Mexborough & Swinton Times – Saturday 25 March 1911
Warning for Denaby Mothers
There was a sad scene in Court when Jane Smith, a young married woman, of New Conisborough, was charged with allowing a child to be in a room without a fireguard.
Mrs Smith, who was weeping, was accommodated with a seat in the dock.
The Superintendent said the case was brought under the children’s act 1908 and offenders were liable to a penalty not exceeding £10. A child of the defendants’ sustained fatal burns at a fire in the kitchen, which was not protected by a fireguard. At the inquest an open verdict was returned.
PC Rushton said that at 8 a.m. on Saturday week he was informed that Mrs Smith’s child had died at the Fullerton Hospital from burns. Later the same day he saw the mother who told him that at 6 p.m. on Friday week, she removed the fire from the front room to the back kitchen, for the purpose of black leading. She left the fireguard in the front room, the fire in the kitchen being unprotected. Then she went to neighbours (Mrs Trow) for two or three minutes to see how her baking was going on. When she came back the child was in flames.
Bursting into tears the defendant said she had no questions to ask the constable.
Superintendent Hickes said he had other evidence, but did not propose to have it given. He brought the case as a warning.
The Chairman hoped Mrs Smith will take the case as a warning. She will be fined sixpence and the costs 7/6.
Superintendent Hickes: You want allow the witnesses anything then?
The Chairman: No; it is the first case of the kind we have had.
The Superintendent: Oh yes.