CENTRAL CRIMINAL COURT.
(Before Mr. Justice Stephen and a jury.)
Mr. C. G. Wade Crown Prosecutor.
CHARGE OF MURDER. THE TALUNE CASE.
Jane Smith, a married woman, pleaded not guilty to a charge of having on February 19, 1901, on the British ship Talune, on the high seas, feloniously and maliciously murdered Patrick Conway.
Mr. S. Mack, with him Mr. Martin, instructed by Mr. H. A. Moss, appeared for the defence.
The accused had pleaded not guilty on April 9 last and been tried subsequently before Acting Justice Sly, the trial lasting from April 22 to April 27. The jury on that occasion failed to agree upon a verdict. The second trial was commenced on the 10th instant.
Evidence for the prosecution was continued.
Dr. Taylor the previous day said that a patient during the fits accompanying strychnine poisoning was conscious, not unconscious as reported yesterday.
The cross-examination of W. M. Hamlet, Govern- ment Analyst, was continued by Mr. Mack.
Witness said he knew T. L. Brunton as an old authority on pharmacology. He knew of the action of cumulative poisoning by strychnine. Three- quarters of a grain in the stomach was a large quan- tity, and it would indicate a very large number of grains in the whole body. Strychnine taken into the stomach could not cause death till it was absorbed. As much as 10gr. of strychnine had been taken by individuals without death ensuing, and one case was recorded where a man, had taken 22gr. and lived. Three-quarters of a grain of strychnine was a fatal dose. Half a grain was the minimum dose. Witness could taste a millionth part of a grain.
To Mr. Wade : In cases where large doses had been taken people had recovered when remedial measures had been adopted and vomiting had ex - pelled the strychnine. Judging from the absorption of strychnine in the tissues, deceased must have taken a large quantity.
To a juryman : Witness found in the stomach un- digested pieces of meat, fragments of skins of fruit, pieces of pickles and chillies, and vegetable fibres.
Pickles would destroy the colouring matter of dragon's blood, which was a resin and only used in minute quantities.
Dr. Taylor (recalled) said strychnine acted on the spinal chord.
To a juryman : Strychnine did not permeate the
tissues after death.
Susan Jane Harold said she lived with her parents at the Ravensburn Hotel, Dunedin. She had known accused for six years. On one oc- casion just after some races in Dunedin accused came to the house. They spoke together about the races, and accused said, " I've dropped 10 quid. I have done better than that ; I have had a medal presented to me and was trying to keep it out of the papers, but the people who gave it to me are determined to put it in the papers. Some years ago I saved a boy from drowning, and it turned out that he was heir to thousands of pounds.
As yet I have not got the money. The boy got the gentleman who left him those thousands to put a codicil in the will, leaving me at the old man's death £600." Witness said that she had caught
hold of the chain accused then was wearing, and accused said, " This is not the chain ; I have it at home." Accused had also said that the people had prominsd her a trip round the world. Witness last spoke to accused on December 5. On that oc- casion accused came into a room of the hotel, and plac- ing a hand bag on the table said, " It has £200 in it ; don't touch it. You did not know that Percy and I lent out money. I have been to Port Chalmers to-day collecting £10 interest. It isn't much, but it means a lot." Accused then opened a bag and wit- ness saw in it bank notes, bills, and parchment. Accused sat there a little while till the train came in. Accused then said, " I wonder will (someone whose name witness could not remember) come off the train. There he is." She then stood up on a form and, looking out of the window said, " I hope he does not see me," and laughed. She swore and said that he was a bowlegged man and that one could wheel a barrow through his legs. She also said, " He has a heart as big as a bullock, but he is a fool. I don't want him to see me. If he comes up I hope he will bring a bottle of whisky." Patrick Conway then passed the door. Witness knew Conway and said to accused, " Is that the gentleman ? " Accused replied, " Gentleman ? Get out," and further said
that he had done up the garden for her.
To Mr. Mack : Witness was not on friendly or
unfriendly terms with accused.
McCombie and Thompson were recalled by the jury and asked as to whom Conway played cards with on board. They said he played cards with different persons. Miss McDonald was also recalled and stated to the jury that the bottle of stout she had taken to accused's cabin on February 19 was a pint.
It was possible for others to take stout to the cabin.
Miss Huddlestone, recalled by the jury, said that she had a glass of stout out of the bottle. It was noticeably bitter. That was the only occasion she noticed the bitterness. Witness felt rigidity of the jaw not long after taking the stout, and had illness which was spasmodic later on. Witness was conscious all the time, and had no difficulty in breathing.
This closed the Crown case.
Accused made a statement as follows :—" Gentle- men, I stand here with a terrible charge against me which I am innocent of. I knew Mr. Conway and his people in Dunedin. I always knew them as respect- able, nice people. Mr. Smith and I had dealings with Mr. Conway in money matters, for which deeds were given for security and received when money was paid which was received. We hold nothing for anything belonging to Mr. Patrick Conway. I left home in January for a trip to Sydney with my husband's con- sent. I went to Christchurch to my friends. I bought poison for them. I also saw Mr. Conway in Christchurch and paid him £1 which I owed him at Mrs. Hesketh's shop, which belonged to me at one time. I stayed three or four weeks in Christ- church and left to join Mrs. and Mr. Percy Alfred Smart in Sydney. I met Mr. Conway on board and was friendly with him, and he also with me. I gave him nothing of any kind to cause him pain, or death, or anything. I spoke to him in front of one or two on board, and there was one there who knew Mr. Conway in Roslyn, Dune- din, and at the time of his death no one was there to say they knew Mr. Conway when asked, only someone said someone on board among the saloon passengers knew him. Mr. Fletcher came to our cabin, and asked if there was a Mrs. Conway on board. I said I was not aware that he was married. He then went out. Presently he came back and said, ' What do you know about Mr. Conway, Mrs.
Smith ?' I told him all I knew, and his proper address. I said, ' Poor fellow, he did a week or two's work in our garden for us.' On arriving in Sydney Sergeant McLean was introduced to me by Mr. Fletcher. I then told him the truth and all I knew about Mr. Conway. Then Sergeant McLean had several interviews. I cannot give dates. When he took me to the morgue I did not know what I was going for till I was in the tram. Then Sergeant McLean said I had to recognise the body of Patrick Conway, which I did, and I can assure you it was not a very pleasant task for me. On arriving back to the hotel I did have a drop of brandy. I also had one at night, too. Mr. McLean, who was staying there, and had been indulging, had a lot of jewellery which I said I would look after for him if he wished, and I did so, willing out on a piece of paper what I received. A Mr. Brown was present at the time. I gave McLean the paper, which he put in his pocket. I suppose you all heard about me being on deck on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday, which I was not. I was not able to wear a tight-fit-
ting dress. I wore nothing but a blue wrap until the Wednesday. It was also quite true what I told Mr. Fletcher. I did leave home to join the Smarts, and was £2 short through lending a friend in Lyttle- ton the money which I should have had myself. Also Mr. Fletcher's statement about the £500. I did save the child's life over 11 years ago, they returning to the old country for money which was left them. After 11 years they returned 12 months ago, and found I was married and living in Dunedin. They visited me and settled their child's life policy—Percy Alfred Smart, £500—to be lifted at his death. Also the will was made so that if anything happened to me before the child's death it should be handed to my husband. On arriving in Sydney, owing to my disappointing them so often, I did not meet them as arranged. I stayed then with Mrs. Lindenburg to wait there for three weeks or a month for my friends coming to Sydney. Being short, I borrowed £5 from Mr. Phillips until my friends rejoined me in a month's time. I said if they did not join me I would do something while waiting. The next thing I was arrested by Sergeant McLean. The last thing I can say is, if Mr. Conway could rise out of his grave he could only say I am
George Phillips, bank clerk, for the defence said he knew accused seven or eight years ago. She came to him after the Talune arrived in Sydney and said she had had a few words with her husband. Witness advised her to go back to him and make it up. She give him her address. He lent her £5.
To Mr. Wade : Accused said she would stop in Sydney for five or six months and would not go back. Seven or eight years ago accused was a barmaid in a hotel which witness occasionally called at. Wit- ness knew her as Maudie Hampton.
Theresa Sands, aunt to the accused, said that accused called one evening late and asked for a loan of £2. When witness said she had not got it accused gave her some jewellery to pawn. Accused stopped all night and left next morning with the money re-
ceived from the pawnbrokers.
To Mr. Wade : Witness did not remember the
date, and did not ask accused how she was, when she arrived, where she stayed, where she had come from, or anything like that.
This closed the case for the defence.
Mr. Mack addressed the jury, specially urging that
there was an entire absence of motive disclosed against accused throughout the Crown case, and pointing out discrepancies in the evidence. He
claimed that the Crown had failed to make out a
Mr. Mack occupied two hours and ten minutes in
Mr. Wade then addressed the jury for an hour and
The jury had Teresa Sands recalled, and asked if she could say what day it was that accused had called to see her. Witness was unable to say what day
His Honor commenced his summing up at 4.50 p.m., and the jury retired at 5.45 p.m. Mr. Hamlet, at the jury's request, was meanwhile sent for, and arrived at 6.40 p.m.
The Foreman : Were there any traces of stout found in deceased's stomach ?
Mr. Hamlet : No.
His Honor : Was it possible for such to have been found in the stomach at that time ?
Mr. Hamlet : No, it would have been absorbed very soon after it was swallowed.
The jury also asked several questions as to the times of purchase of poison by accused, and again re- tired at 7.5 p.m.
At 10 p.m. the jury returned into court and asked for Miss Huddlestone to be put into the box. It was
announced that Miss Huddlestone had been allowed to leave and his Honor read Miss Huddlestone's evi- dence. The court at this stage was densely crowded.
The foreman said there was no likelihood of the jury agreeing for at least a couple of hours.
His Honor said that the witnesses would be re- quired to attend to-day at 10 a.m., as he would have to commit the jury to the care of the Sheriff for the night again. The jury was locked up for the night at 10.15 p.m.
The Court then adjourned to 10 a.m. the following day.