Prisoner, a labourer, æt. 53, was charged with the murder of Margaret Appleton, cook at Bedale Workhouse. The deceased went into the garden where prisoner was digging potatoes, pulled the fork out of his hand, and struck him. Prisoner retaliated, with the result that the woman died. He pleaded guilty of manslaughter, and the plea was accepted. In mitigation of sentence it was urged that, although the prisoner was not insane, his mind had become affected by extremely sad domestic troubles, so that on receiving great provocation from the deceased he was not able to exercise a reasonable faculty of discrimination. He lost his wife in 1891, and was left with a family of six young children. Having to attend to his family and nurse a sick child, he lost his situation. Subsequently a daughter eleven years old was criminally assaulted, and under the accumulation of troubles he attempted to commit suicide. He was then removed to the workhouse, and on improvement was discharged. Becoming worse again, he was readmitted to the workhouse, and then the incident took place for which he was now tried. He was sentenced to five years' penal servitude. The Judge said that he felt justified in treating the case as one in which there was some provocation, but he does not appear to have given any effect to the plea of unsoundness of mind, though it appears from the report to have been a case in which the plea was well substantiated.—Yorkshire Assizes, York, Dec. 1 (Mr. Justice Grantham).—“Leeds Mercury,” Dec. 2, 1895.
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