his daughters, and at the time of her marriage a 
sum of £104 belonging to her was in her father's hands, and he was 
allowing her 3 per cent. In October, 1913, Mr. and Mrs. Burnham 
learnt that their daughter was about to be married, and invited her 
and the prisoner, to whom she had become engaged, to stay with 
them. On 4th November they were married, the prisoner describing 
himself as George Joseph Smith, of independent means. No sooner 
were they married than there came letters in peremptory terms 
demanding that the money which Mr. Burnham owed his daughter 
should be paid. [Counsel read the letters set out in Appendix Y. 

71 



George Joseph Smith. 



from Smith to Mr. Burnham threatening legal action if the money 
-was not paid, and accusing him of trying to wreck his daughter's 
happiness.] As showing the tone of the prisoner's letters. I will 
specially draw your attention to this one, in which Smith wrote to 
Mr. Burnham — 

My mother was a 'bus horse, iny father was a cab driver, and my sister a 
rough rider over the Arctic regions. My brothers were all gallant sailors on a 
steam roller. This is the only information I can give to those who are not 
entitled to ask such questions. — Your despised son-in-law, Geo. J. Smith. 

The prisoner and Miss Burnham lived at Southsea from the time of 
the marriage till 10th December. On 8th December Alice Burnham 
visited alone a Mr. March, a solicitor, and made a will leaving 
everything to the prisoner. Nearly all the money she had had from 
her father had been used, but she had insured her life, and by making 
her will in Smith's favour she was, if she died, benefiting him by 
£500. On 10th December they told Mrs. Page, the landlady, that 
they were going to the north. They went to Blackpool, and sought 
for lodgings. The prisoner rejected the first house they went to 
because there was no bath there, but in Regent Road they found a 
house where there was a bath. I must point out the resemblance 
in the prisoner's treatment of Miss Burnham to his treatment of 
Miss Mundy. There were the visits to the doctor, the complaints of 
headache by the woman, the writing of a postcard to her relatives 
by the woman one or two days later, and then the finding of the body 
of the woman in a bath. In the postcard which Miss Burnham wrote 
to her parents she said, " My husband does all he can for me; in 
fact, dear, I have the best husband in the world." In this case the 
bath took place after 8 p.m., and the landlady of the house saw 
Miss Burnham (" Mrs. Smith ") going towards the bathroom. She 
did not see the prisoner at that time. While the landlady and her 
daughter were in the kitchen, which is under the bathroom, they 
noticed water coming through the ceiling and streaming down the 
walls of the kitchen, a thing that had never happened before and 
had never happened since. Just afterwards the prisoner came to the 
door where they were sitting and said to the landlady, " Mrs. Cross- 
ley, here are two eggs for our breakfast to-morrow." He had the 
eggs in his hand. Then in a few minutes they heard prisoner calling 
to his " wife," and later he shouted. " My wife won't speak to me. 
Go for the doctor." Subsequently Miss Bumham's body was found 
in the bath. She was dead, and the prisoner, who was there, had 
his sleeve rolled up and was supporting her head. The doctor who 
came asked him why he had not pulled the plug out to let the water 
off, and he replied, " I did not think of it." You will recollect that 
in the case of the drowning of Miss Mundy the water in the bath was 
not drained off. It is true that in that case it would have meant 
flooding the room, but what does that matter when one's wife is 
72 " 



Opening Speech for the Crown. 

drowning? Smith gave evidence at the inquest on Alice Burnham, 
and made out that he found his wife's head under the water. He 
arranged that the funeral should be of the cheapest kind, and no 
intimation was 6ent either of the inquest or the funeral to the rela- 
tives. The proceedings at the inquest were all over in less than half 
an hour, and a verdict was given of " accidental death from a fit in 
the bath." Miss Burnham was a plump woman, and broad across 
the bust and the hips, and could not have sat at the narrow end of 
the bath, so narrow was it and so bulky was she. Her estate was 
sworn at £600 gross. Smith rejoined Miss Pegler just before Christ- 
mas, explaining that he had been to Spain. 

There are numerous points of similarity in the three cases which 
justify the grave assertion that prisoner was out to make money out 
of drowning people with whom he went through an apparent form of 
marriage. This business was carried out, we respectfully submit to 
you, which had for its object the making of money, which from 
beginning to end of this case it is apparent was the dominant motive 
in the mind of this prisoner. 

I will now proceed to deal with the last case, terminating in Miss 
Lofty' s death in a bath at Bismarck Road, Highgate. Miss Lofty was 
the daughter of a deceased clergyman, and had been living with her 
mother and sister at Bath. She made Smith's acquaintance, unknown 
to them, some time in the autumn, and became engaged to him. 
On this occasion the accused married deceased as " John Lloyd, 
bachelor," at Bath, on 17th December, 1914. On the same day 
they travelled to London, and took rooms at Bismarck Road, High- 
gate. Next day Miss Lofty called on a solicitor at Islington and 
executed a will, leaving her property to her husband, " John Lloyd." 
Returning to her lodgings, she asked for a bath, and the landlady 
prepared it. Ten minutes afterwards there was a splashing in the 
bathroom, followed by the sound as of wet hands smacking against 
the sides, and at the same time a sigh. Soon afterwards the landlady 
heard the organ playing in the prisoner's sitting room, and then the 
front door slam. Another interval and the bell rang, and the prisoner 
was at the door. " I have bought some tomatoes for Mrs. Lloyd's 
supper," he said. " Is she down yet? " As in the case of the fish 
at Heme Bay and the couple of eggs at Blackpool, so in Highgate 
tomatoes were the excuse to be away from the room where the wife 
was dead in her bath. The verdict at the inquest again exonerated 
the prisoner, death by misadventure being found, and Smith immedi- 
ately approached another solicitor at Shepherd's Bush to obtain 
probate of the will. It was during a visit to this gentleman that 
he was apprehended and charged, though not at first with murder. 

I will conclude by summarising the points of similarity between 
the three cases. 

In each case you get the simulated marriage. 

In each case all the ready money the woman had is realised. 

73 



George Joseph Smith. 



In each case the woman made a will in prisoner's favour. 

In each case the property could only be got at through the 
woman's death. 

In each case there were, as we submit, unnecessary visits to a 
doctor. 

In each case letters were written the night before death in which 
prisoner's kindness as a husband is extolled. 

In each case there were inquiries about a bathroom. 

In each case the prisoner is the first to discover the death. 

In each case prisoner is the person in immediate association with 
each woman before her death. 

In each case the bathroom doors are either unfastenable or 
unfastened. 

In each case he pretends to do something which shall take him 
away from the scene where the particular tragedy has been enacted. 

In each case there is the immediate disappearance of prisoner. 

If, upon considering the whole of these circumstances, you are 
forced to the conclusion that these similarities cannot have been 
the result of chance, but indicate design, it will be your duty to 
find the prisoner guilty ; but if you feel that this series of coincidences 
is not absolutely and beyond all reasonable doubt inconsistent with 
the prisoner's innocence of the death of Beatrice Mundy, you will 
find him not guilty. 

[His lordship here informed the jury that it would be necessary 
for them to remain locked up, and he warned them not to discuss 
the case, but to await the evidence and keep their minds open.] 

The Court adjourned. 



74 



Second Day— Wednesday, 23rd June, 1915. 

Evidence for the Prosecution. 

Arthur Amos Elliott, examined by Mr. Whiteley — I live at 
52 Chester Street, Leicester, and I am the sexton at St. Matthew's 
Church. I was present at a marriage performed by the Rev. J. 0. 
Hichens at St. Matthew's Church on 17th January, 1898. I produce 
a certified extract of the entry in the marriage register relating to 
that marriage — " George Oliver Love, age twenty-eight, bachelor, 
baker and confectioner, 25 Russell Square; father's name, George 
Love (deceased), rank or profession of father, detective ; Beatrice 
Thornhill, age nineteen, spinster, bootmaker, residence, 25 Russell 
Square; father's name, Edward John Thornhill, rank or pro- 
fession, bootmaker." I did not know George Oliver Love before 
that date. I recognise him as the prisoner in the dock. He carried 
on business as a baker and confectioner at 25 Russell Square at 
the time he was married. I saw the married couple in the shop 
only occasionally. 

George Burdett, examined by Mr. Whiteley — I live at 76 
Beatrice Road, Leicester. I was present at St. Matthew's Church 
on 17th January, 1898. I recognise the prisoner in the dock as 
the man who was married that day. I signed the register. I knew 
Caroline Beatrice Thornhill. I have seen her outside the Court 
to-day. 

Mrs. Caroline Thornhill, examined by Mr. Whiteley — I am 
the wife of Edward John Thornhill, and live at 20 George Street, 
Leicester. My daughter, Caroline Beatrice, is thirty-four years 
old. I remember her being married to George Oliver Love, whom 
I now recognise as the man in the dock to-day. My daughter was 
eighteen years old when she was married on 17th January. At that 
time he was carrying on a bread shop. I saw my daughter with 
the prisoner about twice after the marriage. I think they stayed 
at their shop in Leicester for about three or four months, and then 
they went away. My daughter left her husband about twelve 
months after her marriage, and came back to me, and then he 
rejoined her at a shop in Martin street. I cannot exactly tell how 
long they stayed at that shop, but it was not very long. We went 
to live at 68 Argyle Street, in Leicester, about 1900. We had been 
living in Argyle Street for fully two years when I saw the prisoner 
at Hastings. 

Did you ever see him in Argyle Street? — No, not then. 

75 



George Joseph Smith. 



Caroline Thornhill 

After that? — Yes, after he had done his two years. 

Shortly after that did your daughter go to Canada? — She went 
some time after Mr. Love had done his two years. 

Mr. Justice Scruttox. — Gentlemen, the witness keeps saying 
certain things which you must put entirely out of your mind, as 
they have nothing to do with the case. 

Examination continued — My daughter went to Canada; she 
is now in England. 

Cross-examined by Mr. Marshall Hall — My daughter went to 
Canada about ten years ago. She came back to England to see 
me about three years ago. 

Herbert Mundy, examined by Mr. Bodkin — 1 am an auctioneer 
living at Westbourne Gardens, Trowbridge, Wiltshire. I had an 
elder brother, George Barclay Mundy, who died when he was about 
sixty-six years old. He was manager of a bank at Warminster, 
and he retired shortly before his death. He left two children, 
George Howard Mundy and Bessie Constance Annie Mundy. My 
nephew, George, and I were the executors under his will. Bessie 
benefited to the extent of £2500 by his will, and that sum was 
invested in trust securities. She lived at home with her father up 
to the time of his death. When her father died she would be about 
twenty-five years of age. 

She was a capable business woman ? — No, she did not under- 
stand money matters at all. The solicitor to our family was Mr. 
Ponting, of Warminster, who is now dead. In the month of 
November, 1905, there was a deed executed by Bessie Mundy 
(exhibit 67). Before that deed there had been some consultation 
between me and Mr. Ponting. The deed is a voluntary settle- 
ment by Bessie Mundy to transfer to me and to George Howard 
Mundy all her property in trust, also to Frank Mundy, another 
brother of mine, who is since dead. Under that deed it was 
provided that the trustees were to pay the income of the trust fund 
to Bessie Mundy during her life, and after her death the trust 
fund was to be held in trust for such persons and in such manner as 
Bessie Mundy should appoint, and in default of appointment, in 
trust for the rest of them. I took upon myself chiefly the duties 
of the trustees, and I collected the interests and dividends. I used 
to remit to Bessie a monthly sum of about £8. That did not quite 
absorb the whole of the income, and the difference between the 
actual income and that allowance accumulated in my hands. After 
my brother's death Bessie went to friends and to boarding-houses, 
or something of that sort. 

Did you see much of her? — No. I never saw her after my 
brother's death, or rather after the home was broken up. 

Had you any knowledge in the summer of 1910 of her con- 
76 




Beatrice Constance Annie Mundy. 



Evidence for Prosecution. 

Herbert Mundy 

templating being married at all? — No, none whatever. I received 
the postcard (exhibit 78) — 

14 Rodwell Avenue, Weymouth. 25/8/1910. Dear Uncle, I got married 
to-day, my husband is writing to you to-night. Yours truly, B. Williams. 

Nest day I got exhibit 69 — 

14 Rodwell Avenue, Weymouth. 26/8/10. Dear Sir, I think it my duty 
to inform you of my marriage with Bessie Constance Annie Mundy at the 
office of the Registrar, performed by the Superintendent, H. A. Huxtable, 
Weymouth. Believe me, Yours truly, Henry Williams. 

That was the first time I had any knowledge of a person named 
Henry Williams. I answered that letter and I then received 
exhibit 70 — 

14 Rodwell Avenue, Weymouth. 29th August, 1910. Dear Sir — My 
wife and self thank you very much for your letter to-day with kind ex- 
pressions. In regard to banks, undoubtedly to transact the business there 
would be rather awkward. Thus we suggest it would be better if you will 
be good enough to forward a money order instead of cheques — however it 
would suit the present circumstances. Anytime we changed our address we 
should let you know beforehand. We cannot say at present how long we 
shall remain in Weymouth. Bessie hopes you will forward as much money 
as possible at your earliest (by registered letter). Am pleased to say Bessie 
is in perfect health, and both are looking forward to a bright and happy 
future. Believe me, Yours faithfully, H. Williams. 

At the end of the letter there is an addition in my niece's 
handwriting — 

With my kind regards. I am very happy indeed. Bessie Williams. 

I did not send any money on receiving that letter. I recollect 
getting a letter about that time from a Mr. Wilkinson, a solicitor 
at Weymouth, and in consequence of that I consulted Mr. Ponting. 
On referring to exhibit 71 I am reminded that I sent a sum of 
£10. Shortly afterwards I got another letter from a Mr. Eaton, 
a solicitor at Weymouth, and eventually I gave instructions to Mr. 
Ponting to forward the accumulated monies amounting to about 
£135. The next matter was the receipt of the telegram (exhibit 72) 
on 13th September. After receiving that telegram I heard some- 
thins- from my nephew George and I continued thereafter to make 
the monthly allowance of about £8, which I sent by cheque, generally 
speaking. 

I remember receiving the letter (exhibit 61) — 

Weston-super-Mare, 14th March, 1912. Dear Sir— We have been con- 
sulted by Mr. and Mrs. Henry Williams, who we are pleased to state have 
now adjusted the differences which arose between them and are now living 
together as man and wife again. They are both desirous that we should 

77 



George Joseph Smith. 

Herbert Mundy 
write to you in order to make you acquainted with these facts and also to 
give some explanation with a view to removing any apprehension which may 
be in your mind in regard to a loan of £150 which was made some time ago 
by Mrs. Williams to her husband. The facts in regard to this transaction 
appear to be that some time prior to his marriage Mr. Williams went abroad, 
and to enable him to do so he borrowed money from certain of his friends, 
and the £150 advanced by his wife was for the purpose (as indeed Mrs. 
Williams understood at the time) of discharging these debts. We have 
advised that Mr. Williams should give his wife a promissory note for £150, 
such note to bear interest at 4 per cent, per annum, and this he is quite 
willing to do. Both our clients think it is due to you as the Trustees of 
Mrs. Williams to be informed of the circumstances in which Mr. Williams 
left his wife. The fact appears to be that Mr. Williams was (though as it 
turns out wrongly) under the impression that he had contracted a con- 
tagious disease. In consequence he desired to be absent from his wife for 
a time and was naturally reluctant to tell her of his true reason for leaving. 
It is. however, only fair to him to state that he wrote a letter to Mrs. 
Williams at Weymouth informing her of the circumstances and of his inten- 
tion to return, so that he has since been assiduous in his efforts to find her 
in order to provide her with a home. Mrs. Williams informs us that she is 
willing to forgive the past and that she has decided to live again with her 
husband. As the contents of this le+ter are of a private character, 
we must ask you to kindly treat them in confidence. Yours faithfully, 
Baker & Co. 

I had no knowledge of the loan of £150 referred to in that 
letter. I replied to Messrs. Baker (exhibit 62) — 

15th March, 1912. Dear Sirs — I am duly in receipt of your letter of 
yesterday's date informing me that Mr. and Mrs. Henry Williams are now 
living together again as man and wife, and I have also heard from Mrs. 
Williams by the same post, but giving no address. The circumstances of 
the marriage and subsequent desertion are so extraordinary and painful 
that I refrain from making any comment upon the arrangements vhich 
have been come to. Yours faithfully, H. Mundy. 

I received the letter (exhibit 73) on or about 18th March — 

Dear Sir — After what has occurred, no good can be obtained by further 
detail. But I at least count it my duty to write you expressing my sorrow 
for the past events, and vow to take advantage of every hour and day 
for the future that Bessie and I are spared to outlive the past and to 
prove myself before the eyes of my wife and her relatives a true and worthy 
husband. Life is not finished yet, and time is a great healer. It is no 
earthly use of being vindictive where matrimony is concerned. Therefore 
I kindly invite you to take into consideration all the information which 
Bessie and I will furnish you from time to time in regard to our movements, 
combined with the methods and principals which I shall use to formulate 
a character worthy of your appreciation. My solicitor informed me through 
communication " that when Bessie wrote you last she omitted her address." 
I would point out that nothing deceptive was intended by it; she waa 

78 



Evidence for Prosecution. 

Herbert Mundy 

living with me at the time in temporary apartments, No. 6 Walliscote Grove, 
Weston-super-Mare, and as we intended leaving the next morning for Wool- 
wich, we thought that you may have answered the letter to that address, 
which we should not have received. Bessie has just written her Aunt, 
wherein she states that she has never been so happy for a long time, and 
I know that is pleasing to you. I remain, Sir, yours respectfully, H. 
Williams. 

The following addition is in my niece's handwriting : — 

Dear Uncle — Everything after all is happening for the best, and I am 
perfectly happy with my husband. I hope you will soon forget the past. 
I know my husband now better than ever I knew him. With love, Bessie. 

After that I got some letters from my niece. I received the 
letter, which is exhibit 75, from my niece, which is headed from 
35 Wilmount Street, Woolwich, 29th March, 1912— 

Dear Uncle — I enclose the postcard just received from Aunt, she seems to 
be put out just because I asked her to remit me what was left of the 
money after her paying Mrs. Tuckett £2 10s. for the fortnight I was there 
of this month, she tries to make out I owe Mrs. Tuckett £2 10s., how can 
that be, when I have never seen the £8 for the March month, she is going 
beyond herself. I trust you will send to me on the 1st April the £8 as 
usual, at the above address. I am sorry to trouble you in this way, Bessie 
Williams. 

On the back of that letter, in the same handwriting as the letter 
signed H. Williams, which I formerly received, there is the follow- 



Dear Sir — I am rather surprised at Bessie's Aunt writing to my wife in 
the manner she has. The trouble which has occurred between my wife 
and myself and which is now over has nothing to do with that which my 
wife is entitled to. I am not short of £2 10s. which my wife asks her Aunt to 
account for. I have great many £2 10s. I am not short of money, and 
not likely to be. But I intend, cost what it will, that either my wife has 
what she is entitled to, or else there will be trouble even if I lost my 



and then there is a word which has been written and then scratched 
out. I sent some money to that address at Woolwich, and I also 
sent Mrs. Tuckett the £2 10s. I remember getting the two letters 
from my niece (exhibits 76 and 77). They are dated from Ramsgate, 
but I have no recollection of what was on the envelopes. In May 
and June of 1912 I received other letters from my niece, which I 
answered. From her letters I understood she was living at 80 High 
Street. Heme Bay, and I addressed my letters to her at that 
address. (Shown exhibit 78.) On 22nd June I drew and sent 
that cheque for £33 to my niece in reply to a request to send all 

79 



George Joseph Smith. 

Herbert Mur.dy 

the money I could. My niece sent me the photograph (exhibit 79), 
which is a photograph of herself along with a man whom I had 
never seen to my knowledge. The man in that photograph is clean- 
shaven. On 13th July I received a letter in a registered envelope 
addressed in my niece's handwriting. It appears to be stamped at 
Heme Bay on 12th Julv. 1912. That was the last communication 
I ever had from my niece. At the same time as I received that 
letter I got the telegram (exhibit 82), which is marked as handed 
in at Heme Bay, 9.45 a.m., and received at Trowbridge at 10.27 
a.m. on 13th July — 

Bessie died in a fit this morning, letter following, Williams. 

On Monday, 15th July, I received exhibits 83 and 84 — a letter 
in a black-bordered envelope — 

13th July, 1912, 80 High Street, Heme Bay, Kent, Dear Sir— Words 
cannot describe the great shock I suffered in the loss of my wife. The 
doctor said she had a fit in the bath, and I can assure you and all her 
relatives that everything was done which was possible to do on her behalf. 
I can say no more. Believe me, Yours faithfully, Henry Williams. 

The postmark on the envelope appears to be 9.15 p.m., 13th 
July. I received no intimation from anybody of the contemplated 
holding of an inquest. On Tuesday. 16th July, about 7.30 p.m., 
T received the following letter (exhibit 85), dated 15th July : — 

Dear Sir — I hope you received my letter this morning. The result of 
the inquest was misadventure by a fit in the bath. The burial takes place 
to-morrow at 2 p.m. I am naturally too sad to write more to-day. Yours 
faithfully, H. Williams. 

I replied in exhibit 86, dated 17th July — 

Dear Sir — I only received your letter by the 7.30 post last evening only 
and was not aware of poor Bessie's funeral that afternoon. I have heard no 
particulars of her death except what I saw in the London paper concerning 
the inquest and I had hoped to have heard more, the circumstances are very 
sad. Yours faithfully, Herbert Mundy. 

I received exhibit 87 in reply — 

18th July, 1912. Dear Sir — Your letter to hand this morning. In 
answer I have no further particulars to make in reference to Bessie's death 
except the verdict brought in by the Coroner's Jury. When the weekly 
press comes out I will forward you the account the paper provides. I am 
astonished at the mean and most unmanly conduct of her brother Howard, 
who notwithstanding every opportunity given him to come down to Heme 
Bay. and in order to see the proceeding carried out by the officials, wrote 
at the eleventh hour a most offensive letter to the district Coroner in which 

80 



Evidence for Prosecution. 

Herbert Mundy 

he asks him to hold a very strict investigation and to be very careful. I 
will leave you to guess what the Coroner, doctors, jury and police thought 
of such a letter. As for myself, the time will come when I shall as a man 
with all the feelings which becomes a man demand from Mr. Brother 
Howard his reasons for writing that letter. I have not yet got over the 
shock in loosing the one I thought more of than any one in this world, 
and every one about here and other places could absolutely testify the 
truth of my kindness and attention towards dear Bessie. The only comforter 
I have now is the great God himself, to whom I pray and rely for sufficient 
strength to bear this calamity. P.S. — If again you feel disposed to write 
me, perhaps the unregistered letter as you have now sent me will be more 
available, as I am out generally when the post comes. Yours faithfully, 
H. Williams. In regard to her Will my counsel will in due course make things 
known to you. 

I think that was the last letter I ever received from him. I 
could not say whether I ever got the weekly newspaper from him. 
I know that I got a copy from some one ; I wrote to Heme Bay for 
it. After that I received some letters from a Mr. Annesley, a 
solicitor at Heme Bay, and I referred that gentleman to Mr. 
Ponting. A caveat was entered to the proving of the will. (Shown 
exhibit 98). That is the will executed by my niece, dated 8th July, 
1912, and witnessed by Philip de V. Annesley, Heme Bay, and 
Frederick H. Barwood, his clerk. The will itself shows that probate 
was granted on 6th September, 1912. Under that will she appointed 
her husband, " Henry Williams," sole executor, and she bequeathed 
all her property to him. 

Have you any knowledge, direct or indirect, of her ever having 
had a fit? — Not except that letter. I might say this, of course, that 
she was very much upset at Weymouth when this episode 

But you did not see her then? — No, I did not. 

Cross-examined by Mr. Marshall Hall — When the settlement 
of 1905 was executed, I impressed on Mr. Ponting most particularly 
that my niece should understand what she was doing. Mr. Ponting 
assured me that she thoroughly understood the settlement. 

Mr. Ponting was a gentleman who would never allow a client 
to execute a document of that kind unless she fully understood it ? — 
Quite so. 

George Howard Mundt, examined by Mr. Bodkin — I am a 
commercial traveller and live at 18 Chatsworth Road, Bournemouth. 
In 1910 I was living at Poole, in Dorset. I am the brother of the 
late Bessie Mundy. I was one of the executors to my father's will, 
and also one of the trustees of the settlement of Bessie Mundy's 
property. After my father's death I saw my sister from time to 
time. I had no knowledge in 1910 that she contemplated being: 
married, or, in fact, that she had been married. I recollect in 
September, 1910, hearing something, and in consequence going to 
Q 81 



George Joseph Smith. 

George Howard Mnndy 

Weymouth. I found my sister in the house of a Mr. and Mrs. 
Crabbe, 14 Rodwell Avenue there. She was not in a fit state then 
to travel back with me to Poole. About a fortnight or three weeks 
after that she came to Poole, and she stayed with me for three or 
four months, up to about the end of 1910, and then she left me. 
That was the last time that I saw her. I remember receiving 
exhibit 89, which is a letter headed 35 Wilmount Street, and dated 
18th March, 1912 — 

Dear Sir — I know not how I shall offend in dedicating my unpolished 
lines to you, nor how you will censure me for using so strong a prop for 
supporting so grave a burden ; only if you will accept my humble apology 
for pain and trouble which you share with your sister my wife, and let the 
past sink into oblivion, I account myself highly honoured, and vow to take 
advantage of every future day that the great powers have ordained : until 
the miserable past is absolutely outlived and a character established which 
will be worthy of your appreciation. I was invited into Mrs. Tuckett's 
house with Bessie. Bessie and I went personally to solicitors and made 
certain statements and reconciliation followed. Mr. H. Mundy was com- 
municated with by solicitors and ourselves and replied to. Her Aunt too 
has been communicated with, who has been kind enough to forward Bessie's 
belongings. In conclusion, no husband could possibly be more sorry than 
myself for what has occurred. Time is a great healer — Bessie and I have 
been living together since last Friday, and she has told her friends that she 
is delighted to be with me again, also states she is perfectly happv and 
has absolutely forgiven the past. I trust, sir, you will, as a man of the 
world take all things into consideration, remembering that possibly many 
years are before us all, wherein peace and goodwill will always keep the 
past at bay, and a christian brotherly feeling established. I remain, sir, 
yours most respectfully, Henry Williams. 

Over the leaf there is an addition in the handwriting of my 
sister — 

My Dear Howard — I trust you will try and forget the past as I have 
done. I know my husband better now than ever before. You will be pleased 
to know I am perfectly happy. With love, Bessie. 

I remember getting a telegram on a Saturday in the middle 
of July announcing my sister's death. After that I wrote and 
posted the letter (exhibit 66), and addressed it to " Mr. Williams. 
80 High Street, Heme Bay." At the same time I wrote and posted 
a letter to the coroner. The two letters were identical, there was no 
difference between them, apart from addressing one to the coroner 
and the other to the prisoner. Exhibit 66 reads as follows : — 

Longleat, Chatsworth Road, Bournemouth, 14th July, 1912. Dear Sir— 
I had your wire telling me the sad news of Bessie's sudden death. You said 
was writing, but I have not had any letter from you this morning. As 
Bessie's brother I must insist that as she died so suddenly a post-mortem 

8*2 



Evidence for Prosecution. 

George Howard Mundy 

examination must be held before she is buried, for the satisfaction of all 
the family. Please see that this is carried out. Some will go to Heme 
Bay to represent the family at the funeral. Yours faithfully, Howard 
Mundy. Mr. Williams, 80 High Street, Heme Bay. 

I do not clearly recollect getting any notification of the time 
of holding the inquest, or that one ^as to be held. I did not get 
any information as to when the funeral was to be. I received a 
reply from the prisoner to my letter, but I have not kept it. In 
his letter he expressed some surprise at what I had written to him, 
and he concluded with some remark to the effect that he was too 
hurt to say more. I never replied to that letter. 

You have told us that you saw your sister from time to time. 
What sort of health did she have? — Good. 

Have you any knowledge of her ever having suffered from any 
epileptic fit of any kind ? — No. 

William Ralph Marshall, examined by Mr. Bodkin — I am a 
solicitor living at Cranford, Warminster. The late Mr. Thomas 
Ponting was my partner. He died on 22nd April of this year. 
I recognise the signature on the depositions now shown me as the 
signature of my late partner, Mr. Thomas Ponting. 

Inspector Arthur Neil, examined by Mr. Bodkin — I am an 
inspector of the Metropolitan Police. I was present at Bow Street 
Police Office on 15th April last, when the prisoner was before the 
Committing Magistrate, Sir John Dickinson, on the charge in this 
case. Mr. Ponting was called as a witness, and examined and 
cross-examined. His deposition was read over to him and he signed 
it as being correct. The signature on the deposition which is now 
shown to me is the signature which I saw him make. 

The Clerk of Court read the following deposition : — ' ' On the 
15th April, 1915, this deponent, Thomas Ponting, on oath saith 
as follows : — I am a solicitor practising at 8 High Street, War- 
minster. I have acted for a number of years for the Mundy family. 
I knew Bessie Mundy. After her father's death I prepared the 
voluntary settlement (exhibit 67). On instructions received from 
her, I did not suppose that she was sufficiently competent to manage 
her financial affairs. I included paragraph 5 of exhibit 67 with a 
view to her protection, and also paragraph 9. That deed related 
not only to her share under her father's will, but also to one 
investment which I think was her private property. The stamp on 
the deed covers a total value of £2700. I recollect in August, 1910, 
receiving some letters from a Mr. Wilkinson and a Mr. Eaton. In 
consequence of a letter from Mr. Wilkinson I forwarded the docu- 
ments (exhibits 55. 56. and 57)." [Exhibit 55 is a copy of the 
will of the father, George Barclay Mundy; exhibit 56 is a list of 

83 



George Joseph Smith. 

Thomas Ponting 

the securities included in the trust deed, and exhibit 57 is a copy 
of exhibit 67.] On the 13th September I sent to Mr. Eaton the 
cheque produced (exhibit 90) (being a cheque for £135 2s. lid.) 
That was the balance due, less my costs. That cheque was sent to 
Mr. Eaton and payable to him. I got an acknowledgement from 
Mr. Eaton. Previously I had received the receipt produced 
(exhibit 91). Nearly two years later I got some letters from Bessie 
Mundy from Heme Bay, and in consequence I sent her a copy of 
the settlement. I got an acknowledgment for it. The date was 
12th June, 1912. On the 15th July subsequently I recollect hearing 
of Bessie Williams' death, and in consequence of hearing that I 
telegraphed to solicitors at Heme Bay. When I telegraphed I did 
not know that the inquest was being held on that day. After that 
I remember getting into communication with Mr. Annesley, a 
solicitor at Heme Bay. I was acting as solicitor for the trustees 
under the settlement, and Mr. Annesley was acting for Henry 
Williams, the executor under the will of Bessie Williams. All the 
securities covered by the settlement were eventually transferred into 
the name of Henry Williams. Amongst the property covered by 
the will of Mrs. Williams there was a small amount of cash in hand 
from the income under the settlement. That was also handed over. 
There was some delay as regards one investment. A man supposed 
to be Henry Williams called at my office in November — on the 
18th November, 1912. I believe the prisoner to be the man, but 
I cannot be sure. That was the only time he came. 1 remember 
getting several letters signed " Henry Williams " or " H. 
Williams." I produce one of the 25th 'July, lbl2 (exhibit 92). 
That is a letter card to " H. Mundy " — 

Heme Bay, Kent. 25/7/12. Dear Sir — If at any time you wish to write, 
please write c/o solicitors, as I am shortly moving to another house, render- 
ing my address rather unsettled at present. Yours truly, H. Williams. 

[Addressed to H. Mundy. Esq., Westbourne Gardens, Trowbridge, Wilts. 
Postmark Heme Bay, S.O. 7.15 p.m. July 25, '12.] 

I produce another one addressed to me, of the 22nd September, 
1912 (exhibit 93)— 

Henry Williams, c/o Mr. Annesley, Solicitor, 18 High Street, Heme 
Bay, 22nd September, 1912. Dear Sir — Referring to Home and Colonial 
affair, I do not see at all how I can be called upon to pay my half share 
without George Howard Mundy paying his half share at the same time as 
myself. In fact the whole matter has come rather surprising to me especially 
at the 11th hour. I find that Probate was granted to me on the 6th inst. 
Therefore I trust after all this time you will shortly complete the business. 
Mr. Annesley made an application on my behalf for the money on dept. in 
the Wilts and Dorset Bank through you, but tells me you did not reply 
on the matter. Yours truly, H. Williams. 

[Addressed to Mr. Thomas Ponting, Solicitor, Warminster. Postmark 

84 



Evidence for Prosecution. 

Thomas Ponting 

Tunbridge Wells, 9.15 p.m., 22nd September, 1912. Warminster, 9.30 a.m., 
September 23rd, 1912.] 

There is another dated 15th November, 1912 (exhibit 94) — 

Bath, 15.11.12. Dear Sir— I beg to thank you for the information con- 
veyed by 'phone through my bank Manager this morning. I shall be glad 
if you will kindly have the Powers of Attorney for the transfers of the 
Colonial Securities into my name acted upon at the earliest possible date as 
I am urgently in need of some money and cannot obtain it till such time as 
the stock receipts are in my possession. To save time will you be good enough 
to send the Stock receipts direct to the Manager of the London City and 
Midland Bank, Bath. Yours faithfully, Henry Williams. T. Ponting & 
Co., Solicitors, Warminster. 

That is urging expedition. A deed of release was executed and 
dated the 27th November, 1912. It is executed by Henry Williams 
in the presence of Mr. Bellamy, a bank manager. I produce it 
(exhibit 95). In the third schedule there is a sum of £43 4s. 6d. 
cash on deposit, and £56 10s. lOd. cash in hand. I produce 
exhibit 96. It is a receipt dated the 2nd January, 1913, and 
signed by Williams. In January, 1913, I got some letters signed 
" Henry Williams." There was a possible call in respect of one 
of the securities, on some shares which had not been fully paid, and 
some of the stock referred to in exhibit 67 was reserved to meet 
the liability, and in the month of March, 1913, that reserved 
stock was handed over and the receipt produced (exhibit 97) was 
given. 

Mrs. B. C. A. Williams' Settlement. I hereby acknowledge that Messrs. 
Herbert Mundy and George Howard Mundy, the surviving Trustees of the 
Settlement made by my late wife Bessie Constance Annie Williams dated the 
8th day of November, 1905, have handed to me a Power of Attorney (duly 
executed) for Sale or Transfer of £300 Cape of Good Hope Government 
Inscribed Stock, which Stock was retained by the Trustees of the said 
Settlement for the purpose mentioned in a Deed of Release executed by me 
to the said trustees and dated the 27th day of November last, and I hereby 
accept the same in full discharge of all claims against the said Trustees under 
the said Settlement and Release or either of them. Dated the 8th day of 
March, 1913. Henry Williams, J. H. Bellamy, Bank Manager, London City 
& Midland Bank, Ltd., Bath Branch, Witness. 

The reserved stock was Cape of Good Hope stock. 

Cross-examined — When Miss Mundy came to me she came of her 
own free will. She appeared perfectly to understand the nature 
of the settlement that I made for her. It was entirely under her 
instructions that I prepared the deed. 

Re-examined — I think there was a consultation of those who 
were afterwards her trustees before I saw her. I think the sug- 

85 



George Joseph Smith. 

Thomas Ponting 

gestion that there should be a settlement came from me. I had been 
solicitor to her father, and I think I advised it on that capacity. 
Signed by " T. Ponting." 

Mrs. Maud Crabbe, examined by Mr. Whitbley — I am the 
wife of Frederick Robert Crabbe, and live at 26 Dorset Place, 
Weymouth. In August, 1910, I was living at 14 Rodwell Avenue, 
and letting apartments there. I recognise the prisoner in 
the dock. I saw him for the first time on 22nd August. 
1910, when he came to my house along with Miss Mundy. 
I had not seen either of them before. They engaged two 
bedrooms and one sitting room in my house. The lady had a hat 
box and the prisoner had a small bag. That was the only luggage 
they had whilst they stayed with me. After they had been with 
me for a day or two I asked how I should address the lady, as I 
had not heard her name. The prisoner told me it was Miss Mundy, 
but that soon it would be Mrs. Williams, as they intended to be 
married. On 26th August I went to the Registry Office and signed 
the register as witness to the wedding of the prisoner and Miss 
Mundy. The marriage took place after two o'clock, I should think. 
I remained in their company till about six or seven o'clock. I left 
them in the sitting room in my house while I was preparing tea : 
that is the only time I think I left them. They continued to stay 
in my house living as man and wife until 13th September. I 
remember the prisoner asking me that morning if there was a letter 
for him. I said there was none. He told me that his wi'e would 
be receiving a letter at dinner time, that they were expecting a 
cheque, and that she would then pay me the bill that was owincr. 
He told me that he had not any money, and he remarked, " The 
wife has got it all." Soon after that conversation they went out 
together, about ten o'clock, I should think. The prisoner came 
back alone about eleven o'clock and asked if there was a telegram 
for him. I told him that there was one on his sitting room table. 
He opened it, and after he read it he said that he had to proceed 
to London at once on special business, and he told me to tell his 
wife when she returned to dinner that I was to say he had gone 
on special business, and that if he did not return that night he 
would return on the Monday. He said that when his wife received 
the cheque I was to see that she paid me for the rooms. He then 
went away. That is the last I saw of him until I was at Bow Street 
Police Court. Mrs. Williams came back about one o'clock and T 
gave her the message. I also gave her a telecrram which had arrived 
for her. After 1 gave her the message and she had read the 
telegram she was very much upset. In the afternoon a registered 
letter waR delivered, addressed " Mrs. Bessie Williams, 14 Rodwel! 
Avenue, Weymouth." Mrs. Williams opened the envelope and then 
she jrave me a letter (exhibit 59) — 
80 



Evidence for Prosecution. 

Maud Crabbe 
To Mr. and Mrs. Crabbe. I do not know how long I shall be away, 
eo I have asked my wife that if I do not return within a week to hand 
this note to you. If you and Mr. Crabbe reads the will and the settlement 
and also the figures stating how her money is put out for her, you will 
understand then that she has an income of £8 every month payable every 
8th of each month. I have agreed with my wife that you should if you 
will be kind enough to mind this will settlement and the other paper which 
states how her money is put out to take care of them in your Secure Box 
until I have them from you, and when I take them away I shall give you 
10s. for your trouble. My wife and self absolutely agrees to this. You see 
we go from place to place and might loose them. While my wife is here 
alone she can pay you for board and lodging 25s. weekly out of her £8 
month, and 30s. each month she is going to put into the P.O. Saving Bank, 
which will come handy in case of illness or emergency. Please see that she 
does this ; she has also promised me faithfully to remain here until my 
return, so I am sure she will be in safe hands with you. Of course while 
you have the front room and sitting-room vacant she could use them. But 
when they are let she would make herself comfortable in the room she had 
before with board 25s. weekly. You will find her no trouble, so I hope you 
will make her comfortable till my return. Yours truly, H. Williams. 

The envelope bears no other postmark than that of Weymouth. 
Mrs. Williams handed me the letter (exhibit 58) — 

Dearest, I fear you have blighted all my bright hopes of a happy 
future. I have caught from you a disease which is called the bad disorder. 
For you to be in such a state proves you could not have kept yourself 
morally clean. It reminds me of what you told me in reference to the 
immorality of " So and so." Anyhow you have got the disease somehow. 
I don't wish to say you have had connections with another man and caught 
it from him. But it is either that or through not keeping yourself clean. 
Now lor the sake of my health and honour and yours too I must go to 
London and act entirely under the doctor's advice to get properly cured of 
this disease. It will cost me a great deal of money, because it might 
take years before I am cured. The best thing for you to tell the landlady 
and every one else that I have gone to France. But tell your uncle the 
truth that I have caught a certain disease from you and that I have told 
you that I shall not return to you until entirely cured. But even your uncle 
may not ever know that we are parted unless he happens to visit you, so 
you must keep him away. But if other relatives visit you tell them that I 
have gone to France on business. But your uncle tell him the truth, also 
tell your uncle that you have promised me faithfully to remain with the 
landlady here until I return. If he happens to ask you about money, tell 
him that you kept all the money which was sent to you in a leather bag 
and two days after I had gone you happened to go on the beach and fall 
asleep and when you woke the bag of money was gone. If you will not 
carry out every word of my advice you will cause a lot of trouble and the 
whole affair will be in the Police Court and you will bring disgrace on your- 
self and relations. Now study this letter and whatever you do stick to 
everything you say. Never alter it or else you will get mixed up and 
make a fool of yourself. When you have read this letter take it in the 

87 



George Joseph Smith. 

Maud Crabbe 

street and tear it up. After you have studied these letters whatever you 
do take them out in the street and tear them up and throw them away. As 
I told you before, tell every one I am gone to France on business, and 
remain here till my return. No one in the world need know your disgrace 
if you do what I say and keep away from every one you know. But if your 
uncle happens to come here and demand why I have left take my advice 
and . tell him the real truth — that I have caught a disease from you and 
promised to keep away till I am thoroughly cured — which may take weeks, 
months or years, but he need not know anything in writing as long as he 
keeps away. Write to him a week before the 8th and mention nothing 
about it and ask him to send you money order for £8 instead of cheque, 
but don't write before. It will take me a lot of money for cure. If you are 
asked by your uncle about money, say two days after I left you had it all 
in a hand bag and lost it on the beach while asleep. Now stick to every 
word of this letter and never alter it or else serious trouble and disgrace 
will fall on all. Ask your uncle about a week before the 8th to always send 
your cash in a money order so you can change it at the Post Office. Pay the 
landlady 25s. weekly for board and lodgings and take my advice and put 
30s. out of the £8 into the Post Office savings bank — so it will come handy 
for illness or other emergencies or for us when I return. If you do not 
I shall be angry when I return. You can believe me that I shall be sure to 
return to you even if it is years to come. Pray do stop here in this town 
till I return, and leave the Will and Settlement in the care of the landlady 
till I come for them myself and tell the landlady that you have £8 every 
month interest on the will. But whatever you do, never leave any letters 
about so she could know the addresses of your relatives. ruark what I say, 
now tear this letter up at once and throw the pieces in the road. 

After having read those letters I went with Mrs. Williams to 
the office of Mr. Eaton, solicitor. We also went to the post office 
and sent a telegram to her friends. A few days afterwards, her 
brother, Mr. Mundy, came. I saw a paper in the Williams' sitting 
room similar to that produced (exhibit 57, a copy of Miss Mundy 's 
voluntary settlement). 

Frederick Robert Crabbe, examined by Mr. Whitelet — I am 
a joiner, and live at 26 Dorset Place, Weymouth. The last witness 
is my wife. In August, 1910, we let apartments to the prisoner. 
I was one of the witnesses of the marriage. The marriage took 
place about two o'clock, and I was in the company of the prisoner 
up to about six or seven. During that time we did not go to the 
office of a Mr. Wilkinson at all. I have a photograph of myself 
in uniform in my sitting room. The prisoner noticed it and made 
a remark about my being in uniform, and told me that he had 
also been in the Army as a gymnasium instructor. He asked me 
to feel the muscles of his arms, which 1 did, and found them to be 
very large. 

Did you judge him to be a weak or a strong man? — Well, by 
his muscles I thought he would be a strong man. 



Evidence for Prosecution. 

William T. Wilkinson 

William Thomas Wilkinson, examined by Mr. Bodkin — I arn 
a solicitor, and a partner of the firm of Andrews, Bennett & 
Wilkinson, of Weymouth. I was practising there in August, 1910. 
1 remember a man and woman calling upon me upon 26th August, 
1910; they gave the names of Mr. and Mrs. Williams. After my 
interview with them I wrote a letter to a Mr. Ponting, and in 
consequence of what I requested I afterwards received some papers 
from him. To the best of my recollection those two persons came 
in to see me, and asked me if I would got them a copy of the 
will of the late Mr. George Barclay Mundy, under which I under- 
stood Mrs. Williams was interested. My general impression of 
the interview is that it was Mr. Williams who chiefly spoke to me, 
but I would not say that Mrs. Williams said nothing, or that there 
was anything extraordinary about it at the time. I got the 
documents and certain information from Mr. Ponting. I saw these 
people again and I repeated to them all that Mr. Ponting had 
informed me. I informed them that there had been a settlement 
of Mrs. Williams' interest under the will. I had heard nothing at 
the first interview about the settlement. I remember speaking to 
them both — Mrs. Williams, I think, particularly — and sugges.tiug 
to her that it would be very much better if they went to the family 
solicitor, who, I understood, was Mr. Ponting. Mr. Williams said 
something to the effect that his private affairs were no business of 
his wife's people. I made some inquiries of him as to who he was 
and where he came from, but he did not seem inclined to give me 
very much information. He told me that he lived formerly in 
London, and that he was a picture restorer. He asked me whether 
any capital sums could be obtained from the will or settlement 
funds, and he also asked whether a loan could be raised. I was 
unable to answer that without looking at the settlement, and I do 
not think I encouraged it. I communicated again with Mr. 
Ponting, and I received from him a copy of the settlement and 
also a list of investments. I saw the two people again on or about 
1st September, and I handed to them the documents which I had 
received (exhibits 55, 56, and 57), a copy of Mr. Mundy's will, a 
list of Miss Mundy's securities, and a copy of her voluntary settle- 
ment. I never saw them again. I do not think I made any state- 
ment to them as to the general effect, of the settlement. I know I 
did not take much trouble about it, because I knew I was not troing 
on with anything. The third interview was a very short one ; they 
went away from me and I never saw any more of them. 

Cross-examined by Mr. Marshall Hall — As far as I remember, 
when they called on me on 26th August it was only in reference 
to a will. 

Re-examined by Mr. Bodkin — I think it was on the second 
occasion that there was the conversation about raising a loan. 

89 



George Joseph Smith. 

Arthur Frederick Eaton 

Arthur Frederick Eaton, examined by Mr. Bodkin — I am a 
solicitor, practising at 4 York Buildings, Esplanade, Weymouth. 
I remember being visited on 2nd September, 1910, by a man and 
woman, who gave me the names of Mr. and Mrs. Williams, RoJwell 
Avenue, Weymouth. I recognise the prisoner in the dock as the 
man who called. They handed me some papers (exhibits 55, 56, 
and 57), and I read them and saw what their effect was. Mr. 
Williams told me that this lady was his wife, and that she was 
entitled to some monies which he wanted me to obtain. He told 
me that her maiden name was Bessie Mundy, and that she was the 
person mentioned in the will, in the settlement. He said there 
was a sum of something over £100, as I understood him, outside 
the settlement fund, that it was in the hands of the trustees, and 
he wished me to write to them to obtain payment of this to his 
wife. He told me that there had been correspondence with the 
uncle by his wife, but that they did not seem disposed to pay over 
this money, and he explained that possibly the reason was that he 
had not been married to his wife very long, and that they had 
possibly got the idea that he was after the money, and were con- 
sequently putting difficulties in the way. He assured me that so 
far from that being the case he had no knowledge until after his 
marriage that his wife was entitled to any money whatever, and 
he wished me to assure the uncle, or rather the solicitor to whom 
I was to write, that such was the case, and that the object in 
applying for this money was because his wife wished to join him 
in setting up a house and starting business. He told me he had 
known her for six months. I asked Mrs. Williams whether what 
he had told me was correct, and I questioned her to ascertain that 
she was satisfied, and wished me to do what Williams requested. 
I think I put it to her that I could accept what was said to me, 
and that I could act upon that representation. Her reply was 
" Yes." I do not think she said very much more than " Yes " 
all through. Williams said he was intending to set up in business 
as a picture restorer in Weymouth. I wrote to Mr. Pontine and 
eventually I received from him the cheque (exhibit 90). dated 13th 
September. Mr. and Mrs. Williams called on me about eleven 
o'clock on the 13th. I informed them that I had received this* 
cheque and Williams asked me if he could have it at once. I said 
that in the ordinary course it would go through the bank, and T 
should give him a cheque against it, or something of that kind. 
He urged me to let him have it that day. and I therefore gave 
him my cheque and paid this in against it. He told me his wife 
had no banking account, and he wanted the money in cash. I 
rather demurred, but as he rather pressed it I arranged to get him 
fash, and he mentioned that he wanted it in cold. Although I did 
not quite like it. T did not see any real reason why I should refuse 
it. and bo T let him have it. Williams explained that why he 
90 




8-r 



c 5 



Evidence for Prosecution. 

Arthur Frederick Eaton 

particularly wished it in cash that day was because they were 
intending to go straight away and buy furniture so as to lose no 
time in setting about getting this business. In fact he said he 
had a place in view, and he wanted to get into business right away. 
I knew Mr. Ponting perfectly well, and I knew that his cheque was 
as safe as cash. I sent my clerk to get it cashed in gold, deducting 
two guineas, being the amount of my charges. I think the money 
was brought from the bank in paper bags, but I could not be 
certain. I expressed once or twice to Mrs. Williams the advisability 
of putting the money into the bank, and I said that after they 
paid for what they immediately required, she should open an 
account for it. I felt just some misgiving about it, and I tried 
as far as I could to protect 

To give advice? — Yes. After handing over the money the two 
of them left, and I never saw Williams again till I saw him in Court 
at Bow Street. All through the interview Mrs. Williams was very 
uncommunicative, and I saw that she was easily influenced. 

Mr. Marshall Hall — How could you see that? 

Mr. Justice Scrutton — That is cross-examination. 

Examination continued — Anything else you noticed about her ? 
i — I do not know that I can speak of any fact. It is a question 
of the opinion I formed. She did not take any active part herself 
in any interview I had with them. She came to my office on 14th 
September, and she showed me the two letters (exhibits 58 and 59) 
(the letter from Williams to the Cr abbes and that to Miss Mundy). 
She handed me exhibit 60, which is written on one side of a post- 
card — 

I have just received a telegram from the doctor and have to go to London 
at once ; shall not be home till to-morrow. 

Cross-examined by Mr. Marshall Hall — You say that Mrs. 
Williams was undemonstrative? — Yes. 

I think at the Police Court you made use of the euphemism 
" Some women talk too much and others talk too little "? — I do 
not think that was my expression. It was suggested to me by 
Mr. Davies, and I accepted it. 

To whom did you hand the £133 in gold? — It was counted out 
on my table, and it was handed to Mrs. Williams. I made a point 
of it. 

Harold Alexander George Stevens, examined by Mr. 
Whitelet — I live at Brookland, Weymouth, and I am Super- 
intendent Registrar for the Weymouth district. In August, 1910, 
the registrar was Mr. Edward Fookes, who is now dead. Exhibit 
45 is a notice of marriage by licence, dated 24th August, 1910, 
and signed by Henry Williams, who is described as a bachelor, 

91 



George Joseph Smith. 

Harold A. G. Steyens 

picture restorer, of 14 Rodwell Avenue, Weymouth. The woman 
is described as Bessie Constance Annie Mundy, spinster. Exhibit 
46 is the register of marriages for the district of Weymouth. Under 
date 26th August, 1910, there is a registration of the marriage 
to which exhibit 45 applies, signed by Henry Williams and B. C. A. 
Mundy, the witnesses being F. R. Crabbe and M. Crabbe. 

Mrs. Sarah Tuckett, examined by Mr. Bodkin — I am a widow 
living at 19 West Field Road, Clifton. In the spring of 1912 I 
was living at a house called Norwood, in Weston-super-Mare. On 
2nd February Mrs. Williams, at the request of her aunt, whom 1 
knew, came and stayed with me as a paying guest. She was known 
in my house as Miss Mundy. I remember one day, 14th March, 
her saying something to me and my sending a telegram for her 
to her aunt. At three o'clock in the afternoon of the same day 
Mr. Williams called and was introduced to me by her as her 
husband. I recognise him as the prisoner. I asked him how it 
was he had left her eighteen months before at Weymouth. He 
replied that he had been looking for his wife for more than twelve 
months, and I said I did not understand how he had been looking 
for her when he knew her relatives and knew where they lived, and 
how was it he came to find her at my house, where she was staying 
with me. I understood him to say that he was told she was there 
by her brother or uncle. 

By Mr. Justice Scrutton — He had a slight moustache then. 

Examination continued — Miss Mundy said she wished to go 
back to her husband. She had forgiven the past. They had been 
to the solicitor at Weston-super-Mare, and she had promised to 
return to him. I told the prisoner it was my duty to wire to her 
aunt to come at once, as I did not wish to be mixed up with the 
husband and wife. He thought that was quite right, and so I 
wired to the aunt to come down — I said that Bessie's husband had 
turned up. She said, " I suppose I may go with my husband," 
and I said, " I cannot hold you back, you are thirty," and she 
left with him without taking away any of her belongings. She 
promised to come back that same night, but 1 never saw her a^rain. 
Exhibit 64 is a letter which I received from him — 

Weston-super-Mare, 15.3.12. Dear Madam — In consequence of the past 
and the heated argument which possibly would have occurred if my wife 
and self had to face you and your friends at Norwood House this evening, 
thus for the sake of peace we decided to stop away and remain together as 
man and wife should do in the apartments which I have chosen temporarily. 
Later on I will write a long letter to all Bessie's friends clearly purporting 
:A\ the circumstances of the whole affair, solely with the intention of placing 
all your minds at rest concerning our welfare. All I propose to state at 
present beside that which has already been stated by Bessie and myself 

92 



Evidence for Prosecution. 

Sarah Tuckett 

before the solicitors that it is useless as the law stands, and in view of all 
the circumstances, together with the affinity existing between my wife and 
self, for any person to try and part us, and dangerous to try and do us 
harm or to try and do us harm or endeavour to make our lives miserable. 
It appears that many people would rather stir up strife than try and make 
peace. As far as Bessie and I are concerned, the past is forgiven and for- 
gotten. Bessie has not only stated that on her oath to the solicitors ; but 
has also given it out to me in a letter written by herself to me, which I 
shall always prize. Thus my future object and delight will be to prove 
myself not only a true husband but a gentleman and finally make my peace 
step by step with all those who has been kind to Bessie. Then why in the 
name of heaven and Christianity do people so like to constantly interfere 
and stir up past troubles. It would be more christian like and honourable 
on their part to do their best to make peace. Life after all is not finished 
yet. There is time yet to make amends, and if people will only let us 
alone and with the help of the higher powers which has united us twice, 
Bessie shall soon have a settled, comfortable home and be happy with me. 
I trust there are many many years of happiness before us. I thank with 
all my heart all those who has been kind to my wife during my absence. 
Believe me Madam, Yours respectfully, H. Williams. 

After that I received a letter from Miss Mundy, in consequence 
of which I packed all her clothes and sent them to Woolwich — I 
do not remember the address. 

Wadsworth Burrow Lillington, examined by Mr. Bodkin — I 
am a partner in the firm of Baker & Co., Solicitors, Waterloo 
Street. Weston-super-Mare. I remember a man and woman coming 
to see me in my office on 14th March, 1912. I recognise the man 
as the prisoner. He began by infm-ming me that he had been 
for some time seeking his wife, and that he had that day casually 
met her in the street. He then explained to me the circumstances 
in which he alleged he had left his -wife at Weymouth. He said 
that he believed at the time, although it had subsequently proved 
to be incorrect, that he had contracted a contagious disease, that 
he feared to communicate it to his wife, and that therefore he 
thought it better that he should leave her. He then went on to 
say after his marriage he had borrowed from his wife the sum of 
£150, that he borrowed that money in order to repay some friends 
of his a loan which they had made to him some time before his 
marriage to enable him to go abroad. He alleged further that, in 
consequence of his having left his wife and of having borrowed her 
money, his relations — the relations between himself and Miss 
Mundy's uncle, Mr. Mundy. were strained, and it was for the 
purpose of establishing better relations between himself and Mr. 
Mundy that he sought my assistance. With regard to the £150, 
the prisoner stated that at the time his wife lent him that money 
she knew for what purpose he required the loan. I said to the 

93 



George Joseph Smith. 

Wadsworth B, Lillington 

prisoner, " Are you able to repay that money to your wife? " He 
said " No." I asked, " Can you repay any part of it? " He 
said " No." I said, " Are you willing to give to your wife some 
legal acknowledgment of your indebtedness to her," and I suggested 
to him that unless something of that kind were done he would 
be very unlikely to succeed in establishing any better relations with 
her trustee uncle. He said he was willing to give such security 
as he could. I asked him if he would give a promissory note to 
her for £150 bearing interest at 4 per cent, per annum. He said 
he would. He then requested me to write to Mr. H. Mundy, and 
to inform him of the circumstances, as told by the prisoner to me, 
in which he had left his wife at Weymouth, and of his readiness 
to give the proposed security to her. I dictated a form of pro- 
missory note to my shorthand clerk, who typed it, and it was 
signed on the following day in the presence of my partner. Mr. 
Ernest Baker. I wrote my letter to Mr. Mundy, and they were 
to call and see me again on the 16th, which they did. the two 
together. I read to them the press copy of the letter which I had 
written to Mr. Mundy. and they both expressed approval of the 
letter which I had so written. I then read to them the letter which 
1 had received that morning from Mr. Mundy in reply, and I said 
to the prisoner, " You signed that note, I understand, yesterday, 
in the presence of my partner. Mr. Baker." He said he did. and 
that Mr. Baker handed it to his, the prisoner's, wife. I asked her 
whether she had the note with her. She replied that she had not, 
that it was at her lodgings : and I then said to her, " I very strongly 
advise you, Mrs. Williams, to .send that note to your uncle. Mr. 
Mundy, for safe custodv : it is better that he should hold it than 
that you should." I wrote the letter (exhibit 61), in which there 
is the following paragraph : — 

The fact appears to me that Mr. Williams (though as turns out wrongly) 
was under the impression that he had contracted a contagious disease. In 
consequence he desired to be absent from his wife for a time and was naturally 
reluctant to tell her of his true reason for leaving. It is, however, only fair 
to him to state that he wrote a letter to Mrs. Williams at Weymouth inform- 
ing her of the circumstances, and of his intention to return so that he has 
since been assiduous in his efforts to find her in order to provide her with 
a home. 

Did he give you any particulars at all as to how he had been 
assiduous in his efforts ? — No, he said he had been searching for her. 

What was the demeanour of Mrs. Williams during the inter- 
view? — She was in an assenting demeanour; that is to say, that 
practically with regard to all the principal statements by the prisoner 
1 challenged Mrs. Williams as to their truth, and in every instance 
she confirmed the prisoner's statement. Further astoher demeanour, 
94 



Evidence for Prosecution. 

Wadsworth B. Lillington 

I should say that she had very little indeed to say, except that she 
did reply to any question I put to her. I think she volunteered the 
statement that she had forgiven the past. I do not remember 
anything else that she volunteered. Neither of them said why it was 
that the prisoner was anxious to get on better terms with Mr. 
Mundy. I have not seen either of those persons since that inter- 
view. They were absolute strangers to me when they came. 

Carrie Esther Rapley, examined by Mr. Bodkin — I live at 
Fairy Glen, Victoria Park, Heme Bay, and I act as clerk and 
secretary to Mr. Wilbee, who is the owner of house property at 
Heme Bay, including 80 High Street. In the May of 1912 that 
house was to let unfurnished. Mr. Wilbee attends to his own 
house letting. We give it to the local agents, and they bring any 
clients round for me to see in a little office, which I have in his 
house. On or about 20th May, a man giving the name Henry 
Williams came to me in regard to 80 High Street. I recognise him 
in the photo (exhibit 79). He was clean shaven. He asked what 
the rental was, and I told him £18 per annum on a yearly tenancy, 
but he said that would not suit him, as he got his money monthly. 
I said if it was only a question of the payments I had no doubt 
we could arrange it. I showed him our printed form of agreement, 
and he said he would like to take the house. I asked him how 
many people were to occupy the house, and he said, " Only my 
wife and I. We have been married two years — no family." I 
asked him what reference he could give me, and he said none. I 
then asked if he could not give me his previous landlord, and he said, 
" Never had one," that previous to his marriage he had been living 
abroad a good deal. I asked where he had been living for the two 
years he had been married, and he said, " We have been going 
about to different places and living in furnished rooms. I have 
just come from Ashley." I asked him for a solicitor's reference, 
but he could not give me one, and then I said, " Have you a 
banking account? " On that he put his hand in his coat pocket 
and pulled out a book. I looked at the cover and said, " Oh, that 
is a post office savings bank book. I do not mean that sort." I 
held out my hand to take it, but he put it back again as he said, 
" You need not be afraid. There is between £50 and £60 there." 
I said, " If you are going to furnish the house it won't leave much 
to live on," and he replied, " Oh, but my wife has a private 
income paid monthly. I have not got anything except that: I 
dabble in antiques." Speaking about his wife he said, " I might 
just as well tell you she is a notch above me. She is the daughter 
of a bank manager, and I met her in a boarding-house. Her 
friends did not at all approve of the marriage." Mr. Wilbee theD 
came in, I briefly explained the circumstances, and we finally settled 
that he must have the house on a yearly tenancy, but he could pay 

95 



George Joseph Smith. 

Carrie Esther Rapley 

the money monthly, the first month to be paid in advance, and the 
other months as they became due. The house was fit for giving 
possession at once. A few days later I went over the house with 
the prisoner to check the landlord's fixtures contained in the 
schedule, which is attached to exhibit 7, the agreement dated 20th 
May, between F. H. Wilbee and Henry Williams, of 4 King's Road, 
Heme Bay. Williams paid the first month's rent on 20th May, 
and I handed to him the key of the front door. There is no bath- 
room in this house, nor is there any water laid on upstairs. 
Williams came frequently to the office about little things connected 
with the house. Mrs. Williams only came to the office with him 
on two occasions. At other times he came alone. I remember 
seeing Mrs. Williams at the door of the house at one o'clock on 
0th July. It was the last time I ever saw her. I first heard of 
her death on 16th July. I had no knowledge of any inquest 
having been held on the 15th. On the morning of the 16th I was 
in my office at Mr. Wilbee's. The prisoner came in; he was 
extremely agitated. Immediately he got in he came up to my desk, 
which is rather a high one, bent down his head, and commenced 
to sob. I was very much surprised, and asked him what was the 
matter. He continued sobbing, and I then said, " Has anything 
happened? " He looked up and said, " Have you not heard? She 
is dead." I said, " Who is dead? " and he said. " My wife. She 
had a fit during the week. I went out. She went to have a bath, 
and she must have had another fit, for when I came back I found 
her dead in the bath." I was so shocked that I was quite unable 
to say anything. I simply stood there and looked at him. And 
then all at once he said, " Was it not a jolly good job I got her 
to make her will? " I still could not say anything; indeed, I was 
more shocked, and he appeared to be angry because I did not say 
something. Then he said, " Well, is it not the correct thing when 
people marry for the wife to make her will and leave everything 
to her husband, and her husband to make his will and leave 
everything to his wife? " I then said to him, " Did you make 
yours? " and he said, " Yes." I then looked at him very straight 
and said, " I thought you told me you had not got anything." He 
said, " Oh, well, I made my will all the same." He then told me 
there had been an inquest the previous day. I asked him, " Did 
you let her relatives know? " and he said, " Yes, 1 did, and the 
brutes sent a letter to the coroner, saying it was a very suspicious 
I have never seen any of them, and I never want to." He 
also said there was some fellow there who was making notes, and 
he supposed they had sent him. He went on to tell me that his 
wife's father had died raving mad. I said to him. " Where did 
you tell me her relatives lived? " and he replied, " I have never 
told you, but it is a long way off." He had never told me. That 

96 



Evidence for Prosecution. 

Carrie Esther Rapley 

is all I can remember taking place at that interview. He came 
again on 24th July, and said, " Well, Hogbens are clearing the 
furniture out to-day," and I said, " What about the rent? There 
is another month due to-day." He said, " Yes, I have come to pay 
you," which he did. He said I must try and let the house for him, 
but I told him I had no means of letting houses, and he had better 
see the local agents and try and get some of them to let it on his 
behalf. He said Dr. French had advised him to go away for a 
short change and get his nerves quieted down ; he was not going 
far; he thought he should not be gone long, and while he was gone, 
would I look him up a little place in the country with some land, 
as he should like to buy a place. I said, " About what figure? " 
and he said, " No more than £400." That was the last time I 
ever saw him. 

Cross-examined by Mr. Marshall Hall — I have been in Mr. 
Wilbee's service for 36| years. Mr. Wilbee has a number of houses, 
and I collect his rents and look after the repairs, but we do not 
let any property — that is done through the local agents. The first 
time I ever saw Mr. Williams was on 20th May, 1912, and the last 
time I saw him was on 24th July of the same year. The matter 
did not pass from my mind then. All the details of it were very 
much impressed upon me. 

As between 24th July, 1912, and the early part of this year, 
1915, did you talk it over with your friends at Heme Bay? No, 
I have not talked it over, but I thought quite a lot about it. 

There is a centre of gossip, is there not, in Heme Bay? — I 
know nothing about that. 

Have you any friends in Heme Bay? — I have not any of my 
own friends. Of course, living there all these years I know every 
one and every one knows me, but it does not follow they are friends. 
If I talked the matter over with any one it would be with Mr, 
Wilbee, and I think I am safe in saying that I never discussed it 
with him between July, 1912, and February, 1915. 

Therefore, may I take it you have not said a word about 
these occurrences which apparently impressed you so much for 
2| years? — Yes, I think so. 

I understand you said in evidence before the magistrate, " I 
had seen something about the case in the papers before I told the 
gentleman about it"? — Mr. Wilbee read the paragraph to me, 
and I said what a very similar case it was to the one that occurred 
at 80 High Street. Mr. Wilbee thought for a moment and then 
said, " Well, I do remember something happening there, but 1 
have not got a memory like you. Tell me." It was then that I 
proceeded to make the statement to him which I afterwards made 
to the police and at Bow Street. 

Do you really pledge your word that you remember the details 
h 97 



George Joseph Smith. 

Carrie Esther Rapley 

of the conversations you have sworn to without having them recalled 
to your mind in any way until you discussed the matter with 
Mr. Wilbee in the last week in January? — Absolutely. 

You have a wonderful memory? — I have. 

Did you read the account of the inquest at Heme Bay in the 
Heme Bay papers? — Yes. 

When you read it in the Heme Bay paper you had already 
heard from the prisoner on the Tuesday that there had been an 
inquest? — Yes. I am sorry I did not keep a copy of the paper. 

It is curious, is it not, that taking such an interest as you 
did in this matter you did not keep the newspaper reporting it? — 
I did not. I do not keep rubbish more than I can help. 

Did you notice in the report in the newspaper that the coroner 
had called attention to the fact that one of the relatives had written 
to say that they must be very careful in the investigation ? — I did 
see something like that. 

And that the coroner had said it was important to ascertain 
exactly how this woman had died? — Yes. I know Dr. French quite 
well. He is my own doctor. I saw that he gave evidence at the 
inquest. 

According to what you have told us to-day, you seem to have 
been a little suspicious of Mr. Williams when he came to see you 
after the death of his wife?— I think I was. 

I suppose, if I may judge of you by the short acquaintance 
I have of you, when once you form a suspicion it is not easily 
displaced, is it? — I do not know about that. 

When you make up your mind about a thing it takes more 
than one thing to displace that opinion? — Perhaps. 

Having formed a suspicion of Mr. Williams when you saw 
him on the Tuesday, did you not look with some care at the report 
of the inquest to see what had taken place at the inquest? — Yes, I 
think I read it very carefully. 

And did you find that your own doctor, Dr. French, had come 
to the conclusion that the death was accidental? — Quite so. 

And the verdict, I think, was " Death from misadventure 
owing to a fit "? — " Death from misadventure," I think it was. 

Did that allay your suspicion? — Not altogether. I thought 
it was a very suspicious case. 

If the inquest failed to allay your suspicion, may I take it that 
that suspicion has been continued on for 2£ years? — No. I think 
not. I have so many other things to think of, but I have thought 
of it from time to time. 

Without paying you any undue compliment, do you realise that 
a lady who, after 2\ years, can give detailed accounts, word for 
word, of conversations that took place 2£ years before, is possessed 
of a rather extraordinary memory? — Well", I have a very excellent 
memory. 
98 



Evidence for Prosecution. 

Carrie Esther Rapley 

You pledge yourself that every word that you have told us 
is exactly accurate with regard to what took place between you and 
the prisoner? — Absolutely true. I would almost go as far as to 
say word for word. Acting on behalf of my employer, my object 
was to see that I was letting the house to a responsible tenant, and 
1 was satisfied that the rent part of the arrangement would be 
carried out, otherwise I would not have allowed Williams to have 
possession of the house. 

Until Mr. Williams came to your place of business on 16th 
July, you had no suspicion of any kind against him? — No. 

He was a respectable and desirable tenant? — Yes, I thought so. 

Now, I understand on the morning of the 16th July, without 
any introduction of any sort or shape, Mr. Williams comes in and 
puts his head down on his arm on the upper part of your desk 
and sobs? — That was it. 

And you, naturally with a woman's instinct, said, " What is 
the matter, Mr. Williams"? He does not answer, and he is 
evidently very distressed? — Very. 

And then you asked him, " Has anything happened? " — Yes. 

And he said, " She is dead," and you said, " Dead who? " 

Did you not know who was dead? — I could not grasp what he meant. 

Who did you think was dead? — I could not imagine. Mrs. 
Williams had been in my presence so recently that I could not 
realise it. 

A good many things may happen in a fortnight? — Yes. 

Your attitude to him was not very friendly, was it? You 
3ay he looked at your face and was a bit surprised? — My attitude 
was not friendly or otherwise towards him. 

When he said that it was his wife who was dead, did you form 
any hostile opinion about him then? — No, not at that moment. 

Then you say he volunteered without any question on your 
part, " Is is not a jolly good job I got her to make her will "? — 
These were the exact words he used. 

And that you swear? — I swear absolutely. 

And then, apparently, he thought he had said too much, 
according to you? — Well, I should think he did. 

You told us he looked at your face and said, " Of course, is 
not it the correct thing? " — Yes. 

You then began, of course, to get a little inquisitive? — Yes, 
1 did. 

You even tried to catch him? — I thought I should like to 
know more about it. 

You asked him a question implying knowledge on your part 
which you did not possess? — That is so. 

A sort of criticism — " Let me see, where did you say your 
wife's relatives came from? " He never had told you? — No, he 
never had. 

99 



George Joseph Smith. 

Carrie Esther Rapley 

Did you suspect him then? — What of? 

Of having had something to do, which was not right, about 
his wife's death? — I thought it was very extraordinary. I thought 
it was a very curious thing to say that about the will. 

And because he said that about the will, according to you, you 
there and then formed this suspicion about this man's conduct? — 
Well, there was a suspicion in my mind. 

And then the matter passed out of your mind until March of 
this year, when you gave your account, I think, to a detective? — 
I cannot say it passed out of my mind, because I thought of it 
frequently, but I did not talk of it. 

Re-examined by Mr. Bodkin — You say you have been five and 
thirty years in Mr. Wilbee's service? — No, sir, I said thirty -six 
and a half years. 

During the thirty-six and a half years you have been in Mr. 
Wilbee's service, had anybody come and put his head down on his 
hands and wept in your office? — No. I am in a magistrate's office, 
and we have all sorts and conditions of people come, but they do 
not do that sort of thing. 

Frederick H. Wilbee, examined by Mr. Bodkin — I am a Justice 
of the Peace for Kent, and live at Grosvenor House, Heme Bay. 
I own a good many houses in Heme Bay, and among them 
80 High Street. I look after my houses myself. Miss Rapley has 
been in my service assisting me for a great number of years. I 
recollect somebody giving the name of Williams becoming the tenant 
of 80 High Street, on 20th May, 1912. Upstairs, on the first floor, 
there are three rooms, the back room being over the kitchen. There 
is no water laid on in the house, except on the ground floor. There 
is no cistern in the house at all, except the flush cistern, in the 
outside w.c. In the kitchen there is a copper holding about eight 
gallons built in in brick in the usual way, with a small fire under- 
neath. I am not quite sure if there was any boiler in the kitchen 
range ; if there was, it would be a very small one, which would 
not hold more than a gallon. There is no circulation of hot water. 
From the position of the kitchen, where water can be drawn from 
the main, I should say that the most convenient room upstairs to 
take water would be the one immediately over the kitchen because 
you have only to go up one flight of stairs to it. To the other two 
rooms you have to go up two flights. ("Witness was shown exhibits 
164. 156, and 165, beine respectively the lock of the front door, a 
rim lock, without a key, of the room where Miss Mundy met her 
death in the bath, and a rim latch with a square bolt, of the back 
room on the first floor, which would have been most convenient 
to take water to, but which was not used. The jury examined the 
exhibits.] 
100 



Evidence for Prosecution. 

Percy Ruffitt 

Percy Ruffitt, examined by Mr. Whiteley — I am police 
constable 254 of the R Division. I am accustomed to making 
plans. I produce exhibit 99, the elevation of the house at 80 High 
Street, Heme Bay; exhibit 100, the section of the house; and 101, 
the plans of the two floors. The house consists of the ground floor 
and first floor only — no cellars and no attics. There are three 
rooms on the ground floor, the one at the rear being the kitchen. 
There is an ordinary kitchen range in the kitchen, but no arrange- 
ment for heating water. In order to heat water it would have to 
be done either over the fire or over the gas stove that is there. I 
did not notice any copper. Upstairs there are three rooms. To 
get into the back room over the kitchen it is only necessary to go 
up one flight of stairs, and to get to the other two rooms it is 
necessary to go other four stairs. 

William John Masterson, examined by Mr. Bodkin — I am 
clerk to the Woolwich Equitable Building Society. That Society 
in 1909 was the owner of the house, 22 Glenmore Street, Southend, 
and there was somebody named Smith who was in negotiation for 
the purchase of the house through the Society. On referring to 
exhibit 111 I find it is from G. J. Smith, and it is dated 10th 
November, 1909. Exhibit 112 shows a deposit was enclosed by 
G. J. Smith of £20 in respect of that house. Exhibit 113 sets out 
the terms on which the purchase was to be — £270, cash on com- 
pletion, £240, and then instalments. It is signed " George Joseph 
Smith." Exhibit 114 is a letter dated 7th February, 1910, from 
G. J. Smith, c/o Taberner, 33 High Street, North East Ham, in 
which he asks for an advance on his house, 22 Glenmore Street, 
Southend. As £240 had been paid in cash, there was a considerable 
margin of value to the Society to lend on. £25 was lent. Exhibit 
115 consists of four letters, headed 401 Barking Road, Plaistow, 
and signed " G. J. Smith " in the same writing. Exhibit 116 is 
a letter in the same handwriting, dated 3rd July, 1910, and from 
66 Boundary Road, Walthamstow. Exhibit 117 is a letter in the 
same handwriting, dated 1st August, 1910, from 91 Ashley Down 
Road, Bristol. Exhibit 118 is a letter in the same handwriting from 
91 Ashley Down Road, Bristol, and is as follows : — 

Dear Sir — I wish to settle up my account with the Woolwich Equitable 
Society absolutely next Wednesday, 21st inst. Please write letting me 
know exactly the amount to be paid, also please state at the same time how 
you make the amount. It would be convenient for me to come at the 
above date, as it is my early closing day, also the day for cheap train. It 
is a long way round from Bristol to Woolwich. Perhaps you will be kind 
enough to point out my best way to Woolwich from Paddington Station. 
Yours faithfully, George Joseph Smith. 

101 



George Joseph Smith. 

William J. Masterson 

Exhibit 119 is another letter from the same address, dated 
17th September, 1910, and is as follows: — 

Dear Sir — In answer to yours of the 16th instant, I think it only right 
for me to call at your office personally in order to financially settle up my 
account with the Society. Ref. to 22 Glenmore Street, Southend-on-Sea, I 
do not care to settle so important a matter simply by postal correspondence, 
&c, you gave in your letter some possibility of the deeds, &c, not being 
handed over to me at the office on the day I called. I do not quite under- 
stand those rules. Surely, if I come and pay the annual amount required 
for absolute settlement, I can bring the deeds away with me at the same 
time. My train arrives at Paddington 1.20 p.m., Wednesday, 21st inst. 
Please let me know the latest time on that day I can see you for settlement. 
Yours faithfully, G. J. Smith. 

Exhibit 120 is another letter in the same handwriting from 
the same address, and dated 20th September, 1910. I was in the 
office on 21st September, and I recognise the prisoner as the person 
who came to the office that day. There was then due to the Society 
£93 7s. lid. in respect of advances on that house, and that sum 
was paid that day by Smith, all in gold. 

Mr. Justice Scrutton — You will remember, gentlemen, the 
£135 cheque, according to the evidence, if you accept it, had been 
cashed. 

Examination continued — The deeds were handed to Mr. Smith. 
Exhibit 121 is the receipt, dated 24th September, 1910, from 
Southend-on-Sea. On 12th November, 1910, I received the post- 
card (exhibit 122) — 

19a Leigh Road, East Southend-on-Sea. Dear Sir — I shall call at your 
office Monday the 14th instant to fill up form to borrow £50 on deeds. Ref. 
to 22 Glenmore Street, Southend, and which I got from you last Monday, 
but must first seek your advice how to move in the matter, as I have the 
deeds deposited in another direction for security at present. Shall be glad 
if you will instruct your clerk to explain the matter to me when I call if 
unable to see you personally. Yours faithfully, G. J. Smith. 

That is in the same handwriting as the other letters, as is 
also exhibit 123, referring to the borrowing of £50. Exhibit 125 
is the application form for the advance of £50, dated 17th 
November, by " George Joseph Smith, of 19a Leigh Road, East 
Southend-on-Sea. Occupation, antique and general dealer." 
That advance of £50 was made. Exhibit 126 is a postcard dated 
13th July, 1911, from 69a Sheen Lane, East Sheen, Surrey— 

Ref. 22 Glenmore Street. Dear Sir — Unless your Society is able to 
advance the sum asked for, please cancel my application for same. Yours 
truly, G. J. Smith. 

That is followed by a letter in the same exhibit, dated July, 
102 



Evidence for Prosecution. 

William J. Masterson 

1911. The amount mentioned is £225, a further sum required to 
be borrowed. Exhibit 127 is a letter in the same handwriting, 
dated 17th September, 1911, asking for a further loan on the same 
house. Exhibit 129 is a letter in the same handwriting, from 
157 Leigh Road, West Southend-on-Sea, dated 2nd April, 1912, 
intimating to us that Mr. Francis has agreed to buy the house from 
G. J. Smith, and to pay a deposit on it, and requesting Mr. 
Thomas, the Society's solicitor, to see the matter through. Exhibit 
130 is a letter dated 18th March, asking for a further advance of 
£100 on the game house, the name of the applicant being George 
Joseph Smith, of 21 Anglesea Road, Woolwich. 

Albert Frederick Hudgell, examined by Mr. Bodkin — I am 
managing clerk to Mr. H. E. Thomas, solicitor, of 111 Powis 
Street, Woolwich, who acts for the Woolwich Equitable Building 
Society. In the spring of 1912 I had the conduct of the matter 
of the sale of 22 Glenmore Street, Southend, from George Joseph 
Smith to Frederick William Francis. Exhibit 131 consists of four 
letters, signed G. J. Smith. These are letters from the vendor of 
the house for whom we were acting. They are all headed from 
157 Leigh Road, West Southend-on-Sea, and the dates range from 
the 6th to the 19th of April, 1912. Exhibit 132 consists of a 
bundle of eleven letters. These are all signed by and are in the 
handwriting of our client, G. J. Smith. They are all headed 
17 Bellevue Road, Ramsgate, and they range in date from 23rd 
April to 11th May. In his letter there are the words, " Please 
register all letters to me and oblige." Another letter says, " When 
you send cheques please write the words, ' please pay bearer cash.' 
As you know I never keep a banking account, so I do not want any 
difficulty in changing the cheque, and oblige." The next letter, 
dated 20th April, says — 

Dear Sir — Ref. to your letter this morning. It is all right. I am now 
communicating with my sister, so you need not trouble further. Yours truly, 
G. J. Smith. 

I cannot explain that, unless he is referring to his wife as his 
sister. The last letter, dated 8th May, says — 

I thank you for your letter this morning. Shall be glad if you will 
kindly let me know by return of post the earliest possible day when you will 
send me the money due, as it is very urgently required, and oblige, Yours 
truly, G. J. Smith. 

The letter of 11th May is the same — 

The money is very urgently required in cheque or money order. The 
latter would be more easy for me to change, having no banking account. 

103 



George Joseph Smith. 

Albert F. Hudgell 

The transaction was completed, and the sale effected, on 13th 
May. After deducting the advances by the Society, there was a 
balance of, I think, about £14, which was paid. Exhibit 133, 
dated Hth May, and posted from Ramsgate is the receipt — 

Received balance of sale, with thanks, referring to 22 Glenmore Street, 
Southend. Please return all letters which come to the Society for me to 
Mre. Smith, 102 Ashley Down Road, Bristol. 

1 recognise the prisoner as my client. 

The Court adjourned. 



KM 



Evidence for Prosecution. 



Third Day— Wednesday, 24th June, 1915. 

Phiup de Vere Annesley, examined by Mr. Bodkin — I am a 
solicitor practising in Heme Bay. I recognise the prisoner. I 
eaw him in the summer time of 1912 in my office at Heme Bay. 
I knew him by the name Henry Williams. He came to me along 
with Mrs. Williams on 18th June. I had not seen either of them 
before to my knowledge. I know the house 80 High Street. I had 
noticed a brass plate on the door of the house before this visit. 
The brass plate which is now shown me is the one — " H. Williams, 
Art Dealer, Pictures, China, Curios and Antique Furniture, &c, 
bought." Mr. and Mrs. Williams came to see me about their 
wills. Mr. Williams brought in two wills which he had roughly 
drawn up and I informed him that they were out of order. I 
cannot recollect in whose handwriting these documents were. The 
chief thing I recollect about the document or documents is that 
they were not witnessed; I did not take very much notice of them. 
Mr. Williams produced a copy of a voluntary settlement which he 
had received from Messrs. Pontings — their name was on the copy — 
and Mrs. Williams said she was desirous of revoking this voluntary 
settlement as she was desirous of purchasing a house for Mr. 
Williams. I examined the settlement, and I informed her that I 
did not think she would be able to do so without the consent of 
the trustees. 

Did she say anything about the circumstances under which it 
was made? — Yes, she said she had been worried either by the 
trustees or their solicitor to settle it on her brothers in this way. 
She said she was very young at the time, and that she now regretted 
it as she wanted to use the bulk of the property, to the best of 
my recollection. Mr. Williams also made remarks about it. that 
they wanted to use the bulk of the property for buying a house, 
and for setting him up in business, but I cannot remember his 
exact words. (Shown the settlement, exhibit 57.) It was a copy 
similar to that. Exhibit 56, which is a list of investments, was 
handed to me, I believe, by Mr. Williams. I said I should like 
to consider the whole question of whether the trust could be revoked, 
and I asked them to call the next day, and also the question of 
making the wills in favour of one another. Mr. Williams said 
to me he was afraid of the interference of the wife's relations, and 
I suggested that mutual wills could be made in favour of one 
another, and Mrs. Williams had power, of course, under the settle- 
ment, to appoint all her property. I 6aid I knew it was perfectly 

105 



George Joseph Smith. 

Philip de Vere Annesley 

legal to make mutual vills, and also to enter into a deed of covenant 
not to revoke them, but I said I did not know whether it would be 
effectual, and I should advise counsel's opinion being taken on the 
subject. That was, I think, probably on the next day, the 19th, 
when they called. I accordingly drafted out a case for counsel, 
and on 25th June I saw Williams with it. Mrs. Williams was with 
him on that day. I find from my notes that he called alone on the 
22nd as well, and that I read to him the proposed draft for counsel, 
the two mutual wills, and the deed of covenant not to revoke 
each other's will. There was a subsequent interview on the same 
day when I saw both Mr. and Mrs. Williams, and they executed 
the draft wills. Mr. Williams, I think, was under the impression 
at the time that they were the wills, so I said to him, " Well, you 
can execute them if you like." After I had gone through the draft 
case for counsel, Mr. Williams suggested a sixth question, which I 
took down in pencil at the time — " Does Mrs. Williams' marriage, 
being made subsequent to the voluntary deed of settlement, enable 
her bv any way to put an end to such settlement, she having been 
informed by her aunt that this was the case? " That question was 
added to the ones I had drafted on which counsel's opinion was to 
be given, with the exception of the end of the sentence, about the 
aunt. The case for counsel, and the documents specified in it, were 
sent to counsel in London. I got back the opinion of counsel on 
2nd July, and a copy was sent to the prisoner. He brought it to 
me at my private house in the evening, and seemed displeased with 
It. I said to him I should like to see Mrs. Williams by herself 
upon it. having regard to the opinion of counsel, and he said 
he would get her to call. Exhibit 200 is the opinion of counsel. 
In the first question he was asked whether the course suggested 
would carry out the wishes of Mr. and Mrs. Williams, and, if so, 
settle the draft wills and covenants. This is the answer — 

The donee of a general power of appointment exerciseable by Will can 
covenant not to revoke a Will exercising the power ; there is therefore nothing 
illegal in Mrs. Williams taking the suggested course, but whether it would 
be effective is another matter. I deal fully with this point later on. 

2. (Q.) If counsel is of opinion that another course is desirable, he is 
requested to prepare the necessary documents. 

(A.) I do not think Mrs. Williams can take any other course as long 
as the Settlement stands. 

3. (Q.) Whether the Trustees under the Voluntary Settlement have power 
to dispose of the corpus of the property by purchasing an annuity in favour 
of Mrs. Williams, or by any other means with or without the consent of 
Mrs. Williams subsequent to the signing of the suggested documents. The 
answer is — The Trustees have power at any time to use the corpus of the 
fund in the purchase of an annuity for Mrs. Williams. This can be done 
with or without the consent of Mrs. Williams, and whether the suggested 

106 



Evidence for Prosecution. 

Philip de Vere Annesley 
documents are executed or not. If they were to use the corpus in this way, 
it would, of course, render the power of appointment absolutely worthless. 

4. (Q.) Would clause 13— that is the Settlement— affect the making of 
the Deed of Covenants? 

(A.) Clause 13 would not affect the Deed of Covenants. 

5. (Q-) What remedies would be available should either party break the 
Deed of Covenants? 

(A.) The Court will not order specific performance of a covenant not to 
revoke a Will {In re Parkin, 1892, 3 Chancery, 510). The only remedy a 
covenantee would have if the covenant were broken would be an action for 
damages against the executors of the covenantor. For example, if Mrs. 
Williams, in breach of her covenant, revoked her will and appointed the pro- 
perty to some one else, the remedy of Mr. Williams would be an action for 
damages against Mrs. Williams' executors. The question would then arise 
whether the property so appointed would be liable to satisfy any judgment 
he might obtain. The cases of (So-and-so) would seem to answer this ques- 
tion in the negative, but both these cases dealt with the state of affairs 
previous to the Married Women's Property Act, 1893. I think that since 
this latter Act the question would be answered in the affirmative. There 
is, however, a further point to be considered. Mrs. Williams might break 
the covenant by revoking her Will and not making any appointment, thereby 
allowing the property to lapse as provided by clause 6 of the Settlement. In 
this case even if Mr. Williams were to obtain a judgment against Mrs. 
Williams' executors, he could not satisfy it out of the property in question, 
as a general power by Will not executed by a married woman is not property 
liable for her debts. Unless therefore Mrs. Williams had other property 
of her own, Mr. Williams would in such a case have no remedy for any 
breach of covenant by Mrs. Williams. 

6. (Q.) Does Mrs. Williams' marriage being made subsequent to the 
voluntary deed of settlement enable her by any way to put an end to such 
settlement, she having been informed by her aunt that this was the case? 

(A.) Mrs. Williams' marriage since the Settlement does not enable her 
to set aside the settlement. I think probably that at any time before her 
marriage she might have insisted upon the trustees transferring the corpus 
to her on the ground that she was the sole cestui que trust. But however 
that may have been, the effect of her marriage has been to bring clause 5 
(the restraint upon anticipation) into operation, and she cannot now demand 
the handing over of the fund. 

Generally I am bound to add that I do not consider the proposed arrange- 
ment very satisfactory. The Courts regard married women jealously, and 
discourage dealings with their property in favour of husbands. I think 
comparatively slight evidence of pressure on the part of the husband might 
induce the Court to set aside a covenant of this nature tying up a woman's 
power of disposition. I do not see how it can possibly be for her benefit 
to make such a covenant, and I think it is the duty of her advisers to point 
this out. The case of Powell v. Powell, 1900, I. Chancery, 243, was a 
different one in many respects to this, but I think the observations of Mr. 
Justice Farwell are well worth considering. I understand Mrs. Williams 
does not desire to have the original settlement set aside, but in any case I 
could not express any opinion on that point without much more information 

107 



George Joseph Smith. 

Philip de Vere Annesley 
as to the circumstances under which it was entered into. Any proceedings 
to set aside would, however, be hopeless, until Mrs. Williams h^d applied 
to the trustees under clause 13. G. F. Spear, 2 Paper Buildings, Temple. 
July 1st, 1912. 

On the next day, 3rd July, I saw Mrs. Williams at my office, 
and had a conversation with her. By the 8th July the two draft 
wills had been engrossed and were executed by both Mr. and Mrs. 
Williams in the presence of myself and my clerk, Mr. Barwood. 
The two documents were put in envelopes with the name of the 
testator and testatrix respectively on the outside, and the executor 
and the executrix and handed to Mr. Williams, and he stated he 
would put them in the bank for safe custody. That day, 8th July, 
was the last occasion on which I saw Mrs. Williams. The next time 
I saw Mr. Williams was on 17th July, when he came to my office 
and reported to me what had occurred in the meanwhile. He said 
that he had found his wife dead in a bath, and that Dr. French 
had spent some half hour in trying to restore her to life again, and 
he said the inquest had been held, which surprised me, as I had 
no knowledge of it, and a verdict had been arrived at by the jury 
of drowning by misadventure. He said a brother of the deceased 
had written a letter to the coroner. He did not tell me the contents 
of the letter, but he was very much upset at the fact, I know. He 
said some one had been there to represent the relations, and I think 
I asked him whether they addressed the coroner, or anything, and 
he said, " No." He said he had written or sent a telegram to the 
relatives as to the funeral, and that they did not come. 

In what condition was he in his manner? — He was very agitated 
indeed. In fact I have never seen any one in the same condition 
of agitation. I said to him, " Pull yourself together, man." He 
asked me about a letter he wrote to, I think it was, the uncle of 
Miss Mundy, and he showed me this letter. I could not say from 
memory what was in the letter, but it was a letter explaining the 
circumstances to Mr. Mundy, and it seemed a very proper sort of 
letter to me at the time. I find from my diary that it was on 
the 18th that he showed me the letter. On the 17th he asked me 
what would be the cost of proving the will, and I said it was really 
impossible to say, but I thought it would be about £30. He seemed 
to think that rather a lot, and went away. He called the next day 
and gave me definite instructions to prove the will. I got the will 
eventually from the bank. On that 18th he asked me to write a 
letter to one of the trustees for the list of securities. 

In the course of proving the will and realising the estate I got 
into touch with Messrs. Ponting, of Warminster. The executors' 
affidavit was prepared in my office. He is described as " Henry 
Williams, late of No. 80 High Street, now of 25 Grovefield Road, 
Tunbridge Wells, Dealer in Antiques," and the net value of the 

108 



Evidence for Prosecution. 

Philip de Vere Annesley 

estate was £2571 13s. 6d. At first a caveat was entered, but it 
was withdrawn, and the will was proved, I think, on 6th September, 
1912, and probate was taken out on 6th September. The property 
was all in investments, and in regard to this there was considerable 
correspondence between me and Messrs. Ponting. Eventually the 
securities were realised through the London City and Midland Bank, 
both at Tunbridge Wells and at Bath. The money for paying the 
funeral and other expenses was lent by Parr's Bank, Heme Bay, 
on my guarantee. 

I never saw Williams after the 18th July until this year. 
Instructions or communications to me from time to time after that 
date were by letter, mostly by registered letter. I received the letter 
(exhibit 150) dated 29th July, and headed " 146 High Street, 
Margate " — 

Dear Sir — I thank you for your letter. I was born either at Brixton 
S.W. or Kensington S.W. But I never did know correctly. I have no 
parents living. My father was a commercial traveller who died about 25 
years ago. My mother died soon after. My father, Henry John Williams ; 
mother, Jane Williams. I met my wife B. C. A. Williams at Bristol before 
marriage. We went from there to 14 Rodwell Avenue, Weymouth, and 
married from that address, witnessed by the landlord and his wife of same 
address. I went to London and elsewhere after the marriage. My wife and 
I lived at 6 Wallicote Grove, Weston-super-Mare ; from there to 35 Wil- 
mount Street, Woolwich, Kent ; from there to 50 Flora Road, Ramsgate ; 
from there to 95 Beaver Road, Ashford, Kent ; from there to 80 High Street, 
Heme Bay. When I met my wife I had no settled address ; I was travel- 
ling collecting antiques, &c. I had not long returned from Canada. I had 
been to Canada twice before. The only person my wife introduced me to 
who knew her aunt was a lady at Norwood House, Weston-super-Mare, last 
March. All that I know is that I am B. C. A. Williams' lawful husband. 
Believe me, Yours faithfully, H. Williams. 

I received exhibit 151, which is a letter from Henry Williams, 
c/o Mr. S. Taylor, 140 High Street, Margate, dated 31st July — 

Shall leave Margate, 1st August, to go further in mid-Kent buying 
antiques. I hope you are making good progress towards the business you 
have in hand on my behalf. 

I also received exhibit 152, dated 12th August, 1912, and 
headed " Henry Williams, c/o H. B. Lord, 25 Grove Hill Road, 
Tunbridge Wells, Kent "— 

Dear Sir — Please note new address. I shall be here for two or three 
weeks at least. I shall be ready at any time you want me, but let me know 
beforehand, if possible a day before. 

Exhibit 153 is from the same address, and is dated 20th 

August — 

109 



George Joseph Smith. 

Philip de Vere Annesley 
I return herewith Will, Affidavit and Oath duly sworn. Will you 
kindly pay the duty for me and deduct same out of the estate. Please 
acknowledge receipt of the papers. 

I received exhibit 154 — 

25 Grove Hill Road, 27th August, 1912. When the time arrives for me 
to receive the proceeds of the estate I desire you to send that money to my 
credit at the London City & Midland Bank, Limited, Bath, and to close my 
account at Parr's Bank, Heme Bay, for which I shall have no further use. 

I also received exhibit 155, which is dated 26th September, 
1912, but it does not have any address on it — 

Dear Sir — I thank you for your letter of to-day's inst. I must say 
Pontings are taking up an extraordinary amount of time in doing their 
part of the business. I am leaving Tunbridge Wells to-day, therefore please 
do not write me again until I have forwarded you my new address. 

I received exhibit 156, which is headed " Mr. Henry Williams, 
c/o Mrs. Blatchley, 8 Lower Wells Road, Bath, 30th September, 
1912," with a note in the corner, " Kindly register all my letters " — 

Dear Sir — I am making an application for a further loan of £100, viz., 
London City & Midland Bank, Limited. Therefore I trust that directly you 
hear from them in reference to my application for this loan you will kindly 
do your best in furnishing the information they require, and that no delay 
will be made. When I get the £100 I do not think it will be necessary 
for me to obtain a further loan. 

Then exhibit 157, dated 3rd December, from 8 Lower Wells 
Road, Bath — 

Dear Sir — It is very strange that you do not demand on principal to 
Ponting & Co. that they should without further delay settle the business 
with Mr. F. Mundy. You must know that I have to pay interest for the 
loan, and it is quite time saying the least that the Wilts and Dorset matters 
were settled, and also the £43 odd now on deposit, something will have to 
be done shortly. I trust you will take the right course and come to busi- 
ness. Yours, &c, H. Williams. P.S. — You enclosed me some time ago a 
letter ; I trust you will not forward any more and tell any one else who 
inquires after my address that you have no instructions whatever to disclose 
my address or business affairs. My business with you is absolutely confi- 
dential. 

Exhibit 158, dated 6th December, from 8 Lower Wells Road, 
Bath- 
Dear Sir, — I have your letter. I have also instructed the manager of 
the bank, Tunbridge Wells, what to do. When I receive the money 
from the London City & Midland 3ank, Tunbridge Wells, Ref. to the Wilts 
110 



Evidence for Prosecution. 

Philip de Vere Annesley 

& Dorset Bank Stock, I will then pay Ponting his account. You do not 
mention anything in either of your previous letters in regard to all the 
interest and dividends which has been going on since July last. I trust 
now that you will do your best to hurry matters up. Please inform me the 
necessary information regarding the Cape of Good Hope and the remain- 
ing stocks and shares at your earliest. Yours truly, H. Williams. P.S. — 
I have now a letter sent to my address here, and it causing friction. The 
only persons who know my address belonging to Heme Bay is yourself and 
clerk, I could swear to that ; now how could this particular person write me 
without you or your clerk giving my address. 

Exhibit 159 is headed " C/o London City & Midland Bank, 
Ltd., Bath, 9th January, 1913 "— 

Dear Sir — Any information in reference to the remaining business div. &c, 
please address me as the above. All future letters. I have not got the div. 
from the Rays or any of the others. Yours faithfully, H. Williams. P.S. — 
Should any one from Heme Bay, &c, inquire of my address, kindly tell 
them you have no instructions to disclose my business. 

At the end of that month of January I ceased to have any 
communications from him or to act for him. By that time all 
the estate had been realised, except one stock, which, I think. 
Mr. Ponting dealt with. 

Cross-examined by Mr. Marshall Hall — To deal with the 
last point first, the letter which has been read, in which the 
prisoner complains that his address has been given to some people 
— did you know that somebody had written to him and asked him 
for a loan of £1000? — No, I did not know. I saw Mr. Williams 
on about eight occasions. I am not interested in antiques. I have 
a French clock in my office regarding which Mr. Williams said, 
" That's a nice French clock you have there." I did not contradict 
him, because I did not know whether it was or was not. He never 
came to see me on the question of antiques. On his first visit to me 
he brought what purported to be two wills written on one rough 
document. I saw Mrs. Williams' handwriting when she executed 
her will. 

Did you notice the peculiar similarity between his writing 
and her writing? — No, I cannot say that I did. 

Look at the wills for a moment and look at the two signatures. 
There is an extraordinary resemblance, is there not? — They are 
rather alike, but I had never noticed it before. 

What I am trying to found on that is this, that it would be 
very difficult to say whether a document from your recollection 
was in the handwriting of Mr. and Mrs. Williams? — That may be. 

Mrs. Williams took part in the conversation, and you are 
quite clear, are you not, that it was Mrs. Williams who told you 
she was very young when the settlement was executed, and she 

111 



George Joseph Smith. 

Philip de Vere Annesley 

wanted to deal with it now? — She said she was very young at the 
time, because I asked her. 

Did you say this before the magistrate — " Mrs. Williams in- 
formed me that she had been induced by her brothers, who 
afterwards became the trustees of her settlement, to make a settle- 
ment of certain trust property which she had inherited from her 
father, Mr. George Bailey Mundy "1 — Yes, that was her statement. 

" She stated that she was quite young at the time when she 
made this settlement, and that she was desirous of revoking this 
settlement because she wanted to assist her husband in his business 
and to buy a house "? — Yes, she did say that. The negotiations 
and the business that I had to transact in connection with the 
realisation of the property went on from July, 1912, to January, 
1913. 

Re-examined by Mr. Bodkin — Regarding what has been read 
to you from your depositions — did the lady make the statement 
which you repeat here right off like that? — No, she did not say 
that word for word. That was the purport of her answers to my 
questions, to the best of my recollection, three years ago. 

Frederick Henry Barwood, examined by Mr. Travers 
Humphreys — I am clerk to Mr. Annesley, the last witness. I 
remember in June, 1912, a Mr. and Mrs. Williams being clients 
of Mr. Annesley. I recognise the prisoner as Mr. Williams. I 
recollect the preparation of a case for counsel, and the opinion 
coming back from counsel. On the morning that it came, Mr. 
Williams called at the office, and I had a conversation with him. 
I told him that the opinion had been received, but that I did not 
have it with me at that time. Mr. Williams said he would come 
later. I made a copy of the opinion and took it in an envelope 
addressed to Mrs. Williams at 80 High Street. Mr. Williams asked 
me what it was, and I told him. I said that it was not favourable 
to the wishes expressed by himself and Mrs. Williams. I do not 
think he said anything, but that he would call the next morning 
and see Mr. Annesley. 

Cross-examined by Mr. Marshall Hall — Did you write to the 
prisoner yourself on a private matter? — No. 

Were you about to purchase a house at that time? — No. 

Did you in fact purchase a house at that time? — No. 

Did you send him a photograph of the house, or did any one 
else do so in your name? — No. 

Did you never send him a photograph of the house and ask 
for a loan of £1000 to purchase it? — No, never. There is nobody 
else of my name in Heme Bay. 

Adolphus Michael Hill, examined by Mr. Whiteley — I am an 
ironmonger carrying on business at 46 William Street, Heme Bay. 
112 



Evidence for Prosecution. 

Adolphus M. Hill 

I recognise the prisoner. I first saw him some time in May, 1912. 
In July of that year I had a second-hand bath for sale, which the 
prisoner saw standing in my shop. He asked me the price and I 
said it was £2. His wife came in a day or two afterwards and 
offered 37s. 6d., which I accepted. The bath was delivered about 
9th July. The bath was a five-foot bath with a plug at the bottom. 
A few days after 13th July I saw the prisoner again in my shop. 
He asked me if I would take the bath back again. I do not think 
he gave any particular reason for asking me to take it back, 
except that he was leaving the neighbourhood. The bath had not 
been paid for, and I took it back. There was never anything paid 
for the bath. 

At this stage a bath was brought into the Court, which 
the witness identified as the bath in question. 

Cross-examined by Mr. Marshall Hall — It was the lady who 
did the cheapening? She got the half-crown off? — Yes. 

Alfred Apps Hogbin, examined by Mr. Bodkin — I deal in 
furniture, and I am also an undertaker at Victoria House, Heme 
Bay. I recognise the prisoner. I sold furniture to him in the 
end of May and beginning of June, 1912, amounting in all to 
£20 17s. 6d. The furniture was sent to 80 High Street. I re- 
collect the prisoner coming to my place on Saturday, 13th July, 
of that year, and asking me to go round with him to take measure- 
ments and arrange about his wife's funeral. He said she had 
died in a bath, and supposed that I had already heard about it. 
I went round to his house, and in the middle room upstairs I found 
a woman's body lying on the floor. 

Was there anything else in that room? — A bath. 

Anything else? — Nothing that I remember. There was no 
covering on the floor — just the boards. 

Was she lying there on the boards? — Yes. I measured the 
body; it was 15 inches across the shoulders and 5 feet 11 inches in 
length. I supplied a coffin according to those measurements. 

Did the prisoner say anything about the funeral, as to what 
kind of funeral it was to be? — It was to be moderately carried out 
at an expense of seven guineas. 

And a grave? — He did not purchase a grave, but there was 
nothing unusual about that. I conducted the funeral on Tuesday, 
16th July, at the cemetery at 2.30. 

Can you tell me when it was arranged that the funeral should 
be on the Tuesday? — It could not have been on the Saturday, 
because there was an inquest to be held, which was held on Monday, 
and they could not decide about the funeral until the inquest had 
been settled. 

1 113 



George Joseph Smith. 

Alfred A. Hogbin 

But will you tell me on what day it was that the funeral was 
arranged for the Tuesday? — It must have been on the Monday 
morning that it was provisionally arranged, provided the inquest 
went favourably. If there had been any post-mortem the funeral 
could not have been on the Tuesday. There was nothing with 
regard to the inquest which disturbed the arrangement, and so the 
funeral took place at the time it was provisionally arranged for. 
After the funeral I was paid the sum of seven guineas, which 
included everything. Two days later I saw the prisoner again. 
He asked us to buy back the furniture, and I said that we should 
be pleased to do so. He said that he supposed he would have to 
suffer a loss in selling it back to us. I paid him £20 4s. for the 
furniture, and also for a piano which we had not sold to him. 
My cheque (exhibit 256) is dated 24th July. The prisoner said 
that he would probably be moving about the county, or something 
of that, and he was going to Ashford. He said he wanted to come 
back and he wanted to treat for some small property, if we had 
any available, as he had benefited by his wife's death. 

By Mr. Justice Scrutton — There was no headstone put on 
the grave; there was nothing in the cemetery to show where the 
woman was lying. 

Examination continued — On 18th February of this year I took 
part in the disinterment of a body in Heme Bay Cemetery. I 
saw a coffin taken out of a grave. It was the coffin which had been 
supplied by me ; there was no question about that. On the coffin 
there was a plate with the name " Bessie Annie Constance 
Williams." I saw the body in the coffin, but I was not able to 
recognise it. 

Are you able to say to the jury that that coffin and plate were 
supplied by you for the particular interment on 16th July, 1912? 
—Yes. 

Cross-examined by Mr. Shearman — You told us he wanted the 
funeral moderately carried out? — Yes. 

Did he also say he wanted it decently carried out? — I am quite 
sure that he did not say that. 

Did you say at the Police Court that the prisoner said. " So 
long as the funeral was carried out decently "? — That was at 
another time. He said, " After one was dead it did not matter 
bo long as it was carried out decently." I measured the body 
carefully, and I found that the length was 5 feet 11 inches. When 
I said at the Police Court that the length was 5 feet 10. I was 
speaking from memory and had not my note with me. 

I put it to you the length of the body was 5 feet 7A? — Certainly 

not. In the ordinary way she would be a woman who stood 5 feet 9. 

I took the extreme length from the tip of the toes to the head. The 

furniture which the prisoner bought for £20 17s. 6d. was sufficient 

114 



Evidence for Prosecution. 

Percy Miilgate 

for one bedroom and one sitting room well furnished, and some 
kitchen things. 

Re-examined by Mr. Bodkin — The coffin was made specially 
from the measurements which I had taken. 

Percy Millgatb, examined by Mr. Travers Humphreys — I 
live at 157 High Street, Heme Bay. The street has been re- 
numbered, and my house was formerly No. 79, being next door 
to No. 80. I knew in July, 1912, a Mr. and Mrs. Williams who 
lived at No. 80. I recognise the prisoner as Mr. Williams, and 
I also recognise Mrs. Williams in the photograph (exhibit 79). I 
used to call at their house every day with bread and flour. I called 
there on Saturday, 13th July, between ten and half-past ten. Mr. 
Williams asked me if I had heard the news, and I said, " What 
news." He said his wife had been found drowned in the bath 
that morning. He did not tell me who had found her. He asked 
me if I would take a telegram down to her brother, which I did. 
I went back to the house between 4 and 4.30 that same 
afternoon to ask Mr. Williams if there was anything I could do 
for him. He came to the door and called me in, and asked me 
if I would go and ask Mrs. Miilgate for a few pieces of rag for 
the woman to wipe up some blood. I asked for them and I got 
them. I went and asked my wife for them, and I took them back 
to Mr. Williams. He took me upstairs to the middle bedroom. 

Did you see the body of his wife there in that room? — The 
body, yes. 

Was there a woman there at that time? — Yes. 

Did you do anything else that day, or see any more of him 
that day? — No, except that he came to our house at night time to 
ask Mrs. Miilgate for a bedroom. He did not sleep in my house 
that night, but he slept in it at the end of the week when our 
bedroom became vacant. He slept a week with us and boarded 
with us for a fortnight, sleeping at another house the first week. I 
attended the funeral with Mr. Williams. I asked him if any of 
his friends were coming, and he said he did not expect they would. 
I used to see Mrs. Williams when I delivered bread to the house. 
She came to the door nearly every day. She always seemed to be 
in good health when I saw her. 

What sort of looking woman was she? — Oh, very nice — a dark- 
looking woman. She was a tall, medium-sized lady. The last time 
I saw her alive was on Friday morning, the 12th, when I was 
delivering bread. She was in perfectly good health that morning. 
On 15th February of this year I was' asked at Bow Street Police 
Court whether I could identify Mr. Williams. I saw a number of 
men together in a room, and I recognised Mr. Williams, the 
prisoner, among them. I put my hand on his coat, and he re- 
marked that I had mistaken him for some one else. On 19th 

115 



George Joseph Smith. 

Percy Millgate 

February of this year I saw a coffin containing the body which 
had been disinterred. I was not able to recognise the body by 
its features. 

Cross-examined by Mr. Marshall Hall — I used to see Mrs. 
Williams occasionally when she went out for a walk. The photo- 
graph which has been shown to me is a fair representation of Mrs. 
Williams, but I have seen a better one in the newspaper — the 
Express, when it was shown to me at Bow Street Police Office. I 
believe there was a report of the inquest in the local paper, but 
I did not read it, nor do I have a copy of the local paper. 

Dr. Frank Austin French, examined by Mr. Bodkin — 1 am a 
medical practitioner in Heme Bay. I recognise the prisoner as 
Mr. Williams, whom I saw at Heme Bay in the summer time of 
1912. I should think that my house is about three hundred yards 
away from No. 80 High Street. The first time I saw Mr. and 
Mrs. Williams was on 10th July in my partner's consulting room 
in High Street. I was in the surgery when they called about 9.30 
in the morning, and I saw them alone. Mr. Williams said that 
his wife had had a sort of fit the prevous day, that she had lost 
consciousness. I think that was all as far as he was unaided by 
me; I had to ask him leading questions. By a leading question I 
mean a question which assumes the fact and suggests the answer. 
I asked Mr. Williams if there were any movements of the limbs 
and jaws, and he said there were, that the limbs were twitching 
and the jaw moved, that " she opened and shut her mouth." I 
then examined her and looked at her tongue to see if there were 
any recent or old scars from biting the tongue in a previous fit, 
but I could not find any. I examined her heart and pulse and 
found them to be normal. I asked her if she had ever had a fit 
before, or if any of her family had suffered from fits, and she 
said no. 

You told us that the prisoner said that she had lost con- 
sciousness. Did you put any question about that to her? — I do not 
remember. I know she told me that she did not remember anything 
about a fit, and that all she complained of the previous day was 
a headache. I think the prisoner had mentioned that she had had 
a headache. I asked her if there had been any incontinence of 
faeces or urine, and the answer was no. I asked her if any of her 
family had suffered from epilepsy and I was told no — I forget 
whether it was by her or by the prisoner. I asked if there was 
any insanity or mental trouble in any of the relatives, and I 
think that the prisoner then said that her father had some form 
of mental trouble, and 1 believe she confirmed it, but I cannot 
remember what she said. T prescribed some bromide of potassium, 
fifteen grains to a dose, which is really a small dose for an adult. 
I made up six doses in a six-ounce medicine bottle. It was to be 

116 



Evidence for Prosecution. 

Dr. Frank A. French 

taken three times a day, and the object was to act as a sedative. 
Supposing there had been no fit, that medicine would not have 
done any harm to her at all. 

At 1.30 a.m. on Friday, the 12th, Mr. Williams called for me 
to go and see his wife as she had had another fit. 1 went to 80 High 
Street and found Mrs. Williams sitting up in bed in the downstairs 
room at the back of the house. She was flushed and had rather 
clammy, moist hands. The best way I can describe her condition 
is that she was as some one who had been recently wakened from 
sleep on a hot night. It was a hot night. I cannot remember 
what sort of light there was in the room; I think it was a lamp, 
and it was a fairly good light. Mrs. Williams had a night-dress 
on. I do not think there was anything in the moisture on her 
hands and the clamminess; it was just what I would have expected 
due to the weather. I examined her heart and pulse and found 
them normal. Her tongue was not very clean, in the sense that 
the stomach was a little wrong. There were no marks of biting. 
The prisoner did not describe the fit in any other way than that 
it was similar to the other fit, that there were movements of the 
limbs. I think I asked her how she felt, and either she or the 
prisoner said she had a headache. That is all. 

By Mr. Justice Scrutton — I cannot remember whether any- 
thing was said as to whether Williams had been in his bed, and 
as to whether they had been asleep. 

Examination continued — The prisoner was dressed in his 
ordinary clothes when he came to me, and had his boots on. The 
only symptom I ever heard Mrs. Williams complain of was the 
headache. I found that she had no more medicine and I suggested 
that the prisoner should come back with me and I would make it 
up and he could take it back with him. I made up the same 
medicine — bromide of potassium — exactly the same preparation of 
bromide as before, fifteen grains to the ounce. I gave it to the 
prisoner and he went away with it. I said I would call later in 
the day, and I called at the house about three o'clock in the after- 
noon. I knocked at the door, but I did not get any answer. Just 
as I was going away Mr. and Mrs. Williams came in at the gate, 
and I went back and went with them into the sitting room. Mrs. 
Williams seemed to be in perfect health. I asked her how 
she felt, and I think she said she felt rather run down, or something 
like that. I believe she complained of lassitude, of feeling tired. 
It was a warm day. I would probably feel her pulse. On the 
Saturday morning, about eight o'clock, my servant handed me a 
note while I was dressing — " Can you come at once? I am afraid 
my wife is dead," or words to that effect. I did not keep that 
note; I threw it away. I do not remember whether it was signed, 
but I think it must have been. After finishing my breakfast I went 
round to 80 High Street as quickly as I could. The door was 

117 



George Joseph Smith. 

Dr. Frank A. French 

open, and as I knocked on it Mr. Williams called for me to come 
in. He came from a downstairs room, and he followed me as I 
went upstairs. He directed me into the room to the right. When 
I got into the room I saw a bath in the centre of the room with 
Mrs. Williams' body lying in it. The bath was three parts full of 
water. She was just lying on her back with her head towards the 
sloping end. Her face was upward and partially submerged; the 
mouth was in the water, and I think the nostrils. Her legs were 
stretched straight out from the trunk. The toes of the feet were 
out of the water, resting on the end of the bath, not on the top 
of the bath, at the side of the bath. 

At this stage the bath was brought in and placed at 
the end of the solicitor's table. 

The bath was standing in the middle of the room with this 
end (pointing) towards the window, so that if any one outside 
looked through the window they would see the back of the person's 
head in the bath. 

The Foreman of the Jury — My lord, one of the jury has 
expressed a wish that some one should be put in the bath for 
ocular demonstration. 

Mr. Justice Scrutton — I can only suggest to you that when 
you examine these baths in your private room you should put one 
of yourselves in. Get some one of you to try it who is about the 
height of 5 feet 9. 

Mr. Marshall Hall — I would ask my friend Mr. Bodkin to 
provide us with some one about that height. 

Mr. Justice Scrutton — I think it is much better the jury 
should try for themselves, Mr. Hall. There are disadvantages in 
the French system of reconstructing a crime. 

Examination continued — The back of the head was against the 
slope of the bath and the crown of the head was a little below the 
level of the top of the bath. 

By Mr. Justice Scrutton — The bottom of the spine was resting 
on the bottom of the bath. I really could not describe exactly the 
position of the body, as I was occupied in trying to bring her round. 

Examination continued — The feet were partly out of the water. 
The legs were straight out, by which I mean that they were not 
bent at the knees. The arms were down by the sides. 

By Mr. Justice Scrutton — Was the body straight or inclined 
to one side or the other? — Straight. 

Examination continued — I think the water was clear. My 

impression as regards the temperature of the water was that it was 

slightly raised. I felt her pulse and found that she was pulseless, 

and then, with the assistance of Mr. Williams, I got her out of 

118 




Heme Bay Bath. 

Length, inside, 5 feet, 

,, flat bottom, 3 feet S ins., 
Width, sloping end, top, 2 feet, - 

„ ,, bottom, 1 foot 6 ins., 

,, tap end, top, 1 foot 7 ins., 

,, bottom, 1 foot H ins., • 
Depth, sloping end, 1 foot 4 ins.,- 
,, top end, 1 foot 4} ins., 

Height of woman, 5 feet 8 ins. or 5 feet 9 ins 
(Undertaker's measurement, 5 feet 11 ins.) 





A-B 




CD 




EF 




G-H 




I J 




K-L 




M-N 




OP 



B is the spot where the taps would have been fitted. 



Evidence for Prosecution. 

Dr. Frank A. French 

the bath. Before taking her out of the bath I raised her head so 
that her mouth should be above the level of the water. In doing 
that I have no doubt that I would alter the position of the body, 
but I do not remember. The body was warmer than the temperature 
of the water. 

Was it the normal temperature of the body? — I could not say, 
I do not remember. 

Was there anything about the temperature of the body when 
you handled it which struck you at all? — No. After taking the 
body out of the bath I tried to see if the water in the mouth and 
open passages would flow out, and then I laid her on her back and 
performed artificial respiration. She had false teeth; they were in 
place. 

Was she dead? — Yes. 

Was there anything about the appearance of the face which 
you noticed? — Her face was bluish all over. 

In handling the body, lifting it out of the bath, was it flexible 
or not flexible, limp or stiff, in whole or in part? — I do not think 
it was stiff; there was nothing remarkable. It was lifeless. 

It was limp ? — Yes. 

Any part of it was not stiff? — No. 

Did the accused give you any account of it? — Yes, he told me 
that he got up and went out at 7.30 that morning to get some fish, 
and that when he came back about eight o'clock he went up into 
the room that he used as a bathroom and found his wife lying in 
the bath. I asked him why he did not get her out. I am not sure 
whether I asked him that on that occasion or a day or two after- 
wards. Whenever it was that I put the question, he answered and 
6aid that it was too heavy. 

Did you notice some soap there? — Yes, it was clasped in her 
right hand. It was a square piece of Castille soap, a piece that 
might be cut off a bar. 

Did you form an opinion of the cause of death? — Yes. From 
what I saw the opinion I formed of the cause of death was that it 
was asphyxia, caused by drowning. 

Will you tell us from what you formed that opinion? — I found 
her in the bath and her nose under water ; on pressing on the chest 
water flowed out of the mouth with froth ; the facts were consistent 
with that she died by drowning. 

You made no post-mortem examination ? — No. On the follow- 
ing morning I gave evidence at the inquest. 

Cross-examined by Mr. Marshall Hall — I have been in 
practice at Heme Bay for some five years. I knew nothing at all 
of Mr. and Mrs. Williams until they called upon me on 10th July, 
1912. The next time I saw her was when I was called to the house 
in the middle of the night, and the third time was when I saw her 

119 



George Joseph Smith. 

Dr. Frank A. French 

at three o'clock in the afternoon. The fourth time I saw her was 
when I saw her dead body in the bath. 

You knew, did you not, when you gave your evidence before 
the coroner that a letter had been received by the coroner requesting 
that great care should be exercised in the investigation into this 
death? — Yes. 

And I suppose you would give a carefully considered opinion 
before expressing it as to the cause of death? — I should do so under 
any circumstances. 

May I take it that, having regard to the fact that these events 
took place in 1912, and we are now in 1915, your recollection would 
be more accurate in 1912 than it is now? — Yes, certainly. I heard 
Williams give his evidence at the inquest. As far as I could judge, 
the evidence that he gave tallied with what my own observations had 
led me to deduce. 

In giving your evidence before the coroner you said this — " Mr. 
Williams said his wife had had a fit the previous day, and I asked 
him to describe the fit. He said there was some opening and shutting 
of the mouth and spasmodic contraction of the arms and legs." 
Would that not convey to any one who heard it the impression that you 
had asked for a description of what Mrs. Williams had suffered from, 
and that he had given it to you? — Yes. 

Did you go on to say before the coroner — " I asked the wife 
if there was any history of fits "? — I cannot remember. I have not 
seen the deposition since it was made before the coroner. It was 
not read over to me. 

Did she tell you that her father had died in a mad-house? — I 
think she confirmed it, if she did not actually tell me. She was 
present, at any rate, when I was told that. 

Did you say this before the coroner — " I believed that she had 
had an epileptic fit, and prescribed for that "? — Yes. 

As regards the visit in the middle of the night, did you sav this 
before the coroner — " Her hands were moist. It was a very hot 
night. She said that she felt headachy, which is compatible with 
the after effects of an epileptic fit "? — Yes, I said that. 

I will now pass to the occasion when you were called in the early 
morning. Are you quite sure when you got to the house that Mr. 
Williams was downstairs? — I am quite certain. 

When you got into the room upstairs the first thing was that 
you saw the body in the water? — Yes. 

Was the head of the bath hard up against the window, or was 
there a space behind? — A space. You could walk behind it. I should 
think that Mrs. Williams would weigh somewhere about 10 stone. 
I have not calculated what would be the displacement of a body of 
10 stone. 

In your opinion, what was keeping the tension of the feet on 
the end of the bath? — The weight of the shoulders, I think. 
120 



Evidence for Prosecution. 

Dr. Frank A. French 

That is to say, the actual gravity or weight of the shoulders 
pressing down reflects on to the feet at the other end? — Yes. The 
hair of her head was wet. 

Have you any doubt that the whole of the body, the whole of the 
face and head, had been under water? — I have no doubt. I could 
not say that all the hair had been under the water, but probably 
it was. 

Of course, the body had been moved before you saw it, as far 
as you know? — Yes, probably. I have no doubt that she was quite 
dead when I saw her. The temperature of the body was normal; 
there was nothing to remark about it, and I really do not remember 
about it. 

If it had been colder than you would have expected to find it, 
then the mere fact of finding it cold would have caused you to 
remember it? — Yes. Of course, I was not looking after any particular 
temperature. 

It had been a peculiarly hot night in a very hot period? — Yes, 
it was. 

You would not like to pledge your oath that any warm water had 
in fact been added to the water in the bath? — No. I do not know 
where the cistern is in that house. 

I think the first thing you did was to raise her head, to get her 
head above the water-level? — Yes. 

How long do you think she had been dead at that time? — I 
could not say. 

The rigour had not set in? — No. 

Could you form any opinion as to about how long she had been 
dead? — Not many minutes, I should take it. 

You very properly endeavoured to apply artificial respiration. 
That, of course, would only be available within a very limited period 
after death? — Yes, quite so. 

Did you say this before the coroner — " Her face was rather 
blue, as if she had met her death in an early stage of epilepsy. No 
signs of a struggle of any sort or shape, and in her hand a large 
piece of soap "? — Yes. 

Did you say this before the coroner — " I think she had had an 
epileptic seizure"? — Yes. 

And that was your- honest opinion at that time? — It was. 

After you got her out of the water, did you ask her husband to 
hold her tongue while you performed artificial respiration? — Yes, 
which he did. Her false teeth were removed. I should think that 
her height would be about 5 feet 9. I did not form any opinion as 
to whether she was what is called long in the back or long in the 
legs. I could not say whether she was sitting normally in the bath. 
I could not say where her shoulders would come to in the bath if she 
was sitting normally. I could not say whether the point of contact 
with the bath was at the back of the head, or whether it was over 

121 



George Joseph Smith. 

Dr. Frank A. French 

the whole of the back and head. The shoulders were touching the 
back of the bath. I could not say whether the body below the 
shoulders was lying against the slope of the bath. 

If the woman was sitting in the bath — I am dealing with the 
theory put forward by my learned friend — unapprehensive of any 
violence, if anybody were to catch hold of her foot at the lower end 
of the bath and the bath was full of water, as you saw it, she would 
have ample opportunity of putting her arms across the outside of the 
bath to prevent her going under? — Yes. 

Anybody would, naturally and normally, be expected to clutch 
the top of the bath? — Yes. 

Do you think it would be possible to have drowned anybody of 
5 feet 9 in that bath unless they were either unconscious or under 
the influence of a fit? — Yes, I think if the legs were taken hold of 
by surprise — if you surprised a person in the bath and rapidly drew 
them away. 

As she was sitting in the bath, if she sat. at right angles, flexing 
her hips at right angles, to the trunk, she would be able to sit with 
the feet not touching the edge of the bath? — Yes. 

Then anybody would have to dive into the bath, pull the feet 
out, and then drag the feet right up. Do you mean to say it would 
be possible unless the person had become unconscious? — Oh, quite. 

Did you make any examination of the body externally? — Yes. 
There were no marks at all. She was a well-developed woman and 
of strong health, so far as I could judge from her external appear- 
ance. 

There was nothing in her external appearance inconsistent with 
the opinion you had formed that she had had an epileptic seizure? 
— No. 

Re-examined by Mr. Bodkin — I have no doubt that the opinion 
I have expressed to-day as to the cause of death being suffocation 
from drowning is correct. There was no appearance of the body 
inconsistent with that opinion. 

My friend has read to you a suggestion quite properly of some- 
thing you said to the coroner, that you thought she had an epileptic 
seizure. Will you tell me your grounds for saying that you thought 
she had an epileptic seizure?— I thought at the time when I was 
giving evidence before the coroner that she had had an epileptic 
seizure. 

Could you throw your mind back to that time and tell us why 
at that time you thought she had an epileptic seizure? — Two people 
walk into my consulting room and tell me a tale that is consistent 
with epilepsy. At that time I have to put some leading questions, 
but I have no reason to suppose that there is any suspicion attaching 
to them. However, I get the information, and the information leads 
me to suppose that it sounds like epilepsy that this woman is suffering 
from. It is not wonderful that I do not see her in a fit, because in 
122 



Evidence for Prosecution. 

Dr. Frank A. French 

nine cases out of ten when you are first consulted about an epileptic 
attack you do not see the patient in a fit. I am called in a day and 
a half afterwards, and again I do not see her in a fit, but her con- 
dition is not inconsistent with that of a person who has had a fit 
recently. The following day I am called in, and I find her drowned 
in a bath. Again I have no suspicion; I have no reason for suspicion 
that there is any foul play. The woman is grasping a piece of soap 
in her hand, and, as Mr. Marshall Hall has said, people when they 
are seized by the legs, or something else like that, would put out 
their hands to grasp the bath. I cannot understand to this day 
how it was that she was grasping that soap. I did not examine the 
soap at all; I simply released it from her grasp. 

Suppose a person died suddenly with something in her hand, 
would that be still retained after death? — Yes, if they were grasping 
a thing. 

If a person having a piece of soap in her hand died suddenly, 
would that grasp be continued after death? — Yes. 

By Mr. Justice Scrutton — If she fainted would she hold on to 
it? — I should think not. I do not know. 

Re-examination continued — You were asked about Mrs. Williams 
saying that she was headachy, and whether that was compatible 
with an epileptic fit? — Yes. A headache is compatible with 
other things, such as a hot summer in Heme Bay in a house 
in High Street, and being wakened in the middle of the night. I do 
not think it was Mrs. Williams who said that her father had died 
demented. I think the prisoner made the remark, and she confirmed 
it. 

Is the grasping of an object by a person drowning quite a 
common thing? — Yes. 

Any object within reach? — Yes, but I think that the object 
would probably be an object that was fastened down. I do not know 
that a person would grasp a thing that is floating. 

By Mr. Marshall Hall — Is death by drowning sudden or slow? 
< — It is, comparatively speaking, sudden. 

Preceding death by drowning, is there not always a period of 
unconsciousness ? — Yes. 

By Mr. Bodkin — And does that period of unconsciousness which 
precedes death by drowning vary in its duration? — Yes, from hours 
down to almost a minute and a half. 

[A note was handed up by the jury.] 

By Mr. Justice Scrutton — Supposing a lady had lost con- 
sciousness through some sort of fit, what effect would it have on the 
grip of the hand on the soap? — It depends what sort of fit it was. I 
base my opinion on the early stages of epilepsy, because the soap has 
been clutched. 

You mean if it were a fit which produced rigour of some sort, 
then she might clutch? — Yes. 

123 



George Joseph Smith. 

Dr. Frank A. French 

And another stage of epilepsy might lead to relaxation? — Yes. 

Assuming a lady had lost consciousness through being seized 
by a fit, would it have any effect on the condition of the lungs? — No. 

Again, assuming the lady to have lost consciousness through 
some sort of fit, what effect would it have on the straight-out legs? 
— There, again, it depends on the state. 

Do you answer in the same way, that if it were the early 
6tages of epilepsy it might lead to rigour and straightness? — Not 
necessarily to straightness, but to rigidity. 

And if a later stage, limpness? — Yes. 

Was the lady floating? — No, she was lying on the bottom. 

Did you notice whether the buttocks or spinal column were 
resting on the bottom of the bath? — I did not notice, but they must 
have been. 

John Kitchingham, examined by Mr. Bodkin — I am a police 
constable in the Kent County Constabulary. I was at Heme Bay in 
June, 1912. About ten o'clock on the morning of the 13th I went 
to 80 High Street. I had heard of the death of Mrs. Williams. I 
saw the prisoner at the house and told him who I was and what 
I had come about. I asked to see the body, and he said, " Is it 
necessary? " I replied that it was quite necessary, and then I went 
upstairs. 

You went into a room upstairs, and did you find there the body 
of a woman lying naked on the floor? — Yes. I looked at it, and I 
found no indications of violence at all. I saw the bath; it was about 
three parts full of soapy water. The prisoner made a statement to 
me which I took down there and then. In that statement he said — 

His wife's name was Bessie Constance Annie, aged 35 years. They 
both got up together at 7.30 a.m. that morning, and he went out to get 
some fish. He returned about eight o'clock, unlocked the door, went into 
the dining room and called to his wife. Getting no reply he went into the 
bedroom that they used on the same floor, but she was not there. He then 
went upstairs to the back bedroom and found the deceased in the bath 
with her head under the water. He raised her head and spoke to her, 
but got no reply. He then went for Dr. French, who came almost imme- 
diately and assisted him to lift her out of the bath. The doctor applied 
artificial respiration, but of no avail. 

Cross-examined by Mr. Marshall Hall — I suggest to you that 
when you saw the bath it was not more than half-full? — I think it 
was a little more than half -full. 

Re-examined by Mr. Bodkin — I am only speaking from my 
recollection as regards the depth of the water in the bath. 

Rutlet Mowll, examined by Mr. Bodkin — I am a solicitor 
practising at Dover, and I hold the position of coroner for East Kent. 
124 



Evidence for Prosecution. 

Rutley Mowll 

Can you tell me when you first heard of the death of Bessie 
Constance Annie Williams? — I expect I heard of it from the police 
on the day it occurred, on the Saturday. I think I found that the 
inquest could not be taken that day, and the constable probably 
rang me up on the Monday morning, and I decided then to take the 
inquest on the Monday afternoon at 4.30 o'clock. I took the deposi- 
tions myself. There were two witnesses, the prisoner, Henry 
Williams, and Dr. French. The prisoner was sworn in the usual 
way, and he gave evidence. I had before me the report by Constable 
Kitchingham, and then I asked the witness questions, and he 
answered them. I took down what he said in my own handwriting, 
and that was read over to the prisoner and signed by him. I took 
Dr. French's deposition in a similar way, but it was not signed by him. 
Under the Coroners Act, unless there is a verdict of manslaughter, 
the depositions need not be read over and signed. 

By Mr. Justice Scrutton — I saw the body along with the jury. 
I am not quite certain whether the jury saw the bath. The body was 
at the house, but I cannot remember in which room it was. 

Examination continued — To the best of my belief and recollec- 
tion the body was in a coffin ; and my impression is that it was 
upstairs. I am not sure whether it was in the room where the death 
was. I took down the following deposition : — 

I live at 80 High Street, Heme Bay, and am an art dealer. I identify 
the body as that of my wife, Bessie Constance Annie Williams, who lived 
with me at the same address, aged 35. I have been married to her 2 
years. No children. During the last week my wife has been very queer ; 
she had a sort of nervousness and headache. She had a fit on Tuesday 
night, another on Thursday night. She had never had fits before. On 
Wednesday morning I went to see Dr. French with my wife. The doctor 
sent medicine, which she took. On Thursday morning at 1 a.m. she had 
another fit; she was in bed at the time. I went for Dr. French, who 
returned with me. He saw my wife. The fit was by then over, but she 
was nervous and her hands were clammy. I went back with the doctor 
and fetched some more medicine, which she took. On Friday afternoon 
the doctor came. She was all right Friday night. On Saturday morning, 
13th July, 1912, we both got up together about 7.30. I went out for a 
stroll and got some fish. I returned about eight o'clock. No one was in 
the house excepting my wife when I went out. I locked the front door 
when I went out. We always did that, as the slam-to latch was out of 
order. I went into the dining room and called out for her; then I went 
upstairs, looked into the bedroom, and then into the bathroom. She said 
the night previously she would be having a bath that morning. She was 
in the bath. Her head was right down in the water, submerged. She 
had a piece of soap in her hand. I spoke to her, raised her head. I pulled 
her head right out of the water and rested it on the side of the bath. I 
then went straight after Dr. French. I asked him to come. I went back 
at once and had just got upstairs when I heard the doctor coming. I called 
him up. Her head had sunk down again in the bath, her mouth being 

125 



George Joseph Smith. 

Rutlev Mowll 
on a level with the water. The doctor felt her pulse and said he was afraid 
she was dead. The doctor and I got her out of the bath. I held her 
tongue while the doctor used artificial respiration. After about ten 
minutes he said it was hopeless. The bath was about three- 
quarters full; it was tepid; I did not get the water. We slept down- 
stairs, and I had not been upstairs that morning previous to finding her in 
the bath. We have been on good terms together. I had only just bought 
a lot of new things for her, clothes and furniture. Her life was not insured. 
She had private means. I have never seen any of her relatives. I com- 
municated the news of her death to her uncle and her brother on the 
Saturday soon after the doctor left. Paper shown to me purporting to be 
a copy of a letter from her brother, George Howard Mundy, 
to me, has not, in fact, been received by me. [Then ques- 
tions put by the jury.] The water would have to be carried 
upstairs into the bathroom. She must have carried it up herself, I do 
not know when. I cannot pay whether she was dead when I first saw her 
in the bath. I found no life in her then. There v as a bucket in the 
bathroom. I came from Ashford to Heme Bay, Kent, about three months 
ago. My wife bought the bath ; we had it fixed. It had to be emptied 
by the bucket, as there was no pipe to drain it. [Recalled.] I wrote the 
note to the doctor in my house before I went for the doctor. — Henry 
Williams. 

The verdict of the jury was that the cause of her death was that while 
taking a bath she had an epileptic seizure, causing her to fall back 
into the water of the bath and be drowned, and so the deceased 
died from misadventure. Before the inquest was held I received a 
letter from Mr. Howard Mundy. which I now hand in. In the same 
envelope there was a copy of a letter which was said to have been 
sent to the prisoner, and which I showed to him. (Exhibit 66.) 
There was no post-mortem examination of the body, nor do I think 
there were any measurements either of the bath or of the body in 
evidence before the jury. 

Cross-examined by Mr. Marshall Hall — When I went to see the 
body I had the jury with me, so that whatever 1 saw 7 the jury had an 
opportunity of seeing. My impression is that I saw the body in a 
coffin and in the same room where the bath was. Dr. French was 
in the room when Mr. Williams gave his evidence, and he would 
have an opportunity of hearing everything that Mr. Williams said. 

If Dr. French had disagreed with any statements, he could, 
of course, have contradicted them ?— Yes. 

As a matter of fact, did Mr. Williams sign, and not the doctor? 
Was it merely accident? — I think you must put it together with the 
letter I had received. 

Was it in consequence of the letter which you had received from 
Mr. Mundy that you thought it desirable that Mr. Williams should 
sign the deposition? — Yes. 

And were you fully alive to the responsibility of the inquest 
126 



Evidence for Prosecution. 

Rutley Mowll 

having regard to the communication you had received from Mr. 
Mundy? — Yes, I think so. 

Re-examined by Mr. Bodkin — The inquest was begun and con- 
cluded on the Monday. 

John Kitchingham, recalled, further examined by Mr. Bodkin — I 
acted as coroner's officer at the inquest on the body that I saw on 
the Saturday morning. To the best of my recollection the jury went 
into the dining room downstairs at 80 High Street to see the body. 
I think the body was lying on the bed. I do not think the jury went 
upstairs at all. I do not think they saw anybody in a bath such as I 
saw upstairs in that house. 

Further cross-examined by Mr. Marshall Hall — To the best of 
my recollection the body was in the dining room. I have never 
been asked about this till to-day. I was present in Court and heard 
Mr. Mowll give his evidence to the effect that he and the jury went 
to see the body in the same room where the bath was, and that the 
body was in a coffin. 

Do you really mean to say that you would like to pledge your 
oath that to the best of your belief the body was on a bed in the 
dining room? — I could not swear to it. 

When the jury came back did they know that the woman had 
met her death in the bath? — Yes. 

So that anybody might have asked to see the bath if they 
wanted? — Yes. 

Do you not think if they had not seen it they would have asked 
to see it? — Oh, no. 

Mrs. Frances Stone, examined by Mr. Whiteley — I am a widow 
living at 155 High Street, Heme Bay, which used to be No. 78. I 
was living in that same house in July, 1912, and the people living 
next door to me, in No. 79, were Mr. and Mrs. Millgate. I remember 
hearing of the death of Mrs. Williams. I recognise the prisoner. He 
came to my house on 13th July for a week, to sleep there, and he 
had his meals at the Millgates'. During the week he had a bedroom 
in my house he had a latchkey. He was always late when he came 
in at night, except on one occasion when he came in about eleven 
o'clock, and I gave him his candle. After I gave him his candle he 
came down again and said, " It is no use; if I went to bed I could 
not sleep; I must go out again." 

Did you notice his condition when he said that? — Yes, he looked 
very hot and frightened. He went out, and I do not know when he 
came back again, as I had gone to bed and was asleep. 

Mrs. Alice Mlntner, examined by Mr. Bodkin — I am the wife 
of Laurence Mintner, who is a carpenter, and I live at 9 North Street, 
Heme Bay. I remember going to 80 High Street, Herne Bay, about 

127 



George Joseph Smith. 

Alice Minlner 

4 p.m. on 13th July, 1912. in consequence of a message from Dr. 
French's dispenser. Mr. Williams, the prisoner, opened the door 
and asked me, " Are you the nurse that has come to lay my wife 
out? " and I said " Yes." He took me upstairs to the middle 
bedroom. When I got into the bedroom I saw the lady lying on the 
floor behind the door. I asked Mr. Williams for the usual things for 
laying her out — a nightdress, brush, and comb, bath sponge, and a 
towel, and I then prepared the body for burial. I noticed that the 
deceased woman's hair was done up in curling pins, and that there 
were curdles of soap all intermixed with it. The hair was dry then, 
but the soap suds were left. I noticed foam on her mouth. I was 
paid 5s. by the prisoner, and then I went away. 

Mrs. Ellex Millgate, examined by Mr. Whiteley — I live at 
157 High Street. Heme Bay, which was formerly Xo. 79, and I 
was living there in May, 1912. I remember Mr. and Mrs. Williams 
coming to the house next door, No. 80. I recognise the prisoner 
as Mr. Williams. I remember the brass plate (exhibit 134) being 
put up on the door. On Saturday, 13th July, Mr. Williams came 
about 10 or 10.30 a.m. and asked me if I knew a woman who could 
lay his wife's body out. I asked him it he had sent for the doctor, 
and he said, " Yes," and that he had promised to send a woman 
but she had not come. I went myself to Xo. 80 at two o'clock in 
the afternoon, and knocked at the door, and was let in by Mr. 
TV illiams. I asked him if the woman had come and he said no, 
and then I asked if I could do anything to help him. He asked 
me to go upstairs with him, and we went into the middle bedroom 
upstairs. When we got there he said, " She is not there." I went 
in while he stayed outside on the landing. Xot seeing anything 
but the bath. I looked behind the door and I saw Mrs. Williams 
Lying on the floor quite naked. That gave me a great shock, and 
I turned round suddenly and said. " Oh dear, it is not covered 
over." Mr. Williams looked frightened as I started back. I went 
back again into the room and I noticed then that she was lying 
on the edsre of a sheet which I picked up and covered over the body. 
I noticed some clothes on a chair which was standing near to the 
bath and some on the floor. The corsets were lying on the chair, 
and the remainder of the clothes were on the' floor. I did not 
notice any towels. I asked him to fetch me a pillow, just to put 
under her head, as her head was on the bare floor. I then went 
downstairs and asked Mr. Williams if he had had any dinner. 
but he said no. I handed him some food over the earden fence. 
In the evening he came and asked me if I knew where he could 
get a bedroom. As my house was full of summer visitors I sent 
him next door, to Mrs. Stone's. Xo. 78. where he got a bedroom. 
He took his meals at my house for a fortnight and slept at mv 
house for one week. The first nieht he came to sleep at mv house 
128 



Evidence for Prosecution. 

Ellen Mitigate 

he asked me about a lamp being put in his room, as he said he 
could not sleep without a light. I put a lamp in his room, and he 
asked me to light it before I retired for the night and turn it low, 
which I did. I gave him a latch key. I do not know at what time 
he used to come in as 1 never heard him once. When he loft me 
he told me he was going to Margate. I received the letter (exhibit 
185) enclosed in the registered envelope (exhibit 136), and written 
on a telegraph form — 

I have received the money for these things, so I hope you will not 
delay in sending them. Dear Mrs. Millgate, I enclose key. Please forward 
carriage paid all the washing belonging to me ; shall be glad if you will pay 
your end as I may not be in when it arrives. I shall not bo here long 
before going to Ramsgate, but I shall be here long enough to receive the 
things, excuse such a short note as I have only just got here. My kind 
regards to all. I hope you will manage to let the house before my return. 

Then he gives his address, " Henry Williams, c/o Mr. Setter- 
field, 158 High Street, Margate"; and there is written on the 
of the telegraph form — 

I shall 1 e glad to leave Margate for Ramsgate. This place is absolutely 
! with people. 

I received the letter-card (exhibit 137) from Margate, dated 
29th July- 
Monday. Dear Madam — I have sold all the washing you have of mine, 
ore I trust you will bo good enough to forward same without delay 
aR you promised to do. Referring to the payment for washing, you had the 
blinds and other things for the payment of same. I can say no more at 
present. 

I received exhibit 138, datod 30th July, also from Margate — 

Dear .Mrs. Millgate, the goods have not yet arrived. The person who has 
paiil me the money for them expects to have them to-day. Please send 
them to me as promised, and prevent further unpleasantness. 

The Last letter I received is exhibit 139, from Margate, dated 
1st August — 

Dear Mrs. Millgate — I received the goods to-day quite correct. I leave 
Margate to-day for Mid-Kent, I phall be pleased to see you when I return 
I have not forgot your kindness to me ii the time of need; perhaps you 
will understand me better Later on. 1 hope you will succeed in letting the 
house. I feel much better since coming here. Yours faithfully, II. Williams. 

C cammed by Mr. Smkauman — I have gas laid on in my 

house. I left it on a Little bit in the passage at Mr. Williams' 
rcijuest. There was no gas in his bedroom. 

k 129 



George Joseph Smith. 

James P. Galpin 

James Percival Galpin, examined by Mr. Bodkin — I am 
manager of Parr's Bank, Heme Bay. There was an account 
opened at that bank in the name of Henry Williams on 24th June, 
1912, by the payment of £38, which was made up of a cheque for 
£33 and a £5 note, the cheque being drawn by Mr. Herbert Mundy 
in favour of Mrs. Bessie Williams. On 26th June there was a 
cheque for £20 17s. 6d. drawn in favour of Hogbin Bros., and on 
8th July there was a cheque cashed in the name of Williams for 
£5, and also a cheque for 13s. 9d. in the name of Gore. Then on 
11th July there was a cheque for 6s. 9d. in the name of Wastall; 
then another cheque for £7 7s. in favour of Hogbin Bros. ; then a 
cheque for 10s. 6d. in the name of Stone, and another cheque in 
the name of French for 18s. These cheques go down to 27th July. 
On the other side of the account, in addition to the £38, there 
were two sums of £5 paid in on 27th and 28th June, and then a 
cheque for £20 4s. was drawn by Hogbin Bros. After the end 
of July there was an arrangement with Mr. Armesley by which the 
account was put in credit to the extent of £100 for the purpose 
of being drawn upon for the expenses of proving the will, and so 
forth. At the close of the account on 24th September we put on 
the credit side £96 2s. 8d. from the London City and Midland Bank, 
Tunbridge Wells, and that closed the account. 

Thomas Head Sledall, examined by Mr. Bodkin — I am the 
manager of the London City and Midland Bank, Tunbridge Wells. 
I recognise the prisoner. He came to me and opened an account 
at my bank in the name of Henry Williams. My bank got into 
communication with Parr's Bank at Heme Bay. The first arrange- 
ment was that we should cash Bank of England notes for Mr. 
Williams. Then there were drawings out of my bank in September 
and October, but that was not under orders from Parr's Bank; 
it was under our own arrangement. Subsequently we had eighteen 
shares in the Wilts and Dorset Bank deposited with us. Those 
shares were disposed of by the bank and realised £652 8s. on 6th 
January, 1913, and the account was credited to the drawings which 
had taken place up to that time. By that time £509 3s. 9d. had 
been advanced by my bank, leaving after some small charges, a 
balance of £142 7s. 9d. Of that amount £31 7s. 2d. was drawn 
out, and the balance of £111 0s. 7d. was transferred to the branch 
of the London City and Midland Bank at Bath. On 20th September, 
1912, the prisoner deposited a parcel with us and asked us to take 
care of it as it contained some valuable papers. When he opened 
his account the address we had was 25 Grove Hill Road. Tunbridge 
Wells. When the account was closed by the transfer of the balance 
of £111 0s. 7d. to Bath, on 9th January, the parcel of papers 
was handed back. I remember receiving the letter (exhibit 160) 
from the prisoner — 

130 



Evidence for Prosecution. 

Thomas H. Sledall 

9th January, 1913. Dear Sir — I thank you for letter and cheque re. 

Annesley. Please send my papers I left in your bank on to me c/o 

Manager, Bath Branch L.C. and Midland Bank. I have lost the receipt 

you gave me for the sealed parcel referred to. Yours truly, Henry Williams ; 

and written on the back — 

Dear Sir — Should any one from Heme Bay write to you for my address, 
kindly return that you have no instructions to disclose my business, H. 
Williams. 

Elsie Lord, examined by Mr. Bodkin — I live at 25 Grove Hill 
Road, Tunbridge Wells, and assist my father, who is a newsagent 
and tobacconist there. We sometimes take in letters at Id. apiece 
for people, but not very often. I cannot be quite certain that I 
recognise the prisoner, but to the best of my belief he is a man 
that I have seen calling at our shop for letters in the name of 
" Henry Williams," in the latter part of 1912, I think. He never 
lived with us. 

Ernest Hudson Bellamy, examined by Mr. Bodkin — I am the 
manager of the Bath branch of the London City and Midland Bank. 
I recognise the prisoner. He opened an account at my bank in 
the name of Henry Williams. His address was 8 Lower Wells 
Road, a place that I frequently pass, where a sort of small business 
in milk and groceries is carried on. They call themselves con- 
fectioners. The prisoner did not live there to my knowledge. I 
sent down a transfer to him there and my clerk came back with it 
unexecuted. The prisoner's account was opened on 23rd November, 
1912. The first transaction was on 23rd November, when £200 
was drawn out as against £200 New South Wales) 3^ per cent, 
etock, which the bank had with other stocks. 

By Mr. Justice Scrutton — I cannot say the exact date when 
Williams made the deposit with us, but it was probably on or 
before 23rd November. The advance was made against an order 
to sell those stocks, we having the stock certificates. We would 
pay ourselves out of the proceeds. On 9th November we sold 
£300 New Zealand 4 per cent, and £300 Queensland 3£ per cent., 
and credited the proceeds to his account. 

Examination continued — By 3rd December, having sold also 
£300 Natal 3£ per cents., £1063 13s. 6d. was credited to the account 
as the proceeds of four different kinds of stocks. 

Mr. Bodkin — If your lordship will look at exhibit 56 you will 
find that is the list of securities which went to Mr. Wilkinson — 
£300 Natal, £300 Queensland, £300 New Zealand, and £200 New 
South Wales. 

Examination continued — Up till the end of the year there 
were five cheques, amounting to £100, drawn on that account to 
Smith or Williams. In each case they were cashed in gold. 

131 



George Joseph Smith. 

Ernest H. Bellamy 

By Mr. Justice Scrutton — Are there not seven cheques for 
£1060, all in gold?— Yes. 

Examination continued — Was there any reason given by 
Williams for drawing these in gold? — Yes, he explained that he 
was an antique dealer, that he was going round the country 
purchasing goods, and that he had to pay for those goods in gold. 
On 7th January, 1913, there was credited a sum of £276, being the 
proceeds of £300 Rajawella Mortgage Debentures, and on this same 
day there was £111 transferred from our branch at Tunbridge 
Wells. Also on 11th January there was credited the sum of £149, 
the proceeds of some Canadian Pacific Railway shares, and also 
on 3rd February £10 6s. 6d., being rights appertaining to the 
Canadian Pacific shares. The last credit is £295 9s., being pro- 
ceeds of £300 Cape Town stock on 20th March. The account was 
practically closed on 25th March by the withdrawal of £165 12s. 6d., 
but as a matter of fact we did not close the account till 23rd June, 
when the interest and commission were charged. The signature 
" Henry Williams " on the deed (exhibit 95) was witnessed by 
me. The schedule specifies most of the securities which were realised 
through my bank. 

Mr. Bodkin — So that the jury may follow, might I say, that 
that is the deed of release to Herbert Mundy and the other trustees 
from all obligations under the deed of trust for Bessie Mundy, 
executed by the prisoner on 27th November, 1914. 

William Seymour M'Intyre, examined by Mr. Bodkin — I am 
cashier in charge of the Cheltenham Road branch of the Capital and 
Counties Bank at Bristol. There was an account at that bank opened 
on 4th October, 1912, in the name of George Joseph Smith. Exhibit 
243 is a certified extract from the books of that bank, and in it I 
find that from time to time there were cheques, for instance, 27th 
November, 1912, Pomeroy, £130; 15th Februarv, 1913, Pomeroy, 
£189 8s. 6d. There are debit entries— 3rd * December, 1912, 
Wansbrough, £10; 25th February, 1913, King, £171 8s. 4d. ; 2nd 
November, 1912, Salisbury, £270; 8th February, 1913, Hobbs, £60. 
I do not recognise the prisoner. The last address of George Joseph 
Smith recorded in the books was 5 Weston Road, Bristol. The 
previous addresses were 167 North Road, Bishop's Stone, Bristol ; 
49 Cranbrook Road, Bristol; and 5 Detland Road, Bristol. 

Frederick Jonathan White, examined by Mr. Bodkin — I am a 
partner of the firm of Salisbury, Griffiths & White, 24 Broad Street, 
Bristol. In October, 1912, I acted for a client in selling 30 Eltham 
Road, Bristol, the purchaser being George Joseph Smith, of 167 
North Road, Bristol, and the purchase price £420. The date of 
completion of the sale was 31st October, 1912. In paying for the 
house the amount was made up of a cheque for €270 on the Capital 
132 



Evidence for Prosecution. 

Frederick J. White 

and Counties Bank, a cheque for £80 on the Wilts and Dorset Bank, 
and £48 7s. 5d. in coin, which made up £397 8s. 5d., as the balance 
of the purchase price, £20, having been already paid as a deposit. 

John Henry King, examined by Mr. Bodkin — I am a solicitor 
practising at 16 Baldwin Street, Bristol. In December, 1912, I 
acted for a Mrs. Granger in selling 34 Beach Road, Bristol, the 
purchaser being George Joseph Smith, of 49 Cranbrook Road, 
Bristol, and his solicitor being Mr. Laxton. The purchase price was 
£180. A deposit of £10 was paid to Mrs. Granger personally, and 
the balance of £171 8s. 4d. was paid to me by cheque on 24th 
February, 1913, drawn by George Joseph Smith. 

Frederick George Lazenbt, examined by Mr. Bodkin — I am a 
solicitor practising in Bristol. In December, 1912, I was acting for 
a Mr. Scudamore in the sale of a house, 80 Ashley Down Road, 
Bristol, the purchaser being George Joseph Smith, and the purchase 
price £215. The sale was completed on 5th December, 1912, and 
after some adjustments the amount payable was £213 15s. 2d. 1 
attended the completion. To the best of my belief the prisoner is 
the man who attended the completion also as purchaser. The amount 
was paid in a £100 note, £93 15s. 2d. in gold, silver and copper, 
and two cheques for £10 each respectively on the Capital and Counties 
Bank and the Wilts and Dorset Bank. 

Sidney Howard Pomeroy, examined by Mr. Bodkin — I am a 
solicitor practising at 44 Baldwin Street, Bristol. In November, 

1912, I was acting for a Mrs. Clara Dunn in the sale of a house, 49 
Cranbrook Road, Bristol. I recognise the prisoner as the purchaser 
of the house. His address as given in the conveyance was 167 North 
Road, Bishop's Stone, Bristol. The completion of the sale was on 
26th November, 1912. First a deposit of £10 was paid, and on the 
date of completion the balance of the purchase money was paid by 
two cheques for £130 each and cash £126 10s. 4d. In February, 

1913, I was acting for Mr. Percival George Davies in the sale of a 
house at 81 Brynland Avenue, Bristol. I was also acting for Mr. 
Smith. The price payable was £210, and the date of completion was 
14th February, 1913. A deposit of £20 had been paid, and the 
balance of £189 8s. 6d. was paid by cheque. In July, 1913, I 
acted in regard to the sale of the house, 34 Beach Road, Bristol, 
by the prisoner to Mr. Percival George Davies. The purchase price 
was £90, and the completion of sale was on 1st August, 1913. 

Charles Barber, examined by Mr. Bodkin — I am a gentleman 
of independent means living at Kilburnie, Cotham Park, Bristol. In 
February, 1913, Mr. Hobbs, my solicitor, acted for me in the sale of a 
house, 31 Wolseley Road, to George Joseph Smith, the purchase price 

133 



George Joseph Smith. 

Charles Barber 

being £187 10s. I attended the completion when the money was paid 
— £100 in notes, £18 12s. 3d. in coin, and a cheque for £60 on the 
Capital and Counties Bank. 

Frederick Wyatt Denning, examined by Mr. Bodkin — I am 
manager of the Wilts and Dorset Bank, Zetland Road, Bristol, now 
a branch of Lloyds' Bank. An account was opened at that bank on 
17th October, 1912, in the name of George Joseph Smith. Exhibit 
244 is an extract from the current books of my bank. In September, 
1913, certain house property was offered to me for purchase by 
George Joseph Smith. The six houses which I ultimately purchased 
were 10 Zetland Road, 49 Cranbrook Road, 30 Elton Road, 81 
Brynland Avenue, 31 Wolseley Road, and 86 Ashley Down Road, 
and the price I agreed to pay was £1365. The date of the com- 
pletion of the sale was 26th September, 1913, and I paid over 
£1300 in bank notes, my own cheque for £25, and the balance in 
coin. I got the conveyances of the houses all right. 

[The witness stated the numbers of the notes of various 
denominations. ] 

David Moses Phillips, examined by Mr. Bodkin — I am a partner 
of Humphrey Phillips & Co., solicitors, 38 Cranbourn Street, 
Leicester Square. In December, 1912, I acted for Mr. Abraham 
Lazarus in the sale of the house, 10 Zetland Road, Bristol, to George 
Joseph Smith, the price being £575. The transaction was com- 
pleted on 14th January, 1913, the purchase money being paid by a 
bank draft on the Capital and Counties Bank, Bristol. 

Albert Wiseman Bailey, examined by Mr. Bodkin — I am ledger 
clerk at the Capital and Counties Bank, Weston-super-Mare. I 
produce exhibit 249, a certified extract from the current books of that 
bank. I find that an account was opened on 2nd August, 1913, in 
the name of George Joseph Smith, with a balance of account from the 
Cheltenham Road branch at Bristol. 

Arthur Bertram Pender, examined by Mr. Bodkin — I am a 
clerk at the London City and Midland Bank at Portsmouth. I 
produce exhibit 250, a correct extract from the current books of the 
London City and Midland Bank at Portsmouth, which shows that 
there was an account opened in the name of George Joseph Smith on 
3rd October, 1913, with a payment in of £20, and on 4th October 
another payment in of £40 10s. These sums were drawn out on the 
8th and 9th October in the same amounts. 

The Court adjourned. 



134 



Fourth Day— Friday, 25th June, 1915. 

William James Knowles, examined by Mr. Travers Humphreys 
— I am manager of the Lamport branch of Lloyds' Bank. On 2nd 
October, 1913, an account was opened at that branch in the name of 
George Joseph Smith, Kimberley Road, Southsea. Exhibit 245 is 
a certified extract from one of the current books of my bank, and 
it shows that the account was opened by a payment in of £5. On 
8th October £60 was paid in, and also £1260 10s. in notes. [The 
witness stated the numbers of the notes, and they appeared to be 
mostly the notes received by Smith from Denning.] The account 
also shows a payment in on 1st December of £104 Is. Id. The 
account was closed on 23rd January, 1914. 

Charles Frederick Pleasance, examined by Mr. Bodkin — I am 
an insurance inspector in the employment of the North British and 
Mercantile Insurance Company, and live at 20 Festing Grove, South- 
sea. I recognise the prisoner. I made his acquaintance through hi.s 
bank manager, Mr. Knowles, in Southsea, in the early part of 
October, 1913. When I first saw him he told me that he contem- 
plated effecting an annuity, and I gave him our table of annuity 
rates. Exhibit 8 is a proposal form for the purchase of an annuity 
in my company. The particulars in the body of the proposal are in 
my handwriting — 

Name, designation, residence of the proposer — George Joseph Smith, 
80 Kimberley Road, E. Southsea, gentleman ; Person on whose life the 
annuity is to be issued — George Joseph Smith ; Place and date of birth 
of the person — 11th January, 1872, Bethnal Green; Amount of annuity to 
be purchased — £1300, to be paid half-yearly. 

A day or two later he gave me exhibit 9, which is an authority by 
him to the North British and Mercantile to pay the annuity to Lloyds' 
Bank, Lamport, Hampshire. Exhibit 10 is the prisoner's birth 
certificate, which we obtained at his request direct from Somerset 
House. It shows that he was born on 11th January, 1872, at 92 
Roman Road, his parents being George Thomas Smith, insurance 
agent, and Louisa Smith. Exhibit 201 is the annuity bond, which 
ehows that the amount of the annuity purchased for £1300 is £76 Is. 
per annum, payable in April and October. At that time, when I was 
seeing the prisoner with reference to the annuity, he told me that 
he had been engaged in land transactions in Canada, and that as he 
realised his holdings there he proposed effecting further annuities. He 
eaid he would be effecting an additional one of about £500 in the 

135 



George Joseph Smith. 

Charles F. Pleasance 

following January, about the time of his birthday. I remember 
seeing a young woman with him on 3rd November, 1913. (Shown 
photograph of Miss Burnham, exhibit 192.) That is the young 
woman I saw with him. He introduced her to me as Miss Alice 
Burnham, a friend of his. He told me that she was the daughter 
of well-to-do people in Hertfordshire, and that she was in receipt of 
a separate income of her own. 

What was she introduced to you for? Was anything said about 
that? — As being interested in the question of life assurance. That 
matter was discussed between me and her in the presence of the 
prisoner, and as a result a proposal for £1000 (exhibit 198) was 
filled in and signed. The lady described herself as " Alice Burnham, 
nurse, 80 Kimberley Road, East Southsea," and the proposal bears 
" Sum assured, £1000; conditions, payable at death with profits; 
premium yearly; age next birthday, 28th March, 1914, 26; born at 
Aston Clinton, Tring." After I got that proposal form the prisoner 
informed me that he was about to be married to Miss Burnham. 
The state of marriage affects the question of the amount of premium 
payable, as there is greater risk. I received from the prisoner 
exhibit 3, which is a certificate of marriage between him and Alice 
Burnham, and shows that the marriage took place at the registry 
office at Portsmouth on 4th November, 1913, the day after the 
proposal had been given to me. The certificate bears — 

George Joseph Smith, Bachelor, 40 years of age, independent means, 80 
Kimberley Road, East, Southsea; Father's name, George Thomas Smith, 
Artist in flowers and figures. 

When I learned about the marriage, I said to the prisoner that an 
extra premium would be chargeable, but as he demurred at paying 
any extra premium, I communicated with my head office, and the 
result was a twenty-year endowment assurance for £500 was effected 
in place of a whole-life assurance, the premium being about the same. 
The amount of the premium payable for the £500 policy was 
£54 17s. Id., and that was paid to me by Miss Burnham, or Mrs. 
Smith, as I knew her then, in the presence of the prisoner. When I 
received the policy completed from the head office, I handed it to 
the prisoner, on 17th December, I think. I was asked by my head 
office to ask Mrs. Smith her intention with regard to the policy, and 
I did so. She informed me that, in the event of her survival, it 
was for her own benefit, and in the event of her previous death it 
was for the benefit of her mother. The prisoner told me on 21st 
October that the two of them were going away for a holiday to Mrs. 
Smith's mother. Towards the end of November he told me he was 
going away again, I understood to her mother's. I did not know 
that he had been to Blackpool, or that he was thinking of going to 
Blackpool. He told me that he intended, as he was a married man, 
to make a will leaving his possessions to his wife, but that he did 
136 



Evidence for Prosecution. 

Charles F. Pleasance 

not like solicitors, and so I told him that he could obtain a will 
form from any stationers. He asked me if I would obtain one for 
him, but I forgot all about it. When I saw him again, shortly 
afterwards, he asked me if I had obtained the will form for him, 
and I told him I had forgotten about it, but as he seemed to be in 
a hurry to do it, I sketched out a rough form of words which he 
could make use of himself. The will was executed in proper form 
there and then by him, and he took it away. The purport of it 
was to the effect that he left everything to his wife. On another 
occasion, while the insurance was being considered, I remember 
speaking about how the wife's policy could be dealt with, that she 
could give effect to her wishes with regard to the policy either 
by assignment or by will, but he said that he would not think of 
allowing his wife to make a will. 

I received exhibit 11, which is a letter headed 16 Regent Road, 
Blackpool, and dated 14th December, 1913 — 

Dear Sir — Just a note to say that my poor wife died last Friday evening. 
Previously she had been treated by a local doctor for pains in the head. 
She died in her bath last night. A post-mortem examination and an inquest 
was held, the result was that she had a seizure and was unconscious, enlarged 
heart and fatty, and finally drowned. It was also mentioned about her 
operation last March, and her parents says she had had rheumatic fever some 
years back. I am coming back to my old apartments to-morrow, Monday, 
80 Kimberley Road. I will call on you then and give you all the informa- 
tion you require. I feel too upset to say more now. My wife's mother 
and brother have been good enough to travel all night in order to stay at 
the above address with me and follow the funeral, which takes place 
to-morrow, Monday, at 11 a.m. Yours truly, G. Smith. 

After receiving that letter, the prisoner came to see me at Ports- 
mouth, about 17th December. It was at that interview I gave him 
the completed policy on his wife's life. He showed me the death 
certificate (exhibit 203) — 

Alice Smith died 12th December, 1913, 16 Regent Road, Blackpool, 
aged 25, wife of George Smith, of independent means of 80 Kimberley Road, 
Portsmouth, U.D. Cause of death, accidental. Deceased suffered from 
heart disease, and was found drowned in a hot bath, probably through being 
seized with a fit or a faint, P.M. [That is, I suppose, post-mortem.,] Sig- 
nature, &c, of informant, Certificate received from John Parker, Coroner 
for Lancashire. Inquest held 13th of December, 1913. Registered 16th 
December, 1913. 

In addition to showing me that death certificate, he showed me 
exhibit 194, an original will of Alice Smith. I expressed surprise at 
its production, and he said that I was no more surprised than he 
was, that he had found it after her death. 

What were you alluding to when you said you were surprised? 

137 



George Joseph Smith. 

Charles F. Pleasaoce 

— To the prisoner's statement a few days previously that he would 
not allow his wife to make the will. Looking at the will, I see it 
is dated 8th December, 1913, and it is as follows: — 

This is the last will and testament of me, Alice Smith, wife of George 
Joseph Smith, 80 Kimberley Road, Portsmouth, in the County of Hants. I 
give all my real and personal estate whatsoever and wheresoever unto my 
husband the said George Joseph Smith, and I appoint my husband the sole 
executor of this my Will. In witness I have hereunto set my hand, 8th 
December, 1913. 

It is signed " Alice Smith," in the presence of Mr. Mark, solicitor, 
and Mr. Welling, his clerk. I forwarded the papers to my head 
office, and obtained the necessary claim forms, but I was unable 
to use them, because the prisoner had left Portsmouth before they 
arrived. I did not know he was going away from Portsmouth. 

Shortly after I first met the prisoner he spoke about being 
an agent for the North British and Mercantile Insurance Company, 
but he did not introduce any business. He said after his holiday he 
was going to settle in Portsmouth, and, as he had nothing to do 
and had plenty of friends, he would most likely be able to introduce 
business to our company. I never promised any share of commission 
in regard to the policy on Miss Burnham's life, nor was there any 
discussion between me and him on that subject. 

Cross-examined by Mr. Marshall Hall — I first met Smith on 
8th October. He was introduced to me by Mr. Knowles for the 
purpose of effecting an annuity with my company, he already having 
made inquiries of another company. I had some conversation with 
Smith about the annuity when I met him at the bank, and I had 
general conversation with him outside at other places. I had no 
other conversations after that date with regard to the annuity; it 
was all fixed up and paid for the same day that I first met him. 

At that time, did you not get friendly with Smith? — No, I was 
amiable, as I try to be to everybody. 

Amiable, but not friendly? — Yes. 

Did you show him your furniture and your sideboard and some 
pictures that you had, and things of that kind? — He was shown into 
ray dining room, and he passed remarks about different things. The 
price of an annuity varies according to the age last birthday. There 
would be no advantage in Smith buying any further annuity till he 
had passed his next birthday, in January. The first I saw of Miss 
Burnham was when the prisoner came and introduced me to her. 
She was not in nurse's costume. 

You know she had been for years a nurse? — I only knew from 
seeing it on the proposal. 

She was a strong, well-developed woman, was she not? — Yes. 
I should say she was about 5 feet 3 in height. She was with Smith 

138 



Evidence for Prosecution. 

Charles F. Pleasance 

when the question of insuring her life was first started. During the 
negotiations she had very little to say. 

She actually paid the premium herself? — Yes. 

And the first proposal form was in her handwriting? — Yes. 
And the actual acceptance and notification of acceptance were in 
fact sent to her? — Yes. 

I think there is a letter from your head office, who wanted to 
know what was the object of making that insurance? — Yes. 

Now, I want you to be fair with me. Did not you yourself 
suggest to Smith that this young lady should insure her life? — No. 

You are quite clear about that? — Yes. 

Who suggested the amount of £1000? — I do not know whether 
it was Miss Burnham or the prisoner. The premium payable on 
Miss Burnham's life, unmarried, for £1000 was approximately £24. 
The increased premium on her marriage would be for the first year 
an additional 1 per cent, on the sum assured, to cover the risk of 
childbirth. After the first year it would be the ordinary rate of 
premium, £24. For the £500 endowment policy the insurance 
premium was almost the same. 

Was there any conversation between you and Smith as to Smith 
effecting a life policy on his own life? — Yes. He promised to effect 
it some time about his next birthday. 

Was that the property that he was to leave by his will ? — I have 
no idea what his property was. 

In fact, was it not a condition of the acceptance of Mrs. Smith's 
proposed policy that Smith should effect a policy upon his own life 
as well? — It was not a condition. 

But there was an understanding between you? — There was an 
understanding. 

And you understood also that the policy was not to be effected 
until the month of January, in the following year, 1914? — Yes. 

On 21st October Smith told you he was going to Miss Burnham's 
mother. I do not think there is any dispute about that? — It was on 
that date he said he was going for a holiday to Bedford. It was on 
the subsequent date that he said he was going to her mother. 

The last time you saw Smith, until you saw him after you had 
received the letter (exhibit 111) was towards the end of November? 
That is so. 

I do not want to have any misunderstanding about this, because 
I attach some importance to this date. You never saw Smith until 
after the death of Miss Burnham after you saw him about the end of 
November? — The end of November or the first day or two of 
December. 

Are you prepared to swear that you never saw Smith after you 
had notice from the head office that the policy would be accepted? — 
I never saw him after I received the formal letter of acceptance, but 
I had been advised previously that it would be accepted under certain 
conditions. 

139 



George Joseph Smith. 

Charles F. Pleasance 

Re-examined by Mr. Bodkin — I received exhibit 12, -which is a 
letter from Kimberley Road, dated 14th January, 1914 — 

Dear Sir — I herewith return all papers connected with the North British 
and Metcxntile Assurance Company. I also request you kindly not to com- 
municate with me again. Thus if I do not see you or receive letters from 
you, I shall not be reminded of my poor wife, because when I see you or think 
about the insurance it only reminds me of her. Besides, you were the only 
man who I introduced my wife to ; therefore when I think of or through 
you it reminds me of her. This breaking off will not make any difference 
to you, but will certainly make a difference to Yours, &c, G. J. Smith. 

Dr. Harold Burrows, examined by Mr. Bodkin — I am a Bachelor 
of Medicine and Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons practising 
at Southsea. I hold the position of medical examiner for the North 
British and Mercantile Insurance Company. I remember seeing Miss 
Burnham about 4th November, 1913. Exhibit 199 is a form signed 
by me on 4th November, and it bears — " What is the present and 
general state of your health? — Quite good. State from what severe 
illnesses you have suffered, their date, duration, and name of medical 
attendant. — Rheumatic fever, 1899," &c. " No. 6. Have you ever 
Buffered from fits, paralysis, eye or ear disease, asthma, blood 
spitting, palpitation, fainting, piles, fistula, or stricture? — No. 
Supposed to have some kind of fit when nine years old. Have you 
ever had rheumatism, rheumatic fever, or gout? How often? Was 
the heart affected? — Rheumatic fever in 1913." Then there is a 
correction to 1899, because there is clearly an inconsistency — " Heart 
not affected. Have you ever met with any serious personal injury, 
which has left permanent bad effects? If so, state its nature, and 
how long since it occurred. — No. Have you rupture? If so, is it 
reducible? Is a truss or bandage worn? — No. Are you subject to 
any other complaints or affections, although you may consider them 
trivial? If so, state their nature. — No. Have you resided out of 
Europe? and has your health suffered from such residence? Have 
you ever been ordered abroad on account of your health? — No. Has 
any relative, living or dead, been affected with (a) consumption or 
other disease of the lungs? — No. (b) Rheumatism or gout? — No. 
(c) Insanity? — No. (cl) Cancer? — Mother's sister died of cancer of 
breast. What kind and quantity of stimulant do you usually take 
daily? — None." I examined her and found her general appearance 
healthy. Her height is given as 5 feet \ an inch, and her weight is 
8 stone 9 lbs. I could not swear to the height and weight, as I may 
have accepted her statement. The conclusion of my examination was 
— " I consider the applicant in all respects a good life." 

Cross-examined by Mr. Marshall Hall — Would you just refer 
to your answer No. 6. In examining the heart would it be possible 
for you to detect any sign of incipient fatty degeneration? — No. I 
would not go so far as that. 
140 




Alice Burnham, 



Evidence for Prosecution. 

Dr. Harold Burrows 

Not during life — that would be discovered on post-mortem? — Yes, 
it would be discovered by post-mortem. 

Charles Burnham, examined by Mr. Travers Humphreys — I am 
a fruit grower and live at Aston Clinton, near Tring, in Buckingham- 
shire. Alice Burnham was my daughter. At the time of her death 
she was twenty-five years old. She had had some training as a 
nurse, and in 1913 she was employed nursing a gentleman at 
Southsea. She had been there for about three years. She used to 
come and visit us at home during her holidays once a year, and 
sometimes twice a year. At Christinas, 1910, I made my son, 
Norman Charles, a present of my coal business, and at the same time 
I made a present of £40 to each of my other children. Alice was not 
at home at the time, and she told me to keep the £40 for her. When 
she came home for her holiday after that she gave me some money 
to add to the £40, making it up to £100, and I gave her the 
document (exhibit 178), dated 22nd June, 1912— 

I promise to pay my daughter, Alice Burnham, of Aston Clinton, in the 
County of Buckinghamshire, the sum of £100 with interest at the rate of 
3 per cent, per annum for value received. 

[Mr. Marshall Hall objected that the principle of A. G. v. Makin did 
not extend to the admission of evidence, not directly connected with 
the fact of the death of Miss Burnham, but the Court ruled that any 
evidence proving a system to obtain money by murder was admis- 
sible.] In October, 1913, I first heard of a Mr. Smith as a friend 
of my daughter. I sent an invitation to Mr. Smith to visit me and 
mv wife, and my wife received in reply exhibit 179, which is dated 
22nd October, 1913— 

Dear Mrs. Burnham — I was pleased with the purport of your letters to 
Alice. I am now looking forward to coming to Aston Clinton to see you 
all. You mentioned in your last letter whether we quite understood each 
other ; my answer to that question is yes, and what is more, we love each 
other. I have never given it a thought as to whether I should be comfort- 
able during my stay at your home, but I could make myself happy any- 
where so long as Alice was with me. I have also travelled a great deal and 
can adapt myself to circumstances. We intend leaving Willesden Junction 
at 3.13, arriving at Tring at 4.6 p.m. Saturday. It will not be necessary to 
bring much luggage, therefore we shall only bring a small bag. Trusting 
this will find you and Mr. Burnham quite well. Believe me, Yours faith- 
fully, G. J. Smith. 

On the Saturday my daughter and Mr. Smith came; I met them at 
the station. I recognise the prisoner as Mr. Smith. They remained 
until Friday, 31st October. I understood that they proposed to get 
married at Christmas. I received exhibit 180, being a letter to me 
from Smith, dated 11th November, 1913 — 

141 



George Joseph Smith. 

Charles Burrham 

Sir — The views and actions which you have been pleased to take towards 
our marriage are both inconsistent and contemptible. You absolutely appear 
to be quite out of touch with the methods and principles by which every- 
day life is handled. Moreover, having failed in your final attempt to wreck 
all possibilities of marriage, you take shelter in obdurateness, contempt and 
remorse. . . . what earthly right have you to scorn your daughter in 
these ways? Is the record of your family so full of virtue that you despise 
and grudge your daughter's bright prospects. I am not going to waste my 
time in trying to enlighten you on things you are quite old enough to know 
and understand, but at least I remind you that by causing friction broadcast 
as you have is the greatest mistake in your life-time. It is mentioned in 
the letter Alice received on the 11th instant that as I have an income — the 
£100 and interest should stand over. A more foolish and illegal action I 
have never heard. The money is payable on demand, failing which I will 
take the matter up myself without further delay. 

I did not know that my daughter and Mr. Smith were going to be 
married on 4th November. I did not answer the letter of 11th 
November. I received exhibit 181, dated 18th November — 

Sir — On behalf of my wife who wrote you a fortnight ago requesting you 
to forward on to her the £100 with interest which you were minding for 
her, I request you to forward same to her at the above address on or before 
the 22nd inst., failing which I shall be compelled to take the usual course 
in order to secure the sum referred to — regardless of costs. Yours, &c, 
G. Smith. 

The " above address " is 80 Kimberley Road, East, Southsea. At 
the same time I got a letter from my daughter. Having got those 
two letters from my daughter and my son-in-law, I consulted Mr. 
Redhead, of Messrs. Horwood & James, solicitors. I did not know 
anything at that time about my son-in-law's parentage, or anything 
about his family, but I tried to find out, and I received the postcard 
(exhibit 183) from him, dated 24th November — 

Sir — In answer to your application regarding my parentage, &c. My 
mother was a Buss horse, my father a Cab-driver, my sister a roughrider 
over the arctic regions — my brothers were all gallant sailors on a steam- 
roller. This is the only information I can give to those who are not 
entitled to ask such questions — contained in the letter I received on the 
24th inst. Your despised Son-in-law, G. Smith. 

1 also got the postcard (exhibit 184), dated 27th November — 

Sir — I do not know your next move, but take my advice and be careful. 
Yours, &c, G. Smith. 

I received exhibit 185, being letter dated 1st December — 

Sir — I have all the copies of the letters, &c, my wife and self has 
sent to you and your/;, also all letters, &c, we have received relating to 
142 



Evidence for Prosecution. 

Charles Burnham 

same and family affairs which I intend to keep for the purpose of justice, 
G. J. Smith. 

On the advice of my solicitor I drew a cheque for the money which I 
owed to my daughter. I gave him a cheque and asked him to write 
out a cheque in their name, the amount being £104 Is., that being 
the £100 I had received with the 3 per cent, interest that I had 
undertaken to pay to my daughter. 

Mr. Justice Scrutto^ — That is the cheque for £104 Is. Id. 
paid into the Lamport Bank. 

Examination continued — I then got back through my solicitor 
the promissory note which I had given to my daughter. On the back 
of that promissory note there is in my daughter's handwriting — 

Received all money due on this security, 1st December, 1913. Alice 
Smith. 

Exhibit 186 is a postcard addressed to my wife, the postmark being 
"1st December, 1913 — Blackpool, 9.45 p.m.," and it is addressed 
from 16 Regent Road — 

Dear M. — Alice is very ill. I will wire you to-morrow. Yours, George. 
On the same day I received the following telegram : — 

Alice died last night in her bath. Letter following, Smith, 16 Regent 
Road, Blackpool. 

Having got that telegram, my wife and son at once started for 
Blackpool, and they arrived there on the Sunday. On the Sunday 
morning the letter referred to in the telegram arrived, and I opened 
it (exhibit 188)— 

My Dear Mother-in-law — After arriving here Alice complained of pains 
in the head and went to a doctor who examined her and gave her treatment. 
Yesterday she again complained to me and the landlady of pains in the 
head, when she sent you and her sister a postcard. After which I took 
her for a walk and she appeared better. Later on I find she had made 
arrangements with the landlady for a bath. About 20 minutes after she 
entered the bath I called out to her and got no answer, and after acquaint- 
ing the people in the house that something is wrong in getting no answer 
I entered the bath-room and found poor Alice with her head and shoulders 
under the water. The doctor who had previously attended her was sent for 
by my request to come at once, which he did. I held her head out of the 
water and let the water run off away from her. When the doctor came we 
lifted her out of the bath — he examined her and said she is dead. I then 
went to the Police Station and asked them to send an official to come to the 
house and take particulars, which they did. This is the greatest and most 
cruel shock that ever a man could have suffered. Words cannot describe 
my feelings. We were so happy together, which she has told all her friends 

143 



George Joseph Smith. 

Charles Burnham 

in her letters to them. The people here have been very kind right through 
the whole time. The inquest will be held early next week. I will then 
write you, sending all further particulars. Can you tell me her age when 
she had rheumatic fever, and her age when she was in the Great Ormond 
Street Hospital. 

That letter is in my son-in-law's handwriting, but it is not signed. 
It came in a registered envelope. I knew that my daughter had some 
money in the Post Office Savings Bank, but I do not know how much. 
I did not know that her life was insured. Exhibit 190 is signed by my 
daughter, " Alice Burnham," and is a notice of withdrawal of 
£27 10s. 2d. from the Post Office Savings Bank, and asking that that 
amount be paid at the Southsea Portsmouth post office. Being shown 
post office deposit book, I find on 20th October a withdrawal of 
£27 19s. 5d. I also find on 27th June, 1912, a withdrawal of £60, 
the date of the promissory note. I did not know that my daughter- 
had made a will. [Shown exhibit 194.] The signature to that will is 
my daughter's signature. My daughter used to wear rings, but I 
could not say how many she had. Exhibit 197 is a postcard in my 
daughter's handwriting. 

Cross-examined by Mr. Marshall Hall — I may as well read that 
postcard now — 

16 Regent Road, Blackpool, December 12th, 1913. My dear Mother— 
We arrived here last Wednesday, have very nice comfortable apartments 
and find Blackpool a lovely place. I am sorry to say that I have again 
suffered with bad headaches, and which necessitated my seeing a doctor— 
my taking medicine. My husband does all he possibly can for me— in fact, 
Dear, I have the best husband in the world. With fond love from us both' 
Yours lovingly, Alice. 

That is the contents of the postcard? — Yes. 

In the telegram annnouncing the death the full address at Black- 
pool was in the body of the telegram? — Yes. 

William Henderson, examined by Mr. Humphreys — I am regis- 
trar of marriages for the district of Portsmouth. I produce the 
original register of marriages for the month of November, 1913. 
No. 187 in that book is an entry of a marriage by licence of two 
persons named George Joseph Smith and Alice Burnham. George 
Joseph Smith is described as a bachelor. Exhibit 3 is a certified 
extract from the register issued by me to the bride, Mrs. Smith, at 
the time of the marriage. 

Mrs. Elizabeth Burmiam, examined by Mr. Bodkin I am the 

wife of Charles Burnham, of Aston Clinton. My daughter Alice was 
twenty-five years of age when she died. She lived with me up to 
about four or five years before her death. I have other two daughters, 
144 



Evidence for Prosecution. 

Elizabeth Burnham 

and the three girls lived at home for a long time together. When 
Alice was nine or ten years old she had a slight attack of something — 
a kind of epilepsy, I think — and the doctor thought it better for 
her to go to the Great Ormond Street Hospital for a change. After 
being in that hospital for about three weeks she came back to us 
quite better. She never had another attack of that kind. Not very 
long after that she was ill with rheumatic fever for about seven 
or eight weeks, but she got over that illness without any difficulty. 
In her disposition she was a very bright girl; she went out in the 
fresh air and took exercise, and seemed to enjoy her life. After she 
left our roof she came back to me from time to time, and on each 
occasion she was very well in health. She seemed to be a very 
healthy woman. I recollect hearing something about her in October, 
1913, and afterwards she and the accused paid a visit. 

Did he say anything to you about himself when he was there? — 
Only that he was a gentleman of independent means. He said that 
he and my daughter were going to be married at Christmas, and that 
the marriage would take place in Aston Clinton. The marriage was 
talked over amongst us, and I was quite agreeable that it should take 
place in our village, where we are known. 

Had you any knowledge at all that she was going to be, or was, 
married on 4th November until after she was married ? — We did not 
know what date she was going to be married, but when they left us 
they said they were to be married elsewhere. 

There was some change then from the plan of being married at 
Christmas? — Yes, my husband did not like the man, did not like 
his behaviour. I did not know that 4th November was the day on 
which they were going to be married. I had a letter or two and a 
postcard from my daughter after 4th November. I remember exhibit 
186 coming on Saturday, 13th December, and also a telegram. My 
son Norman and I started at once to go to Blackpool, and we arrived 
there on the Sunday morning about ten o'clock. We had not sent 
any word to say that we were coming. I was dressed in black. 
When I saw the accused at 16 Regent Road he said, " You might 
as well have dropped me a card," and I said there was no time 
for that. I went in and asked to see my daughter. The accused 
said that her body was at the mortuary, and he thought I could go 
and see her. I went round to the mortuary along with him, and I 
saw my daughter there. The accused told us that the inquest had 
been held on the Saturday evening, and that the funeral was to be on 
the Monday morning. My son Norman, the accused, and I attended 
the funeral. Young Mrs. Crossley and Mr. Crossley were also there. 
After the funeral Smith said that he was going back to Southsea by 
the twelve o'clock train. I asked him what he was going to do 
with my daughter's belongings, and he said that he did not know 
at present, that he had not made up his mind as to what he was 
going to do with them. He asked me about two of my other daugh- 
l 145 



George Joseph Smith. 

Elizabeth Burnham 

ters, and he took their names down as though he were going to send 
them some of her belongings. He left us on the way from the 
cemetery, and I never saw him again till I saw him at Bow Street, 
nor did I ever hear from him. I had no knowledge up to the time 
of my daughter's death that she was insured or that she had made 
a will, nor had I any knowledge of her having any property. I 
knew she had some money in the Post Office Savings Bank, but I 
did not know how much she had. When I got home I found the 
letter (exhibit 188). Exhibit 197 had arrived before I started on 
the Saturday. It is a postcard, signed " Alice " — 

My dear mother — We arrived here on Wednesday. I have again suffered 
from bad headaches. My husband does all he possibly can. 

That is the last communication I ever had from my daughter. 

Cross-examined by Mr. Marshall Hall — When Smith and your 
daughter came down before the marriage, as you have told us just now, 
there was some little unpleasantness when thev parted — your husband 
did not like Mr. Smith? — That is so. 

Your daughter told you, did she not, that the marriage was 
going to take place sooner than Christmas? — Yes. My daughter was 
a nurse, and had been nursing for some three or four years. 

You did not know very much about her life at Southend, did 
you? — At Portsmouth. 

You did not know very much about her after she left home? — 
Yes, from time to time she came home on her holiday. 

But did you know any details of her life at Portsmouth, except 
that she was nursing this gentleman? — No. 

In the postcard she says, " I have again suffered from bad 
headaches, which necessitated seeing a doctor." Did you know that 
she did suffer from headaches? — I never knew that she did. 

" And am taking medicine." Did you know that she suffered 
from headaches at certain times rather badly? — I believe she did 
suffer. 

Did Smith send a large hamper full of clothing belonging 
to his wife down to you? — No, nothing at all was sent — at any rate, 
nothing was received. 

Norman Charles Burnham, examined by Mr. Whitelky — I am a 
coal merchant, and live at' The Laurels, Aston Clinton. Alice Burn- 
ham was my sister. On 9th February of this year I went to Black- 
pool, and on the 10th I went to the cemetery, where I saw a coffin 
which had been exhumed. It was opened, and I identified the body 
in it as the body of my sister Alice. 

Mrs. Annie May Pinchtn, examined by Mr. Bodkin — I am the 
wife of Victor Drewitt Pinchin, of Burnham House, Toddincton, 
Bedfordshire. Alice Burnham was my sister. I lived with her at 
146 



Evidence for Prosecution. 

Annie May Pinch in 

home until I left', some twelve or thirteen years ago. Up to that 
time her health was fairly good, as far as I can remember. After 
that I saw her from time to time during the holidays. She was very 
well then indeed. She had a very bright disposition. When I was 
married, in 1912, my sister gave me £10 as a loan. When I saw 
her the following summer I mentioned it to her, and she said I 
need not trouble about it. I recollect seeing the accused in October, 
1913. He came to my house in Toddington with my sister and my 
father. I remember receiving after that a letter from a solicitor 
in Southsea called Mr. Robinson. 

In consequence of getting that letter, was a money order for 
£10 sent to Southsea? — No, the money was sent the day before we 
received the letter. The £10 was sent to 80 Kimberley Road, South- 
sea. [S'hown exhibit 234.] I got that receipt for the delivery of a 
registered letter from the post office, addressed to Mrs. George Smith, 
80 Kimberley Road, East Southsea, posted at Toddington, November, 
1913." The receipt also bears that the letter was duly delivered, 
and it is signed G. J. Smith." I also received exhibit 235, which 
is a formal acknowledgment from my sister — " I have this day 
received £10 from A. M. Pinchin for money lent — Alice Smith." 

Claud Edward Allen Redhead, examined by Mr. Bodkin — I am 
a partner in the firm of Horwood & James, solicitors, Aylesbury. 
On 22nd November, 1913, I was consulted by Mr. Charles Burnham 
with reference to a sum of £100 that he held. Certain letters were 
shown to me (exhibits 180 and 181), signed in the name of Smith, 
demanding the £100. I received some instructions from Mr. Burn- 
ham, and a little later on I got a letter from a Mr. Robinson, a 
solicitor in Portsmouth. In consequence of that letter I communi- 
cated with Mr. Burnham, and I afterwards sent Mr. Robinson exhibit 
233, my firm's cheque for £104 Is. Id. That cheque is endorsed 
" Alice Smith " and " G. J. Smith," and it is stamped " Lloyds' 
Bank, Lamport." 

Robert Joseph Robinson, examined by Mr. Bodkin — I am a 
solicitor, practising at Portsmouth. I remember two persons named 
Smith calling upon me in November, 1913. I recognise the prisoner 
as Mr. Smith. They showed me exhibit 230, a letter from Messrs. 
Horwood & James, Aylesbury, addressed to Mr. Smith, and asking 
certain particulars regarding him. The following paragraph appears 
in that letter: — " It is, however, not unnatural that Mr. Burnham 
should be concerned that his daughter should have married a man 
about whom he knows so little, and he desires us to ask you to be 
good enough to forward to us particulars of the date and place of 
your birth and information as to the names, position, and place of 
abode of your parents." I communicated with Messrs. Horwood & 
James, and eventually, on 28th November, I received a cheque for 

147 



George Joseph Smith. 

Robert J. Robinson 

.£104 Is. Id., which I handed over to Mr. and Mrs. Smith. I 
prepared the receipt for that money (exhibit 178), signed by Mr. 
and Mrs. Smith, and sent it on to Messrs. Horwood & James. I 
remember after some time writing, on Mrs. Smith's instructions, a 
letter to some one of the name of Pinchin. The accused was present 
when Mrs. Smith gave me instructions. 

Mrs. Amnx Page, examined by Mr. Humphreys — I live at 80 
Kimberley Road, Southsea. I was letting apartments at that address 
in September and October, 1913. I recognise the man in the dock 
as a lodger of mine. He stayed in a bed-sitting room for about four 
or five weeks. He came to me either in the end of September or the 
beginning of October. After he had been there a little while a lady, 
Miss Burnham, came to see him. [Shown two photographs (exhibits 
192 and 193).] That is the lady. I remember the accused going 
away for a short time. 

Did he tell you where he was going to? — I did not know at the 
time. I thought they went to her mother's. When they came back 
again Miss Burnham came and stayed in the house too. 

Did you know they were married? — Yes. They stayed with me 
till they went to Blackpool. The accused did not tell me how long 
he expected to be away. After they went to Blackpool Mr. Smith 
sent me a postcard to say that the lady had died. They went to 
Blackpool on the Wednesday, and the accused came back alone on 
the Monday evening. I asked him if his wife was buried, and he 
said yes. When they went to Blackpool they left most of their 
luggage behind in my house. I believe the things were afterwards 
sold, but I do not know where they went to. 

Dr. Bertram Stone, examined by Mr. Bodkix — I am a Bachelor of 
Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery, Oxford, practising at 61 Clarendon 
Road, Southsea. I am the medical attendant of a Mr. Holt, who has 
been In an invalid condition for some years. Through attending 
him I got to know his nurse, Alice Burnham. She had been his 
nurse for about three years. I used to see Mr. Holt nearly every 
day, and also the nurse. 

What was her general appearance and general health while you 
were visiting Mr. Holt? — Veiy good. In March, 1913, she consulted 
me as a medical man. It became necessary at that time for an 
operation to be performed upon her. There was some peritonitis, 
inflammation of the lower part of the stomach. Before the operation 
took place my partner and I anticipated that it would be a serious 
one, and I examined her to see whether she was fit physically to 
stand a severe operation. We came to the conclusion that she was 
quite fit to stand the operation. Before the operation an anaesthetic 
was administered, and then the operation was performed by my 
partner. She stood it very well, and she made a rapid and 
successful recovery. 
148 



Evidence for Prosecution. 

Dr. Bertram Stone 

In the course of your attendance upon her at and after the 
operation, did you form the opinion that her health and constitution 
were good and strong] — Yes. She afterwards in due course 
resumed her duties with Mr. Holt. I remember getting a com- 
munication from the North British and Mercantile Insurance 
Company in the early days of November. I learned that she was 
about to insure her life, and I gave an opinion to the Insurance 
Company about her health. I saw her about that time, and I 
formed the opinion that her health was very good. After the 
operation, after her convalescence, and later, I, on several occasions, 
examined her heart. It appeared to me to be quite sound. 

Cross-examined by Mr. Marshall Hall — This patient of yours, 
Miss Burnham, was specially well developed in the bust, was she 
not? — Yes. she was well developed. 

That renders external examination of the heart's action a little 
more difficult than it does in the case of a person that is not so 
well developed? — That is so. 

There might exist some heart trouble without your being able 
to detect it? — A slight degree of heart trouble. 

For instance, there might be some slight tendency to fatty 
degeneration ? — Yes. 

And you might also get, might you not, an enlarged heart with 
a somewhat diseased valve without being able to detect it if the 
disease of the valve was not very much marked? — Yes, that is so. 

One of the members of your profession who examined her after 
death in December of the same year found that her heart was 
enlarged, the valves diseased as if she had some rheumatic fever 
or inflammation round the valves of the heart. That would be 
consistent with the external examination which you made in 
November? — Yes, if present in a slight degree. 

I want to ask about this operation. Did you know that she 
had suffered from headaches at the menstrual period? — Yes, I 
believe she did tell me. 

In the course of your operation you removed one of the 
fallopian tubes? — Yes. 

The fallopian tube is very fine, about the diameter of a hair? 
—Yes. 

There are two fallopian tubes. Does the removal of that tube 
throw extra work at this period upon the other tube? — Yes. 

Is the headache at that period frequently caused by any slight 
inflammatory condition of the fallopian tubes, thus impeding the 
progress of the ovum in its descent? Would that cause reflex 
action or pain? — It might. Any case of congestion would, of 
course, set up a reflex headache. 

It was absolutely necessary to perform this operation? — 
Absolutely. 

149 



George Joseph Smith. 

Dr. Bertram Stone 

If you had not performed the operation she would have had 
more congestion? — Yes, I gave her a plain anaesthetic — chloroform 
and ether — and she stood it quite well. She was under the 
chloroform for over an hour. 

Do you not find very often that when a patient has had a 
long operation of that kind there is a predisposition afterwards to 
heart trouble? — I have never seen a case. 

Anaesthesia produced by chloroform and ether for an hour 
would be a great strain on the heart, would it not? — It would be 
some strain on the heart, certainly. 

By Mr. Justice Scrutton — The doctor who made the post- 
mortem examination would have an ample opportunity of examining 
the actual condition at the time of the death? — Quite. 

By Mr. Marshall Hall — I think you said before the 
magistrate, " I attended her as a patient up to November. I 
thought it desirable that during that period she should have medical 
supervision "1 — Yes. 

Be-examined by Mr. Bodkin — The operation involved a deep 
incision. 

After an operation of that kind, is it advisable that a doctor 
should be in general superintendence? — Not for as long as I was 
attending her. There was another condition altogether present 
which I was attending her for during that time, something which 
was not brought about by the operation, but which was responsible 
for the operation. (The witness wrote down what was the cause of 
the operation.) The affection for which I was treating her was a 
local affection. It is quite common for women at those periods to 
suffer from headaches. In examining Miss Burnham's heart I paid 
careful attention to the sounds. There was nothing in the sounds 
of the heart to imply that there was any abnormal condition 
present at all. 

When you made the post-mortem examination of her body, 
were you able to discover anything abnormal in the valves of the 
heart? — Not during life, no. Affection of the mitral valve is 
fairly common. 

Miss Burnham when she was a girl had something which was 
described as a fit. Do you know any condition which is not 
uncommon after rheumatic fever, chorea? — Yes. 

Might that be described as a fit by people who have scientific 
training? — Certainly, it might have been. 

By Mr. Marshall Hall — The patient that Miss Burnham 
attended was rather an old man, and attendance upon him involved 
continuous lifting of him. He was very thin. 

By Mr. Bodkin — After the operation and during the time of 
the building up of the tissues I advised her not to lift her patient, 
as it would be an undue strain, and bear acutely upon the seat 
of the operation. 
150 



Evidence for Prosecution. 

Frank P. Marsh 

Frank Pekcival Marsh, examined by Mr. Whitelet — In 
December, 1913, I was practising as a solicitor at Portsmouth. 
Exhibit 194 is a will prepared by me on Alice Burnham's instruc- 
tions. She came to me on 8th December, 1913, between eleven and 
twelve o'clock. I duly prepared the will, and it was executed by 
her that morning. I cannot remember whether I handed it to 
her after she had executed it. To the best of my knowledge she 
was alone when she called on me. She was an absolute stranger 
to me. 

Charles Henry Watling, examined by Mr. Whitelet — I am 
clerk to the Clerk of Magistrates at Portsmouth. In December, 
1913, I was a clerk in the employ of Mr. Marsh, solicitor. I 
witnessed the will (exhibit 194). I remember the visit of the 
person who executed that will — Mrs. Alice Smith. I saw her when 
she came, and to the best of my knowledge she was alone. I also 
saw her when she came back to execute the will. She was alone. 

Susanna Marsden, examined by Mr. Travers Humphreys — I 
live at 65 Adelaide Street, Blackpool, and I let rooms at that house. 
I remember early in December, 1913, a man and woman coming 
and asking for rooms. They told me that they came from Ports- 
mouth, and they gave the name of Smith. I recognise the accused 
as Mr. Smith. They asked me for a bedroom. I showed them a 
bedroom and they said it was all right. Mr. Smith asked me if 
I had got a bath, and I said no, and then he said it would not do 
for them. I recommended them rooms in Regent Road, where I 
knew the houses had bathrooms. 

Cross-examined by Mr. Marshall Hall — Have you had any 
experience of hospital nurses? — No. 

Do you know they are particularly clean people? — Oh, yes. 

Mrs. Margaret Crossley, examined by Mr. Bodkin — I am a 
widow living at 99 Cocker Street, Blackpool. In December, 1913, 
I was living at 16 Regent Road along with my daughter Alice. 
I remember some people calling for rooms at my house on 10th 
December. I recognised the accused as the man, and I also recognise 
in exhibits 192 and 193 the young woman who was with him. They 
gave me the names of Mr. and Mrs. Smith. Mr. Smith wanted to 
know if I let rooms, and said they wanted a bed-sitting room. 
I called to my daughter Alice to show them upstairs. Before they 
went upstairs I heard Smith mumble to Mrs. Smith, and I could 
not make out what it was, and then she said, " Oh, yes, have you 
a bath? " and I said, " Yes, that is all right." 

Did you notice Mrs. Smith at that time to see what sort of 
health she seemed to be in? — Quite all right. They took a bed- 
sitting room in the front of the house. I asked them for how long 

151 



George Joseph Smith. 

Margaret Crossley 

they wanted the room, and Smith said for probably a week. I 
charged them 10s. for the week. Having secured the room, they 
went out for their luggage, and then they came back with a brownish 
hold-all and a little parcel of some kind. They had their tea down- 
stairs while we were getting the room upstairs ready. After tea 
Smith asked at what time the post went, and I told him about eight 
o'clock. They afterwards went out, and came back about ten 
o'clock. Before going out neither of them told me where they 
were going. Next morning, Thursday, the 11th, they had breakfast 
in their bed-sitting room about nine o'clock. It was arranged that 
they were to buy meat and other things themselves, and I would 
do the cooking. They came back for dinner about one o'clock. I 
asked Mrs. Smith if they had had a good night, and she said, " Yes, 
1 am quite all right, thank you." She said something about a slight 
headache with travelling, and added, " I shall be all right." They 
told me that they had come from Portsmouth. After having their 
mid-day dinner they went out, and then came home to tea. They 
stayed in for a little after tea, and then they went out again. They 
told my daughter that they had been to the pictures. I attended 
them on the Friday morning. Mrs. Smith seemed to be quite bright 
and lively, and she did not say anything to me about a headache. 
After dinner Mrs. Smith came into my kitchen to return a book 
which I had lent to her. I thought she was a very nice person. She 
and Mr. Smith then went out somewhere and came back to tea. 
When I went up to the room to clear away the tea things I found 
Mrs. Smith writing— I think it was a postcard— and Mr. Smith was 
etanding over her, at her right shoulder. He said, " I would not 
put that " or "Do not put that," and pointed to what she was 
writing. I did not hear her say anything as to whom she was 
writing. They went out about six o'clock; I actually saw them go 
out. While they were out my daughter prepared a bath. In my 
house I have a separate room used as a bathroom with a fixed bath. 
It is above the kitchen at the back of the house. The bed-sitting 
room which the Smiths occupied was on the first floor, to the front, 
and in order to go from it into the bathroom it was necessary to go 
along the corridor and down two or three steps. There is a pile 
carpet on the floor of that passage up to the bathroom, and there is 
a similar carpet on the floor of the bathroom itself. There is a cooking 
range in the kitchen under the bathroom, and there is hot and cold 
water laid on, so that it is possible to have hot water in the bath 
straight away. The bathroom is lighted by gas. Mr. and Mrs. 
Smith came back just a little before eight o'clock and went upstairs. 
My daughter, my son-in-law, and I were having our tea in the kitchen. 
The door of the bathroom is fastened by a bolt separate from the 
handle of the lock. It was in perfect order when the Smiths were in 
my house. [The bolt (exhibit 174) handed to witness, and to the 
Court and jury.] 
152 



Evidence for Prosecution. 

Margaret Crossley 

By Mr. Justice Scrtjtton — Any one who wanted to bolt the 
door could do it? — Yes. Whoever used that room always bolted 
the door. 

Examination continued — They were both in good order when the 
Smiths were in my house. Whilst sitting in the kitchen I noticed 
that there was some water coming through the ceiling and on both 
sides, the end and side, down the walls. I never noticed that before 
when a visitor in the house had been taking a bath, nor have I ever 
noticed it since. I did not hear any sound at all from the bathroom 
as I was sitting in the kitchen. The three of us remarked amongst 
ourselves upon the water on the ceiling. Mr. Smith came down 
into the kitchen with two eggs for next morning's breakfast. I 
wondered what was the matter with him; he looked so wild and 
agitated. I should think he stood talking in the kitchen for about 
ten minutes or so, but I could not really say — a little time, just a 
short time. He spoke about a motor fire engine that was going to 
be tried on the Monday following, and that he would have to go 
and see it. After talking for a while he went away, and then I 
heard him call " Alice, when you have done put the light out." I 
said to my daughter, who was in the kitchen at that time, " Alice, 
there is Mr. Smith calling for you," and she went to the stairs and 
called out wanting to know if he was calling for her. He said, 
" No, I was calling my wife and she does not answer me." I left 
the kitchen then and went up two or three steps, and then I saw 
Smith on the bathroom landing ; he was standing on the mat in the 
bathroom doorway. He said, " Fetch the doctor," and I said, " Oh, 
what is the matter? " He replied, " My wife cannot speak to me; 
fetch Dr. Billing, she knows him." Dr. Billing lives quite near to 
my house. I ran for him, and he came to my house in a few minutes. 
I waited on the stairs when he came, and then I asked him what was 
wrong, and he said, " Oh, she is drowned; she is dead." Smith 
was upstairs on the landing then. I went back to the kitchen, and 
my daughter called Mrs. Haynes to come in. After the doctor had 
gone Smith came down into the kitchen. I said to him, " How 
dreadful; what an awful thing this is," and he said he would not be 
surprised at anything that would happen afterwards. When they got 
the lady out of the bath I told him I would not have him stopping 
in the house. I said to him, " Now, Smith, you cannot stop here 
to-night," and he said, " Why, I could sleep where she was," and 
I said, " I take care you do not." He replied, " When they are 
dead they are dead." 

The Prisoner — This woman is a lunatic. 

Examination continued — I asked Mrs. Haynes to provide Smith 
with a bed, and I said to her that if he did not pay her I would pay 
her. Mrs. Haynes' house is just over the garden wall. Smith slept 
in her house that night. The body of Mrs. Smith was taken into the 
bed-sitting room which they had. I remember the policeman coming 

153 



George Joseph Smith. 

Margaret Crossley 

that evening; he did not stay very long. The body was taken away 
from the house the next day. On the Saturday morning the prisoner 
came back to my house for breakfast. 

Did you notice his behaviour or his manner? — Yes, I did not 
like his behaviour under the circumstances, and I said so. I said 
to him I thought he was callous; I said so several times. On that 
Saturday morning I went up into the bed-sitting room, and I noticed 
something there which I had not noticed before. I saw a medicine 
bottle and a box of tabloids, and I brought them downstairs and said 
to my daughter, " I think we will destroy these." I threw them 
into the dustbin. There had not been any more than a tablespoonfu! 
of the medicine taken out of the bottle. The box of tabloids 
appeared to be full. In the course of the Saturday reference was 
made to the funeral, that it was to be on the Monday morning. 1 
think it would be in the middle of the day that I heard that the 
inquest was to take place that evening. I gave evidence at the 
inquest. I asked Smith who would be coming to see his wife buried, 
and he said, " Oh, no one will come." I said, " There will be some- 
body come belonging to her surely," and he said, " No, they arc- 
too poor, and too common; they will not come." He brought his 
hold-all down into the dining room and packed it there. I was at 
home on the Sunday afternoon, and I saw Mrs. and Mr. Burnham, 
and put them up for the night. I saw the prisoner both before and 
after the funeral on the Monday. After the funeral he came to fetch 
his hold-all, and stayed for about ten minutes. I remember his 
leaving me an address — " G. Smith, Esq., 80 Kimberley Road, East 
Southsea." [The usher showed the witness one side only of exhibit 
175, a postcard on which prisoner had written his address. On the 
other side witness had written " wife died in bath, I shall see him 
again someday."] He wanted me to send some newspapers contain- 
ing a notice of the death, but I did not do so. I did not see him 
again, nor did I hear from him until I saw him at Bow Street. I never 
make any charge to my visitors for taking a bath. 

Cross-examined by Mr. Marshall Hall — I have kept this 
lodging-house at Blackpool for one year. When Mr. and Mrs. Smith 
arrived I saw nothing strange in their behaviour. She was a very 
nice woman, and, as far as I could judge, he was a respectable- 
looking man. 

Until the evening when the death happened, you had no fault to 
find with either of them? — No. 

The first thing untoward that happened at all was water coming 
through the ceiling from the bathroom? — Yes. The water ran down 
the walls, and there was a big patch on the ceiling. 

I suggest to you that you have got a very strong feeling against 
Mr. Smith?— Oh, no. 

And that you are colouring your evidence? — No, I am not. 

Do you know that between the bathroom and the kitchen ceiling 
154 



Evidence for Prosecution. 

Margaret Crossley 

there are joists and all the space between the floor and the top of 
the ceiling? — Yes. 

Do you know how long it takes for water percolating through 
the ceiling after it has overflowed in a bathroom to come down actually 
in drops? — I do not know how long it takes, but I saw it. 

Madam, did any water come through that ceiling? — It ran down 
— it was on the ceiling. 

Did any drop of water drop from the ceiling? — It ran down 
the wall. 

Mr. Smith came into the kitchen very shortly after the water 
had come through. Did you call his attention to the fact that the 
water was coming through? — No. I wanted my daughter to go up 
and tell him it was coming through, but she said, " No, don't bother; 
tell them next time." I did not tell Mr. Smith that water was 
coming through, because I thought they would think that we were 
grumbling after they had only been in the house for two days. I 
did not go up into the bathroom, and I never saw the body in the 
bath. My daughter and her husband went into the bathroom. I 
won't say whether the police went into the bathroom or not, but the 
doctor did. I did not hear Smith come downstairs. 

Did he come downstairs or come in at the front door? — He came 
down the stairs. 

How do you know? — I know by him having eggs in his hand, and 
he had no hat on or anything. 

That night you told Mr. Smith he could not sleep in your house? 
—Yes. 

You were very angry with Smith that night? — No, I was not very 
angry. 

You say you thought he was very callous? — I thought he was a 
very hard man. 

And you told him you would not have him in the house? — Yes. 

You spoke to him quite sharply, did you not? — I do not know 
if I spoke sharp or not. I felt worried about the affair. 

Did he ask you why you would not have him in the house that 
night, and did you say, " Because I won't have a callous man like 
you in the house "? — Yes. 

"What do you think made you say he was a callous man? — 
Because he did not seem to worry at all, for one thing. 

Was he not very much upset? — There is a difference between 
being in trouble and upset. I did not like his manner, and he knew 
I did not. 

Did you think he had had something to do with his wife's 
death? — I was thinking he was a hard-hearted man. I shall not 
answer the question what I thought. 

You won't answer the question? — No, I cannot answer it, what 
I think about that. 

155 



George Joseph Smith. 

Margaret Crossley 

Did you think the water coming through the ceiling was an 
important matter? — I did not think so much just at the time, but I 
thought it was strange that it should be coming through, because 
we never had it before. On the Saturday morning Smith came back 
to my house and had breakfast in the downstairs sitting room. 

And went out to see the undertaker? — Yes, he said he was 
going. 

Did you think in the morning his demeanour was the same as it 
had been the night before? — I did not think he had the feeling of a 
husband that night. I saw him again on the Saturday afternoon. 

Had anything occurred to change the feeling, whatever it was, 
that you had towards him the night before? — I had no wrong feeling 
against him at all — only to speak the truth. I gave evidence at the 
inquest on the Saturday evening. I think I knew about mid-day 
that I was wanted to give evidence. 

Did you tell one of the gentlemen of the jury at the inquest this, 
" They were both strangers. She was a very nice person. I was 
thoroughly satisfied they were all right "? — Yes, I did say so. 

Did you say in answer to a question by the jury, " She asked 
if she could have a bath "? — On the Friday night? 

Yes ? — She asked my daughter for a bath . My daughter was not 
present at the inquest. 

Did you ever tell the coroner that the water had come through 
the ceiling? — No, I was not asked the question. 

Had you pointed out the fact that the water had come through 
the ceiling to the policeman ? — No. 

Your daughter and your son-in-law, Mr. Crossley, saw the water? 
— Yes. 

But nobody else except you three that you know of? — No. 

Is this what you said before the magistrates — " On Thursday 
morning I asked her if she had been comfortable, and did she feel 
better for the night's rest "? — Yes. 

" She said, ' I have had a little headache, that is the only 
thing I want to get clear of.' : Had she complained again of head- 
ache after the Thursday? — No, I do not remember her doing so. 

Did she complain to you of a headache on the Friday? — Well, 
she did. She had only a tiny headache. I remember something 
about headache, but it was so slight that I took little notice of it. 

This is what you said to the coroner — " On Thursday morning 
I asked her if she had been comfortable, and did she feel better for 
the night's rest. She said, ' I have had a little headache, that is 
the only thing I w T ant to get clear of.' " She complained again on 
Friday, 12th December, 1913, of the headache. She went about as 
usual until after tea on Friday, and she and her husband went out 
somewhere about seven o'clock, and returned at 7.45, when she came 
and asked, " Could she have a bath,'* and I said she could, and she 
said she would have one about eight o'clock. That is what you 
156 



Evidence for Prosecution. 

Margaret Crossley 

said to the coroner? — She asked my daughter about the bath. I do 
not remember saying anything to the coroner about a headache on 
the Friday. 

If the coroner has written that down, then has he made a 
mistake? — I do not remember hearing anything about that — only 
that she had a tiny headache with travelling. 

You knew that the inquest was for the purpose of inquiring 
into the cause of this unfortunate woman's death? — Yes. 

If you had had any suspicion of the husband being concerned in 
that death, would it not have been your duty to have told the coroner? 
— It would not have been my business to say anything. 

Whatever your suspicion might have been, you would have felt 
justified in keeping it to yourself? — It would not have been my 
business to have said a word whatever I had thought. 

May I take it from your evidence at the inquest you did not 
either intend to, or, in fact, convey any suspicion against Mr. 
Smith? — I only answered questions I was asked. 

You never said anything to the coroner about the conversation 
you had with Mr. Smith about sleeping in your house? — No. # 

Who was the first person you told about that conversation? — It 
was some of the police officers no doubt, but I could not tell which 
one. I heard no sound in the bathroom before I saw the water coming 
through the ceiling. The bath was all encased in with a wooden 
surrounding. I do not know whether there was a lead tray under 
the bath or not. The mark of the water remained on the ceiling till 
I left the house in March, 1914. The rent of the house was £32. 
It was a substantially built house. There was no carpet underneath 
the bath. 

Re-examined by Mr. Bodkin — I saw Police-Sergeant Valiant in 
the dining room on the Friday night. He did not stay very long. I 
think the inquest started about six or half -past six, and it would last 
for about half an hour, but I am not sure. I noticed that something 
was being written down while I was given my evidence. I could not 
say whether it was being written in shorthand or in ordinary writing. 
I do not think the evidence was read over to me, but I do not 
remember. There was a brown mark on the ceiling where the water 
had come through. There were pictures hanging where the water 
came through. It marked the paper at the back of them. When 
we saw the water oozing I said, " Oh, Alice, go and tell Mrs. Smith 
not to fill the bath," and she said, " Oh, mother, they will think 
we are grumbling. Do not let us say anything now." 

Mrs. Alice Crossley, examined by Mr. Bodkin — I am the wife of 
Joseph Crossley, and the daughter of the witness, Mrs. Margaret 
Crossley. In December, 1913, I was living at 16 Regent Road, 
Blackpool. I recollect Mr. and Mrs. Smith coming to stay at our house 
on 10th December; they stayed in the front bed-sitting room. I 

157 



George Joseph Smith. 

Alice Crossley 

saw Mrs. Smith in bed. She seemed to be in good health, and she 
made no complaint to me about feeling ill in any way at all. I went 
up to their room about breakfast time on the Thursday morning, 
and I found that they were both up. I asked her what sort of night 
she had had, and she said the best night she had had for a long time. 
They went out during the day, and came in for their meals. They 
said they had been at a picture show, or something. Mrs. Smith 
seemed to be in very good spirits. On the Friday afternoon Mrs. 
Smith spoke to me, and in consequence of what she asked me I 
prepared the bathroom for eight o'clock. I began to get it ready 
just before eight. I lit the gas in the bathroom. 

By Mr. Justice Scruttox — I did not put the water in the bath ; 
I left Mrs. Smith to do that. 

Examination continued — I just lit the light and pulled the blind 
down, and saw that there were towels and soap. I saw Mr. and Mrs. 
Smith come in just before eight o'clock. They went upstairs together. 
Later on I saw Mrs. Smith on the landing, just near the door of the 
bathroom. She was dressed in her nightdress, and seemed to be 
going into the bathroom. 

Do you know where the prisoner was then? — Probably in the 
combined room. After seeing Mrs. Smith near the bathroom I went 
down to the kitchen and had some tea with my mother and my 
husband. 

Whilst you were in the kitchen did you hear any sounds coming 
from the bathroom? — No. 

Did you notice anything in the kitchen? — Water was coming 
down the wall from the bathroom, and was also on the ceiling. I 
could see the water running down. 

What was the next after you saw the water coming? — Mr. 
Smith came down in the kitchen. I did not hear him until he came 
to the kitchen. When he came in he said, " I have brought these 
eggs for our breakfast in the morning." He stopped a little while 
in the kitchen talking about the fire engine, and then he went upstairs 
again. I then heard him call to his wife, " Alice, put the light out." 
I went to the stairs and asked if he was calling for me, and he said, 
" No, I was speaking to my wife to put the light out in the bath- 
room." I went back into the kitchen, and after a few moments I 
heard him call out, " My wife cannot speak to me." I went back 
to my mother in the kitchen, and then went to the stairs, and Smith 
told us to go for Dr. Billing. He was then on the top of the stairs. 
My mother went for the doctor, and I went to fetch the neighbours 
next door, Mr. and Mrs. Haynes. When the doctor arrived he went 
upstairs. Mr. and Mrs. Haynes came in after the doctor arrived, and 
I went back into the kitchen. I saw Smith again that night about 
the house, but I did not have any conversation with him. On the 
Sunday morning I was in our sitting room, which looks out over the 
street. Mr. Smith was in the same room writing. While looking 
158 



Evidence for Prosecution. 

Alice Crossley 

out of the window I saw some people coming along, and I said, 
" There are some people coming up the street in black. Are they 
for you? " Mr. Smith replied, "No, they will not be for me." 
Then he looked out of the window and said, " Yes, my God, it is 
her mother and her brother; I wish it had been the old man." Mrs. 
Burnham and her son came into the house. On the Thursday Mrs. 
Smith me that she had had the best night that she had had for a 
long while. She made no complaint after that about her health. 
Whilst living in our house she seemed to be all right and in good 
health. 

Did you talk to her yourself? — Not myself. You see two days 
was not very long to get into conversation. I spoke to her just a 
little. She seemed to be all right when I was talking. 

Cross-examined by Mr. Shearman — I did not ask her about her 
health on the Friday. There is a large window in the bathroom. 
After getting the bathroom ready I went downstairs into the kitchen 
and closed the door, but did not fasten it. I heard Mr. and Mrs. 
Smith come in. 

I think you did not see either of them; you only heard them? — 
We had no other visitors in the house, and so there was no one else 
to come in. 

The next thing you saw of either of them was when Mr. Smith 
came downstairs. You tell me you heard them come in? — Yes, I 
did. 

You did see Mrs. Smith in her nightdress? — Yes, I did. 

Did you see Mr. Smith again after they came in? — Not just 
then when I spoke to her in her nightdress. I could not say how 
big a patch the water made. 

Could you say about how wide the stain was? — I cannot say; I 
was too upset after the affair altogether. I just remember seeing the 
water coming down about twenty minutes past eight or half-past 
eight on the Friday night. 

What makes you say twenty minutes past eight? — I could not 
say exactly to the time. 

Do you say that because that was after Mrs. Smith had gone into 
the bathroom? — It was after Mrs. Smith had gone into the bathroom. 
I remember giving evidence at the Police Court. 

Do you remember saying this — " I cannot say whether his visit 
with the eggs was before or after I saw the water coming down " ? — 
Well, I had not been well at the time myself, and I was very upset. 
The policeman came to the house that evening. There was the mark 
of the water on the wall when he came, but he did not come into our 
kitchen; he went upstairs. I did not call the policeman's attention 
to the mark on the wall, as I did not see him. I could not say whether 
my mother called his attention to it. 

By Mr. Justice Scrutton — When you saw Mrs. Smith outside 
the bathroom did you say something to her about the water? — Yes, I 

159 ' 



George Joseph Smith. 

Alice Crossley 

told her not to put too much water in, as it had not been heating very- 
long. I thought that if she put much cold water in it would make 
the bath too cold. 

Joseph Crossley, examined by Mr. Humphreys — I am employed 
at Clifton Hotel, Blackpool. In December, 1913, I was living at 
16 Regent Road. I remember a Mr. and Mrs. Smith staying in the 
house. I remember the Friday when Mrs. Smith died. I remember 
Mr. and Mrs. Smith going out in the evening of that day, between 
half-past seven and eight o'clock. They went out together. They 
said they were going to post some letters or postcards, or something. 
I noticed that they had some letters or postcards in their hands. Mrs. 
Smith said in the presence of her husband that she was writing to 
her mother. As she and her husband were standing outside the 
kitchen door she asked my wife to prepare a bath. I saw them come 
back in about ten minutes or quarter of an hour. Mrs. Smith called 
in the kitchen. I did not see Mr. Smith. I could hear them talking. 
Mrs. Smith stayed in the kitchen just a moment or two, and then 
she went upstairs. I stayed in the kitchen and had some tea there. 
While I was in the kitchen I noticed water coming through the ceiling 
and making a mark of about 7 or 8 inches. The water fell through 
on to some pictures. The pictures are marked now. 

By Mr. Justice Scruttox. — I have some slight knowledge of 
plans, but I am not altogether versed in them. I mark with a cross 
on the plan shown where the water was on the ceiling. 

Examination continued — I think it would be about a quarter- 
past eight when I noticed the water coming through the ceiling. 
I went out to my work immediately after that. I was called back 
from my work at about twenty-five minutes to nine. When I returned 
to the house in Regent Road I found that Dr. Billing was there. I 
went up to the bathroom. There was no one in the bathroom except 
the body. I saw the body. The doctor was standing on the bottom 
of the stair steps. Mr. Smith was in the passage, going to the 
kitchen. I spoke to Dr. Billing in the hearing of Mr. Smith, and 
asked him what was the matter, and he said, "Oh, she is dead." 
Of course, I was quite surprised, and I walked straight up the stairs 
to the bathroom and saw the body and came back. When I came back 
to Mr. Smith I told him I would have to report it to the police, but 
he said he had already done that. The policeman came about ten 
o'clock. I went with Smith to the police station and then back 
home. I went with Smith to the undertaker, Mr. Hargreaves, that 
night. The undertaker came next morning. Before the undertaker 
came I asked Mr. Smith if he had been to look at his wife, and he 
said, " No, that he had never seen a corpse in his life." I said, " I 
have; I will go and look at her then," and I went in. The bath 
which I to-day see in the Court, is the bath in question. It was cased 
in all round with wood, and one side was to the wall. 
160 




G. J. Smith, " Esq." 
A gentleman of independent means. 



Evidence for Prosecution. 

Joseph Croseley 

Cross-examined by Mr. Shearman — I went to my work about a 
quarter-past eight on the Friday evening. My work was not very 
far away. The water which came through the ceiling did not spread. 
It left a patch measuring 7 or 8 inches. 

You swear you noticed that water coming down at that time? — 
Yes, I will swear that. After I saw it I went away. I was in the 
house when the policeman came later on to take particulars. 

Did you have a talk with him? — I took him to the body. 

I daresay he asked you some questions. Did you show him the 
water? — Yes. 

In the room downstairs? — No, not in the room downstairs. It 
was in the bath. 

You took him up to the bathroom? — Yes. 

Did you show him where the water had come through? — No, I 
did not. 

Why not? — Because I did not attach any importance to it at 
the time. 

Mrs. Annie Page, recalled, further examined by Mr. Bodkin — 
Whilst Alice Burnham or Mrs. Smith was lodging with me she never 
took a bath. 

Further cross-examined by Mr. Shearman — The bath is not a 
very large one, and it is very seldom used. I do not think either of 
them ever saw the bath. 

Is the bath ever used at all? — No 

Frederick Joseph Eckersall, examined by Mr. Bodkin — I am a 
solicitor practising at 3 Regent Street, Cheltenham. On 17th January, 
1914, the prisoner went with me to 266 High Street, Cheltenham, 
and produced to me the probate of the will of his late wife, Alice. 
I got certain instructions from him, and in consequence I com- 
municated with the North British and Mercantile Insurance Company 
to get the money for him from the company. I took the usual steps 
and communicated with, amongst others, Dr. Billing, of Blackpool, 
as being the doctor who would be able to give a certificate of death. 
I received exhibit No. 210 from Dr. Billing and forwarded it to the 
company. In due course I prepared and forwarded to the company 
exhibit 211, an authority to pay the moneys assured by the policy to 
Lloyds' Bank, Cheltenham. I got that signed by my client, George 
Joseph Smith. 

Mrs. Ada Brown, examined by Mr. Whiteley — I am the wife 
of William Brown, and live at 226 High Street, Cheltenham, where 
we keep a newsagents' shop. That shop is used as a letter bureau. I 
recognise the prisoner. In the beginning of 1914 he used to call at 
my shop for letters. He gave the name of G. J. Smith. The letters 
that were handed to him were in that name. 

m 161 



George Joseph Smith. 

Cecil Heane Lindop 

Cecil Heane Lindop, examined by Mr. Bodkin — I am the sub 
manager of Lloyds' Bank at Cheltenham. We had a client named 
George Joseph Smith on 5th January, 1914. I produce a certified 
extract from the books of the bank (exhibit 248). I find on 7th 
January there was transferred £199 19s. 7d. from the London County 
and Westminster Bank at Brixton to the credit of George Joseph 
Smith's account. On the next day £170 was drawn out — " Pay self, 
£170." On 18th January there was a credit of £506 paid into the 
account; it was received from the North British and Mercantile 
Insurance Company. On 22nd January there was £500 paid out of 
the account to the North British and Mercantile Insurance Company. 
On 25th April there was a credit of £44 3s. 2d. under the heading 
" North British Annuity." That was a payment received from the 
North British for his credit. The account was closed on 18th May. 

Robert Pemberton Lever, examined by Mr. Bodkin — I am 
accountant at the National Provincial Bank at Portsmouth. A 
deposit account was opened at that bank on 2nd October, 1913, in 
the name of George Joseph Smith. On 8th October £100 was paid 
in, and on the same day £100 was drawn out. Altogether, 
including interest, there was £150 12s. lid. credited. That 
amount was drawn out. The account was opened between 2nd 
October and 19th December, when the closing item of £150 12s. 
lid. was drawn out. Exhibit 252 contains particulars of bank 
notes paid into that deposit account by that customer and also 
of noteB issued. 

Gordon Hier Evans, examined by Mr. Bodkin — I am chief 
clerk at the National and Provincial Bank, Weston-super-Mare. 
I recognise the prisoner. A deposit account was opened in his 
name on 24th September, 1914, into which £128 was paid. The 
whole of that £128 was drawn out on 5th November, 1914. 

William Harris Clifford, examined by Mr. Bodkin — I am 
cashier at Lloyds' Bank, Weston-super-Mare. I produce a certified 
copy of the account of George Jospeh Smith at that bank opened 
on 30th September, 1914. I find there a credit of £52 15s. Id. 
From the waste book of the bank I find that £52 15s. Id. was 
represented by a cheque of the North British and Mercantile 
Insurance Company. 

The Court adjourned. 



L62 



Fifth Day— Saturday, 26th June, 1915. 

William Haynes, examined by Mr. Humphreys — I reside at 18 
Regent Road, Blackpool; that is next to No. 16. I recollect on 
Friday evening, the 12th December, 1913, being called into No. 
16 about half -past eight. I saw the body of Mrs. Smith when I went 
into the house. It was in the bathroom. I assisted in carrying the 
body into the bedroom. I saw the prisoner there that evening. I 
went into his room. While I was in his room I saw him pick three 
or four rings off the mantelpiece and put them into a purse, and then 
put the purse into his pocket. I went into the bathroom later on 
in the evening. There was water in the bath; I should say it was 
from half to three parts full. I let the water off. The water was 
soapy. 

Cross-examined by Mr. Shearman — The rings I have already 
referred to were lying on the mantelpiece of the room. 

Can you remember whether they were lying openly on the 
mantelpiece, where anybody might see them, or whether they were 
in a small box ? — Well, they were lying openly, where anybody could 
see them, but it was a private room; there was nobody else in the 
room but Mr. Smith and myself. It was after I had seen the lady's 
body that I went into the room with Mr. Smith. 

Mrs. Sarah Hatnes, examined by Mr. Humphreys — I am the wife 
of the last witness, Mr. William Haynes, and I live with him at 18 
Regent Road, Blackpool. I remember being called into No. 16, 
next door, on the evening of Friday, 12th December,- 1913. I saw 
the body of Mrs. Smith being taken out of the bathroom and put 
into the room next door. I noticed that there were no rings on the 
body of Mrs. Smith at that time, not even her wedding ring. On 
the Sunday morning I went into the bathroom to clean it up. 

Did you notice anything in the bath? — Yes. 

What was that? — A quantity of hair. It was a woman's hair. 

How are you able to tell us it was a lady's hair? — Well, the 
length of it. 

Where was it? — Round the sloping end of the bath and in the 
outlet. 

You say it was round the sloping end. There are two sloping 
ends to a bath? — Well, round the broad end of the bath. The taps 
were at the narrow end of the bath. There was hair at 
both ends of the bath, at the round end, and at the 
end where the taps were. It was dark hair. I noticed that there 
were two hairpins in Mrs. Smith's hair, as though it had been done 

163 



George Joseph Smith. 

Sarah Haynes 

up. I have cleaned out baths on many occasions after ladies have 
had their baths. 

Can you give us an idea of the quantity there was on this occasion? 
— Well, there was a quantity, a large lump, but I could not give 
you an idea. 

Have you found on other occasions hair after ladies have had 
their bath? — It is very unusual to find hair in the bath. I have 
never found such a quantity of hair as I found on this occasion. 

Cross-examined by Mr. Shearman — It is unusual to find such a 
quantity of hair in a bath after a lady has had a bath. I quite 
agree, however, that there would be some in the case of a lady with 
long hair, but you generally find it on the towel, not in the bath. We 
have a bathroom in our house. The photograph produced shows 
that the deceased Mrs. Smith had a thick head of hair. The hair 
that I found in the bath was spread round the end of the bath as 
though the water had drained from underneath it. The loose hair 
Avas lying down the sloping end of the bath. It was very noticeable 
in the bath. I noticed it directly I went to it. I cannot say, how- 
ever, whether any one would have noticed it had they gone to the 
bathroom and looked into the bath — not unless they had gone to 
clean the bath the same as I did. 

Then it would only be noticed by anybody who looked at the 
bath closely like you did? — Yes, to clean it up. 

And you did not see it until Sunday morning? — No. 

Robert Valiant, examined by Mr. Whiteley — I am a sergeant 
in the Blackpool County Borough Police Force. On Friday evening, 
12th December, 1913, I went to No. 16 Regent Road, and I there 
saw the body of Alice Smith. It was lying in the front room covered 
with a sheet. It would be about 9.50 that night when I went. I 
saw the prisoner as I was coming downstairs ; he was at the bottom 
<ii the stairs, in the lobby. He had his coat off and his shirt 
sleeves rolled up. I could not say whether he had both of his shirt 
sleeves rolled up, but I am almost sure he had his right sleeve rolled 
up. I had been told by the witness, Crossley. that this was the 
husband of the deceased, and I said to him, " Are you Mr. Smith? " 
and he said " Yes." I told him I should require a statement from 
him respecting his wife's death. Crossley was there at that time. 
Crossley said, " Well, we will follow you down to the police station; 
it is close by." The prisoner and Crossley followed me down to 
the police station. The prisoner there made a statement, which 
was written down by another constable. Exhibit No. 236 is the 
statement he made. " I am a gentleman of independent means, 
and reside at No. 80 Kimberley Road, Portsmouth, and now on a 
visit to Blackpool, and staying at No. 16 Regent Road, Blackpool, 
along with my wife, Alice Smith, aged twenty-five years. At about 
4.30 p.m. on Wednesday, 10th December, 1913, I arrived in Black- 
164 



Evidence for Prosecution. 

Robert Valiant 

pool from Portsmouth with my wife, the deceased. Shortly after 
we arrived my wife complained of a pain in the head. 1 took her to 
Dr. Billing, Church Street, who asked her what was the matter with 
her. She complained of pains in the head and being costive. The 
doctor gave her some medicine. At about 5 p.m. to-day, Friday, 12th 
inst., she again complained of pains in the head. I took her out 
for a walk at about 7.15 p.m., and returned about 7.45 p.m. She 
then said that she felt much better, and thought that she would 
have a bath. About fifteen or twenty minutes after she had gone 
into the bath I called out to her to mind and turn the lights out 
after you are finished. I got no answer from her. At the same time 
Mrs. Crossley came upstairs, thinking I was calling her. We both 
looked into the bathroom and found her under the water. I lifted 
her head up out of the water and held it until the doctor came. We 
then lifted her out of the bath. The doctor examined her and 
pronounced life extinct." After the prisoner made that 
statement the inspector in the Charge Office said to him, " Are you 
going to take your wife home to buiy her, or are you going to bury 
her here," and he said " I will bury her here, as my means are 
limited." 

Did you make any note at all of the prisoner's manner? 
Mr. Shearman — I object. Can we have this witness's opinion? 
Mr. Justice Scrutton — Surely, Mr. Shearman, if there was a 
murder and a man had blood on him, could not the constable say, 
" I saw blood on him "? If you may have what the constable sees 
of that sort, may not you have what a constable sees of the prisoner's 
demeanour? It is a question of degree. 

Mr. Shearman — If your lordship pleases. 

Mr. Justice Scrutton — The jury will have to bear in mind that 
a good many people who have seen nothing, when they are told some- 
thing they see a lot. There is a good deal of that in all this evidence. 
The jury will be careful and give weight to it. 

Examination resumed — Did you notice his demeanour? — Yes; he 
appeared callous and in no way disturbed. I was acting as the 
coroner's officer at that time. We did not know until the Saturday 
about the time and date on which the inquest was to be held. I 
believe it was on the Saturday that we heard about it. I cannot say 
what the exact time was, but it would probably be about 4.30. I 
did not warn the witnesses; that was left to some other man. I 
think the inquest was held somewhere about six o'clock. There 
were two inquests held that day, and it was the following one, I 
believe; but I could not say definitely. 

Cross-examined by Mr. Shearman — I was the coroner's officer at 
that time. I am not really appointed coroner's officer; we take it 
in turns. That was not the only time that I had been down to 
inquire about a death; I had been there hundreds of times. I 
generally take notice of the demeanour of witnesses 

165 



George Joseph Smith. 

Robert Valiant 

Can you tell us the demeanour of anybody you have taken a 
statement from in the last three years? — You can generally see some- 
thing as between husband and wife. 

Did you make a note? — No. 

You rely on your memory? — Yes. 

Do you take a notebook when you go down to inquire about a 
death ? — Yes. 

Was this taken down in a book ? — No ; he came down to the 
station and made a statement. 

So that there is no note in any book at all? — No. I did not 
make any note of what the prisoner said. I am only speaking from 
my recollection. I thought at the time it was a strange remark. 

Dr. George Billing, examined by Mr. Bodkix — I am a registered 
medical practitioner at 121 Church Street, Blackpool. I recognise 
the prisoner. I remember seeing him for the first time on the 10th 
of December, 1913. He came to me with a young woman whom he 
said was his wife. It would be about half-past five or thereabouts 
in the afternoon. He said his wife complained of headaches. 

At this stage the bath was exhibited in Court. 

They said they had come a long journey — from Portsmouth, Bristol, 
or somewhere else. They attributed the headaches to the journey. 
I examined the patient. There was nothing out of the way in her 
pulse; I think her pulse was rather slower than usual. It was 
nothing out of the way. I asked her about the state of her bowels, 
and I examined her tongue. She was suffering from constipation. 
I looked at her tongue. It was rather foul — dirty. I mean it 
was coated. I did not make any further examination of her. She 
looked rather tired. She was a short, pale woman, extremely fat 
From a medical health point of view she looked quite healthy. I 
prescribed some tablets for her headache, and a stomach medicine. 
The tablets were made of acetanilide, caffeine, and heroin. They 
are a sort of antipyretic that relieves the headache through the 
blood system. I think I probably crave her a dozen. I crave her 
them in a small box. I keep them ready made. The stomach 
mixture consisted of some bi-carbonate of soda, rhubarb and 
genetian. and something of that sort, and chloroform water. I 
made up the prescription there and then. The effect of that 
medicine would be to correct the stomach and assist the bowels. The 
dose was two tablespoonfuls — an ounce. It was an eight-ounce 
bottle I gave her. She took these two things away with her. My 
fee was 3s. fid. I was paid then. On the Friday night I was 
called by Mrs. Crossley, of 16 Regent Road, about half-past eight. 
I went back with her. On going back to the house I went straight 
up to the bathroom. On going into the bathroom I saw Mr. Smith 
1(J6 




Blackpool Bath. 



Length, over all, 5 feet 6 ins., - - A.-B 

,, inside, 5 feel 3 ins., - • - < I) 

,, flat bottom, 3 feet 9 ins., • • E-F 

Width, sloping end, top, 2 feel 3 ins., G-H 

,, bottom, 1 fool 2 ins., l-.l 

,, tap end, top, 1 fool ::'. in-.. - - K-I. 

bottom, I foot, M-N 

Depth, 1 fool 6 ins ...... Q-P 



Posil ii>n of buttocks, 
Posil ion of shoulder, 
Height of woman, - 
(Undertaker's measurement . 



BB 



5 feel 
fi el 6 ins.) 



Evidence for Prosecution. 

Dr. George Billing 

supporting her head with his left arm in the bath. I did not 
notice anything particular about his dress, except that he had one 
sleeve of his coat rolled up. I believe it was the left one — the one 
he was supporting her with. 

At this stage witness demonstrated how the deceased 
was lying in the bath when he saw her. 

Her head was at the lower end of the bath. She partly sat up 
and he supported her. Her legs were towards the top of the bath, 
under the water. 

Could you see? — No, the water was soapy. I should say 
the water came above the breasts when I saw her ; it would be 
within half an inch of the top. Her back was about a foot 
from the taps. She was lying right down at the bottom of 
the bath, but her head was raised. I did not see where her buttocks 
were resting on the bottom of the bath, but I think they were right 
down at the bottom. I could not see whether the legs were bent 
or not, the water was so soapy. There was a light in the room. 
I put my hands in the water. It was quite hot. I asked the 
prisoner why he had not lifted her out, and he said he could not. 
I then said, " Why did you not pull the plug? " and he said he 
did not think of it. I then assisted him in lifting her out. I took 
hold of her left arm and right leg and he took the shoulders and 
the right arm. The body was quite limp. After we got her out 
I examined her. She was dead. I cannot say how long she had 
been dead. 

By Mr. Justice Scrutton — I did not notice whether her hair 
was wet or not. When I saw her in the bath she was sitting 
apparently on the bottom of the bath and he was supporting her 
with his arm. The water was up to her breasts. Supposing she 
had been swung back from that position her head would have been 
under the water. I should think the whole of her head would have 
been under the water had she been lying down. 

Examination resumed — Supposing her head were back against 
the taps, the water being, as you have told us, an inch below the 
top, you say her mouth would be under water? — Yes, she would 
be under water all the time — she would be under water altogether 
then. 

At this stage witness marked on the bottom of the 
bath where he thought her buttocks would be 
resting. 

The point I have marked is about 18 inches from the narrow end 
of the bath. When I saw her her back was slightly bent. 

Witness then indicated where he thought the line 
of her shoulders would be. 

167 



George Joseph Smith. 

Dr. George Billing 

The top of that line is about 9£ inches from the back of the bath. 
The water was within half an inch or so of the top when I first 
saw it, and it would come higher, of course, if her head went under. 
There is no overflow to this bath, and the water could not overflow 
except over the sides. I made no measurements of the body nor the 
bath. Next day I made a post-mortem examination. The heart 
was slightly enlarged and the mitral valve was thickened, and 
there were signs of fatty degeneration setting in. The stomach 
was almost empty, chiefly fluid in it, and the liver was slightly 
enlarged and inclined to be fatty the same as the heart. The lungs 
were sound and contained water. I formed the opinion that the 
cause of death was drowning. I noticed an operation scar upon 
the stomach. In the case of a young woman who is fat one expects 
to find fat surrounding the heart, and most of the organs. When 
1 said I found fatty degeneration of the heart I was not referring 
to the ordinary fat surrounding a person's heart; in the case of 
fatty degeneration a fat gets in between the muscles. I found that 
condition just beginning. There was nothing in the condition of 
the heart to obstruct its action. I thought the thickening of the 
mitral valve was of old standing. That thickening comes from 
inflammation. Rheumatic fever might tend to produce inflam- 
mation round the valve. If I am told that at the age of about ten 
she had rheumatic fever, the appearance I found was consistent 
with the thickening having commenced then. I should think that 
thickening of some of the valves is found pretty frequently in post- 
mortem examinations. In my opinion it was not from any affection 
of the heart that she died ; as I have stated, the cause of death 
was, in my opinion, drowning. 

Cross-examined by Mr. Shearman — The deceased was a very 
fat woman. She was particularly fat about the breasts. 

Did you say this at the inquest — " I take it that the hot water 
would act upon the heart and cause her to have a fit or faint. It 
was the heart affection which caused her to be mazy while she was 
in the water "? — Yes; it was our opinion that hot water might 
cause anaemia of the brain, or she might faint in the bath. That 
was my view at the time after I had seen her. The water was not 
very hot while I was there, but it was hot. 

By Mr. Justice Scrutton — I should say it would be about 
100 degrees. 

Cross-examination resumed — The bath was so full of water 
that it nearly reached the top. It was so full that when her husband 
was propping her head up it was over her breasts. I am still of 
the opinion that, sitting as she was when I found the husband 
supporting her head, it would be quite impossible for her head 
to have been immersed at the narrow end of the bath. I made a 
careful post-mortem examination ; it took me two and a half hours 
to make it. I had no doubt that the fatty degeneration was present. 
168 



Evidence for Prosecution. 

Dr. George Billing 

It affects the mitral valve. You cannot detect that condition in the 
early stages. It does not have much weakening influence in the 
early stages. I did not notice anything about the prisoner's 
clothes beyond the fact that his sleeve was rolled up. I did not 
notice whether his clothes were wet or not. 

Re-examined by Mr. Bodkin — It was late in December, but 
I do not remember what sort of weather it was. I estimated that 
the temperature of the water would be about 100 degrees by putting 
my hand into the water. That depends, of course, a good deal 
upon the condition of one's hand. I do not remember what the 
condition of my hands was at that time. 

Tell us how you came to say at the inquest, " The water was 
warm ... I took it that the hot water would act upon the 
heart and cause her to have a fit or faint "? — Because it produces 
anaemia of the brain and they may have a fit or a faint without 
any heart trouble at all. We were trying to find a reason for her 
death when I said that. When I said at the inquest, " It was the 
heart affection that caused her to be mazy whilst she was in the 
water, and then she was helpless and was drowned," I meant by 
" mazy," dizziness. 

How did you know she was dizzy? — I did not know she was 
dizzy. It might cause it. 

What heart affection caused her to be mazy? — She had a 
thickening of the mitral valve which would prevent to some extent 
the blood circulating properly, and the warm water would bring 
the blood from the brain down to the heart and put pressure upon 
the heart. 

By Mr. Justice Scrutton — Did it strike you at all odd to 
find the head at that end of the bath? — Yes, very odd. 

Samuel Tudor, examined by Mr. Bodkin — I reside at 614 
Newhall Lane, Preston, Lancashire. I am clerk to Mr. John 
Parker, the coroner for the District of Lancashire, comprising 
Blackpool. I was at Blackpool on the 13th December, 1913. The 
coroner had two inquests to hold that day. The coroner lives in 
Preston. I acted as his clerk at the inquest on the body of Alice 
Burnham. The inquest started about half-past six and finished 
about seven o'clock, or a very little after it. In this case I took 
a shorthand note of the evidence. I only read over my notes to 
the people who have <^iven evidence in a case where there is reason 
to believe a criminal verdict may be returned. By a criminal 
verdict I mean murder or manslaughter. I did not read out any- 
thing in this case from my shorthand notes to any witnesses. The 
coroner puts questions to the witnesses and he gets the material to 
enable him to question the witnesses from the statements received 
from the police. [Shown exhibit 236.] That was the material he 
had in this case on which to base his questions. A witness of the 

169 



George Joseph Smith. 

Samuel Tudor 

name of George Smith was the first witness examined. I took a 
shorthand note of what he said. [Shown exhibit 171.] These are 
my original notes. [Shown exhibit 172.] That is an accurate 
transcript of my notes. 

Mr. Bodkin proceeded to read it as follows: — " I reside 
at SO Kimberley Road, Portsmouth, and am of independent 
means — never followed any occupation. I am at present on 
a visit to Blackpool, staying at !No. 1G Regent Road, Blackpool, 
along with my wife, the deceased Alice Smith, aged twenty- 
five years. At about 4.30 on Wednesday afternoon, 10th 
December, 1913, we arrived in Blackpool from Portsmouth. Shortly 
after we arrived my wife complained of a pain in the head. I 
took her to Dr. Billing in Church Street, Blackpool. He ascer- 
tained her ailment and gave her some medicine. At about five 
o"clock in the afternoon of yesterday, Friday, 12th December, 1913, 
she again complained of pains in the head. I took her out for a 
walk. We went out at about 7.15 and returned at 7.45. She then 
said she felt much better and that she would have a bath. About 
a quarter " — (My lord, I might just venture to pause there, to point 
out that that is absolutely word for word Valiant's statement, 
verbatim, as if that statement was read to the witness, except 
that the word " yesterday " is substituted for the word " Friday " 
in Valiant's statement. He took it on the " Friday ") — 
"About a quarter of an hour or twenty minutes afterwards I 
called out to her to mind and turn the lights out after she had 
finished. I got no answer and I kept shouting out Alice. Mrs. 
Crossley the landlady came upstairs, as she thought I was calling 
her. I opened the door and found my wife underneath the water. 
I lifted her head up and held it up until the doctor came ; then 
she was lifted out of the bath. The doctor helped me to lift her 
out. The doctor was there in a few minutes. He examined her 
and found she was dead. We have only been married six weeks. 
She was all right in health, but complained of headaches only once 
or twice whilst travelling. I said when we get there you will have 
to see a doctor. Generally she enjoyed good health and spirits. 
I never heard her complain of anything else. I have known her 
about three months. She was a nurse. (By foreman of jury.) 
I cannot tell you what happened in the bath. She complained 
of headache, and I took her out for a walk, and she said she felt 
all right. She had already made arrangements for a bath. I 
went downstairs and talked to the landlady on the front. She was 
a private nurse. She had an operation last March for peritonitis." 

By Mr. Bodkin — I have the inquisition here. The coroner 
signed it himself. The verdict was, " The deceased Alice Smith 
came to her death at Blackpool aforesaid on the 12th December, 
1913. The deceased suffered from heart disease, and was found 
drowned in a hot bath, probably through being seized with a fit 
or faint. The cause of death was accidental." 
170 



Evidence for Prosecution. 

Samuel Tudor 

Cross-examined by Mr. Shearman — The jury took a very in- 
telligent interest in the proceedings and asked several questions. 

John Hargreavbs, examined by Mr. Travers Humphrey — I am 
an undertaker carrying on business at Millburn Street, Blackpool. 
I remember going to the house of Mrs. Crossley, 16 Regent Road, 
on Saturday, 13th December, 1913. I saw the prisoner there. He 
asked me if I would undertake the interment of his wife, and I 
said I would. I saw the body and took some measurements. The 
size of the body was 5 feet 6, 18 by 12. That represents the inside 
measurement of the coffin. The deceased would be about 5 feet 6 
in height. I did not go into the cost of the coffin and the funeral 
with the prisoner, but he told me he wanted it done as cheaply 
as possible. I asked him what sort of grave he wanted his 
wife buried in and he said he wanted it to be cheap. 
I then asked him if he wanted a public grave, and he 
said, " Yes, that will do. A public grave — what they 
put any one in." A public grave is what they call a 
poor grave, they put any one in. If a person is buried in a public 
grave it means that somebody else may be buried there also who 
is no relation whatever to that person. I also discussed with him 
the time when the funeral should take place. I told him the Church 
of England time was three o'clock, and he said he wanted it earlier 
than that, and he had it at twelve o'clock on Monday. He said 
he would like it early, he wanted to get it over. At first he wanted 
it on Sunday, but I told him they did not inter in Blackpool on 
Sunday. I saw the accused again on the Sunday about half-past 
ten in the morning. He then asked me if I could arrange to have 
a private grave, and I said no, not unless he waited another day. 

Did he tell you why he had altered his mind and wanted a 
private grave? — No; he told me her mother had come, and sister, 
and so he wanted her to be put in a private grave — just a grave 
for one. When I told him it would mean waiting till Tuesday he 
said he could not wait, he wanted to get away; so he said, " Put 
her in that public grave, but don't tell her mother." She was 
buried in a public grave. The funeral took place about twelve 
o'clock on the Monday. There were present at the funeral the 
prisoner, the deceased's mother and brother, Mr. Crossley, and 
Mrs. Crossley, and myself. After the funeral I was paid by the 
prisoner £6 3s. 9d. That included everything. I never saw the 
prisoner again until I saw him in Bow Street Police Station. 

Cross-examined by Mr. Shearman — I heard my son giving 
evidence at Bow Street. I did not hear him saying, " The coffin 
was 5 feet 6 inches, and it would follow from that that her height 
would be about 5 feet — 6 inches less than the coffin." The deceased 
might have been 5 feet 4 inches. I never had any discussion with 
the prisoner about putting up a monumental headstone, because 

171 



George Joseph Smith. 

John Hargreaves 

you could not do that on a public grave. 1 am quite certain about 
it. 

Frederick Hargreaves, examined by Mr. Whitelet — I am an 
undertaker at Millburn Street, Blackpool, along with my father. 
I remember the funeral of Mrs. Smith in December, 1913. I 
attended the funeral on Monday the loth. I went to Blackpool 
cemetery on the 9th of February of this year. I saw a coffin 
disinterred there. I remember the grave out of which it was 
taken. There was a name-plate on the coffin, and the name-plate 
bore the name " Alice Smith." That coffin was supplied by our 
firm. 

George Francis, examined by Mr. Bodkin — I am a clerk to 
Messrs. Kingsbury & Turner, solicitors, 369 Brixton Road. 
[Shown exhibit 194.] I recognise that document. I, on behalf 
of my principals, assisted in proving that will. It was brought 
to our firm on the 18th of December. The prisoner was a stranger 
to me. Exhibit No. 206 is the document I prepared ; it is in my 
handwriting. The gross amount of the estate is sworn at £604, 
which is made up of " Cash in the house, £104," and " Policy 
of insurance in the North British & Mercantile Company for £500, 
No. 21277, 10th December, 1913." Duty would be payable on 
the net value of the estate, but there were certain deductions from 
the £604. The first deduction was doctor's fee, 5s., then John 
Hargreaves, Millburn Street, £6 3s. 9d., and, deducting the one 
from the other the net amount is £597 lis. 3d. The duty 
amounted to £11 19s. Id. I did not have any conversation with 
the prisoner about the cash in the house. I took all my instruc- 
tions from Mr. Kingsbury. He is at present in the Army. 
Probate was granted to the prisoner on 29th December. He came 
for it, and there was also civen him the life policv on Mis. Smith's 
life. 

John Haldman Robbins, examined by Mr. Whitelet — I reside 
at 11 Highview Road, Upper Norwood. I am a clerk in the North 
British and Mercantile Company. I am in charge of the new life 
section. Mr. Pleasance is our Portsmouth agent. [Shown exhibit 8.] 
That is a proposal for the purchase of an annuity, signed " George 
Joseph Smith." [Shown exhibit 201.] That is the annuity bond 
which was issued, price £1300, and the annuity £76 Is. I had to 
do with the issuing of an endowed policy on the life of Miss Burnham. 
The number of that policy was 212777. I remember getting a 
notification of her death. [Shown exhibit 208.] That is a letter 
dated 5th January, 1914 — 

26 High Street, Cheltenham. Dear Sir — Please forward to the above 
address the usual papers for me to fill up for settlement referring to policy 
172 



Evidence for Prosecution. 

John H. Robbins 

No. 212,777, which I placed in your office, December 31st, 1913, relating to 
my wife, Alice Smith, Yours truly, G. J. Smith. 

It is addressed to my company. In the same month I had a com- 
munication from Messrs. Heath & Eckersall, a firm of solicitors in 
Cheltenham sending me an application for the payment of the amount 
of that policy. I received exhibit 210, which is the death certificate, 
from the solicitors, Messrs. Heath & Eckersall. On the 15th of 
January, 1914, I got the letter (exhibit 211) signed " George 
Joseph Smith " — 

226 High Street, Cheltenham, I'th January, 1914. Gentlemen— I 
hereby authorise and request you to forward the sum of £506, payable to 
me under Policy No. P. 212,777, to Lloyds' Bank, Ltd., Cheltenham, for the 
credit of the account. (Signed) George Joseph Smith. 

A cheque for £506 was sent to that bank on the 17th of January. I 
got the receipt (exhibit 212), which is in the following terms: — 

I, the undersigned George Joseph Smith, as Executor of the Will of the 
above-named assured, hereby acknowledge to have received from the North 
British and Mercantile Insurance Company the sum of £506, being the amount 
as shown on margin hereof payable under the above-mentioned policy, which 
is delivered up to the said Company, finally cancelled and discharged. 

£500 was the original sum assured, and there was a bonus of £6. 
Exhibit 213 is the acknowledgment from Lloyds' Bank at Chelten- 
ham, and it is in the following terms : — 

I beg to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 17th inst. enclos- 
ing cheque, £506 for the credit of Mr. G. J. Smith. 

I remember getting a letter the next day, on the 20th of January 
(exhibit 214), from George Joseph Smith, which reads as follows: — 

226 High Street, Cheltenham, 20th January, 1914. With reference to 
annuity, Gentlemen, I am prepared to purchase a further annuity with your 
Company for £500 on condition that you will cancel the previous arrange- 
ment wherein you were to forward my half-yearly payments to Lloyds' 
Bank, Landport, but forward such payments to Lloyds' Bank, Limited, 
Cheltenham, until further orders. I desire also to receive the half-yearly 
payments from this further annuity same as the latter, therefore after my 
application is officially accepted, please send me the usual form to fill up 
for me to state on same that I shall have money sent as stated above. 
Kindly send me form of application. There will be no agents to pay in this 
matter. Yours faithfully, George Joseph Smith. 

I produce exhibit 215, which is my reply — 

Dear Sir — I am favoured with your letter of the 20th instant, and have 
pleasure in informing you that as you have now passed your forty-second 
birthday the sum of £500 will provide for a further annuity of £29 9s 2d., 

173 



George Joseph Smith. 

John H. Robbins 

payable by half-yearly instalments without a proportion to actual day of 
death. I enclose for completion a form of proposal partially filled in from 
your previous one, and also a form of authority for payment of the instal- 
ments + o your bankers. Kindly add your permanent address in each case. 
We have taken steps to forward the instalments under your previous annuity 
to. the Cheltenham branch of Lloyds' Bank. We can, if you wish, make 
the instalments under the further annuity payable on the 9th of April and 
October, and in that case a proportionate amount calculated from the date 
on which we received the purchase money will be payable on 9th April next. 
Yours faithfully, (Manager). 

Mr. Shearman — My lord, there is no cross-examination about 
these letters ; if it will save time, my friend can put in the documents. 
It is purely formal. 

Mr. Justice Scruttox — You follow, gentlemen, the prisoner in 
October, 1913, has told Pleasance that, after his birthday in 
November he will have £400 or £500 to invest in a further annuity, 
and on the arrival of his birthday he has £400 or £500 to invest, 
and the amount he has to invest is the amount of the insurance money 
on the death of his wife. 

Examination resumed — Exhibit 216 is the proposal form signed 
by George Joseph Smith for a further annuity. The principal sum 
to be purchased is £500, and the amount of the annuity is £29, and 
the declaration is filled up by him. Exhibit 217 is his letter from 
Cheltenham on 22nd January — 

Gentlemen — I herewith enclose bank draft value £500, and have filled up 
forms from you this morning for purchase of further annuity £500, payable 
according to same. Please make the instalments under the further annuity 
payable on the 9th April and October, and in that case a proportionate 
amount, calculated from the date on which you receive the purchase money 
payable on the 9th April next. P.S. — I want to fill up form if necessary to 
be free from income tax. I have never paid income tax, as my income is 
under £160 per annum. Yours faithfully, G. J. Smith. 

We then received a request from him (exhibit 218) asking us to pay 
the money to Lloyds' Bank, Cheltenham. On the 23rd January I 
wrote a letter acknowledging receipt of the document and enclosing 
receipt for the bank draft. On the 30th January I wrote (exhibit 
220) enclosing the annuity bond for £500. Exhibit 221 is the 
annuity bond, and exhibit 222 is the envelope. On the 31st January 
I got exhibit 223, which is the receipt for the annuity bond from the 
prisoner. Exhibit 224 is a receipt for the sum of £1300. Exhibit 
225 is a receipt for the £500. Those relate to the two annuity bonds. 
On the 12th May, 1914, I got exhibit 226, which reads as follows: — 

11 Ashley Road, Boscome, Bournemouth, May 12th, 1914. Gentlemen — 
I made application to insure my life in the General Assurance Company, 
Fleet Street, but the Company's two doctors refused me after examining 

174 



Evidence for Prosecution. 

John H. Robbins 

me. The amount was for £600 on my life. Please let me know at your 
earliest if it is possible for me to redeem the £1800 I paid into your Com- 
pany ; if so, the exact amount of cash I shall have to redeem. Yours truly, 
G. J. Smith. 

The answer of my company is contained in exhibit 227 — 

Dear Sir — I am in receipt of your letter of the 12th instant. If your 
wish is that the above annuities be cancelled and a return be made to you 
in respect of the purchase price, I regret to say that it is a matter to which we 
should be unable to agree, and that the annuities will require to run their 
natural course. Yours faithfully ( ), Manager. 

Then, on the 30th January, 1914, we got exhibit 228 — 

226 High Street, Cheltenham. Gentlemen — Mr. Pleasance of Southsea, 
which is one of your Inspectors, promised me one-half of the commission 
which he would receive on my wife taking out a policy, but now refuses to do 
so although my solicitor has twice written him for that amount promised. 
Another thing, he got me to become an agent of your Company after my 
wife had taken out the Policy, thus in consequence of such treatment I 
returned him all the agent's papers. I declined to continue as agent for 
the same. It is not altogether the small amount, £2 10, which he promised 
but the very bad principal. I trust as one of your clients that you will 
give me the satisfaction of having a line from you saying that you have 
communicated with Mr. Pleasance informing him of this report against him. 
Yours faithfully, G. J. Smith. 

My firm answered on the 2nd February (exhibit 229) — 

Dear Sir — I am in receipt of your letter of 30th ulto. regarding your 
claim on Mr. Pleasance for one-half of the commission payable in receipt of 
the above policy, and I am mentioning the matter to him. So far as I can 
see, however, it is purely a personal matter and not one in which I should 
interfere. But I am astonished that, having regard to the fact that the 
above policy became a claim about a week after the assurance was granted, 
and that we have paid you the full sum assured of £500 and a bonus of £6, 
you should now raise the question of a paltry sum of £2 10s. which you say 
was promised by our Inspector out of his commission. 

The total amount of the two annuities would be £105 10s. a year. 

Frederick Webster Cozens, examined by Mr. Bodkin — I am a 
clerk at the London County and Westminster Bank at Brixton. I 
produce exhibit 237. That is a certified extract of the account of 
George Joseph Smith at that branch, and is certified correct by the 
manager. That shows that George Joseph Smith opened an account 
with the Brixton branch of the London County and Westminster Bank 
on the 29th December, 1913, with the payment in of £255 in cash. 
It was all in bank notes. Two of those bank notes were for £50 

175 



George Joseph Smith. 



Frederick W. Cozens 

each, and were numbered 48287 and 48288. Looking on the other 
side of the account, there was a payment to Kingsbury of £5 13s. 7d. 
Then, 2nd January, £49 6s. 5d./and 6th January," £199 19s. 7d., 
transferred to Lloyds' Bank at Cheltenham. 

Perct Ruffett, recalled, examined by Mr. Bodktn — I have been 
to No. 16 Regent Road, Blackpool. I prepared a plan of the ground 
floor and the first floor of that house. On the ground floor there is 
a sitting room in front and then another room, and then there comes 
the kitchen. You then go up one flight of stairs and find yourself 
on a sort of landing. There is a passage there which leads to the 
front of the house. I have shown accurately on the plan the position 
of the bathroom. The distance from the door of the bed-sitting room 
to the door of the bathroom is, roughly, about 20 feet. That 
includes going along the passage and down the stairs and up the 
other two. The bathroom is exactly over the kitchen, but the 
kitchen being larger than the bathroom, the bathroom does not 
extend over the kitchen. The bath is fixed in the comer to the 
right hand as you go in through the door. It was in its position 
when I saw it enclosed in a wooden casing. I was able to get round 
the head of the bath. The space between the wall on that side and 
the head of the bath is 2 feet 11 inches. 

Cross-examined by Mr. Shearman — The height of the kitchen 
from the floor to the ceiling is 9 feet 2 inches, and the thickness 
of the bathroom floor and kitchen ceiling is 10 inches. I was 
accompanied by Inspector Neil when I made the plans. 

Mrs. Harriet Smith, examined by Mr. Bodkin — I live at Dalkeith 
House, 4 Stanley Road, Bath, and let apartments there. I recognise 
the prisoner as a man who took a bedroom from me at 10s. a week 
on 8th December, 1914. He gave the name of Lloyd, and was a 
stranger to me. He had a portmanteau with him. After he had 
been there for some days he spoke about another room for a lady 
friend, and on 15th December a lady came and occupied a bedroom. 
She had a small suit-case with her. She took her meals in a sitting 
room which they had the use of. The two of them left my house 
together on 17th December. Nothing at all was said by either of 
them about their going to be married. They took their belongings 
with them, and I never saw them again until I saw the prisoner at 
Bow Street. Exhibit 261 is a photograph of the lady. 

William Cyril Winckworth, examined by Mr. Bodkin — I am 
deputy superintendent registrar of marriages for the district of Bath. 
A notice of marriage was given by John Lloyd on 15th December, 
1914. In that notice he is described as " John Lloyd, bachelor, land 
agent, thirty-eight years of age," and the other party, " Margaret' 
Elizabeth Lofty, spinster, thirty-eight years of age, both living at 
176 



-Aw ** ^JosLcl fi^icMo^b 71 r 

/^ fth*. stUp/^-*- AA/^hjAx. yC&iAS- AAM^X. ■$jlSi*,i\P. L 



Facsimile of a note written by G. J. Smith and handed by him 
to Mr. Marshall Hall, K.C. 



Evidence for Prosecution. 

William C. Winckworth 

Dalkeith House, Stanley Road, Bath." I recognise the prisoner as 
the man who gave that notice. A marriage by licence was solemnised 
at the registry office on 17th December. In the extract from the 
register (exhibit 2) the husband is described as " John Lloyd, 
bachelor, land agent; father's name, John Arthur Lloyd, deceased; 
rank of father, land agent," and the wife is described as " Margaret 
Elizabeth Lofty, thirty-eight years of age, spinster, Dalkeith House, 
4 Stanley Road, Bath; father's name and surname, Fitzroy Fuller 
Lofty, deceased, clerk in Holy Orders." 

Mrs. Emma Heiss, examined by Mr. Humphreys — I am the wife 
of Joseph Heiss, and I live at 16 Orchard Road, Highgate. My 
landlady there is Miss Lokker, and when she is out I sometimes look 
after the letting of rooms in that house for her. On Monday, 14th 
December last, I was at home in the afternoon, and Miss Lokker 
was out. There was a card in the window at that time showing 
that there were apartments to let. A man came to the door shortly 
after two that afternoon. I recognise the prisoner as the man. He 
said that he wanted a bedroom and a sitting room for himself and 
his wife. I shoved him a bedroom on the first floor. He asked if 
there was a bathroom, and I told him there was, and showed it to 
him. 

What did he say when you showed him the bathroom ? — He saw 
the bath was a small bath. He looked at it very much, and then he 
said, " I daresay it is large enough for some one to lie in." I told 
him there was no hot water laid on, but that he could get some. I 
then showed him the sitting room, but he did not say anything 
about it. I arranged the price of the rooms with him — I think it 
was 16s. or 18s. a week. He paid a deposit of 6s., and said he would 
come on the following Thursday, giving the name " Lloyd." I asked 
him for a reference, and he said that ready money would be reference 
enough. I gave him a receipt for 6s. When Miss Lokker came 
home later on in the afternoon I told her about the man who had 
called. He came along with a lady about three o'clock on the 
Thursday. They brought with them a hold-all and a case — a 
gladstone bag, I believe it was. I did not speak to him, but I heard 
him tell the man who opened the door — another lodger — that he had 
come to occupy the rooms which he had engaged on the Monday. 
The lodger who opened the door said that he could not occupy the 
rooms now, as they were not ready, and asked him to come back at 
six o'clock. He went away, but he seemed rather annoved. The 
luggage which they brought was left in the hall. He came back 
alone about 5.30. He knocked at the door several times, but nobody 
answered, and he went away again. He returned shortly after six, 
and the door was opened by Mr. Dennison, a police officer, who was a 
friend of Miss Lokker, and who was in the house. 

Cross-examined by Mr. Shearman — You did not want to let 
n 177 



George Joseph Smith. 

Emma Heiss 

the rooms to him because you did not get a reference. Is that it? — 
Yes, he did not give a reference. 

Although he offered ready money, you wanted a. reference? — 
We did not like his manner at all. 

That was because you did not get a reference ? — That was against 
the man, but we did not like his behaviour. 

When did you first begin to dislike his behaviour? — I did not 
like it from the first. 

If you did not like his appearance, why did you tell him to 
come back next day? — We could not write to him — he did not give 
any reference. 

I put it to you the real reason was that he did not give a 
reference? — It was, partly. 

Do many people ask if there is a bath in the house when 
they come to your house about rooms? — Yes. 

Most people ask? — Yes. 

Ada Annie Lokker, examined by Mr. Whiteley — I am a 
single woman, and live at 16 Orchard Road, Highgate. 

Cross-examined by Mr. Shearman — I had some trouble before 
about a lodger who did not give a reference. My servant, Heiss, 
reported to me that the prisoner would not give a reference, and 
so the rooms were not let. 

Isaac Dennison, examined by Mr. Whiteley — I am a 
detective-sergeant of the Y Division, Metropolitan Police. I 
know Miss Lokker who keeps the house at 16 Orchard Road, 
Highgate. I got a message on 14th December from her, which 
caused me to go to her house on 17th December. I arrived there 
about 2.30 in the afternoon, and left and came back again about 
six in the evening. About that time the prisoner came to the door 
with a lady. I said to him, " Your name is Lloyd? " and he 
said " Yes." I then said, " You cannot have the rooms here 
because you cannot furnish any reference." He replied that he 
took the rooms on Monday and paid a deposit. I said, " As you 
cannot furnish any reference you are not a desirable lodger." 
He said " This is a funny kind of house, I want my deposit back." 
Mrs. Heiss then came forward and gave him the deposit of 6s. 
which he had paid. He gave a receipt. I saw the luggage, which 
^ was in the hall at the time — the gladstone bajr and the hold-all 
'(exhibits 37 and 43). The prisoner and the lady went away, 
taking the luggage with them. The distance between 16 Orchard 
Road and 14 Bismarck Road is just over half a mile. These two 
houses are very similar. Dr. Bates' surgery is practically halfway 
between the two houses. 

Arthur Griffith Lewis, examined by Mr. Bodkin — I am a 
178 



Evidence for Prosecution. 

Arthur G. Lewis 

solicitor practising at 84 High Street, Islington. I remember a 
woman coming to consult me about four o'clock in the afternoon 
of 18th December last. She was a stranger to me and she gave 
the name of Mrs. Lloyd, Bismarck Road, Holloway. In conse- 
quence of some instructions that she gave me I drew up the will 
(exhibit 34) and she executed it in the presence of myself and 
my clerk. It is as follows : — 

This is the last Will and Testament of me Margaret Elizabeth Lloyd 
of Melrose, 14 Bismarck Road, Highgate Hill, London N., the wife of John 
Lloyd of the same address whereby I revoke all Wills and Testamentary 
dispositions heretofore made by me and declare this to be my last Will and 
Testament. I give devise and bequeath unto my said husband John Lloyd 
all my property whatsoever and wheresoever situate absolutely, and appoint 
him sole executor of this my Will, As Witness my hand this 18th day of 
December in the year of our Lord 1914. 

She took the will away with her and I never saw her again. 
84 High Street is about a mile and a half distant from Highgate. 

Percy Rupfett (recalled), further examined by Mr. Bodkin — 
I went to 14 Bismarck Road, Highgate Hill, London, and made 
a plan of the house (exhibits 20, 21, and 22). The house has a 
ground floor, first floor, and some attics, and there is a back 
addition. It is built up against a bank, which accounts for the 
stairs at the end of the ground floor plan. Downstairs on the 
ground floor there is a front sitting room looking out over the 
street. The kitchen is the next room, but one behind that. On 
the front floor there are a front bedroom and another room, and 
then a bathroom, and then a back room. From the front bedroom 
to get to the bathroom one has to go along the passage and down 
three steps, and then one is on a little sort of landing just at the 
top of the stairs from the front hall. Opposite the top of those 
stairs there is the door into the bathroom. It is a bathroom and 
w.c. combined. The bathroom is above part of the kitchen. The 
length of the bathroom is 5 feet 7| inches, running with the bath. 
The w.c. end is 5 feet 1^ inches, and crossways it is 5 feet 5 inches. 
The bath is fitted into the angle of the two walls. When I saw 
it it was enclosed in a casing, and with a wooden top shaped to 
the curves of the bath. 

Cross-examined by Mr. Shearman — The bath is over the space 
occupied by the kitchen. The height of the kitchen is 7 feet 10 
inches. It has a joist ceiling. 

Re-examined by Mr. Bodkin — The joists are not visible. 
Exhibit 23 is the bath from that house. 

Arthur Neil (recalled), further examined by Mr. Bodkin — 
I am detective-inspector of the Y Division. I have seen 

179 



George Joseph Smith. 



Arthur Neil 

exhibit No. 14, the bath from Heme Bay, and I have taken some 
measurements of it. The length of the top of the bath, inside 
measurement, is 5 feet, and of the flat bottom of the bath 3 feet 
8 inches, measured up to the point from which the slope begins. 
The width at the sloping end is 2 feet, and at the bottom of that 
end it narrows down to 1 foot G inches. The width at the top 
of the foot end is 1 foot 7 inches, and that narrows down at the 
bottom to 1 foot 1| inches. The depth of the bath at the sloping 
end is 1 foot 4 inches, and at the foot end it is 1 foot 4| inches. 
When filled up to the brim it holds 58-^ gallons. When it is half- 
full, that would give a depth of water of about 8 inches, because 
the bottom is a little on the slope. By " half -full " I mean the 
water half-way up the sides. When the water is three-quarters of 
the way up there would be 41 gallons in the bath. I have been 
to 80 High Street, Heme Bay, and I examined the copper there. 
The capacity of the copper is 7 gallons. There is a very small 
boiler in the kitchen range, holding about a gallon, and with a 
very slow-running tap in front. I saw a bucket there which 
would contain about 2 gallons. In order to fill the bath half-way 
up, it would have required just over twelve journe} r s with that 
bucket, and to fill it three parts up it would have required over 
twenty journeys. As a matter of fact, it takes a minute and a 
half to fill the bucket, and two minutes to go upstairs to empty it, 
and come downstairs. It takes thirty-five minutes to light and 
heat the copper to get the water up to boiling heat. 

I also went to 16 Regent Road, Blackpool. I saw there the 
bath (exhibit 177). In the bathroom in which that bath was there 
was hot and cold water laid on. I took measurements of the bath. 
I found the length of the top inside to be 5 feet 3 inches, and at 
the bottom, from where the slope ends to the front end of the bath, 
3 feet 9 inches. The width at the top of the sloping end is 2 feet 

3 inches, and it narrows down to 1 foot 2 inches. The width at 
the top of the foot end is 1 foot 3£ inches, and it narrows down 
to 12 inches at the bottom. The depth at about the centre of the 
bath is 18 inches. 

I have also seen and taken measurements of exhibit 23, the 
Bismarck Road bath. The inside length of that bath is 5 feet 
6 inches, and at the bottom where the slope ends the length is 

4 feet 2 inches. The width at the top of the bath is 2 feet 1| inches, 
and at the bottom 1 foot 6 inches. The width at the top of the 
foot end is 1 foot 6 inches, narrowing to 1U inches at the bottom. 
The head of the bath was pushed right into" the wall, and we had 
to tear the wall away to get it out. When I saw it the bath had 
a wooden top, shaped to the curves of the bath. It overhung the 
bath itself by 5 inches at the head end and 1\ inches at the bottom 
end. In that house the water circulates through the kitchen 
boiler and goes into a sort of storage tank over the bath, which 

180 



Evidence for Prosecution. 

Arthur Neil 

has a capacity of 25 gallons. After exhausting the 25 gallons 
of hot water, the water would then run in cold. Exhibit 50 is the 
lid of the bath. I have been into the kitchen at 14 Bismarck 
Road. I was able in it to quite clearly hear sounds from the 
bathroom above, such as the pouring and splashing of water, and 
the rubbing against the bath. 

Cross-examined by Mr. Shearman — I have been inside the 
bathroom at 16 Regent Road, Blackpool. There the distance is 
greater and you could only hear the noise provided you were 
listening carefully for it. At Blackpool, as at the other place, 
the floor is a wooden floor. At Blackpool the bath wasi resting 
on blocks of wood. There was a lot of dirty mortar under the 
bath, but no carpet. 

Re-examined by Mr. Bodkin — On 22nd March I examined the 
fastening of the bathroom door in the house at Bismarck Road. 
It is a latch lock. The hasp was slightly loose, but there was no 
difficulty in fastening it, and it could not be opened after it was 
fastened. It is one of those locks with a bolt in it, and it goes 
into its shoot hole all right. [The lock (exhibit 27) handed to 
the jury.] 

Mr. Justice Shearman — Gentlemen, you will have to consider 
this. This is the second lady who was a stranger in the house 
who has a bath with the door unlocked. 

The Court adjourned. 



181 



Sixth Day— Monday, 28th June, 1915. 

Ethel Susan Lofty, examined by Mr. Humphreys — I reside 
at 18 Woodstock Avenue, Redland, Bristol. I am known as 
Elsie. Margaret Elizabeth Lofty was my sister. Her age was 
thirty-eight last year. I have lived at home with my mother for 
about five years. My sister Margaret did not live at home until 
July. She used to take positions as ladies' companion in Bristol. 
Her last engagement finshed in July, and from that date until 
late in December she lived at home. She had quite good health. 
I did not notice anything the matter with her in December, except 
that she was brighter and seemed happier. I last saw my sister 
on the 15th December. She left home that day about half-past 
one, saying she was going out to tea. I had no idea that she was 
leaving home except to go out to tea. I had no idea that she was 
engaged to be married at that time. I did not know anything of 
a man named Lloyd. I did not know the prisoner under that name 
or any other at that time. I knew that my sister had some savings 
in the Post Office Savings Bank. After my sister left home on 
15th December the next thing I knew about her was when I got 
a letter. [Shown exhibits 25 and 26.] Exhibit 25 is the envelope 
in which exhibit 26 was sent to me. It was from Upper Holloway, 
and is dated 17th December. That letter is my sister's hand- 
writing. [Shown exhibit 24.] I have seen that document befoi-e. 
It appears to be a copy of the letter (exhibit No. 26). In Exhibit 
26 the address is 14 Bismarck Road. There is an alteration in 
the latter half of " Bismarck." I do not know how it read before 
it was altered because it is all rujbbed out. I did not know 
anything about Bismarck Road, Archway Road, Highgate. I 
never knew of my sister whilst she was living at home going to 
stay in that part of London. Having got that letter I sent it on 
to Mr. Kilvington, a solicitor, who was" a relative of ours. I did 
not know that my sister had insured her life. 

Cross-examined by Mr. Marshall Hall — I said before the 
magistrates that my sister was usually depressed. 

Emily Marion Lofty, examined by Mr. Humphreys — I live 
with my mother and sister at 19 Woodstock Avenue, Redland, 
Bristol. On the 4th February I came to London to go to the 
mortuary at Friern Barnet. I there saw the body of my sister, 
Margaret Elizabeth Lofty. [Shown exhibit No. 34.] The sig- 
nature of that will is in my sister's handwriting. The entry of 
a marriage in the register purporting to be between Margaret 
182 




Margaret Elizabeth Lofty. 



Evidence for Prosecution. 

Emily Marion Lofty 

Elizabeth Lofty and John Lloyd also contains my sister's signature. 
[Shown exhibit No. 37.] That is a hold-all. I saw the contents 
of that hold-all at the Police Court. They consisted of a number 
of articles of dress, including a dressing- jacket, costumes, and 
linen. I recognise these as the property of my sister. I do not 
recognise the hold-all. [Shown exhibit No. 28.] That document 
has a signature purporting to be my sister's signature. It is in 
her handwriting. [Shown exhibit No. 38.] That document 
purports to be my sister's signature. It also is in her hand- 
writing. Exhibits 32, 39, 107, and 108 also purport to bear my 
sister's signature. They are all in her handwriting. The Post 
Office Savings Bank book (exhibit 30) is also signed by my sister. 
Exhibit No 29, which is a receipt for money drawn out from the 
post office, is in my sister's handwriting. 

Dr. George Henry Barker, examined by Mr. Bodkin — I am 
a medical man practising at 124 Redland Road, Bristol. I act 
as medical examiner for the Yorkshire Insurance Company. It 
is my duty to examine persons proposing to insure in that com- 
pany. On the 29th November, 1914, I made an examination of 
a lady giving the name of Margaret Elizabeth Lofty. It was my 
duty to examine her and make out a medical report. [Shown 
exhibit No. 28.] The answers to the particular questions in that 
document are in my handwriting. I made these entries at the 
time. The deceased appeared to me to be a perfectly healthy 
woman. From an insurance point of view I should class her as 
a first-class life, and assurable at ordinary rates. That report 
goes into questions as to the heart and as to the structure of the 
Body generally. I formed the opinion that her height was about 
5 feet 3 inches, and her weight 8 stones 12 lbs. She signed the 
certificate on the earlier part of exhibit No. 28. 

Thomas Ratner Cooper, examined by Mr. Bodkin — I am 
joint manager to the Yorkshire Insurance Company, 4 St. Stephen's 
Avenue, Bristol. I remember dealing with a proposal at my office 
by a person named Margaret Elizabeth Lofty. Exhibit No. 38 is 
a document bearing the date 25th November, 1914. It is a 
proposal form. I recognise the handwriting of some of the 
answers. It is our chief clerk's. The other answers are in a 
different handwriting. I know Dr. Barker. The proposer named 
in the proposal form was sent to him for examination. That is 
the usual course. It is a proposal for a policy of £700, an 
endowment policy payable at sixty-five, or in the event of death, 
at death, and the annual premum is £24 12s. 4d. at this age. 
The policy (exhibit No. 40) was issued to the proposer for that 
amount. I got exhibit No. 39, which is the receipt for that 
policy, and it bears the date, 11th December, 1914. The premium 

183 



George Joseph Smith. 

Thomas R. Cooper 

was paid on the 4th December. She paid it personally in £1 
Treasury notes. The notes were new notes. Later on we received 
a notification of the death through our London office. The money 
under that policy has not been paid. 

Cross-examined by Mr. Marshall Hall— This was a £700 
(without profits) endowment insurance. If it had been a whole 
life policy, the rate per £100 would have been £2 12s. lid. against 
£3 10s. 4d., a saving of about £7. 

Louisa Blatch, examined by Mr. Bodkin — I reside at 14 
Bismarck Road, Highgate. That is a house which I let in apart- 
ments. 1 recognise the prisoner. I first saw him on 17th 
December, 1914. I first saw him about five o'clock in the day at 
my house. There was a lady with him. They came to ask if I 
had a room to let, I had a room to let on the second floor 
furnished as a bedroom. I took them up to see it. The price 
of that room was 7s. a week with the use of the sitting room. The 
sitting room is on the ground floor in the front of the house. 
As we were coming down the stairs Mrs. Lloyd said to me " Have 
you got a bath? " and I said, " Yes, there it is," pointing to the 
bath. When we were downstairs in the sitting-room they paid 
7s. for the first week and 2s. 6d. for some extras. They did not 
have much luggage with them at that time; they might' have had 
a handbag or something of that kind. Mrs. Lloyd remained in 
+ he house and Mr. Lloyd said he was going to fetch the luggage 
I gave Mrs. Lloyd some tea. I gave the prisoner a latch key for 
the front door before he went out. I do not remember when he 
came back. Later on in the evening I remember seeing Mrs 
Lloyd putting her outdoor things on again. As they were going 
out she said, " He wants me to go out with him a little while." 
I do not remember hearing them coming in again that nio-ht 
Next morning I saw to their breakfast in the sitting room. Mis 
Lloyd was not there at the time. I took in breakfast for the two 
of them into the sitting room. I did not take Mrs. Lloyd's 
breakfast upstairs. I cannot tell whether she had her breakfast 
lhe prisoner told me that morning that Mrs. Lloyd was not feeling 
very well When Mrs. Lloyd came down I asked her how she felt" 
but she did not answer. The prisoner said, " She is better She 
is very well now except for a little headache." They went out 
that morning and returned about one o'clock. It was part of our 
arrangement that I was to cook the food which they procured 
lhey brought in some fish and I cooked it. After they had their 
mid-day meal they went out again. Mrs. Lloyd before she went 
out asked me if she could have a bath. 1 cannot remember whether 
the prisoner was present or not, Thev went out after that It 
was just getting dark when they came back. It would be about 
four o clock. They were both in about that time, but I cannot 

1 84 



Evidence for Prosecution. 

Louisa Blatch 

say whether they came in together. I provided tea, for them. 
They stayed in for the evening. About half-past seven I went to 
the sitting room and told Mrs. Lloyd her bath was ready. I had 
got the water hot and put towels and soap in the bathroom. I 
heated the water on the kitchen stove. Mrs. Lloyd said in answer 
" Very well," or " Thank you." Mr. Lloyd was also in the 
sitting room at the time. I said to her, " You will take your own 
candle." After I had told Mrs. Lloyd that I went to the kitchen. 
When I was in the kitchen I heard some one go upstairs. The 
stairs were covered with carpet, and the first landing is covered 
with floorcloth with mats at the doors. The upper flight of stairs 
is covered with floorcloth without a carpet. The bathroom is 
covered with floorcloth also. There was one mat in the bathroom. 
I was ironing in the kitchen when I heard some one going upstairs. 
A few minutes after that I heard a sound from the bathroom. 
It was a sound of splashing. Then there was a noise as of some 
one putting wet hands or arms on the side of the bath, and then 
a sigh. The splashing and the hands on the bath occurred at the 
same time. The sigh was the last I heard. The next sound I 
heard was some one playing the organ in the sitting room. It 
was only a few minutes after I heard the last sound in the bath- 
room that I heard the organ playing. I was in the kitchen and 
scullery all that time. I do not remember going out of the kitchen 
at all during that time, but I may have done so, to answer the 
door. I have no recollection of any one going to the door. I 
should say the organ playing went on for about ten minutes. The 
next sound I heard was the front door slam. I then heard the 
front door bell. I went to the door and I found Mr. Lloyd at the 
door. He said, " I forgot I had a key." He also said, " I have 
been for some tomatoes for Mrs. Lloyd's supper." He then said, 
" Is she down yet? " I told him I had not seen her. He had a 
paper bag in his hand. He said he would go up and ask if she 
would like them. I saw him go upstairs and I heard him call 
some name. He would be perhaps half-way up the stairs when he 
called up. I was standing at the bottom of the stairs. He then 
said, " My God, there is no answer." I do not remember what I 
said. He called again. I then said, " Perhaps she has gone to 
her bedroom." He had got to the top of the stairs by that time 
and was just outside the bathroom door. There was no light 
on the landing outside the bathroom door. I could not see the 
bathroom door from the hall at the foot of the stairs. You can 
see the bathroom door from the hall during the day, or if there 
is a light. The prisoner then said, " There is no light." Just 
after that he called out to me, " She is in the bath. Come and 
help me." I was at the bottom of the stairs. I said, " I cannot 
come, Mr. Lloyd." I rushed upstairs to another gentleman I 
thought was in the house, another lodger of mine. When I went 

185 



George Joseph Smith. 

Louisa Blatch 

up to call the other gentleman I passed the bathroom door. I did 
not notice whether it was open or shut. I cannot say where the 
prisoner was standing at that time. I did not find the gentleman 
I went for. I then went to the room door. The prisoner called 
out again, " Don't leave me alone. Come and help me," and 
I went into the bathroom. There was a light in the bathroom. 
The bathroom door was wide open. The prisoner was just inside 
the bathroom. I said I would go for a doctor and the policeman. 
1 did not notice whether there was any water in the bath or not. 
As I passed the bathroom door to fetch the other lodger the 
prisoner called out to me, " Shall I let the water off? " and I 
said, " Certainly, let it off at once." When I got into the bath- 
room the prisoner had Mrs. Lloyd in his arms. He was holding 
her up over the bath. Her legs were in the bath still. I felt her 
arm, and it was cold. I then said I would go for a doctor and a 
policeman. He said he would go, but I said I would go myself. 
He then said, " Fetch Dr. Bates. I took her to him last night." 
The policeman I first spoke to was Constable Heath, and I then 
went on to Dr. Bates. The doctor followed me back to the 
house. After the doctor and the policeman had gone I asked the 
prisoner whether he would like somebody to see to Mrs. Lloyd, and 
he said, " No." I thought he misunderstood me, and I asked 
him again, and he said, " No, the doctor has done everything 
that is necessary." The bathroom door is fastened by a bolt. 
There was nothing the matter with the bolt when the Lloyds were 
staying with me. The place is used as a lavatory as well as a 
bathroom. I used the bolt myself after this occurrence. It was 
in good order just as it was before except that the hasp was a 
little loose. That Friday evening, the 18th, I had an accident 
to my knee which kept me indoors for some days. I believe the 
body of Mrs. Lloyd remained that Friday night in the bedroom. 
I did not see it there because I could not get upstairs. As far as 
I know the prisoner remained in my house that night. He slept 
in the sitting room on the ground floor. I did not know what he 
was doing that evening or that night after the policeman had 
gone. I took him some cocoa between ten and eleven that night. 
The prisoner remained in my house up to the following Wednes- 
day. Mrs. Lloyd's body was taken away on the Saturday 
morning. I learned of the inquest on Tuesday, 22nd. I was 
unable to go to it. I was informed that the inquest was ad- 
journed for me to be there. On the day of the funeral the 
prisoner told me he was going on a cycling tour, and that he 
would be back for the inquest. The inquest was adjourned until 
the 1st of January. Mrs. Lloyd's thvngs were left in the room. 
After the body was removed the prisoner still continued to occupy 
the sitting room. Mrs. Lloyd's things were left upstairs in the 
bedroom. On the morning of 1st January the orisoner called on 
186 



Evidence for Prosecution. 

Louisa Biatch 

me, and we went together to the adjourned inquest. He remained 
with me after the inquest. He took Mrs. Lloyd's things away. 
After the prisoner left my house I gave away some of Mrs. Lloyd's 
things that were still in the house. I have since got them back. 
The prisoner parted with me at my house after the adjourned 
inquest on the 1st January. I never saw him again until I saw 
him in Court in custody. Mrs. Lloyd seemed to be quite cheerful 
and happy while she was with me. From an article of hers I saw, 
I saw she was either in, or had recently been in, a period. It 
was not a diaper, but a pair of combinations. I saw it in the bag, 
which was left behind. I have been twelve months in that house. 
During that time nothing has been done to the lock of the bath- 
room. 

Cross-examined by Mr. Marshall Hall — The bolt which fastens 
the door is a bolt which works from the box of the lock. If the staple 
was not exactly true with the door anybody might push that and 
think they had bolted the door and not bolt it. I have never found 
on going to the door that I had not bolted it. The bedroom I had 
to let was on the second floor. The bathroom is on the first floor. 
The sitting room is on the ground floor. The organ is in the sitting 
room on the ground floor. It was at half-past seven I told her the 
bath was ready. The time that would elapse between the time 
when I told her the bath was ready and when I saw her in the bath 
would be about three-quarters of an hour or thirty -five minutes. I 
gave evidence before the coroner. I was a fortnight in bed with a 
bad knee. The evidence I gave before the coroner will probably be 
accurate. When I informed her that the bath was ready at half -past 
seven she was kneeling in front of the fire. I believe the prisoner 
had a paper in his hand. I said before the coroner that I afterwards 
heard her go upstairs. That was my impression then ; I heard 
some one go up. About three or four minutes would elapse between 
half-past seven, when I left the room, and the time I heard some one 
go up the stairs. I did not take notice whether the steps went as far 
as the bedroom or only as far as the bathroom. I had heated the 
water for the bath, but had not put it into the bath. I could not 
say how many minutes elapsed between hearing this person go 
upstairs and hearing the water running into the bath. I cannot give 
any idea how long elapsed. I should say about ten or twelve minutes 
elapsed between the turning on of the water and the beginning of the 
playing of the harmonium. I do not think if two people had gone 
upstairs one could say definitely that two people did go up. I 
cannot say whether it was two or one went upstairs. I heard some 
one go up. The harmonium continued playing about ten minutes. 
It was between the time I heard some one go upstairs and the organ 
being played that I heard sounds of splashing as of somebody having 
a bath. There was nobody else in the house. 

Assuming the prisoner played the organ, then from the time 

187 



George Joseph Smith. 

Louisa Blatch 

they went upstairs to his coming down and playing the organ, at 
most ten or twelve minutes elapsed? — Yes. 

So that if in fact he did murder this woman in that ten or twelve 
minutes, she must have undressed, turned on the water, and he must 
have drowned her? — I heard sounds during that time. 

We know after that time somebody who must have been present 
was playing the organ? — Yes. 

You are quite clear about having heard the noise of splashing, 
but you paid no attention to it? — No, I did not. I did not mention 
it to the coroner, because I attached no importance to it. The noise 
was like a wet hand on the side of the bath. The sigh was a sort of 
sound like a child might make that was bathing, or a woman might 
make washing her head. I did not hear the bathroom door shut. 
After I heard the organ cease I heard the front door slam. About 
ten minutes after that the front door bell rang, and I went and found 
the prisoner at the door. 

Did any appreciable space of time elapse between the cessation 
of the music, the organ playing, and the slam of the front door? — 
No, it was almost simultaneous. The room where the organ was 
is close to the front door. The impression I got was that it was 
the same person who had been playing the organ who in fact shut 
the front door. There was not time between the playing of the 
organ and the shutting of the door for the prisoner to go upstairs. 
There was gas in the bathroom, but I told Mrs. Lloyd to use the 
candle in her room. I have already stated that when the prisoner 
returned he said, " I forgot I had a key." He said he had got 
some things for Mrs. Lloyd. He put them clown on the table. He 
then went half-way up the stairs and called, but got no answer. He 
then made a remark to me, and I said, " Perhaps she has gone to 
her bedroom." 

As a matter of fact, did he not then go straight up to the 
bedroom ? I suggest the prisoner went up first to the bedroom, and 
then back to the bathroom? — He went to the top of the stairs, and 
he said, " There is no light." I was at the bottom of the stairs at 
the time. There was not time for him to go up to the bedroom. I 
could not say whether there was any light when he called out, " She 
is in the bath." I was downstairs at the time. He called out, 
" Come and help me." I said, " I cannot come," and I ran to the 
door to try and find another lodger who was not in fact in the house 
at the time. This gentleman did come in after the doctor had been. 
I do not know whether he went up to the room where the body was. 
I did not notice how much water there was in the bath. I did not 
notice whether it was hot or cold. I took hold of the dead woman's 
arm. I did not know she was dead. Her arm was cold. I did 
not notice anything lying on the bathroom floor. I was only in the 
bathroom for a minute, long enough to feel her arm. The prisoner 
stayed in my house until the funeral. When I hurt my knee he 
188 



Evidence for Prosecution. 

Louisa Biatch 

came back. I had very little opportunity of seeing the dead woman 
while she was in my house. 

Re-examined by Mr. Bodkin — It was just a minute or two after 
I announced that the bath was ready that I heard some one go 
upstairs. I have a striking clock in the house, but I cannot remember 
hearing it strike eight. I met Constable Heath at Archway Road, 
at the bottom of Bismarck Road. It would only take me two or 
three minutes to get there from my house. 

By Mr. Justice Scrutton — I did not put any hat on before I 
ran out. I did not look at the time when I saw the prisoner with 
the body in his arms and the legs in the bath. I hurried downstairs 
and went straight out of the door down the road. The constable was 
not the first man I spoke to. I asked a man where Dr. Bates lived. 
I could not tell whether it was hot or cold water that was being 
poured into the bath. 

By Mr. Marshall Hall — I understood you to say you might 
think you locked the door and not in fact bolt it. You say that never 
happened to you, and I understood you were going to say it might? — 
It might do so. 

By Mr. Bodkin — Is the bath that was taken away from your 
house and has been produced here the one that was in use in December 
of last year? — Yes, that is the one. 

Stanley Heath, examined by Mr. Humphreys — I am a police 
constable of the Y Division. Metropolitan Police. On the 
evening of the 18th December last I was on special patrol duty in 
Archway Road. While I was in that road Miss Biatch came and 
spoke to me. I know the house 14 Bismarck Road. I would be 
about 50 yards from that house when Miss Biatch spoke to me. I 
went at once to the house. I got there about 8.15. I went alone. 
The front door was open. I went at once to the bathroom on the 
first floor. As I went upstairs I saAv the prisoner kneeling beside 
the body of the naked woman that was lying on the floor. The 
trunk of the body was outside the bathroom, and the lower limbs 
inside • the bathroom. He was working the arms of the woman 
backwards and forwards. I covered the body with a dressing gown 
that was hanging on the bathroom door. There were about 6 inches 
of water in the bath at that time. I felt it, and it was still warm. 
The plug was drawn, and the water actually running away. I 
have had training in artificial respiration. I applied artificial respira- 
tion until the arrival of the doctor. The body felt cold. The dressing 
gown was hanging on the side of the door. It was hanging over the 
door and down the side of the door as though it had been thrown 
over the top. On arriving at the house I said to the prisoner, " Is 
she dead? " He replied, " She must have been in the bath for 
about an hour. She has complained of pains in the head, and has 
been under the treatment of Dr. Bates." I noticed that there was 

189 



George Joseph Smith. 

Stanley Heath 

foam issuing from the mouth of the body. When Dr. Bates came 
he examined the body. I assisted the prisoner to take the body into 
the bedroom on the second floor. I had to go into the bathroom to 
apply artificial respiration. The gas was lit. I saw no candle in 
the bathroom. The floor of the bathroom was very wet'. There was 
a piece of soap and also a towel lying on the floor. I went to the 
police station and reported the matter. I then went back to the 
house. The prisoner said something about removing the body. He 
asked me to call back and let him know about the removal of the 
body. I went back to the house and told him the body would be 
removed in due course, and he replied, " Cannot it be removed 
to-night? " I told him that the removal of the body lay with the 
coroner's officer, not with me. 

Cross-examined by Mr. Marshall Hall — There is no partition 
in the bathroom between the w.c. and the bath. The partition drawn 
upon the plan is the wooden casing of the bathroom. The bath was 
wooden cased, and the seat of the w.c. goes right up to the wooden 
case of the bathroom. There is a small space between the sort of angle 
of the w.c. seat which runs almost at right angles to the bath. The 
floor space available inside the bathroom door is about 3 feet 6 inches 
square, so that a body taken out of the bath could not lie in that 
square if it was lying fully extended. When I arrived the trunk of 
the body was outside the bathroom. The bathroom door opens 
inwards. I did not notice whether there was a peg at the back of the 
bathroom door on which you could hang a dressing gown.* In opening 
the bathroom door with a dressing gown hanging down behind it, as 
you opened the door you would shut the dressing gown in between the 
door and the bath. If anybody had wanted that for the purpose of 
covering the body, he could not lay it on the floor of the bathroom, 
because it was all wet, nor on the edge of the bath. It would be quite a 
natural thing to throw it over the door. I applied the Schaffer method 
of artificial respiration on the stomach, not the movement of the arms. 
The method that the prisoner was adopting was the movement of the 
arms. A dressing gown would not be in the way in applying that 
method. I think I was from ten to twelve minutes in the bathroom 
before the arrival of the doctor. I did not lift the body from the 
floor at all while I was in the bathroom before the doctor arrived. 
I took the wet on the floor to be the result of having taken a wet 
body out of the bath and laid it on the floor. My suspicions were not 
excited. I did not lift the body until I helped to take it to the 
room above the bathroom. After I had taken it to the room above 
the bathroom I came back to the bathroom. Mr. Anderson, the 
lodger, was not there. I did not notice any blood-stained clothes 
on the floor. I could not say positively that there were none, but I 
noticed none. I did not notice whether the woman was suffering 



* Miss Blatch informed the Court that there was a peg. 
190 



Evidence for Prosecution. 

Stanley Heath 

from a period. I said before the magistrate, " There was no sign 
of any trouble or disorder." I did not notice anything about the 
fastening of the door. 

Henry Neal, examined by Mr. Humphreys — I am a police 
constable in the Metropolitan Police, and I act as coroner's officer 
for Mr. Walter Schroder, who is coroner for Central London, which 
included Highgate. On the 18th of December I received informa- 
tion about the death of Margaret Elizabeth Lloyd, and on the 
19th, the next day, in the evening, I went to 14 Bismarck Road. 
I saw the prisoner there. I told him what I had come about. I 
asked him the name of his wife, the deceased. He said, " Margaret 
Elizabeth Lloyd, aged thirty-eight, wife of John Lloyd, land 
agent." He further told me she always enjoyed good health up 
till Thursday when she complained of pains in her head, and 
attended Dr. Bates, who prescribed for her and told the deceased 
to look after herself. On Friday, the 18th, she said she felt much 
better. At 7.30 p.m. the deceased told her husband she was going 
to have a bath, and went to the bathroom. He continued, 
" Shortly after I left the house and returned at 8.10. Not 
finding my wife about I went to the bathroom and called. Re- 
ceiving no answer I called the landlady, Louisa Blatch, and we 
entered the bathroom, and on lighting the gas saw deceased in a 
bath of water on her left side." 

Did he say who lit the gas? — " We lit the gas." 

By Mr. Justice Scrutton — What have you got down there? 
We have now three versions? — " And on lighting the gas saw 
deceased undressed in a bath of water on her left side." 

By Mr. Humphreys — Just begin the sentence a little higher 
up? — " Receiving no answer I called the landlady, Louisa Blatch, 
and entered the bathroom, and on lighting the gas saw deceased 
undressed in a bath of water on her left side. Dr. Bates, Police 
Court, called. On arrival, examined deceased and pronounced 
life extinct, and said that probably death was due to drowning." 

Did you ask him other questions? — I asked him if his wife 
was insured. 

What did he say? — He replied, " No." I then went up on 
to the second floor back room and saw the body of the deceased. 
She was on the bed. I gave orders to Mr. Beckett, the undertaker, 
who removed it. 

Cross-examined by Mr. Marshall Hall — There is no mention 
in your notes of this conversation you say you had with him when 
you asked if she was insured, and he replied no? — Yes, you will 
find it at the beginning. 

When was it you say you asked him if she was insured and he 
said " No "? — At the time when I was making these inquiries. 

Is that your note? — This is my note. 

191 



George Joseph Smith. 

Henry Neal 

Then you have got down in your note, " Not insured "? — 
Yes, that is just as we ask the question. 

That note, of course, was made some little time after? — No. 
at the time. 

You made it there and then? — Yes. I was writing it on the 
table. I made that note about twenty minutes past nine on the 
morning of Thursday, the 19th.* 

Thomas Arthur Bird, examined by Mr. Bodkin — I am clerk 
to Mr. Walter Schroder, the coroner for Central London. I was 
at the Coroner's Court, Islington, on the 22nd of December last. 
I acted as clerk. I take down in longhand what the witnesses say. 
Where there is no verdict of murder or manslaughter I do not read 
over the depositions. At the inquest held on that day on the body 
of Margaret Elizabeth Lloyd there was a man John Lloyd called 
as a witness. He was sworn, and he gave his evidence. I recog- 
nise the prisoner as the man. [Shown exhibit No. 7.] That is 
the deposition I took down. It reads as follows : — " John Lloyd, 
having been sworn, said, I reside at 14 Bismarck Road, Islington. 
I am a land agent. I identify the body of the deceased as my 
wife, Margaret Elizabeth Lloyd. The age of the deceased was 
thirty-eight years. The last address of the deceased was 14 
Bismarck Road. I was married only last Thursday, 17th 
December. On Thursday deceased complained of pains in her 
head and giddiness. It came on about 6 p.m. We travelled from 
Bath after being married, and reached London about 4 or 5 p.m. 
She complained of pains in her head after we got out of the tube 
at Highgate. On arriving at the apartments I had taken she 
still complained of the pains. I then took her to a doctor, and 
Dr. Bates saw her. I went with her, the doctor gave her some 
medicine, and she took it. At about 7 p.m. she took a dose of the 
medicine, and at 9.30 p.m. she went to bed. I accompanied her. 
She was not restless. On Friday, 18th December, at 8 a.m. I 
awoke, and deceased said she was much better. Deceased got up 
and was downstairs at 8.45 a.m. She had breakfast. Later I 
went out with her to the draper's and left her. At 11.30 a.m. I met 
her and went home. We had a mid-day meal, and deceased 
partook of it. Deceased said she was feeling better. Deceased 
had taken about three doses of the medicine. In the afternoon 
about 4 p.m. she went out again, as she said she had to go to the 
draper's. She appeared all right and returned. She had tea with 
me. She arranged to stay in after and said she would have a 
bath. She went upstairs to have a bath at 7.30 p.m. She 



* At Kentish Town Station, on March 23, 1915, the witness stated— 
" Lloyd did not tell me he had been married only the day before, and I 
looked upon him as a married man of some standing." 

192 



Evidence for Prosecution. 

Thomas A. Bird 

appeared well. She was not depressed, but not extra cheerful. 
She was not complaining of pains in her head or chest. I played 
the harmonium for a quarter of an hour, and then went out at 
7.45 p.m. 1 had told her I was going out for a walk. I returned 
at 8.15 p.m. Deceased was not there. I inquired for her, and 
was informed by the landlady that she was not down. I shouted 
upstairs, but got no answer. I asked the landlady to come up and 
see where deceased was. I then went from ground floor to first 
floor where bathroom was. The door was closed, and I don't think 
I had any difficulty in opening the door. As deceased had not been 
well I was anxious. I went to the door of bathroom with the land- 
lady. The door was not locked as far as I remember. There was 
no light in the room, and I struck a match and lit the gas on the 
left-hand side going in. I then looked straight to the bath, and 
saw my wife under the water. The bath was about three parts full. 
I do not think the water was very soiled, as I could see deceased and 
the soap plainly. The landlady assisted and I got deceased out of 
bath, and sent for doctor and police. When I lifted deceased up there 
was no sign of life, and all over her mouth was froth. Deceased 
was naked, and her clothing was on the floor by the door. There 
were towels there and soap dish also. The towels looked as if they 
had been used. A police constable came, and then a doctor. The 
next day I found a letter, and have handed it to a solicitor. It 
is the one produced and in her handwriting. I found the letter 
produced in her clothing in the bedroom. I have read the letter. 
There is nothing in the letter to suggest she was ill or that her life 
was likely to terminate. There had been nothing in deceased's 
manner or anything she said to suggest that she would take her life. 
Directly deceased complained of feeling ill I asked her to have a 
doctor. I have known deceased four months, and during that time 
she has not been ill. I lifted the soap out of the bath after draining 
the water off." Exhibit No. 24 is the letter referred to. I was 
present at the adjourned hearing, but I did not take notes. 

Cross-examined by Mr. Marshall Hall — I took a note of the 
doctor's evidence too. His evidence is attached to the depositions. 

I do not follow what has been read. You said, " Later on I 
went out with her to a draper's and left her. At 11.30 a.m. I met 
her and went home. We had a mid-day meal, and deceased partook 
of it. Deceased said she was feeling better. Deceased had taken 
about three doses of the medicine. In the afternoon about 4 p.m. 
she went out again, as she said she had to go " — you have got " to 
the draper's." Is what he said " to get some diapers " 1 — No. 

By Mr. Justice Scrutton — I wrote it in longhand. 

Cross-examination resumed — Do you not think he might have 
said — it is a little important — ' ' to get some diapers ' ' ? — I would 
have put it down if he had said it. 

Anyhow, he said " to go to the draper's." It is to the draper's 
you would go to buy that sort of thing? — Yes. 

o 193 



George Joseph Smith. 

Walter Schroder 

Walter Schroder, examined by Mr. Bodkin — I am the coroner 
for Central London. I held an inquest on Margaret Elizabeth Lloyd, 
commencing on the 22nd of December. Before commencing an 
inquest it is the practice for the coroner's officer to make inquiries 
and report to me. In that way I get a general knowledge of the 
case. The prisoner was examined on the first occasion by me. That 
is the usual practice. 

It says here, in the fourth or fifth line, " I was married only 
last Thursday, the 17th December." Have you any recollection how 
that answer came to be given? — Oh, yes, quite clear. It is my 
custom to ask after the identification has been established what has 
been the health of the deceased person. I asked him on that occa- 
sion, and at first I did not receive a reply. I repeated the question ; 
then the reply was not audible. I thought possibly 

Mr. Marshall Hall — We cannot have that. 

The Witness — I just want to explain. I then put the question, 
" How long have you been married," so that I might obtain some 
data on which to go back. 

Examination continued — The correct answer? — Yes, it was then 
the answer came, " The day before her death," or words to that 
effect. 

Did you have before you either on that day or any other day, 
the adjourned day of the inquest, the measurements of the bath? — I 
did not. 

Or the measurements of the body ? — I could not remember with- 
out looking at my notes if I had the measurements of the body. In 
some cases I have. 

Your depositions have been examined, and I have seen them. 
There does not appear to be any record? — Probably I did not ask 
the question. 

Was the body viewed in the mortuary? — All bodies are. 

Near the Court? — The Chapel of Ease grounds, near the Court. 

On the 1st January was the inquest resumed, and did you 
take your own notes? Will you look at exhibit No. 7? — Yes, or the 
end of them. 

You remember Miss Blatch was unable to come? [Exhibit No. 7 
handed to witness.] — On the first occasion, yes. I took the whole of 
the notes on the second occasion. 

Then Miss Blatch gave evidence? — Yes. 

And the prisoner was recalled? — Yes. 

Did you put down what he said in answer to vour questions? — 
Yes, I did. 

" I took the soap out of the bath when I let the water off. She 
did not say why she was taking a bath at the hour she did, and I 
did not ask her. She did not complain of pains in the head to me 
before we arrived at Highgate, after being in the Tube Railway. 

194 



Evidence for Prosecution. 

Walter Schroder 

" By the Jury — When I got in the bathroom 1 saw an inch of 
candle in the candlestick a few inches from the bath. It was not 
alight. There was water on the floor of the bathroom, such as 
would get there by a person standing while in the bath, and the 
splashing might have put the candle out "? — That is so. 

The verdict was, " Suffocation by drowning in the water — 
accidental "? — Yes. It was also said, in the wording of the verdict, 
in the first part of it, that she was found dead in a bath. 

Cross-examined by Mr. Marshall Hall — Mr. Schroder, was Dr. 
Bates recalled? — Yes. 

Dr. Bates was recalled, and you took a note? — I took a note. 

Did a Mr. Kilvington, a solicitor, attend the inquest on behalf 
of the relatives of the deceased? — He was present on both occasions. 

And I think you said he made no remarks except to thank you 
for making the full inquiry you had made? — Yes; that was after 
the jury had returned their verdict. 

He was present all the time? — Yes. 

Dr. Stephen Henry Bates, examined by Mr. Bodkin — I am in 
practice at 31 Archway Road, Highgate. On Thursday evening, 
1 7th December, I was at my surgery. It is just an ordinary name- 
plate that I have outside my surgery, which states, " Dr. Bates, 
surgeon." About eight o'clock on the evening of 17th December a 
man and a woman called at my surgery. I recognise the prisoner 
as the man. The woman was Mrs. Lloyd, whom I afterwards saw 
at 14 Bismarck Road. It was the prisoner who spoke. He said, 
' ' I have brought my wife to see you ; she is suffering from a head- 
ache." He said that it came on when they got out of the tube station 
at Highgate the same evening. I asked the deceased several 
questions, but I got no answer from her. It was also after I put 
repeated questions, until I put a leading question, and said, " Have 
you really a headache, as your husband says? " that she replied, 
" Yes." I asked several other questions, but still got no answer. 
I then said, " Have you any other symptoms of any kind? " and she 
replied, " No." I took her temperature, and it was raised between 
100 and 101. Her pulse was about 100 per minute. That was all 
that I heard about her symptoms. I understood the pain in the head 
to be located in the frontal region. I gave her a mixture to relieve 
the headache, and told her to let me know if it was not better on 
the following day. The mixture consisted of bromide salycilate and 
phenazone. I gave that simply as a sedative and to relieve the pain. 
It was in an ordinary 3-ounce bottle. The directions were that one- 
twelfth part was to be taken every four hours. There were twelve 
marks on the bottle. I told her to go home and rest, and see how 
she was in the morning, and let me know if she was not better. 
They would be about twenty minutes in my surgery altogether. I 
told them it might be influenza. The next evening Mrs. Blatch 

195 



George Joseph Smith. 

Dr. Stephen H. Bates 

came to me about 8.20. I followed her to 14 Bismarck Road. 
When I got there I went up to the first floor. I there saw the 
deceased tying on the floor naked, except that she had a dressing 
gown thrown over her, and there was a constable performing arti- 
ficial respiration, and the prisoner was standing by. The body was 
just outside the bathroom door. The legs and feet may have been 
just inside the bathroom. I examined the body and found that she 
was dead. The trunk of the body was cold, but not quite cold. The 
extremities were cold. It is almost impossible to say how long before 
I arrived she had been dead, but I should say at least half an hour. 
The body was taken upstairs to the second floor bedroom, and I made 
a further examination of it in the bedroom. The lips were blue and 
swollen. The whole face was congested and the eyelids swollen. 
When I saw the body downstairs there was froth exuding from the 
month and nostrils. I formed the opinion that death was probably 
due to drowning. I did not notice any external marks on the body 
at that time. The prisoner did not say anything to me that evening 
as to the death. The only thing he said was when I told him there 
would be an inquest he remarked, " I hope the verdict will not be 
suicide, as I should not like it said that my wife was insane." On 
Sunday, 20th December, I made a post-mortem examination at 
Islington mortuary. As the result of my examination, I arrived at 
the opinion that death was due to suffocation from drowning. I 
should say that the deceased was a well-nourished, well-developed 
woman about 5 feet 3 or 4 inches in height. The organs of the 
body were healthy, except that there was some evidence of old disease. 
There was evidence of old pleurisy on both sides, and some peritonitis 
in the upper part of the abdomen. Apart from these things, I 
would describe the organs as being healthy. I saw some bruising 
round the left elbow, just above the left elbow, on the outer side. 
There was only one mark visible externally, but there were others 
beneath the surface. The bruising was quite recent. I was after- 
wards present at the exhumation of the body. That was the body 
on which I held the post-mortem examination. I remember the 
deceased's hair was wet and down over her shoulders on the night of 
the Friday when I called at her house. 

By Mr. Justice Scruttox — Her hair was wet all over, as if the 
entire head had been under the water. 

Examination resumed — I think I was at home on the night before 
the inquest, the 21st December. I cannot say whether it was that 
night that the prisoner called on me, but he called one evening at 
my surgery. He asked me if I had noticed any blood on the floor 
at' the time of the first visit, and I replied, " No." He said, n There 
was blood, but it was due to the fact that my wife was menstruating 
at the time," and asked if it was not very unusual for a woman to 
have a bath at that time. I replied that it was unusual, and that 
there was no blood as far as I could see. 
196 



Evidence for Prosecution. 

Dr. Stephen H. Bates 

Cross-examined by Mr. Marshall Hall — When the deceased 
came to me on the first occasion with her husband she appeared to be 
dazed. 

And not apparently either able or •willing to answer? — Simply 
did not answer questions. 

And the husband made certain statements with regard to her, 
that she had got a bad headache? — Yes. I gave evidence before 
the coroner. I examined her on that occasion, and found that she 
had a temperature of between 100 and 101. That is abnormal; 
98.40 is the normal temperature, so that she was about two degrees 
higher than normal. I took her pulse, and found that it was 100, 
the normal being 70 to 72. 

Did you also find that she was, as far as you could judge, 
depressed? — She was. 

Therefore, may I take it that, prima facie, her condition was 
abnormal? — It was. 

And abnormal conditions must be produced by some cause other 
than health? — Yes. 

Did you say that you first feared mental trouble when you found 
the temperature high? — When I first saw her and found she would 
not answer questions, and stared vacantly about her, I did think so. 

You cannot simulate a vacant stare. You would know whether 
it was a genuine vacant stare or not — It appeared to me. When 
I found not only the raised temperature but the accelerated pulse, I 
began to suspect influenza. There was an epidemic of influenza at 
the time. It was of a character peculiarly acute and brief, a quick 
rise of temperature, and it did not last long. There were many 
cases of that kind. I also found in my practice at that particular 
time that one of the symptoms of that epidemic influenza was stomach 
trouble. I gave her phenazone and bromide salycilate, which, of 
course, would serve a double purpose. It would be a good stomach 
disinfectant, and would be a beneficial medicine in conjunction with 
the bromide. It was a 3 -ounce bottle I gave her, containing twenty- 
four teaspoonfuls. 

Had you any doubt whatever in your own mind that this woman 
had influenza? I am not dealing with your subsequent examination. 
When you prescribed for her that night, had you any doubt she 
had influenza? — I was not satisfied as to the diagnosis. 

Either influenza or something more serious, was it not? — Yes. 
1 did not find anything in the post-mortem examination of this 
woman's body which would account for the condition in which I saw 
her on the evening of Thursday. 

So that you are reduced to this : she was suffering from influenza 
or something more serious. Whatever it was, as far as you could get 
any objective symptoms in post-mortem, it had disappeared? There 
was no evidence at the post-mortem at all. 

197 



George Joseph Smith. 

Dr. Stephen H. Bates 

Assume for the moment that she was suffering from the particular 
form of epidemic influenza at that time, complicated, as I suggest to 
you, by the presence of a period, would not the hot bath be the very 
worst thing she could possibly have? — Yes, I should say so. 

I think you said before the coroner when you gave your evidence, 
" The woman's general condition, together with the onset of some 
febrile illness, might have induced faintness in the first place from 
prolonged immersion in a hot bath. If she had influenza that, together 
with a hot bath, might tend to her having a fainting attack "1 — 
Yes. 

You do not want to modify that now. That was your diagnosis 
at the time? — It was certainly. I did not go inside the bathroom 
at all that night. The constable was using the Schaffer method of 
artificial respiration when I arrived. There are many methods of 
artificial respiration. If an inexperienced person used the arm 
method, a dressing jacket would incommode him. The Schaffer 
method is a modification of the old Marshall Hall method. 

As regards the question of bruises, I think you did not think 
them of sufficient importance to mention them to the coroner at all? 
— Yes, I did mention them. 

I beg your pardon. " There was a small bruise on the left 
elbow which was recent," but you did not mention the other bruises? 
— Those subcutaneous ones were not visible on the surface. I have 
not had the advantage of reading Dr. Spilsbury's report on this 
case, neither did I hear his evidence. The bruising was on the outer 
part of the elbow. Some people bruise or mark more easily than 
others. It depends on the amount of circulation. There was no 
oedema of the body at all. I saw no sign of any struggle or gripping 
of the arm at all. 

Re-examined by Mr. Bodkin — The deceased did not complain 
of any stomach trouble, nor was there any sign of stomach trouble. 

Did you know that she either was passing or had passed through 
a period? — I knew she had recently menstruated. There was no 
evidence of her menstruating at the time. 

No evidence on the body? — No. 

Would you expect to find evidence on the body on the Friday 
night? — If they were on I certainly expect after the bath it might 
have destroyed the evidence of it. 

I say would you expect to find any evidence of it on the body 
after the bath? — No. 

How did you know as your source of information about that? — 
The menstruation ? 

Yes? — The prisoner suggested that she was menstruating. 

On the night before the inquest, whichever night that was? — 
Yes. 

Some night before the inquest — Yes. My advice to the deceased 
was that she should go home and rest, and let me know if she was 
198 



Evidence for Prosecution. 

Dr. Stephen H. Bates 

not better the next day. I never saw my medicine bottle again to 
see how much the deceased had taken. I did not know at the time 
that she had just been married, and had travelled up from Bath. 

When you were before the coroner you were asked whether you 
said a woman's general condition, together with the anxiety of some 
febrile illness, might have produced faintness from prolonged im- 
mersion in a hot bath? — Yes. 

Where did you get, if I may ask, the word " prolonged "? — 
I do not remember making use of the word. 

Had you any intention of ever using the word? — None whatever. 
If I did use the word I do not remember using it. 

Did you also say, just to complete the passage, " There was 
nothing to suggest she had had a fainting attack"? — I do not 
remember suggesting it. There was no evidence in the heart itself 
to suggest that. Blueness in the face and in the lips indicates 
congestion. 

Would that appearance of blueness be the appearance if a woman 
had fainted? — No, quite the opposite. The blueness would be brought 
about by suffocation — some obstruction to the entry of air. In the 
case of a person who has fainted there is usually a pallor due to 
sudden failure of the heart — failure of the circulation. I did not go 
into the bathroom and try the water. After I saw the body I 
asked Miss Blatch downstairs about the bath, and she told me she 
had had a bath. 

The evidence as it has turned out gave me the impression — it 
may be a wrong impression — that you attached importance not only 
to the immersion being prolonged, but also to the bath being hot? — 
I was told by Miss Blatch that she had had a hot bath. 

" If she had influenza, that, together with a hot bath, might 
tend to her having a fainting attack " ? — Yes. That is the conclusion 
of the report I was giving. 

By Mr. Justice Scruttox — It would come to this — if she had 
influenza, and if she had a hot bath, and if she stayed in a consider- 
able time, it might cause fainting .' — Yes. 

By Mr. Marshall Hall — Assuming a woman faints in a bath, 
and is subsequently drowned without recovering consciousness, would 
the objective symptoms be those of fainting or death by drowning? — 
Death by asphyxia. 

Therefore from the objective symptoms it would be impossible 
to say the fainting fit had not preceded the drowning? — Exactly. 

Assuming the policeman is right, that at twenty minutes past 
eight o'clock, when the bath water was running away and it was still 
warm, have you any doubt it would be hot water at a quarter to 
eight — thirty-five minutes' interval? — Thirty -five minutes — it might 
have been. 

Probably?— Yes. 

By Mr. Justice Scruttox — Did you see any symptoms in the 
post-mortem which suggested to you anv fainting fit? — No. 

199 



George Joseph Smith. 

Florence Green 

Florence Green, examined by Mr. Humphreys — I am a clerk at 
Muswell Hill post office. I was on duty there on the 18th of December 
last. [Shown exhibit No. 30.] That is a Post Office Savings Bank 
book. It was brought to me on the 18th of December," and I paid 
out from that book £19 5s. 5d. [Shown exhibit No. 31.] Judging 
from that form which I was using on the 18th of December, I should 
say that I paid that money out in the morning. / Before I paid that 
amount it was necessary for me to receive authority to do so, and 
also a notice of withdrawal signed by the depositor. Exhibit No. 29 
is the document which was brought by the -person who drew the 
money. It is signed "Margaret Elizabeth Loft)-." 

Sidney Philip Mitchell, examined by Mr. Bodkin — I am superin- 
tendent at the Post Office Savings Bank in Blyth Road, Kensington. 
That is the head office of the savings bank. If a depositor at the Post 
Office Savings Bank wishes to withdraw his or her money, it is 
necessary to send a notice, which comes to Blyth Road post office. I 
received the notice of withdrawal (exhibit No. 32). Upon that I 
issued authority to the Muswell Hill post office to pay the amount. 
The date of the notice of withdrawal is the loth December, and it is 
signed " Margaret Elizabeth Lofty." 

Frederick Beckett, examined by Mr. Humphreys — I am in 
business with my brother as an undertaker at No. 1 Highgate Hill. 
On Saturday, the 19th of December last, in consequence of getting 
an order, I went to 14 Bismarck Road, Highgate, about nine o'clock 
in the morning. The prisoner opened the door. I was asked by 
the prisoner to make arrangements for the funeral. I asked him if 
he wished to purchase a grave. He asked me what it would cost. I 
told him that it would be £4 2s. 6d. for two interments in the 
church ground. That is what is called a private grave. He said that 
was too much. I then suggested that he should have an ordinary 
interment, which would cost 9s. 6d. By that I meant interment in a 
grave where others were buried. He said that would do. I quoted 
him £>1 for the funeral, exclusive of the grave charges. He said that 
was too much. I then suggested £6 10s., including 9s. 6d. for the 
grave. He said that would do. I took the order on these terms. 

Herbert Francis Beckett, examined by Mr. Humphreys — I am 
an undertaker. I identified the coffin as being one which we supplied 
on the exhumation of the body of Mrs. Lloyd. I went to Islington 
Cemetery and saw the coffin exhumed. It had the name " Margaret 
Elizabeth Lloyd ' on it. The prisoner paid me £G 10s. for the 
funeral. 

Arthur Russell Da vies, examined by Mr. Bodkin — I am manag- 
ing clerk to Mr. W. P. Davies, of 60 Uxbridge Road, Shepherd's 
200 



Evidence for Prosecution. 

Arthur Rusaell Davies 

Bush. I recognise the prisoner. I first saw him on the 4th of January 
last. He produced certain documents to me, and gave his name 
as John Lloyd. The documents he produced were the original will of 
Margaret Elizabeth Lloyd and the certificate of marriage of Margaret 
Elizabeth Lofty with himself, also her birth certificate. He also 
produced a policy of insurance. I received instructions and took the 
necessary steps to obtain probate of the will. I communicated with 
the insurance company with regard to the payment of the policy 
money. [Shown exhibit No. 52.] That is the executor's affidavit, 
and it was prepared in my office by myself. It is in my own hand- 
writing. The gross value of the estate was £705, the net value being 
£698 10s. The prisoner was sole executor. Probate was granted 
on the 11th of January. I thereafter wrote several letters to the 
Yorkshire Insurance Company. When the prisoner came in to me 
on the 4th of January he handed me a cheque for £15 to cover the 
cost and duty. 

Thomas Fuller, examined by Mr. Humphreys — I am manager of 
the London and South- Western Bank, Highgate Hill branch. About 
14th December last a person calling himself John Lloyd called at the 
bank. (Shown exhibit 42.) That is a correct extract from the 
books of ,fche bank, showing that a deposit account was opened on the 
14th December in the name of John Lloyd. The prisoner is the man 
who came to the bank on the 14th December. He deposited £50. 
I cannot tell in what shape the money was handed over to our bank. 
His address at that time was 16 Orchard Road, and it was after- 
wards altered to 14 Bismarck Road on the 19th December. Exhibit 
41 is the receipt which I gave for the £50 deposit. Exhibit 42 
shows that the £50 deposited on the 14th December was withdrawn 
on the 23rd. On the 19th December the same depositor deposited 
a sealed parcel with me, about 6 inches by 4 by 4. The parcel was 
withdrawn on the 23rd. 

Frederick Kelvington, examined by Mr. Bodkin — I am a solicitor 
in practice at 120 Queen Victoria Street. I have been there for some 
years. I am a cousin of the Loftys. I am a second cousin of the 
deceased. I recollect on Saturday, 19th December, receiving a 
registered envelope and letter from Mrs. Lofty. I went to 14 
Bismarck Road. I first of all saw the servant, and then I saw Miss 
Blatch, the landlady. I then saw the prisoner. I told him who 
I was. I gave him my card showing that I was a member of a firm 
of solicitors. I told him that I had called because I had received a 
letter from Mrs. Lofty. The letter I had got gave me all the 
information regarding their marriage. I told the prisoner that I 
had come on behalf of the mother of the deceased, that she was very 
old, and unable to come herself, and she had sent me this news. 
The prisoner did not seem to know that she had any relatives. He 

201 



George Joseph Smith. 

Frederick Kelvington 

produced some letters to me which purported to come from her, and 
which had been written some time previously. These letters seemed 
to say that he was her only friend. I told the prisoner that she had 
a mother and sisters and a brother. The prisoner then asked 
whether I would like to see the body, and I said I would. I went to 
the mortuary and saw the body. 

Afterwards was there any conversation as to what his occupation 
was or what part of the world he came from? — This letter spoke of 
his having been in Canada, and it enabled me to ask him whether 
he had been there. I tried to find out something about him. I 
wanted to report what I could find out. I understood from him 
that lie had been in Canada and that his work was in London, and in 
the south of England; but I gathered very little from him. I think 
he told me he was a land agent. I was present at the inquest on 
the 22nd, and again on the 1st of January. I attended the funeral at 
Finchley Cemetery on the 23rd December. I did not hear of any 
insurance on Miss Lofty's life. I do not think I had any know- 
ledge of her having made a will on the first occasion, but I think I 
heard about it on the second. In January I remember getting a 
communication from Mr. Davies, of Uxbridge Road. 

[This was a copy of the original registered letter and envelope, 
exhibits 25 and 26, and it was produced by the prison^ to the 
Crown. After some discussion, the Court refused to admit the 
copy.] 

Selina King, examined by Mr. Humphreys — I reside at 14 
Richmond Road, Shepherd's Bush. I let apartments there. On 
the Monday before Christmas Day last — the 21st December — the 
prisoner called to see about taking a room. He asked for a fur- 
nished bedroom. He left a deposit of 2s. 6d. He said he would 
bring his baggage on the Wednesday before Christmas, the 23rd 
December. The prisoner did not inquire about a bathroom. He 
arrived on the 23rd bringing with him the bag, which is exhibit No. 
43. He said he was going away till the Monday after Christmas. 
I next heard from him by postcard. He arrived at my house on 
the 31st December. I afterwards saw another piece of luggage, a 
hold-all, exhibit No. 37. I think the prisoner stayed with me till 
the following Thursday or Friday. He then went away and came 
back the following Monday. He did not tell me anything about 
himself except that his name was Lloyd. He did not tell me what 
his occupation was. 

Charles Penfolii Ballard, examined by Mr Bodkin — I am 
cashier at the London and South-Western Bank, Shepherd's Bush 
branch. I recognise the prisoner. He opened an account at the 
bank on the 1st January of this year under the name of John Lloyd, 
and he gave his address at 14 Richmond Road. On that day he 
202 



Evidence for Prosecution. 

Charles Penfold Ballard 

paid in £30 in gold. I saw him the next day, the 2nd January. 
He then expressed a wish to open a current account instead of the 
deposit account, and the one was transferred from the other. He 
gave as his reason that he was starting in business as a house agent. 
Exhibit 51 is a copy taken from the books of my bank of the opera- 
tions on that account, and it is correct. 

Harold Reed, examined by Mr. Humphreys — I am a sergeant 
in the Metropolitan Police. On the 1st February I went to 14 Rich- 
mond Road, Shepherd's Bush, and took possession of some articles. 
The articles included a hold-all, exhibit No. 37, which contained a 
quantity of lady's clothing. That is the clothing that was identified 
as belonging to Miss Lofty. I also took possession of the gladstone 
bag, exhibit 43. In it I found exhibit 104, which is a cheque 
book of the London County and Westminster Bank, Shepherd's 
Bush branch. I also took possession of the pay-in book, exhibit 105, 
and exhibit 106, a document relating to a grave at Finchley Cemetery. 
The two documents, Nos. 107 and 108, are forms to be filled up by 
a person who is proposing to be insured in the Yorkshire Insurance 
Company. They are both filled up, and they bear the signature of 
Margaret Elizabeth Lofty. I know the prisoner's handwriting. 
Exhibit No. 109 is a memorandum in the prisoner's handwriting. 
It reads — " Certificate of birth, certificate of marriage, certificate 
of death, wife's will, policy, receipt for premium paid, official accept- 
ance, receipt for burial." The receipt for the funeral is on the 
back, and then there is the number of the policv, 26595. Then 
there is a date, 24/12/1914. 

Mr. Marshall — There is nothing I want to ask you now. 

Mr. Bodkin — I ought to mention, in case I should forget it, 
that last Thursday there was a question about whether the bolt on 
the lock of the middle room at Heme Bay had been apparently 
recently shot or not; your lordship will remember. 

Mr. Justice Scrutton — You wanted the keys. 

Mr. Bodkin — There were two keys to the front door which the 
jury tried; neither of them fitted. Now we have got the key that 
will fit the lock on the door of the middle room. 

Mr. Marshall Hall — I understood there were no keys. 

Mr. Bodkin — One of the jury wanted to know, as I gathered, by 
the appearance of the bolt that shoots out when you turn the lock 
whether it had been recently used or not. Just put the key in the 
lock and let the jury do it for themselves. (Same handed to the 
jury.) 

Mr. Marshall Hall — Will your lordship allow me to make a 
submission? With respect of my learned friend, I think it is highly 
important to take the point. 

Mr. Justice Scrutton — You want the jury to retire? 

Mr. Marshall Hall — Yes. 

203 



George Joseph Smith. 

Dr. Bernard H. Spilsbury 

Mr. Bodkin — I am sure the jury will appreciate that after the 
■whole of the Heme Bay case ended the lock has been on the door for 
two and a half years, and Ave have no idea as to whether it has been 
used by any succeeding tenant or not in that time. 

The learned judge here directed the jury to retire. 
******* 

Mr. Marshall Hall objected to the Crown calling Drs. Spilsbury 
and Willeox, on the ground that the cause of death— drowning — not 
being in dispute, it was within the jury's province to say, after 
hearing the circumstances, how such drowning occurred. Mr. Justice 
Scrutton held he could not exclude the evidence. 

The jury returned to Court. 

Dr. Bernard Henry Spilsbury, examined by Mr. Bodkin — I am a 
Bachelor of Medicine and a Bachelor of Surgery of Oxford. I am 
Pathologist at St. Mary's Hospital. I have had a very extensive 
experience in not only making post-mortem examinations, but in 
dealing with a variety of conditions of the human body. On or about 
the 19th of February of this year I went to Heme Bay, and there 
saw a coffin which had been recently exhumed. The plate bore the 
name of " Constance Annie Williams, died 13th July, aged thirty- 
rive years." I examined the body. It was in an advanced state of 
decomposition. I formed the opinion that it was a well-nourished 
and well-proportioned body. The length of it was about 5 feet 
7£ inches from the top of the head to the sole of the foot beneath 
the heel. In the case of a dead body in a natural condition the toes 
would fall forward somewhat, so that an undertaker's measurements 
are not a good measurement of the height of a person. There may 
be a difference of two or three inches. The body was well covered 
with fat. About the thighs and abdomen there was a condition of 
the skin known as goose skin. That conditions occurs in some cases 
of sudden death, and perhaps more frequently in sudden death from 
drowning. It is a sort of corrugating of the surface, a roughening 
of the surface. I could find no evidence of bruising of any kind. 
In view of the state of decomposition you would probably not find 
marks even if there had been any. I also examined the internal 
organs. The brain was very decomposed. I do not think there 
was any haemorrhage. The heart was also decomposed. I was able 
to discover and examine some of the arteries. They appeared healthy. 
I was not able to distinguish the lungs. 

On 10th February I was at Blackpool, and I there saw a coffin 

taken from the ground which bore the name on its plate, " Alice 

Smith, died December 12th, 1913, aged twenty-five years." That 

body was in an even more advanced stage of decomposition. She 

204 



Evidence for Prosecution . 

Dr. Bernard H. Spilsbury 

appeared to me to be a very well-nourished woman, a fat woman 
with large breasts and buttocks. Over the bi'easts there was 3 inches 
thickness of fat. The buttocks were large in proportion. I could 
not directly measure the height of this body on account of the 
progress of decomposition, but I estimated the height from the length 
of the thigh bones to be about i feet 11 inches. I am afraid I cannot 
give any idea of the girth of the woman round the breasts or the 
buttocks. She was big bodied from the shoulders and round the hips, 
and the hips were tightly wedged in the coffin. I examined the 
brain, but there was nothing abnormal that I could recognise. It did 
not appear to be enlarged, but decomposition again was advanced. 
I could recognise one heart valve, the one which is called the mitral 
valve. There was a slight thickening of the edge of that valve. The 
arteries appeared to be healthy. Thickening of the mitral valve is 
generally ascribed either to the wear and tear of life or to some 
definite inflammation of the valve. By wear and tear of life I have 
in mind older people after the age of forty or forty-five. It is also 
caused by some definite illness causing inflammation such as rheu- 
matism or rheumatic fever. It is found that in rheumatic fever 
inflammation just at that part is more or less common. If the 
inflammation exists there, the surrounding parts, or the part itself, 
tends, to thicken and harden. The mitral valve is the valve 
which allows the blood to pass in one direction through the cavities 
of the heart, but should prevent the blood from running back in the 
opposite direction. If there is slight thickening of the mitral valve, 
it may have no effect, but if it is at all marked, especially if the 
valve is contracted as the result of it, then the valve will cease to 
act efficiently and blood may then be able to leak backwards. In 
this case I would describe the thickening as slight. Supposing it 
were not slight, but were marked as I have mentioned, it would affect 
the general health and the prospect of life, both by causing probable 
shortness of breath and a tendency to blueness of the lips, and 
perhaps some swelling of the feet at certain times, and a disinclina- 
tion to lead a very active life. Supposing it were slight, the person's 
life or habits of life would not be affected by it at all. In the course 
of my practice I have seen cases of this thickening of the mitral valve. 
It is almost an everyday occurrence in post-mortem. If of a slight 
character it would not of itself tend to shorten the life at all. When 
thickening of the mitral valve is due to some illness, such as rheu- 
matic fever, the thickening remains at that standard which the fever 
leaves behind it. It is not progressive unless there has been some 
eerious damage to the valve at the time of the inflammation. I 
would agree with what Dr. Billing says, that it was about two months' 
standing. A person possessing a mitral valve with a slight thicken- 
ing such as I found in this body would not be liable tosudden collapse 
or any failure or weakness of the heart's action. Assuming that 
Alice Burnham had rheumatic fever at, say, nine or ten years of age, 

205 



George Joseph Smith. 

Dr. Bernard H. Spilsbury 

the condition of the mitral valve as I found it was quite consistent 
with it having been caused then, and continuing for the fourteen 
or fifteen intervening years. Sometimes accompanying the disease 
there is a condition known as St. Vitus's dance or chorea. That 
condition may come on during convalescence. It sometimes shows 
itself at an earlier period of the disease, even during the febrile 
stage. It is brain trouble from which the appearances of chorea 
come. The brain trouble might probably arise from the same cause 
as produced the rheumatism, an inflammation. 

So that there might be the poison, if I may put it so, of the 
rheumatic fever when it first touches the brain and causes that 
appearance which might afterwards get into the system? — It might 
be so. 

Taking the case of Alice Burnham, if she had two ailments in 
that order, the chorea shortly before the rheumatic fever, then during 
her girlhood up to twenty-one healthy without any complaint, 
working as a nurse, and the appearance you actually found in her 
mitral valve, do you think that condition of the thickening of the 
mitral valve affected her health in any way? — No, I do not. 

Taking that as shortly a glance at the history of the young 
woman, with the limitations you have already mentioned, was there 
anything else wrong with her body at all that you could find? — No, 
nothing at all. On the 4th February of this year I went to the 
mortuary at Finchley, and I there saw a coffin recently exhumed 
with a plate on it stating " Margaret Elizabeth Lloyd, died 19th 
December, 1914, aged thirty-eight years." I examined the body in 
that coffin. I measured the length of the body, and I found it to be 
5 feet 2| inches. She was a well-nourished spare woman. There 
was a bruise on the back of the left elbow which was visible on the 
surface, and I found two other bruises close to that one on the back 
of the left arm which were not visible on the surface. The bruises 
were caused by separate forces, but they appeared to have been 
caused at or about the same time. I formed the opinion that they 
had been caused before death. They were all small bruises ; the largest 
of the three would be about 1 inch in diameter. I should say they 
were caused recently before death. I examined the brain. It was 
rather decomposed, and had been cut up at the previous examination. 
There were in places appearance of congestion, no evidence of any 
disease. The heart cavities were slightly dilated, and the heart 
muscles on subsequent examination showed only traces of disease 
known as brown wasting. There was no fatty disease of the heart 
muscles. I was able in this case to microscopically examine the 
heart substance. There was no trace of fattiness at all. I was not 
able to examine Miss Burnham's heart from the point of view of 
being able to say there was any fatty degeneration. The post-mortem 
changes were very advanced, and it would have been quite useless. 
The same applies to the case of Miss Mundy. I was able to make a 

206 



Evidence for Prosecution. 

Dr. Bernard H. Spilsbury 

satisfactory examination of Miss Mundy's heart. The appearance of 
brown wasting is quite a usual appearance in a person of that age, 
thirty-eight, but it should only be slight. It was only slight in this 
case. The heart was apparently quite effective. There was nothing 
about it which might render her liable to collapse. There was no 
weak spot that I could find about her heart. All the other organs 
of the body appeared to be healthy. As regards the body generally, 
I found nothing to indicate any weakness or liability to faintness or 
collapse. I am acquainted with the kind of seizure known as epilepsy. 
The usual form of epileptic fit can be described in three stages — 
firstly, the state of complete rigidity of the body, which is called the 
tonic stage, and which lasts only for a few seconds ; secondly, the 
stage where there are movements of the body, which is called the 
face and the trunk. That is called the clonic stage, and usually 
lasts perhaps for one or two minutes ; and thirdly, the last stage of 
exhaustion, generally accompanied by unconscientiousness and con- 
tinuance of the unconsciousness, the complete effects of which may 
not pass off for several hours. It commonly appears early in life 
for the first time, in childhood or infancy. Its appearance at such 
an age of thirty-three is unusual. I have known a case of its appear- 
ance for the first time at such an age in the case of certain diseases.* 
It is due sometimes to inherited causes, where there is a history of 
mental trouble in the family, for instance. Those are the cases in 
which I would expect to find it appear at an early period of life. 
Where there has been a history of mental trouble, after a seizure 
of an epileptic character, the exhaustion or prostration would last 
for some hours before the complete effects passed off. It might be 
apparent for a day or two, but it might not apparently damage the 
health of the patient generally. A person for a day or two after a 
real epileptic seizure would in all probibility not be in his or her 
normal vigorous state. The effects of two fits in one day would, of 
course, be more pronounced; it would take longer to recover from the 
second one. 

Take the case of a succession with only short intervals, the first 
of the series occurring for the first time at thirty-three years of 
age, is that a usual or unusual state of things? — No, that is 
unusual. 

Dr. French here has prescribed a sedative medicine — bromide? 
— Yes, either 15 grains' or 20 grains' dose. 

What effect would that have upon the person supposing the 
person had really suffered from an epileptic fit? — It would be a 
part of the proper treatment that would tend to render the patient 
less liable during the treatment to a recurrence of the fit. From a 
merely verbal description by a layman it would not be easy to 



* Syphilis is one such disease. Brain tumours, previous injury to the skull 
are others. (From a communication from Dr. Spilsbury). — E.R.W. 

207 



George Joseph Smith. 

Dr Bernard H. Spilsbury 

diagnose an epileptic fit. Of course, a lot depends upon the 
description — the extent of the movement of the limbs, limbs fixed, 
opening and shutting her mouth, and whether she had lost con- 
sciousness. 

These were the appearances suggested by Dr. French. That 
would rather indicate an epileptic attack? — Yes, it would. Head- 
ache is not an actual accompaniment of the fit, but it might be one 
result of the fit. I have seen the bath from Heme Bay. I have 
made myself acquainted with its appearance, and I carefully 
considered them. I also have before me the measurements of this 
woman during life. I took the measurements of her body. There 
are several positions in which it would be possible for a person to 
take a bath — either sitting down facing the foot end, kneeling 
facing the foot end, or in the opposite direction. If you were 
kneeling facing the foot end the toes would be up the sloping part. 
There would be the same position of the body the reverse way looking 
towards the sloping end, but there, again, sitting at the foot end 
it would be less likely to be adopted than sitting in the opposite 
direction. I think that would apply to all these cases with these 
particular baths. I base that statement on the appearance and 
size of the deceased woman and the relation of that size to the 
demensions of the lower end of the bath. It would be rather a 
tight fit in all of them for the women in a particular bath sitting 
at the foot end, and it would be an extremely tight fit in the case 
of the Blackpool bath, which is very narrow at that end. It tapers 
to 12 inches at the bottom. I am doubtful whether in that case 
the woman could have sat at that end or very near to that end. 
I see the point at which Dr. Billing puts the marks on the bottom 
of the bath. From my recollection of the woman I should say that 
she might possibly sit there. That point is about 18 inches from 
the foot end. I think it is just possible she might have sat there 
but it would have been a very tight fit. Speaking from recollection 
I think that that end tapered to llh inches. She was not a very 
fat woman, still I think it would have been uncomfortable for her. 

Dealing with those various positions in which a person may 
be in a bath, the three positions facing the foot, the three positions 
facing the sloping end, supposing there was faintness in the 
standing-up position, first facing the foot end. might a person get 
drowned under the circumstances? — It is possible. 

Collapsing in what posture? — If collapsing face downwards in 
the water. 

By " in the water " you mean head or face under the water? 
—Yes." 

Mr. Justice Scrutton — Facing the foot end? 

Mr. Bodkin — Facing the foot end. If kneeling uncomfortably, 
it would be owing to the sloping end coming up, kneeling and a 
collapse. 
208 



Evidence for Prosecution. 

Dr. Bernard H. Spilsbury 

If the collapse had taken place kneeling facing the foot end 
might a person then be drowned? — I think probably not, because 
the kneeling position would have to be near the foot end of the 
bath. They would not kneel in a very sloping part, and kneeling 
otherwise would bring the face over the taps or over the end of 
the bath. 

Strike the head on the end of the bath? — Yes, or even strike 
the chest. 

Strike the face on some part of the bath? — Yes. 

Sitting at the broad end of the bath looking towards the foot 
end, and a collapse took place what do you say to that? — Then the 
woman might fall backwards rather than forwards, and it is highly 
improbable, and I think in two of these baths, almost certainly 
impossible, if not quite so, for the head to become so submerged as 
to cause death by drowning. 

Which two are they? — I am speaking now of the Blackpool bath 
and the Heme Bay bath. 

The Court adjourned. 



209 



Seventh Day— Tuesday, 29th June, 1915. 

Rutlet Mowll (recalled), further cross-examined by Mr. 
Marshall Hall — I saw the report of ray summing up to the jury 
in a local paper. I think on the whole it was fairly accurate. 

[A legal discussion here took place as to whether the verdict of 
the coroner's jury was relevant to the issue. Eventually his lord- 
ship in view of Mr. Bodkin's suggestion that the inquest was 
perfunctory, allowed Mr. Marshall Hall to put in the coroner's 
eumming up, as reported in " The Heme Bay Press."] 

Mr. Marshall Hall — " The coroner then summed up and, 
referring to the evidence, said the theory put forward was that 
the deceased was drowned by having an epileptic seizure whilst 
she was in the bath, and getting her head under water. That 
was by no means an improbable cause of death, because they 
knew epileptics had fits of all kinds, and it would be possible 
that when a person was washing he should fall down over a basin 
and as the result of the seizure be drowned in a few inches of 
water ; still more was it possible for such a thing to happen to 
a lady in a bath. The evidence was reviewed in detail, and 
dealing with the discovery of the body the coroner said he did 
not think any great importance attached to the time when the 
bath was filled. No doubt when it was filled it was a matter 
of time and trouble to the person who filled it, the evidence was 
not at all clear that it was anything but cold water. At any 
rate the bath was three-quarters full, and this poor lady was 
found in the bath with her head under water. Assuming the 
husband was fond of his wife — and there was no evidence to the 
contrary, but a great deal of evidence that he was — it was 
a terrible blight. Probably the best thing to have done was to 
have got the water out of her at once. Instead of doing that 
he propped the head up in the bath the best way he could, 
placing the head over the side of the bath, went downstairs, and 
hurriedly scribbled a note in pencil saying he was afraid his 
wife was dead, and suggested a doctor should come at once. 
With this he went to the doctor's house three minutes' walk away, 
and this letter was taken to the doctor by the doctor's servant. 
The doctor came at once, reaching the house almost as soon as 
the husband got there himself. Unfortunately, according to the 
evidence of the husband, deceased's head had slipped down in 
the water, the doctor had the head raised out of the water, 
artificial respiration was tried, and water ran from the mouth 
210 



Evidence for Prosecution. 

Rutley Mowll 

** and stomach, showing that death was due to drowning. The 
" coroner pointed out that this was not a natural death, it wag a 
" violent death. But they knew persons were frequently drowned 
" by accident and not only accident, but by design. This woman 
" might have wanted to drown herself, but there was no evidence 
" of that. Was she drowned by accident or was she drowned by 
" violence — that was the point? If she was drowned by violence 
" they would have expected to find some signs of a struggle, and 
" they would not have expected to find a piece of soap in her right 
" hand; to have the soap was a natural thing for anybody who was 
" having a bath, but it would be a very unnatural circumstance 
" with any one who had been struggling in the water with some 
" one else. They saw that although there was not clear evidence 
" of epilepsy they found the doctor consulted, and it looked as if 
" the husband were anxious about his wife, because he had been 
" to the doctor in the early morning, and the doctor had come to 
" attend his wife for epilepsy. If they were of opinion she went 
" into the bath herself as the husband said she had the intention 
" of doing, and while there had an epileptic seizure while in the 
" bath, which caused her to fall into the water and be drowned, 
" then their verdict would be death by misadventure, which meant 
" accidental death. He should like to say that although the 
" husband did not do the most sensible thing yet he really did not 
" see any evidence on which to censure the husband at all; he had 
" taken very great care in taking these depositions, and had gone 
" into the case with more than ordinary perspicacity, because he 
" had a request from one of the relatives to do so, apparently 
" from one who had never seen the husband at all, and it was 
" obvious reading between the lines that the marriage was not 
" popular to the relatives of the lady. A request had been made 
" to have a post-mortem examination, and if he had had the 
" request earlier he should then, with an abundance of caution, 
" have requested the doctor to make an examination, but looking 
" at facts, and they admitted that death was due to misadventure, 
" and there was abundant evidence that the deceased was drowned, 
" he did not see how a post-mortem examination would help them 
" to arrive at a verdict. But he thought having had the request 
" that he would put it to the jury. They told him that they did 
" not require such an examination and their views corresponded with 
" his own, and although he did not tell them before, and as he 
" wanted the jury to decide for themselves. They had gone into 
" the matter very carefully, and he hoped the relatives would be 
" told that the case had been thoroughly and carefully thrashed 
" out." 

Frank Austin French, recalled, further cross-examined by Mr. 
Marshall Hall — As is stated the other day, I could not remember 

211 



George Joseph Smith 



Frank Austin French 

whether the water was cold, but my impression is that it was off the 
chill. I do not think I said that in my opinion it was cold. 

Further examined by Mr. Bodkin — I do not remember being 
asked about any bucket or pail. 

Rutley Mowll, recalled, further examined by Mr. Bodkin — I 
remember the question being asked as to how the water in the bath 
had to be emptied, and the answer was that it was emptied by the 
bucket. It had to be emptied by bucket, as there was no pipe to 
drain it. I understood the prisoner to say that there was a pail. I 
think I suggested to him that it was a large pail, and he said " Yes,'' 
and then he said there was a small pail too. He said there was a 
bucket there at the time, because I asked the question how the bath 
was filled, and I said, " Was it by a pail or bucket or can or what? " 
and he said, " It was filled by a bucket." Then I think I said, 
""Well, but how?" He said there was a bucket there now, and I 
said, " Well, but it is a large pail, is it not? " and he said " Yes," 
and I think he said there was a small bath there as well. I do not 
think that I asked for any description of the small bath. 

Dr. Bernard Henry Spilsbury, recalled, further examined by 
Mr. Bodkin — I was asking you last night about the positions of the 
women — the three positions — standing, kneeling, and sitting whilst 
facing the narrow end of the bath with her back to the sloping end. 

Mr. Justice Scrutton — Does that exhaust the possible positions? 
Have you ever heard of a person lying in a hot bath and soaking. 
Had you not better deal with that also? 

Mr. Bodkin — I was going to put that ; but that was in another 
connection. 

Mr. Justice Scrutton — As long as you bear in mind that the 
three positions, standing, kneeling, and sitting; do not exhaust the 
possibilities. 

Mr. Bodkin — No; I am much obliged to your lordship. 

May we take the three positions. Taking it the other way 
round — facing the sloping end? — Yes. 

Supposing she was standing facing the sloping end and some 
sudden collapse occurred, pointing, you say, as falling into the water 
in that position? — If she fell face downwards she would probably 
drown . 

And kneeling? — The same would probably occur — more probably 
occur. 

Sitting? — Sitting she would fall backwards, but I do not think 
that the mouth and nose would become submerged. 

You have seen these three baths, have you not — Yes, I have. 

And appreciated the depths of the baths? — Yes. 

How is it you say that you do not think she would become sub- 
merged if while sitting she became collapsed? — If she were facing 
212 



Evidence for Prosecution. 

Dr. Bernard H. Spilsbury 

the sloping end she "would be sitting near the lower end, and in 
falling back her back would be supported by the lower or foot end 
of the bath. 

Now, applying those answers to Miss Mundy, whose height was 
5 feet a\ inches, and to the particular bath in Heme Bay, in view 
of the size of that bath, and the stature of the woman, do you 
qualify any of your answers? — No, I do not. 

Have you anything to add? — No. 

By Mr. Justice Scruttox — Is there any average height from 
the top of the head to the bottom of the spine, or does it vary so 
enormously that you cannot measure it? — The ratio of height from 
the top to the bottom of the body? 

Yes? — It varies to some extent. The fair average would be 
somewhere about half of the height. 

From the top of the head to the bottom of the spine would be 
about half \ — Yes, only roughly, from the bottom of the spine to the 
heel would be about half. 

Examination resumed — It is better to mention it now, my lord. 
Take the fourth, and I think the only other possible position, that 
of a person lying soaking in a bath. 

Dealing with the particular case first of Miss Mundy in that 
particular bath, if she was lying at full length in it her legs would 
be, on that assumption, along the bottom — Yes, in the usual position, 
if she was sitting facing the foot end. 

Or, rather, lying facing the foot end? — Lying facing the foot 
end. 

By Mr. Justice Scrutton — She would be very unlikely to lie 
the other way? — I should think so. 

It would be certainly most uncomfortable? — Yes, it would. 

Examination resumed — The narrow end is at right angles to 
the bottom of the bath? — Yes. 

The other way, with her back towards the sloping or narrow 
end, if she was lying at full length, bearing the measurement of 
that body in mind, where would her head be? — Her head would be 
resting upon the sloping end of the bath. May I add to that that 
usually a lady taking a bath of that sort would have the head com- 
pletely out of water; they do not usually wet their hair when they 
are having a bath. 

So that have you considered at all whereabouts on the sloping 
end, in view of her length and the length of the bath, her head 
would come? — It would depend, of course, upon the amount of water 
in the bath; and if you are assuming the amount which has been 
mentioned 

I am leaving out the water. Whereabouts on the sloping end 
do you think her head would come, in view of her length and the 
length of the bath? — You see, lving with the legs extended, the head 

213 



George Joseph Smith. 

Dr. Bernard H. Spilsbury 

•would be very near to the top of the sloping end, in fact, I do not 
think she could lie absolutely fully extended. 

Because? — Because her length is greater than the total length 
of the bath. 

Now, supposing in any one of those four positions there came 
on an epileptic seizure to that woman. I think you describe the 
first stage as a stiffening of the whole body? — Yes. 

And does the body remain stiff for a time? — For a few seconds. 

"When stiff in the first stage of an epileptic seizure, is the body 
straight? — Yes. 

Is it straight, or is it stiff in any bent position? — It would be 
stiff, and the legs would be extended — the arms and the legs. 

Can you give us any information as to that first stage of an 
epileptic fit, if a person were kneeling when it came on? — In all 
probability the person kneeling would fall forward face downwards in 
the water at that stage. 

And a person sitting would remain sitting ; or would she 
straighten out at all? — She would straighten out. 

In the second stage you told us about — take the case of that 
stage, with a bath three parts full of water, with the body in it; 
that is to say, having made allowance for the rising of the water by 
the displacement of the body? — Yes. 

In such a bath as that at Heine Bay, do you think it possible 
that Miss Mundy could have been submerged? — I think it is highly 
improbable. 

In any one of those four positions ? — In a sitting position I think 
it is very improbable that she should be submerged, but not abso- 
lutely impossible. In the lying position, lying at full length, the 
same applies — I think it is highly improbable, but possible. In the 
standing or kneeling positions, if she fell face downwards in the 
water, she would probably drown, owing to her unconscious condition. 

When the third stage implies relaxation of the body? — Yes. 

And unconsciousness? — Yes. 

Now, we have heard described by Dr. French here that the 
woman was with her back towards the sloping end, and resting wholly 
or partially against it — the back of her head resting on the sloping 
part, and her legs straight out from the hips, resting up against the 
narrow end of the bath? — Yes. 

Can you give us any help at all as to how a woman could get 
into that position who has suffered from an epileptic fit? — No, I 
cannot. 

Is it possible? — I do not see how the feet could be raised into 
that position in the bath. 

In the first stage of epilepsy, the body being stiffened, the legs 
are extended? — Yes. 

Stiff and extended. In that stage would they be against the 
214 



Evidence for Prosecution. 

Dr. Bernard H. Spilsbury 

end of the bath? — Not against the upper part, no. The feet would 
be against the end of the bath, but at the bottom of the bath. 

In the second stage, where there are contractions in the limbs, 
movements of the limbs, contraction and tension, could the feet get 
against the end of the bath? — Not in this position. They would 
probably touch the end during their extension in the movements; 
but they would not be likely to be raised to any extent in the water. 

And the third stage, that of relaxation, limpness? — The legs 
would lie at the bottom of the bath. 

The account given by the prisoner, if I quote it accurately, is 
that he pulled her head right out of the water, and laid it over 
against the side of the bath — over the side of the bath — I will get 
it accurately — " I pulled her head right out of the water, and 
rested it on the side of the bath. I then went straight for Dr. 
French. I asked him to come. I went back at once, and had just got 
upstairs when I heard the doctor coming. I called him up. Her 
head had sunk down again in the bath, her mouth being on a level 
with the water "? — Yes. 

Supposing the woman were pulled up out of the water in that 
way, her head rested in that way, could you give us any 
help as to how her legs would have got into that raised position, 
her head resting on the side of the bath? — No, I am afraid I cannot. 

Of course, I am taking it for the moment that that is true? — 
Yes. 

You cannot give us any explanation as to how that could have 
occurred? — No, I cannot. 

Now would you go, please, to the Blackpool case? Bearing in 
mind the size and bulk of that woman's body and the size of that 
bath, would you deal with the position or positions, with the woman's 
feet towards the narrow end first? If there had been any sudden 
collapse of Miss Burnham whilst in that bath, whilst standing, could 
she in that bath have been drowned 1 — Standing facing the foot end ? 

Facing the foot end first? — If she had had a sudden collapse and 
managed to fall face downwards, or more probably obliquely, she 
might be drowned as the result of submersion. 

In the kneeling position? — The same applies there. 

In the sitting position? — I think that in the sitting position it 
would be impossible for her to become submerged as the result of 
a fit — an attack. 

And in the lying position? — The same applies there again — I 
think it would be impossible. 

Taking the same positions, her body round the other way. 
You have already, I think, told me yesterday it would be difficult, 
if not impossible, for her to sit at that narrow end? — Yes. 
I think you said so? — Yes. 

Assuming she was sitting somewhere up so as to allow for 
the width of the bath for her buttocks to rest on the bottom of it, 

215 



George Joseph Smith. 

Dr. Bernard H. Spilsbury 

can you say as to, first of all, standing, then kneeling, and then 
sitting? — The same applies to the case of standing and kneeling as 
when the body is facing the other way. If she fell face downwards, 
the submersion might cause her death. In the sitting position I 
think it would be impossible again for submersion of the face to 
occur. 

Or, if lying — was it possible for her to lie in that end? — No, 
she could not have lain at that end unless the body had been obliquely 
to one side — a very uncomfortable position. 

She was found at that narrow end sitting in a posture 

By Mr. Justice Scrutton — Leaning back. 

By Mr. Bodkin — Slightly leaning back. I think the witness 
made a mistake. If she had gone right back whilst sitting where 
Dr. Billing put those marks on the bottom of the bath, how would 
her head be? — I think in all probability the head would have come 
into contact with the taps at the back; but if she were sufficiently 
high up the bath to miss the taps, her shoulders would probably 
become wedged against the sides of the bath. 

You mean the width of the bath there was not sufficient to 
allow her shoulders to come down? — No. 

By Mr. Justice Scruttox — That is a matter, gentlemen, that 
when you examine the baths you will probably be able to find out 
for yourselves, making an allowance for the difference of figure; that 
is a matter you had better look into when you see the baths and 
try for yourselves. 

By Mr. Bodkin — Now take the Highgate case. Bearing in mind 
the build of the woman and the size of the bath, what answers do 
you give as to the four positions, facing the nanwv end? — There 
again, in the standing and kneeling positions, it might cause death 
if the face became submerged by falling forwards. In the sitting 
position, facing the narrow end, it would be very unlikely that 
submersion would occur; and the same applies to the lying position. 

Now take them round the other way? — There again, in the 
standing and the kneeling positions, the same holds good. In the 
sitting position it is extremely unlikely that a fainting attack would 
cause death; the body would be supported by the end of the bath, 
and in the lying position it is possible. 

And the bruises that were found on the left elbow might have 
been caused by rubbing against either the sides or the top of the 
bath — the wooden top? — Yes, they might, by blows against the 
side or top. 

The prisoner has described that he found her lying in the bath 
of water on her left side? — Yes. 

Can you say anything as to that in connection with the position 
of the bruises on the left arm? — I should not have expected bruises 
on that arm if she were lying on the left side, because that arm 
would be pinned underneath the body, between it and the bath. 
216 



Evidence for Prosecution. 

Dr. Bernard H. Spilsbury 

Would the weight of the body, supposing the left arm be under- 
neath it, be enough to cause the bruising? — Oh, no, the weight of 
the body is very slight in the water. 

There is a certain amount of buoyancy in the water? — Yes. 

If it is in a breathing person? — Yes. 

Now, would you tell me, supposing a person fainted, had a 
fainting attack, a person taking a bath, during fainting does the 
breathing, respiration, go on? — To a certain extent — very slight 
respiration. 

Can you give us any opinion at all as to what would be the 
result, if a person got submerged — I mean the face submerged whilst 
in a faint, the water would come into the mouth ? — Yes, and it would 
pass down into the windpipe. 

What effect would that have? — It would have a very powerful 
smarting effect, and would probably recover the person from the faint. 

Why is that ? How does that come about ? — The presence of any 
substance, fluid or solid, in the air passages is a very powerful 
stimulant to the body and the nervous system. 

■ The nervous system setting the muscular system in action to 
clear it away? — Yes, it is partly that, but it is more general even 
than that ; it is an expulsive effect, trying to expel the substance, and 
there is also the general stimulative effect on the body. 

Drowning is a form of suffocation, is it not? — Yes. 

What are the stages of drowning, or what would be the progress 
of suffocation up to the point of death? — A good deal would depend 
on whether the submersion was complete or incomplete; whether the 
patient rose to the surface and got air, or whether the submersion 
was so complete that there was no access of air. 

If a person got submerged and remained submerged? — Yes. 

What would be the length of time and the progress of such a 
death? — If submersion were complete, the longest period during 
which the patient could survive would be about five minutes; and 
death would probably ensue in less than that time, and in some cases 
it might be either instantaneous or within a few seconds. 

Are you dealing with a case there of a sudden immersion? — Yes. 

Would the fact of being suddenly submerged give any shock to 
the system? — Yes, if it were unexpected; it might even if it were 
expected. 

And if a shock is received, due to a sudden submersion, would 
consciousness be kept, or would that be lost? — That would be lost 
at once. 

You mean immediately after submersion? — Yes. 

Or almost immediately? — Actually immediately. 

Would the person be able to make any sound? — No, in no case 
when once the face was under water — if the mouth and nose were 
under water; it would be impossible. 

217 



George Joseph Smith. 

Dr. Bernard H. Spilsbury 

Would a person suddenly submerged be able to make any efforts ? 
— Yes. 

To move — muscular efforts? — Unless unconsciousness came on 
very rapidly. 

When the death occurs through suffocation, would the brain 
become congested? — Usually. 

Would a person who had that amount of thickening of the 
mitral valve which Miss Burnham had be a person more likely to 
suffer — to become unconscious directly on immersion? — I do not 
think it would render her more liable. 

Taking Miss Mundy's case at Heme Bay, I think you said you 
noticed the existence of goose flesh? — Yes, goose skin. 

I mean to say goose skin? — Y'es. 

Does that indicate at all to you whether she died rapidly or not? 
— Yes, it indicates that the death was a sudden one. 

Is that condition consistent with sudden death from submersion? 
— Yes, quite. 

If she died of drowning? — Yes. 

It is said the evidence is that in her hand there was held a 
piece of soap. Can you give us any opinion about that, as to the 
grasping of any object by the person suddenly submerged? — If 
consciousness is retained, a person does grasp at any object within 
reach — anything that touches the hand may be grasped during the 
struggling. 

Supposing the person having something in the hand suddenly 
loses consciousness from submersion, could you give us any opinion 
about that? — If only consciousness is lost, the soap or any other 
object would probably drop out of the hand by relaxation. 

Yes? — But if death occurred immediately the contraction of the 
muscles of the hand might pass instantaneously into the death 
stiffening, and the object might then be retained after death. 

Have you had actual experience of that ? — Yes, I have. 

Supposing a person happening to have something in his hand 
fainted? — The fact of fainting would cause relaxation of the muscles, 
and anything in the hand would be released. 

In a fit? — In the first stage of the fit, anything which was 
grasped in the hand would probably be retained in the hand, but in 
the second stage, during the movements of the body, it is more likely 
that such an object would fall out of the hand again, and would 
certainly fall out in the third stage of exhaustion. 

If a person having something in the hand whilst in a bath, such 
as soap, if sudden death followed on unconsciousness immediately, 
do you say that might be retained? — Yes, owing to this condition 
of instantaneous death stiffening. 

By Mr. Justice Scrutton — Supposing there was relaxation and 
an object in the hand, the hand would then stiffen and would relax, 
and stiffening would afterwards follow. Do you follow me? — I think 

218 



Evidence for Prosecution. 

Dr, Bernard H. Spi'ubury 

1 quite follow, my lord. It is usual that th© instantaneous stiffening 
would keep the hands in the same position as they were; it would 
be likely to. 

By Mr. Bodkin — To keep the ante-mortem position? — Yes. 

Now, have you experience of the condition of a woman during 
and towards the end of her periods — as to her temperature? — Yes. 

Is there any change in the temperature experienced in some 
cases? — It may be so. 

Is headache an accompaniment sometimes 1 of the period? — Yes, 
it is. 

Of course, we know it is due to numerous causes? — Very many 
causes, yes. 

Cross-examined by Mr. Marshall Hall — I am a recognised 
authority upon health, and I am invariably called in by the Treasury 
for the purpose of all matters of this kind. 

The question of death in a bath is a matter that has interested 
the medical profession for some time, has it not? — Yes. 

I mean, even while this case has been pending there have been 
two, at any rate, cases reported in the paper, in one of which you 
were engaged as a witness? — There have been several I know. 

There were two particularly. Do you remember the case of a 
servant girl in Yorkshire in April? — No, I have not heard of that 
case. 

The other case is, I think, the case at Islington where you your- 
self were called in as a witness? — Yes, I was. 

A man named — there is no harm in mentioning it — Mr. Vicar? 
—Yes.* 

And there you found, did you not, bruises? — Yes, a number of 
bruises. 

I think you said that there were several recent bruises, probably 
caused by the deceased striking himself against the bath, or they 
might have been produced in the removal of the body? — No, I did 
not say that ; I said they could not all have been produced in remov- 
ing the body. 

But some might have been ? — Some might have been produced in 
removing the body. 

I am leading exactly what I have here. You said " some "? 
— I said " some." I think the newspaper report is not very 
accurate. 

Did you say this — you thought death was due to suffocation by 
drowning, but there was not sufficient to account for the death. The 



* Archibald Vicar, 48 years ; the P.M. was held at Islington on 3/G/15. 
The deceased was found in the bathroom in a bath half full of warm water about 
8 a.m. Head and shoulders were out of the water. The man was semi-conscious. 
He died about 8.45. There were a number of recent bruises, all inflicted during 
life, some possibly in removing the still living body from the bath. The jury 
returned an open verdict. It was a case of accident or suicide. (From a com- 
munication from Dr. Spilsbury to me.) — E.R.W. 

219 



George Joseph Smith. 

Dr. Bernard H. Spilsbury 

body must have been under the water, but in his struggling his head 
must have come up again? — Yes. 

There was no distinct evidence that the deceased had had a fit? 
— No. 

You did say that? — I know I said there was not sufficient to 
account for a fainting fit. 

In that case the question of foul play was absolutely eliminated? 
— As far as one could judge I should think it was, yes. 

You have not seen the case at Calverley, Yorkshire? — No; I 
have not heard of that case. 

Now, I want to deal as shortly as I can with your evidence. 
The evidence that you have given is the result of a carefully and 
honestly formed opinion on your part? — Yes, it is. 

Let me deal first of all for a moment with the position. No 
post-mortem has taken place in the case of Miss Mundy? — No. 

I think you yourself made the post-mortem two and a half years 
after death? — Yes. 

May I take it that the actual result of that post-mortem was 
that, owing to the condition of decomposition, it was impossible for 
you to form an opinion as to whether the body was that of a healthy 
woman or not? — That is so. 

And you would not in a case of this importance undertake to 
form any opinion as to what her state of health was during her life? 
— Merely from an inspection of the body? 

Merely from an inspection of the body? — Yes. 

In the other two cases at Blackpool and Highgate there had been 
a post-mortem examination? — There had, yes. 

You have yourself, I take it, read the reports of the inquest in 
both those cases? — Yes, I have. 

You have had the advantage of seeing the doctor in all three 
cases? — Yes. 

Dr. French, Dr. Billing, and Dr. Bates? — Yes, I have. 

In the Highgate and Blackpool cases, where there had been post- 
mortem examinations, did you find anything in the post-mortem that 
you made that was divergent from the report of the two doctors who 
Jiad made the earlier post-mortem examinations in those cases? — No, 
nothing at all. I should add that I found much less than they did 
owing to the changes. 

Owing to the lapse of time? — Yes. 

But as far as you could judge, they were carefully and skilfully 
made post-mortem examinations? — Yes, they were. 

May I take it that, as a result of your interviews with Dr. 
French and those two medical men, you have come to the con- 
clusion that they are not only competent but honourable members of 
their profession? — Oh, certainly they are. 

I wanted to see whether I had understood the result of your 
opinion. With a view to saving time, do I understand you to say 

220 



Evidence for Prosecution. 

Dr. Bernard H. Spilsbury 

that you have come to the conclusion that in the Heme Bay case — 
I am confining myself to that for the moment — that in the Heme 
Bay case accidental death was so improbable as to amount in your 
mind to impossibility? — Almost to impossibility. 

Almost — I will accept your candid admission; you say almost? 
— Yee. 

The soap is a very difficult problem? — It is. 

There is no theory under which you can deal with the clutch- 
ing of that soap satisfactorily with the theory of a violent death — 
no absolute theory; you have got to make some qualification? — I 
think one would assume a violent death in order to account for the 
soap being there. 

I mean a violent death from an outside agency, that is to say, 
from a person deliberately murdering her? — Yes. 

It is very difficult, because assuming the attack was a hostile 
attack, that is to say by what my learned friend suggested, pulling 
up the feet — coming into the room with the woman in the bath 
sitting or prone, I do not care which, and pulling up the feet — one 
of two things must happen. Either she puts out her hands, in 
which case her arms would go over the side of the bath? — Yes. 

Either puts her arms out over the sides of the bath, in which 
case the soap would drop outside, or, in the case of a struggle, she 
would loosen her hold of the soap in order to try and save herself ? — 
Yes. 

The clutching of the soap does lend some probability to the 
theory of epilepsy? — It is not impossible; it is not very likely. 

Can you account for this. I ask you — I do not know what the 
answer is — could you possibly force a piece of soap into a person's 
hand in simulation of its having been clutched in the act of death — 
— could it be done? — I do not think it could. 

I thought that would be your answer, though it was a dangerous 
question to put. My learned friend has acceded to the suggestion 
I made, he has not asked you for a possible theory, and therefore 
I have not had an opportunity of objecting to it. I take it that if 
this woman had filled that bath herself by a repeated number of 
journeys from the ground floor to the first floor, that would have 
produced a certain amount of exhaustion if it had been done in the 
morning by about twelve or thirteen journeys? — I do not know how 
many journeys it would have required. 

I think we have had it given, although it is very difficult to get 
it exactly, because, of course, the quantity of water is not known ; 
but it is said to have been three-quarters full with the body in it, 
and the doctor has marked it. The displacement of a body of that 
size would be considerable, would it not? — Yes, it would. 

I do not accept the exact measure, but there would be a consider- 
able number of journeys to fill that bath with the bucket? — There 

would. 

221 



George Joseph Smith. 

Dr. Bernard H. Spilsbury 

The temperature of this bucket being so nearly cold that the 
doctor says he thinks it was slightly raised — he will not undertake 
to say it was raised above the temperature of the surrounding atmo- 
sphere — would that strike cold to a person coming out of bed — you 
follow me — on a hot night like this? — Yes; it would probably, if it 
were the same temperature when the person took the bath. 

If you got into a bath feet first, as we know most people do — 
we know it would be a very hot night? — Yes. 

And we also know that the doctor had seen her the night before 
when she had been raised from sleep, and says she was clammy and 
perspiring ? — Yes. 

If a woman whose temperature has been raised by a night in 
bed like that, the bath having been prepared over night, suddenly 
gets into a cold bath, there would be a considerable shock? — There 
might be; it is partly a matter of surprise. 

Anybody getting into a bath normally — just deal with it 
normally — would get in somewhere about the middle? — Yes. 

The feet would enter somewhere about the middle — a point 
between the top and the bottom? — They would get in on the flat 
part on the bottom, certainly. 

Outside the slope? — Yes. 

Somewhere between the middle and the bottom of that slope — 
Yes. 

I mean normally, that is what one would expect? — Yes, of 
course. 

Have you ever known of a case — in your experience have you had 
the misfortune of getting into a bath and as you were sitting down 
slipping up? — Yes, I have. 

In which case, of course, your feet would come down out of the 
water? — Well, not out of the water — they would come down to the 
bottom of the bath. 

That is the natural motion of the body getting into the water — 
sitting down and slipping — for the feet to go upward and the head 
tc go backwards? — The feet would certainly go forward, but I do not 
think they would go upwards. 

"Would not they? — I do not think so. 

I suggest to you it is in this way — the semi-circular ^weep of 
the bath would cause >t? — I do not think that is likely. The body 
would not be likely to be held so rigidly as that. 

You think the only effect of that would be to come to a dead 
stop with the feet against the bottom sitting square in the bath? — 
Yes. 

If a human being feeling the body slipping from the buttock 
flexed the knee, they would pret l>elow with the head under water; 
you follow what I mean? If in the effort to save yourself from fall- 
ing forward you flexed your knees, then I mean there is nothing to 
prevent your head going under water? — If the body slips far enough. 
222 



Evidence for Prosecution. 

Dr. Bernard H. Spilsbury 

It is according to how far the knees were flexed? — Yes. They 
would not necessarily blip until the feet reached the bottom of the 
bath— that is what I mean. 

You mean the bottom end? — Yes, I say the body would not 
necessarily continue to slip clown. 

It could not slip beyond of course. It would slip until the 
knees and feet which were at that angle came into contact with the 
bottom end of the bath? — Yes, it might do so. 

Is it your carefuly formed opinion that this woman never 
had been subject to any form of epileptic fits? — None of the 
evidence I have heard points to that, I think. 

That is to say you see no positive evidence of it? — No. 
Is the negative evidence conclusive in your mind? — No, it is 
rather difficult to express an opinion on negative evidence. 

Epilepsy is a very difficult subject; it has got varied symptoms? 
— Yes, it has. 

And, of course, they ar"e extremely varied in degree? — Yes. 
May I take it that many people have suffered from a very 
modified form of epilepsy — a very modified form of attack — 
without being epileptics? — Oh, yes. 

But I do understand you to say, and I appreciate the import- 
ance of it — in your opinion if the fit had been true epilepsy you 
would get the first moment of rigidity, and that would prevent the 
trunk part of the body from going under water ? — Yes. 

That is assuming the rigidity to be absolute rigidity the 
body would not lie on the buttocks at all? — Quite so. 

In some cases of epilepsy you get a bending of the body, do 
you not? — Not at this stage. 

Never at the early stage? — No. 

You realise and appreciate, I am sure, that the evidence that 
is given as to the position of the body when seen by the doctor — 
I am dealing with Heme Bay still — is obviously the position that 
was not the original position of the body when found by Smith. 
I mean the body had been moved — if Smith's statement is accurate 
the body had been moved ? — Yes. 

My friend put in this morning that he did something, that 
his statement was that he had raised the body and propped the 
head up on the side of the bath, and it might have slipped back. 
You do not think that would have happened ? — I cannot account for 
that. 

Is death by drowning in any sense of the word a verv sudden 
death? — It depends upon whether the submersion is complete. 

Let us take it if this bath was three-quarters full of water 
with the body in it, if you saw the body and you could form the 
opinion that it was a well-covered, well-nourished, and well- 
preserved body — I mean a well-covered body from the point of 
view of proportion, well proportioned, that body would displace 

223 



George Joseph Smith. 



Dr. Bernard H. Spilsbury 

in that bath about 30 per cent., would it not, of the water? — 
Something like that, yes, 30 per cent, of the full bath. 

Therefore a little more than 30 per cent, of the three-quarters? 
— Yes, that would be so. 

And if 30 per cent, of the bath full, it would displace nearly 
60 per cent, of the half-full — you follow what I mean? — Yes, I see 
what you mean. 

So that in order to find the displacement of that body, of 
course it is not the weight of the body, it is the external contour 
of the body which corresponds with the amount of displacement? — 
The volume of the body. 

The volume of the body in health. The bath would be less 
than half-full if it was three parts full with the body in it. Do 
you follow what I mean? — No, I do not quite agree with that. 

Mr. Justice Scruttox — Are you taking as the basis of your 
calculation the slope of the bath? 

Mr. Marshall Hall — I am trying to. I am also taking into 
account the slope of the bath. 

Mr. Justice Scruttois* — Of course, the top would have a great 
deal more water than there is at the bottom. 

Mr. Marshall Hall — I quite follow. (To witness) — If the bath 
was a square parallelogram, of course, it would be a totally different 
thing, but as you get upwards there is more water for the body to 
displace? — Yes. 

That is to say, the body would occupy a smaller space at the 
top than at the bottom? — A smaller space after death, yes. 

It would be distributed in a thinner volume over a larger 
area? — Quite so. 

I want to get at the actual amount of water in that bath, if 
I can ; we have got to keep it somehow before us — before the woman 
gets into the bath at all, assuming it was correctly marked by the 
doctor at practically three parts full with the body in it, the 
upper part is the bigger part and the lower part is the smaller, 
so that it is the smaller part that has been filled? — Yes. 

Now, if when the body was lying fully submerged, as we 
know it was, would you get almost the whole actual displacement? — 
Yes, you would. 

Mr. Justice Scrutton — There was some portion of the head 
and some portion of the feet out of water, if I follow. 

Mr. Marshall Hall — Assuming the line of the water was 
about there, and the head to be slanting, the level of the water 
came, according to the doctor, to that point — taking the line of the 
lips. (To witness) — It was a sloping line over the upper lip? — Yes. 

So that you would get almost your maximum displacement of 
the whole body? — Yes, you would. 

Do you not think, as a matter of fact, there must have been 
much less than half the bath full? — I am afraid a moment ago I 
224 




G. J Smith. 

From an official photograph taken in Brixton Prison. 



Evidence for Prosecution. 

Dr. Bernard H. Spilsbury 

made an error ; I do not think it would represent one-half dis- 
placement — it would be less than that. 

Do you really think so? — Yes, I think so — I think probably 
20 per cent, would be nearer the truth. 
20 per cent. ? — Yes, I think so. 

Of that bath, that is the total displacement? — Of the total 
volume. 

May I have the Heme Bay bath brought in. The Heme Bay 
bath is the smallest of the three? — Yes. 

The Blackpool bath is rather larger than the Heme Bay bath, 
and rather smaller than the Highgate bath? — No, the Blackpool 
bath is the smallest. 

By Mr. Bodkin — In its total capacity? — Yes. 
By Mr. Marshall Hall — Its total length is larger? — Yes. 
It is very narrow? — Yes. 

I daresay the jury would like to have the real measurements. 
It is 5 feet 3 inches at the top and 3 feet 8 inches at the bottom; 
the Blackpool one is 5 feet 3 inches at the top and 3 feet 9 inches 
at the bottom; and the Highgate one is 5 feet 6 inches at the top. 
I can illustrate so much better what I want to ask you if I have 
the bath in. (The bath was brought in.) I think you could see 
better down here? — Yes, I had better come down. 

I am assuming for the purpose of my question that that mark 
put by Dr. French is the level of the water when the body is in 
it?— Yes. 

Would you kindly lend me his measure. (Measure handed to 
counsel.) To get that mark that is as near as possible 11 inches — 
you cannot get it quite accurately, but as near as you can get it, 
it is 11 inches? — Yes. 

Therefore, if you are right in your 20 per cent., there is very 
little — there is no violent difference in the superficial capacity in the 
bath, is there? — No. 

Therefore, if your 20 per cent, is correct, it would be only a 
little over 2 inches lower if the body was out of it? — No. 

By Mr. Justice Scrutton — I think the percentage was of the 
whole contents of the bath? — Yes, the general contents. 

By Mr. Marshall Hall — I was going to suggest, therefore, if 
it is 20 per cent, of the whole contents, it would be, of course, 
considerably more than 20 per cent, of that much (pointing)? — 
Yes, it would. 

At least 30 per cent, of that? — Oh, yes, quite. 
So that we should get, if you agree to that 30 per cent., at 
a fair estimate of 3 \ inches? — Yes. 

Somewhere between 3 and 4 inches, and considerably more 
than 2h inches. 

Would you mind with that red pencil marking it? I will 
hold it out at 3£ inches — would you mind making a red line. 
q 225 



George Joseph Smith. 

Dr. Bernard H. Spilsbury 

(The witness marks the bath.) You and I have come by quite a 
different method to the answer to the question I asked — the bath 
would not be more than half-full when she got into it? — No, it 
would not. 

Mr. Justice Scrutton — Under 30 per cent. — it would be 
about 28 per cent. — 27 or 28 per cent. 

By Mr. Marshall Hall — I really put it at 30 — I am not sure 
the jury will not put it at much about the same as I do — I am 
doing my best. Therefore, I put it to you the bath would have 
been about half-full when the woman got in? — Yes, and I say 
half-full in the sense of the depth of the bath. 

That is what I mean, that it would be about half the way 
up the bath full? — Yes, it would. 

Now, you see it would be very difficult to arrange with the 
bath half-full of water — I mean to be able to pull up her feet from 
the end. What is her measurement from the bottom of her back to 
the point of her breasts? — I do not know. 

You do not? — No. 

If she was normally thick there. Now. you have had an 
opportunity of course of seeing Dr. French? — Oh, yes. 

And you have no doubt that the opinion that he formed at 
that time was an honest opinion? — Oh. certainly, of course, no 
doubt of that. 

Although you think it is a mistake? — I think that anybody 
might have formed that opinion at the time. 

It is no more than fair to Dr. French to say that anybody might 
have formed that opinion at that time; assuming the statements 
to be true, you might have formed that opinion? — Oh. yes, cer- 
tainly. 

And you accept the corollary of the question, that the informa- 
tion given to him, if accurate, was sufficient to justify him? — 
Oh, certainly. 

Now, I was asking you this. Assuming that this woman was 
absolutely drowned by the agency of the prisoner in this bath of 
water, with the depth of water we have now endeavoured to ascer- 
tain, at what moment do you think death would supervene having 
regard to the lowness of the water and the extent of immersion? — 
It might follow immediately after immersion. 

When you say immediately — do you mean a matter of a 
second? — A second or two — from the shock. 

Forgive me if I am asking a foolish question, but do you really 
suggest if you are pulled right up by the feet, it is very difficult, 
is it not, to get the nostrils under water in that way? You have 
got that depth of water in that bath; you pull the woman's legs 
up in the air ; that is to say, you pull the trunk forward? — Yes. 

And the head is up in the air — the face upwards? — Yes. 
226 



Evidence for Prosecution. 

Dr. Bernard H. SpiUbury 

What would be the depth of the bath under the head? — 
Somewhere about 8 or 9 inches. 

About 8 or 9 inches? — Yes, somewhere about that. 

With 8 or 9 inches you would keep the nostrils outside? — Not 
with the amount of water that has been described. 

With the amount of water you have marked? — Yes. The body 
is not out of the water; the body is in the water, and displaces the 
amount of water equivalent to its volume. 

Would it not have been absolutely necessary for you to hold 
the nostrils? — It would be necessary to hold the head under the 
water. 

If you had to hold the head under the water, you would get 
marks on the head? — Oh, no, not necessarily — pressure would not 
produce marks. 

You really think it is impossible? — Oh, I am sure it is.* 

To do that by pulling up the body in that way? — Yes — pulling 
up the legs. 

What is she doing with her hands all the time? — If she remains 
conscious she is making efforts clutching at anything that was near. 

And do you really mean seriously to suggest — mind, we are 
dealing with possibilities — do you really suggest practically that 
the woman, under circumstances like that, would clutch at this 
piece of soap and grasp it? — Yes, she might very well have done so. 

Instead of putting up her hands to save herself from being 
pulled down? — Once under water, she would be unable to do any- 
thing. 

You follow what I mean — the woman sitting in the bath ? — Yes. 

Or even if she is lying as far prone as she can get with that 
bath of water, that is to say with her head resting on that bath 
she could not get quite in — naturally because the length would be 
much less at the bottom? — Yes. 

The moment she sees anybody — this man — clutching hold of 
her feet to pull them up she has only to drop the soap, if she had 
it in her hands, and seize hold of each side of the bath, and he could 
not pull her up? — Yes, I quite follow that. 

Do you not see that that is a serious difficulty in the way of 
the theory of drowning in the way suggested ? — It is all a question 
of surprise. If it is done sufficiently quickly there would not be 
time to do that. 

But a person approaching her from the front does not surprise 
her so much as a person approaching from behind ? — She might not 
be alarmed by the approach. 



* Dr. Spilsbury writes to me as to this — "The meaning of my answers to 
these questions is that the pressure of an assailant's hand upon a woman's head 
necessary to keep the head under water would not necessarily produce bruises 
upon the head." The detectives ascertained this to be so from the experiments 
I have alluded to.— E.R.W. 

227 



George Joseph Smith. 

Dr. Bernard H. Spilsbury 

But surely she would be alarmed -when she saw a man coming 
down to catch hold of her feet, and the first upward movement 
of her would lead her to instinctively move her arm, and the 
result would be to pull her side under? — By the time that process 
is commenced, the whole thing would be done. 

Do you really say that the effect would be so immediate that 
she would be precluded from struggling? — Yes, I think she would, 
and even from crying in some cases. 

Would not the struggling be instinctive — almost automatic? — 
It would take a moment for the struggle to develop. 

I admit that she would not be frightened by the approach — 

1 have admitted that. There is roughly 2 feet 8 inches from the 
bottom of the spine to the top of her head — roughly? — Yes, roughly. 

Roughly 2 feet 8 inches, and it might be 2 feet 9 inches. You 
may give her the benefit of that. 

By Mr. Justice Scrutton — Do you put her height at 5 feet 7 
inches? — 5 feet 1\ inches. 

That would make it 2 feet 8 inches or 2 feet 8^ inches? — It 
might be rather more ; it might be 5 feet 8 inches or 5 feet 7 inches ; 
she could possibly be 5 feet 9 inches. 

Mr. Justice Scrutton — That makes it 5 feet 6 inches and 

2 feet 9 inches. 

Mr. Marshall Hall — Yes, so it would be 2 feet 10| inches, 
if you make her 5 feet 9 inches. (To witness) — So that she would 
be sitting with the whole of her head above the level of that bath ? — 
Yea, if she were sitting upright. 

The bath is only about 17 inches in depth? 

Mr. Justice Scrutton — 16 inches and a bit. 

Mr. Marshall Hall — 16 inches and a little bit. (To witness) — 
So that you see there is 2 feet 9 inches against 16 inches — that is a 
wide margin? — Oh, yes. 

And it would be no serious effort to raise her hands and her 
elbows above the level of the bath? — No serious effort, no. 

I suggest she would do it instinctively in spite of it being 
her husband if she thought it might be in fun — if only in play. 
Assuming that she did not attribute any evil motive — that it was 
merely a silly thing, just like when boys are bathing, they duck 
each other in the bathing pool? — Yes. 

But the instinctive action would be of the arms and the elbows 
upwards? — Certainly, but that instinct takes some time to develop, 
just as in the ducking case the boy takes time to appreciate he is 
being ducked. 

But in this particular case, surely the instinctive apprehension 
would be instantaneous with the instinct of self-preservation? — 
Well, it would be very quick, of course. 

Therefore, it comes to a question of instinct? — Yes. 
228 



Evidence for Prosecution. 

Dr. Bernard H. Spilsbury 

I do not think I can usefully deal with that probable case any 
further — you have given us your opinion. You have said it is not 
absolute, but you put it in the high degree which you have 
expressed. Now, let us come to the next — come to the Blackpool 
case. Have you had any experience of what ladies do in baths, 
especially nurses, who are very clean people? — Yes, they are. 

Very clean people, indeed, and you have no doubt heard what 
the doctor told us that in his opinion the temperature of the 
Blackpool bath was about 100 — a warm bath, a hot bath? — Yes, 
that would be a hot bath. 

You would call it a hot bath? — Yes. 

One point above blood temperature? — Yes. 

And if it was about 100, as the doctor put it, it was in all 
probability slightly more than 100 half an hour earlier? — Yes. I 
understand the estimate was only a rough one. 

I quite agree, but if it was only 100 when he felt it in the 
natural process of cooling, it would be more than 100 when she 
got into it? — I should think it very likely, of course. 

People do take baths at 104? — Yes, I have no doubt they do. 

You saw the Blackpool bath in situ? — Yes, I did. 

That was the wooden cased-in bath? — Yes. 

Mr. Justice Scrutton — Do you want that bath brought in? 

Mr. Marshall Hall — No, my lord, I do not think it matters 
— I can make my point without bringing it in. (To witness) — That 
bath as produced here does not show the exact position of the taps ? — 
No, it does not quite. 

Did you notice where they were — that the fittings came almost 
level with the top of the bath ? — They were some little distance 
above the level. 

That is what I wanted to get, and there was a hot and cold 
tap ? — Yes. 

Separate taps? — Yes. 

Have you known of women washing their heads in the bath ? — 
They may wash their heads in the bath. 

Wash their hair? — Yes, they may do. 

One of the chief things a woman will do when she washes 
her hair with shampoo powder or soap, is to be very careful to get 
the powder or soap out of it? — Yes, that is so. 

If you are in a bath when you are using soap, you cannot get 
the soap out of your head very well by simply rinsing it with 
that soapy water ? — No. 

And therefore the hairdresser provides the operative nozzle 
with a shampoo apparatus? — Yes. 

The very natural thing for a lady to do would be to lean 
forward and put her head under the tap, and let the fresh clear 
water run on her head ? — That would be one method of doing it. 

Assuming a woman had had a fairly hot bath and she was 

229 



George Joseph Smith. 

Dr. Bernard H. Spilsbury 

not in a very healthy condition — that is the evidence we have got, 
and she was rinsing her hair in this way and got a sudden fainting 
fit, would she not fall backwards — she would have to turn round 
to wash her head under the tap ? — I do not quite follow the position 
you assume her to be in. 

I suggest, and it is a pure suggestion, because it is not sug- 
gested anybody saw it, it is the position antecedent to anybody 
coming into the room, but kneeling in the bath with her face 
towards the tap she puts her head forward for the purpose of 
rinsing her hair with clean water? — I think it would be almost 
impossible for her to rinse her hair in that bath in the position 
you suggest. 

Did the taps project over the bath? — Yes, they do, slightly. 

If the water will pour from the tap to the bath, it will equally 
pour over her head ? — It wants a certain clearance. 

It would want a certain amount of clearance, I agree, and 
therefore it would make the operation all the more difficult? — Yes. 

It involves getting her head down more than if there was a 
greater clearance between the tap and the bath? — Quite so. 

The mere fact of bending the head down might cause a flow of 
blood to the head? 

Mr. Justice Scrutton — I do not follow this. What is supposed 
to happen — that she is in the water and putting her head under the 
tap? 

Mr. Marshall Hall — She puts her head under the tap, turns 
the tap to get it running, and then faints. 

Mr. Justice Scruttox — And the water goes on running? 

Mr. Marshall Hall — And the water goes on running, I quite 
agree. (To witness) — Suppose the water goes on running, or sup- 
posing there is time for her to turn the water off, and she faints in 
the act of getting back, would it not be possible? — I do not think so. 

It is purely suggestion, because no human being was there to 
see it? — But then her shoulders were so broad, and that end of the 
bath is narrow. 

And, of course, there is no evidence. We have got the evidence 
given by the doctor here, and the doctor says, " When I got there 
I found her in the bath, and her husband was holding her head out of 
the water," and the husband says, as my learned friend has put it, 
" I found my wife underneath the water. I lifted her head up and 
held her up," so there is no evidence one way or the other what 
was the exact position of the body when first found in the bath. 
Now, this good woman had a very serious attack of septic peri- 
tonitis? — I cannot form an opinion of the degree. 

We have the evidence of the doctor that the operation was 
imperative ? — Yes . 

And you know, and the jury know what the cause of that septic 
peritonitis was 1 — Yes . 

230 



Evidence for Prosecution. 

Dr. Bernard H. Spilebury 

Of course, septic peritonitis is often more serious than ordinary 
peritonitis. Is all peritonitis septic? — Not all, but most of it. 

Now, having regard to the cause of that illness, would you call 
her an absolutely healthy woman? Do you think in December, 1913, 
she was an absolutely healthy woman, having regard to the fact 
that she had had an operation for septic peritonitis in the preceding 
March? — She had apparently completely recovered from that. 

But an illness of that kind leaves its traces? — Do you mean on 
the general health? 

I mean on the general health? — I do not think it does, but it 
may do in some cases. I find in the majority of cases the recovery 
is complete. 

And I understand you to say, even supposing you accept the 
theory that she had a faint in the bath? — Yes. 

That in all probability she would have recovered consciousness 
at the moment of submersion? — Yes. 

You know that the doctor has told us that she was under medical 
care until November? — Yes, I know. 

Do you take that to mean merely surgical care? — Yes. 

Owing to the nature of the disease which had caused the necessity 
of the operation? — Yes. 

Has that illness, as far as it develops, a very serious weaken- 
ing effect? — While it lasts. 

While it lasts? — Of course. 

It is a great drain on the system? — Yes. 

And when it ceases to be acute and becomes chronic, it is still 
a drain? — To a certain extent, yes. 

It must be, must it not, and a woman who up to November has 
been receiving medical care on account of an illness of that kind 
would be more likely to have a fit than a woman in perfect health? — 
A fit in December? 

What? — i'it, you mean, in December? 

Yes? — I do not think it would make any difference. 

You would not expect to find post-mortem symptoms of the 
specific disease? — Oh no, especially after drowning in a bath. 

That would all be washed away? — Yes. 

There would be no enclosed urine from which to form an opinion ? 
— Probably — certainly when I examined the body. 

Now, in addition to this illness, and I tell you candidly I attach 
much importance to the question, there is the condition of the mitral 
valve and the heart. The incipient fatty degeneration is another 
matter? — Yes. 

It is a very insidious thing? — Yes, it is. 

I mean as far as any auscultation may disclose, you may be per- 
fectly well and yet get fatty degeneration within a very few months ? 
— Fatty degeneration may develop within a few months. 

231 



George Joseph Smith. 

Dr Bernard H. Spilsbury 

I say it may develop and become serious within a few months? 
— Yes, it may. 

There is no absolute means of diagnosis of fatty degeneration by 
external examination? — Not when it is slight. 

Not until it has developed to a considerable degree? — No. 
. And to discover it by auscultation, or by external examina- 
tion is a matter of great difficulty? — Yes, it is. 

In fact, the diagnosis is nearly always obtained from sounds? 
— Yes, not altogether from sounds, of course — there is the pulse. 

Sound or movement? — The pulse and other conditions. 

And a very slight error in hearing will make a grave error in 
the diagnosis? — Oh, yes, that is so. 

We know that in many cases a man has been taken to be dead 
when he is not dead at all? — Yes. 

I mean perfectly honestly — I am not suggesting for one moment 
any quackery of any kind? — Oh, no. 

A perfectly honest opinion formed by a high-class man? — Yes. 

Being misled by the sound? — Yes. 

If there was any serious degree of fatty degeneration — I do not 
mean sufficient to cause death under ordinary conditions, but of 
fatty degeneration in its early 6tages, would that predispose to 
fainting in hot water? — It would depend on the degree. 

I agree, but even in a small degree it would create a 6mall dis- 
position to faint? — Yes. 

Because it impedes the heart's action? — It might do so. 

In all faints, the difficulty is the failure of the heart to save 
the situation? — Yes. 

After all, death is always failure of the heart's action? — Yes. 

So that if you have anything that impedes the full action of 
the heart pro tanto to that extent it will predispose the individual 
to be more liable to an attack of fainting than if the heart was abso- 
lutely sound? — That is so, yes. 

Now we will pass away from that to the Highgate case. Your 
lordship will not take it that I am admitting evidence that I do 
not challenge, but I want to avoid occupying a long time on every 
point of it — of course, I am challenging this evidence. Now, 
take the Highgate case. You have a veiy difficult state of things 
there, if Dr. Bates is right? — Yes. 

It is a very difficult problem, and 1 think you heard me attempt 
to cross-examine Dr. Bates yesterday, when he admitted to me 
very frankly that his opinion was that she was suffering from the 
chronic epidemic form of influenza. Would you agree with him 
that her condition was much complicated with gastric trouble? — 
Yes, it was. 

And any gastric trouble which was the result of chronic in- 
fluenza at that time would be a serious factor in considering the 
case of sudden death in a hot bath — I will not say would be, but 
might be? — It is possible; it would depend on the degree. 
232 



Evidence for Prosecution. 

Dr. Bernard H. Spilsbury 

You might get a state of cramp? — Yes, that is possible. 

There again we have got your evidence. The medical 
examination seems to have been carefully performed? — Yes. 

And Dr. Bates speaks of nervous depression. Now as to the 
bruises, doctor; would you like to say that the bruise which you 
found on the left arm could not have been caused in removing the 
body from the bath? — I do not think all of them could; there were 
three bruises altogether. 

One was objective in the sense that you could see it on the 
skin? — Yes. 

And the other two you could only see in the post-mortem? — 
Yes. 

How do you think they were caused? — I think in all prob- 
ability, ar_d assuming they actually occurred at the time of death, 
they were caused by blows against the side of the bath by the arm. 

By the arm in that way? — Yes. 

If this woman had had a sharp attack of gastric trouble, and 
was bathing in a temperature of 101, if she had felt a sense of 
faintness and fallen down, would not she naturally or very likely 
have bruised her arm? — She might have done so. 

I mean you would not put it upon me that that would be 
impossible 1 — No. 

I do not think I shall do any good by taking up more time. 
I think I have put to you every point I want to make, and I under- 
stand the result of the evidence — that you think it is highly 
improbable that this happened from an accident; but you would 
not say it was absolutely impossible? — No, not absolutely 
impossible. 

Re-examined by Mr. Bodkin — My learned friend has used the 
expression that this woman experienced a frontal attack by some- 
body — you remember, at the early part of his cross-examination? 
— Yes, I do. 

That was in connection with the suggestion about the lifting of 
the legs? — Yes. 

I want just to ask you one or two questions about the Heme 
Bay case from that point of view. Suppose the woman were sitting 
or reclining in a bath, and, without circumstances which would raise 
suspicion or fright on her part, her legs were suddenly raised, what 
effect would that have upon the body? — It would tend to swing the 
body round. 

Where would the body in that case go in the bath? — It would 
slip down towards the foot end of the bath, or tend to do so. 

That would tend to put the head in what position? — On the 
bottom of the bath. 

We had some discussion with my learned friend, who, if I may 
say so, is very rapid with figures, and we trod gasping after him. 

Mr. Justice Scruttox — He arrived at a wrong result. 

233 



George Joseph Smith. 

Dr. Bernard H. Spilsbury 

Mr. Bodkin — Your lordship noticed it. (To witness) — Will you 
kindly tell me when you and he were there by the bath, and he said, 
" Now we have ascertained that depth of water " — can you tell me 
what depth of water you had so ascertained? Sitting here I could not 
see the result? — It would be a depth of 8 inches without the body. 

By Mr. Justice Scrutton — You worked it out 1 1 inches with the 
body and somewhere about 8 inches without the body? — Yes, my 
lord. 

Mr. Bodkin — So that, if the legs were lifted and the body did 
elide down the bath, would that give a bigger bulk in the water, and, 
accordingly, would that raise the level of the water? 

By Mr. Justice Scrutton — That would depend on how far the 
legs were pulled out? — Yes; that is a question between the amount 
submerged at the end and the amount removed from the water at 
the lower end. 

By Mr. Bodkin — What difference would it make? — It would not 
make much difference. I think, perhaps, if the legs were drawn 
out to a considerable extent, the depth might diminish to a slight 
degree. 

Because the legs and the upper part of the thighs, the portion 
out of the water, might almost be equivalent to the torso or trunk 
which is in the water? — Yes. 

I want you to give it me, so that I may get it quite clear. 
Again, what is the depth of the water, in your judgment, if the 
body were lying in the water at the bottom of the bath with the 
legs up — what would be about the height up the side of the bath 
to which the water would come? 

Mr. Justice Scrutton — He cannot give it exactly. 

Mr. Bodkin — He answered it. (To witness) — I only want to get 
the figure again if I can ? — With the bath full to the extent of 8 inches 
without the body, there would be between 10 and 11 inches of water 
in the bath with the body. 

Of course, as my lord kindly says, it is not possible to know 
exactly, because you do not know how much of the legs is left in. 

Mr. Justice Scrutton — No. That pencil mark gives it you as 
near as he can tell. 

By Mr. Bodkln — Now, supposing this woman's head were in 
that position, but removed lower down the bath by the legs being 
raised, would there be then a depth of water quite sufficient to cover 
the whole head? — Oh, yes; even assuming that the face was 
uppermost. 

The position of the body has been described by Dr. French with 
the legs out. You have told us that is not compatible with any 
suggestion of epilepsy? — No, I do not think it is. 

Is it compatible with any suggestion of any seizure of any kind ? 
— None that I know of. 
234 



Evidence for Prosecution. 

Dr. Bernard H. Spilsbury 

If a person stepping into water, as my learned friend put it, 
referring to the possibility of a shock? — Oh, yes. 

Stepping into water that is too cold, and does experience a 
sudden shock, is there any reason why the person should not get 
out again? — No, I imagine not. 

Looking at that bath, there was suggested to you some slipping 
along the bottom of the bath. Did you understand that my friend's 
question related to slipping just on getting in? — I am not quite 
certain. 

My learned friend put the question about slipping, and then 
your legs would slip and you would come up against the end of the 
bath ? 

Mr. Justice Scrutton — I understood the suggestion to be if you 
slipped — I was not quite certain whether he meant whether you were 
sitting down or when you got in, and your legs went up. 

Mr. Marshall Hall — In the act of slipping down. 

Mr. Justice Scruttox — In the act of slipping down, if I followed 
the suggestion, it might account for the legs being straight up. 

By Mr. Bodkix — Supposing in getting into the bath you slipped 
in sitting down and your legs did go up, where would your head be 
with regard to the water in the bath? — It would be above the level 
of the water. 

By Mr. Justice Scruttox — It depends where you left off slipping. 
If you went on slipping you would go under? — It depends very 
largely upon where one sat down in the bath. 

By Mr. Bodkix — What my learned friend was dealing with was 
the description by Dr. French of the legs being straight out up 
against the end of the bath? — Yes. 

And therefore the position of sitting, knowing the length of the 
legs, is more or less negatived? — Yes. 

Where would the head be in such a position? — The head would 
be against the sloping part of the back of the bath. 

And with that amount of water in the bath, would it be above the 
water or below the water? — Certainly above the water, with any 
amount of water in the bath, in that position. 

And if a person slipped in getting into the bath, or sitting 
down, she would have her arms free? — Oh, yes. 

I do not want to have the commotion of bringing the bath in, 
but you have seen the bath. My friend will not object to my 
suggesting it to you — of course, the jury will check it for them- 
selves — my instructions are that the taps stick out only 2£ inches 
over the end of the bath? — Yes, that was my impression. 

In the course of a rinsing after a shampoo or a soaping of the 
head, in order to rinse the soapy water from the head, would it be 
possible for you to get your head under the taps ? — No, not properly 
under . 

235 



George Joseph Smith. 

Dr. Bernard H. Spilsbury 

If my suggestion about 2k inches is correct? — No, I do not 
think it would. 

Well, the gentlemen of the jury will check it for themselves, to 
save bringing the bath in. Now, with regard to that cause of 
death, whether the condition of the fatty degeneration and the pro- 
gress of it, and the point to which it had developed, were such that a 
person would be more likely to succumb to a sudden shock or not; 
may I tell you what Dr. Billing said about it? — Yes. 

He was asked the question, " Was there anything in the con- 
dition of the heart in that commencing state of fattiness " — [reading 
to the word " action "] — A. No sir." Now, would that condition, 
commencing, as the doctor has described it, make her more likely to 
succumb to a sudden shock ? — I should think probably not. 

I have asked you about the mitral valve — my friend says he 
attaches no importance to that. Now, with regard to the Blackpool 
case, do you notice that Dr. Billing states clearly that the cause of 
death was drowning? — Yes. 

And not fainting, or death from heart failure? — Yes. 

Now, as to the Highgate case. You were asked about the 
temperature of the water in this connection. There was a good 
deal of influenza about Christmas, was there not? — Yes. 

And of gastric symptoms, which accompany it in some cases? 
You say that is not uncommon? — No, it is not. 

From the type of the ailment this year, what would be the 
symptoms of the gastric ailment? — Pain in the stomach would be the 
commonest symptom. 

Would there be any purging? — Yes, there would certainly be 
some purging; there might have been some burning. 

Looking at the evidence as to this lady, she on the Friday, 
that is, after the visit of Dr. Bates, was, according to the prisoner, 
depressed, and went to the Muswell Hill post office in the afternoon 
at Islington, &c. — [reading down to the words " tomatoes for supper, 
and had a mid-day meal of fish and Christmas pudding "]. Does 
that indicate that she was suffering from any malaise from gastric 
trouble? — No, it would not; she apparently behaved as though she 
was in good health. 

The suggestion is that she may have suffered from a sudden 
gastric cramp. Would that be likely to occur in a hot bath? — No, 
it would not. 

Would hot water alleviate cramp or not, can you tell me? — 
Sometimes. 

It would tend to do so? — Yes, it would. 

Having in your recollection the dimensions of the three women 
and the respective baths in which they were found, is the death 
of each of them consistent, in your judgment, with the suggestion 
my learned friend put to you as to their legs having been lifted up 
and their heads submerged? — Yes. 
23G 



Evidence for Prosecution. 

Dr. Bernard H. Spilsbury 

And sudden death thereby resulting? — Yes. 

To be quite clear, I want to ask, is that the suggestion which 
you put forward before the magistrate? — Yes. 

Mr. Marshall Hall — My lord, it was not my suggestion. 

Mr. Bodkin — I did not mean that. I mean it was the one 
you first quoted. 

Mr. Marshall Hall — Yes. 

By Mr. Bodkin — There is one other question, and one only, as 
to the clutching, as to the holding of an article and then the sudden 
immersion and death from drowning and the retention of the article ; 
you said you had had experience of that? — Yes. 

Would that help us to show what you mean if you told us what 
the experience was? — Yes, I think perhaps it would. 

What is the actual instance or instances you had in your mind — 
The one which I have in my mind is that of a man coming appar- 
ently unexpectedly into cold water — deep water — on a night carry- 
ing an electric torch in his hand ; and when found some three weeks 
afterwards the electric torch was still firmly grasped in his hand. 

That was an accidental death? — That was an accidental death, 
yea. 

In a reservoir? — Yes. 

He was found some three weeks afterwards where he fell in? — 
No; some little distance away from where he fell in. 

You were asked about the inquest at which you were a witness 
at Islington ? — Yes . 

The case of somebody who died who had had a bath — Yes. 

Did the person die in the bath ? — No . 

Some time after being taken out of it? — Some time after — 
about half an hour after being taken out. 

Did he suffer from any sort of attack of any kind, do you know ? 
— Not so far as I am aware. 

Did he die from suffocation by drowning? — Yes, he did. 

By Mr. Justice Scrutton — Did he die after he was taken out? — 
He died after he was taken out ; he died about half an hour afterwards. 

By Mr. Bodkin — Was there any suggestion there of anybody 
having any design at all on him — Not actual suggestion ; but I think 
it was rather implied. 

By Mr. Justice Scrutton — The jury wish to know, in a case 
of drowning, where you inspect the body shortly afterwards, is it 
possible to determine either the exact time that the person has been 
dead, or approximately? — It may be impossible to determine the 
time in some cases, even if the body is inspected immediately after 
removal. In the case of this man, who was accidentally drowned in 
a reservoir, the body had the appearance of a man who had only 
just died when it was removed three weeks later. 

The cold water, I suppose? — Yes, it was extremely cold weather. 
Ho, it is extremely difficult to form an opinion. 

237 



George Joseph Smith. 

Dr. Bernard H. Spilsbury 

You do not think a doctor seeing any of these bodies could 
probably form an opinion how long they had been dead with any 
accuracy? — No, I think it is very difficult to do so. 

Mr. Marshall Hall — Might I mention one point — it might be 
longer than that period. 

By Mr. Justice Scruttox — Does rigor mortis set in at af- 
fixed time? — No, it is very variable; in some cases it is instantaneous ; 
in other cases it may be delayed for some time and come on later. 

Dr. William Hbmit Willcox, examined by Mr. Bodkin — I am a 
Doctor of Medicine and a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians. 
I am senior public Analyst to the Home Office. 

In case any of the gentlemen of the jury do not know it, do you 
come to this Court, and to other Courts in the country, to assist in 
cases where medical or surgical knowledge should be at the disposal 
of the jury? — Yes. I have seen the three baths in this case, and I 
have carefully examined them. I have also heard the description 
of the three women — their height, their build, and their appearance. 
As regards Miss Mundy, I have heard it said that she had three 
epileptic fits. 

At the age of thirty- three or thirty- five, it has been stated both 
ways, is that disease usual to appear? — No, it is unusual. 

And those three coming close together, would that present any 
unusual appearance? — Yes, apart from any organic disease. 

Did you hear Dr. Spilsbury give evidence as to epilepsy being 
found usually in cases of family history of mental trouble? — There is 
commonly, not always, a family history of either epilepsy or mental 
trouble. 

Have you met with a case in which a person of that age first 
exhibited signs of epilepsy, and then three fits occurred at short 
intervals, where there was no mental history of the family? — I have 
met with a case where there has been no history and no organic 
disease, because epileptic fits may occur from excessive drinking, 
for one thing. There are many causes which may induce epileptic 
fits. I am speaking of true epilepsy apart from any fits the result of 
another disease. 

Taking the person who suffered from three fits at such an age 
as being a healthy person ? — Yes, I should say it is very unsual. 

You have heard Dr. Spilsbury give his account of the phenomena 
of drowning and the act of drowning? — Yes. 

Do you agree with that, Dr. Willcox? — Quite. 

Now, may unconsciousness supervene very suddenly? — Yes, it 
may come on very suddenly indeed. It is largely a matter of surprise. 
That is, if a person knows that his head is going to be submerged, 
and can take a breath in before, then the consciousness might not be 
lost for a minute or more; but in the case of a sudden immersion 
without any preparation of taking a breath, and so on, such unco* 
238 



Evidence for Prosecution. 

Dr. William Henry Willcox 

sciousness might occur very rapidly — perhaps within quite a few- 
seconds. 

Would a person suffer a very considerable shock if sudden 
immersion were absolutely unexpected? — Yes, there would be con- 
siderable shock from surprise, and also the water passing up the air 
passages, the nose, and mouth, that would cause a considerable 
shock, from what is known as reflex irritation, that is, the irritation 
of the mucous membrane of the nose and throat. That would of itself 
cause a great amount of shock. 

And would death be more rapid under those circumstances of 
sudden shock and unconsciousness? — Then there would be a loss of 
consciousness for some little time only, from two to five minutes ; and 
then death would result. In some cases death may occur very 
quickly from shock. 

That is death from drowning? — No, it would be death from 
shock. 

Might death from drowning, if a shock caused unconsciousness, 
rapidly supervene? — Yes. 

In that case, the Heme Bay case, the woman was found with a 
piece of soap in her hand, according to Dr. French, clasped in her 
hand after death. Taking a person whilst drowning if conscious, 
is that person apt to clutch at anything? — Yes, that is quite a well- 
known feature. 

That applies whether — the expression used the other day was — 
anchored or otherwise? — Oh, yes. 

A fixture or not. If a person clasps something in the first stages 
of an epileptic fit, would the third stage of it cause relaxation of the 
grasp? — Yes. 

That is the stage of exhaustion? — Yes. 

If a person is found grasping such a thing as soap, and it is 
suggested that she suffered from an epileptic fit, does the grasping of 
the soap tend to negative the epileptic fit or not? — It tends to negative 
death in the third stage of an epileptic fit, which would be the probable 
stage, if death occurred from the combination of epilepsy plus 
drowning. 

The length of an epileptic fit is about what? — The first stage — 
that is, the stage where the muscles are fixed — is about four to ten 
seconds ; the second stage, where those movements occur — the con- 
vulsive stage — that would be one or two minutes ; and then the third 
stage of relaxation occurs. 

Then three minutes would be the limit? — Three minutes would 
be an outside limit probably for an epileptic fit — for an average fit. 

Is that grasping of the soap in the hand consistent, in your 
opinion, with death from drowning in which sudden shock has 
occurred? — Yes, in death from drowning associated with shock or 
surprise; immediately after death, instantaneous death, stiffening is 

239 



George Joseph Smith. 

Dr. William Henry Willcox 

likely to occur; and hence the muscles holding the object remain 
contracted, and the object is held after death. 

Just as to the instance given by Dr. Spilsbury? — Yes, that was 
a typical instance. 

Now, the evidence of Dr. French was that the woman was found 
with her head resting against the sloping end of the bath, her back 
more or less in contact with that, and resting with her buttocks upon 
the bottom of the bath, and her legs straight out from the body up 
against the end of the bath. Do you remember that description? — 
Yes. 

I do not know whether you heard him give it? — No. 

You heard me put it to Dr. Spilsbury to-day? — Yes. 

Can you give us any assistance as to whether a person suffering 
either from an epileptic fit or any other such seizure could get in that 
position? — No, I do not think it would be possible. 

If a person in a bath had a collapse from any cause such as fits 
or any other cause, can you help us as to how such a person could 
get her legs into that position, the position described? — No, I do 
not think it would be possible. 

Assuming collapse from a faint or any other cause as described 
or an epileptic attack? — No, that would not account for that position 
— equally impossible. 

You have seen the marks on the side of the bath? — Yes. 

Put by Dr. French to the best of his judgment? — Yes. 

And that woman of that height and bulk in that bath, the blue 
marks at the side are said to be where the water came to when she 
was in there? — Yes. 

In it?— Yes. 

Supposing a woman were sitting in that bath with her legs in 
the water in a normal ordinary position, would the water be as high 
as those blue marks or not? — It depends on the quantity. 

I mean with this same quantity of water in the bath as when 
she is in the position found by Dr. French which the blue marks 
showed the level of? — It depends on the amount of water displaced, 
or, in other words, on the quantity or volume of the body submerged. 

By Mr. Justice Scrutton — I understand what Mr. Bodkin ia 
asking you is this — Assume that the water is there, and she is entirely 
submerged except the upper part of her head and part of her feet? — 
Yes. 

Assume, then, she is lifted up by the feet, will the water rise 
or fall? — The water would fall. 

By Mr. Bodkin- — Without going through all the details again Dr. 
Spilsbury arrived with my learned friend's assistance in pointing the 
factors, at a depth of about 11 inches? — Yes. 

If she was sitting up there would be a depth of about 11 inches. 

Mr. Justice Scrutton — No, they arrived by the help of the 
foreman of the jury's measure at the actual mark; they also arrived 
240 



Evidence for Prosecution. 

Dr. William Henry Willcox 

after various explanations ultimately at 8 inches as to what would 
happen if the lady was out of the bath. 

Mr. Bodkin — Yes, I rather thought that the legs in the water 
would be equivalent to the torso. At any rate, this is the point 
I come to by a circuitous method. (To witness) — Supposing that 
woman were sitting in the ordinary position in a bath, and suddenly 
and unexpectedly her legs were raised, would her body tend to go 
along the body of the bath ? — Yes, that would be so. 

And in your judgment would there be then sufficient water to 
submerge her head? — Yes, in my opinion there would be sufficient 
and 2 or 3 inches beyond that which would give complete submersion. 

Have you seen the Blackpool bath and examined it? — Yes. 

Did you notice the position of the taps? — When I examined the 
bath the taps were not there ; I did not go to Blackpool . 

But they are on the bath here? — I am afraid my recollection 
is hazy about the taps. 

When you saw the bath it had not got the taps on ? — My impres- 
sion is that it had not ; I may be wrong. I do not remember the taps. 
I have seen the bath at Bow Street. 

Very well, you do not remember the taps? — I do not remember 
them. 

In that case you have heard the measurements of Alice Burnham ? 
—Yes. 

A bulky thick woman? — Yes, fat. 

In view of her size and that of the bath, do you agree with what 
Dr. Spilsbury has said as to the possibilities of her being drowned 
by sudden collapse? — Quite. 

In anyone of those eight positions, four facing one end and four 
the other, do you agree with what he said? — I agree with what he 
said, yes. 

You agree as to those eight positions, four facing one way and 
four facing the other? — Yes, I agree entirely. 

In your mind had the thickening of the mitral valve — I wanted 
just to get it from you; you have had a great hospital practice? — 
Yes. 

Is that quite a common condition? — Yes. 

And do you think, except in the serious cases affecting the general 

health or ability to ? — Not in mild cases, such as I gather this 

was. 

The description is slight thickening? — Yes; that has practically 
no appreciable effect on the general health. 

It is said that the girl had peritonitis in March; do you know 
the operation which she experienced? — Yes. 

Are you well acquainted with it? — Yes. 

Is it a serious operation? — Well, it is a grave operation. 

If there were anything wrong with her heart would it be a 
b 241 



George Joseph Smith. 

Dr. William Henry Willcox 

serious matter to consider before putting her under the anaesthetic? 
—Yes. 

The evidence is that she made a rapid recovery, more rapid 
than was anticipated? — Yes. 

Does that show you anything with regard to her heart? — It 
shows that the heart must be in a healthy condition. 

By Mr. Justice Scrutton — Did the effect of that operation tend to 
fatty degeneration? — I do not think so, my lord. It is common 
in fat people to find fat deposited round the heart, and it does not 
mean that the person is suffering from fatty degeneration; fatty 
degeneration of the heart is quite a different thing ; that is where the 
actual muscle fibres are degenerated and replaced by fat. Fatty 
degeneration can only be discovered by the microscope. I gather 
from this case that there was fat deposited round the heart; that 
does not necessarily mean that the muscle of the heart is in a fatty 
state. 

By Mr. Bodkin — Layers of fat round the heart, I think, was the 
expression Dr. Billing used? — Yes. 

And Dr. Spilsbury also used that expression, but is fatty 
degeneration of the heart, where the muscles of the heart which cause 
its action ? — Yes. 

Its pumping action ai*e replaced by fat which has no such power? 
— That is so, yes. 

So that it degenerates in its action as a pumping engine? — Yes. 

You say that the fatty degeneration can only be discovered by the 
microscope? — Yes, only discovered with certainty. You may see a 
heart — the muscle — and think it looks as though it was perhaps 
fatty, but you can only with certainty say so by examining with the 
microscope and seeing the fat. 

With that slight thickening of the mitral valve and the fat con- 
dition of the body, and that operation of peritonitis in March, would 
she be from either of those causes an unhealthy woman in the month 
of December? — Not necessarily. I do not think so — that she would 
be. 

Well able to go about? — Yes. 

To walk out and enjoy such places as Blackpool? — Yes. 

Mr. Justice Scrutton — In December. 

Mr. Bodkin — In December — go to picture palaces, and so forth. 
(To witness) — That would bear upon your opinion? — Apparently she 
had quite recovered from the operation and was in her usual good 
health. 

The subsequent attention that was given to her was that of a 
medical character, properly speaking? — It was very probably partly 
of a surgical character after the operation, though no doubt a medical 
man would like to see the patient from time to time to see the 
condition of the scar, and so on ; that would be the primary condition 
to be dealt with; also the local condition. 
242 



Evidence for Prosecution. 

Dr. William Henry Willcox 

In this particular case there would be a local condition? — A 
certain local condition, yes. 

Now, as to the Highgate case, did you have patients with 
influenza last Christmas? — Yes, a good many. 

There was a considerable epidemic? — Yes. 

My learned friend, if I may say so, properly says a feature of 
it was the gastric trouble? — Yes, gastric cramp. 

Are you acquainted with that? — Yes, I am acquainted with 
gastric pain, which is commonly called gastric cramp. 

What is it? — Pain in this region (pointing). 

Are you speaking of influenza? — Yes, it may come on in the 
early stages of an influenza attack, with headache and pains in the 
limbs and pains in the eyes. 

Is that what you understand by gastric cramp? — That is what 
I should understand by gastric cramp spoken of in relation to an 
influenza attack. Of course, there are other forms of gastric cramp. 

In connection with influenza? — Yes. 

What effect does that have upon the person — gastric cramp? — 
That is a very common probable effect. 

Is it very painful? — Painful, yes. 

What effect, if any, would a hot bath have upon a person suffer- 
ing from it ? — A really hot bath would be one of the best methods of 
treating this; it would probably remove the pain if it were quite hot. 

In your opinion as to influenza cramps in the stomach, would a 
hot bath be likely to cause them or drive them away ? — It would more 
likely drive them away if the water were really hot. 

The lady the evening before her death had a temperature of 
100 to 101?— Yes. 

Would that be caused in various ways? — Yes. 

Suppose she was in a not completed condition of her monthly 
period, might that account for it? — It might help to account for it. 
In other words, at the menstrual period, the condition of a woman 
is more excitable; any slight cause which would not have any effect 
on the temperature under normal conditions might cause a rise of 
temperature then, such as a cold or chill. 

Suppose a person had rather an anxious day, an exceptional day 
— marriage — up to London — journey by the tube, inability to get into 
the lodgings — finding others, in the month of December, might that, 
if she were in her periods, account for the rise of temperature ? — It 
is possible. 

External causes like that might affect it? — Yes, they might send 
the temperature up a degree or so. 

Having learnt that the patient came to you with a headache 
and a temperature of 100 and 101, and who looked vacant and was 
out and about on her affairs, and important affairs, the next day, 
taking her meals at usual intervals, would you think there was very 
much the matter with her? — No, I should think it was only some 

243 



George Joseph Smith. 

Dr, William Henry Willcox 

slight cause which had been responsible for the rise of temperature; 
although I agree with the view that Dr. Bates took when at the 
time of seeing her, I should myself have probably thought that 
the lady was going to have an attack of influenza; but the events 
rather prove that it was not so serious as that. 

Now, I want you to tell me this — whether you have considered 
this matter. Take the case of each of these three women found 
dead under the circumstances which you have heard in taking a 
bath, and having died from drowning. Is the death of each of 
them consistent with the explanation which has been given of the 
death of Miss Mundy, that is to say, by the raising of the legs? — 
Yes, it is. 

And the submersion of the body? — Yes, in my opinion it is. 
From the size of the bodies and the size of the baths, would 
the deaths of any one of the three be consistent with accidental 
deaths ? 

Mr. Marshall Hall — My lord, is this a proper question? 
Mr. Justice Scrutton — It is a question which was allowed in 
the Mitchell case. You may put the question if you give the 
witness the facts — give him first the facts, and say whether on 
those facts he is of such and such an opinion. 

Mr. Marshall Hall — My learned friend gives a long story of 
the state of this lady that he asks the witness to assume, then he 

asks whether 

Mr. Justice Scruttox — That question was based upon certain 
facts — the size of the woman and the size of the bath — and then 

it went further 

Mr. Marshall Hall — I take the formal objection. 
Mr. Justice Scruttox — It seems to me the question was allowed 
in the Mitchell case in the House of Lords. 

By Mr. Bodkin — Can you answer that question as to any one of 
' the three women? — I would rather answer the question as to each 
one separately. 

As to Miss Mundy, you have heard her size and that of the 
bath, and the position of the body, the cause of death being drown- 
ing — those appearances. If those facts are correct, are they con- 
• sistent with an accidental drowning in the bath? — No. 

Then as to the Blackpool case, Miss Bumham, remembering 
the same factors in regard to that case, what would you say in 
answer to the same question? — I think they are consistent with 
accidental death. 

Mr. Marshall Hall — This goes very much further than the 
case your lordshp mentioned. There the question was the in- 
ference as to what the state of the man's mind was. This is the 
intention of a particular man as to the commission of certain acts, 
the acts themselves being in dispute. 

Mr. Justice Scrutton — Here you have the condition of the 
244 



Evidence for Prosecution. 

Dr. William Henry Willcox 

woman's body given, the size of the body, the description of its 
position, and the size of the bath. What is his opinion as a 
gentleman of medical experience as to whether it is consistent with 
an accidental death? I think he can be asked that, 

Mr. Marshall Hall — The position of the body is very im- 
portant . 

Mr. Justice Scrutton — He takes the position of the body, he 
assumes the position of the body described is true. 

The Witness — Yes. 

Mr. Justice Scrutton — In each case a doctor saw it. I under- 
stand the question to be based on the dimensions given of the 
woman, the length given of the bath, and the description given by 
the doctor of the position of the body, the condition in which 
it was found, that she was removed by the prisoner 

Mr. Marshall Hall — There is a suggestion of moving. 

Mr. Justice Scrutton — Yes, but the facts are given. 

Mr. Bodkin — As to the third case, I do not put the question 
because I have not had a description. 

Mr. Justice Scrutton — I thought you were going to put the 
three, but the witness said he would like to have them separately. 

Mr. Bodkin — Yes, then I determined 

Mr. Justice Scrutton — Now you put the question. 

By Mr. Bodkin — You have heard what my lord has said. Assum- 
ing that is correct, the dimensions of the body? — Yes. 

The dimensions of the baths and the position in which the 
bodies were seen as described by the medical witnesses? — Yes. 

In the first two cases? — Yes. 

As to the third of the cases, there is no description of the posi- 
tion of the body? — No. 

Did you answer as to Blackpool? — Yes. 

There is one other matter. The prisoner said in reference 
to the Heme Bay case that he pulled the head right out of the 
water and rested it on the side of the bath ; later on, on coming 
back, her head had sunk again in the bath, her mouth being 
on a level with the water. Pulling the head right out of the 
water and resting it on the side of the bath — is that possible? — 
Not unless the body is twisted so that it lies transversely across the 
bath. 

Her head had sunk down again into the bath, the mouth being 
on a level with the water — that is when Dr. French came? — Yes. 

He describes her as lying back against the sloping edge with 
her legs up? — Yes. 

Would it be possible if her head were left lying on the side 
like that that it could have slipped off, and be lying in the position 
Dr. French describes, with the legs up? — No. 

245 



George Joseph Smith. 

Dr. William Henry Willcox 

If she had got into that position after her head had been over 
the side, would she have been dead? — Yes. 

If she had been pulled up and her head over the side, then the 
doctor coming later and finding her lying back with her legs 
straight up like that? 

Mr. Marshall Hall — Not like that. 

Mr. Bodklx — Out straight from the hips. 

Mr. Marshall Hall — Yes. 

Mr. Bodklx — In the bath could she have been dead when her 
head was up over the side of the bath? — That would indicate that 
the position had been changed. 

Cross-examined by Mr. Marshall Hall — I did not quite 
follow you in one matter. I understand you to say that a death 
from drowning is due to the inlet of water either through the mouth 
or other aperture? — Yes. 

Either by mouth or nose — that is what it comes to? — In deaths 
from submersion in water, in about 70 per cent, of cases it occurs 
from drowning, that is, from water getting into the air passages, 
but there are a certain number of cases where death may result 
from shock without there being the physical signs of drowning. 

I understand (as far as I can understand the medical evidence 
in these cases) the death resulted from drowning by intake of 
water? — Yes. 

Therefore we can exclude the other? — That is so. 

Therefore, if there is a struggling which prevents or delays 
the intake of water, by that minute you prevent or delay death in 
these particular cases. Supposing the victim — I am using your theory 
for the moment — the victim of a murder struggles and thereby 
prevents the water entering her mouth or nostrils, she would have 
delayed it? — The fact of closing the mouth and nostrils would 
prevent water entering. 

And the natural impulse of anybody who is suddenly threatened 
with drowning — not by falling into deep water where the gravity 
takes you below the level — but where you are threatened by drown- 
ing by the pulling up of your legs, the natural instinct would be to 
shut your mouth? — Yes, it would. 

You agree, do you not, that the natural impulse would be 
contemporaneous with the shock to put out your arms, or to cling 
to the side of the bath? — That would be the natural impulse, 
assuming there was time to do it. 

The two impulses would be contemporaneous — the impulse of 
fright and the impulse of self-preservation ? — Yes. 

I was thinking of an instance of an animal which you see 
drowning. If you attempted to drown an animal by holding it 
in your hand it would struggle to prevent the immersion? — Yes. 

It would paddle with its feet? — Yes. 

And prevent immersion? — Yes. 
246 



Evidence for Prosecution. 

Dr. William Henry Willcox 

And a human being would do the same? — Yes, it would try to 
get out of the water. 

You see that illustration, a perpendicular line and then an 
obtuse angle [Mr. Marshall Hall made a drawing]? — Yes. 

The obtuse angle here is practically the angle of the body, 
talking of this bath? — Yes. 

Assuming Miss Mundy got into the bath and reclined her 
head in the most natural position against the bath and put her 
legs straight out? — Yes. 

That would be the natural obtuse angle? — Yes. 

If the theory you and Dr. Spilsbury have evolved, and both 
agree to, is he catches hold of the feet and pulls the body so that 
the head is immersed in 8 inches of water, and gets the air passages 
underneath in order to secure that, you would have to have the body 
almost flat upon the bottom of the bath, would not you? — Not 
necessarily. It depends on how the body was drawn into the bath. 
If it was done by pulling on the feet, then I agree. If it was done 
by pulling on the feet the nearer the right angle to which you 
get the easier the immersion of the respiratory organs is effected — 
that is to say, suppose you pull the feet straight up like that, 
you instantly pull the body down. 

As you increase your angle and pull that obtuse angle like that, 
you must pull the body gradually, will you not? Do you agree 
that if you pull the feet at right angles, the body would go under 
quicker; do you follow that? — Not necessarily, because the hips 
are mobile. 

That would mean practically lifting them and not using them 
as a fulcrum? — Yes. 

Suppose you are pulling at an obtuse angle like that, it will 
take you longer to get the head under the water? — Not necessarily ; 
I do not agree with that. 

Look here, doctor, I will tell you what I am trying to prove 
from you if I can. All the more obtuse the angle at which you 
pull the feet, the longer period of time before the head is immersed ? 
— I cannot agree with that, for this reason, that the more obtuse 
the angle the greater pull you get on the body. The more 
acute the angle the less the pull you have on the body. 
If you had the feet bent very acutely, that is, at right angles, 
the effect of pulling them might simply lift the buttocks up and 
drop them down again. 

If you pull at a right angle you have got the resistance of the 
back of the bath against the head. I put to you the position she 
is lying in, at that angle, that is to say, level against that slope 
and the legs and feet from the buttocks straight? — Yes. 

If you pull right up so that — assuming that to be the body for 
a moment, and you pull her up at right angles you get the back 
of her head pressing against the back of the bath? — Yes. 

247 



George Joseph Smith. 

Dr. William Henry Willcox 

Whereas, if you pull at an obtuse angle you slide the body 
down into the water, and it must follow if you are pulling it in an 
obtuse angle the body must naturally slide down the slope of the 
bath?— Yes. 

Therefore, if you are pulling at an obtuse angle you are 
giving more time before the respiratory organs get under the water? 
— Not necessarily. 

Nothing is necessary? — It really depends on the effectiveness 
of your pull at an acute angle. If you pull as you suggest at an 
acute angle you have more power. 

I will come to the bath to illustrate what I mean. (The learned 
counsel went to the bath.) The normal position of a person sitting 
in this bath with 18 inches of water in it would be that the base 
of the spine would be close up against the slope, and having regard 
to her height, 5 feet 7£ inches, and the length of the bath, to be 
comfortable she must leave sufficient room for her feet to extend 
in the bath?— Yes. 

A man coming in from here, this is the way the bath faces the 
door (indicating) — in order to catch hold of the feet he would have 
to lean over the bath? — Yes. 

If he is going to get a right angle between the base of the 
spine and the flexing of the leg at the thigh he has got to do that 
with the body? — You mean 

He must not only lift, but he must pull towards the end of the 
bath? — You mean shove the legs? 

Shove the legs towards the end of the bath? — Yes. 

The more he shoves the more acute the angle becomes? — Yes. 

Therefore, there must be a considerable moment of time before 
The head, which is admittedly above the level of the bath altogether, 
is drawn down so as to be immersed in 8 inches of water ? — Yes, 
there must be some interval of time. 

Is it not credible in that interval of time the woman must 
realise something was being done to her and would put out her 
hands to protect herself? — It depends to what degree the woman 
was sitting up. 

The more upright ? — The more upright the longer the time 

and the greater the chance, but if a woman were lying flat in the 
bath then there would be less opportunity. 

Then, according as her position recedes from this line at the 
back, the time is reduced during which she would have an oppor- 
tunity of saving herself? — Yes. 

Then, if she was sitting bolt upright there is no reason why 
she should not clutch like that? — There would be an opportunity. 

If she is lying she would have to clutch slightly upwards? — 
Yes. 

[Mr. Marshall Hall drew a diagram to illustrate his questions. 
It was put in and marked exhibit 264.] 
248 



Evidence for Prosecution. 

Dr. William Henry Willcox 

You and Dr. Spilsbury have both given evidence on one 
point in identical terms. You say that if the body is drawn 
quickly under water you get unconsciousness which might be 
practically instantaneous? — It might be. 

It might be; probably it would be what? — It is impossible 
to give an exact figure. It would probably occur under a 
minute. 

Under a minute. Well, a minute is a long time? — Yes. 

You are not approximating instantaneous to a minute, are 
you ? — No, it might occur in a few seconds. 

What would be the limit of the number of seconds? — It is 
impossible to say what would be the exact time. 

I do not follow? — It might be in a few seconds. 

Unconsciousness might be produced within a few seconds and 
certainly within 60? — That is so. 

That is summarising your answer. I am told that in a case 
of a fainting fit, which is partial unconsciousness, preceding 
immersion, the effect of immersion would be to restore one? — Yes. 
it might be. 

There is no contradiction in those two terms? — It is a reflex 
irritation. It may have the restorative effect in a fainting attack, 
and it may produce shock in the drum of the ear. 

May I take it you heard Dr. Spilsbury's examination-in-chief? 
—Yes. 

To which you agree? — Yes. 

You heard the questions that I put to him in cross-examination, 
and you heard his answers? — Yes. 

May I take it if I put the same or similar questions to you 
that your answers would be the same as Dr. Spilsbury's? — Yes. 

There is one other question; it is with reference to a question 
asked by the jury that I should like to clear up, the question 
of diagnosing the time of death on the inspection by these 
three doctors. Dr. French tells us that he was unable to say 
how long Miss Mundy had been dead, but he said rigor mortis had 
not in fact set in. Within what period would rigor mortis normally 
set in in the case of death from drowning? — Probably within six 
hours. 

Within six hours? — Yes, of course in some cases it does occur 
instantaneously. 

Rigor mortis having once set in and having disappeared it 

never recurs. Is there a second ? — No, there is not. It goes 

away after a certain period of twenty-four to forty-eight hours 
or so. 

May I take it, having regard to the doctor's evidence, that 
these peoplewere seen some time about three o'clock in the afternoon, 
that it is so improbable as to amount to an impossibility that when 
the doctor saw this body at 8.15 or so the next morning rigor mortis 

249 



George Joseph Smith. 

Dr. William Henry Willcox 

could have supervened and disappeared? — Absolutely impossible; 
except in drowning, rigor mortis lasts rather longer than usual. 

We have got this, the period of death was antecedent to the 
appearance of rigor mortis? — Yes. 

May I take it that is so in all these cases? — Yes. 

So that the maximum period the body could have been dead is 
six hours? — Yes. 

But in your opinion six hours is a very extreme limit? — It is 
an extreme limit. 

In normal conditions you would expect rigor to supervene 
within three? — Three or four; about four hours. One other point 
in fixing the time would be the temperature of the body. 

The body was slightly warm? — Yes. 

Then the death could not have been more than an hour? — 
Probably a short hour. 

I was going to ask you, having regard to the fact in the 
Mundy case that the body was not cold, that the trunk was still 
slightly warmer than the warmth of the water, death would pro- 
bably supervene within thirty minutes? — I would not like to give 
an exact figure. I should think probably under an hour. 

I think that answers the question the jury asked. I do not 
want there to be any confusion, epilepsy or epileptiform fits have 
three stages? — Yes. 

The moving stage, the convulsive stage, and the limp stage? — 
Yes. 

Is it possible for a patient to be seized with the first foi-m of 
an epileptic attack and then be drowned before the second stage 
can be reached? — It is impossible for a person to be drowned in 
the first stage because the body is fixed like that and there is no 
breathing, so no water can be drawn into the lungs. 

That is the first stage, which may last up to any time within 
sixty seconds? — Ten seconds. 

After that ten seconds there comes the second stage? — Yes. 

And in that stage if the air passage is under water the intake 
would be much more rapid? — Yes, drowning might occur in that 
stage. 

If the passages get under water at the second stage, the intake 
of water would be very rapid ? — It might be. 

Probably would be? — Yes, it would be. 

Then you would get death from drowning, and, of course, 
the symptoms — the post-mortem symptoms — would be those of death 
from drowning and not death from a fit? — Yes. 

Re-examined by Mr. Bodkin — But even if the person were in 
a secondary stage of epileptic fit when the water would get in 
through the mouth and nose, would the resulting death be any 
more rapid — the resulting death from drowning be any more 
rapid? — It would perhaps be more rapid than if the drowning 
250 



Evidence for Prosecution. 

Dr. William Henry .Willcox 

began de novo at that stage, because there would be the absence 
of the period of consciousness. It would probably be a matter 
of two or three minutes after submersion before death would occur, 
or even a little longer than that. 

I rather understood you to say that by that time two minutes 
was about the outside that the second stage of epilepsy would 
depart? — Yes. 

Notwithstanding those suggestions of my learned friend, are 
you able to explain, through phases of epileptic attack or fit of any 
kind, the position of the legs? — I am unable to account for the 
position of the legs on the assumption of an epileptic fit, and also 
taking the measurements of the bath, I am unable to account for 
epilepsy causing the submersion. 

Or any other kind of attack? — No. 

Such as a faint? — No. 

Are there any natural causes which you know of to account for 
the position of the legs as described by the doctor? — No. 

My learned friend has put a number of questions to you about 
the pulling and shifting of the body when the legs were either at an 
acute or a right or an obtuse angle, and put to you the probability 
of the woman having time to clutch, and so forth. Were you dealing 
with a case of expected or unexpected seizing of the legs in answering 
him? — In answering Mr. Marshall Hall I rather gathered that he 
used the words " frontal attack." 

Mr. Marshall Hall — I did to Dr. Spilsbury. 

The Witness — I rather gathered that there was a certain amount 
of preparedness. 

By Mr. Bodkin — On the part of ? — On the part of the 

woman in the bath, but in the view I have taken as regards the head 
being drawn under water it is not necessary for the feet to be 
grasped, the pull might be under the knees, of course — the left hand 
under the knees. 

When the possibility of the flexing of the knee would give an 
opportunity for the arm to exert pressure? — The left hand might be 
put under the knees. 

Mr. Marshall Hall — There is one question I want to ask, my 
lord. 

Mr. Justice Scrutton — Yes. 

Further cross-examined by Mr. Marshall Hall — On the question 
of this fatty degeneration, I do not think you have quite appreciated 
the evidence of Dr. Billing. I am reading from the transcript of 
the shorthand notes. This is what Dr. Billing said at page 11 — 
" When a person is fat, as you say this young woman was, do you 
expect to find fat surrounding the heart? — A. Oh, yes, sir — fat was 
surrounding most of the organs. Q. Yes, that is what you find in 
fat people, is it? — A. Yes. Q. Was that the fat you meant when you 
said the heart was fat? — A. No, the fatty degeneration gets in be- 

251 



George Joseph Smith. 

Dr. William Henry Willcox 

tween the muscles. Q. You say you found that condition? — A. Yes, 
beginning." Then later on, this is in cross-examination by Mr. 
Shearman — " Did you pay particular attention to the state of the 
heart? — A. Yes. Q. And this condition of fatty degeneration affects 
the muscle, I understand? — A. Yes. Q. There is no doubt it was 
present? — A. No doubt. Q. No doubt at all. Is that condition 
difficult to detect from an external examination? — A. In the early 
stages you cannot detect it. Q. Does it have a weakening influence 
on the action of the heart? — A. I do not think in the early stages it 
has much. Q. But as it increases does it? — A. Exactly. Q. It is 
a well-known complaint, fatty degeneration of the heart? — A. Yes." 
In the face of that evidence you could not say this is fat superimposed 
upon the heart? — I cannot accept from that evidence that there was 
fatty degeneration of the heart — that is, of the heart muscle. That, 
as I have already said, can only be determined by a microscopical 
examination ; and, in fact, taking the evidence as it is there, and the 
exact words, it says, " fat between the muscles of the heart," and 
that is exactly what fatty degeneration is not, it is degeneration in 
the muscle fibres themselves. 

You do not agree with Dr. Billing? — I could only accept that 
there was fatty degeneration of the heart on the basis of a micro- 
scopical examination, otherwise one would have to judge rather from 
the symptoms of the patient during life. 

Further re-examined by Mr. Bodkin — When there is, as I under- 
stand you, fatty degeneration of the heart properly and scientifically 
so-called, it is a replacement by fat of the muscle? — The muscle 
fibres of the heart are oblong. Imagine that to be one (the witness 
held up a small article), but, of course, they are extremely minute — 
inside this oblong cell you see little tiny globules of fat — it is the 
actual muscle fibres themselves, the protoplasm of which becomes 
turned into fat. It is a thing which you cannot see with the naked 
eye; you have to use the microscope. 

You must use the microscope in order to discover those fatty 
cells? — They are extraordinarily fat globules. 

But is there a condition in the heart in which fat is found in the 
substance of the heart ? — Between the fibres, do you mean ? 

Between the fibres? — Yes, that is extremely common in fat 
people. 

Is that natural to those who are well covered? — Yes, it is a 
natural condition. 

As you had it read to you by my learned friend, does your 
scientific mind read it as of that class as distinguished from what is 
scientifically called " fatty degeneration "? — Reading that evidence, 
that is the opinion I have formed. It is not fatty degeneration, but 
rather a fatty condition of the heart. 

Edith Mabel Pegler, examined by Mr. Bodkin — I reside at 102 
252 



Evidence for Prosecution. 

Edith Mabel Pegler 

Ashleydown Road, Bristol. [Here Mr. Marshall Hall objected to the 
relevancy of the witness's testimony.] I live with my mother, Mrs. 
Pegler. In 1908 I was living at Bristol, and looking for a situation 
there. I remember answering an advertisement. It was through 
answering that advertisement that I first met the prisoner. He was 
then staying in the same road as I was in, Gloucester Road. He was 
carrying on business as an antique and general dealer under the name 
of George Joseph Smith. I went to him as housekeeper. After I had 
been there some time the prisoner made the suggestion to me and I 
agreed to it, and we were married on the 30th July. Exhibit No. 162 
is the certificate of our marriage, and it states " George Joseph 
Smith, thirty-three years, bachelor, general dealer, 389 Gloucester 
Road, Bishopston, son of George Smith, deceased, figure artist "; 
and my age is given as twenty-eight, and that I am the daughter 
of Frederick William Pegler. I remember that the prisoner told 
me that he had been in Canada. I continued in the shop for some 
time after we were married, and after that we went to different parts 
of England — Bedford, Luton, Croydon, and Barking Road, London; 
and then we went to Walthamstow and Southend-on-Sea. I finally 
left the prisoner and went back to my mother and lived with her 
for about two or three weeks. I saw the prisoner after that. As far 
as I remember, it was at Southend-on-Sea that I saw him. We had a 
shop there in London Road, I think it was. I cannot quite remember 
now, but I think we had a private house in another road, although 
I cannot remember the name at the moment. I think it was Glen- 
more Street. We only stayed at Southend for a few months at that 
time. We went back to Barking Road, London, after we finished our 
visit there. We went from there to Bath. I saw my mother during 
the time we were at Bath. I know the house at 91 Ashleydown 
Road, Bristol. I think it was in 1910 that we occupied that house. 
I think it would be about the latter end of June or something like 
that when we were at that address. The prisoner was carrying on 
an antique and general dealer's business at that time. He only 
remained with me for a few weeks in the summer time of 1910. He 
told me he had met a young gentleman he used to know in London, 
and he told me he was going away with him for a few days to help 
him in his business as a dealer. He was away about five or six weeks. 
As far as I can remember, there were two letters and a postcard from 
the prisoner during that time, but I cannot say where they are now ; 
I must have destroyed them. I remember that two of the letters 
bore the London postmark, but I do not know what the third post- 
mark was. I remember, however, that one of the letters mentioned 
that he was passing through Weymouth. After five or six weeks 
the prisoner returned unexpectedly. That would be about the end of 
August or the beginning of September. When he returned on that 
occasion he told me that he had been to London and round the 

253 



George Joseph Smith. 

Edith Mabel Pegler 

country. I do not remember him mentioning any places where he 
had been. I never at any time had any knowledge that he had been 
through a marriage ceremony at Weymouth, or that he had adopted 
the name of Williams. Having come back at the end of August or 
the beginning of September, he remained at Bristol only for a short 
time, and then he went to Southend, I think it was. 

By Mr. Justice Scrutton — He came back and lived with you 
as man and wife? — Yes. 

Examination resumed by Mr. Bodkin — When we went to 
Southend we took a shop there, an antique and general dealer's 
shop. We lived in apartments apart from the shop. We 
remained in Southend after we went there in 1910 for about three or 
four months. After leaving Southend we went to Barking Road, 
and then to Walthamstow. After that we went to Bristol. Whilst 
at Barking and Walthamstow the prisoner used to attend to business 
himself; he had business premises at Barking and also at Waltham- 
stow. He was in business as an antique and general dealer. We 
went back to Bristol in the beginning of 1912 to Bath Road, Bris- 
lington. After we had been there for about six or seven weeks the 
prisoner said he thought he should go round the country for a little 
while. He said he would go to London to do some dealing. He 
told me he was trying to sell the house at Southend. I lived at the 
shop in Bath Road. The prisoner was away for about five months. 
During that time I heard from him several times. I directed my 
answers to his letters to the Woolwich Equitable, a building society. 
I got answers to my letters. I cannot tell what profit he got from 
selling antiques, &c. I lived on the profits of the business. I .sold 
the business ultimately. The prisoner advised me to sell the busi- 
ness if I cared to. I only got a few pounds for it. After I had 
sold the business I went to reside with my mother at 102 Ashley- 
down Road. After the prisoner had been away from me for a little 
time I sent some of his clothing to Woolwich, but I cannot remember 
the address. It was about the end of July or the beginning of 
August before I next saw he prisoner. I met him at Margate. He 
sent for me to meet him. After that we went to Tunbridge Wells, 
but I cannot remember the name of the road we lived in. It was 
opposite a large Roman Catholic church. That is all I remember. 
I never lived at the address 25 Grove Hill Road, Tunbridge Wells. 
When I rejoined the prisoner after his absence he told me he had just 
come from Canada, and he said he had been very fortunate in buying 
a Chinese image, for which he got £1000. I had no knowledge at 
that time of his having lived at Heme Bay with a Mrs. Williams. I 
never got any letters from Heme Bay. From Tunbridge Wells we 
went next to Bristol, Egerton Road. From Egerton Road we went 
to 49 Cranbrook Road. The prisoner told me that he had bought 
that house in Cranbrook Road. He also mentioned that he had 
254 



Evidence for Prosecution. 

Edith Mabel Pegler 

bought houses in Shackleton Road and Eltham Road. These houses 
are all in the neighbourhood of Bristol. From Cranbrook Road 
we went to a shop in Zetland Road. We only remained there a very 
short time. After leaving the shop at Zetland Road we went to 
Weston-super-Mare, and we remained there for two or three months. 
From Weston-super-Mare we went back to Bristol. My mother was 
living in Bristol at that time. The prisoner went back to Bristol 
with me. He left me at Bristol. I did not know where he was 
going. I received a letter from him after he left. That letter was 
from Paddington. It would be in the beginning of October, 1913, 
when I received that letter. He had been away three months by that 
time. When he came back he said he had just come from Spain. 
He told me he had bought some old-fashioned jewellery which would 
bring him in about £200 eventually. He also told me that he had 
sold the houses which he told me he had purchased. I think he said 
he had re ived £1700 for them. I also remember him mentioning 
that he had bought an annuity with the money ; but I do not remember 
the amount he had paid for the annuity. At the end of 1913 the 
prisoner came to where I was staying along with my mother. It 
was just before Christmas that he arrived. We went to Clapham, 
London, together after that. I had no knowledge that the prisoner 
had been at either Portsmouth or Southsea, or that he had been 
married there. I had also no knowledge that he had been to Black- 
pool. After being at Clapham for some time we went to Chelten- 
ham, and later on we went to other places in the south and south- 
west of England. We went to Brighton or Bournemouth ; but I 
cannot remember what we did after that. At any rate, we arrived 
back at Bristol towards the end of the year. The prisoner told me 
during that time that he thought he would have a run round again 
before Christmas. He told me he was going with another young 
fellow he had met at Clifton. He went away about the beginning 
of December, and he remained away about three weeks. I next 
saw him about two days before Christmas. I was staying just near 
my mother in Bristol at that time. I did not know that he was 
coming; he came unexpectedly. He said he had been to London 
and had been doing a little dealing, and that he was going to buy 
a picture. He went away alone, saying he was going back to 
London. He was only away about ten days when he came back to 
Bristol. I have no knowledge whatever of his having been married 
to a Miss Lofty at Bath, or of his having assumed the name of Lloyd. 
On his return on that occasion I think he stayed for about another 
week; then he left again. He came back about three times after 
Christmas, but I cannot be sure if that was the last time. I learned 
of his arrest at the beginning of February. 

You have mentioned a number of places at which you and he 
were together. Do you remember his saying anything as to a 

255 



George Joseph Smith. 

Edith Mabel Pegler 

bathroom at any of the places you were at? — He mentioned to me 
once — just after last Christmas — that he would not have much to 
do with them if he were me, as they were dangerous. 

Did he say how they were dangerous, or to whom? — It was said 
it was often known women lost their lives through having fainting 
fits and weak hearts. I had been through the marriage ceremony 
with the prisoner in July, 1908, and from that time onwards we lived 
together as Mr. and Mrs. Smith. 

Did you ever know during that period of six years about his 
having a bath himself? — Yes. 

Where, do you remember? — Well, he used to bath at Cranbrook 
Road. 

I mean his personally taking a bath, having a bathroom? — Yes, 
at Cranbrook Road. 

How many times since you first married him have you known him 
to have a bath? — I could not say quite, but I think it would be 
usually when we went into a house, and not an apartment house. 
There was a bath in the Cranbrook Road house, and also in the house 
at Zetland Road. He had a bath at both of these houses. I cannot 
remember whether he had a bath at Southend, but there was a bath 
there. 

In taking apartments at various addresses you went to, did you 
ever hear him ask if there was a bathroom? — At Weston-super-Mare 
he asked for one. 

Can you remember the address? — I cannot remember the name 
of the road now; it was some Grove, I think. 

Is that the only place you can recollect? — Yes. I think the 
prisoner had a bath there. 

Can you tell me if at any time since you first knew him has he 
changed his way of shaving at all? He has a moustache now? — I 
have often seen him like he is now. 

Have you ever seen him without a moustache — clean-shaven? — 
Yes, he often used to change — just as he liked, I think. 

He often used to change his way of shaving? — Yes. 

Cross-examined by Mr. Marshall Hall — He did do a certain 
amount of business as an antique dealer, did he not? He was rather 
a judge of that sort of thing. He would buy them anywhere in the 
country, and try and sell them at various shops you had? — Yes. _ 

When you are buying goods off people they like to have their 
money in cash? — Yes. 

And you like to be paid in cash, too, if you are selling? — Yes. 

You know nothing, of course, of his having been mixed up with 
any other women at all. You know nothing about it? — Nothing what- 
ever. 

Just take your mind back to before you knew anything about 
this. You were fond of him, and he had been kind to you? — Yes. 
256 



Evidence for Prosecution. 

Edith Mabel Pegler 

He had always treated you kindly? — Yes. 

You went back to him when he asked you to go back? — Yes. 

Before that you were kindly disposed towards him? — Yes 1 . 

And he to you? — Yes. 

In all the towns you went to I suppose there are public baths? 
—Yes. 

And people in that position of life who have not got baths in 
their houses will have bath"? at the public baths? — I have heard that 
is the case. 

You do not suggest that in all these six or seven years he had 
only one or two baths? — No; I should not think so. 

Arthur Neil, recalled, further examined by Mr. Whiteley — 
At 12.40 on the 1st February I was along with Sergeants Page 
and Reed in Uxbridge Road, Shepherd's Bush. We stopped the 
prisoner and said to him, " Are you John Lloyd? " He said, 
" Yes." I said, " You were married to Margaret Elizabeth Lofty 
on the 17th December last, and she was found dead by you in a 
bath at 14 Bismarck Road, Highgate, the following morning, the 
18th/' He said, " Yes, quite right." I said, " You are also said 
to be identical with George Smith, whose wife was found dead in a 
bath under similar circumstances on 13th December, 1913, at 
Blackpool, a few weeks after her marriage to you." He said, 
" Smith? I am not Smith. I do not know what you are talking 
about." I said, " I shall detain you and send to Aylesbury for 
witnesses, and if you are identified you will be charged with causing 
a false entry to be made in the marriage register at Bath." He 
said, " In that case I may as well say my proper name is George 
Smith and my wife died at Blackpool, but what of that, the entry 
in the register is not correct, but that is the only charge you can 
put against me." I then said, "The question of any further charges 
is a matter of inquiry." He said, " Well, I must admit that the 
two deaths form a phenomenal coincidence, but that is my hard 
luck." I walked along with him to the White City. At that time 
I had only mentioned Miss Lofty and Miss Burnham. The prisoner 
was taken to the police station at Kentish Town. After a short 
detention in the ante-room at the White City he was taken to 
Kentish Town by Sergeants Page and Reed. Later in the evening 
he was put up for identification for Miss Burnham's father and 
Mrs. Pinchin. Mr. Burnham was hesitating, and stopped in front 
of him, and the prisoner sat forward and said, "I am Smith. 
He knows me. What is the good of fooling about." Mrs. Pinchin 
was hesitating, but afterwards identified him. As he turned round 
she saw him from behind. He was then charged with forging the 
entry in the marriage register, and he said, " All right." The 
s 257 



George Joseph Smith. 

Arthur Neil 

formal charge that was made against him was that he caused a 
false entry to be made in the marriage register at Bath. The 
prisoner said, " That is the only charge you can bring against me, 
and that is what I am guilty of. My wife knew all about my first 
marriage and she suggested I should make a fresh start and say 
nothing of my former wife. I had told her how she died. It was 
against my interest to give the name of Lloyd, as I have an annuity 
of £2 a week in the name of Smith from the North British and 
Mercantile Insurance Company." When the prisoner referred to 
" My wife " he was referring then to Miss Lofty. I took possession 
of certain notes and cash. After he had been before the magistrates 
I said, " You are now going to be charged with the wilful murder 
of Margaret Lofty, at 14 Bismarck Road. Holloway. on the 18th 
December last; and with the wilful murder of Alice Burnham at 
Blackpool on the 12th December, 1913; and with the wilful murder 
of Bessie Constance Annie Mundy, at Heme Bay, on 13th July, 
1912." I added, " You need not say anything in answer to the 
charge, but, if you do, anything you say may be given in evidence 
against you. I then read over the charges, and he made no reply. 
I have seen the bath which is exhibit No. 23. That is the bath 
which was removed from Bismarck Road, Highgate. 

Cross-examined by Mr. Marshall Hall — When the prisoner 
was taken to Kentish Town he said, " I have nothing to fear. My 
conscience is clear." 

[Here the prisoner interrupted, but was ordered to sit down.] 

Frank Page, examined by Mr. Whiteley — I am a sergeant in 
the Metropolitan Police, Y Division. After the prisoner was 
arrested he was taken to the Kentish Town Police Station by me. 
On the way to the station he made the following statement to me : — 
" You may think it is strange, but it is the irony of fate that my 
two wives should have died in the same way. I suppose it has 
come about through the insurance. I did not know she was 
insured or that she had made a will. Some one at Bath sent the 
papers to me at Highgate, and that was the first time I knew she 
was insured. I suppose this trouble would have come when my 
first wife died if she had been insured. There is not much wrong 
in saying the name of Lloyd, because that was the name in which 
I joined the Northamptonshire Regiment. I was soldiering for 
three years." 

Cross-examined by Mr. Marshall Hall — When you say he 
said, " I did not know she was insured," did he not say, " I did 
not know she was insured until after her death "? — "I did not 
know she was insured till after she was dead, nor that she had 
made a will." 
258 



Evidence for Prosecution. 

George Cole 

George Cole, examined by Mr. Whitelet — I am a detective- 
inspector of the Y Division of the Metropolitan Police. On the 
23rd of February of this year I went to No. 102 Ashleydown Road, 
Bristol, and I there saw the witness, Miss Pegler. I searched the 
house. I took possession of two annuity bonds (exhibits Nos. 201 
and 221) and the envelope (exhibit No. 222). I also took possession 
of two birth certificates, one of which is exhibit No. 10, and the 
other No. 241. I also found exhibit No. 220, which is a note from 
the manager of the North British and Mercantile Insurance Com- 
pany. Exhibits Nos. 224 and 225 are receipts for the £1300, the 
price of the annuity, and the £500; and exhibits Nos. 239 and 
240 are receipts from the Post Office Savings Bank, Blythe Road, 
West Kensington Road, to G. J. Smith. I know No. 68 Stockwell 
Road. It is a newspaper shop between Clapham and Brixton. 
Letters are taken in at that place for a small fee. I also know 
No. 21 Anglesey Road, Woolwich. That is a similar place. I know 
No. 11 Ashley Road, Boscombe, near Bournemouth. That is also 
a similar place to the others I have mentioned. 

Arthur Neil, recalled, further examined by Mr. Bodkin — I 
have examined the handwriting of exhibit 95, which is the deed of 
release of the Mundy trustees, in the presence of Mr. Bellamy, the 
bank manager. I have also been through a number of exhibits in 
this case, and I have made a list of them. That list is exhibit 
No. 253. In each of those exhibits in the list No. 253 I find the 
handwriting to be similar to the signature to the deed of release. 
On the 15th February I saw the prisoner at Bow Street, and I said 
to him, " You are said to be identical with Oliver George Love, 
who married Caroline Beatrice Thornhill at Leicester on the 17th 
Januai-y, 1898." He said, "I am not." I said, " You are also 
said to be identical with Henry Williams, who married Bessie 
Constance Annie Mundy at Weymouth on the 26th August, 1910, 
and who died in her bath at Heme Bay on the 13th July, 1912." 
He said, " I am not, I know nothing about the place." He was 
placed up for identification in the Mundy case for Mr. and Mrs. 
Millgate and Sergeant Denghe, of the Heme Bay Police. Mrs. 
Millgate came in to identify him, and she touched the prisoner and 
said something which I did not catch, but the prisoner said, " She 
says she thinks I am the man." Mr. Millgate and Sergeant Denghe 
then saw the prisoner. The prisoner said he did not know the 
people. The week following the 22nd February I was also at the 
Court, and I then referred to the prisoner's marriage with Miss 
Pegler. The prisoner said on that occasion as regards Miss Pegler, 
" She is my only wife." A fortnight later, on the 9th March, the 
prisoner was put up with others for identification, and Mr. and 
Mrs. Thornhill and Mr. Burdett, three witnesses from Leicester, 

259 



George Joseph Smith. 

Arthur Neil 

came to identify. The prisoner again said, " I do not know the 
people," and Mr. Crabb attended and identified him. The prisoner 
again repeated, " I do not know these people." 

Harold Reed, recalled, further examined by Mr. Bodkin — In 
the charge room after he had been charged, the prisoner said, 
" My conscience is clear." 

Mr. Marshall Hall — I do not call any evidence. 

[Mr. Bodkin then rose to sum up the case on behalf of the Crown, 
but before the learned counsel had proceeded with his address the 
Court adjourned.] 



260 



Eighth Day— Wednesday, 30th June, 1915. 
Closing Speech for the Crown. 

Mr. Bodkin — May it please your lordship, gentlemen of the jury, 
you must start with the fact that the prisoner is a systematic 
bigamist. The motive suggested for the alleged crime is love of 
money, which, we contend, is the pi'isoner's predominant passion. 
The story as told by the prisoner at the Heme Bay inquest gave 
immense prominence to the suggestion of epilepsy. The woman was 
thirty-five years of age at the time of her death. Epilepsy commenc- 
ing at that age is most unusual. She had never had it before; she 
had no recollection of ever being unconscious. She was a healthy 
woman. There was no history of epilepsy in the family. 

Dr. Spilsbury and Dr. Willcox have both told you that it is 
most unusual for epilepsy to appear without any previous history 
of it in the family or at the age of thirty-five. If, therefore, you 
are of opinion — as I submit you should be on the evidence — that 
there was no epilepsy, then you get this position, that it was extra- 
ordinary that for a mere headache, of which alone she complained, 
a person should think it necessary to go at once to a doctor. The 
importance of that is that you find precisely the same condition of 
things repeated in the Blackpool and Highgate cases. In reference 
to the position of the body in the bath at Heme Bay, is it not clear 
that if a powerful man put his arm under the hook of the knee of a 
woman, it would be easy to move her body down in the water, which 
was deep enough by 3 or 4 inches to cover the whole of her face? 
That involves the lifting of the legs, and the legs were found raised. 
No stage of an epileptic fit or an accidental submersion from a faint 
will explain the position of the legs in which they were found. You 
have had it on the considered testimony of Dr. Spilsbury and Dr. 
Willcox that this death could easily have been caused in that way, 
and that it might have been, and that there was evidence that it 
was a sudden death. 

And if it were a sudden death, the whole of the circumstances 
are explained, down to the clutching of the piece of soap in the 
hand. A reason for saying that it was a sudden death is something 
which the doctor and the coroner's jury did not see, and that was 
the " goose flesh " on the skin. I submit that the death was sudden 
— unexpectedly sudden — caused by the lifting of the legs and sub- 
merging of the face. The prisoner and the woman being alone in. 
the house, he had the opportunity of committing the crime. The 
motive of the prisoner has been demonstrated, the opportunity 
admitted, and the exclusion of accident proved. You are entitled tor 
look at the evidence as to the two other deaths to see whether the 

261 



George Joseph Smith. 

Mr. Bodkin 

death of Miss Mundy was accident or designed, and, if designed, for 
the benefit of whom? You can also look at that evidence to see 
whether the death was part of a system or course of conduct — 
horrible as it is to think so — of deliberately causing people's 
deaths in order that monetary benefit might ensue to him. 

The three cases are of such a character that such a large 
aggregation of resemblances cannot have occurred without design. In 
each case the prisoner went through the form of marriage ; in each 
case the ready money of the woman was either realized or drawn out 
of whatever deposit bank it might have been in; in each case there 
was a will drawn in favour of the prisoner absolutely; in each case 
the will was drawn by a stranger to the testatrix ; in each case the 
victim insured her life or was possessed of property which did not 
make it necessary to insure her life; in each case there was a visit 
to a doctor shortly before the death, which, we contend, was unneces- 
sary from the physical condition of the patient ; in each case the 
women wrote letters to relatives the night before, or on the night on 
which they died; in each case there was an inquiry as to a bathroom 
or the provision of a bath ; in each case the woman died from 
drowning, and the prisoner was the first to discover it; in each case 
the bathroom doors were unfastened and the water was not drawn 
off until after the doctor had been ; and in each case the prisoner 
was putting demonstrably forward the purchase of either fish, or 
eggs, or tomatoes to show that he was absent from the house in 
which his wife was lying dead ; and in each case there was the 
prisoner's subsequent disappearance and the monetary advantage 
resulting or attempted to be made to result. 



Speech for the Defence. 

Mr. Marshall Hall — May it please your lordship, gentlemen 
of the jury, this case is without parallel in the history of English 
crime, and very extraordinary from any point of view. At a moment 
like the present, when the flower of our youth are laying down their 
lives for their country, does it not strike you as a great tribute to 
the national character of level-headedness that, with all the panoply 
of pomp and law, we have been assembled day after day to inquire 
into the facts of this sordid case, and to decide whether or not one 
man should go to an ignominious death or not ? It is a great tribute 
to our national system of jurisprudence. 

The prosecution have been driven to prove, for the purposes 
of their case, not only that the prisoner murdered Miss Mundy, which 
is the only charge upon the indictment,* but that he murdered all 



* Five bills had been found on two other indictments for the murdera at 
Blackpool and Highgate, and these had been removed to the L.C.C. — E.R.W. 
262 




Mr. E. Marshall Hall, K.C. 



Speech for the Defence. 

Mr. Marshall Hall 

three of those women. The only principle on which that 
has been allowed is to prove a system of murder. You 
must not be prejudiced by the admitted fact that the prisoner has 
been guilty of bigamy four times, or allow your minds to be warped 
by the fallacious and specious argument that, because he had done 
reprehensible things at Blackpool and Highgate he should be con- 
demned as the sort of man likely to have committed the murder of 
Miss Mundy. I cannot say there is an absence of motive, but, as a 
learn ed judge said in this building a few days ago, " motive may 
be an important factor, but it cannot convert suspicion into proof." 

Before I leave the question of motive, let me remind you that 
the policies on the lives of Alice Burnham and Margaret Lofty were 
" endowment " policies, and not " all-life " policies; and you have 
it in evidence that the premium on a £1000 all-life policy was about 
the same as on a £500 endowment policy. Would a man contem- 
plating murder have taken out what, in the event of sudden death, 
was the less remunerative policy? 

A man who could commit such crimes as are alleged in this 
case is not only a criminal, but a monster almost without parallel. 
Your minds will revert to the prisoner's ejaculation the previous 
day, " I am not mad." Do you believe any sane man could have 
done what the accused is charged with doing? But no question of 
sanity has been raised here. If my learned friend's conclusions are 
sound, the prisoner has committed one of the most diabolical series 
of crimes that any records of any country .have ever produced. One 
has to go back for a parallel to the days of the Borgias, when 
systematic poisoning extended over a period of years ; but then there 
was political atmosphere, which raised the ordinary commission of 
small crimes above the level of the commonplace. 

The calling of evidence as to the other two cases impliedly proves 
that the evidence in that of Miss Mundy is not conclusive. Is there 
one of you who, if Miss Mundy' s case stood alone, and you knew 
nothing of the prisoner's antecedents, would say he was satisfied 
that the prisoner was guilty of her murder? I venture to think no 
one would dare to take on himself that awful responsibility. I am 
therefore entitled to ask you now to hesitate befoi*e you find such 
a verdict. 

The calling of expert medical evidence by the prosecution has 
opened the door to the worst form of Americanism in the administra- 
tion of British justice. Had the prisoner not been the pauper he is, 
had he been possessed of unlimited means like some recent American 
criminals, he might have procured experts to say that the cause of 
death was other than that stated by the experts for the Crown. I 
submit it is a very dangerous procedure that should be watched with 
the greatest possible care, and an absolute limit put upon it. It 
has reached its extreme limit in this oase. One of the oldest rules 
of our criminal practice is for the time abrogated, and the Crown is 

263 



George Joseph Smith. 

Mr. Marshall Hall 

allowed to call expert medical evidence to contradict, to explain 
away, the evidence already given by other medical men who are the 
Crown's own witnesses. 

It will not have escaped your notice that the prisoner has not 
given evidence; if he had done so he would have had to be subjected 
to cross-examination on his past life and incidents, which would have 
brought us no nearer to the truth.* My learned friend would have 
asked you not to believe one word of his story because he is not 
truthful, and has lived a life of duplicity for many years. 

One thing that stands out in the case is the relations with Miss 
Pegler of this alleged master of crime. That girl, who for seven 
years has lived with this man and loved him, who, now that she 
knows the truth — that she never was his lawful wife, that he was a 
bigamist, and had not even been faithful to her, has gone into 
the box and told her story. She admitted that he was always kind 
and fond of her, and implied that she was fond of him, and that she 
had forgiven him that which women found most difficult to forgive, 
his infidelity to her. Can this man be the unmitigated monster 
suggested by the evidence for the Crown 1 

The theory put forward by the prosecution is that the prisoner 
murdered the woman by pulling up her feet, and so drowning her. 
I maintain that if you take the trouble to examine the bath and 
take the measurements of it and of the body, it is physically impos- 
sible to drown the woman in that way in 8 inchest of water; it is 
impossible, and it is incredible. If the prisoner had caught hold 
of her feet, she would at once have realised that something abnormal 
was going to occur, unless you think that her head was forced under 
water, in which case there would be marks,* There was no sign 
of a struggle. If you tried to drown a kitten it would scratch you, 
and do you think a woman would not scratch? The woman would 
realise the felonious intention of the man, and — unless she was 
drugged, of which there was not a particle of evidence — would try to 
save herself by putting out her arms. 

The broad principle in this case is that there is not sufficient 
evidence on which you can safely come to an affirmative verdict that 
the prisoner is guilty. The other verdict open to you is one of 
not guilty, which would mean that you doubt whether his guilt has 
been proved. If you find affirmatively, it means that each and all 
of you on your oaths present that there is no other reasonable, 

* As no evidence had been tendered by the defence of Smith's good character 
and no imputations had been cast on the character of any Crown witnesses, 
Smith could not have been cross-examined as to his past life, except in so far as 
it was directly relevant to the charge. — E.R.W. 

t At least 11 inches, and probably more. See the gvidence of Dr. French. 
I venture to think that, after the removal of the body, ;he water still measured 
about a foot.— E.R.W. 

X See Introduction. 

264 



Speech for the Defence. 

Mr. Marshall Hall 

probable explanation of the case except that the prisoner murdered 
the woman. Can you — dare you — accept such a responsibility? The 
other verdict commits you to no such dangerous or extravagant asser- 
tion — a verdict of not guilty may mean simply that you are not all 
quite sure. Can you be sure that the prisoner is guilty? You must 
remember that Dr. Spilsbury has said, with all his expert knowledge, 
that he dare not say that it was impossible for it to have been an 
accident. 

Let me, with all the solemnity I can, with all the power of con- 
viction I can put into words, say to you : be fair to yourselves, be 
fair to the prisoner, be just to justice itself before you decide the 
fate of this man by saying that this terrible accusation against him 
has been proved. I ask you to give this matter your most earnest 
and most careful and heart-felt consideration. Wipe aside from 
your minds all the mass of prejudice which has been unavoidably 
introduced into the case. Forget the character of the man as you 
know or suspect it. Wipe away all preconceived ideas, notions, and 
suspicions, and deal with the evidence alone. Upon that evidence, 
upon the substantive charge, " Aye " or " No," is this man guilty 
of the murder of Miss Mundy? Remember what I said to you, that 
unless the onus of proof is discharged by the prosecution beyond 
reasonable doubt, the man is entitled as of right to a verdict of not 
guilty. I say that the one and only verdict which you can rightly 
and conscientiously return is a verdict of not guilty. 

Charge to the Jury. 

Mr. Justice Scruttox — Gentlemen of the jury, you have listened 
for five hours to two carefully reasoned speeches, and I do not propose 
to ask you to listen to-night to such observations as I propose to 
make for your guidance. I do not think it is fair to you ; I do not 
think it is fair to me; and, still more, I do not think it is fair to the 
prisoner; but there is something I want you to do to-night before I 
address you to-morrow morning. I have had put in a large room 
downstairs the three baths, and there is a 6-foot measure, I under- 
stand, as well as the 2-foot measure you have. I want you to go there 
and to look carefully at those baths, making such observations of 
them as occur to you from what you have heard in the course of 
the case, and also looking at them very carefully from this point 
of view ; in those three baths three women have died. Mr. Marshall 
Hall has admitted to you that there is ample evidence of motive for 
the prisoner causing their death, that is to say, that there would 
be a marked benefit to him from their death. He has addressed you 
on the question of whether there is evidence of opportunity to the 
prisoner to cause their death. I shall have to say something to you 
about that to-morrow. The prosecution put forward the theory and 
ask you to find that those three deaths were designedly caused by 

265 



George Joseph Smith. 

Mr. Justice Scrutton 

the prisoner; that the drowning of each woman was the result of 
an intentional act by the prisoner. I think originally one theory was 
that the woman sitting in her bath, the prisoner approached her and 
pulled her feet up, thus throwing her back and her head under water. 
A modified theory was that he approached her while sitting in her 
bath and put his hands under her knees and lifted her knees up, or 
pulled them, thus pulling her head under water. The defence have 
suggested to you reasons why you should say the prosecution have 
not satisfied you that there are not alternative reasonable theories 
which account for the deaths. The last one is a fit of some kind not 
specified, called by the doctor epilepsy. Mr. Hall is inclined to throw 
over the word ' ' epilepsy ' ' in two cases ; the suggestion is a fainting 
fit. Now, I do not want you to make up your minds to-night; you 
must not until you have heard me ; but make a preliminary investiga- 
tion of those baths from the point of view of those theories to see 
how far you as men of the world and common sense — quite as com- 
petent to judge how people take baths as the doctors are, with great 
respect to them — whether you think (you must not make up your 
mind finally, but form your provisional opinion about it) — but make 
up your mind whether you think the state in which the bodies were 
found fits in with one or other of those theories. You have heard 
the medical evidence about the effects of fainting and epileptic fits. 
You have heard the evidence of what the effect would be if either of 
the two state of things were gone into. You have the size of the 
bodies ; you have the size of the baths ; test in what way you think 
right the possibilities of the baths. Use whatever means you think 
right to exercise your judgment on the possibility of the woman being 
drowned on the various theories suggested. Include in your con- 
sideration this possibility — the possibility at any rate in the last two 
cases ; possibly in the first — of this having happened : Wife to 
husband, " I am going to have a bath "; husband to wife, " All 
right, 1 will go and turn on the water for you "; husband goes 
to bathroom and turns on the water and waits ; the wife comes in 
her dressing-gown or night-gown — night-gown, second case; 
dressing-gown, the third. The newly-married husband stays in the 
room, strips her or she strips herself: " I'll put you in the bath, 
my dear"; picks her up — an eight-stone woman; a nine-stone 
woman; lowers her into the bath, but holds the knees up. There is 
no evidence of it ; there is no evidence about pulling the knees ; 
there is no evidence about pulling the legs; there is no evidence 
about fainting; there is no evidence about epileptic fit. Consider 
the possibilities. I will tell you to-morrow how far it is necessary 
to be satisfied exactly how the death was caused, but consider the 
possibilities of all those various theories, looking at the baths, and 
with the measurements. Now, I am going to give you, Mr. 
Foreman, in order that you may follow it and test the evidence of 
Dr. French, my manuscript of my note of how he found the body 
2fi6 



Charge to the Jury. 

Mr. Justice Scruttoo 

at Heme Bay and what he found ; the statement of the prisoner at 
the Heme Bay inquest as to what he found, and the statement of 
the prisoner to the coroner's officer at Heme Bay — those are the 
Heme Bay documents. My note of the statement of Dr. Billing 
as to the Blackpool bath; what he found when he got there; and, I 
think, if you remember, on the Blackpool bath he made some pencil 
marks which you will bear in mind. The note of the prisoner's 
statement at the Blackpool inquest of what he found; the prisoner's 
statement at Blackpool to the coroner's officer. The letter of the 
prisoner from Blackpool to the wife's relations giving an account. 
The prisoner's statement at the Highgate inquest. He wrote no 
letter, if you remember, from Highgate to the relatives because 
Mr. Kilvington was there. There is one more document, the 
statement made by the prisoner to the coroner's officer at Highgate. 
Those are for you, gentlemen. If you want to refresh your 
memory as to exactly how the body was found they will enable you 
to do so, starting with a description of how it was 
found and a description of how it got there. Form your 
provisional opinion — if you are able to form any opinion as 
to how the body got there — as to which theory you think is probably 
right. When you form your opinions keep them as provisional 
as you can; you must not make up your mind until to-morrow, 
when you have heard me. 

Mr. Marshall Hall — I was submitting to your lordship and 
to the jury that it is not open to them to consider any other theory 
than the prosecution theory. I understand from my friend that 
you are proposing to put to them an alternative theory? 

Mr. Justice Scrutton — Yes. 

Mr. Marshall Hall — I did not deal with it because I did not 
want to prejudice the prisoner. I thought, my lord, on careful 
consideration, if I had dealt with it I should have deprived the 
prisoner of a very grave ground of objection, which your lordship 
will see. 

Mr. Justice Scrutton — Gentlemen, I will direct you what you 
have to take into your consideration, but I desire to say to you 
if, on looking at the baths, another theory occurs to you better 
than those which have been suggested, in my view you are quite 
entitled to consider it. 

Mr. Bodkin — If your lordship would look at page 326, it is 
the evidence of Dr. Spilsbury at the Police Court. It is there your 
lordship finds what I think your lordship called the first suggestion 
of the prosecution. Your lordship sees the word is " legs " — " if 
the legs of the person." 

Mr. Justice Scrutton — Yes. 

The Court adjourned. 

267 



Ninth Day— Thursday, 1st July, 1915. 
Charge to the Jury — continued. 

Mr. Justice Scrutton — Gentlemen of the jury, Mr. Marshall 
Hall in his able address to you yesterday began by commenting on 
what must have been passing through all our minds as one of the 
ironies of life. Since last August all over Europe, sometimes in 
England, sometimes on the sea, thousands of lives of combatants, 
sometimes of non-combatants, have been taken daily, with no 
warning, and in many cases with no justification. No inquiry has 
been made at all, as, for instance, in the case of the " Lusitania," 
whether people should be sent to death. And yet, while this whole- 
sale destruction of human life is going on, for some days all the 
apparatus of justice in England has been considering whether the 
prosecution are right in saying that one man should die. And it 
is quite right that it should be so. In England, in this national 
crisis, we have tried to carry on business " as usual," we hope 
with confidence of victory " as usual," but we are determined to 
maintain justice " as usual." And so we, you and I, approach, 
•just as if this were a time of peace instead of one of the greatest 
world disturbances ever known in the history of the world, the 
question of whether the prosecution have proved to your satisfaction 
that George Joseph Smith is guilty of murder. The duty that you 
and I have now to perform is the most important duty that ran 
fall upon a citizen in the administration of justice, whether in time 
of peace or in time of war. You perhaps noticed the final proclama- 
tion with which this case opened : " For the prisoner at the bar 
stands on his deliverance." I am not sure I am using the word 
in the technically right sense, but the prisoner at the bar, if he is 
innocent, or until he is proved guilty, looks to us to deliver him 
from the peril in which he is. We are the shield that stands between 
him and death, unless to your satisfaction, as advised by me on 
matters of law, he is proved to be guilty and, while we are the 
shield of the man accused, we are also the Sword of the State. If 
the man is proved guilty, we are the servants of the State to punish 
him. Mr. Marshall Hall said to you yesterday again at the opening 
of his speech, that, when you left this Court, and looked up at the 
dome of this building, you would see the Statue of Justice with the 
Sword in its right hand and the Scales in the left. If you look 
up when you leave, you will see that Mr. Marshall Hall had observed 
accurately. But probably he knows, and if not, I tell you that 
on some Courts of Justice there is another Statue of Justice; in her 
268 



Charge to the Jury. 

Mr. Justice Scrutton 

right hand she bears the Scales, the Sword is in her left hand, and 
that is so because the artist intends to symbolise that all her effective 
force shall be given to weighing the evidence before she uses the 
Sword and so she uses her right hand to weigh, and when she 
has weighed, the Sword will be shifted and, if the Scale has gone 
down, the guilty will be punished. What we have to do now, you 
and I, is to endeavour to weigh the evidence — the evidence — not 
what we have seen in the newspapers before we came into Court, 
not any prejudice that may attach against the prisoner from the 
admittedly immoral conduct of which he has been guilty, except 
in so far as I direct you that it is possible to consider it, but the 
sworn evidence that has been given in this Court. And our 
functions are these. I have to settle the law. You must take the 
law from me. If I am wrong, there is a Court of Criminal Appeal 
to set me right. It is my duty to point out to you the aspects from 
which you can consider certain parts of the evidence; how far you 
may use it, how far you ought not to use it. Anything I say as to 
fact is of no importance as against your opinion. You are the 
judges of fact. If I suggest that I hold a particular view as to a 
particular fact, you, thinking it over, do not agree, you are not 
bound in any way by my opinion as to fact. Mine is the respon- 
sibility as to law; yours is the responsibility as to fact. And 
your duty is, having taken the law from me, and considered any 
suggestions I make to you as to the bearing of particular facts, then 
to find the fact, and the responsibility of finding the fact is yours. 

Now, gentlemen, George Joseph Smith is charged with the murder 
of Bessie Annie Constance Mundy. Generally in a murder trial it 
is a mere truism to begin in that way, but in this case it is important 
that you should appreciate that thac is what he is charged with. 
Your verdict will be that he is guilty or not guilty of the murder of 
Bessie Annie Constance Mundy. You will not be asked if he is 
guilty or not guilty of the murder of Alice Burnham; you will not 
be asked is he guilty or not guilty of the murder of Margaret Eliza- 
beth Lofty. You may have to consider it in the course of the case 
for a purpose that I will point out to you in a moment; but the 
question you have to consider is — Have the prosecution satisfied us, 
with that reasonable certainty that a jury ought to have in a matter 
of life and death, have they satisfied us that he is guilty of the 
murder of Bessie Mundy? If your state of mind after you have 
considered the matter is this, " We ar- very suspicious. We are 
inclined to think he did it, but we are not quite sure "; if that is 
your state of mind, the prisoner is entitled to what is called in 
English law the benefit of the doubt, f.nd you are bound to return 
a verdict of not guilty. It is for the prosecution to prove the man 
guilty. They have to satisfy you. It is unnecessary to say to you 
probably that you must not approach the matter in the attitude of 
the iurvman who said when he saw the prisoner in the dock, " If 

J J 269 



George Joseph Smith. 

Mr. Justice Scrutton 

he had not been doing something he would not have been there." 
lie is there presumed to be innocent until the prosecution have proved 
him guilty; and approaching the matter from that state of mind, 
you have to see whether the prosecution have satisfied you with 
reasonable certainty, the certainty you would expect in a matter of 
life and death, that he is guilty of the murder of Bessie Mundy. 

Now, the first remark I wish to make to you is this — there is 
no direct evidence that he murdered Bessie Mundy. There is no 
direct evidence that he was present in the bathroom when she died. 
If you convict him you convict him on circumstantial evidence. Now, 
gentlemen, circumstantial evidence is a long word. There was a 
gentleman in one of Moliere's Comedies * who began his education 
late in life, and when he got to the distinctions between prose and 
poetry, found he had been talking prose all his life without knowing 
it. Circumstantial evidence is a long word, but you, gentlemen, 
have been acting on circumstantial evidence all your lives, very likely 
without knowing it. Circumstantial evidence means simply this, 
that having no direct evidence of a fact, you infer it from the evidence 
of other facts surrounding it, a process which all of us go through 
every day of our lives. I want to give you one or two illustrations 
so that you may understand exactly the bearing of circumstantial 
evidence. There is one which is sometimes given, and which 
always raises a smile, and I do not mention it in a murder case in 
order to raise a smile, but because it pointedly shows what circum- 
stantial evidence is. If you see a man going into a public-house, 
and you see him five minutes afterwards coming out, you can conclude 
that he has had a drink, on circumstantial evidence. You have not 
seen him have a drink, but from the place he has gone to, the purpose 
for which that place is used, and his action when he comes out, you 
will be justified in inferring, and everybody would be justified in 
inferring, that he had had a drink inside, though you had not seen 
him. That is circumstantial evidence. Take another case. You 
are on the edge of a wood watching a clearing in the wood, and 
there is a cottage there. A man comes out of the cottage and begins 
working in the garden. You watch him, and he goes back into the 
house. Presently there comes a man running from the wood towards 
the cottage with a pistol ; he goes into the house ; you hear a shot ; 
he comes out running without the pistol ; you run to the cottage and 
find the man whom you have seen working in the garden shot through 
the head. You would find, if the evidence stopped there, that that 
man whom you saw running had shot the other man and murdered 
him. Circumstantial evidence. You would not have seen it; there 
would be no direct evidence of it ; but you would infer it from the 
facts that you had seen. Supposing the man who came running went 
into the box and gave an account of his being in the cottage, said 



* M. Jourdain in " Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme."— E.R.W. 
270 



Charge to the Jury. 

Mr. Justice Scrutton 

that the other man attacked him and the pistol went off in the 
struggle accidentally and shot him, it might put entirely a different 
complexion on the matter. It would depend how he gave his 
evidence, and the exact explanation he gave, and the jury would 
have to consider, in view partly of the direct evidence of the man, 
and partly the circumstantial evidence they had seen, whether 
they would convict. Suppose, instead of one man coming 
while you were watching twelve came, each went into the 
house and each went out, the man you had seen working 
in the garden did not come out. You are curious, and you go 
and see what has happened to him; you find three rooms in the 
house; in the top room the man is lying dead. You would not be able 
to convict anybody on circumstantial evidence there ; you would have 
no idea which of the twelve men it was, if it was one of the twelve 
men who killed him. But the prosecution might go on, and they 
might supply evidence of a grudge by one of the twelve men ; evidence 
of blood found on the clothing of one of the twelve men ; evidence of 
a weapon found in the clothing of one of the twelve men ; and then 
the circumstantial evidence would enable you to infer what had hap- 
pened in the house, and possibly find the man guilty. In each case, 
you see, of circumstantial evidence it would be a question of degree 
whether the circumstances were such that the jury could draw with 
reasonable certainty the inference of what had happened which they 
did not see. In this case a woman has been found dead, and the 
prosecution say to you, " We will satisfy you by inference from the 
circumstances that, though there is no evidence as to exactly what 
happened in the bathroom, the death was caused by the designed 
act of the prisoner." They have to satisfy you of that; and the first 
question is, of course, do the circumstances that they prove to you 
raise such an inference, such a certain inference, of designed act 
by the prisoner? 

Now, in the case of calculated and coldblooded murders, it is 
very rare that there is direct evidence. The man who in a fit of 
passion murders may do so before people, and there may be evidence 
of the outburst of passion and the struggle. In the case of calcula- 
tion and deliberateness the man generally tries to conceal it ; the 
murder had generally taken place with no witnesses; and calculated 
and cold-blooded murders have generally to be dealt with by cir- 
cumstantial evidence, the question in each case being, are the cir- 
cumstances such that the jury can, with certainty, infer that a 
designed act has taken place. I direct you — and if I am wrong the 
prisoner will have the advantage of it — that it is not necessary that 
you should be satisfied exactly how the death was caused, 
if you are satisfied that it was caused by a designed act of the 
prisoner. I direct you that in my own words, and I also direct 
vou in the words of a judgment which I regret has not been more 

271 



George Joseph Smith. 

Mr. Justice Scrutton 

widely circulated in England, the judgment of Mr. Justice Windeyer,* 
of the Australian Courts — " All that the law requires is that the 
offence charged must be proved. In proving murder, the exact 
mode of killing becomes immaterial if there is sufficient evidence 
to satisfy a jury that there was a killing by the prisoner under 
conditions which made it murder." That learned judge gives the 
illustration which -will possibly have passed through some of your 
minds — and Mr. Marshall Hall mentioned it — in many murders the 
murderer burns the body, and when you find the ashes, proof being 
given as to whose body it is, you cannot tell from the burnt body 
how it was killed before the cremation took place ; but yet juries are 
frequently able to convict, and frequently do convict, from the cir- 
circumstantial evidence, including the fact that the body has been 
disposed of by burning so as to conceal what happened. 

That is the point of view from which you must approach this 
case. Has the prosecution satisfied you that there are circumstances 
which lead you to the reasonably certain inference that Bessie 
Mundy met her death by some act of the prisoner. I do not know 
that there is any certainty in this world. If any of you have ever 
suffered from reading metaphysics you will probably have been con- 
vinced that there is none; because the metaphysician will con- 
clusively prove to you that, though you think at the present moment 
a judge is addressing you, all that is happening is that there is 
some impression on the retina of what you think is your eye, which 
your brain translates into a belief that there is some one in scarlet 
who is addressing you, but there is really only your own mind ; and 
so, while I think I am addressing twelve jurymen who are listening 
to me, all that happens is that there are some impressions on what I 
think is my retina which my mind — which is the only thing which 
exists in this world — translates into the belief that there are twelve 
men before me when really there are none. If once you get to 
metaphysics you will get no certainty at all. Again I quote Mr. 
Justice Windeyer — " In matters that regard conduct of men, the 
certainty of mathematical demonstrations cannot be required or 
expected ; and it is one of the peculiar advantages of our jurisprudence 
that the conclusion is to be drawn by the unanimous judgment and 
conscience of twelve men cognisant with the affairs and business of 
life, who know that where reasonable doubt is entertained it is their 
duty to accept, and not of one or more lawyers whose habits might 
be suspected of leading them to the indulgence of too much subtlety 
and refinement." It is " reasonable certainty," considering that 
you are dealing with the matter of a man's life or death. 

Now from what point of view are you to approach the cir- 
cumstances to see if there is enough certainty? Two things you 



* A late puisne judge of New South Wales bench. The passage is from his 
judgment in A.G. v. Makin, 14 N.S.W.R.— E.R.W. 

272 



Charge to the Jury. 



Mr. Justice Scrutton 



must start with against the prisoner — had he the opportunity; had 
he the motive. If you cannot find he had the opportunity, I 
entirely agree with the passage that Mr. Marshall Hall cited from 
my brother, Mr. Justice Lush, " You cannot get out of motive a 
proof if the prisoner had not the opportunity." Proof that the 
man who benefited by the death was in France while the murder 
happened in England, while it gives a motive to the man gives no 
opportunity of committing the crime. So the first thing you have 
to do is r o begin with opportunity. There is no doubt that the 
prisoner had the opportunity. He was in the house alone with 
Bessie Mundy the whole of that night and the next morning till 
he went to the doctor. Given an opportunity, the jury look at 
motive. Had he a motive? Supposing that his only income was 
derived from the life of Bessie Mundy and would stop when she died, 
and that no feelings of vengeance or vindictiveness were there, it 
would strike every one that there ^as no motive for his killing her; 
he lost by her death. If the facts are that he gained by her death, 
and Mr. Marshall Hall throughout the whole of his speech has 
assumed that there was evidence of a motive for the prisoner's 
action of that sort, the jury get the motive. Next, given oppor- 
tunity and motive, you have to consider the facts of the death as 
proved, because it may be that the facts of the death are proved, 
and, when her body is found, the circumstances under which the 
body appears to have died may seem to the jury either to be equally 
consistent, or to be very nearly equally consistent, with accident 
or design, with a natural death or a death inflicted by another in- 
tentionally. So the jury have to take into account three things, 
the circumstances of the dead body and the way in which it is found, 
and the evidence they have as to the way it died — the opportunity 
of the prisoner to cause the death or not ; the motive of the prisoner 
for causing the death. It may be that even then they are not sure 
whether it is accident or design. And then comes in the purpose, 
and the only purpose for which you are allowed to consider the 
evidence as to the other deaths. If you find an accident which 
benefits a person and you find that the person has been sufficiently 
fortunate to have that accident happen to him a number of times, 
benefitting him each time, you draw a very strong, frequently an 
irresistible, inference that the occurrence of so many accidents 
benefitting him is such a coincidence that it cannot have happened 
unless it was design. And it is for that purpose that the prosecution 
invite you to consider the circumstances of the death of Alice 
Bumham and Margaret Lofty. There is one purpose for which you 
must not consider it, and I state that in the words of Lord Herschell 
— " It is not competent for the prosecution to adduce evidence tend- 
ing to show that the accused has been guilty of criminal acts other 
than those covered by the indictment for the purpose of leading to 
the conclusion that the accused is a person likely from his criminal 

273 



George Joseph Smith. 



Mr. Justice Scrutton 

conduct or character to have committed the offence for which he is 
being tried." That is a rule, I do not say peculiar to English law, 
but at any rate which the English law enforces and other countries 
do not. If this man had been tried in a French Court, the proceed- 
ings would have to begin by his cross-examination by the judge 
about every criminal act he had committed in the course of his 
life; a cross-examination conducted usually in a tone which starts by 
assuming that he is a criminal who can be guilty of every possible 
misdeed. I make no comment on the course of procedure of another 
and a friendly nation, but it is the state of mind in which a great 
many people of not much education would approach the matter, and 
if they found he had been guilty of a number of crimes they would 
be inclined to suspect him of many more. The English law does 
not allow evidence to be used for that purpose, and you must not 
use any evidence in this case for that purpose. When a person 
is tried, the judge has before him a list of his previous convictions; 
the jury are never told of his previous convictions unless in a very 
limited class of cases. In this case that man as he sits there has 
undoubtedly committed three bigamies. You are not trying him 
for bigamy. If he is acquitted here he can be punished for his 
bigamy on other indictments, and you are not at liberty to regard 
the fact that he has committed three bigamies and therefore is pre- 
sumably of a criminal character as proving that he committed 
another crime, except for a very limited purpose, which I am about 
to explain. 

And, as I am mentioning that, I may mention a circumstance 
which I hope you have forgotten, but which may possibly be in 
some of your minds. When the evidence was being given about 
prisoner's marriage with Miss Thornhill and counsel for the prose- 
cution was endeavouring to fix a date, one of the witnesses blurted 
out in order to fix the date, " It was when he was away in prison." 
It has nothing to do with the case. We do not know what he was 
in prison for, or how long, and you are not at liberty to use that, 
and must shut that out entirely from your minds, because the only 
relevance would be, " Oh, he has been in prison, and therefore he 
may have done something that is not proved. That is not the 
purpose for which you may use it, and I direct you to shut that 
incident (as I told you at the time) entirely out of your minds. 

You may use the evidence as to the other deaths for this purpose 
— to see whether it helps you as to whether the death of Miss Mundy 
was accidental or designed. It is putting it in a different way, 
but you may use it for this purpose; if you think that the prisoner 
has a system of obtaining money from women by going through 
the form of marriage with them and then getting the money either 
by robbery or murder, you may use the evidence of the other deaths 
for that purpose. 
274 



Charge to the Jury. 



Mr. Justice Scrutton 

Now, I want to give you one or two illustrations of that sort 
of thing, in order that you may exactly understand for what purpose 
you may use these other deaths. Let us get away from crime for a 
moment. You are playing cards for money with three men ; sud- 
denly in the pocket of one of them is found a card of the pack you 
are playing with. Possibly your first view would be — it would 
depend a good deal on what sort of a card it was; if it was a " two " 
of one of the suits that was not trumps you would not think very 
much of it. Cards do sometimes tumble into odd places. If it 
happened to be the ace of trumps in the game you are playing at 
that time you might regard the matter with more suspicion, and, 
perhaps in view of the fact that cards do tumble about, you might 
say that in that one case only you could not form any opinion about 
it. But supposing on your mentioning it to some one else it 
turned out that on five previous occasions of playing for money the 
gentleman had had the fortunate accident of finding the ace of 
trumps in his coat pocket, what would you think then? What the 
law says you may think is that that series of fortunate accidents 
does not usually happen to the same person so many times, and that 
you may draw from that series of fortunate accidents the inference 
that it was not an accident at all, but that it was designed. That 
illustrates the way in which you may use, in dealing with a criminal 
case, the occurrence, the repeated occurrence, of the same accident 
to a person who benefits by the accident each time. 

Now, I will give you three or four more illustrations. Two 
of them were put by Mr. Justice Windeyer in the judgment to which I 
have referred. In the case they were trying there — and, of course, 
the facts are not material for this case, except to enable you to 
understand the illustration — a man and woman were charged with 
killing babies whom they received from their mothers for a small 
premium for baby-farming. The only evidence given about the 
killing of the particular child was that it was received apparently 
healthy, and within a short time afterwards it was found dead, 
buried in the backyard; no evidence as to how it died, or 
what it died of. Evidence was tendered that in that house and in 
two previous houses occupied by the prisoner dead babies were found 
buried in the backyard ; and that in other cases mothers had brought 
their babies to the prisoner for a comparatively small sum and had 
never seen them again. Now Mr. Justice Windeyer said — " A 
family might be unfortunate enough to take a house in the back- 
yard of which babies had been buried by a former tenant; but no 
one could believe that it was by mere coincidence that a person took 
three houses in the backyards of which recent tenants had secretly 
buried babies." There again, you see, it is the recurrence of 
the accident benefitting the prisoner which may cause the jury 
to believe that it was not an accident, but was design. Mr. Justice 

275 



George Joseph Smith. 

Mr. Justice Scrutton 

Windeyer gives another illustration which has the advantage — 
being delivered in an Australian Court — of a flavour which we do not 
get in England. "If A is found cremated by a camp fire so com- 
pletely as to leave no trace of his death; on defence by B who was 
the last person seen at the camp fire with A, that A had died of 
natural causes and that he cremated him because he had no means 
of' burying him and did not wish to allow wild dogs to devour the 
corpse, evidence of other bodies found completely cremated, and 
that B was also the last person seen with the men in those cases, 
would surely be evidence to show that A had been murdered and did 
not die naturally, as a series of natural deaths of healthy men when 
camping out with a travelling companion and of subsequent crema- 
tion would be so extraordinary as to leave no doubt when coupled 
with motive and other evidence that A had been murdered." 

Now, let us come back to England and take another illustration, 
which I am afraid we are familiar with. You have probably heard, 
gentlemen, that occasionally when a man is in pecuniary difficulties 
carrying on a business he is fortunate enough to have a fire at a 
time when his stock is insured, and insured for a price consider- 
ably higher than its market value. There is frequently no direct 
evidence of how the first fire was caused; but the jury is always 
allowed to consider the fact that the same gentleman has suffered 
the misfortune of fires before, with" over-insurance, with a benefit 
to him at a time of pecuniary difficulty from the recovery of the 
insurance money — as showing that the thing which at first appears 
an accident has happened so frequently to the same man, benefitting 
him each time, that the jury is entitled to draw the inference that 
this fortunate accident has been designed, and is not the result of a 
mere coincidence ; it depends in every case on the sort of thing that 
happened, the unusualness of it, the number of coincidences and 
the number of times it happened. 

The last thing I want to say to you upon that point I will put 
to you in the language of Mr. Justice Bray — " If there had been 
but the one case charged in the indictment it was possible, though 
not probable, that the arsenic might have got into the food, by acci- 
dent or mistake, but when two other cases are proved where death 
happened on previous occasions to two other inmates tinder similar 
circumstances, accident or mistake becomes so improbable as to be 
almost impossible. The proof of each additional case increases the 
improbability of accident or mistake, and therefore tends to disprove 
it. It was necessary, of course, to show that the other deaths hap- 
pened under similar circumstances, but it was not necessary to prove 
a system, or that the prisoner has conceived a plan to poison all her 
family. One other death under similar circumstances would tend 
to show the improbability of accident or mistake, and would on 
that ground be admissible." 

Gentlemen, it is for that purpose, and for that purpose only, 
276 



Charge to the Jury. 



Mr. Justice Scrutton 

that you must consider the evidence in the cases of Alice Burnham 
and Margaret Lofty, to see whether the deaths are sufficiently similar 
in their circumstances to lead you to infer that this accident, -with 
its accompanying circumstances, so exactly alike, is almost impossible 
to have happened three times to the same man. You are not to 
consider it for the purpose of giving a formal verdict that he killed 
Alice Burnham or Margaret Lofty, though no doubt, in the course 
of your consideration, you have to see whether you are satisfied that 
it -was a designed death as opposed to an accidental death. You are 
to consider it for these two purposes — to enable you to determine 
whether the death is accidental or designed — to enable you to de- 
termine (which is nearly the same thing) whether the prisoner has 
a system — whether you are satisfied that he has a system of obtain- 
ing money from women with whom he goes through the form of 
marriage either by robbery or murder. 

Now, gentlemen, that is all I desire to say to you on the law, 
with one or two exceptions, as I go through the evidence. I shall 
have to point out about the admissibility of particular facts. I now 
come, having generally directed you as to the sort of question you 
have to consider and the sort of way in which you may use certain 
salient parts of the evidence, to consider the facts of this case. 
You will understand, as I said to you at the first, and as I want to 
say to you again, it is quite impossible in going through the facts 
that I may at times express an opinion as to some fact; but if I say 
anything that you disagree with, having heard the evidence, you will 
put that altogether on one side, because I am not here finding the 
facts. I cannot sit here for nine days without having some opinion 
about the facts; but it is not my opinion that matters, it is your 
opinion that has to be given effect to. 

Now, gentlemen, may I just say one word to you in order that 
you may follow what I am doing. I will go through now, putting 
together the history of the evidence before you. I quite anticipate 
from the great care with which you have followed the case, and 
the great accuraey you have shown once or twice when a question 
has arisen as to what was said — I quite expect that I am telling 
you very largely what you know already; but I have been in the 
fortunate position throughout this case of having all the documents 
before me, and a large table to write at; you have so far seen none 
of the documents ; you have been sitting in your box, and have had 
very little paper to write on. Therefore it is only fair in the case 
of the life or death of a man that I should put before you, having 
had more advantages than you, the consecutive story, although I 
daresay many of you could do it as clearly and accurately as I hope 
I shall be able to do. Then when I have gone through the facts I 
propose to do this — you have probably been doing it yourselves all 
through the case — I propose to call your attention to the series of 
coincidences in the three cases. It is a matter to which I think 

277 



George Joseph Smith. 

Mr. Justice Scrutton 

your attention will have to be very earnestly directed at the end 
of the case in order that you may say from them whether you think 
that series of coincidences could have happened by accident, or 
whether it happened by the design of the man who in each case 
benefitted. 

Now, gentlemen, the history begins in 1898, and I may say, 
Mr. Foreman, that I will give you a paper with all the leading dates 
on it so that you may check it with your own notes, and have it 
before you when you are discussing * the particular facts. The 
history begins in 1898, when George Oliver Love married Caroline 
Beatrice Thornhill at Leicester. The prisoner, while the proceed- 
ings were being taken at the Police Court, being challenged that he 
was George Oliver Love, said he was not. Three witnesses have 
been called before you — the mother, the witness of the marriage, 
and the sexton of the church where the marriage took place. They 
identify the prisoner as George Oliver Love, they are not cross- 
examined by Mr. Marshall Hall to show that they are mistaken, and 
the prisoner has not gone into the witness-box to say that he is not 
George Oliver Love. You must start, therefore, with the assump- 
tion that the prisoner is the person who married Caroline Thornhill 
at Leicester in 1898. You may also think, as you probably will, 
that he told a lie when he said he was not, at the Police Court. I 
am afraid that is only the first of a number of lies that you will find 
he has told ; but you are not to convict him of murder because you 
think he is a liar; that would be infringing Lord Herschell's rule; 
the only purpose it seems to me for which you can use the repeated 
lies of which I think you will find he has been guilty, is this. He 
has not gone into the witness-box to give us the stoiy of what 
happened in these three cases, but he has made statements to other 
tribunals which have been read to you. 

You may use the fact that he has been repeatedly found out in 
Lies in judging whether you accept the story that he has told to 
other tribunals, though he has not told it before you. 

For that purpose you may use the fact, if you think of con- 
sidering it, that he has repeatedly told lies. 

Caroline Thornhill is still alive, according to the evidence, and 
there is therefore still a valid marriage, as far as the evidence goes, 
between the prisoner and Caroline Thornhill. She went to Canada 
in 1905. On 30th July, 1908, the prisoner, in the name of Smith 
— apparently his real name — went through a form of marriage with 
Edith Mabel Pegler. That was undoubtedly not a good marriage, 
because Caroline Thornhill was living. Whether he was liable for 
the penalties of bigamy for that marriage is uncertain, because it 
mav be that owing to the circumstances under which his wife left him 
he "had such a belief as to her death as would prevent his being 
Liable to the penalties of bigamy. But, whether you think it is 
bigamy or not, it does not matter in this case at all; it is of no 
278 



Charge to the Jury. 

Mr. Justice Scrutton 

importance, because there is no suggestion that in his form of 
marriage with Edith Mabel Pegler there was any motive of robbery 
at all; therefore, there is no evidence on which you could find a 
system of going through the form of marriage for the purpose of 
robbery, because there is no evidence that he ever did rob or try to 
rob Edith Mabel Pegler. She lives with him until 1910. He is 
carrying on business as a sort of antique and general dealer, moving 
about a great deal, not a settled business, a business from which he 
does not seem to derive any very substantial income. In August, 
1910, a man named Henry Williams meets Bessie Constance Annie 
Mundy, at Weymouth. During the Police Court proceedings the 
prisoner was challenged that in the name of Williams he married 
Bessie Mundy. He said, "I am not the man." Witnesses from 
Weymouth, the landlord and landlady, were called to identify him, 
and he said, "I do not know them." A very large number of 
witnesses connected with the Mundy i ase have identified him as being 
the man Williams. Again Mr. Marshall Hall has not cross- 
examined any of them to suggest that their identification is mis- 
taken. His speech before you has proceeded i a the assumption 
that the prisoner is the man Williams. He has not gone into the 
witness-box to say that he is not. Another lie, but open to the 
same qualifications that I put to you about the first lie. It seems to 
me you could only use it properly as throwing doubt on the state- 
ments which are put before you as being his statements of what 
did happen in the case of the three deaths that you are investigat- 
ing. He is ready to tell a lie for his own benefit to get out of a 
scrape or to get advantage. Miss Mundy was then about thirty- 
three, in 1910. Her father, who had been a bank manager till 
within a very short time before his death, had died in 1904, and 
in 1905 her relatives and the family solicitor had induced her (the 
family solicitor seeing that she quite understood what she was doing) 
to make a settlement of her property of about £2700. I am not 
going to read to you that settlement, but I want you to understand, 
as probably you do already, exactly the position in which that settle- 
ment put her. The trustees paid her the income regularly; they 
did not pay her all the income; they paid her £8 a month, and that 
left certain sums accumulating in their hands, which might be used 
in an emergency. By the settlement it was provided that they 
should pay her the income during her life, and if she married there 
should be no power of anticipation. You see what that means, 
gentlemen. If she married she could not raise money on it, and 
could not borrow money on it; she could not in any way get an 
advance on the income if she was married ; that is to keep the benefit 
of the property for the woman, so that the husband does not get 
hold of it. So that if she married her property was tied up in that 
way. You could not get a loan on it; you could not get an advance 
on it; she could only go on getting her regular income monthly, 

279 



George Joseph Smith. 

Mr. Justice Scruttoa 

making provision thus for her life ; at her death she could dispose of 
the money by will; if she did not dispose of the money by will it 
went to the next of kin ; but she could by making a will say that 
any person she wished could have the capital sum. The trustees 
might, if they thought it was for her benefit at any time, invest 
the capital sum in buying her an annuity, in which case her death 
would beneht nobody, because at her death she would have nothing 
to leave to anybody. The annuity would die with her life. There- 
fore, any will that she made in favour of anybody was liable to be 
defeated by the trustees buying an annuity, and therefore leaving 
her nothing to will. And last, the settlement could not be revoked 
without the consent of the trustees, so that, unless tho trustees con- 
sented, her only benefit out of it would be the £8 a month. Now, 
her money was tied up in that way, and, if you put it in the 
vulgarest commercial terms, she was worth £8 a month while she 
lived, with the possibility of her willing £2750 to somebody by 
will, but the trustees might defeat that by buying her an annuity. 
That was her pecuniary value, if you can put it in those sordid 
terms. On 26th August, 1910, the prisoner (I will assume now 
that Williams is the prisoner) marries her at the registry office 
at two o'clock, and, according to Mr. Wilkinson, the solicitor, to 
whom the two went together, that morning, before she married, the 
prisoner and the lady were at Mr. Wilkinson's asking that he should 
get from the family solicitor a copy of the will of the father. So 
that, if that is right, if you accept that, before he marries her he 
knows that there is the father's will under which she has some 
benefit. He gets the copy of the will; he gets the copy of the 
settlement; he gets a list of the securities in which the money is; 
and the prisoner asks, according to Mr. Wilkinson, if they can get 
any part of the capital, or a loan on the settlement, and he is told 
they cannot. The prisoner writes to inform the uncle of the 
marriage, and three days after the marriage writes again — " Bessie 
hopes you will forward as much money as possible at your earliest, 
by registered letter." Mr. Wilkinson (one would think with con- 
siderable propriety) advises the two to communicate with the family 
solicitor, Mr. Ponting, who appears to be well known in the west 
of England. Whether that is the reason or not, the prisoner leaves 
Mr. Wilkinson as solicitor and goes to Mr. Eaton ; and to Mr. Eaton 
he says that the trustees have got accumulated funds of income 
and won't hand it over, and will Mr. Eaton get it. Mr. Eaton 
communicates with Mr. Ponting, and the cheque for the accumulated 
funds, which amounted to £138, leaving after three guineas costs, 
£135, comes on 13th September. Mr. Eaton, of course, very 
naturally, wants his costs, and the course that would happen would 
be ordinarily that he would pay the cheque that he received from 
Ponting into his account, and give a cheque for the balance to the 
lady, less his costs. The prisoner does not like that; they are 
280 



Charge co the Jury. 



Mr. Justice Scrutton 

going to buy furniture at once, says the prisoner; they want the 
money, a cheque is no good to them; they have not a banking 
account; and the course is taken of Eaton's at once cashing his 
cheque — he was quite certain, of course, that Mr. Ponting's was a 
good cheque — and paying the prisoner — or, rather, not paying the 
prisoner, but giving Mrs. Williams (Bessie Mundy) the money in 
gold on the 13th. The prisoner comes back to the lodgings alone, 
finds a telegram there, and says he is called to London. The prose- 
cution suggest to you that he sent the telegram himself. There 
is no evidence of it, but they suggest to you that the inference, in 
view of what happened, is that he sent the telegram himself; and 
away he goes, as you will have no doubt, with the money. Then he 
sends to the woman that extraordinary letter which has been read to 
you, and which I propose to read to you again. 

Now, reading this letter if you can, it is not to be used to pre- 
judice the prisoner because of the wicked character it shows him to 
be. The only purposes, I think, for which you can legitimately 
use this letter are two. Does it satisfy you, or is it one of the items 
which satisfies you that this was a system of robbery of women whom 
he induced to trust him by going through a form of marriage; and, 
secondly, if you think that this letter is full of untruths you may use 
it when you come to judge of the credit to be attached to statements 
made by the prisoner on later occasions. Those are the two pur- 
poses for which you ought to use the letter. 

[His lordship here read the letter (exhibit 58), set out at p. 87, 
of the evidence, and px^oceeded.] 

Well, gentlemen, Mr. Bodkin's comment to you was this, that 
you can judge from the constant repetition in that letter, and the 
tone of the letter, the character of the woman and the character of 
the man. You have heard the letter, and you must judge of the 
force of that comment for yourselves. I do not think you can have 
much doubt that the statement about the disease was a wicked lie. 
When he came back to her in March two years afterwards it was 
then modified; you will remember it then was that he thought he 
had caught the disease and found he was mistaken; but he kept 
away so as not to give it to his wife. Of course a very different 
thing from the letter to her that he caught it from her, and that 
she was to keep quiet so that shame and disgrace should not fall 
on her; but in view of the fact that upon writing this letter he 
went straight back to Miss Pegler and lived with her as man and 
wife, do you think he ever thought for a moment that he had the 
disease, and that if he had he would have gone to Miss Pegler and 
lived with her. You must judge of that; whether this is simply 
a wicked lie to get the woman's money and endeavour to keep her 
quiet for fear that she would have to say that she was accused of 
having had a disease and given it to him ? You will notice the double 
repetition of the way in which she is to account for the money; 

28 1 



George Joseph Smith. 

Mr. Justice Scrutton 

the treble repetition that she is to tear the letter up, having care- 
fully learned it, and not to alter it so as to get mixed up. And you 
must use that letter for the two purposes that I have indicated to 
you — is it evidence upon the system of robbery? Is it evidence that 
he will tell any lie to get benefit for himself — and from that point 
of view does it enable you to judge of what credit you can attach 
to him when you come to his statements as to the three deaths? 

Now, gentlemen, you will remember the dates. On the 13th 
September he goes away with that money in gold. On the 14th 
September from Bristol, where he is living with Miss Pegler (he 
has gone straight back to her), he is writing proposing to pay off 
the Woolwich loan on the house, and you will have very little doubt 
that he was using the money that he took from Bessie Mundy to 
pay off the loan on the Woolwich house. He does pay it off about 
a fortnight later as his letter says, " In solid cash." He tells 
Miss Pegler the story that he appears to tell her every time he 
goes away on one of these expeditions, that he has been going 
round with a young fellow he met. 

During the year 1911, although he has paid off the loan on the 
house, he begins to borrow again; and the inference that you will 
probably draw from that is that he has no settled income of his own, 
nothing which brings him in a regular income; that his expenditure 
is greater than the money he gets, and that he is always having 
to borrow, or has the need of getting the money from somewhere. 
In 1912 he sees Bessie Mundy at Weston-super-Mare, on 14th 
March. He tells the lady she was living with that he has been 
looking for her for twelve months. It is for you to say whether 
you think that is another lie, and he writes, or gets the solicitor 
to write, the letter of the 14th March, which is intended to appease 
the trustees. 

[His lordship here read exhibit 61, which has already been 
Bet out in full in Mr. H. Mundy's evidence and, in part, in Mr. 
Lillington's, and proceeded.] 

Now, gentlemen, it is an extraordinary thing this example of 
the infinite forgiveness of women, and it is still more extraordinary 
that the solicitors should say, and there is no reason to doubt it, 
that reading the letter he asked the lady whether he might say 
that, and she said yes. 

Now, the two are together again. They go to Leigh, they go 
to Ramsgate, and there are a series of letters which show that the 
prisoner is hard up for money. He is trying to collect some 
£2 10s. which Bessie Mundy ought to have from her aunt over 
some lodging transaction. He writes on the 29th March, " I am 
not short of £2 10s., which my wife asks her aunt to account for. 
I have a great many £2 10s. I am not short of money, and not 
likely to be. But I intend, cost what it will, that either my wife 
has what she is entitled to, or else there will be trouble even if I lost 
282 



Charge to the Jury. 

Mr. Justice Scrutton 

my ," some word which is illegible. He gets a cheque from the 

trustees for a small sum. 29th April, prisoner to Mundy, " When 
you send cheques, please write on the words : please pay bearer 
cash, as you know I never keep a banking account, so I do not want 
any difficulty in changing the cheque, and oblige." May 7th, 
" Please send cheque as soon as you can, and oblige." That is 
to the Woolwich people. May 8th, " Kindly let me know by return 
of post, the earliest possible date when you will send me the money 
due, as it is urgently required." May 11th, to Woolwich, " I hope 
you will be good enough to forward my amount as soon as you 
possibly can, as the money is very urgently required," and the 
money when he gets it is only £14. He sells the house and, owing 
to paying off the loans and the amount for making up the road, 
he only gets £14, I think. And Miss Pegler has some idea where 
he is, and is sending letters to him in Woolwich. On 14th May 
he is writing to the Woolwich people, " Please return all letters 
which come to the society for me to Mrs. Smith, 102 Ashleydown 
Road, Bristol." He is short of money, and Miss Pegler is 
inquiring about him. On 20th May he goes to Heme Bay, and 
takes the house at Heme Bay. I think Mr. Bodkin is quite right 
in saying to you, but you will consider for yourself, that the dates 
here are very important. From 18th June to 2nd July he is 
engaged in a series of discussions with Mr. Annesley, the solicitor. 
There is first of all the question of mutual wills; can he get a will 
from his wife which she cannot revoke; can there be a will with a 
covenant not to revoke it so that he is quite certain at her death 
to get money. Mr. Annesley suggests a case for counsel. I am 
not going to read the case, but the result of it is this. Any 
pecuniary value in the wife's will might be upset by the trustees 
buying an annuity ; you cannot stop them doing that ; consequently 
you cannot be sure that your wife's will will be worth anything, 
because the trustees may have used all her property to buy an 
annuity, and there will be nothing when she dies. The wife, if 
she makes a will, may revoke it, and though you may have an 
action for damages against her executors for not making a will, 
and for revoking, it is not certain to be worth anything, because 
the executors may not have any property; it may all have been 
used to buy the annuity. The settlement cannot be revoked without 
the trustees' consent unless you go to the Court, which will mean 
publicity, of course. Now, see what that means simply regarded 
as a commercial transaction ; you cannot be sure that the will is 
of any value ; you cannot be sure that the covenant not to revoke 
it is of any value; you cannot upset the settlement without going 
to the Court and having full publicity. That means, putting it 
simply commercially, I am talking solely in commercial terms, that 
his wife is worth £8 a month to him, out of which two people have 
to be kept, and he cannot get any more, and the only value of her 

283 



George Joseph Smith. 

Mr. Justice Scrutton 

will to him will be if she dies before the trustees have bought an 
annuity, or she has revoked the will ; that is, the sooner she dies 
the more value she is. And his marriage with her is bigamous, 
and Miss Pegler is inquiring about him. The longer he lives with 
her the more risk of his being found out in bigamy. He knows 
counsel's opinion, and knows where he is on 2nd July. On 6th 
July he buys a bath. There are three dates really, 6th July he goes 
in ; 8th July his wife goes in ; 9th July the bath is delivered at 
the house. They have lived for five weeks in the house without 
a bath j they had not felt the want of it. The bath they buy is not 
a hip bath or a saucer bath, or a bath in which you have a bath by 
simply putting in a can or two of water. It is a large bath you 
have seen which would be rather a big thing to have in a bedroom, 
but which you might put in a room by itself. It is put not in the 
upstair room nearest the source of water, which has a key. but it 
is put in a room further off, up more stairs without a key ; and all 
the water has to be carried up to it. It is fixed on 9th July. On 
10th July he takes his wife to the doctor. Now, I will read you the 
doctor's account of what was said. " About 9.30 a.m. Mr. and 
Mrs. Williams came in, Mr. Williams said his wife had had a sort 
of fit the previous day. That was as far as he got unaided by me. 
I had to ask him leading questions." He was asked what he meant 
by that, and we heard that Mr. Bodkin had been instructing him 
in the Police Court so that it sounds like Mr. Bodkin's depositions 
rather than the witness's. " I asked him whether there were any 
movements of the limbs or jaws, he said there were; he used the 
word twitching of the limbs. He said she opened and shut her 
mouth. I examined her tongue to see whether there were any scars 
or evidence of a previous fit. Not unusual to bite the tongue in 
a fit. I examined her heart and found it normal; pulse the same. 
I asked her and she said she had never had a fit before, and none 
of her family. She told me she did not know or remember anything 
about a fit, and that all she complained of the previous day was a 
headache." I pass on from that. At six o'clock on the 12th, two 
days afterwards, the prisoner comes again to Dr. French. " My 
wife has just had another fit." Dr. 'French goes round at once. 
" Williams called me to see his wife, she had had another fit; I 
found her sitting up in bed ; flushed, rather clammy, and with 
moist hands; like some one recently awakened from sleep on a hot 
night; I think there was a lamp; light fairly good; I think the 
moisture was ordinary in that way. Heart normal ; pulse normal ; 
tongue not very clean ; no marks of biting ; flushing means nothing ; 
tongue meant possibly stomach trouble. Prisoner said similar to 
other fit; movement of limbs. I asked her how she felt; either 
prisoner or she said ' a headache.' Prisoner in his ordinary 
dress. I never heard her complain of anything but headache." 
Now you will notice, gentlemen, that statement that she had had a 
284 



Charge to the Jury. 

Mr. Justice Scrutton 

fit rests entirely on the word of the prisoner. There does not seem 
to be anything in the doctor's observation which, but for the fact 
that he was told she had a fit, would have suggested it. The 
prisoner might have gone in that witness-box and told you on oath, 
subject to cross-examination, now that all the facts of the three 
cases are known — he might have told you about those fits. He has 
not done so. You may draw your own inference from that, such 
inferences as you think right. 

That is the morning of the 12th, the second morning. Then, 
the morning of the 13th, the prisoner comes to the doctor a little 
after eight with a written note asking him to come round at once. 
Now, he has made two statements, one not on oath to the coroner's 
officer, one on oath at the inquest. Those are the two statements 
that I gave to you last night when we adjourned. The statement 
to the coroner's officer is this. 

[Here his lordship read the statement set out in Kitchingham's 
evidence.] 

[Here his lordship read the deposition of Smith at the inquest 
set out in Mr. Mowll's evidence.] 

Now, the statement in both those statements is the same — 
" We got up at 7.30; I went out; I came back at eight and found 
her dead; I did not carry the water up; I do not know when it was 
done." 

Now, gentlemen, you have heard the evidence given as to the 
size and contents of the bath ; if half full, twelve buckets needed to 
fill it; if two-thirds full, twenty. A minute and a half to fill the 
bucket, because the tap runs slow, and two minutes walking with it 
upstairs emptying it and coming down again ; that would make 
three and a half minutes a bucket; and for a half -full bath forty- 
two minutes; with a bath two-thirds full, an hour and ten minutes. 
Is the prisoner's account of what happened about that bath, do you 
think, right? Can it be right? " We got up at 7.30; I went out; 
I came back at eight and found her dead ; I did not take the water 
up." He has not gone into the witness-box to tell you anything 
about it; he might have, and he might have been cross-examined. 
He has not done it ; he has left it on this statement here. Do you 
think it can be true? It is entirdy for you to consider. If you 
think you do know from him what happened in that house that 
night — you see, you have got the opportunity ; he is there with 
the woman alone; you have got the motive; as soon as she dies 
pecuniarily the better for him, and the less chance of his bigamy 
being exposed. 

Now, of course, something turns — must turn — on the way in 
which the body was found ; and you have the fact to which you must 
give the fullest weight in favour of the prisoner, that the doctor 
who saw her twice on the Wednesday and the Friday morning, and 
again on the morning of the death, said at the inquest that he 

285 



George Joseph Smith. 

Mr. Justice Scrutton 

thought it was an epileptic fit, and the fact that he says now, " I 
do not think it was now." As I shall have occasion to say to you 
about other witnesses, and as already you have said to yourselves, 
of course you must always be careful about people who remember 
things after the event. There was an old philosopher who is 
reported to have said, " If my foresight was as good as my hind- 
sight I should do a great many things differently ' ' ; and there is no 
doubt that when something dramatic has happened and people hear 
of it afterwards, they begin to think they knew it all along, and 
they sometimes change the view which they expressed at the time, 
because of the events which have happened; and, of course, you 
must judge of Dr. French, having seen him in the box, when at the 
inquest he said he thought it was an epileptic fit, and when he now 
tells you that he thinks it was not. You must g-ve that your very- 
careful consideration. As I pointed out to you, and as he says, he 
had to rely for his statement as to fit on what the prisoner told 
him; he never saw her. From what he saw he does not seem to 
have thought it was a fit, except from what the prisoner told him ; 
but, as he said, you very rarely do see your patient in a fit; you 
cannot be there at the time the patient has the fit. 

Then comes the question of the position of the body in the 
bath. Now, gentlemen, you have had the opportunity, having had 
the statements of the policemen before you, of looking at the bath 
for yourselves. I want to say this to you, as I said shortly last 
night. I do not think a doctor has any special qualification for 
telling you how people take a bath. He takes his own bath, and 
he knows how he takes his own bath, and you take your own bath 
and you know how you take your baths ; but it is not part of his 
medical education to study how people take baths; and he does not 
as a doctor attend them when they are taking baths. So that so 
far as taking baths is concerned, my own idea is that you are in as 
good a position, and rather better, than a doctor is, because you 
will be twelve men together talking about baths, and he only 
considers the one case — his own case. But the use to you of the 
doctor's view is this: it is something like the evidence of handwrit- 
ing experts. He is very well acquainted with the size of the body 
and the comparative proportions ; he is very well acquainted with the 
phenomena of fainting, and with the mental condition in fainting, 
and the mental condition in epileptic fits ; and having that advantage 
over you, he can point out to you matters for your consideration 
as to the physical position which the body might take in a faint or 
having a fit in a bath. But as I, personally, and as most judges 
tell juries, you are as good judges of handwriting (for instance) as 
the experts ; the only advantage that the experts in handwriting 
have over vou is that they are so used to comparing handwriting 
that they point out to you a number of little differences which you 
might, not have detected for yourselves, but when you have them 
286 • 



Charge to the Jury. 

Mr. Justice Scrutton 

pointed out to you you are in just as good a position to form a 
judgment as the experts are. That is the use which you should 
make, in my view, of Dr. Spilsbury's and Dr. Willcox's evidence on 
this point. They point out to you matters which you ought to 
consider in considering the probabilities from the position in the 
bath. 

I think what their evidence comes to is this. First of all 
(which you might have arrived at for yourselves), you can have a 
bath standing up; you can have a bath kneeling; you can have a 
bath sitting; you can have a bath lying; you have probably very 
soon found that for yourselves, if you have thought about it. 
Standing or kneeling, it is quite possible that in a fit or a faint the 
body might get drowned; but most probably — and it is entirely, I 
think, for you to judge whether this is right or not — you might not 
agree with Dr. Spilsbury — but most probably you would go face 
forward and be drowned with your face downward. Sitting or lying, 
you would most probably — and again it is entirely a matter for you — 
be lying with your head to the sloping end of the bath. The straight 
tap end of the bath is not the sort of thing that you would sit against 
or lie against if you could help it, and, sitting or lying, you are 
against the sloping end, and are very likely, if you faint or have a 
fit, to stay there; it is very unlikely that your head, if you faint or 
if you have a fit at the sloping end of the bath — it is very unlikely 
that it will move much — it will rest on the slope which was handy 
for it to fall upon. That is entirely a matter for your considera- 
tion. You have seen the bath. You have heard Dr. Spilsbury's 
evidence, and you must consider it. 

The real things which you have to consider seem to me to be 
two. First of all, the position of the legs. Now, you must con- 
sider very carefully how the legs got into that position. They were 
apparently straight, going from the hips to the edge of the bath. 
I am not going to say much about this to you, because I daresay 
you have considered it and formed some opinion about that position. 
How do you think the legs got into that position? In a faint? How 
did they do that in a faint? In a fit? At what stage of the fit? 
Or is it this — you must consider it; she has got to be found with 
her head under water; in what height of water; if you put her head 
under water, what are you to do with her legs ; where will her legs 
be if her head is under water; will they be where they were found, 
or something like it? If you keep them down will you be able to 
keep her head under water? That is a matter that you will judge of, 
and I am not going to say anything more about it. It seems to me 
to be one of the crucial things you will have to consider — how you 
account for that position of the legs. 

Another thing you may consider — though Mr. Marshall Hall 
treated it as if it was a difficulty in the way of the prosecution, I 
rather think it is a difficulty in the way of everybody — is the soap. 

287 



George Joseph Smith. 

Mr. Justice Scrutton 

It looks on the evidence that, fainting, you would relax when you 
fainted. fit, you would relax in the third stage; you would not 
be drowned in the first, because you are not breathing at all; you 
Would relax in the third stage, when you became limp. Dr. Spils- 
bury tells you the only way he can suggest — and this is a matter 
where medical evidence is of some value — is a sudden death on 
immersion, a grip in the sudden immersion, and instant rigor, so 
that the grip in time of immersion is changed into rigor on 
death. You must consider whether the soap helps you one way 
or the other. You may entirely disregard what I say, if you like : 
as I have told you, you are the judges of fact; I only indicate to 
you, as a result of my experience, that it looks to me as if the key 
to the situation, and the thing you ought to consider most care- 
fully, is the position of the legs. And you must consider very care- 
fully whether the key to the position of the legs is that when the 
doctor comes he must find the head under water, if it is design, and 
that it is difficult in that bath to have the head under water, with 
that height, unless you have got the legs put into something like 
the position you find. That is a matter that you must judge of 
yourselves, having carefully examined the bath, which I have not 
done; it is a matter on which you must form your own judgment. 

The verdict was — " Whilst taking a bath had epileptic seizure, 
causing her to fall back into the bath and be drowned." As I have 
told you, you are not bound by that verdict in any way. You have 
to decide the case upon the evidence before you. You have a great 
deal of evidence before you which that jury had not. You are trying 
this case after three women have died in baths in these extraordinary 
circumstances. You know the whole history of the discussion about 
the will and the settlement; the other jury did not. You are not 
bound in any way by that verdict. But you may take into account, 
and should take into account, that at the time, in spite of a warn- 
ing letter from the relatives, the jury did not think the matter 
suspicious, although from some of the questions they asked, 
obviously they saw some difficulties. 

There she is, dead. Death on the Saturday; inquest on the 
Monday, the 15th; funeral on the Tuesday. The prisoner sends 
short letters to the relatives; and on the day of the funeral there 
comes the conversation with Miss Rapley. Of course, you must give 
your careful attention to whether you think Miss Rapley' s memory 
is accurate, and if you think it is accurate, what you make of that 
conversation. 

As I have suggested, and as I shall have to suggest to you about 
other witnesses, when a lady comes two years afterwards, when she 
knows of the three murders, and tells you that she remembers the 
prisoner looking wild, or agitated, it is very likely that, talking it 
over with her friends, she does remember that she always thought 
there was something wrong, and says, " Oh, he looked wild, or 
288 



Charge to the Jury. 

Mr. Justice Scrutton 

agitated," and I quite agree that one should attach very little weight 
to these recollections of the appearances of people. A detailed 
conversation is rather a different matter. Mr. Marshall Hall, in 
the exercise of his discretion, did not favour us with much exhibition 
of his powers of cross-examination; but he did give Miss Rapley 
the benefit of twenty minutes, and you had the opportunity of observ- 
ing how she answered a master of the art of cross-examination. 
You must judge for yourselves whether Mr. Marshall Hall made 
much out of that twenty minutes or not. You heard her tested by 
cross-examination in a way which very often tells a jury whether a 
witness is a witness whom they can rely upon or not. She gave 
you the account of a very remarkable conversation. She said, 
" Prisoner came in extremely agitated." Gentlemen, you have 
seen the prisoner. At times he has sat quite stolidly; at times he 
has had outbursts. You will form your opinion as to whether he 
is a man of very balanced character or not, or whether his character 
is rather unstable. According to Miss Rapley at this time he showed 
extreme agitation. " He put his arms on the desk, head down, and 
began to sob." She said, " What is the matter? " He kept sobbing. 
" Has anything happened? " " Have you not heard? " " What 
is it? " " She is dead." " Who? " " My wife; she had a fit 
during the week ; went to have a bath ; had another fit, and when I 
came back I found her dead." " I could not say anything." 
Naturally she was shocked — " I looked at him. He said, ' Was not 
it a jolly good job I got her to make her will.' " 

Now, first of all, do you think that was said, and, secondly, 
why do you think it was said? Is it the mistake that a clever 
man sometimes makes — they do sometimes make mistakes, and 
that is why they are found out sometimes — or, is it merely an 
incongruous remark of an unbalanced character saying a stupid 
thing ? 

The Prisoner — You may as well hang me at once the way you 
are going on. 

Mr. Justice Scrutton — Miss Rapley goes on : "He said, ' Is 
it not correct when people are married for a wife to make her will 
and leave everything to her husband, and for her husband to make 
his will and leave everything to his wife.' I said, ' Did you make 
yours? ' He said, ' Yes '; I said, ' I thought you said you had 
not got anything.' You will remember that he said his wife had 
the money. He said, ' I have made my will all right.' " Now, 
gentlemen, there is the conversation, and you heard Miss Rapley 
cross-examined. You must judge whether you think she faithfully 
recorded what was said ; and, if she did, why that extraordinary 
odd remark about its being " jolly lucky " was made. 

The Prisoner — Get on, hang me at once, and done with it. 

Mr. Justice Scrutton — Now, where are we now? Bessie 
Mundy dead. Prisoner with a will entitling him to somewhere 
u 289 



George Joseph Smith. 



Mr. Justice Scrutton 

between £2500 and £3000; but the prisoner in the name of 
Williams, and having committed bigamy. How is he to get back 
to Smith? Miss Pegler joins him in August at Margate; they live 
together at Tunbridge Wells, and then go back to the west of 
England, and from Parrs Bank, Heme Bay, to Tunbridge Wells, 
and then to the Bath bank the money goes to him as Williams. 
It is drawn out in gold, and gold is paid into the account in the 
name of Smith. " Williams " has got back to " Smith "; and 
the money has got from Williams' money to Smith's money. Of 
course, it does not follow from that that it was part of a system 

of murder 

The Prisoner — You can go on for ever; you cannot make me 
into a murderer; I have done no murder. 

Mr. Justice Scrutton — It may be a system to cover bigamy; 
because you see he was in the same difficulty, if it was merely 
bigamy — that he had gone through a form of marriage with Bessie 
Mundy, as Williams, at a time when he was married to Thornhill, 
and had gone through a form of marriage with Pegler. Therefore 
you must consider whether the explanation of that is, not whether 
it is consistent with a system of murder, but whether it is simply 
compatible with a system to cover up bigamy. He is also very 
careful — and the same remark applies to this, that it may be a 
system to cover up bigamy — he is also very careful to have no 
inquiries made as to Williams from anybody knowing Williams, 
passed on to him. 

3rd December, 1912, Williams to his solicitor, " You enclosed 
me some time ago a letter ; I trust you will not forward any more, 
and tell any one else who inquires after my address ; you have no 
instructions whatever to disclose my address or business affairs." 
6th December, " I have now a letter sent to my address here, and 
it is causing friction. The only persons who know my address 
belonging to Heme Bay is yourself and clerk. I could swear to 
that. Now, how could this particular person write me without you 
or your clerk giving my address." 9th January, " Should any one 
from Heme Bay, &c, inquire of my address, kindly tell them 

you have no instructions to disclose my business " 

The Prisoner — Yes, because I was being blackmailed. 
Mr. Justice Scrutton — 9th January, " Should any one from 
Heme Bay write you for my address kindly return that you have 
no instructions to disclose my business." Now, as I said, gentle- 
men, again, it may be simply to cover up the bigamy ; it may be 
a more serious system; but there it is. You will remember in 
connection with that last incident that I read to you, that Mr. 
Marshall Hall, apparently on instructions from the prisoner, put 
a most detailed question to one of the witnesses as to whether he 
had not written asking for a loan of £1000, and that witness, 
apparently with every appearance of surprise, gave the most 
290 



Charge to the Jury. 

Mr. Justice Scrutton 

absolute denial to the suggestion. You must judge of that again 
upon the question of the credit you attach to the prisoner's state- 
ment. To Miss Pegler, according to her statement, the prisoner 
accounted for his money by saying that it came from the sale of a 
Chinese image, which he bought in Canada, for which he got 
■£1000. He buys seven houses in Bristol. 

The Prisoner — What about it? That does not say I done a 
murder. It is a disgrace to a Christian country, this is. I am not a 
murderer, though I may be a bit peculiar. 

Mr. Justice Scrutton — For £3587. He sells them in the 
summer of the next year, 1913, for £1400, or £1500; he loses 
somewhere about two-thirds of his money in that way; and the 
proceeds — I am summarising this, but you will remember the 
evidence about the banking account — with the proceeds he starts 
buying an annuity for some £1300, or of £76 a year. 

That brings us to the start of the second case. He tells Miss 
Pegler, somewhere in September, that he has lost so much money 
on property that he is going to Spain, and he goes away; and in 
the same September he is found at Southsea, or Portsmouth, buying 
through the North British and Mercantile agent there an annuity 
with £1300, the proceeds of the houses. He has met there Miss 
Alice Burnham. Now, I do not repeat again, but just remind you 
of this. You have now got to the stage when you are considering 
whether this evidence as to the other cases helps you as to whether 
Miss Mundy's death was accidental or designed. That is the 
purpose for which the rest of the evidence can be used. 

The Prisoner — You are telling the jury I murdered the woman. 

Mr. Justice Scrutton — Miss Burnham had been for three 
years a nurse at Southsea. She had had rheumatic fever when she 
was ten. She had had something like a fit; something which her 
people thought was a fit about the same time, when she was ten. 
Dr. Spilsbury says it may be chorea, it may be a form of St. Vitus 
dance. Nothing had happened since she was ten till she was 
twenty-five — nothing for fifteen years. Somehow or other the 
prisoner knew about that, because the day after her death he writes 
asking her people for the dates when she was in hospital, and for 
the dates when she had rheumatic fever ; so that he must have heard 
during her life about those incidents. She was nursing at Southsea 
and her position as to property was this. Partly from her father's 
contribution, and partly from savings, she had £100 with her 
father; she had lent her sister £10, and she had £27 in the Post 
Office Savings Bank. That was the money she had. In October 
the prisoner is engaged to be married to her in the name of Smith. 
Now, at Heme Bay and Weymouth he was in the name of Williams. 
It is possible — but you must consider this, it is mere conjecture, 
I think — that he goes on with Miss Burnham in the name of Smith, 
being the same name that he had with Miss Pegler, because he had 

291 



George Joseph Smith. 

Mr. Justice Scrutton 

been carrying on as we know he had been. He is tied to " Smith " 
at Southsea if he is to continue his operations with the insurance 
company. That you may consider, it is merely conjecture as to 
why he gives his real name with Miss Burnham when he has another 
name with Miss Mundy and Miss Lofty. 

On 21st October Miss Burnham withdraws her £27 from the 
post office. Now, you may think possibly that there is not very 
much in that, because she visits her parents on 25th October to 31st 
October, and she is married on 4th November ; and possibly it would 
not be a very unreasonable thing for a lady about to be married 
to withdraw some of her money ; but those are the dates. While 
apparently the prisoner was courting Miss Burnham, through 
Pleasance he is investing in the name of Smith the money that has 
been obtained by the sale of the houses in the purchase of this 
annuity. And he does make a very extraordinary statement, if 
the theory of the prosecution is true. Because he tells Pleasance, 
according to Pleasance's evidence, that about his birthday, in 
January, he would be able to invest an additional sum besides the 
sum he was then investing, a sum of about £400 or £500. 

The Prisoner — I told him nothing of the kind. 

Mr. Justice Scrutton — From land in Canada. Now, so far 
as the evidence goes in this case, he never was in Canada, and he 
had no land in Canada; so that that part of the story is about as 
much fiction as the reasons he gives for having £1000 to invest 
from land at Bristol. Mr. Marshall Hall suggested to you that it 
was a very natural precaution, because he would be a year older, 
and would get the benefit of better terms for his annuity ; but, 
apparently he had not waited to be a year older before he invested 
his £1300. He had got that in; and, you must remember, where 
was this £400 or £500 coming from? Of course, the theory of the 
prosecution is that it was one of the most cold-blooded statements 
that it is possible to conceive — that he knew by January that the 
woman would be dead, and he would have the insurance monev. 
and that that was the £500 which he was going to invest in October. 
And we know, gentlemen, that that was the £500 which he did 
invest in January when his birthday came; it was the money that 
came from the insurance policy on Miss Burnham, who had died 
before January. If the theory of the prosecution is true, it is such 
a cold-blooded statement that one finds it difficult to realise that a 
man could be such a cold-blooded and callous scoundrel. We have 
not had the advantage of any denial by the prisoner in the box 
that he made that statement, or any explanation if he made it. how 
he came to make it, or what money he was speaking about. There 
it is for your consideration. Whilst the prisoner is discussing this 
£1300 annuity with Pleasance the question of the insurance on the 
life of Miss Burnham is raised. 

292 



Charge to the Jury. 

Mr. Justice Scrutton 

The Prisoner — You would be just as likely to believe me in the 
dock as in the witness-box — just as likely. 

Mr. Justice Scrutton — I think it is quite possible that that 
remark is accurate. A proposal is put forward for £1000 on the 
life of Miss Burnham. When it is put forward it is not known that 
she is going to many the prisoner. Upon that being known, 
Pleasance says there will be a larger premium. The prisoner says 
that he does not want to pay more premium. Then the proposal 
is adjusted to £500 endowment instead of an insurance policy. Mr. 
Marshall Hall points out that that does not look like contemplating 
murder, because for an extra premium of £10 he would get £500 
more, and if he were thinking of murder it would be a cheap invest- 
ment. Gentlemen, you will give that full consideration ; it is a very 
relevant and important remark for counsel to make. Pleasance says 
that Alice Burnham said to him that the insurance, if she survived 
the twenty years' endowment, was to be for herself, and if she died 
before, was to be for her mother. Alice Burnham had, under the 
circumstances which have been shown to you in writing, an operation 
in March of that year for peritonitis, an operation under an anaes- 
thetic. Before she had that she was examined by a doctor as to her 
heart. Again, Mr. Marshall Hall is right in saying that it is not 
evidence that she had not got a weak heart that they risked such an 
operation. At that time the doctors were satisfied as to the state of 
her heart. She went through the operation and recovered quickly, 
and was apparently therefore a woman of some strength of constitu- 
tion. Two doctors examined her, or, rather, one doctor examined 
her, and one reported on her at the time of the insurance. Dr. 
Burrows examined her on 4th November, found her healthy, heart 
good, and recommended her as a first-class life. Dr. Stone, who had 
given the anaesthetic at the operation, reported her as healthy, and 
heart good. That is on 7th November. 

In the case of Miss Mundy, the husband and wife made wills 
in each other's favour at the same time. In the case of Miss 
Burnham, the prisoner made a will before Pleasance in the favour 
of his wife ; it was duly witnessed ; but he said he would not think 
of allowing his wife to make a will in his favour. Why he should 
say that I cannot conceive. You must consider it. 

The marriage is 4th November. Now, see what happens. The 
money in the Post Office Savings Bank has been drawn out, but 
Alice is entitled to the £100 from her father, and the £10 on account 
from her sister. The prisoner starts to get the £100. 1 1th November 
— " It is mentioned in the letter Alice received on the 11th instant 
that, as I have an income, the £100 and interest should stand over. 
A more foolish and illegal action I have never heard. The money 
is payable on demand, failing which, I will take the matter up 
myself without further delay." 18th November — " On behalf of 
my wife, who wrote you a fortnight ago requesting you to forward 

293 



George Joseph Smith. 

Mr. Justice Scrutton 

on to her the £100 with interest which you were minding for her. 
I request you to forward same to her at the above address on or 
before the 22nd inst., failing which I shall be compelled to take the 
usual course in order to secure the sum referred to — regardless of 
costs. Yours, <&c, G. Smith." On 22nd November the solicitors for 
Mr. Burnham write to him — " We need hardly say that if she 
desires her father to send this money it will be forwarded to her 
in due course. It is, however, not unnatural that Mr. Burnham should 
be concerned that his daughter should have married a man about 
whom he knows so little, and he desires us to ask you to be good 
enough to forward to us particulars of the date and place of your 
birth, and information as to the names, position, and place of abode 
of your parents." Well, it is not at all unnatural that the relations 
of a woman whom a man marries should perhaps ask him who he is, 
and what his position is ; but it is quite possible that it may irritate 
him very much if they do it through a solicitor. It is not the channel 
that you usually select in asking your son-in-law who he is. However, 
it does seem to have irritated the prisoner very much, and his answer 
is — " In answer to your application regarding my parentage, &c, 
my mother was a bus horse, my father a cab driver, my sister a rough 
rider over the Arctic regions — my brothers were all gallant sailors 
on a steam roller. This is the only information I can give to those 
who are not entitled to ask such questions — contained in the letter 
I received on the 24th inst." 22nd November — he is still apparently 
excited — " Sir, I do not know your next move, but take my advice 
and be very careful." Crossing that letter the solicitors send the 
£100 and interest, £104 Is. Id., which is paid into the prisoner's 
bank at Landport. That correspondence winds up on the 1st 
December — " Sir, I have all the copies of the letters, &c, my wife 
and self have sent to you and yours, also all letters, &c, we have 
received relating to same and family matters which I intend to keep 
for the purposes of justice." So that the £100 has come. Now, the 
£10. That is asked for, and is sent on 25th November, and the 
prisoner gives a receipt for the letter enclosing it. Insurance policy — 
there is notice of acceptance by the company on 2nd December, and 
the premium is paid on 4th December. £100 collected ; £10 collected ; 
insurance policy effected. 8th December — Alice goes alone to a 
solicitor and makes her will in the prisoner's favour. After her death 
the prisoner says to Pleasance that he was surprised when he found 
it in her things after her death. So the prisoner is saying — he has 
not said it in the box before you, but he is saying to other people, or 
suggesting to other people, that that will was made without his 
knowledge. He has made a will in her favour, but it is entirely 
without his knowledge that she has made a will in his favour. There 
are the mutual wills, anyhow, as there were at Heme Bay. 

That is 8th December. All the money that can now be got has 
been got. The £100 has come in, the £10 has come in; there is no 
294 



Charge to the Jury. 

Mr. Justice Scrutton 

money in the Post Office Savings Bank, and the prisoner is in the 
position that he is living in bigamy, in his own name this time, not in 
another name, with no more money to come from the life of his wife, 
with a will in his favour, and an insurance policy which will make 
his wife's death a benefit to him; so that the benefit to him would 
come from the wife's death and not from the wife's life; the risk 
comes from the wife's life — the risk of exposure. 

On 10th December, desiring to take a holiday from the south 
of England, in December they go to Blackpool. They go to Mrs. 
Marsden. At the house in which they had lived for five weeks in 
Southsea there had been a small bath, which they had never used. 
Mr. Marshall Hall says, and the witnesses agreed with him, that 
hospital nurses were clean. They had gone on for five weeks without 
a bath in the lodgings they were occupying at Southsea. But he goes 
to Mrs. Marsden at Blackpool. She said — " I showed them a bed- 
room ; the bedroom was all right ; the prisoner asked me if I had a 
bathroom? I said ' No.' He said it would not do for them." 
And he is recommended to a house where there is a bath. He goes 
to Mrs. Crossley. The same conversation takes place there, except 
that it is the lady who asks the question, and Mrs. Crossley says, if 
you accept her evidence, that the man said something to the woman 
before the woman said, " Oh, yes, have you a bathroom? " "Yes," 
says Mrs. Crossley. The same evening, the 10th, Alice Burnham has 
a headache, and is taken to a doctor by the prisoner. I will read 
you Dr. Billing's account. " He came, 10th December, with a young 
woman he said was his wife, about 5.30 p.m. ; he said she complained 
of a headache ; that is all ; he said they had had a long journey from 
Portsmouth ; headache attributed to the stomach; cannot say by him. 
I examined her; pulse nothing out of the way; rather slower than 
usual ; examined her tongue ; ordinary questions ; suffering from some 
constipation ; tongue rather dirty ; tongue coated ; looked rather 
tired; extremely fat; looked quite healthy; gave her headache and 
stomach mixture." Thursday, 11th — Life very much as usual. They 
goout together, ordinary meals, and picture palaces, nothing unusual. 
Friday, 12th — An incident, which is perhaps not of very great im- 
portance, the landlady sees the woman writing a letter, and the man 
looking over her shoulder, says, " I should not put that." The only 
postcard produced has no signs of an erasure, and Mr. Marshall Hall 
suggested that possibly Mrs. Crossley must be mistaken about that. 
It is very easy to tear up a postcard. It is a question whether you 
think that it shows that the husband was seeing what the wife wrote. 
You may think that there is not much in it. Then comes the bath. 
Just before eight the woman is told the bath is ready. The bed-sitting 
room, which the two had, is on the first floor front ; the bath is on 
the landing. Alice Crossley's evidence is, the woman going to the 
bath in her nightgown ; no one sees where the prisoner is, but Alice 
Crossley says she supposes he was in the room, but she did not see 

295 



George Joseph Smith. 



Mr. JusticelScrutton 

him. Th© three — Mrs. Crossley, Alice Crossley, and Alice Crossley's 
husband — sitting in the kitchen. Then comes the incident about the 
water. All three say — the women giving more size to it than the 
man, that water came through the ceiling from the bathroom. They 
eay that it came dripping from the little moulding against the wall, 
and that it ran by and stained the pictures. You know from the 
doctor's evidence that when he came the water was within half an 
inch of the top of the bath. Gentlemen, you must consider whether 
that helps you at all. You probably know people — I do — who cannot 
have a bath without putting all the bath on the floor — more men than 
women. You will use your family experiences about that. On the 
other hand, of course, it is curious that something did happen in that 
bathroom, if you accept the evidence of those three people, which 
did put a fair amount of water over out of the bath on to the floor. 
Some little time after the water came through, the prisoner appears 
at the door of the kitchen. He has bought some eggs for breakfast 
the next morning. It is curious that at Heme Bay he had gone out 
to get some fish ; here he has bought some eggs for breakfast the next 
morning. He stays talking about motor engines and various things 
in Blackpool for some time. He stops talking and he goes a little 
iway up the stairs, and calls out, " Alice, when you have done put 
the light out." Well, the prosecution say to you that that is a very 
touching solicitude for the gas of the landlady for which he was not 
paying, and they suggest to you — you must consider whether you 
think it is too suspicious — that it had nothing to do with the gas or 
any desire to save it, but that it was the means of gradually getting 
attention to the fact that something had happened in the bathroom. 
You must judge what you think of it. The other Alice, Alice Crossley, 
hearing " Alice " called out, comes out. The prisoner, who has 
called out " Alice " and got no answer, goes up; finds something 
wrong. " Send for Dr. Billing," and Dr. Billing comes. He finds — 
and this is a matter again on which I am not going to say much to 
you, because you have looked at the bath, and you will form your own 
conclusion — he finds the woman sitting at the narrow end of the bath, 
with her back towards the tap, with the prisoner supporting her 
with his arm. Now, gentlemen, as I say, you have seen the bath, 
and you have 6een the marks, and you will have formed your own 
opinion, and it is not much good my making remarks to you, as I have 
not seen the bath nor the marks. The impression I formed simply 
from a distance I will tell you, but you are absolutely at liberty to 
disregard it, because I did not check it at all, and I did not see it as 
you did ; but the impression I formed from a distance was that it 
would be very difficult for a woman with the back of the spine in 
that position, to get into that position in the bath. But that is a 
matter which you will judge for yourselves, and you will quite dis- 
regard any view which you may think I have foimed. It was also 
very puzzling, looking at the bath, to know why any intelligent woman 
296 



Charge to the Jury. 

Mr. Justice Scrutton 

should get into the bath in that "way, particularly if she was a stout 
woman; but that, again, you will judge, remembering the size of 
the bath and what you noticed. 

The prisoner has given three detailed accounts of that incident. 
He has given an account to the coroner's office, he has given an 
account at the inquest, and he has written a letter to the relatives. 
I do not know whether you noticed, gentlemen, having the three — 
and I have not heard counsel comment on it — that there is a very odd 
difference between them. To the coroner's officer, who takes his 
statement in order that the coroner may examine him, he says — ■ 
" Staying at No. 16 Regent Road, Blackpool, along with my wife, 
Alice Smith, aged twenty-five years. At about 4.30 p.m. on 
Wednesday, 10th December, 1913, I arrived in Blackpool from 
Portsmouth with my wife, the deceased. Shortly after we arrived 
my wife complained of a pain in the head. I took her to Dr. 
Billings, Church Street, who asked her what was the matter with 
her. She complained of pains in the head and being costive; the 
doctor gave her some medicine. At about 5 p.m. to-day, Friday, 
12th inst., she again complained of pains in the head. I took her 
out for a walk at about 7.15 p.m., and returned about 7.45 p.m. 
She then said she felt much better, and thought she would have a 
bath. About fifteen or twenty minutes after she had gone into the 
bath I called out to her to mind and turn the lights out after she 
was finished. I got no answer from her. At the same time Mrs. 
Crossley came upstairs, thinking I was calling her. We both looked 
into the bathroom, and found her under the water." I do not think 
Mrs. Crossley said that she looked into the bathroom and found the 
woman under the water. " I lifted her head up out of the water, 
and held it until the doctor came. We then lifted her out of the 
bath. The doctor examined her, and pronounced life extinct." At 
the inquest, in a little more detail, he said this — " I am at present 
on a visit to Blackpool, staying at No. 16 Regent Road, Blackpool, 
along with my wife, the deceased Alice Smith, aged twenty-five 
years. At about 4.30 on Wednesday afternoon, 10th December, 
1913, we arrived in Blackpool from Portsmouth. Shortly after we 
arrived my wife complained of a pain in the head. I took her to 
Dr. Billing, in Church Street, Blackpool. He ascertained her 
ailment, and gave her some medicine. At about five o'clock in the 
afternoon of yesterday, Friday. 12th December, 1913, she again 
complained of pains in the head. I took her out for a walk. We 
went out at about 7.15 and returned at 7.45. She then said she 
felt much better, and that she would have a bath. About a quarter 
of an hour or twenty minutes afterwards I called out to her to mind 
and turn the lights out after she had finished. I got no answer, and 
I kept shouting out Alice. Mrs. Crossley, the landlady, came up- 
stairs, as she thought I was calling her. I opened the door, and 
found my wife underneath the water. I lifted her head up and 

297 



George Joseph Smith. 

Mr. Justice Scrutton 

bath *$, T [ ! th , e 1 do S tor came ^ the " ^o was lifted out of the 

kafJt- ! u Ped m6 t0 Wt he1 ' ° Ut - Th6 doctor ™ there 

in a few minutes. He examined her and said she was dead. We 

have only been married six weeks. She was all right in health but 
complamed of headaches only once or twice whilst fuelling Gener- 
ally she enjoyed good health and spirits. I never heard he? complain 

^ nuC '^Tt" I h v e kn ° Wn her ab ° Ut thre6 m ° nths - She ™ 
a nuise Then the Foreman of the Jury puts an extraordinarily 

peitment question, to which the witness answers-- I cannot tell you 

what happened m the bath. She complained of headache, and I 

abtdv 61 ^ a Walk ' and , ShG Said She felt a11 ri S ht - Sh * had 

tit % X i ar [ 1 an / ement 1 S *? a bath - * went downstairs and 
talked to the landlady on the front. She was a private nurse. She 
had an operation last March for peritonitis " 

mi J^w b n f0r c-?r read th , 6 letter t0 the rela tives, you will bear in 
mind that Dr Billing said, » I asked him why he did not lift her 
out; he said he could not. I asked him why he could not pull the 
plug; he said he did not think of it." Now, bearing that in mind, 
let us read the letter to the relatives— " After arriving here, Alice 
complained of pains in the head, and went to a doctor, who examined 
her and gave her treatment. Yesterday she again complained to me 
and the landlady ol pains in the head, when she sent you and her 
sister a postcard. After which I took her for a walk, and she 
appeared better later on. I find she had made arrangements with 
the landlady for a bath. About twenty minutes after she had 
entered the bath I called out to her, and got no answer, and, after 
acquainting the people in the house that something was wrong in 
getting no answer, I entered the bathroom and found poor Alice 
with her head and shoulders under the water. The doctor who had 
previously attended her was sent for by my request to come at once, 
which he did." Now, listen to this, gentlemen—" I held her head 
out of the water and let the water run off away from her; when the 
doctor came we lifted her out of the bath." 

Now, at the inquest, and to the policeman, he had not said 
anything about letting the water off. To the relatives he savs— " I 
held her head out of the bath and let the water run off away from 
her. When the doctor came we lifted her out of the bath." Why 
does he say that to the relatives, who do not know what has hap- 
pened. He does not say it at the inquest. If may be because he 
knew the doctor would contradict him; you have' heard that the 
doctor said he had asked him the question. I may say at once, it 
is a very curious thing this fact of letting the water off both' at 
Blackpool and at Highgate, because at Highgate, if you remember, 
he asks the landlady, " Shall I let the water off? " Why, in an 
accidental death, should you ask, "Shall I let the water off," or 
should you not let the water off, in a bath that has a tap to it? If 
you are thinking of how to make it look accidental, you may not be 
298 J 



Charge to the Jury. 

Mr, Justice Scrutton 

quite sure what to do about the water; you may want some one 
else to see it before you take any step. That is entirely for you to 
consider ; it strikes me as very curious ; it strikes me as a matter 
quite worth your consideration — the conduct with regard to the 
letting off of the water at Blackpool, where the doctor says to him, 
" Why did not you let the water off 1 " and he said, " I did not 
think of it." And then this writing to the relatives, " I held her 
head out of the water and let the water run off," and what I am 
coming to at Highgate, where he does not let the water off until 
he has asked some one else whether he should let the water off. 
You must remember that incident, common to the last two cases, 
very carefully, and see what view you form of it. 

Mr. Marshall Hall — My lord, would you mind my pointing out 
one little matter? I would like your lordship to look at the original 
of that letter, and to note where the commas and stops come in. 

Mr. Justice Scruttox — You mean in that sentence, " I held 
her head out of the water and let the water run off away from her 
when the doctor came we lifted her out of the bath." In my copy 
there is no stop at all. 

Mr. Marshall Hall — That is why, my lord, I ask that you 
should look at the original. I suggest that it is possible to read 
it in another way. 

Mr. Justice Scrutton [after looking at the original] — You are 
quite right. Gentlemen, you shall see the original letter, and you 
will judge for yourselves. Mr. Marshall Hall is quite right, I think, 
in suggesting that it may possibly be read in this way, " I held her 
head out of the water and let the water run off away from her when 
the doctor came. We lifted her out of the bath." You have seen 
the original once, but you shall see it again. The way it seems to 
me it should be read is, "I held her head out of the water, and let 
the water run off away from her. When the doctor came we lifted 
her out of the bath." That is how, I think, it should be read, but 
you are at liberty to read it in the way Mr. Marshall Hall suggests, 
" I held her head out of the water and let the water run off away 
from her when the doctor came. We lifted her out of the bath " — 
then there is a dash — " he examined her and said, ' She is dead ' " — 
then another dash. However, gentlemen, you will look at the letter ; 
I will give it to you when we have done, and you will see it for 
yourselves. 

One further thing about that, before one comes to any part of 
the medical evidence, is this: Mrs. Haynes says that the nest day, 
in cleaning the bath, when the water was let off, she found thick hair 
at the sloping end of the bath, and some hair round the place where 
the water runs away. Nothing was said about it at the time. She 
now remembers it. You must judge whether this is one of the 
incidents that one does remember afterwai'ds when one knows some- 
thing has happened, or whether you think that she is accurately 

299 



George Joseph Smith. 

Mr. Justice Scrutton 

remembering what she did see, and, if so, what significance you 
attach to it. 

Now, I am not going to repeat to you with regard to that 
bath the remarks I made about the medical testimony, the evidence 
of Dr. Spilsbury and Dr. Willcox. It is shortly this, that they do 
not understand how a woman fainting in that position would get 
her head and shoulders under water. You had the evidence given 
to you, and will no doubt have tested it for yourselves with the bath. 
The doctor said that when he saw her held up, her head was 9£ inches 
from the head of the bath; that the water went a little above her 
breasts. You will judge for yourselves, having those figures before 
you last night, whether you think that theory that she fainted and 
fell back with her head under water, and was then lifted up by her 
husband into that position, is or is not a possible one. Mr. 
Marshall Hall suggested to you another theory, if I understand it — 
I am not certain that I did, and I am not certain that he developed 
it fully. If I understand it. it was that, kneeling — I suppose facing 
the tap — she put her head under to wash her head, and that at some 
stage of that operation she fainted. 

Mr. Marshall Hall — No, my lord — that in recovering 

Mr. Justice Scrutton — That, in recovering from that operation, 
she fainted. But I suppose she did not faint until she turned the 
taps off, otherwise there would have been no doubt about the water 
appearing in the kitchen; the family would soon have found out 
that there was something wrong by the appearance of large quan- 
tities of water, so I suppose the theory must be that she was kneeling 
towards the tap — bent down to wash her head — came up again — was 
sufficiently awake to turn off the tap, then fainted — and I am afraid 
Mr. Marshall Hall did not sufficiently develop the theory to enable 
us to find out how she got round with her back to the tap, having 
previously been facing it. That you must consider as a suggestion 
put forward by counsel as one which would account for the case. 

The remaining matter that you have to consider with regard 
to that case is the question about the fatty degeneration of the heart. 
You will remember that Dr. Billing's suggestion before the inquest 
was that in some way, owing to her heart, she got mazy and fainted, 
and got under the water. Dr. Billing says that at the post-mortem 
he found fatty degeneration of the heart. The prosecution suggest 
that what he found was fat around the heart and around the muscles. 
It is for you to judge, but I think there is no doubt he meant to 
suggest that he did find fatty degeneration of the heart in the 
medical sense, although he said it was at a very early stage, and 
would not affect the efficiency of the heart. Dr. Willcox says that 
he does not think that at a post-mortem, without microscopical 
examination, you could detect fatty degeneration of the heart, 
meaning fatty degeneration in the muscles as distinct from fat round 
the muscles. But I think Dr. Billing said he thought he could, 
.300 



Charge to the Jury. 

Mr. Justice Scrutton 

although lie said he did not think it would decrease the efficiency of 
the heart, as it was at a very early stage of fatty degeneration. 

Then comes the inquest at 6.30 on the Saturday following a 
previous inquest at six, and a verdict that she died from heart 
failure, causing drowning. The relatives come on Sunday. The 
prisoner did not expect them. He had originally wanted the 
funeral on Sunday. When they came he wanted to shift from the 
public grave, which he had then ordered, to a private grave; he found 
it would delay the funeral till Tuesday ; could not wait, so he orders 
a public grave for the Monday. 

He went off to Southsea. He wrote to the relatives this letter — 
" This is the greatest and most cruel shock that ever a man could 
have suffered," and he went straight back to Miss Pegler. He 
collected the insurance money, and, as he had said in October he 
would do, upon his birthday in January, he invested £500 in a 
further annuity, making his annuity then in all £70. 

Now, gentlemen, I have told you how you ought to consider that 
case. You have to consider, have the prosecution satisfied you that 
Bessie Mundy was killed by the prisoner. Bessie Mundy died under 
a series of circumstances! which the defence say are quite consistent 
with an accidental death. The prosecution say, you find that series 
of circumstances repeated in the death of Alice Burnham, and when 
you get two repetitions of the same set of circumstances — and I 
shall have to call your attention at the close of my summing up to 
the coincidence — you are entitled to find that an occurrence of this 
sort which benefits the prisoner, with these attendant circumstances, 
is design and not accident. That is the purpose for which you are 
to consider the evidence with regard to the death of Alice Burnham. 
He has gone back to Miss Pegler and stays with her on and off 
till December, 1914, at Bristol, when he tells her he is going for a 
run round just before Christmas with another young fellow he had 
picked up. 

At this moment, gentlemen, I will break off because I am now 
coming to the other case, and we will resume at two o'clock. 

[Adjourned for a short time, a bailiff being sworn to 
take charge of the jury.] 

Mr. Justice Scrutton — Gentlemen of the jury. Before the 
Court adjourned we had got to that stage in the story when Alice 
Burnham having died, the prisoner having proved the will, and col- 
lected the money from the insurance office, had gone back to Miss 
Pegler, and remained with her till 14th December, and then told her 
he was going round before Christmas with a young man, in a formula 
which you will remember has generally accompanied his absence 
from Miss Pegler with these other ladies. In December, in some 
way which has not been proved before you, he became very inti- 
mately acquainted with Miss Margaret Elizabeth Lofty; she was 



George Joseph Smith. 

Mr. Justice Scrutton 

thirty-seven, the daughter of a clergyman ; she lived with her mother 
and two sisters at Bristol. She went out occasionally as companion 
to ladies at Bristol, and she was a quiet reserved woman, and, 
according to the evidence of her family, of good health — of a type 
of hundreds of ladies of that class living in various towns in Eng- 
land. How she met the prisoner we do not know, because her 
family knew nothing of the impending marriage until it had taken 
place. Her only property was a savings bank account with £19 in 
it. The first date is that of 27th November, and alone — nobody 
accompanying her — she fills up a proposal form for £700 endow- 
ment assurance in an insurance company, and she is examined the 
same day by a doctor in Bristol, who certifies her, having examined 
her, to be a first-class life. The premium, £24, was paid on 4th 
December. It was paid in £1 notes, and we know from the account 
it did not come out of Miss Lofty's account; there is no trace of any 
withdrawal for that purpose. With regard to this, as with regard 
to the will, the prisoner said in his statement that he knew nothing 
about the will or insurance until after the death. The relative, 
Mr. Kelvington, who came after the death, was shown by the 
prisoner, from Miss Lofty, a letter in which she spoke of the prisoner 
as her only friend, and you must judge, gentlemen, as people of 
common sense, whether a woman who thinks she has found " her 
only friend " would insure her life within a fortnight of her mar- 
riage and make a will in favour of " her only friend " and not say a 
word about it to " her only friend." The prisoner has not come 
into the box to tell you he knew nothing about it, and you must 
judge yourself, as people of common sense, what you think are the 
probabilities. On 8th December the prisoner came to rooms at 
Bath, giving the name of Lloyd; on 11th December the policy was 
handed to Miss Lofty, who came herself for it; on 14th December 
the prisoner went up to town and engaged rooms at 16 Orchard 
Road, Highgate, and the lady who let him the rooms has said that 
this happened: " He wanted a bedroom and sitting room for him- 
self and wife ; 1 showed it him ; he asked if there was a bathroom ; 
I showed it him; he looked at it and said, ' It is small, but I daresay 
it is large enough for some one to lie in.' I said there was no hot 
water laid on, but he could get some on." Mr. Marshall Hall very 
properly called your attention to the fact that if he was planning 
a murder — his suggestion is that a bath whei-e hot water was not 
laid on would not be a suitable one compared to one where it was 
laid on. There was no hot water laid on at Heme Bay, or any- 
where. The day after Miss Lofty came to the rooms at Bath, and 
the same day, 15th December, she gave notice for her post office 
deposit of £19 to be paid to her at. the Muswell Hill office, being 
the office nearest to the rooms which the pi-isoner had engaged the 
day before. On 17th December they are married. They go up to 
town, and they get to 16 Orchard Road, and then there ensues the 
302 



Charge to the Jury. 

Mr. Justice Scrutton 

incident of the lady, not liking the prisoner, having given no 
reference, and on his saying " Money was the best reference,'' getting 
the police officer to come and say that the prisoner could not be 
taken in because he had not a reference. They go searching for 
lodgings. They get, through some direction or other, to 14 Bis- 
marck Road, and there again exactly a similar conversation takes 
place to the conversation that had taken place at Blackpool. Mrs. 
Lloyd, the prisoner being with her, saying, " Have you a bath- 
room? " and they say " Yes," and, just as two or three days 
before her death the prisoner had taken Miss Mundy to a doctor, and, 
just as two days before her death the prisoner had taken Miss Burn- 
ham to a doctor, the day before her death Miss Lofty has a head- 
ache, and the prisoner takes her to a doctor in Highgate. Dr. 
Bates' account of what happened is this — " About 8 p.m. a man 
and woman called, prisoner and the woman I saw afterwards at 14 
Bismarck Road. The prisoner said, ' I have brought my wife to 
see you as she is suffering from a headache; it came on at the Tube 
station at Highgate.' I asked the wife several questions. I could 
get no answer at first until I put the question, ' Have you really a 
headache, as your husband said? ' She said ' Yes.' I asked her 
several questions, but had no answer. I said, ' Have you any 
other symptoms? ' She said ' No.' Her temperature was raised 
between 100 and 101, and her pulse was about 100 per minute. The 
headache was located in the frontal region. I gave her a mixture 
and told her then to let me know if she was not better the next day." 
Now, gentlemen, there is a suggestion which I think mainly rests on 
the prisoner's statement to the doctor. The doctor said he had no 
other evidence that she was then having her menstrual period. I 
think the only substantive evidence is the statement of the landlady, 
that some combinations of hers were found with blood on them. 
There is no other evidence. The doctor says the first he heard of it 
was from the prisoner. Now, gentlemen, you are men of the 
world and family. It does seem to me extraordinary that a single 
lady of thirty-seven should marry at the time of her periods. It 
seems to me (it is entirely for you to judge) equally extraordinary 
that she should have a bath — a hot bath at the time of her period. 
It is entirely a matter for you; it is not a subject very easily dis- 
cussed in a mixed audience, and I must leave you, with your know- 
ledge of the world and your family relations, to form your own 
opinion on a subject like that. There is no doubt she had a high 
temperature when she came to the doctor. The doctor says so, and 
it is quite clear that she was in some sort of a dazed condition. 

Gentlemen, I want to say this to you. I think it is inevitable — 
it is impossible to have considered this case without the possibility 
of drugs passing across one's mind; that three women, three days 
before their death in such curious circumstances, should each have 
had headaches and then die two days afterwards, in connection with 
the same man. It is a most extraordinary coincidence, to put it at 

303 



George Joseph Smith. 

Mr. Justice Scrutton 

the least. But there is no evidence of drugging. At the post-mortem 
examination there is no evidence as to the presence, or any suspicion, 
of drugs by the doctors who saw the bodies. I say to you, and I say 
again, it is not necessary for you to be clear in your mind as to the 
exact mode, if you are satisfied that the prisoner killed the woman ; 
and it is a possibility to be considered whether something had been 
done to each of these three women which caused them to have head- 
aches just before their death, and which made them make no cry in 
the bath if they were deliberately murdered. As I say, there is no 
evidence of it; you must consider it as a possibility. Visit to Dr. 
Bates on the evening of the 17th; next morning, a day full of inci- 
dent for the woman. In the morning she draws out all the money 
she had in the world from the savings bank. 

In the afternoon, somehow or other, she gets to a strange 
solicitor at Islington, a mile and a half off, and makes her will 
in favour of the prisoner ; and in the evening she dies. I have 
said to you you must consider whether a woman who had at last 
found " her only friend " would have made her will in favour 
of him without saying a word to him. All the money she has then 
in her possession. The only further gain to the prisoner com- 
mercially can be if she dies, because she is insured, and she has 
made a will in his favour. The marriage is bigamous; under an 
assumed name; and he has been living with Miss Pegler till just 
a fortnight before. That nisht she asks for a bath — 18th December. 
If this is an accidental death I wonder if the prisoner thought — 
it was nearly a year before exactly another woman with a will in 
his favour, and insured, had asked for a bath, and died in the 
bath — a year before. I wonder whether it occurred to him to 
dissuade her. He has not told us that. At 7.30 the bath is ready. 
Nobody sees the dead woman go into the bathroom ; some one is 
heard going upstairs ; the people in the house — Miss Blatch — cannot 
eay whether one person or two. Sitting in the kitchen — working 
in the kitchen — Miss Blatch hears sounds in the bathroom. " I 
heard some one go upstairs. I heard a sound from the bathroom 
some few minutes after the person went uptsairs ; a sound of 
splashing ; a noise of some one putting wet hands around on the 
side of the bath. This, too, for some time, and then a sigh ; the 
last I heard," the last sound in the bathroom. Gentlemen, there 
is a great dramatic poem by one of our greatest poets, when, after 
a tragic murder has been committed, there came a knock at the 
gate and, remember the poet Coleridge has said, " That is the most 
dramatic moment in English poetry, when the knocking at the gate 
comes, in Macbeth."* A little while after the sound in the bath- 



* I do not recall the passage in Coleridge's Lectures on Shakespeare the 
judge has in mind. I suggested to Lord Justice Scrutton that he was, perhaps, 
thinking of l)e Quincey's " On the knocking on the gate in Macbeth," but he 
replied that he was under the impression he referred to a passage in Coleridge. 
— E.R.W. 

304 



Charge to the Jury. 

Mr. Justice Scrutton 

room, and the sigh, the organ plays in the front sitting room. 
The prosecution suggests that that is done so that the person who 
played the organ might show that he was there, and not upstairs — 
the organ plays for ten minutes. The front door slams. Afer an 
interval comes a knock at the door. Miss Blatch goes to the door; 
the prisoner is there, and says, " I forgot that I had a key." The 
prosecution suggests that that again is done to make evidence that 
the prisoner was out of the house, so that some one may answer the 
door and see him come in from outside. Just as at Heme Bay, 
the prisoner went out to get some fish for the breakfast when his 
wife died ; and, just as at Blackpool, he came down for some eggs 
for the next meal when his wife died ; at Highgate he comes in with 
some tomatoes for the next meal. " I will go and ask her whether 
she will like them." You might have thought he would have asked 
her before he bought them if he did not know whether she liked 
them. It seems very unlikely to me, but it is a matter entirely for 
you gentlemen, whether considering Mr. Marshall Hall's suggestion 
that she was suffering from influenza in a gastric form, you would 
buy for a person with gastric influenza upon her, tomatoes ; but, 
that is what he did. He goes upstairs to see whether she would 
like them. " I will go up and ask her whether she would like 
them." He called some message and a few steps up he stopped, and 
said, " My God, there is no answer." " He turned to me " — only 
natural the woman is rather frightened and scared — " I said, 
' Perhaps she has gone to her bedroom.' He was standing at the 
top of the stairs, outside the bathroom door. He said, ' There 
is no light; she is in the bath; come and help me.' I said, ' I 
cannot come. ' I went for another lodger ; I thought he was on 
the first floor. I did not notice whether the door was open, or 
where he was. He said, ' Come and help me.' He was just inside 
the bathroom. He said, ' Shall I let the water off? ' " Gentlemen, 
I have directed your attention to that in the last case. What do 
you think it is? Is that an accidental death, with the man anxious 
to know in an accidental death whether he shall let the water off, 
or is it the man who is preparing the way for an acquittal, not 
quite certain whether he shall let the water off or not, in face of 
what had happened before, when the doctor said, " Why did you 
not let the water off," and he said, " I did not think of it." 
Dr. Bates saw her last night, and Dr. Bates comes. The case here 
differs from the others. You will see that in it nobody saw the 
position of the body in the bath when the woman was drowned, 
except the prisoner, because when Dr. Bates comes the water was 
run off, and the prisoner, who was not strong enough to lift Miss 
Mundy out of the bath, and Miss Burnham out of the bath, has 
lifted Miss Lofty out of the bath, and is sitting there with his 
arms round her. The doctor cannot give you any evidence as to 
the position of the body when she was found. There is a post- 
x 305 



George Joseph Smith. 

Mr. Justice Scrutton 

mortem examination, and the woman is evidently a healthy woman. 
There are three bruises on the left elbow, which is the side towards 
the room. In this case, as in the Blackpool case, the woman has 
been having a bath in a strange house, with the door unfastened, 
and in this case, although there is a water closet in the bathroom, 
so that the people not wanting a bath might come to the room for 
other purposes, she has a bath. Mr. Marshall Hall very properly 
suggests to you it might have happened to all of us, " Have you 
never been in a bathroom and thought you had bolted the door, and 
have not done it? " Once, yes, but twice, and on each occasion 
when the woman died — is that what you think is a natural coinci- 
dence, or is it one of the most extraordinary coincidences if the 
event is accidental, that ever happened. Twice in a strange house 
a woman has a bath, not late at night, but six, seven, or eight 
o'clock, and the door is not fastened, so that people can get in, and 
she dies. He writes no letter to the relatives in this case, so there 
is not one that I can read to you. He tells the coroner's officer 
that the woman is not insured. I have made the comment, and I 
do not repeat it. But, on 19th December, he is depositing a small 
parcel with the bank. You saw the parcel the bank manager made 
up to represent the sort of parcel it was. The suggestion of the 
prosecution is that that parcel contained the insurance policy and 
the will, and he did not want those documents to be discovered 
among the papers. He does not go into the box to tell you what 
that parcel was, or to say he knew nothing about the will or insur- 
ance. Some time before Christmas — just as he had done at 
Christmas, 1913, so at Christmas, 1914, he goes back to his 
only wife, Miss Pegler. He is proceeding to prove the will. 
He is proceeding to realise the policy; the policy is not being 
paid, and he is arrested at the end of January. And then, 
admitting that he is Lloyd, who married Miss Lofty, he at 
first denies that he is Smith, who married Miss Burnham, 
p,nd on being told that witnesses are coming from Ayles- 
bury to prove it — Aylesbury being the place near which Miss 
Burnham lived, he says, " Yes, I am the Smith who married Miss 
Burnham " ; he denies he is the Williams who married Miss Mundy; 
he denies he is the Lloyd who married Miss Lofty. 

Now, gentlemen, I have gone through in detail the facts which 
probably, with the care you have followed this case, you are familiar 
with. I have put them in chronological order with the material 
documents. The prosecution ask you on that evidence to say that 
they have satisfied you with reasonable certainty that the prisoner 
murdered Miss Mundy. They say, " If you have a doubt in the 
case of Miss Mundy alone — if you think there is a possibility 
of accidental death — they invite you, for the purpose of saying 
whether Miss Mundy's death was designed or accidental, to consider 
the case of the two other deaths, and to ask yourselves the question 
306 



Charge to the Jury. 

Mr. Justice Scrutton 

whether such a series of coincidences, as Mr. Bodkin has twice 
pointed out to you, can be accidental, or whether they point to 
design on the part of the man who benefitted by each death. Now, 
Mr. Bodkin dealt with these coincidences in his own way. I will 
put them in rather a different way. Probably some others may 
have occurred to you ; some of them may not have occurred to you 
so forcibly as others. Listen to them as they strike me. Firstly, 
in each case there is a death in a bath, and in each case the prisoner 
had moved to that bathroom, or fitted it up a week before the death. 
Second, in each case the bathroom in which the death takes place 
was an unlocked bedroom, so that the prisoner can get into it, 
although in two cases it is in a strange house, and in one place 
there is a water-closet in the bathroom to which other lodgers might 
come in. Thirdly, in each case the deceased woman made her will 
in favour of the prisoner a week before her death; five days at 
Heme Bay; four days at Blackpool, the same day at Highgate. 
Fourthly, in two of the cases the deceased woman insured her life 
by a policy within ten days before her death ; eight days at Black- 
pool ; seven days at Highgate; and, in the third case, there was no 
policy of insurance, because there was a considerable property 
which would pass on death. Fifth, in each case all debts due to 
the deceased, and all savings, bank accounts, had been realised just 
before the death. Sixthly, in each case two or three days before the 
death the deceased is taken to a strange doctor, in a strange place, 
where she is not known, complaining of headache, and that doctor 
is called in after the death. Seventh, in each case a letter is written 
to her relatives a day before the death. Eighth, in each case the 
prisoner has gone out to buy food for -future consumption, when the 
woman is found drowned ; fish at Heme Bay ; eggs at Blackpool ; 
tomatoes at Highgate. Ninth, in each case the prisoner found her ; 
leaves her in the water till some one has seen her ; does not get rid 
of the water without permission. Tenth, in each case it was a 
sham marriage. Eleventh, in each case he benefits more by the 
death than by the life. Twelfth, in each case he buries her as 
quickly, and as cheaply, and as obscurely as possible, and, lastly, 
in each case he immediately goes back to Miss Pegler ; in two cases 
changing his name and hiding his tracks under banking accounts.* 

Now, gentlemen, it is for you to say, not me, whether that set 
of coincidences in three cases can be the result of accident, or whether, 
giving the best consideration you can to the coincidences in three 
cases, using them in the way I have explained to you, those coincid- 
ences point you to a designed death, and not to an accidental one. 

Now, there is another matter you may take into account — I have 
said so once, and I want to say it again. Until some twenty years 



* And a death on a Friday night or Saturday morning, with a view to the 
holding of an inquest on the Saturday, before relatives could arrive. — E.R.W. 

307 



George Joseph Smith. 

Mr. Justice Scrutton 

ago the prisoner could not have told you his story; his mouth was 
closed. And when that state of things existed, and when you were 
condemning to death a man whose mouth was closed, and who could 
not speak, the judges, and the law, and the jury naturally made 
every presumption in favour of the man whose mouth was shut, and 
required the case against him to be proved to the hilt, because he 
could not speak. Some twenty years ago an Act was passed which 
enabled a prisoner to go and tell the jury his own story when he was 
in danger of his life. There was such fear that this startling innova- 
tion, as it was supposed to be, might work injustices, that the counsel 
for the prosecution was forbidden to comment to the jury on the fact 
that the prisoner had not gone into the box. but the liberty was given 
to the judge, if he should think right to point out to the jury that 
that prisoner had not gone into the box, and to leave to their con- 
sideration whether they could draw any inference from it against 
him. Now, in this case much of the matter is solely within the 
knowledge of the prisoner. There is no evidence that he actually 
was in the bathroom on the occasion of each death ; there was an 
opportunity for him to be in the bathroom on the occasion of each 
death ; the assurances, and the will, and several other matters of 
that sort are within his knowledge, and he is charged with a very 
wicked and cold-blooded murder or murders. You must consider 
whether you would expect an innocent man to take the earliest 
opportunity of going into the box and saying, " It is quite true that 
before a jury who only know of one case I have already given evidence, 
but this jury knows of all three, and this jury has heard of all the 
pecuniary arrangements, and as soon as I can get the opportunity I 
will go on oath before them and endeavour to clear myself and answer 
any questions made by counsel." You will consider whether you 
would expect an innocent man would take that course. The prisoner 
has not done it. You must consider what inference you draw from 
that. There have been, as you follow, three inquests; at each of 
them the prisoner has given evidence ; at each of them it was possible 
for him to be cross-examined, and he was asked questions. All three 
juries found accidental death ; none of them knew the pecuniary 
benefit to the prisoner ; none of them had put before them any physical 
difficulties of the bath, such as you have seen ; no jury knew of more 
than one death. This is the first time that the prisoner could before 
a jury who knows of all the matters state on oath his innocence and 
expose himself to the natural questions that would be asked him 
about points of difficulty in this story. He has not done it. You 
may take it into account. But when one has done all that the ques- 
tion remains exactly the same, and it is the question I put to you at 
the start ; he sits there presumed to be innocent ; have the prosecution 
satisfied you that he is guilty? His counsel says to you, considering 
it all, you must doubt in every case whether it was not accidental, 
and particularly in the case which you are now trying ; did he murder 
308 




G. J. Smith. 
From .in official photograph taken in Brixton Prison 



Charge to the Jury. 

Mr. Justice Scrutton 

Bessie Mundy; you must have a doubt whether it was accidental; it 
is for the prosecution to satisfy you that it was a designed death. 
If at the end of it, considering all the evidence, considering the coin- 
cidences, you yet are doubtful whether it is not accidental, it is your 
duty to acquit the prisoner. He is entitled to the benefit of the doubt 
— to the verdict equivalent of not proven, to which Mr. Marshall 
Hall specifically referred. He puts his defence no higher than that. 
But if, when you have considered the whole matter of coincidences, 
you have that reasonable certainty that a jury should have in a matter 
of life or death, then it is your duty to the State, which has put you 
there, to find the prisoner guilty. Now, gentlemen, will you consider 
your verdict. 

Gentlemen of the jury, I give you the table of dates, and I give 
you the letters. If, when you are talking over the matter, you find 
you want a particular exhibit, and you will send me a message that 
you want it, I will have it sent to you. 

Mr. Bodkin — There is a point about the month of December ; 
would one be reasonably expected to have a hot or a cold bath ? 

Mr. Justice Scrutton — Mr. Bodkin wants me to point out to 
you gentlemen with regard to the bath at Highgate, that there was 
no hot water laid on, although it could be fetched, and it would be 
more natural to have a hot bath than a cold bath in December. I 
make that remark at Mr. Bodkin's request. I presume he has some 
reason for asking me to make it. 

[The jury retired at 2.48, returning into Court at 3.10, a bailiff 
being sworn in to take charge of them.] 

The Clerk op Court — Gentlemen of the jury, have you agreed 
upon your verdict, and do you find George Joseph Smith guilty or not 
guilty of the wilful murder of Bessie Annie Constance Mundy? 

The Foreman of the Jury — Guilty. 

The Clerk of Court — You say that he is guilty, and that is the 
verdict of you all? 

The Foreman — Yes. 

The Clerk of Court — George Joseph Smith, you stand con- 
victed of wilful murder. Haveyou anything to say for yourself why 
the Court should not give you judgment according to law ? 

The Prisoner — I can only say I am not guilty. 



Sentence. 

Mr. Justice Scrutton — George Joseph Smith, the jury, after a 
careful and patient hearing, have found you guilty of the murder of 
Elizabeth Annie Constance Mundy. In doing so they must have taken 
an unfavourable view of your relations to Alice Burnham and to 
Margaret Lofty, and they have found you guilty of a cold-blooded and 

309 



George Joseph Smith. 

Mr. Justice Scrutton 

heartless murder. In that verdict I entirely concur. Judges some- 
times use this occasion to warn the public against the repetition of 
such crimes ; they sometimes use such occasions to exhort the prisoner 
to repentance. I propose to take neither of those courses. I do not 
believe there is another man in England who needs to be warned 
against the commission of such a crime, and I think that exhortation 
to repentance would be wasted on you. The sentence of the Court 
upon you is that you be hanged by the neck until you be dead, and 
that it is further ordered that judgment be carried into execution 
in His Majesty's prison at Maidstone, and that your body be after- 
wards buried within the precincts in which you shall have been last 
confined after conviction, and that you stand committed to the 
custody of the Sheriff of Kent, who is charged with the execution of 
this judgment, and may the Lord have mercy on your soul. 

Gentlemen of the jury, I thank you for the great attention you 
have paid to this case. As I have said, I thoroughly concur in your 
verdict. It may interest you to know, and it may show the fairness 
of an English trial, that there was evidence before the magistrates 
which has not been given before you, that three months before the 
death of Margaret Lofty the prisoner went through another ceremony 
of marriage with another woman, and robbed her of £140 within ten 
days ; and that there is reason to believe that he went through another 
ceremony of marriage with another woman, whom he also robbed of a 
large sum of money. The fairness of the English law has not put 
[those facts before you on the trial, and it may help to satisfy you 
that your verdict is the right one. You have been detained here some 
nine days now, and the only recompense I can make to you is to 
exempt you from further jury service for a period of ten years. 

Gentlemen, I can discharge you with the thanks of your country 
for your service. There is one thing I want to refer to in the course 
of this trial. I think that this conviction, a thoroughly right one, in 
my opinion, is largely due to the care and assiduity with which 
Inspector Neil has pursued the threads of this complicated case, and 
I have pleasure in saying so in public. 

The Jury — Hear, hear. 

The Prisoner (to Mr. Marshall Hall) — I thank you, Mr. Marshall 
Hall, for what you have done for me. I have great confidence — great 
confidence — in you. I shall bear up. 



310 



APPENDIX I. 



STATEMENTS IN CASES NOT PROCEEDED WITH. 

F. J. says — In June, 1908, I was residing at W. Road, W. I was then 
a widow. One day in June, 1908, I was with a friend, Mrs. C, on the 
front at Brighton sitting on a seat when a man, who afterwards said his 
name was George Joseph Smith, came and sat on the seat beside us. He 
spoke to us and remarked about the weather, and from that we got into con- 
versation. He said that he was a man of means, and gave us his name. 
He saw us off from Brighton that evening by train, and made arrange- 
ments to come over to W. to see me next day. I was then in business at 
an art needlework shop at W. In the course of the conversation I told 
him that I was a widow. He came to W. the following morning and met 
me at the Town Hall. He wanted to stay at W., and I introduced him 
to my landlady, Mrs. C, who was also a widow, with the result that he 
came to stay there. We became friendly, and finally he proposed to 
marry me. I accepted the offer, and gave up my business appointment. 
In the course of some conversation with me he asked me if I was insured, 
and, although I was, I told him I was not. He asked what amount of 
money I had, and all about myself. He insisted on seeing my bank book, 
and I showed it to him. The amount was £33 13s. He gave me to 
understand that he was a man of means, and showed me a bank book with 
the name George Joseph Smith, but I did not see what amount there was 
in the book. One day whilst at W. I asked him what he was by pro- 
fession. He said he had been a carpenter, and was a dealer in antiques. 
We remained at W. for about three weeks, and then he proposed that we 
should go to London for the purpose of getting married. We went to C, 
where we remained about three days. He took the rooms for a week and 
paid the rent. Before leaving W. I had given notice to the postal authori- 
ties for the withdrawal of £30 from my banking account, and asked them 
to send my book through a friend of mine, Mrs. M. Smith suggested that 
I should draw the money out of the post office, and we should start a 
business of buying and selling antiques. We visited Mrs. M. twice, and 
had supper with her. I introduced him as my future husband, but she 
did not seem to approve of him, and disliked his manner. On the morning 
of 3rd July, 1908, we went to the Camden Town post office, having previously 
got my book, and there drew from my account £30, leaving £3 13s. in the 
bank. He had asked me to draw it all out and close the account. I did 
not do this. Before I went to the post office Smith said to me, " I had 
better take care of the money for you. You have not got a pocket." He 
knew I had no pocket. The money consisted of £20 of gold, and two £5 
notes. He picked it all up and placed it in his pocket. We left the post 
office, and when outside he said, " Come along, dear, we will go to the 
Franco-British Exhibition." We went to the Exhibition, and after we had 
been in there about five minutes he left me sitting on a seat, saying that 
he was going to get a paper, and would be back in a few minutes. He 

311 



George Joseph Smith. 



went away, as I thought, to get a paper, and I have not seen him since. 
I waited about half an hour, and as he did not return to me I spoke to a 
police constable. I afterwards went with a detective to C, and found 
that Smith had been back there, taken his box, and left a note to me 
saying he would forward my box on. I then went to Victoria Station 
cloakroom, where I had left my box and personal belongings, and found 
that Smith had been there previously and fetched them away, together with 
his bicycle. He had the cloakroom ticket. The total value of my 
property, together with the money which Smith took, amounted to about 
£80 or £90. I was unable to trace Smith after he had left the cloakroom 
at the station, but I remained in London for the remainder of the week 
and stayed at my brother's. I then returned to W. and went back to 
business. During my acquaintance with Smith I noticed that he had a 
large scar on his left arm. I told the police officer of this when I supplied 
him with a description of him. 

(Signed) F. J. 
[Statement taken by Detective-Inspector Neil, Y Division.] 

S. A. F. says — I reside at S., and am a clerk. In June, 1909, I met 
a man named George Rose. He came to the office where I was employed, 
and we got into conversation, with the result that I finally went for a walk 
with him. He told me he travelled the country buying antiques. I did 
not see him again for some time, and, as far as I recollect, he came to the 
office again some time at the beginning of October. We then continued 
our friendship, and I went for walks with him, and he used to call at my 
lodgings. This continued for some time, about a fortnight, when he asked 
me to marry hirn. At first I refused, but I finally gave in and promised him 
I would marry him. He told me he would follow me up until 
I did marry him. He told me he had an aunt in London, and this was 
the only relative he had. He said he had money in the bank, but I 
never saw any evidence of it. We arranged to get married on the 29th 
October, at the Southampton Registry Office. We went to the office 
together, and he gave notice of marriage, and arranged to get married by 
special licence. On the 29th October he came to my lodgings and fetched 
me. We were met at the registry office by a friend, a Mr. T., and a lady 
friend, a Miss B., was at the house and came with us. We were duly 
married and went to my lodgings anl got my belongings. He had only 
got a bag and a bicycle with him, and he said his other luggage had gone 
on. We left Southampton by the 11.15 a.m. train, and went to Clapham 
Junction via Waterloo. We put our belongings in the cloakroom and went 
to find lodgings. Rose knew I had £50 in cash before I married him, but 
nothing else. We got lodgings at Clapham, and when there I told him I 
had other money, as he saw my bank book when I was unpacking. About 
the second day he suggested I should draw my money out in order that 
he could open a business as an antique dealer, as he had not sufficient 
money for the purpose. In consequence of this I sent in a withdrawal order 
to clear my account. I think it was £250, and another notice to sell 
6ome Government stock I had, about £30 worth. We went about London 
a bit until the withdrawal warrant came. I think it came on the Tuesday 
or Wednesday. The notice duly came, and we went to Lavender Hill 
post office and drew the money. It was paid out, and he asked for gold ; 
but the girl paid it out in notes and gold, and he (Rose) picked it all up. 
1 asked him for some of it, but he would not give me any. He had pre- 

312 



Appendix I. 



viously asked me for the £50, and I had given it him. On Friday, 5th 
November, the notice came for the payment of £30 for the stock, and the 
eame morning we again went to the post office and drew out the money. 
He picked this up also. He told me he had taken a shop and wanted the 
money to pay for it. When we had left the post office we went to the 
National Gallery, and while there he asked me to excuse him, and asked 
me to sit down. I did so, and never saw him again. I waited an hour, 
and then went and made some enquiry, but could not find him. I therefore 
went back to the lodgings. On looking into my bag I found all my money, 
with the exception of a few pence, had gone, so I could not take a taxi as 
I intended. When I got back I found he had been in half an hour 
previously and had taken the whole of my belongings, which we had fetched 
away from the cloakroom when we got the lodgings. The only thing he 
had left in the cloakroom was his cycle. I went to the police station at 
Lavender Hill, and inquiry was made, but Rose could not be traced. When 
I got to my lodgings I found the attached letter on the dressing table, 
and on the same night a registered letter was delivered from him. He 
left me in the National Gallery about 11 a.m., and the letter was post- 
marked Battersea, 12.15 p.m., 5th November. I got the letter the follow- 
ing morning. I went to stay with a friend. Rose left me penniless, with the 
exception of a few coppers, and I had to borrow to pay the lodgings. In addi- 
tion to the money mentioned, he took a quantity of jewellery and all my belong- 
ings. All that was left was three empty boxes. The cash he took was about £350, 
and my other belongings were £50, £400 in all. I have seen George Joseph 
Smith, and he is identical with George Rose, and he is the man I married as 
stated. I have not my marriage certificate, as he took it away with him. 

(Signed) S. A. F. 

[Taken by Inspector Cole and Police-Sergeant Page, at Bow Street, 29/4/15.] 

Alice Reavil says — I am a domestic servant at present residing at 
39 Plumstead Common Road. In September, 1914, I was staying at the 
Royal Oak Hotel, Kinson, near Bournemouth, on a holiday. On the 7th 
or 8th September I was in the gardens on the front, sitting on a seat, when 
a man came and spoke to me. He said " Good morning,' and passed some 
remark about the weather. This would be about 12 noon and 1 p.m. 
We had some conversation, in which he said he admired my figure. After 
about an hour's conversation, in which he informed me that he was an 
artist, and had £2 a week from some land in Canada, we made an appoint- 
ment for 6 p.m. the same evening. I met him as arranged on the pier 
front, outside the pier, at 6 p.m. He did not say where he was staying, 
and I never knew. When I met him we walked, but nothing occurred 
except general conversation, and I left him about 9 p.m., with an appoint- 
ment to meet him again next day at 6 p.m. I met him as arranged, and 
he then told me his name was Charles Oliver James. He said he had been 
to Canada, and his agents sent him his money. He also said he understood 
I had some money. I met him every evening, and I returned to Wool- 
wich, and on the 14th or 15th September I remember he spoke of money 
matters, and after the third or fourth day of our acquaintance he asked me 
to marry him. I consented, and he said he would put his money with mine 
and would open an antique shop somewhere in London, probably Crystal 
Palace way. He asked me how much money I had, and I said I had some 
£70 odd, and some furniture, including a piano. He asked me to sell them, 

313 



George Joseph Smith. 



and I decided to. Upon leaving Bournemouth I arranged to meet him 
the day after my return at the General Post Office, Woolwich, and he 'would 
go to Woolwich the day after I did. Upon my return I went to my address, 
and the following day I met him as arranged at 6 p.m. He told me he 
had found lodgings at 30 Hanover Road, Plumstead Common. We walked 
about until 9 and 10 p.m., talking about our arrangements for the future. 
He told me he would go to the registry office at Woolwich and give notice 
of the marriage for the 17th September. I met him each evening till the 
17th, when I waited in the street where he lived in order to arrive at the 
registry office at 10 a.m. He came out of his house, and we went to the 
registry office and were married by special licence. The witnesses were 
from the registry office. In the meantime I had sold my belongings, which 
consisted of a piano, pictures, &c, and they realised £14. After we were 
married we left Woolwich for Waterloo, and then went on to Clapham, 
to 8 Hafer Road, Battersea Rise, where he had taken two furnished rooms. 
We arrived about dinner time. On the way he showed me a lot of bank 
notes, and he asked me for my £14 to put in the bank with his. When we 
got to our lodgings we had something to eat, and he then produced a post 
office withdrawal for me to fill up, to draw all my money in the bank. 
I filled it up, and it was with interest to close the account. We went out 
to post it. He had it in his possession and put it in the box. I signed 
the withdrawal form in my maiden name, and he gave instructions to the 
landlady to take it in. We used to go about together ; about three days 
later the warrant of withdrawal came, and he took it in. This was on 
Saturday, the 19th September, 1914. He kept the warrant. All my 
clothing was at this address and was kept in four boxes. On Monday 
morning the 21st September, we went to the post office, Lavender Hill, to 
obtain the money. He went into the office with me, and after I had signed 
it he went with me to the counter. He carried the warrant. He told me 
to ask for all £1 notes, and I did so, but they could not give them, so 
they gave me four £10 notes, two £5 notes, and the remainder in £1 notes 
and cash. In all I received £76 6s. and some coppers. He picked up the 
notes, and I the cash, the odd six shillings. I never saw the notes again. 
After leaving the post office we went for a walk and then returned to 
dinner. The same evening we packed all our belongings with the inten- 
tion of getting another house. He then went out to get a man to take 
the luggage to Clapham Station, and later a man arrived with a barrow 
who took it away, as I thought, to the station. He went too, but I remained 
in the house. He came back in about half an hour and we went for a 
walk. Upon our return he told the landlady we should go away the 
next day, and he paid the bill; I think ten shillings. I had bought all 
the food we had had. On the 22nd September, 1914, we left the house for 
the purpose of looking for another house. We got on a tram car, and on 
the way he spoke of Halifax, Nova Scotia, and asked me if I would like 
to go there. He took penny fares, and got off the car at some gardens. 
We walked through the gardens, and on getting to the other end he said he 
was going to the lavatory, a short distance away, and asked me to wait 
about. I did so, and waited about an hour. He did not return, so I 
returned to 8 Hafer Road and found the attached telegram for me. I 
remained as requested, and some hours later I received the attached letter, 
registered, posted at Battersea. I stayed at Hafer Road the same night, 
and returned to 39 Plumstead Common Road the next day. None of my 
boxes arrived, and I have not seen them since. On the 22nd February, 
314 



Appendix I. 



1915, at the request of the police, I attended Bow Street and identified the 
man known as George Smith as my husband. I had seen the case reported 
in the papers, and on the 15th February, on my own initiative, I went to 
Bow Street and there saw the prisoner before the magistrates, and recog- 
nised him. I did not say anything to the police, but communicated with 
Inspector Neil by letter. I communicated with the post office, and 
obtained the numbers of the notes paid on the warrant. When I married 
the prisoner he was clean shaven. I value my clothing, jewellery, &c, at 
about £50. The result of my meeting the prisoner was that I was left 
with only a few shillings and the clothes I was actually wearing. What 
he had taken consisted of the whole of my life savings. 

(Signed) Alice Reavil. 
[Taken by Inspector Cole and Sergeant Page, C.I.D., 22/2/15.] 

Alice Reavil further says — On 6th March I went to Camden Town 
Police Station, where Inspector Cole showed me a black trunk which I 
identified as my property. The initials A. R. on the top have been painted 
out. I was shown the contents of the trunk, and identified the property 
mentioned on the list shown me as mine. I also identified a Gladstone 
bag as my property. The initials A. R. are still on it. On the 13th 
March I went to Clapham and found I got off the car with the prisoner at 
Brockwell Park, Heme Hill Station, walked through Brockwell Park to 
Rosendale Road and the junction of Turney Road and Dalkeithe Road, 
where there is an open place. It was here Smith left me. 

(Signed) Alice Reavil. 

[Taken by Sergeant Page, 13/3/15.] 



APPENDIX II. 



EXTRACTS FROM STATEMENTS BY MRS. CAROLINE BEATRICE 
LOVE nee THORNHILL. 

On 5th November, 1900, I was in Oxford Street when I saw the prisoner 
looking in the window of a shop. I called to a policeman and I gave him 
into custody. He was taken to Vine Street Police Station. He abused 
me very much, and said he would punch my head off if he could only get at 
me. He accused me of being an immoral woman, and was very violent 
and tried to get away from the police to get at me. I and my mother went 
to Hastings, and my mother gave evidence against him, and he was sen- 
tenced to two years' imprisonment. This was on the 9th January, 1901. 

Whilst we were living together and were on good terms, he told me 
something of his past history. He said he had a stepfather whose name 
was Smith. He said he had a good mother, but he had broken her heart. 
He told me he was sent to a reformatory school when nine years of age, 
and remained until he was sixteen. . . During the time I knew him I 

never knew him do any work. 

(Signed) Caroline Beatrice Love. 

[From statement taken by Inspector Cole, at Liverpool, 30/3/15.] 

315 



George Joseph Smith. 

FURTHER STATEMENT, DATED 11th OCTOBER, 1899. 

I am making a statement of what my husband did before he married 
me. His description is — Complexion fair, hair brown, ginger moustache, 
peak chin, on left arm a very large scar, military walk, stands 5 feet 9. 
When a boy living at Lambeth he was sent to a school at Gravesend at the 
age of nine until the age of sixteen. When he left the school he came 
home to live with his mother, and then he started thieving what he could 
until he was eighteen. During that time he went to a place to lodge, and 
took from there £7. He was caught, and got fourteen days. After that 
he took some money from his aunt and a bicycle from where he was work- 
ing, and got six months. At eighteen years of age he joined the North- 
ampton Regiment. He was there three years, and got his discharge from 
there for bad conduct. He got his living in the best way he could until he 
met a woman, and got her to live with him. Then he worked round her 
to do the same for him as I did. Three years ago she was living in a place 
in Eaton Square, Chelsea. He gave her a personal character to get it 
with. She took a lot of things from there, and he was pledging a watch 
in the Strand and got caught, and was taken to Bow Street, and from 
there to Chelsea, and got twelve months. He did it at Wormwood Scrubs. 
I do not know exactly what name it was in. I think it was Wilson. When 
he came out the woman would not have anything more to do with him. He 
did the best he could for a time until she got fourteen days for taking some 
clothes where she worked. When she had done this he waited for her 
and got her to go -vtith him again, and she started to do the same thing 
again for him. In September, 1897, he gave her a personal character to 
get a place. She went and was there about two days, and she came back 
with a cash box with £115. When he got it he left her the same day. 
That night he stayed in London and then went on to Leicester and opened a 
shop in Russell Square, where I met him. 

(Signed) Caroline Beatrice Love, alias Mary Stone. 



APPENDIX III. 



STATEMENTS BY EDITH PEGLER. 

Edith Mabel Pegler says — About the middle of August, 1914, we went 
to Bournemouth and stayed at apartments at Ashley Road, and while there 
my husband was out in the evenings. About the middle of September, 
1914, my husband said he was going to London for a few days. He went 
away, and about a week after I received a postcard saying he hoped to see 
me in a few days. He did not come, but a week later I received a letter 
from him asking me to go to Weston-super-Mare to an address he gave. I 
went, and he told me he had been to a sale in London and had bought some 
ladies' clothing. He had some left, and gave it to me. It was kept in 
the black trunk, which I had not seen before. 

The ladies' clothing taken away by the police was brought to Weston- 
super-Mare by Smith. It does not belong to me. . . . 

I have never known him inquire at any of the apartments we have been 
to for a bath, as he has remarked to me on more than one occasion he did 

316 



Appendix III. 



not believe in using baths in houses which other people had access to. I 
remember once at Weston-super-Mare he had a bath ; but all the time I 
have known him it is the only time I have known him to have a bath in a 
bathroom, to my knowledge. During the whole of the times he has left 
me he has never given me any address to write to, and I have been unable 
to communicate with him. (Signed) Edith Mabel Pegler. 

[Taken by Inspector- Detective Cole and Sergeant Page, 22/3/15.] 

Edith Mabel Pegler further says — When I met him at Margate 
(August, 1912) I told him I had tried to find him at Woolwich and Rams- 
gate, and he was very angry about it, and said he should never tell me his 
business again. He said I should not do such a thing again or interfere 
with his business, because he did not believe in women knowing his business. 

. . . When he was away on the occasion he said he was going to 
Spain, the £6 he sent me was all I had for thirteen weeks. When he was 
away in 1912 for five months, all I had was two separate pounds from him ; 
but I sold up a shop for about £5. . . . 

Before he went away he remarked to me that if I interfered with his 
business I should never have another happy day, as the world was wide, and 
he would forfeit it all. This was because I had spoken about his annuity. 
Just after Christmas, 1914, we were living in apartments at 10 Kennington 
Avenue, Bristol, and I said I was going to have a bath. He said — " In that 
bath there (referring to the bathroom)? I should advise you to be careful of 
those things, as it is known that women have often lost their lives through 
weak hearts and fainting in the bath." 

(Signed) Edith Mabel Pegler. 

[Taken by Inspector Cole and Police-Sergeant Page, 20/4/15.] 



APPENDIX IV. 



STATEMENTS AND LETTERS IN THE CASE OF MARGARET 
ELIZABETH LOFTY. 

Emily Marion Lofty says — I reside at 19 Woodstock Avenue, Bristol, 
and am at present out of employment. My father died in 1892. He was a 
clerk in holy orders. My mother is eighty years of age. I am the youngest 
of the family. There were four girls and one boy. The deceased, whose 
full name is Margaret Elizabeth Lofty, was thirty-eight years of age ia 
October, 1914. My sister, for the greater part of her life, lived at home, 
but on occasions she would be away acting as lady's companion, but 
always in Bristol. . . 

I know my sister had pleurisy .when she was about fourteen years of age, 
and she has never been really strong and robust. When I last saw her she 
was in her usual health. She was always very reticent with regard to her 
private affairs, but I know that about twelve months ago she was engaged 
to be married, and notice of the marriage had been given, when it was 
discovered that the man was already married. This seemed to worry 
my sister a good deal, and she spoke to me about it As far as I know, 

317 



George Joseph Smith. 

this was the only love affair she ever had. She made no mention of the 
man Lloyd, and she did not say she was engaged to any one, and I was 
not in the least aware that she was acquainted with any man. On 
Monday, 21st December, 1914, I went home in consequence of a communica- 
tion I had received from my sister Ethel, and was then shown the two 
letters undated, and a copy of a letter dated 17th December, 1914. Now, 
looking at all three letters, in my opinion, they are in the handwriting 
of my sister, the deceased, with the possible exception of the word 
" Bismarck " in the letter dated 17th December. I have seen at Camden 
Town Police Station a costume and other articles which I recognise as 
being the property of my sister. 

[Taken by Inspector Cole, 4/2/15.] 

Ethel Susan Winifred Lofty says — I am usually called Elsie. Mar- 
garet Lofty was my sister ... On Tuesday, 15th December, 1914. she 
went out, saying she was going out to tea. She took nothing with her, 
and we expected her back. That evening, about 7 p.m., I received an 
express letter, which I opened. It contained a note for me and one for 
my mother, saying she was going to a situation. This came as a surprise, 
as it was the first that we had heard. On Friday, 18th December, 1914, a 
registered letter was received by the last post, after 9 p.m., which is 
dated 17th December, and headed 14 Bismarck Road. The letters are in 
my sister's handwriting, with the exception of 14 Bismarck Road in the 
registered letter. I know my sister had an affair with another man some 
twelve months ago, but although marriage was contemplated, nothing came 
of it, owing to the fact that it was discovered he was a married man. The 
prisoner is not that man. We have received no communications from the 
man, and he gave us no information of my sister's death. 

(Signed) Ethel Lofty. 

[Taken at Bristol by Inspector Cole and Police Sergeant Page, 23/2/15.] 

Marian Beckett says — I am a widow, and reside with my sons, who 
carry on an undertakers' business at 1 Highgate Hill. On the evening of 
Sunday, 20th December, 1914, I was at home when a man came into the 
shop. He said — " My name is Lloyd. I suppose it is possible for my wife 
to be buried on Monday if the inquest is finished to-morrow." I looked 
at the file of orders, and saw that the woman Lloyd had died on the 18th 
December. I said, " No, it is not possible. He said, " Why? " I said 
" We have to give the cemetery people forty-eight hours' notice." He 
then said, " I think this sort of thing is best got over quickly." I did 
not reply to this for a minute, as I was surpised at the remark. I after- 
wards said to him, " Wait and I will ring up Mr. Beckett." I did so, 
and I told Mr. Lloyd that Mr. Beckett said it could not be done. He 
then turned to go, and as he was picking up his hat from a chair he said, 
" Some men would sit down and cry about it. What is the use of doing 
that? " I said, " No use, but we cannot all feel alike." He then went 
out. He did not appear to be very upset about his wife's death, and 
seemed dissatisfied that she could not be buried the next day. To me he 
appeared to be very callous about the whole matter. 

(Signed) Marian Beckett. 

[Taken by Inspector Reid, 16/3/15.] 
318 



Appendix IV. 



Copy of Registered Letter from Mrs. Lloyd (Miss Lofty) to her 
sister and mother. 

Registered and postmarked Upper Holloway, 17th December, 1914. 

14 Bismarck Road, Archway Road, 

Highgate, 17th December, 1914. 

My dear Elsie and Mother, 

No doubt you will be surprised to know that I was 
married to-day to a gentleman named John Lloyd. He is a thorough 
Christian man whom I have known since June. I met him at Bath. He 
was then going to Canada, and returning to England in September. While 
he was away we kept up correspondence, and found from the tone of our 
letters that our tastes and temperaments were exactly in harmony, and, 
as I have always been one to keep my personal affairs to myself, I said 
not a word to any one of you about the matter, so I directed my intended 
husband to address his letters to me care of the General Post Office. 
Besides, it was safer to do so, because we might have removed from our 
house to another, so surely you will not blame me for doing so. It is only 
natural I should do anything tc secure the one I love, and I have every 
proof of his love for me. He has been honourable and kept his word to 
me in everything. He is such a nice man, and am certain you would 
have liked him. That is why I regret not bringing him to see you. I 
hope you will forgive me for not doing so. My only fault was that I 
wanted to carry out my plan in my own way. After all, I have only done 
what thousands have done. I will tell my husband all about my relations 
later on, and no doubt we will pay you all a visit. I am perfectly happy. 
I hope mother is quite well, and yourself, and things are now working 
smoothly with the new maid. Will you be kind enough to strap my box 
and forward same as early as possible to the above address, as there are 
several articles in it I require at the present time? 
With love to you both, 

Yours affectionately, 

Peggy Lloyd. 



Copy of a Letter written by the Deceased, Mrs. Lloyd, to her sister, 
enclosing one for her mother. Postmarked Bristol, 2.15 p.m., 15th 
December, 1914. 

Bristol Station. 

Dear Elsie, 

I am off to the station, and meet my lady here. We 
go, I believe, to London for a day or two. I am looking after her while 
her daughter is on holiday. It is only for a short time, I believe. Hope 
to see you soon. Will write full particulars as soon as ever I can. Do 
not worry. I am well and happy. Sorry not to have been able to tell 
you before, but it was arranged so quickly, had barely any time. 
Your affectionate sister, 

Peggy. 
319 



George Joseph Smith. 



[Enclosure. 



My Dearest Mother, 

I have got a situation for a few days to look after a 
lady while her daughter is away. They are friends of Rachel's. Am well 
and happy. Don't worry about me. Will let you know more in a day or 
two. Am to meet them at station. Shall hope to see you again soon. 
Love to you both. Peggy. 

Sorry not to have been able to tell you about it before, but it was all 
arranged so quickly that had no time for anything. 



APPENDIX V. 



LETTERS IN THE CASE OF ALICE BURNHAM. 

From Mrs. Alice Smith (Miss Burnham) to her father. 

80 Kimberley Road, 
East Southsea, 22nd November, 1913. 

Dear Dad, 

I wrote to you a fortnight ago requesting you to for- 
ward on to me at the above address the £100 and interest as per promissory 
note. My husband has written twice since on my behalf, giving you up to 
22nd inst. for the remittance of same. I am sorry that vou have treated 
me thus, and not complied with my request. It is a pity that the only 
path left open to me is to go with my husband to see a solicitor and make 
a claim on my father, but before doing so I will wait till the first post, 
Tuesday, 25th inst. I regret to say that this is the last application I can 
make before going to law. I am very sorry you should have treated my 
husband and myself in the way you have, and I cannot account for such 
unjust treatment, and it hurts. I hope you and mother are well, dad. 
From your daughter, 

Alice. 

Postcard from Mrs. Alice Smith to her father. 

80 Kimberley Road, 
East Southsea, 24th November, 1913. 

Sir, 

I have this morning instructed my solicitor to take 
extreme measures in order to obtain the money you have in your possession. 

Yours, 

Alice Smith. 

Letter from George Smith to Mr. Charles Burnham. 

80 Kimberley Road, 

East Southsea, 11/11/13. 
Sir, 

The views and actions which you have been pleased to 
take towards our marriage are both inconsistant and contemptable. You 
320 



Appendix V. 



absolutely appear to be quite out of touch with the methods and principals 
by which everyday life is handled. Moreover, having failed in your cruel 
attempt to wreck all possibilities of marriage, you take shelter in obdurate- 
ness, contempt, and remorse. What earthly right have you to scorn your 
daughter in these ways ? Is the record of your family so full of virtue 
that you dispise and grudge your daughter's bright prospects? I am not 
going to waste my time in going to enlighten you on things you are 
quite old enough to know and understand, but at least I remind you that 
by causing friction broadcast as you have is the greatest mistake in your 
lifetime. It is mentioned in the letter Alice received on the 11th inst. 
that, as I have an income, the £100 and interest should stand over. A 
more foolish and elegal action I have never heard of. The money is 
payable on demand, failing which I will take the matter up myself without 
further delay. G. Smith. 



Letter from Smith to Mr. Burnham. 

80 Kimberley Road, 

East Southsea, 18/11/13. 
Sir, 

On behalf of my wife, who wrote you a fortnight ago 
requesting you to forward her the £100, with interest, which you were 
minding for her, I request you to forward same to her at the above 
address on or before the 22nd inst., failing which I shall be compeled to 
take the usual course in order to secure the sum refered to, regardless of 
costs. 

Yours, &c. , 

G. Smith. 



Postcard from Smith to Mr. Burnham. 

80 Kimberley Road, 

East Southsea, 24/11/13. 

Sir, 

In answer to your application regarding parentage, my 
mother was a Bus horse, my father a cabdriver, my sister a roughrider 
over the Arctic Regions. My brothers were all gallant sailors on a steam 
roller. This is the only information I can give to those who are not 
entitled to ask such questions contained in the letter I received on the 
24th inst. 

Your despised son-in-law, 

G. Smith. 



Postcard from Smith to Mr. Burnham. 

80 Kimberley Road, 

East Southsea, 27/11/13. 
Sir, 

. . . I do not know your next move . . . but take 
my advice and be very careful. 

Yours, &c, 

G. Smith. 
t 321 



George Joseph Smith. 

Letter from Smith to Mr. Burnham. 

80 Kimberley Road, 

East Southsea, 1/12/13. 
Sir, 

I have all the copies, &c, my wife and self sent to you, and 
yours. Also letters, &c., we have received relating to same and family 
affairs, which I intend to keep for the purpose of justice. 

Yours, 

G. J. Smith. 

Postcard from Smith to Mrs. Burnham, postmarked Blackpool, 9.45 p.m., 
12th December, 1913. 

16 Regent Road, 
Blackpool, 12th December. 
Dear Ma, 

Alice is very ill. I will wire you to-morrow. — Yours, 

George. 

Telegram from Smith to Mr. Burnham, handed in Blackpool, 11.30 a.m., 
13th December, 1913. Received at Aston Clinton at 12.14 p.m. 

Alice died last night in her bath. Letter following. 

Smith. 

16 Regent Road, 

Blackpool, 13/12/13. 
My Dear Mother-in-law, 

After arriving here, Alice complained of pains in the 
head, and went to a doctor, who examined her and gave her treatment. 
Yesterday she again complained to me and the landlady of pains in the 
head, when she sent you and her sister a postcard, after which I took her 
for a walk, and she appeared better later on. I found she had made 
arrangements with the landlady for a bath. About twenty minutes after 
she had entered the bath I called out to her and got no answer, and, after 
acquainting the people in the hcuse that something is wrong, and getting 
no answer, I entered the bathroom and found poor Alice with her head 
and shoulders under the water. The doctor who had previously attended 
her was sent for at my request to come, which he did. I held her head 
out of the water and let the water run off away from her. When the 
doctor came we lifted her out of the bath ; he examined her and said, ' She 
is dead." I then went to the police station and asked them to send an 
official to come to the house and take particulars, which they did. This is 
the greatest and most cruel shock that ever a man could have suffered. 
Words cannot describe my feelings. We were so happy together, which 
she has told all her friends in her letters to them. The people here have 
been very kind right through the whole time. The inquest will be held early 
next week. I will then write to you sending all futher particulars. Can you 
tell me her age when she had rheumatic fever, and her age when she was 
in the Great Ormond Street Hospital? 



322 



Appendix VI. 

APPENDIX VI. 



NEWSPAPER EXTRACTS SENT TO INSPECTOR WOOTTON OF THE 
AYLESBURY POLICE BY CHARLES BURNHAM. 

(From a local paper — name not known.) 

Bride's Sudden Death. 

Drowned after Seizure in a Hot Bath. 

Mrs. George Smith, of 80 Kimberley Road, Portsmouth, who was married 
only six weeks ago, died suddenly in a Blackpool boarding-house. 

Her husband, giving evidence at the inquest on Saturday, said he was 
of independent means. He met his wife, who was a nurse, three months 
ago, and six weeks ago they were married. Last Wednesday they travelled 
to Blackpool and engaged rooms at 16 Regent Road. 

During the journey his wife complained of headache, and, as she was 
not better on arrival, she saw a doctor. On Friday night she took a hot 
bath. She was a considerable time in the bath, and he called to her. 
There was no answer. He entered the bathroom and found his wife lying 
in the water dead. 

Dr. Billing stated that a post-mortem showed that the heart was en- 
larged and affected. He concluded that the heat of the water had acted 
on the heart and caused either a fit or a faint, and in her helplessness she 
was drowned. 



(From the News of the World.) 

Found Dead in Bath. 

Bride's Tragic Fate on Day after Wedding. 

Particularly sad circumstances under which a bride of a day met her 
death were investigated at an Islington inquest on Margaret Elizabeth Lloyd, 
thirty-eight, wife of a land agent of Holloway. The husband said he was 
married to deceased at Bath. After travelling to London she complained 
of headache and giddiness, and he took her to a medical man, who prescribed 
for her. The following morning she said she felt much better, and during 
the day she went out shopping. At 7.30 she said she would have a bath, 
and she then appeared cheerful. A quarter of an hour later witness went 
out, and returned at a quarter past eight, expecting to see her in the 
sitting room. As she was not there he inquired of the landlady, and they 
went to the bathroom, which was in darkness. He lit the gas, and then 
found his wife under the water, the bath being three parts full. The next 
day witness found a letter amongst deceased's clothing, but there was 
nothing in it to suggest that she was likely to take her life. 

Dr. Bates said death was due to asphyxia from drowning. Influenza, 
together with a hot bath, might have caused an attack of syncope. The 
enquiry was adjourned for the attendance of the landlady, who, it was said, 
had met with an accident. 

323 



George Joseph Smith. 



APPENDIX VII. 



PARTICULARS OF SMITH'S CASH DEALINGS WITH BANKS, 
SOLICITORS, &c, re MUNDY MONEY. 



Date. 


Receipts. 


Payments. 


£ s. 


d. 


£ s. d. 


1912. 












Sep. 20 


L. C. M. Tunbridge. 




50 







„ 23 


M 




63 17 


4 




,, 26 


> ) 




150 







Oct. 4 

>> 




Lloyds Bank, Bris. 
Cap. & Cts. , Bris. 






10 
40 
30 


„ 5 


)) 




100 







„ 5 




5» 






51 


„ 7 




,, 






10 


„ 10 


J) 




30 







„ 10 




Lloyds, Bristol 






10 


„ 10 




Cap. & Cts., Bristol 






10 


„ 14 


M 




9 







„ 14 




»j 






20 


,, 17 




Wilts &Dst., Bristol 






15 


„ 21 




5) 






5 


„ 23 




Cap. & Cts. 






5 


„ 31 




Salisbury, Solr. 






45 8 5 


Nov. 23 


L. C. M Bath. 




200 







„ 25 


») 




300 







,, 25 




Cap. & Cts. 






110 


„ 25 




Wilts & Dst. Brist. 






110 


„ 26 




Cap. & Cts. 






30 


„ 26 




Wilts & Dst. Brist. 






30 


„ 26 




Pomeroy, Solr. 






126 11 7 


„ 27 




Cap. & Cts. Brist. 






25 


„ 27 




Wilts & Dst. 






25 


„ 29 


»i 




300 







„ 29 




Cap. & Cts. 






20 


,, 29 




Wilts & Dst. 






20 


Dec. 2 




Cap. & Cts. Bris. 






30 


„ 2 




Wilts & Dorset 






30 


„ 3 


L. C. & M. Bath. 




100 







» 3 




Cap. & Cts. 






17 11 6 


„ 3 




Wilts & Dorset 






15 


„ 3 




Wandsboro, Solr. 






93 13 2 


„ 6 


IS 




50 







„ 6 




Cap. & Cts. 






25 


,, 6 




Wilts & Dst. Bris. 






25 


M 10 


»> 




20 








324 



Appendix VII. 

PARTICULARS OF CASH DEALINGS WITH BANKS, &c— continued. 



Date. 


Receipts. 


Payments. 


£ s. 


d. 


£ s. d. 


Dec. 11 


L. C. & M. Bath. 




100 







„ 12 




Wilts & Dst. 






30 


„ 17 






10 







„ 17 




Cap. & Cts. 






50 


„ 17 




Wilts & Dst. 






50 


.. 27 




Cap. Sc Cts. 






50 


1913. 












Jan. 1 




Wilts & Dst. 






25 


9 






50 


i) 




„ 4 


99 




100 







„ 6 




Wilts & Dst. 






60 


„ 6 




Cap. & Cts. 






60 


., 7 


9 9 




155 5 


2 




„ 8 




Wilts & Dorset. 






60 


„ 9 


)) 




150 







„ 9 




Cap. & Cts. 






60 


„ 11 




>) 






20 


„ 13 


9 y 




100 







„ 15 




Cap. & Cts. 






30 


„ 15 




Wilts & Dst. 






30 


„ 17 


»j 




62 







„ 18 




Wilts & Dst. 






20 


,, 18 




Cap. & Cts. 






20 


„ 20 




Wilts & Dst. 






15 


„ 22 




Cap. & Cts. 






30 


„ 24 




>) 






30 


„ 27 




i> 






32 10 6 


„ 28 




Wilts & Dorset. 






20 


„ 31 


i> 




5 







Feb. 3 




Cap. & Cts. 






30 


„ 3 




Wilts & Dst. 






20 o 


„ 4 




Cap. & Cts. 






17 2 


„ 6 




Barber, for house. 






18 12 3 


„ 10 


j> 




10 







„ 19 


>> 




10 







„ 24 




Cap. & Cts. 






20 


„ 24 




Deposit, Beech Rd. 






10 


„ 24 




,, Brinland A v. 






20 


„ 26 


s? 




13 


o 




Mar. 19 


5 J 




100 


<> 




„ 20 




Cap. & Cts. 






40 


„ 20 




Wilts & Dst. 






50 


,, 25 


J) 




165 12 


6 




„ 25 




Cap. & Cts. 






60 


„ 25 




Wilts & Dst. 






60 


\pl. 14 




Cap. & Cts. 






20 


„ 14 




Wilts & Dst, 






10 


„ 29 




Cap. & Cts. 






12 10 


July 2 




)> 






11 


„ 22 




>> 






12 10 




£2403 15 





£2042 9 5 



325 



George Joseph Smith. 



PARTICULARS OF PURCHASES OF HOUSE PROPERTY. 



Date. 


Property. 


Page. 


Solicitor for Smith. 


Solicitor for Vendor. 


31/10/12 


30 Elton Road 


1 &4 


Laxton & Co. 
(G. L. Bush) 


Salisbury & Griffiths 
(F. J. White) 


26/11/12 


49 Cranbrook Road 


1 &5 




J. Pomeroy 


5/12/12 


86 Ashley Down Rd. 


1 &6 


>) 


Wandsboro (G. J. 
Jam) 


6/2/13 


31 Wolseley Road 


1 &7 


>> 


Hobbs (C. Barber) 


8/2/13 


34 Beech Road 


1 &8 




J. H. King 


13/1/13 


10 Zetland Road 


122 & 9 


?? 


Humphrey Phillips 


14/2/13 


81 Brinland Avenne 


3& 10 


Jas. Pomeroy 


Jas. Pomeroy 



SALES. 



Date. 


Address. 




1/8/13 


34 Beech Road 


Page 10. Bought by P. G. Davies 


27/9/13 


30 Elton Road 

49 Cranbrook Road 








86 Ashley Down Road 


Bought by 3 


Mr. Denning, Manager of Wilts 




31 Wolsey Road 


& Dorset Bank, see statement, 23/2/15 




10 Zetland Road 




(Bank Managers) 




81 Brinland Avenue. 






34 


Beech Road. Bon 


ght for 


£180 


Sold for £90 


30 


Elton Road. 




420 




49 


Cranbrook Road. 




400 




86 


Ashley Down Road. 




215 


Sold for £1365 


31 

10 

81 


Wolsey Road. 
Zetland Road. 
Brinland Avenue. 


>> 


187 10 
575 
210 






Purchase Price, £2187 1 


0s. Od. 


Sale Price, 


£1455. 



Appendix VIII. 

APPENDIX VIII. 



STATEMENTS re SAVINGS BANK ACCOUNTS. 

Blythe Road Savings Bank Dept. G.P.O. 
17/3/15. 

Sydney Mitchell says — I produce receipt for " payment by telegraph " 
for £10, signed by F. W., dated 2nd July, 1908, from Savings Bank 
Book No. 18208a, Worthing. The money was paid at Camden Road. 

I also produce receipt, dated 2nd July, 1908, for £20, from the same 
book, also paid at Camden Road. The book in this case has been de- 
stroyed. 

I produce Miss Alice Burnham's Bank Book No. 4667a, East Southsea, 
and withdrawal notice, dated 17th October, 1913, for £27 10s. " and interest 
to close account," signed by Alice Burnham, together with warrant for 
£27 19s. 5d., signed by her, and dated 21st October. 

I produce Savings Bank book of Miss Margaret Elizabeth Lofty, No. 
3693, Woolcot Park, Bristol, notice of withdrawal dated 15th December, 
1914, for £18 9s. Id., and " interest to close account," requesting the money 
to be paid at Muswell Hill, together with warrant for the amount of 
£19 5s. 5d., signed by her, and dated 18th December, 1914. 

I produce P.O. Savings Bank book of Alice Reavil, No. 1117, Hargor 
Road, Plumstead, with notice of withdrawal for £66 3s., " with interest 
to close account," dated 17th September, 1914, and warrant for with- 
drawal of £67 6s. 9d., paid to her against her signature on 21st September, 
1914. The amount was paid out to her at Lavender Hill, and consisted of 
£50 in Bank of England notes— £10 notes, Nos. L/3, 84495-6-7-8, and £5, 
Nos. 82/a 17506, and 25660. 

I produce Savings Bank Book No. 542, Church Road, Weston-super- 
Mare, in the name of George Joseph Smith, showing that on the 26th 
September, 1914, the account was opened with a deposit of £15. This was 
increased on 2nd October by a further deposit of £35. 

The account was closed on 11th December, 1914. I produce applica- 
tion for withdrawal and warrant signed by Smith for the amount of 
£50 2s. 8d. 

{N.B. — The receipts for the two deposits on this book were found at 
Smith's address, 102 Ashley Down Road, Bristol on the 23rd February by 
Inspector Cole.) 

I produce P.O. Savings Bank Book No. 1801, New Bond Street, Bath, 
in the name of John Lloyd, Dalkeith House, Stanley Road, Bath, land 
agent, opened on the 8th December, 1914, with a deposit of £50. This 
account is still open, and there have been no withdrawals, so there is still 
£50 to his credit. 

(N.B. — This book was found amongst prisoner's belongings at 14 Rich- 
mond Road, Shepherd's Bush, on the day of Smith's arrest.) 

(Sgd.) S. Mitchell. 

[Taken by Inspector Neil.] 

327 



George Joseph Smith. 

APPENDIX IX. 



Court or Criminal Appeal. 
(Before the Lord Chief Justice, Mr. Justice Darling, and Mr. Justice Lush.) 

29th July, 1915. 
REX v. GEORGE JOSEPH SMITH. 

Marshall Haxl, K.C. (with him Montague Shearman and H. Grattan 
Bushe), for the appellant. Evidence of the death of Burnham and Lofty on 
dates subsequent to the death of Mundy, and of bigamous marriages with 
the two former, was inadmissible ; without it there was no prima facie case 
against the appellant {Makin v. A.G. of N.S.W., 1894, A.C. 57. Scrutton, 
J., held he was bound by Ball, 1911, A.C. 47). The principle in Makin s 
that some physical act must first be proved against the prisoner before 
evidence can be given of other matters in order to prove the nature of his 
act. The ground on which such evidence is admissible is to negative such 
a defence as mistake, or accident, or absence of criminal intent, and to 
prove mens rea (per Reading, C.J., in Boyle and Marchant, 1914, 3 K.B. 
339, followed in Perkins v. Jeffery, 1915, 2 K.B. 702, by Avory, J.) The 
L.C.J, referred to Christie, 1914, A.C. 545. If the prisoner had 
given evidence suggesting Mundy's death was accidental, then the other 
evidence would have been admissible ; the test is whether there is sufficient 
evidence of the crime charged to leave to the jury (Baird, 11 Cr. App. R. 
186; Gray, 4 F. & F. 1102, was wrongly decided; Darling, J., Gray is 
approved by Herschell, C, in Makin). I accept the test, Is there prima 
facie evidence that the prisoner committed the act charged? (See Innes, 
J., 14 N.S.W. R., in Makin, citing Hall, 5 N.Z. L.R. 93.) The Crown 
insisted on its right to open the facts before any evidence was given. By 
the words " to rebut a defence which would otherwise be open to the 
accused," Herschell, C, in Makin, meant " open and adopted," i.e., set 
up by cross-examination or direct evidence. (Counsel referred to Crippen, 
1911, 1 K.B. 149). Francis, L.R. 2 C.C.R. 128, is the nearest case. I 
admit evidence of motive and opportunity, but there was none of any 
physical fact. (The L.C.J, referred to Mo?nn, 10 Cr.App.R. 169, and Lush, 
J., referred to Geering, 18 L.J.M.C. 215.) Evidence of surrounding cir- 
cumstances, apart from the death, was inadmissible. The judge misdirected 
the jury as to the purpose with which the evidence was admitted. (The 
L.C.J. — I think he states the reason exactly.) Evidence of a solicitor and 
his clerk that the appellant had consulted them as to the legal effect of 
Mundy's settlement was improperly admitted (Bullivant v. A.G. for Vic- 
toria, *1901, A.C. 196; Cox and Ra'ilton, 14 Q.B.D. 153). It was privileged 
(Darling, J. In Cox and Railton, Grove, J., said, " The privilege is the 
client's, so it would be reasonable to say a criminal motive in the client 
would destroy it.") The question to Doctors Spilsbury and Willcox, 
" Would the death of any of these women be consistent with accident? " 
was for the jury. The judge suggested a new theory to the jury; that 
was misdirection. Caroline Thornhill's answer that a certain date was 

328 



Appendix IX. 



" after he had done his two years " prejudiced the jary. The judge com- 
mented improperly on the prisoner not having given evidence. 

Bodkin (with him Travers Humphreys and Cecil Whiteley). Evidence of 
system is admissible without there being a primd facie, case without it (per 
Windeyer, J., in Makin). There was here a primd facie case with regard 
to Mundy (Counsel went through the facts). 

Marshall Hall did not reply. 

The Lord Chief Justice — The appellant was charged with the murder 
of Mundy; evidence was admitted to show that he murdered two other 
women at a later date (his lordship cited Herschell, C, in Makin). We 
need not consider whether such evidence would be admissible if apart from 
it there was no prima facie case. We are of opinion there was a case with 
regard to Mundy only, which the judge was bound to leave to the jury. 
The judge properly pointed out the use the jury could make of the evidence. 
Evidence of surrounding circumstances was properly admitted. Evidence as 
to communications between a prisoner and his solicitor is admissible if, as 
in this case, the prisoner consulted the solicitor how he could commit the 
offence, or if it was necessary or desirable to commit it (per Bovill, C.J., 
and Cockburn, C.J., in Cox v. Railton). The questions to Doctors Spils- 
bury and Willcox were hypothetical, and solicited the benefit of their skill 
as to facts they were asked to assume. It would have been better if the 
judge had not put forward a new theory, but it was not necessary that 
the exact method of drowning should be proved. We cannot think Caroline 
Thornhill's answer affected the jury's decision. The judge told them to 
disregard it. The appeal must be dismissed. 

Solicitor for the appellant — W. P. Davies. 



329 



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