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TRAGEDY OF SWANSEAI I STRAND.I

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TRAGEDY OF SWANSEA STRAND. PRISONER MITCHELL TRIED FOR HIS LIFE. SCENES IN COURT: ACCUSED'S DEMEANOUR. UNEXPECTED RESULT: MANSLAUGHTER FINDING. PRISONER RECEIVES SIX MONTHS: THE DEFENCE. The but stage in what is known as the Qui unorder was reached on Monday, when William Mitchell (24), collier, a. native of Deptford, aad recently of Abercrave, was at the GtamorgMi Assizes, before Mr. Justice Jelf, indicted for the murder of Eliza Ann Keast oil the 12th of May. The circum- stacces of the ense are well known. Briefly, the accused and the deocaeed were seen to go up Padley's Yard from off the Strand, and shortly afterwards Keast was found dead in a ooroer of the yard, with finger marks an her hroat. PUBLIC INTEREST IN THE TRIAL. Considerable intereet was maniieeted in the caee, the precincts of the Guildhall being thronged long before the doors were opened. At 10.30—haif-an-hour before the court sat ■—there were some hundreds anxiously wai*- in~ for admittance. Many thought they wouki be aoie to catch a glimpse of him, but be had been brought over earlier in the morning from the prison. So large was the crowd that the police cleared the square, and then the railings all round were ined several rows deep. His brother was amongst those in court, sitting by the side of Mr. Featherstone, the police court nus- sionary, who, with Miss Barrett, a lady de- voted to work amongst navvies, have pro- vided the defence. Sir D. Brynmor Jonee, K.C., M.P., and Mr. J. Lloyd Morgan, M.P. (instructed ry Mr Lawaeaoe Richards, on behalf of the Treasury) prosecuted, and Mr. B. F. Wil- liams, K.C., and Mr. St. John Francis Wil- liams (instructed by Messrs. Andrew and Thompson) defended. The court was well filled at eleven o'clock, though no, crowded, and two minutes later Mr. Justice Jelf took his seat. William Mitchell was "ben called for, and the pris- oner was brought up from the cells. tie stepped lightly into the dock and approach- ed the rails, folding his hands behind him. aad it was evident that be was -ndergoing ac acute mental strain, though at the same tide he appeared collected. When arraign- ed prisoner replied in a firm voice, "I am not guilty, sir." Then Mr. Henry Thomp- son, hi solicitor, approached the front of the dock and had a brief conversation with the accused.. As the jury were sworn the accused man intently took in his surround ings, standing with folded arms. Ladies were not admitted to the court. It was a quarter-past eleven when Sir D. Brynmor Jones, M.P., commenced his opening address to the jury. The prisoner trvaHed himself of the oppertunity of listen- ing to it seated on the form in the dock, with a warder at each side. SIR BRYNMOR'S OPENING ADDRESS Sir Brynmor Jones said the prosecution knew little of Mitchell, because he was not resident in Swansea, but the deceased wo- man was the daughter of respectable par- ents who lived here. She lived at home until a year or two ago, when she left ner home and commenced a base and immoral life. Every inquiry in such a matter must necessarily be painful and anxious to those i who, like themselves, were charged with the] responsibility of discovering the truth; but in this case it was not only pajnful, bat e- pulaive and unpleasant. Put shortly. the case was that prisoner would be identified as having gone with deceased woman in the Strand shortly before ten o'clock on May 12th. After conversation, which would be repeated by witnesses, they were seen to go down a lane and turn into Padley's Yard. Shortly afterwards the wo- man was found dead there bv P.C. Skinner, under circumstances which showed she met her end by strangulation. Prisoner was seen to leave Padley's Yard, was captured, and taken into custody. Counsel then produced a number of plans, and, handing one to his lordship and others to the jury, he explain- ed the site of the crime in de- tail. He then proceeded to sum- marise the evidence which would be calkd, the first witness being Patrick Long, a youth of 17, who would tell a story which seemed to be absolute proof of the fact that prisoner strangled this woman, so that this case did not simply rest upon circumstantial evidence, but upon the direct evidence of eye-witnesses. Long, while standing before the door of Cough's lodging-house, saw prisoner and the woman approach each other, hold a conversation, and go down towards Padley's Yard for some purpose. Shortly after he had occa- sion to go to a back premises of Gough's, and looking through the crack of a door there, he saw prisoner standing straddlewiae over the woman. Mitchell's left hand was on the woman's throat, and Long heard a gurgling noise. Long rushed down into Padley's Yard, saw the two still in the same position, and Keast still gurgling, and then spread the alarm. When a man named Yates came up prisoner was walking or run- ning in the direction of the North Dock. Yates followed, there was a fight, prisoner got away, another scuffle occurred, and then Mitchell was overpowered and taken into custody by P.C. Francis. Prisoner had been somewhat roughly handled. P.C. Skin- ner would describe how he found the wo- man lying, her clothes lifted up to her knees, and marks of wounds about her face. The body was taken to the hospital, and though still warm, was lifeless. Mean- while prisoner was still struggling, and used the words, "Let me go at her again.' He demanded of the poiiceman "Where the —— —— are you taking me to?" P.O. Francis said they were going to the police station, and prisoner said "All right. Til go." On arrival there prisoner added "I wish you were a quarter of an hoar longer, and I would have been dead too." Mitchell later OIl asked another constable "Is she dead 7" aod on beinsr told yes, answered "I am to blame. I suppose I shall swing lor it. It is no tee crying over spilt milk." There was also a conversation with Ins'f^ectcT Ivewis, who made a formal charge, and Mitchell said "Yes, yes. I understand." THE EXHUMATION: NO COIN FOUND. Counsel recounted the resets of medical examinations, and of the exhumation on July 19th, and >aid no coin or any foreign substance of any kind was discovered which could tend to alter the conclusions that Keajst died from strangulation. He be- lieved the evidence would leave not the slightest doubt that this woman was. under the circumstances indicated, strangled to death by prisoner at. the bar, and if these circumstances were proved, the duty of the r would be to find a verdict of guilty. Brynmor Jones remarked that he was glad defendant had his friends as eoonsel, for he was sure they would rightly omit no theory which would help in t.he elncidatkKi of the aasei The first witness called was Mr. Glendrn- uing Moxham, architect who produced plan& a-i described the locality. Photographs were also produced. The witness described the hole in the door Cthixragh which a wit- Beat) looked), and said one could eee outside <firtinctly by day and indistinctly bv night. Sixty-two feet away from the door was a lamp, bat the light was not thrown so far as the door, that part being in shadow. J Witness looked thpoaTn the crack, with Detective-Tnspsctor Lewis crouching on the other side. 'J Ooos-examaned: The hole in the crack was not five feet from the ground, and look- ing through one could not see the lamp. TO**) Lewis was co the ground witness CM4& DS £ pes tbaAlrfb of tue movecnata^ L. If he moved in one direction from the smithy wall he came n". of the line of light. A slight movement on the part of the Inspector would take him out of the picture. Mr. Francis Williams asked to be allowed to reserve one or two questions until fur- ther evidence had been called. His Lordship readily asisented. John Lewis, photographer, Swansea, pro- duced photographs he had taken bv instruc- ° of Padley's Yard and environments. ALWAYS AN OPEN DOOR FOR „ DECEASED. iLusabeth Keast, single, No. 120, Peratre- _,arD^i-ter to the deceased, was w.. ^d- She was dressed in mourning. ^8T father was a labourer at the Hafod Copper Works. Brynmor Jones: How old was de- ceased? Sir Brynmor Jones: How old was de- ceased? Witness: 24. vet fornierly lived at home?—Yes. When did she leave?—About 12 months etore her death. Did she ever come back ?—She used to visit the house occasionally. Do you know where she was tiring ?—At Vaughan's Lodging-hoase, Strand. Y°ur sister had! rather taken to drink, Man t she ?—Yes. And to a bad course of life?—Yes. There were no qnesiioos pot by the de- fence^ but His Lordship asked witness if ner father was always ready to take the aead girl back, and the reply was in the affirmative. PAT LONG'S THRILLING NARRATIVE. Patrick Lang (17), labourer. remembered standing on Gough's Lodging-houeo !5°°'r n,fa^Lu TT °'cl0ck on Satur- day, May 12th He saw prisoner and j Tm*?' *fteuT,°man °°ming up the j1 down from 711 e-V together, fht iL ™man *ya "Come down the Post Office lane. They talked together, fht iL ™man *ya "Come down heard wI»t Mitchell sa.id. Bbt h people went in the direction of Padley's Yard. His Lordship admonished witness for SffSt'U £ a «- J«y icSs^t aad the fires j] Si" Pram"aL ««»«»» SCUFFLING, AXDTTTP/NT A GURGLING JNOISE coming from Padley's Yard. H° oe*r*d through a crack in the door, and s £ T^a woman on her back, a man on top of her an his left band was by her throat, an' he wa<s striking her. Mr. Lloyd Morgan: He Was over her vou may. In what pœ.ition ?-He was sitting on her cheet. And when vou looked through the crack rn ZZ1 ,• anJrtlua??—Yes, I could still hear gurgling. Were vou able to see what position they were m ?—Yee, air. Where was her head?-A boat six feet from the door. Their feet were away from the door, pi £ ?g> th^n_fpoke1 round into J_S„ ardTTand ^efctm? near the man ana^woman. He got wrtfaui four ywr*fe of them. Were then then in the same position7 Yes. I told Mitchell "Let the woman alone, but he got no reply. Ai7 uL(>?^hip the next question. Was he doing anything? Witness.- Still catching her by the throat. said he ran away for help when he got no rep y, and Kate Hughes cai^ back with him The man hS changefhS position a httk now being more on the wo- man s leit. They both were lying quite S "My 00(11 they're both dead." pien Mitchell jumped up and ran away. Witness explained the state ot Keasi's clothes, and said he straightened them out. MR. B. F. WILLIAMS CROSS-EX tM. INES. Cross-examined by Mr. B. Francigs Wil- liams, Long said he was a labourer. Where?—Wherever I can find labour. Mr. Francis Williams: Oh, oh • Kf*1^ Sa^ ^ot his living by doing odd jobs. He had been in Swansea since Christ- mas, but he had worked with a sweep for some time. He admitted acquaintanceship ieUow named Coleman, who once stayed at the san-.e lodging-house as witness. Si61113?! ?ettm§ his living by getting odd jobs alwut. Witness did not know if he was in Swansea still, but he had left Gough s lodging-house. Mr. B. F. Williams: Is the place often I used for immoral purposes? (referring to the spot where the prisoner and deceased had been). Witness: Yes. Did you and Coleman talk the matter ovar ?—No. Be careful now Never talked it over at all ?—No. He only beard what 1 told the reporters. Didn't you talk to him and tell him what you had seen?—No. Did you say before the magistrates that you spoke to Coleman the day after about the case?—I didn't talk to him about the case. He heard what I told the reporter. You heard the deceased say, "Come down this way?"—Yes. ? Did you go at once in the lodgmg-howe. —Not immediately; I couldn't have gone straight in. How long were you looking through the crack?—Just to have a glimpse of what was going on. Did you go for the purpose of seeing?— No. Was the woman lying with her head to the door?—Yes, parallel to the blacksmith's wall. Her feet were towards the lamp. You saw the man strike the woman on the noor?—Yes. You told the magistrates that hie right hand was about to strike her?-He itruck her several times. How many?—Three. With his right or left?—Right hand. Was that while you were watching tbrougU the hole in the door?—Yes. Were the blows violent ones?—Yes. Why didn't you call out to them? I didn't think it was anything serious. The man has the woman down ard is strik- ing her, and yet you don't say anything? It is not an uncommon thing there. And you didn't think it seriousf-No. You saw thre-- blows struck?—It doesn't take- long. Why did you run round?—Becawe the row was going on. And you went to see the row?—Yea. Did you run round to tell the man to stop? Wao that your reason for croincr round?—Yes. 8 How near did you get to the man and woman?—About four feet. woman?—About four feet. Were they still in the same ooeitioo as they had been when you were looking through the hole in the door?—Yes. The prisoner had his hand raised as if striking be- on the ground. You went back and saw Kate Hugbesl- Yes, she came btck. Did you know the deceased by sight?— No. "BOTH THE WORSE FOR DRINK." Re-examined by Sir D. BryBmor Jones: Witness went to Gough's todging-hoaee after Christmas, and remained there for some time after. The place was shut up now. The Judge: Did you notice anything about tha sebzjaty o* tha two? Witness: They were both the worse for drink. j How did you judge—by the walk?—Yes. Did they walk very badly?—Unsteadily. KATE HUGHES SWEARS TO ACCUSED. Kate Hughes, single, Vaughan's lodging- house, Strand, said that about ten o'clock on May 12th she was talking at tho back of the post office to a young man. Long came up to her, and she went to the back of Pad- ley's Yard, where she saw the prisoner and deceased lying down. Neither was mov- ing, and she (witness) told the man to get up. He did not answer, and she called tor assistance, cahing out that both were dead. She met Rosina Davies m the Strand, and then ran back again. She got to within a short distance, when thi man jumped up and knocked her over the shafts of the can. When she got up a man named Griffiths was standing by. Prisoner had gone. Judge: Did you know the prisoner? Witness: No, sir. But he was the man?—Yes, I can swear to it. Cross-examined by Mr. B. F. Williams, witness described the position of the man and woman when she saw them first. When she shouted to the man to get up first of all then was no movement. Mr. B. F. Williams: Did they appear to be dead? Witness: Yes. No movement?—No. And you thought they were both dead?— No. His Lordship Did you notice the pris- oner's clothes? Witness Only that he had a pair of white moleskin trousers on. Re-examined, witness said it could not be more than a minute between the time she saw them still and when the man jumped up. ELIZA ANN KEAST, THE DECEASED. Wm. Arthur Smith proved taking photo- graphs of the deceased on the day aiter the murder. Cross-examined by Mr. B. F. Williams: The photos were taken under the direction of Dr. Marks, the hospital surgeon. Rcsina Davies, wife of Wm. Davies, living at Vaughan's on the Strand, said she was standing near the post office at the corner of Green Dragon-lane, by Gough's. She was in company with two young men. Katie Hughes was on the opposite corner. Long came up to Kate Hughes, and the latter told her that there was a man and woman dead. Witness ran and gave the alarm, and they ran round towards Padley's Yard. Then Katie Hughes was on the ground be- tween the shafts of the wagon. Witness saw the prisoner strike Kate Hughes a sec- ond time. Witness ran in his way and the prisoner stumbled and fell. Then witnass ran screafbing to the corner near the wagon. A man named Yates came round, and wit- ness said, "Here (meaning prisoner, who was getting up) he is." Prisoner ran away towards the bottom of Padley's Yard to- wards the North Dock. Yates caught him, and they had a scuffle. This was about ten or twelve yards from the wagon. Both Yates and prisoner fell, and the latter get- ting up ran into t, e boiler-house attached to the ice-house. Witness shouted not to let prisoner go till the police came, as he Lad killed a woman. Yates brought him back and placed him against the wall not far off w the girl wao lying. A crowd had con- crregateu, and witness stayed till P.C. Fran- cis came up and arrested prisoner. DECEASED'S PURSE PRODUCED. At this stage Detective-Inspector Lewis produced a purse which witness identified as belonging to deceased. Witness knew the deceased, as they lived in the same house. Mr. B. F. Williams: Did she (deceased) drink a good deal? Witness l\ot that I know of. She was always the same in drink as when sober. How's that?—She was always happy and was not quarrelsome. What made you tell me that? Don't you know she drank often?—No. Did you go about with her?—No, I always keep my own company. You belong to the same class?—Yes. Didn't she get quarrelsome sometimes when she had drink?—Not that I am aware of. You are a prostitute?—Yes. And you came out of prison this morning? —Yes. Had you been with her that afternoon?— r had been sitting down with her "across the street" in company with several others. Had she been quarrelling tha.t afternoon? -Not that I know of. What tim, did she leave you?—About 4 o'clock. We met again about nine o'clock by a public-house in Green Dragon-lane. Had she been drinking then?—I didn't take notice. Do you mean to my you can't say?—I did not notice her have any. Didn't you see from her she had some?— No. When the prisoner ran away was there a big crowd?—Afterwards. Was the prisoner roughly handled?—Not that I am aware of. I only saw one man scuffling with him—(Yates.) Did you see his (prisoner's) head struck agoanEt a wall?—No. I saw Yates and prisoner with their ms round one onother. THE PRISONER WILLIAM MITCHELL. I Re-examined: Witness was sent to prison 13 days a^o for fighting. She saw deceased by the Engineers Anns about 9 o'clock. Deceased was not talking to anyone then, and there was nothing to suggest she had been drinking. THE MEETING OF ACCUSED AND DECEASED. David Griffiths, labourer, 29, Llangyfelacli- road, said he beard Mitchell make a sug- gestion to Keast and the latter started bar- gaining. Both went towards Padley's Yard, witness in advance of them, and he noticed them turn in. Witness, himself, went into an oathoose, and on returning five minutes later he beard a woman sav*l;n, <cmi running up he saw prisoner hitting a woman, whom he since found was Kate Hughes. Prisoner then made towards witness, and they fell down together, ilitchell got (:1 towards the North Dock. Cross-examined, the man and woman were together when he first saw them. When they went towards Padley's Yard, they were following him, not he them. Mr. Francis Williams: Thty were quite friendly?—Yes, quite. Were they talking as they walked along, after coming to their arrangement ?—No, they talked nothing. How were they walking?—Side by side. Witness said he did not turn round to look at Keast and Mitchell. His Lordship: You say you were in front. How do you know they nt in Padley's Yard ? You couJdn't see through your back Witness (bastilv): Oh, I turned round. Mr. Francis Williams: How long was it between your seeing the two together and being called back bv Kate Hughes? Witness: About five minutes. I hadn't a watch. You said before the magistrates "Not more than five minutes."—That was about right. CHASE AND A SCUFFLE. Wm. Yates, Labourer, said I{o.>ina Davies came into a public house about ten o'clock on May 12tli, and in consequence he went with her to Green Dragon-kne. Mr. Lloyd Morgan: When you got there what did she say ?—She said: "Here be is." And who was "he?-' Witness pointed at prisoner. Yates said Mitchell got up from the woman and ran away. He caught him near the boiler house; they fell together in the scuffle. Mitchell said he bad done nothing, and, said witness "I left him go." IWsina Davids cried out "Don't let him go, he's killed her." Then witness ran after Mitchell and held him until txle police came. His Lordship: You are braver in vour acts than in your words you don't speak up at all. Cross examining, M-r. Francis Willisvnas said he supposed Mitchell had rather a rough time ? Witness: I don't know, sir. Not when I held him the first time. But a crowd came afterwardr-. He had it pretty rough then?—Well, ves sir. TREATMENT OF ACCUSED WHEN CAUGHT. Jno. Crowley, engine driver, Orange- street. said he was in the Cambrian Storage boiler-house when he heard a row outside. A yonng man was hitting prisoner, and the I latter was "hit" very often bv the same man. The same man kep* beating prisoner I till they got to the boiler-house door. When Drieorer steuped in witness's brother pushed the prironer out. Then two v°urte- fe"ow Tot hold of him, took him round to Padley's Yard, and the policeman arrested him. Mr. B. F. Williams: He was Tiaving a bad time? Witness: VeTy bad. At this there was taushter in court. hIt Lrvrr^hin eaid h" h^eo no would think tin! was a cn^e to he langhed at. Mr. Williams: Was prisoner near the wall ?—Yes. And he came into your boiler-house for protection ?—Yes. Did prisoner sav "1 won't go?"—Y-°s. PRISONER'S STATEMENT TO POLTCE. P.C. Wm. Francis spoke to being called to Padley's Yard, and when he au-restea prisoner the latter said "Let me go to get at her again." On the way to ttie police station prisoner caid "Where the —— —" are you taking me to." Witness said "The rlioe station," and prisoner said "All right, will come." In the charge-room Mitchell said "I wish you had been a quarter of an hour longer, and I would have been dec/l too." Mr. Lloyd Morgan: Were there any marks on prisoner? Witness: A few scratches on his face, from which blood was flowing. What was his condition?—He wasn't drunk, but he had been drinking. Witness produced a parse which he found a few yards from where Keast's body lay. There was nothing in the purse, but he found 91d. on prisoner. Mr. Francis Williams: A threepenny bit, and 6td. in coppers?—Witness, yes. When you took Mitchell into custody, and he said "Let me get at her again," did he seem very arfgry with the woman?—He did. Did he look as if he had been badly knocked about?—I don't know, sir. Did you say he did, before the magis- ) trates ?—N o, 6ir. The notes of the police court hearing showed that witness told the magistrates Mitchell seemed to have been badly knocked about. Witness now said r-risoner did have that appearance. Re-examined, Mitchell made no complaint about his treatment. Jno. Owen saw the woman on the ground. After the body was removed witness found a shilling piece under where the body had been laying. HOW THE CORPSE LAY. P.C. Skinner, who was spoken to by Kate Hughes in Cfeistle-sqaarie, and who went to Padley's Yard, said when he got there deceased was dead. She was on her back; her clothes were disarranged, her hair dishevelled, and part of the dress by the neck open. The lower clothes seemed twisted round the kneES. Deceased's tongue was coated with dirt. Witness noticed marks on the throat, by the wind pipe. Cross-examined: She was lying on her back. It seemed as if she had twisted round and twisted her clothing round her. Witness knew the deceased, who was an unfortunate, and given to drink. Mr. B. F. Williams: Do you know she had been in some quarrel that night ? Witness: I ca.nnot tell about tha.t. What part of the town is this place?— One of the worst. His Lordship: Who does this yard be- long to? Witness: I can't tell, my lord. Is it shut up at night?—No There are wagons there and a store. Mr. B. F. Williams said it was not a yard in the sense of being enclosed. Sir D. Brynmor Jones said it- as much part of the street as Green Dragon- lane. The Judge said he did not impute any specific blame to anyone, but he thought, aiter what had occurred some attempt might have been made to guard the place a little more. As it was it seemed such a temptation. Mr B. F. Williams said an extra lamp would probably do it. Re-examined: Deceased, go far as lie knew, was a quiet, orderly woman for her class. Once he had taken her in cuatodv for indecency, but not dishjnesty. Mr. B. F. Williams said he did not sug- gest that at all. (To the witness): Had srIP been nryl disorderly? Witness I don't know. "I SUPPOSE I SHALL SWING FOR IT." Dciective-Sergt. Howard said he took prisoner in ch^mr from P.C. "runcis t ont o'clock. 'fit.nJ,11 • "T" <-b& ^ead?' He r°olied "Yeo- and M;*r>k,a'n t}jp'1 <■ 00 "I am to blame. I suppose I shan swing for it. It's no use crying over spilt milk." Cross-examined, witness said it was ten minutes after he relieved P.C. Francis that Mitchell spoke to him. EXPERIMENTS ON THE SCENE OF THE CRIME. Detective-Inspector Lewis received Mit- chell into custody a.t the police station at eleven o'clock. Witness asked Mitchell BD°> TOU know what you are detailed here for. He replied "Yes, for assaulting the girl, I suppose." Prisoner told him he had come from Abercrave that day. About two o'clock on the Sunday morning he charged Mitchell, and after he had been caut oned he said "Yes, yes; I understand." Mr. Lloyd Morgan: Did you subsequently go and see where the body was found ?—Yes. You went .rortgh some experiment? Yes, I crouched down as near as possible where the body was found, and, Mr. Moxham went, behind the door that Long looked through. AboQt what o'clock was this? Oh late in the evening. Did you also reverse your positions?— Yes. Could you see Mr. Moxham then? Yes, I could distinguish the different parts of his body. His Lordship: This man was said to have had his hand held rpf as if he was going to strike her? Would you have been able to see that action?—Writnecs was not sure on that point. Mr. Francis Williams: You did all this to test the truth of Long's story? I fhinl- the

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TRAGEDY OF SWANSEAI I STRAND.I