Victorian London - Crime - Violence, murders and assaults - Mary Ann Ford

The Times, Thursday, Sep 24, 1874

    Yesterday afternoon Mr. Langham, the deputy coroner for Westminster, opened an inquiry into the circumstances attending the death of Mary Ann Ford, aged 33, who was alleged to have been kicked and beaten to death at a house in Princes-row, Newport-market, by a man named John Bishop, a labourer, with whom she cohabited.
    The greater part of the evidence was the same as that adduced before the magistrate at Marlborough-street Police-court on Monday. It may be remembered that the deceased and Bishop lived at 13, Princes-row, Soho. The deceased was a drunkard, and was in the habit of pledging things to get money for drink. On Saturday night Bishop and the deceased had a quarrel, the former alleging that she had stolen some of his money. Afterwards a lodger heard him dragging the deceased about and throwing her down. The deceased died in two or three hours, and about 8 o'clock Bishop when to her sister, Frances Acourt, living at 13 Great Earl-street, Seven Dials, and said "Get up : Polly is dead; I've killed her." The body of the deceased, much bruised and scratched, was found on the bed. When taken into custody the prisoner said, "I have done it, and am sorry for it. Last night we had words about money, and I knocked her down, kicked her, and 'chucked' her out of the room." At the station he said the deceased had robbed him of a sovereign, leaving him with but 10s. 3d. of his wages. His boots were the heavy iron-tipped boots usually worn by navvies; there were no marks of blood upon them.
    Mr. Joseph Rogers, surgeon, 33, Dean-street, Soho, said that shortly after 8 o'clock on Sunday morning he was called to see the deceased. He found her lying upon her back in bed, quite dead. She must have been dead about four or five hours. He found several severe wounds upon the head and arms, bruises and abrasions on the back in several places, apparently the result of kicks, and bruises about her body generally. All those wounds and bruises appeared to be the results of recent violence. He had made a post-mortem examination of the body of the deceased. On removing the scalp he found a considerable effusion of blood extending over the whole front side and back of the left half of the skull. The skull, which was unusually thick, was fractured. The membranes covering the brain and the brain generally were much congested. The lateral ventricles contained fluid blood, which had gravitated to the base. Altogether there was about two ounces. On opening the chest, he found that the left pleural cavity contained upwards of a pint of blood, which was mostly fluid. There were old adhesions on both sides. On examining the ribs he found that the sixth, seventh, eighth, ninth, tenth and eleventh ribs were fractured, the eighth and eleventh in two places. A portion of the bone of the sixth-rib had penetrated the lung, corresponding to which there was an external injury. External injuries were found immediately over the double fracture of the eighth and eleventh ribs, close to the spine. There were bruises on the front surface of her stomach. There was fatty degeneration of the heart, and the liver was much enlarged. He considered the cause of death was due to the effusion of blood in the ventricles of the brain, produced by external injuries, the result of a blow or fall. The injuries to the chest and lungs would most probably have resulted in death, but the immediate cause of death was the effusion of blood upon the brain.
    The Coroner having summed up the evidence,
    The jury, after a short deliberation, returned a verdict of "Wilful Murder" against John Bishop.

Times, September, 1874