Home Crime Domestic Darfield Cruelty Charge – A Salutary Sentence

Darfield Cruelty Charge – A Salutary Sentence

January 1907

Sheffield Evening Telegraph January 7, 1907

Darfield Cruelty Charge
A Salutary Sentence

Before a full bench of magistrates at the Barnsley West Riding Court, this morning, the painful cruelty case from Darfield, which occupied the attention of the district coroner a few days ago, was again investigated, when Edward Ford, Miner, 69, School Street, Darfield, was brought up, in custody, charged with cruelty to his two children, Edward Ford, aged 12, and Laura Ford aged 15, on various dates, culminating on December 9 last.

Mr Charles Hodgkinson, prosecuting on behalf of the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, detailed the facts of the case, repeating to a very large extent the story told at the Coroner’s court, which provoked such a scathing sensor from the presiding official. He referred to defendants repeatedly drunken condition, and the manner in which he neglected his four young children, Laura being the eldest.

During November last Laura was recovering from an attack of rheumatism, and though on 9 December the rheumatism had gone, she was still in a weak state of health. Defendant came home on the night of December 9 at about 10 o’clock, drunk, his four children at that time being in bed. He was heard by the neighbours to be creating a disturbance in the house, and to call the lad up in order that he should fetch some coal. The lad went downstairs, when the defendant cuffed him, and picking up a carving knife chased him upstairs. The lad ran, and hearing Laura shout, “He’s coming,” went into his bedroom and jumped through the window, Laura following directly afternoon. It was a bitterly cold night, and from that time Laura gradually sank.

She became afflicted with St Vitus dance, was taken to the hospital, where she died, defendant being arrested the same day on a warrant which had been taken out some time previously by the Society which he (Mr Hutchinson) represented.

The evidence given at the inquest was repeated in extenso.

Defendant said that when his son came downstairs he only struck him with the flat of his hand because he had stolen half a crown. (12.5p) He also denied that he had picked up a carving knife, saying they had not one.

Without leaving the Court, however, the magistrates said they thought the case had been fully proved, and committed defendant to jail for six months with hard labour.