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Murder of a Clillci by its…

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Murder of a Clillci by its Mother, at WestlMiry, Wilts. Considerable excitement has prevailed in the town of West- bury, during the wed;, in consequence 01 the exhumation of the body of a child, whuse death is supposed to have been occasioned bv the administration of arsenic by its mother. Rebecca Smith, the wile of Phillip Smith, labourer, of Westbury, has been married eighteen years, and has given birth to eleven children, all of whom, except the eldest, have died in their infancy. The last chiKl, Richard Smith, was born on the 16th ot May, and died on the 12th June. Seme suspicions having arisen, the body was exhumed under a coroner's warrant, on Saturday last, when a post modem exa- mination was made by Mr. G. Shorland, surgeon, ot West- bury, in the presence of Mr. Gibbs, another surgeon. Te result convinced those gentlemen of the presence ot arsenic in the stomach of the deceased child, and the vicera was ac- cordingly submitted to Mr. Herapath, the eminent chemist, of Bristol, for lurther analyzation. A jury was sworn before G. Sylvester, Esq., one of the coroners for Wiltshire, when evidence .vas given of the dentity of the body of the deceased chiid. Prudence Mead also deposed that on the 7th of June (to- days before the child died), the mother came to her and reo quested her to accompany her to the shop of Mr. Taylor, druggist, of Westbury, to purchase some arsenic, which she said"her oister. who lives at Bratton, near Westbury, wanted to destroy some rats which inlested her house. The purchase of the poison was also proved by Mr. Taylor's apprentice, who served her with it properly labelled, and at the same time warning her of its deadty properties. The inquiry was then adjourned till yesterday. On its being resumed, Phillip Smith. father of the deceased child, deposed that bi3 wife Is,illy had the nursing and feeding of it that it was perfectly healthy when born and that he did not derive any pecuniary benefit from its death. Mr. H ercpath proved the presence of arsenious acid, and arsenic in tt,e c"n:fnts of the child's stomach. After some other evidence was given,the coroner (addressing Rebecca Smith) said âHave you any statement you wish to make to the gentlemen of the Jury in this case ? The Prisoner.âNo, Sir. The Coroner then recapitulated the evidence to the Jury and the Louit having been cleared for a short time, they returned a verdict of Wilful Murder against Rebecca Smith, who was thereupon committed to take her trial at the ensuing W ilts assizes. ° 1 he P'^oner is a forbidding-looking woman, from forty- five to i y years of age. and maintained the most stolid in- d'wre"CK- r°Ughout t»ie whole proceedings. A Jf°"u a ''S*' l'ie names, dates ot birth and death, an K ° children of Rebecca Smith, as far as they call be ascertained ;-Phillip, born Oct. 10, 1837. died Oct. nA 21 ioqo ^ree days; Phillip, born Oct. 13, 1838 died An I I e'ght days Sarah, born March 18. 1840, 18 1S491 j- aged fourteen days; Sarah, born July Reward k' August 7, 1842, aged twenty-one days; Edward born 14th January, 1*44, died within a month.

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