United in Matrimony; United in Acrimony; United in Death; United in Condemnation…or not. Dis-union in the jury room. Regina v John William Anderson: Newcastle Winter Assizes 1875

Rutherford, Helen (2017) United in Matrimony; United in Acrimony; United in Death; United in Condemnation…or not. Dis-union in the jury room. Regina v John William Anderson: Newcastle Winter Assizes 1875. In: PUNCS (Plymouth Nineteenth Century Studies) Union and Disunion in the Nineteenth Century, 22 - 23 June 2017, Plymouth University.

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Abstract

In August 1875 in a room in Mitford Street, Scotswood, Newcastle upon Tyne, John William Anderson stabbed his wife Elizabeth to death following an argument. The pair had married in 1866 but their marital union was unhappy and characterised by drunkenness and violence, although on the day of the fatal incident the pair had seemed to be on good terms following a social gathering at a neighbour’s house. Immediately after the crime, Anderson walked to the nearest police station and confessed. The trial took place at the Winter Assizes before Mr Justice Denman on 29th November 1875.

The paper takes a micro-historical approach to consider the nineteenth century interpretation of the law relating to murder and manslaughter in the context of the trial and examines the conduct of the judge and the jury in deciding whether the killing amounted to the greater crime of murder or the lesser crime of manslaughter

In particular, the paper analyses the case, via the newspaper reports and the evidence in Anderson’s Home Office file, to establish the respective roles of the judge and jury. It outlines my progress in exploring the contemporary reporting of the case and the local reactions to the crime and the verdict. It also seeks to examine the decision made in this capital case and considers whether there was a miscarriage of justice.

The legal process is examined in its historical context and the paper illuminates the conduct of the parties and what this reveals about the law in relation to homicide in the nineteenth century and in the North East of England in particular.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Subjects: M900 Other in Law
V300 History by topic
Department: Faculties > Business and Law > Northumbria Law School
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Helen Rutherford
Date Deposited: 07 Sep 2017 11:55
Last Modified: 08 Nov 2017 15:34
URI: http://nrl.northumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/31757

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