Alleged Cruelty to children

February 1895

Sheffield Evening Telegraph, February 23 1895

Alleged Cruelty to children

At Doncaster this morning Alfred Birkin, filler, Conisbrough, and his wife were charged with neglecting their children.

Summons had been issued at the instance of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children and it was the first case under the act passed last year making it a misdemeanour for persons having the care of children assaulting, ill treating, neglecting or exposing them, so as to cause unnecessary suffering.

Sometime ago the defendants had a child, which was insured, which died from burns.

One of the two children, the subject of the present enquiry, was insured. This child was burnt six weeks ago, was still suffering, and although under the doctor’s hands the mother would not allow his treatment.

The defendant’s house was filthy. All the bedrooms were not furnished, and the only furniture in the house consisted of a bedstead, table and two chairs. When the officer went to the place the stench was so filthy that it made him ill.

It was admitted that the woman was subject to fits, but it was said this need not prevent her attending to the children.

The doctors stated that the woman dressed the burns with dirty rags instead of clean ones.

The husband pleaded if there was neglect it was owing to his wife having fits. He called witnesses who said, considering the man’s means, he did very well.

The Bench thought the children had been shamefully neglected. They would adjourn the case for a fortnight and the decision of the Bench would depend on how the children were treated in the meantime.

At the same court Mary Fern, married woman, Conisbrough, was charged with a similar offence.

In this case it was alleged that the girl had been allowed to go out insufficiently clothed. On the 18th February the officer, noticing the lad lame, went to the house. After some time he was allowed to see the girl. She was then differently clothed. There was found a nasty wound on the knee, covered by an old rotten stocking. The girl was also filthy and dirty.

The defendant was the worse for drink at the time.

Defendant was fined 10 shillings and costs.