Price of Revolting Cruelty.

April 1909

Sheffield Daily Telegraph – Wednesday 07 April 1909

Price of Revolting Cruelty.

A Denaby collier named Charles Freeman, living in Barmbro Street, was charged at the West Riding Court, Doncaster, yesterday, with ill-treating his two-year-old stepchild. The facts detailed by the witnesses were most revolting.

Mr. Baddiley appeared for the N.S.P.C.C.

According to the evidence, P.-c. Cousins had occasion to apprehend the prisoner on a charge oi being drunk and disorderly on Saturday night at half-past 11 o’clock, and from what was said to him he made inquiries, and examined the child, who is two years old. The left side of the face was very much swollen and discoloured, and the lower part of the back and the thighs were the same. The child was very dazed, as if recovering from a fit, and appeared to have no life in it. was more like a doll than a living being. It had been most cruelly ill-treated, and the officer said he never saw a child’s back in such a state.

He spoke to the prisoner, and he replied answer to the charge, “I know nothing about it; I never touched it.” His wife, who was present, said, “It’s no use you saying that, Charlie. The child was all right when I went out. It was crying and terrified of you when I came back. It isn’t the first time you have marked him.” Prisoner said to her, “Shut your old mouth.”

Inspector Dolan went to Conisbro’ on Sunday, and made inquiries. He examined the child, and corroborated the evidence of the constable. He told prisoner he had received complaints of hie systematic ill-treatment of the child during the last six months.

Prisoner’s reply was that the child was always crying, and he gave it the strap.

Annie Carpenter, neighbour, said she took the child to her house to get it out of prisoner’s way. A month ago she asked him if the child might with her little girl, and he replied, “Yes, tell her to take it down to the river and drown it,”

Mrs. Ackroyd, mother of Mrs. Freeman, said her daughter had been married to the prisoner seven months, and she had two children at the time, one of which died a month after the marriage. She had seen prisoner ill-use the child many times. Prisoner’s wife said that the child was all right when she left the house half-past seven on Friday night, and when she came back in ten minutes it was crying. She took the child to Mrs. Carpenter’s, and prisoner told her if she said anything he would dash her brains out.

Dr. Corbett, who had examined the child, said found 17 distinct red weals upon” its face, and many of them corresponded with the width of the strap produced.

Prisoner asked he had anything say replied, “It’s a put up job get me convicted.” He added that he had only struck the child twice with the strap, but he said he “would not bother to go into the witness-box.”

The Chairman (Mr. E. W. Jackson) told him he was liable to be sent to prison for 12 months, and he would be fined 40s. He warned him if he came again he would be sent to prison, and he further cautioned him against interfering with the witnesses.