Victorian London - Crime - Violence, murders and assaults - Murder at Camberwell (Elizabeth Amos)

The Times, Tuesday, Sep 15, 1874
     At Lambeth Police Court yesterday afternoon, John Amos, aged 25, living at 6, Dean's-buildings, Walworth, chocolate maker, was placed at the bar before Mr. Chance, charged at the instance of Chief Inspector Davis, of the P Division, with causing the death of his wife, Elizabeth Amos, by pushing her into the Grand Surrey Canal on the morning of the 8th instant.
     The Chief Inspector and Detective Ranger attended on the part of the Police Commissioner.
     The first witness called was John Wakefield, police-constable 87 P, who deposed that on the 8th instant, about a quarter to 1 o'clock in the morning, he was near Trafalgar-street, Walworth, and in consequence of a statement made to him by a cabman he went into Trafalgar-street and saw a woman in the carriage way, with her head resting on the kerb, crying bitterly. He also saw a man, the prisoner, walking away from her, and he said to him, "Well, Charley, do you know the woman you left crying?" On which he replied, "Yes, it is my wife." Witness told him he had better come back with him, and they both went together to the woman. Witness asked her if she knew prisoner, and she made no reply. The prisoner said to her, "Am I your husband or not?" The woman replied, "You are." Witness asked her if he had done anything and if she wished witness to take him into custody and she replied, "No. It is my husband." Prisoner then said to her, "Give me into custody, and the policeman will then lock me up." She refused to give him into custody, and witness tried to persuade them both to go quietly home. They went together from Trafalgar-street and turned towards Camberwell. Witness after that lost sight of them. About 6.30 the same morning, as witness was getting home, he went to Dunn's Wharf and he saw the body of a woman. It was the same woman whom he had seen with prisoner. The wharf where he saw the body was between a quarter and half a mile from the place where he lost sight of them. He did not see prisoner again until last night (Sunday), when he saw him at Carter-street Police Station, and identified him as the man he had seen with the woman in Trafalgar-street.
     In answer to a question by prisoner, witness said he saw him going towards Camberwell with the woman when he lost sight of him.
     Mr. John Joseph Dunn, owner of Albion Wharf, St. George's-bridge, Camberwell, deposed that his daughter and nephew were at the theatre on the night of the 7th inst., and he was waiting up for them. It was about half-pass 1 o'clock when they went to bed. About ten minutes to 3 o'clock witness heard some dreadful screams for "Police," which were repeated. He sat up in bed and heard them again, and he got up and raised the window, but could not see or hear anything. He afterwards put on his trousers, and went down to the door. All was quiet there, and he went back upstairs, but he could not rest as the screams he had heard were very piercing. They seemed to be those of a woman or young lad. About 6 o'clock he made a statement to the watchman of Jenkins' Wharf, and he dragged the canal and found the body. In answer to Mr. Chance, the witness said his house was very near the bridge, and the screams seemed to come from under the bridge, but not as if made by a person in the water. The body was found near the bridge.
     Constable 247 P deposed that about 3 o'clock on the morning of the 8th inst., when on duty in Charles-street, Camberwell, he heard piercing screams for police in the direction of Neate-street. It was a female voice.
     Chief Inspector Davis, of the P division, said about 5 o'clock on Sunday evening he went to the prisoner's residence in Dean's-buildings with detective Ranger. He told him he would be charged on suspicion of causing the death of his wife, and he made no reply. He took the prisoner to Carter-street station and placed him with five other men, and the constable Wakefield identified him as the man he had seen with the woman in Trafalgar-street. The charge was entered in the usual way, and he was removed to the cells. He began to cry and said, "THe Almighty knows that I am innocent of the murder of my poor girl. We might have been very happy together if she had liked. She was with two men and sold the furniture. That morning I saw her speaking to a man and struck her, and the policeman came up and took me back as i was walking away from her."
     Constable 77 P said he had heard the prisoner's mother state that he was home before half-past 12 o'clock on Thursday.
     Inspector Davis applied for a further remand in order to produce the cabman who had made the statement to Wakefield.
     Constable 247 P, in answer to Mr. Chance, said he did not hear any other cry but that of "Police!"
     Mr. CHANCE told prisoner it was his duty to remand him on the charge. He had been seen at nearly 1 o'clock with the deceased, and at 3 o'clock the screams were heard. He did not wish to say anything further than that it was a case of suspicion. He felt bound to remand him on the evidence given.
     After the prisoner was removed to the cells an application was made that he might be admitted to bail, but the application was refused, and the prisoner was accordingly remanded to Horsemonger-lane Gaol.
     Yesterday morning Mr. William Carter resumed at the Camberwell Workhouse the adjourned inquiry into the circumstances attending the death of Elizabeth Amos, whose body was found in the Surrey Canal at Camberwell. Mr. Woodman, the coroner's officer, said that he believed the case could not be proceeded with, as the husband of the deceased had been taken into custody upon the charge of killing his wife, and the witnesses were then at Lambeth Police Court. The coroner said it appeared to him to be a shameful thing to arrest the husband merely upon suspicion without allowing him the opportunity of giving his own statement at the coroner's court. Woodman explained that this proceeding had been ordered by Colonel Henderson and Superintendent Gernon. The Coroner - "Then they ought to be ashamed of themselves." The inquest was adjourned.

Times, September, 1874