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THE MAYBRICK TRIAL., Issue 8016, 19 September 1889
THE MAYBRICK TRIAL.
[From Ocr Special Reporter in Court, |
(Concluded.) Liverpool, August 10, VERDICT AND SENTENCE.
The Judge's charge occupied the whole of Tuesday and up to three o'clock on Wednesday afternoon. His Lordship was dreadfully prolix and wearisome, going over every scrap of evidence two or three times. At first his remarks favored the prisoner strongly, and the general impression seemed to be that he inclined towards an acquittal. On Friday, however, a complete change came over the spirit of the Judge's summing up, and he was very severe on the prisoner. This became specially noticeable when he referred to the question of motive and Mrs Maybrick's intrigue with Brierley. There was (His Lordship pointed out) evidence for their consideration that the prisoner was actuated by a motive at onco strong and disgraceful. They had not to determine any moral question. They had heard of the adulterous intrigue from Mrs Maybrick herself. His Lordship referred to her visit to London and her meeting with another man named John as a " very disgraceful transaction indeed," but it was not a divorce case, and they were not going into details. It was extraordinary that she did not burn all tho letters that were found, but it was characteristic, and one of the lamentable consequences of connections of the sort was that they led into the most inextricable mazes of falsehood. One of the letters was now read by the Judge—one signed " John," and dated from the " Junior Travellers' Club, 8 St. James's square." This was a letter of expostulation with Mrs Maybrick for having told a " wrong story " to relatives in London, and saying: "lam not going to tell anymore lies or do any underhand or dangerous missions "—a curious and Btraightforwp.rd letter, evidently from a friend. The Judge severely criticised Mrs Maybrick's statement, and asked in emphatic terms if it was true that the use of arsenio as a cosmetic among her young friends in Germany was a common practice, why waß not some evidence called? Was it more difficult to bring witnesses from Germany than from America ? The prisoner obviously had the means of procuring the best legal advise aud providing evidence. Why was not her mother called ? It was a most odious and painful duty to him to have to make these observations. A flutter of interest was caused when the letter of " A. B." came to be read. It was necessarry to prove the handwriting, and His Lordship asked "la Brierley here ?" Inspector Baxendale went out of Court to find him, and the Judge went on with the reading of tho letter, Brierley not being again called, though he remained outside the door of the Court ready to appear at a moment's notice. The Judge said "it was a very painful thing to call him there." He then read the letter commencing "My dear Fiorrie," in which "A,8." proposed to go for a "round trip" in the Mediterranean, and which elicited from Mrs Maybrick the reply "Dearest," and "he is sick unto death,'' and asking him not to go away before seeing her. The Judge said this waa of "terrible importance"; it was equivalent to saying " My husband is going to die," at a time when the doctors thought tho opposite. His Lordship criticised the statement of the prisoner point by point, and, in inquiring into its veracity, said they must take into account some of her previous statements. He asked why Sir Charles Russell had not cross-examined on the presence of poison in tho meat extract. He know what the effect of this statement was. Why did he not crossexamine to show that she was going to tell or set up this story? "I don't like," His Lordship added, "lam afraid I may be going too far in speculation when I ask why counsel did not ask any question when this story waa essential as part of the case to be supported. It is a striking circumstance that a counsel of Sir Charles Russell's eminence—who must have had the whole thing in his mind—took so little notice of it beforo she spoke," Tho Judge also laid the utmost streps upon other improbabilities of the prisoner's statement, saying that it was a most " strange story " that after procuring the arsenic so easily and putting itjiu tho meat juice she did not "givo it to him." This was "strange" again, and the jury must take into account in considering it other " imputations" of falsehood. The Judge touched uponthesuspicions of Mrs Brigga and others, and thought that while "it would be impossible to expect any woman in the world to be just to others under such circumstances, and not to feel a deep and solemn indignation against them and their doings," the whole question came back to this : Whether their suspicions were right or wrong. At the point to which the judge referred to the prisoner's statement in which she spoko of her confession to her husband the day before his death "for the sake of her children," Mrs Maybrick for the first time during tho day furtively raised her handkerchief to her eyes, while the Judge dispassionately went on to ask the jury to consider " whether that story was true or not."
THE REAL VIEW OF THE CASE. Then came the point in the direction to the jury which was of the most vital importance. His Lordship directed that they were not to consider the case "as a mere medical case—as a case in which they were to decide whether the man did or did not die of arsenic" nor as a case of mere chemical analysis ; they must decide it as it stood. "You must decide it," said His Lordship, " as a great and highly important case, involving in itself not only medical and chemical questions, but involving in itself a most highly important moral question. And by that term ' moral question' I do not mean questions of what is right and wrong iu a moral point of view, but questions in which human nature enters, and on which you must rely on your knowledge of human nature in determining on the resolution you arrive at. You have in the first place to consider—far be it from me to exclude or to try to get others to exclude from their own minds—all the evidence in this matter." That is to say, the point and gravamen of His Lordship's direction was to take all the circumstances and evidence together, and place importance on the moral motives, not to the entire exclusion of the conflicting medical and scientific testimony, but in conjunction therewith.
THE DEATH SENTENCE,
SCENE IN COCKT. The jury retired to consider their verdict at eighteen minutes past three. During the interval between their retirement and the return of the Judge into Court, which took place at ten minutes to four, there was a loud and universal buzz of conversation, followed when His Lordship appeared by a dead silence. Tho early return of the Judge was at once taken as a sign that the jury were coming, and it was thought that if they had made up their minds in so short a time there could have been but one result, and that a favorable one. The jury returned at four minutes to four, and the wholo of the persons in Court rose and stood in silence. After being asked by the clerk of arraigns whether they found the prisoner guilty or not guilty, the foreman of the jury pronounced the verdict in a low voice "Guilty." After an instant's hush there was a loud murmur—half a groan and half an ejaculation of astonishment; but it was most decidedly expressed and felt throughout the Court, and during the following few moments of the pronouncement of the dread sentence there wore few who were not shaken with the pain and agitation of the terrible scene.
At tho moment of the verdict, the prisoner—who had been looking up confidently towards the jury-box (though she might have guessed by the averted faces of the jurymen what was to happen)—dropped her head down on one hand, resting it almost on her knee, and sat in that attitude for about fifteen aecondß amid the profouudest silence,' At this moment a second female warder came up to and stood behind her in order to be ready in case of the prisoner requiring assistance. The prisoner was first asked if she had anything to say why sentence of death should not be passed upon her, and at this question she rose, and, looking boldly at the Judge, said with emphasis : " I am not guilty." She continued in a very low voice, but still maintaining her proud demeanor, to the effect that
though Eke was guilty so Jsr aa her connection with Brievly was concerned, she was innocent of the crime.
The Judge then placed the black cap on his head, and pronounced in the usual way, and without any special indication of feeling, the sentence of death. As the words " and be hanged by tho neck until you be dead ! ' were spoken the prisoner trembled visibly; and when His Lordship added the sentence "May the Lord have mercy on your soul" she bowed her head in reverence and clasped her hands in front of her. The female warders stepped forward to support her on either side, and to lead her down the steps from the dock, but by a turn of the head she indicated that she did not require their assistance, and she then walked down the steps with great firmness. At this juncture the jury were about to be discharged, and as they stood up loud hisses were heard through the Court. When the verdict became known outside there wore loud groans and hooting from a very large portion of an immense multitude that had assembled, and there were several scenes of a very exciting character, almost everyone who came out of the building being subjected to unpleasant scrutiny and inquiry. A lady who was taken for Mrs Brigga was carried through the crowd with the utmost difficulty by the police, and by dint of hard struggling found refuge in the Northwestern Hotel, the doors of which were immediately closed against the mob. Mr William Swift and a lady who was with him were also assailed with groans, and only succeeded in reaching the railway station by the aid of the police. But the greatest scene of all occurred upon the departure of Mr Justice Stephen from the north end of the hall soon after the sentence had been pronounced. When the Judge's carriage drove up the crowd surged in that direction until the street near the end of London road became almost impassable. When the Judge entered the carriage and it drove rapidly off, it was followed for a considerable distance by a crowd of a thousand or more, who hooted and groaned in the most vehement and unmistakeable manner.
OUR CORRESPONDENT IN COURT,
Those who, like myself, were present in Court during the final harrowing act of the Maybrick tragedy will never forget the acute tension of the scene. For the moment all recollection of the unfortunate James Maybrick's dying torments faded from the mind, and one could feel only the profoundest compassion for the young and friendless woman in the dock, A single glance at the averted faces of the jury as they filed back into Court prepared the reporters for what was to come, but Mrs Maybrick evidently drew a hopeful augury from the early return. She was glancing around cheerfully when the clerk of the arraigns put the fateful question, and the foreman's whispered "guilty" seemed to strike her, like everyone else, with the suddenness of a thunderbolt. For some seconds the miserable woman sat as if turned to stone. TlieD rallying she stood unsteadily Tip, and casting at the Bench a look of despairing defiance murmured " I am not guilty. Save as regards Brierley I am not guilty, or words to that effect." 1 hey were spoken so low the reporters could not quite catch them. Personally I have not the smallest doubt of the woman's guilt. The defence was a house of cards, erected with great skill certainly, but of flimsy aud unsubstantial materials. One theory contradicted another. Had Mrs Maybrick "got off" (as people expressed it) no man marrying a bold unecrupulouß woman would have been safe.
THE MAYBRICK TRIAL., Issue 8016, 19 September 1889
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