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CRUELTY CASE.

STARVING A CHILD

Recent English files report the case for the prosecution in the Lambert trial, before Mr Justice Pickford and a jury. Canon Joseph Malet Lambert, of Hull, and his wife, Rose Lambert, were charged with cruelty towards Mary Elizabeth Inman, a ten-year-old child of whom they had the custody, by neglecting her at their summer residence at Barmouth last summer. Dr Dingle, a Barmouth medical practitioner, who attended the child in September last, re-entered the wit-ness-box for further examination. Sir Edward Clarke, leading counsel for the defence, questioned the doctor as to the state of temperature in cases of starvation, quoting from medical authorities in support of his contention that deprivation of food proefneed sub-normal temperature. The doctor said he had never said the child was totally starved. It was a case of mal-mitritkm. the result of 111— feeding. Counsel suggested that the high temperature of the child (105) was due to pneumonia. Dr Dingle said there was no organic disease at all. The child had a cold, which might have kept her temperature up. Sir IMward: On your own admission the characteristic symptoms of pneumonia were present?— The pulsations and respirations were consistent with pneumonia, but not in conjunction with the temperature. What other disease would have produced the condition as shown by the -chart? —A very weak child with a cold might produce the condition shown on the chart; there was a certain amount of catarrh. The witness maintained that his expression "extremely emanciated" was a correct medical description of the condition in which he found the child. Sir Edward put it that the child in question was not very much under normal weight for her height of four feet and half an inch.—That is the height of a child of eight, and this child is nearly eleven. Questioned as to the dripping which ivas given to the girl, the doctor said it was certainly not food that one would give to a pneumonia patient, if it was suggested she had pneumonia. Re-examined by Mr Trevor Lloyd (prosecuting) witness agreed that, whether suffering from semi-starvation or pneumonia, a doctor should have been called in much earlier. "SUFFERING FROM NEGLECT AND MAL-NUTRITION." Dr Jones, of Dolgelly, medical officer at workhouse, stated that when the child Mary Inman was brought into the hospital she was pale, thin, antemio, badly nourished, and the skin was dry and scaly, both lungs were -jound and there was no organic disease. He formed the opinion she was suffering from neglect and malnutrition. On September 26, when admitted, the girl weighed 481b. 3oz. On October 19 she was 541b. She improved daily and appeared a brighter and happier child, and now weighed 517b. LITTLE GIRL IN THE BOX. The next witness was the subject of the proceedings, Mary^ Elizabeth Inman, Avho, answering Mr Lloyd, said she had lived with Mr and Mrs Lambert. Her duties were to help in the house and clean the silver. Mr Lloyd: Did you always do your work properly?— Not always. (Laughter). What happened then?—l got whipped and punished. Who whipped you?— Mrs Lambert. What did she use?— Her hand or a stick, and twice she used a poker. Where was that? —At Hull, some time ago. What food did you have at Hull? Sir Edward having interposed, his lordship suggested they should not go too far back. At Barmouth, witness further answered, she slept in the attic with the servants, and got up at half-past five. She helped with the beds in the morning and had breakfast at half-past nine or ten. At Hull she had her meals in the hall and at Barmouth m the basement. What had you for breakfast?— Any pieces of toast and tea left from Mrs Lambert's teapot the night before. The morning, she added, was occupied washing and cleaning, fetching and carrying, and she got dinner at half-past one. What did it consist of ?—Tilings left on the table the day before. What sort of things?— Bits of bread and meat and potatoes. TO FEEP OUT OF THE DOCTOR'S WAY. How were _ they served?— All together in a tin. What did you. do in the afternoonr" I cleaned a lot of silver from the dinIng table. Sometimes I got out with Canon Lambert. . Whan next did you have anything

to eat?—At half-past five or half-past six I had same as at breakfast or anything left from the tea-table. And what did you do after that?— Help Rosamond (defendant's daughter) to go to bed and clean silver again for supper. Mrs Lambert, she said, told her to keep out of the way when anybody called, and to keep out of Canon Lambert's sight, or it would make him angry. She was to keep out of the doctor's way, or she would have a punishment. Sometimes the food was sour and not good. Once there were maggots in it. His Lordship: What sort of food did you see the maggots in?— Meat. What kind: I don't know. In cross-examination by Sir Edward Clarke, Mary continued to answer smartly and intelligently. Rosamond also helped in the housework, the witness answered, and they afterwards went out together. They were of the same age, but Rosie was bigger, witness said. Her mattress was all right. Sometimes the crusts of toast were dry and sometimes she got bacon fat with them. Generally there was plenty, but it was not always good. Why did not you complain about the food to Balderstone (a servant)? I did not like to.

Did you ever get Quaker Oats?— Yes, sometimes instead of the scraps, perhaps twice a week, and sometimes porridge. Mrs Sarah Dixon, the mother of the girl Inman, stated that she used to do charing for Mrs Lambert at Hull. Mrs Lambert asked her to leave her daughter at the vicarage when Mary's father died. The -girl was then three years of age, and the witness understood she was to be a companion for Mrs Lambert's own daughter. _ She was treated well then, and witness did not see her afterwards.

Answering Sir Edward Clarke, the witness said her girl had always been undersized. Witness's husband hacr been given to drink and died in the infirmary. Auretta Brown, wife of Arthur Brown, living at Lowgate, near Doncaster, said she was governess at Newland Vicarage in 1905. While she was there the little girl Inman was not treated as a child at all; she was the household drudge and was, halfstarved. During the cold weather the girl had not sufficient clothing. The daughter, Rosamond, was always well and warmly dressed. The girl Inman always looked blue with the cold. The witness once spoke to Mrs Lambert about the girl's clothing, and she was told to mind her own business. The girl Inman was under witness's tuition, but she was told not to trouble much about her, as she was to be brought up as a servant. It was the witness's opinion that Mrs Lambert had a bitter hatred towards the child. Further evidence having been given by ex-servants of the accused, the case for the prosecution was closed. Sir Edward Clarke prefaced his review of the evidence with a recapitulation of the canon's public and professional career. A serious charge when preferred against anyone, that of wilful neglect of a child was doubly serious, he said, brought against persons like those who were now on their trial. For forty years the male defendant had been an incumbent, and without the smallest reproach had fulfilled not only the duties of his professional and social life, but had also conspicuously distinguished himself as a useful and active philanthropist and servant of the public. Particularly and in official capacities had he

been interested with the education and care of children. Yet he found himself confronted with this amazing charge, made also against his wile, from whom the canon did not in the least dosire to dissever himself. He courted the fullest and completest investigation, so that in the future even the nicst malicious person would be unable to suggest that these charges had had the slightest foundation in fact. The only material evidence there was before them was that of Dr Dingle. The. rest was a conglomeration^ of odds and ends and scraps of discharged servants, or of these who had quarrelled with the Lamberts. Mr Ellis Gruutns, M.P., who was with Sir Edward for the defence, afterwards called Dr Nicholson, of iiuil, who had visited the girl at Barmouth in October. She was a frail, small child, he said, and was free from orpanic disease. The chart kept during the girl's illness was not indicative of semi-starvation, but was con r sistont with pneumonia. Cross-examined, the witness said he could not believe the child could have been so emaciated as Dr Dingle said it was. He also admitted, in reply to his Lordship, that, assuming there had been no organic disease present, the girl's condition was consistent with semi-starvation. Dr Glynn, of Liverpool, said he had not seen the child, but an examination of the chart led him to form the opinion that it negatived the theory or pneumonia. He had had considerable experience of pneumonia- and starvation cases, and he concurred with the opinion expressed by Dr Nicholson. The case was adjourned. [Later news by cable was to the effect that accused was convicted and sentenced.]

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Permanent link to this item

https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/MEX19090402.2.25

Bibliographic details

CRUELTY CASE., Marlborough Express, Volume XLIII, Issue 82, 2 April 1909

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1,566

CRUELTY CASE. Marlborough Express, Volume XLIII, Issue 82, 2 April 1909

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