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BRECONSHIRE. I

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BRECONSHIRE. I TOWN OF BRECON.—CORONER'S INQUEST. VER- DICT OF WILFUL MURDER AGAINST SARAH WINTER. An inquest was held on Wednesday last at the Black Lion Inn in this town, before Henry Maybery, Esq., one of the coroners of this county, and a respectable jury, of whom Mr. John Evans was appointed foreman, on the body of a newly born female child, found in a closet at the bottom of the gar- den adjoining Mount Pleasant, the residence of James Wil- liams, Esq., one of the coroners for the county. The investigation has excited much interest in the town, as the young woman charged with the offence contrived to abscond on the night the body was found, and has not since been heard of. The following evidence was adduced. Mary Powell, single woman, sworn: I am a servant with James Williams, Esq., surgeon, Mount Pleasant. I am the only servant there now. A few day ago there was another servant, her name was Sarah Winter. She was there up to Monday night. I have not seen her since. Nothing occurred till Saturday evening last. Sarah Winter was lying on the bed in her room upstairs, about seven o'clock in the evening. I did not sleep in the same room. I did not observe anything when I left her. I was not a minute in the room. f asked her if she was ill. She made no reply. I returned in about ten minutes. She was then on her knees, by the side of the bed. I asked if she was better. She told me to go down stairs, fearing that Mrs. Williams would see us both up stairs. I then went down stairs, and soon after heard a child scream. I am quite certain of that. I think it was in the house. It was a very weak scream. I felt quite timid when I heard it, fancying that it was with Sarah Winter upstairs. In about an hour after this she came down stairs on Mrs. Williams calling her, I did not go upstairs she pre- vented me, I had work to do in her bed room but she pre- vented me going up, I did not enter it until Monday morning 6he did the work of the room. I attempted to go several tiJlle' but she would not let me. I saw no difference in her except that she was not so stout as she had been and was very pale, I told her she looked paler than usual, she said I do not think I do, I told her that I had heard she was in the family way, she always denied it. I did not sleep with her. On. Monday I saw the colour of blood on the floor of the room near the bed side, where I saw her kneel on Saturday evening, it had the appearance as if some one had been wiping it away, I did not see blood anywhere else, she had been in Mr. Williams service three years. I have been two years next March, the mark of blood was apparent in the room. I had not seen on it Saturday. I am certain it was not there on Sa- turday morning. The room was cleaned sometimes by m' v- self. It was mv duty to do so it was seldom she did so. I had cleaned the room on Friday last. Mr. Williams was out, and Mrs. Williams was in the parlour. It was between seven and eight o'clock. (By the foreman.) I was in the kitchen when I heard the scream. Her room was immediately above the kitchen, there is no carpet in the room where she was, the kitchen is a very low one, the joists of the floor are in sight, there is deal flooring on the room, the boards arc quite close. I was not quite certain, so I did not say any- thing about it till Monday. I had no doubt on my mind, but that Sarah Winter had given birth to a child in her room. I was in the kitchen from the time I came down from Sarah Winter's room till she came down herself. About nine o'clock Sarah Winter told me to go down to Mr. Evans, Ship-street, for the grocery, while she was undressing Mr. Williams child. I went and was absent half an hour, when I returned the little boy was in bed. I observed she looked pale she was sitting before the fire. I never slept with her but'did one night last week. She appeared to be in the family way, but she always denied it to me. I did not tell my master or mistress anything of what had occurred, but on Monday I told Betsy James, a chairwoman, who used to wash for Mr. Williams. (By the foreman.) I heard the scream about half an hour before she came down stairs. I heard her walk about the room. John North, Esq. Is a surgeon and resides at Brecon. I made a post mortem examination of the new born female child. I believe the child to be at its full maturity. My own pupils were present. Mr. Armstrong also came in. The first thing that struck me was that the navel string was cut close to the body. It was not tied; indeed it could not be, so. close was it out. There are no marks of external injury the only thing that struck me was that the face, nostrils, &c., were all drawn up. The jury then went and viewed the body of the child. I have made a very minute examination of the body. I found the child perfectly healthy in all its parts, and decided evi- dence that the child had breathed. I can prove this from the condition of the lungs; they are to a considerable extent dis- tended with air. They were very buoyant in water. I applied the usual tests in the matter. I first put the lungs, the heart, and other artery into water. It floated on the sur- face. I afterwards put each lung separately, and they were very buoyant. I cut the lungs into many pieces, and found a similar result. From those experiments I infer that the child breathed very freely. Externally I had noticed that the whole of the face had been subjected to pressure. The cheek and mouth as well as the whole of the features were a little on one side. There was no mark of any bruise. I believe this was done after death. I do not connect this appearance of the child during life. She could not have done it at the child s birth. I believe it was done after death. I could not make out any finger marks on the face. The appearance on the face is no proof that any efforts were made to suffocate the child. The child I believe was born alive, the umbilical cord not having been tied is sufficient to account for death without any violence. I think the navel string was cut not torn. It is difficult to tell. The child would bleed to death in a few minutes, as it was cut so close. The closer this string is cut the sooner the child would die. There was blood in the large veins, but in small quantities. I have no doubt the child would have lived if the usual means had been resorted to. I do not believe the child was suffocated. There are no appear- ances of suffocation. I have every reason to believe that the child died from loss of blood. The impression on the neck might be produced from the same cause that produced the dis- tortion of the features. I informed Mr. Williams on Monday night last of the report that Sarah Winter had given birth to a child in his house, upon which an investigatioll was imme- diately made, and about half-past twelve, Mr. Williams called Upon me and said the child had been found. I then went to his house and found Mr. Williams and Mr. Stephens, the superintendent of police, engaged in getting out of the closet what Mr. Williams said was a child. I had not seen it. Mrs. Williams, wife of James Williams, Esq., surgeon, sworn, said: Sarah Winter was in my service. She was first employed as wet nurse, and subsequently to do the house work, and to take care of my little boy. I bad observed about about two months ago that she was rather stouter than usual in appearance. I had asked her fellow servant, Mary Powell, if she did not think she was stouter than usual. She said yes. I then went to the garden to Sarah Winter, who was taking in the clothes from washing. I told her that I thought she was pregnant. She burst out crying. By that I thought she was so. She then turned round, and took the Lord's name in vain, and said, You suspect me now because I have had a child before." I said "Not from that cause, but from your size, and Mary has told me that she thinks you are larger than usual." She cried, and said, I am sure I am not so." The conversation was in Welsh. I remember Saturday last; I was at home all the day and evening. Mr. Williams was also at home. My suspicion was not aroused in the evening. Sarah Winter continued to do her work in the house as usual. I did not observe her on Sunday. Oil Sa- turday evening she was sent out about four o'clock to clean the plate. She was rather long about it, so I went into the kitchen to her, and was rather cross. On Sunday I observed nothing. On Monday night I heard with much astonishment the report. Mr. Williams first told me of it about half-past 10 o'clock. Sarah Winter was then in bed, ana my little boy with her. I went into the room, and told her that I had seen what I thought to be a child in the closet. When I was there 11 1 am not the with Mr. Williams, she said it was not hers, I am not the owner." I left when Mr. Williams came. I have not seen her since. Her bonnet and shawl were gone. I discovered she had left the house in about half an hour after we took the child, and I have not seen or heard of her since. James Williams. Esq., sworn, said Sarah Winter UI to Monday night last was a servant of mine, and had lived with me upwards of three years. My attention was several times drawn to her appearance, I thought she appeared rather stout and communicated it to my wife. My wife spoke to her but upon her denying it so positively to her, I did not like to wound the girls feelings as we had so much respect for her, she having nursed our child. I had heard of her supposed pregnancy from two or three, but so positive was I of her innocence that I contradicted it, and attributed her size to ill health as I had given her medicine some months before, I thought that her health was disordered by her suffering ftom flatulency, as she was naturally stout. On Monday night last about 10 o'clock Mr. North sent for me to his house, and after apologizing he told me that a lady had sent for him, and said that Betsy James, Ja chairwoman, had told her that one of my servants had given birth to a child, and as corroborative of this the other servant had heard the child cry. I said I did not believe it, but to quiet such a report I would go home at once and investigate it thoroughly. Mr. North said, "You will oblige me greatly if you will let me know in half an hour whether it is true or not." I said of course I would, and thanked him for the kindness he had shewn. When I reached home I found all in bed excepting my wife, I told her what had been my business out. I got a candle and went to Sarah Winter's bed room and closed the door after me, I told her of the report, and that I must be satisfied as to its truth or otherwise. She looked at me rather wildly, and denied it most positively. She had been recently unwell, my wife by this time came into the room. I I placed my hand externally over her, and told her positively she had been delivered of a child within a week, she denied it again, but I went on with my search in the room and in the bottom of ftfl old rag truak I found a frock and a pair of stockings saturated with blood, she accounted for it by saying she had been unwell. After a fruitless search in the room I went into the kitchen, and searched with the same result and then into the cellar. My wife suggested the most likely place to be in the bottom of the garden or closct, we went there and on looking saw a bundle. I then obtained a skewer i which I bent like a hook, and after repeated efforts I succeeded in raising up a quantity of bloody clothes which this bundle consisted of, I could indistinctly see another bundle, and got a quantity of straw which I pushed down another hole in order to set fire to it which I did, and the instant it ignited I was mtisfied there was another bundled there. During the ineffectual attempts to get the bundle up, I was satisfied I could see a child. I pointed it out to my wife, and said I would proceed no further in the matter without the Police. It was then nearly 10 o'clock, and I went to the station house. I informed of the particulars. I called on Mr. North, at whose door I knocked. Whilst waiting for Mr. North to dress, I suggested to the superintendent the necessity of getting some hooks to get up the body. I went home and saw the superintendent and another policeman near to in) liouso. I had told Mr. North what I had seen, and asked him to follow me to my residence. I went up stairs into Sarah Winter's room, and said in Welsh, Sarah, I wonder at you. I took my own little boy from her, and gave him to my wife, and went down stairs, and Sarah Winter cried most piteousiy. There was a candle burning in her room. Mr. North, the superintendent aud I went to the bottom of the garden to the closet. I wrenched up the flooring, and descending a ladder brought up a child. It was a full grown female child, and appeared to have been born a few days before. I then went up into Sarah Winter's bedroom, accompanied by Mr. North, but she was not there. The bedclothes were perfectly clean. We observed traces of blood on the floor, as if it had not been well washed out. The child presents a. healthy appearance, I then wrote to Mr. Maybery, and requested Mr. North to call upon him for the purpose of holding an inquest, as I was going from home early on the following day. The impression on my mind was when I first saw the liild, that the umbilical cord had been forcibly torn off, and not cut as supposed by Mr. North. The coroner then addressed the jury at some length, re- marking upon the evidence adduced, that the case was a very serious one, and from all the circumstances attendant upon it. he thought they would not be doing their duty to their coun- try unless they brought a verdict of wilful murder against the party charged. The jury then after a short deliberation, returned a verdict of WILFUL MURDER against Sarah Winter, and at the same time expressed their strong approbation of the straight- forward conduct of James Williams, Esq., in making every necessary investigation as to the correctness of the report circulated as soon as his suspicions were aroused, and their warmest thanks to him for informing the police, Mr. North the surgeon, and the Coroner, of the occurrence, in order to have a thorough enquiry into the matter.

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