CONCEALMENT OF BIRTH.
A NAPIER CASE.
Body Found m the Lake.
The Jury Find Mary Ann Yocasiwich
At the Napier Supreme Court last Tuesday Mary Ann .Vocasiwich was oharged with concealment of birth. Mr . Cornford prosecuted for the Realm, and Mr Westall defended.
A youth named Joseph Brunton de-* posed that on Jan. G he saw a parcel m the artificial lake on the Hastings racecourse. Broke the parcel open and saw a dead infant within. Informed the police, who removed the body. Constable Mcßav deposed that he went to the race-course and found the body of a female infant m the pond. The body was wrapped up m white muslin and brown paper. Had the body removed to the police station.
Sergeant Smart deposed to having the • body medically examined on the mornine: of the ;7th of January. Went to the Albert Hotel with Detective Hill and saw accused m the washhouse. She said her name was Mrs Hill. Told her that the dead body of the child had 'been found m the water, and asked her if she knew anything about it. She replied that she did not. She appeared to be very ill, and was told to sit down and consider. T/hen she admitted that the child was hers ;i that it had been born the previous Tuesday night m the hotel. She kept it until Saturday night, and then placed it m the water. Accused said there was no one m the hotel who 'knew about her having a child. Took her to the station and charged her with concealment of birth, and also With
MURDERING- HER CHILD. (The charge of murder was thrown out by the Grand Jury). Went to her room and 1 could not find any signs showing preparations for a birth. The, statement put m was hers. In it she stated that she was a single woman, and was mother to the child. She further stated that she concealed the child before disposing .of .the body. She said she must have fainted at the birth as when she became conscious she found the child dead.
To Mr Westall : Thought a woman would be. greatly upset after her birth to~ be kept at her work, and a woman who went on with her work after such an' event would be m desperation. Never troubled to find out if she had any clothing anywhere outside the hotel.
Dr. Nairn corroborated the Sergeant's statements re the woman saying she had put the child m the lake. i -•
To Mr. Westall": Thought the woman must 'have been m a very bad condition after what she had gone through. She was man extremely agitated state when witness saw her. Her state of body was very bad as also her mind. She was so low that he ordered her to the hospital, where she remained for several weeks. Certain the child was born alive, but only lived a very short timeFlorence "Harmer, a room-mate of the accused at the Hotel, thought, accused was m 'the family way, and asked her, if she was. Accused said "No." On-' the night of <the birth she did not hear anything take place m her room. Saw accused next morning, when she noticed a difference m her appearance, but did, not mention the fact to accused, who never complained of anything. Accused always did her work, and appeared- able to do it. Later on (on the Sunday) she spoke about the change m her appearance. Accused said she had always been alright. Heard of the discovery at the racecourse the same night as the child was found. In reply 'to a question accused said the child that was found m the lake was hers, and that she had put it there. Had not noticed any preparations for a birth.
To Mir. Westall : Thought accused looked ill about this time.
Bertha Jongs gave testimony as to asking accused if there was anything the matter, and accused replied that there wasn't. After the child Was found asked accused if the child was hers. Accused replied that witness
MUST BE DREAMING Told accused that the baby washers and that she (witness) knew it was heirs. Was judging from her altered appearance. V
To Mr Westrall : Was m accused's room when the previous witness came into the room oh the Sunday night the child was found. Was on the racecourse when the body was found. Accused looked very ill about the time* of the birth, "but she did her work just the same as far as witness knew.
Detective Hill corroborated the evidence of Sergeant Smart, as to vis* iting accused m the hotel. To Mr. Westall : Accused also told witness that she put the child where she did, thinking it. would be found. The woman was vary frank to witness.
This was the case for the prosecution, and Mr. Westall called Alice Barr, Matron of the Bethany Home, Napier, who testified that accused came into the home on Feb. 4th. She was very weak. The home was supported 'by voluntary subscriptions for the assistance of depressed females. . Her experience was that about five out of .six of. similar unfortunates never, procured baby clothing before the births.
In addressing the jury Mr. Westall laid great stress on the woman's condition at the .time ■ of the occurrence, saying that she would hardly be expected to be m her right min-d after all she had gone through. The jury after half anhour's retirement, brought m a verdict of not guilty.
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