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DOUBLE MURDER AND SUICIDE IN LAMBETH. A terrible tragedy took place-in Lambeth on Thursday night-viz., the murder of two children by their mother, and the suicide of the hapless woman. She was the wife of Mr: Charles Roberts, a master plumber and painter, living at 51, Chester-street, Kennington-road. They had three children-Charles, aged 12 Annie, aged IQ and Frederick, aged 7 and it is the younger two who have met so tragic a fate. About twenty minutes to five o'clock on the day above mentioned, Mrs. Hill, a neighbour, heard loud cries of murder, and pro- ceeded at once to the garden in front of Mr. Roberts's house. She there met the boy Charles, who, in a very frightened and excited state, said, Oh, Mrs. Hill, mother has killed the two, and will kill me." Mrs. Hill at once hastened into the house by the front door, and found both parlours empty. She then proceeded to the basement floor, where in one of tke rooms she found Mrs. Roberts lying near the doorway leading to the back yard, in a pool of blood, and bleed- ing from a frightful gash on the left arm, just above the elbow. She said, Oh, Mrs. Roberts, what have you done ?" The unfortunate woman had become so weak r'1 n from the loss of blood that she could scarcely articulate, but was understood to make some mention of her children. The dying woman had in her right hand a white-handled table knife. Mrs. Hill called in a neighbour, with whose assistance the almost inani- mate body was removed to the hearth-rug. The alarm having been given, and medical assistance called in, it was found that the poor woman had inflicted a deep puncture in the left arm, by which the most im- portant muscles had been divided. She was then dead. Several medical gentlemen soon arrived upon the spot. The rumour having got abroad, a large crowd assembled in the neighbourhood, and Chester-street was so be- sieged by idlers that it required a large body of police to keep the thoroughfare clear. The police and medical gentlemen were induced by the expression made use of by the boy Charles to make their way upstairs. On passing through the back bedroom over the kitchen, into a small lumber-room ovenine out of it. the lifeless bodv of Frederick was found. He was lying on his left side, with his hands clenched and covered with blood. The poor boy's throat was cut from ear to ear, and there was little evidence of any struggle having taken place. In the first floor front bedroom, lying on the floor upon her left side, was the corpse of the poor child Annie, whose head, neck, and bosom were besmeared with blood. She was lying outstretched between the bed and the washstand. Her right arm was extended, and her left hand, just visible from beneath the body, was tightly clenched. The coverlet of the bed was stained with blood, as also the washstand. Here evidently a struggle had taken place between the poor child and her mother, who had, as in the case of the boy, inflicted a severe gash on the girl's throat. The eldest boy Charles, who first gave the alarm to Mrs. Hill, was afterwards taken to her house, where, on being questioned he made the following statement:—" I was playing in the garden with Fred, between four and five o'clock this afternoon, when mother come down and said, Fred, I want you.' I went with her upstairs and then heard a bump. I then ran upstairs to the back room over the kitchen, and there saw Freddy sitting in the child's chair. Mother was then in the act of I sawing' his neck with the knife. She then threw him off the chair down upon the floor, and the blood spirted all over the place. I then rushed downstairs followed by mother. I said, I What's the matter with Freddy ?' She said He's very ill.' Mother then ran upstairs again to the front bedroom, where sister Annie was lying on the bed suffering from a pain in the chest. Mother took hold of her. Annie said, Oh, mother, for goodness' sake, what are you going to ?' Mother said, I will stab you,' and then drew the knife back- wards and forwards across Annie's throat. I was in the doorway and saw this. I was frightened, and ran away downstairs, through the front and back kitchen into the garden, and cried Murder,' and Help.' Mother stopped in the doorway of the kitchen, and I said, Oh, mother, what are you going to do ?' and she answered, I'll stab myself.' I then saw her thrust the knife into her arm, and then the blood spirted out all over the place." Mr. Roberts came home from a contract he was carry- ing out in the Borough, pushed his way through the crowd, and soon learned the fatal news. THE INQUEST. On Friday afternoon, Mr. Wm. Carter, coroner, opened an investigation at the Sir Sydney Smith Tavern, Chester-street, touching the deaths of Mrs. Anne Roberts and her two children, Frederick and Anne Maria. Mr. Inspector Heath, of the L division, attended to watch the proceedings on behalf of the police, and the court and its approaches were densely crowded. Charles Roberts was the first witness, and cried bitterly while giving his evidence. He said My father's name is Charles, and he is a builder and deco- rator of houses. I lived with him and my mother. My mother's name was Anne Maria Roberts, and her age was 40. My sister Anne was aged nine years, and my brother Frederick seven years. On Thursday after- noon, between four and five o'clock, my mother said she would do for us. I was then in the back garden with Reuben Ashley, a lad between ten and eleven. My brother Frederick was playing with me, and my mother called out "Frederick, I want you." Freddy did not go at first, and my mother called a second time and said, "Freddy, why don't you hear?" He went upstairs and I followed him, and washed my hands. I heard a scraping noise on the floor of the lumber room over head, and went up to the door. It was locked. I heard a sound like the pouring of water in the back room, and I heard my mother's voice. I said what is the matter, and my mother said, She is very ill." My mother then rushed out of the room and went into the other room, where my sister Anne was. She cut at her two or three times. There was no resistance on the part of my sister. I then ran away, and my mother followed me. She had a table knife in her right hand, and the boy who was with me said, Oh, you silly Mrs. Roberts." She then dodged me into the kitchen, and threw the knife at me, but I dropped my head against the wall. I ran into the front garden, and called out, Murder" and Police." I did so because she said in the afternoon she would kill herself. I did not then say anything to her. The boy who was with me in the garden told her not to be a foolish woman, and I believed she would do something to herself. Reuben Ashley, the lad referred to by last witness, gave corroborative evidence. Mrs. Elizabeth Hills said My husband is a mathe- matical instrument maker, and lives at 53, Chester- street. On the afternoon in question I was in my back garden between half-past four and five o'clock. I heard cries of Murder," and "Police." The voice appeared to come from Mrs. Roberts', at the back of her house. I called out, but receiving no reply I ran round to the front, and Charles Roberts came out and said, She has killed the two children, and stabbed herself." I ran into the house by the front door, and found Mrs. Roberts lying in the kitchen just before the fireplace with a knife in one hand. She was about falling, and did fall. I called out, Oh, Mrs. Roberts, what have you done ?" She tried to speak, but could not. I did not see anything the matter with her when she fell, but afterwards saw that she had a large cut about the left elbow joint, and blood was flowing from it. I then went upstairs. The child Anne was lying on the floor beside the bed. In the other room on the floor I saw the boy Frederick. They were both bleeding from wounds in the throat. Mrs. Roberts did not speak to me afterwards. Mrs. Sarah Coleman, who was called in by the last witness, gave corroborative evidence. Some police evidence was then taken as to the bodies and premises. Mr. Wheeler, surgeon, of Kennington-park-road, said he was called to the place, and in the kitchen found the deceased woman with a wound three inches long in the left arm, dividing the principal arteries. In the upstairs room over the kitchen he found the body of the boy with a large gash in the throat severing the jugular vein and other chief arteries. Great physical force must have been used to have inflicted the wound. He then went into the front room and there saw the body of the little girl, who had a wound in her throat and was quite dead. The coroner said the question now arose whether the deaths of the children were the result of an act of violence on the part of another party; and if so, was that party the mother of the children. The jury said they were unanimously of opinion that the mother had caused the death of the children, and they at once returned a verdict of "Wilful Murder" against Anne Maria Roberts, the mother, in both cases. The coroner said he would now take evidence as to the death of Mrs. Roberts herself. Elizabeth Coleman was then called, and stated that she had known Mrs. Roberts (the deceased) for some years. Latterly she had been addicted to habits of in- temperance. On Monday last she was with her for several hours. She was very violent, and was with difficulty restrained from going downstairs to inflict violence upon her husband. By the Coroner; I had known deceased strike her husband, and that is why I tried to prevent her going downstairs. She uttered something on the Monday night about striking her husband, and said she wanted to get at him." She was exceedingly violent all the time. She appeared quite rational, but very excited frouil,the effects of drink. On the following day she was very excited, and in the afternoon I bathed her head with vinegar. She was in bed all that day, and had not been drinking. Upon some occasions when she had been drinking I have stopped with her when she was violent, but she was not uncontrollable in her actions. I never heard her threaten her own life or that of any other person. On the Monday night she was in a state of fury, and said she would be quiet if I would remain and sleep with her. On the previous Sunday morning I was disturbed by a noise, and when I went in I found that she had broken in the panel of the front parlour door with a flat iron. She was then in an excited state, but had not been drinking. I saw her on the Wednesday, when she appeared rational. Reuben Ashley, recalled, said that during the after- noon of Thursday Mrs. Roberts sent him for half a quartern of pale brandy. Charles Roberts, the son, was recalled, and stated that on Thursday at dinner time the deceased had an egg mixed with brandy before Ashley fetched the half a quartern. She looked strange all the day, and he thought she would do something to herself, especially after she had said she would do for herself, and threw the knife at him. On Sunday she appeared very low spirited, as though something was preying on her mind. She went to Clapton on Sunday without her husband's knowledge to see witness's aunt. She had been fret- ting all the day, but he iid not know why. She did not return home until Monday evening, when she had some words with her husband. Never saw his father ill-treat his mother. His mother was very affectionate, and fond of her children. The room having been cleared, the jury deliberated for about 20 minutes, and returned a verdict, "That the deceased Anne Maria Roberts, having wilfully murdered her two children, destroyed her own life whilst in a state of unsound mind."







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