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'I've done in my wife and baby' MURDER CASEBOOK STEVEN Local historian STEVEN HORTON looks back at some of the city's most notorious murder cases ...

AFORMER soldier who had never overcome the trauma of the trenches killed his wife and daughter in 1929. He was found guilty of murder but insane at the time, and was detained at His Majesty's pleasure.

On April 30 that year, at 4.25am, John Edward Jones called at the bridewell in Lawrence Road and stated that he had "done in" his wife and baby. Police officers attended his home at 21 Casterton Street, off Spekeland Road, and found the body of tenmonth-old Eileen on a bed. She was lying alongside her 35-year-old mother Mary, who was still alive but bleeding heavily from a head wound. Three stepchildren were cowering in a corner.

Three hours later 42-yearold John was charged with the murder of Eileen and made an extraordinary statement. He told the detective inspector that he had married Mary, a widow in 1927, but for the last year she had told him he was no more than a lodger as she had enough to do looking after the children. John stated that a row started over his arrest two nights previously for being drunk in the street. After being called a "Welsh rabbit" and "worm" he waited for her to go to sleep, then hit her three times with a hammer and did the same to little Eileen. After wondering for a few minutes what to do, he decided to hand himself in at the bridewell. A note was found on his possession which said "My God, murder. No wonder. Give me a dog's life after what I went through".

A dishevelled John appeared at the magistrates court where he was remanded, charged with the murder of Eileen and attempted murder of Mary. When Mary died on June 1, the attempted murder charge was withdrawn and replaced with one of murder.

John appeared at the Assizes on June 17. Evidence was heard that during the First World War he had suffered a shrapnel wound to the forehead and been kept prisoner for two years. A medical expert called by the defence said that he repeatedly had dreams of being in battle and that he carried out the act during an epileptic dream state. However, Dr Ahearn from Walton gaol suggested John's lack of horror at what he had done on coming round meant he knew what he was doing.

After 25 minutes of deliberation, the jury came back and asked to see the legal definition of insanity, as read in the judge's summing up. After reviewing this, it took just 12 minutes to return a verdict of guilty but insane at the time of the act. John was then ordered to be detained at His Majesty's pleasure by Mr Justice Charles.

| Read more from Steven Horton's casebook at liverpool

His e-books, including Liverpool Murders - The Victorian Women Who Killed, are available from Amazon.


The former police station on Lawrence Road, where John Edward Jones confessed

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:Jun 25, 2019
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