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At the City Police Court this morning Thomas Henry Richards was charged with deserting his wife, Elizabeth Richards, on July 11, 1887. MrCarew, R.M., occupied the Bench. Mr Callaway appeared for complainant; Mr A. C. Hanlon for defendant. Mr Hanlon asked that the charge be amended to one simply for maintenance. His Worship referred to the expense incurred in bringing accused back to the colony. Mr Gallaway said that under the present charge imprisonment must follow conviction. The charge was not amended, and the case was proceeded with. Constable Ruttledge arrested accused in a skating rink at Launceston on August 14 under a New Zealand warrant. Complainant said that last July she was residing at Dunedin, her husband and herself coming to town from Queenstown. He left for the latter place to settle his business, saying that he would be back in a fortnight. He had never returned, and witness had not seen him until that day. Accused had two children, and left witness and them without any means of support. The Benevolent Trustees had aided her in supporting them and herself. He never stated that he intended to leave the colony, and she was never agreeable to them living apart. To Mr Hanlon : Accused had been working to the end of June. Witness brought four children to town—two by accused, and two by a former hutband. One of witness’s sons was twentysix years of age, but no support was received from him. Another was twenty-five years of age, and was in employment. Witness never said to accused that he could clear out; that she did not want him. She had two other boys working, but little support was received from them. Witness never told her husband that all she wanted from him was the furniture. When witness came to Dunedin he took a house at 10s per week, but did not pay the rent, nor did he furnish the house. It was not a fact that she drank frequently ; she took drink only when she was driven to distraction by accused, and she had never been drunk. She had been an inmate of the Queenstown Hospital, but was forced to go there owing to accused’s treatment and partly owing to drink. He had never asked her to let him have charge of his two children. Witness and accused had never lived happily; they had quarrelled over women. She had never heard her husband say or hint that he intended proceeding to another colony in search of employment. She heard that he had left the colony with a woman who had had a child by him. To Mr Gallaway : Accused owned considerable property in Queenstown, and witness could not state whether he owned the property at the present time. She believed that he took a passage for this girl, giving her name as Mrs Richardson. The letters produced were found under accused’s pillow while he was the worse of drink. That was before she left Queenstown. The letters were addressed to “ Edith,” who was a sister of the girl Clara Aldridge, whom accused took over to Launceston, la one of the letters he referred to a baby, of whom he was the father. In consequence of accused’s conduct witness left her home, as he had a loaded revolver in his possession. He asked her to return, and gave up the revolver to her. She had seen accused and the girl Aldridge together on the Queenstown steamer, and had frequently complained to him about his conduct with her. He had admitted and denied having been too familiar with Clara Aldridge. Constable Ruttledge (recalled) said he was once stationed at Queenstown, and knew Clara Aldridge. He saw her after accused was arrested. She was coming to the police station; and saw them together at the police station. When accused was remanded to Dunedin witness saw the girl Aldridge, who had a baby in her arms. Accused and the girl Aldridge resided at the same hotel. Mr Hanlon submitted that his learned friend had failed to make out a case of desertion against accused. There was not the slightest doubt, however, that the latter had gone to Tasmania, but before going he had rented a house, furnished it, and so provided a home for complainant. Accused had frequently told hia wife that he intended going to New South Wales or Tasmania in order to obtain employment, as he was unable to get it here. He had no intention of residing permanently in the other colony, as was alleged by the other side, and he (counsel for plaintiff) had failed to substantiate theii allegations. The letters produced by his learned friened were undoubtedly written by accused, but they had been written and placed under his pillow with the intention of bringing complainant to her senses. His Worship considered thatapnma Jack case had been established, and committed accused for trial. Bail was allowed—accused for LIOO, and two sureties of LSO each.

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Bibliographic details

ALLEGED WIFE DESERTION., Evening Star, Issue 7996, 27 August 1889

Word Count

ALLEGED WIFE DESERTION. Evening Star, Issue 7996, 27 August 1889