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THE MAYBRICK AGITATION.

STATEMENTS OP BRIRRLEY AND MRS MAYBRICK’S MOTHER.

[From Our Special Correspondent.!

London, August 16. The last move of the anserons herd of moist-eyed sentimentalists who are clamoring for the release of the estimable and much-wronged Mrs Maybrick is not a particularly wise ono, and will, I hope, thoroughly disgust all right-thinking people. It consists in blackening the character of the murdered husband, and hinting that poor Mrs Briggs had ulterior and disreputable motives for confiding her suspicions of the poisoning that was going on to the brothers Maybrick, At the city meeting on Tuesday a rascally fanatic named M‘Bengali actually went so far as to openly' accuse the late James Maybrick of adultery with Alice Yapp, and further stated that the deceased and a relative had combined to keep two sisters as mistresses. The absolute foundatioulessncss of these stories (which emanated originally in the fertile brain of the fair prisoner) was ascertained long ago by the M cssrs Cleaver and Sir Charles Russell, who would, yon may be sure, have gladly cross-examined on them at the trial had there been the faintest scintilla of evidence to back them up. That they should now be resurrected and spoken of authoritatively as "fresh evidence” is a ghastly scandal, and shows the utter folly and injustice of trial by newspaper. The * Pall Mall Gazette,’ mindful of its fiasco in the Lipskicase, is comparatively moderate in its own expressions of opinion this time; but there seems no limit to the vile insinuations and innuendoes of the ‘ Star ’ and the ‘Now York Herald.’ INTERVIEW WITH MR BRIERLEY. Mr Albert Brierley, whose name has been so prominently mentioned in connection with the recent trial, has (says the Liverpool correspondent of the ‘Now York Herald’) at length made a statement. It waa_ prepared after consultation with his solicitors, and then placed in the hands of Messrs Cleaver, the solicitors to Mrs Maybrick. Afterwards Mr Brierley granted an interview in relation to the matter. Mr Brierley is the senior member of tho firm of Brierley and Wood, cotton importers, at 4 Old Hall street, not far from tho Exchange. He has been in business for thirteen years in Liverpool, and has an irreproachable commercial standing. He is unmarried, and his residence is a suite of chambers at 60 Hnckisson street. Mr Brierley, upon being informed that a statement was desired, said: “ I have no statement whatever to make for the public.” After a little discussion he said : "That I have done wrong in this matter I do not pretend to deny, but I cannot refrain from saying that a most injurious misconstruction and misinterpretation has been put upon my re'ations with Mrs Maybrick, as unjust to her as it is unfair to myself. Our meeting in London was a grave wrong; but in this trial it has been magnified greatly to her injury and mine, and assumptions have been baaed upon it which are entirely unwarranted by the actual facts.” Mr Brierley is a tall, slender man of thirty-eight. His face is narrow and clearly cut, and he wears a light moustache and a light beard, clipped close and cut to a point below the chin. He spoke quietly, but with extreme earnestness. He was evidently under much excitement, and showed the effects of a mental strain running over many weeks past. Continuing, Mr Brierley said : —" You may put my statement in the form of an interview, but understand clearly that it must not injure Mrs Maybrick. That is the sole reason why I have been silent hitherto. I have been maligned, persecuted, and misjudged in every way. It has broken up my business, and will cause me to leave this city. But lam a man, and I have made no complaint. I only desire that tho terrible misfortunes of a woman, whose treatment has been scarcely fair, may not be further increased through mo.” Mr Brierley then proceeded to speak quite freely. Part of the time he sat on the corner of a large tabic in front of his desk, and at other times bo walked about the room. Ho said ; “Before the first proceedings against Mrs Maybrick were initiated or talked of I bad arranged for a vacation in the shape of a tour about the Mediterranean. I had made my preparations without a thought that any trouble was coming to her, for I had no expectation or suspicion of any. This is evident by itself in the letter from me to her which was quoted in Court, in which letter I said I was going away. Tho last interview I had with Mrs Maybrick was on April 6. Between our meeting in London on March 21 and this interview I had seen her only once, and that was at the Grand National meeting. I wish you would make a note of that, and let people judge how far those three meetings, long previous to Mr Maybrick’s death, justify the perpetual assumption all through tho trial, and particularly by the Judge, that she and I were on the closest terms of intimacy, and hand in hand, so to speak, in the whole matter. However, the moment that I heard that she was threatened with trouble I abandoned my trip. By way of a trifle, I may state that I had already paid LSO as passage money, L 35 of which I thereby lost. I simply mention that to show that it was my desire to stay and not to go. I was ready to come forward all through the trial, but was not called. Last year I met Mrs Maybrick once or twice, but we were merely distant acquaintances up to last November. I had very few interviews with her, and the only time I was ever away with her was on tho occasion of the visit to Loudon. I decline to say who suggested that trip. I refer you to the evidence adduced in Court. We had a distinct understanding that no meeting cither in London or elsewhere away from homo was ever to occur again. We parted in London as if we were never to meet again. It was distinctly understood that we were not to correspond. It was agreed that she should not write unless she got into some complications in consequence of our journey. If she did she was to let mo know. I tell yon this because I wish you to understand that the extent of our acquaintance and the depth of our intimacy has been most unwarrantably over-estimated, both to her injury and to mine. A few days after the Grand National—on April G —Mrs Maybrick came to tell me about her husband beating her and dragging her about the room. It was brought out in evidence that that is tho last interview I ever had with her.” In conclusion, Mr Brierley said his statement would bo forwarded by his solicitors to the Homo Secretary. “ JOHN." A Liverpool correspondent telegraphs ; •• ‘ John,’ I am now informed, is the nephew of Miss Bailey, an old friend of tho Baroness Von Roque. Miss Bailey is the lady who wrote to Mrs Maybrick about the anxiety that her friends had felt when they found that she had not been staying at the Grand Hotel. It has all along been a mystery how Mrs Maybrick spent the remainder of her time in London between leaving the Henrietta street hotel and returning to Liverpool. This ‘John’ is able to explain. When Mrs Maybrick went up to London she arranged to meet him as an old friend. He was also an intimate friend of her brother, who has been dead some years. It was from ‘John’—who, as he stated in his letter, told his aunt the truth that Miss Bailey learned that Mrs Maybrick had not, after arriving in London, gone direct to her house. As soon as Brierley and she left the Henrietta street hotel she repaired to her aunt’s and spent the remainder of the week there, and not with Brierley, os has been supposed. All this information has been given to the Home Secretary, and it was probably to it that Mrs Maybrick referred when, upon being asked whether she had anything to say why sentence should not be passed upon her, she faltered out something about certain evidence not having been given.” MRS MAYBRICK ’s MOTHER TALKS.

The non-appearance of Mrs Maybrick’s mother in the witness box at the trial was rightly enough dropped upon by all lawyers ns one of the weakest spots in the defence. The Messrs Cleaver and Mr Pickford, who got up the case, arc at the head of their profession in Liverpool, and spent six weeks going over the evidence and deciding what to lay before the jury. They knew better than anyone else how their not calling the Baroness Von Roque would be construed, and yet they decided against calling her. Obviously, for some sufficient reason, it was considered undesirable to risk her cross-

examination. The Baroness has now elected to volunteer a statement. It hurls charges broadcast at Mrs Briggs, the brothers Maybrick, and nurse Yapp, but fails altogether to explain away one scrap of the terrible chain of circumstantial evidence against the prisoner, INTERVIEW WITH THE HARDNESS VON ROQUE.

The following is the statement of the Baroness Yon P„oque, the mother of Mrs Maybrick. It was made verbally by the mother herself to a correspondent of the ‘New Yoik Herald’ at half-past eleven yesterday morning, in response to a request made on Sunday last. The Baroness is a well-preserved woman, who looks to be forty-live years old, or older. Her hair is grey. She was neatly dressed in black, with a black embroidered cloak, and wore no jewellery. Her manner had the depression natural to the fearful circumstances in which she is placed. Her voice was low and firm, her words measured, and her mind perfectly clear. Her statement was as follows ;

“I make this public statement for ono reason only—that is, that the basis upon which Justice Stephen and the jury conscientiously condemned my daughter to death was made up of only a part of many facts which should have been before them. It is only for the purpose of calling attention to a side of the case which has not been weighed by them that I speak to you. “Mr Maybrick died on Saturday. Up to the following Friday afternoon my daughter lay ill—prostrated and helpless, without a friend. She was surrounded by enemies whose bitterness I need not call your attention to, for it is in evidence. A nurse, the woman Yapp, whom my daughter had some months before reprimanded, and, as she wrote me, felt that she would be compelled to discharge, knowing or not knowing Mr Mayhrick’s own use of arsenic, communicated her suspicions to Mrs Briggs. Mrs Briggs telegraphed Mr Michael Maybrick. Mrs Briggs was the moving agent in all that ensued. My daughter was satisfactorily convicted of murder before Mr Maybrick died by Miss Yapp, Mrs Briggs, and Michael Maybrick, who was acting only upon the information, suspicious, and conclusions of these two women. Now, I respectfully suggest that Mrs Briggs’s actions, Mrs Briggs’s motive, and Mrs Briggs’s character are things that should be considered and have not been considered in this case.

" On hearing of Maybrick’s death I went straight to Battlecrease. I met Edwin Maybrick in the vestibule of the house. I asked him at once why I had not been allowed to come before. He said they had all lost their heads; that Florrie was too ill to know anything; and that Mrs Briggs did not know or had forgotten my address. He said: ‘ I would never have believed one word against Florrie if it had not been for that letter to Brierley. ’ Now permit me to say that there was a great deal of surreptitiousness about that letter to Brierley. It was written with the knowledge of a woman who had already come to the conclusion, honestly or dishonestly, that my daughter was a murderess at heart.. It was given to that woman to post, and that woman opened it. I may be Mrs Maybrick’s mother, but it looks to me as if that very strange and very unnecessary letter, a letter so queerly and ingeniously compromising that no other possible combination of words could have been equally harmful, was simply a trap successfully laid and triumphantly executed. My daughter is not a woman of very much penetration. If you could see her you would not wonder at the ease with which she has been deceived. Kindly remember that Mrs Briggs testified in Court that she advised my daughter to write to Brierley to get money enough to send some telegrams, and then walked straight out of the prison with the letter, and at once handed it to a policeman. " I believe I know that James Maybrick died a natural death. I believe that these two women, ignorant of all the private circumstanecs, ignorant of Mr Maybriok’s extensive use of arsenic, came to the conclusion that my daughter was poisoning him, and did everything they could to build up their case. The idea is simply absurd, to begin with, that you can poison a man with arsenic who has been using arsenic for eleven years without his knowing or suspecting it. Mr Maybrick knew his own constitution perfectly well. Ho has been experimenting on it with drugs ever since I knew him. He was a deep student of medicine from a personal standpoint. If there was one man on earth who would have scouted the idea that anybody could poison him with arsenic without his knowledge, it was James Maybrick, and ho would say so if ho stood hero to-day. My daughter said in her statement that she put a white powder in the meat juice at his request. That is perfectly true, and the Home Secretary will see that it is true. She made the same statement at the beginning in her first interview with her solicitor. She said the same thing to me. She has said it all tho time, and she has never varied, and there will bo no difficulty in proving this to anybody’s satisfaction. She also said to mo: ‘ Why, mamma, if they had only told me what they suspected, if I could only have taken them over my own house and shown them everything, there would have been nothing needed to be explained ; but they would not let me do this. They did all the searching, and I was already a prisoner and in bed.’ “ But this is anticipating my story. I left Edwin and went up to my daughter’s room. In tho hall in front of her door wore two policemen on guard. I went in and found a police inspector sitting within two feet of her. She was in bed. There was also a nurse in the room, I saw both the nurse and the inspector with pencils, prepared to take notes, and I spoke to her in French. I think my mother or any other woman would have done tho same thing, i said ‘ What on earth does all this talk about fly-papers mean?’ Edwin had told me of the lly-papers. She said ‘Cosmetics, of course.’ 1 said ‘ Why have these people taken possession of your house in this way ?’ She answered ‘ Mamma, yon have no idea how I have been treated by tho Maybrick brothers. Mrs Briggs has made all the trouble.”

“ Who is Mrs Briggs ?” “Mrs Briggs was a very intimate friend of Mr Maybrick. He had known her long before he met my daughter. He permitted her to visit the house most freely. She is a woman about forty-five years old, who has been divorced from her husband, though she obtained the divorce on account of his conduct, and there was nothing in the proceedings to reflect on her. Mrs Maybrick told me this. Mr Maybrick was an intimate friend of her father, Mr Janion, and has been on close terms of friendship with the Janion family all his life. When Mr Maybrick married my daughter he was a man of forty-three or four, and sho was a girl of eighteen. Mrs Briggs from the outset was a potent factor in the household. She kept a general eye upon affairs. Mrs Briggs had unmarried sisters, and I have no doubt that the opinion prevailed that if Mr Maybrick’s taste had been all that it ought to have been, he would have married a Miss Janion. Miss Gertrude Janion, her sister, has been known for a long time in their circle to be smitten with Mr Brierley. Miss Janion, through Mr Hughes, the husband of another sister, caused the quarrel between Mr and Mrs Maybrick at the race grounds. He was inspired to do this by Miss Janion, because Mrßrierley had taken Mrs Maybrick to the grand [stand to see the Prince of Wales, and Miss Janion was left alone on the coach. I am not dealing in trifling gossip in this matter ; I am showing you states of mind and motives which bear directly on this case. When the reconciliation took place, or before it, Mrs Briggs told Mr Maybrick all that she knew about Mrs Maybrick’s relations with Mr Brierley, “ My daughter, lying prostrate, was ; robbed of everything she might have 1 needed to substantiate her case, if she had the mental grasp to understand her position. The pill-box containing Mr Maybrick’s I private store of arsenic only turned up at j the trial. It had been kept back. Who i knows what else has been kept back ? Does 1 the Judge know? Do the jury know? 1 Whore arc Mr Maybrick’s clothes ? Have 1 they been examined for arsenic ? Have the I pockets been examined ? Of all that bo- ' longed to my daughter, of all the presents ' that had been given her, of all that sho needed to save her life, all that she got back was a dressing wrapper, which was valuable because ib was stained with arsenic,” labby’s analysis. ' If any of your readers conscientiously doubt the justice of the verdict in the Maybrick trial let them read “ Labby’s” masterly analysis of the evidence in ‘Truth’ for

August 15, Before its irresistible logic and robust common sense even the most sentimental sympathiser’s doubts must crumble into dust.

Should the Home Secretary decide to respite Mrs Maybrick there will always be a doubt about her guilt, and the "Maybrick murder ” will become the “ Maybrick mystery.” This, I think, would be a distinct misfortune, as after every capital conviction we would have a repetition of the present popular clamor. If Mr Matthews declines to reprieve the condemned woman she will confess, and the sensitive consciences and weak illogical minds of the “ greater jury” will bo at rest, I should then (but not till then) be inclined, if I were Home Secretary to commute the sentence to penal servitude for life. I should not take this course for the woman’s sake, but to avoid a horrid, ghastly scene on the scaffold. Mrs Maybrick may have good points, but we have so fur never had a glimpse of them. Deliberately, cruelly, and treacherously the pitiless creature slowly killed her husband by burning out his vitals, and now she seeks to save her life by blackening the characters of all who were reluctantly forced to testify towards her guilt. Even to the Cleavers and Sir C Russell she has shown the blackest ingratitude, gracclessly accusing thorn of holding back important evidence. MR MICHAEL MAYBRICK STEAKS. To a representative of the ‘New York Herald’ Mr Michael Maybrick was very communicative, after being informed that certain statements had been sent to Liverpool for publication. His account of the occurrences at Battlecrease House tallies, it will be observed, exactly with Mrs Briggs’s and Alice Yapp’s, and directly contradicts the Baroness Von Roque. Like everyone else who know the late James Maybrick intimately, his brothers scout the idea of his having been an arsenic • eater. Mr M. Maybrick said inter alia:— "Why should I want to have a spy upon Mrs Maybrick, I should like to know ? It has been published I never liked her—tho.t I avoided her house, and said once that I would never darken her door again. All this is untrue. My relations with her were always pleasant. She has come to me time and again for money and one thing and another, and she always got it. Only three weeks before my brother died—the day after she was with Brierley in London, in fact—l took her to dine at the Cafe Royal, in Regent street, and took her to the theatre. Does that look as if I disliked and distrusted her? I never spoke but once harshly to her, and that was when I told her I had grave suspicions of poisoning in my brother’s case. I was excited at the moment, and spoke harshly, but I tried instantly to remove the effect of the words by telling her that she was not strong enough to care for my brother, and ought to have help. I did nothing against her. My sole desire was to save my brother’s life, not to get her or anyone into trouble. Since his death my chief desire has been to save his good name for the sake of his children. For their sake I hoped she would not be convicted, and am now anxious for her release. ... lam as sure as I

am of anything almost that my brother did not use arsenic. If he had used it I would have been certain to know of it. I was with him for weeks sometimes, up in Scotland, three years ago, for instance, often sleeping in the same bed with him, and I never saw the slightest indication of his using arsenic. On the contrary, he was very particular about his medicine, and in caring for his health. He was not a man to use poison. Besides, he was always very confidential with me, told me everything, and he would have been sure to tell mo if he had any habit of that kind. ... I have not yet

given much thought as to the custody of the children, in case there is no change in the sentence, Being the trustees of the property, my brother Thomas and I will have to provide for them, and, 1 should suppose, would be given the custody of them. They have not been told of the trouble at all.”

HOW MRS MAYBRICK RECEIVED THE RETRIEVE.

At 2.15 a.m. on August 23 Governor Anderson and Chaplain Morris together entered the convict’s cell, having been conveyed there by the head female warder. Chaplain Morris thus describes what happened:—"The light in the cell was brilliantly turned up, and the door opened by one of the female watchers. Wo passed in. The cell was lighted by a single gas jet, burning brightly. Mrs Maybrick was undressed and in bed. She lay on her back, her hair loosely coiled about her head. She made no sign as we entered. She merely turned her eyes and looked at us. She was very weak, and had a listless air natural to her condition. The governor went close to her bedside and said : ‘ Mrs Maybrick, I have just received a message from the Home Secretary which states that he has advised the Queen to commute your sentence to imprisonment for life.’ Mrs Maybrick said nothing, her face showed no sign ; she merely lifted her left hand and stretched it out to take that of tho governor. That was all that was said, and we came away immediately.”

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https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/ESD18891005.2.30.3

Bibliographic details

THE MAYBRICK AGITATION., Evening Star, Issue 8030, 5 October 1889, Supplement

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THE MAYBRICK AGITATION. Evening Star, Issue 8030, 5 October 1889, Supplement

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