Razor Case – Lenient Sentence

March 1923

Mexborough and Swinton Times, March 10.

The Denaby Razor Case.

A Lenient Sentence.

Young wife given Nine Months in the Second Division.

At the Leeds Assizes, on Wednesday, Mary Ashton (19) of Loversall Street, Denaby Main, was sentenced to 9 months imprisonment in the second division.

She was originally charged with wounding her husband, George William Ashton work, with intent to murder him; but after an earnest plea by Council the charge was reduced to one of unlawful wounding.

To this the prisoner, a pathetic figure in the dock, looking little more than a schoolgirl, pleaded guilty.

The prosecution was conducted by Mr H.R.Bramley, of Sheffield, who said the parties lived at Denaby, and were married only about a year ago. The woman was 19 and husband 23, and there was one child of the marriage.

They had never had a home of their own, but live with their parents, and perhaps as a natural consequence things are not always been right with them. There were frequent quarrels, and on 13 August last they separated and had not lived together since. At first, the husband allowed the wife five shillings a week, and later 7s 6d.

On one or two occasions the wife met her husband in the street and asked him if he found a house, to which he replied, “No, but I will try.” On the day of the assault, 14 January, prisoner called at her mother-in-law’s house between four and five and asked to see her husband. He went outside and woman said, “Have you got anywhere for me to go yet?”

His answer was “No, but I’m trying.” At that instant he felt a blow at his throat with a sharp instrument, and blood began to flow profusely. Afterwards it was found that a wound had been inflicted, which might have been very serious indeed.

The blast severed the outer jugular vein, and had it reached the inner vein it undoubtedly would have been fatal. Subsequently, the woman was seen by a policeman, and in reply to his questions, she said. “I did it with this Razor,” which, at the same time she produced from the kitchen cupboard.

Later, when cautioned and charged at Conisborough Police Station, she replied, “I did not intend to do it.”

At this point Mr J.W.Jardine, who was defending, interposed to say that he would not contest a charge of unlawful wounding, and he earnestly pleaded that on this count. The prisoner might be dealt with under the First Offenders Act. He did not wish to have the task of cross examining the husband, he said, and thus make matters more difficult for this young couple than they already were.

Mrs Jardine then called Mr William Isaac Gibbs, licensee of the Denaby Arms, who said he was willing to be bound over for Mrs Ashton’s future behaviour.

The judge, Mr Commissioner Radcliffe, in passing sentence, said he would be failing in his duty. If he dealt with the case as had been suggested. Prisoner might have a legitimate grievance, but it did not excuse in lying in wait for her husband with a dangerous weapon, and inflicted a wound that might have been fatal.

“I do not think it would be a good example to the public,” he said, “that the woman should escape punishment.

Having regard to all that had been said, he would pass a very lenient sentence of nine months in the second division.

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