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Old 18-02-2012, 04:41 PM
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Default Unpleasantness at Acklington 1839

COMMITTAL OF A GIRL FOR PARRICIDE.--- On the 3rd instant, Jane Mordue, aged sixteen, was committed to Morpeth gaol, on a charge of poisoning her father, Thomas Mordue, of Acklington, labourer ; and Susan Stephenson; an inmate of the poor house in the latter place, was committed as an accessory before the fact. The case, we understand has excited intense interest in and around the village wherein the parties resided. The deceased had been buried without suspicion, but circumstances transpired which led to the disinterment of the body and an examination of the stomach by Drs. Leithead and Elliot, of Warkworth; and Dr. Hedley, of Felton, who came to the unhesitating conclusion that the death was the result of poison. An inquest was held at the Hermitage Inn, Warkworth, before J. A, Russell, Esq., of Alnwick, solicitor and coroner, on Monday the 29th ult; and it appeared in evidence the daughter of the deceased had purchased arsenic at the shop of Mr. Nicholson, of Warkworth, grocer, falsely pretending that it was for Miss Thompson of Acklington, who, she stated, required poison for two cats. On her way home, she dropped the packet out of her glove, and it was seen by a girl named Shell, who was an important witness against her. The jury adjourned on the Monday night, to Thursday, May 2, when the girl Mordue, - who at the commencement of the inquiry, had exhibited the utmost indifference--became softened, and confessed her guilt, stating, that she had been prompted to the deed by Susan Stephenson (a woman who has had two or three illegitimate children, and bears a very indifferent character.) The jury further adjoined to Friday, the 3rd inst; and having returned a verdict of implicating both the girl and the old woman, they were committed for trial at the assizes. The jury were unanimous in the case of the girl, but as to the woman there were some dissentients. The daughter of the deceased, we are informed, was led to meditate revenge by some reproof which she received from her parent, in a matter of comparatively trifling importance.



The Newcastle Courant Friday, May 17, 1839
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Old 18-02-2012, 04:45 PM
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Ah..... those were the days.... when you could buy arsenic at the grocers and dynamite at the newsagents.
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Old 18-02-2012, 05:34 PM
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Default Aquitted

JANE MORDUE (15), charged with the murder of her own father, Thomas Mordue, at Acklington, near Warkworth was acquitted. In this case several witnesses were examined, who deposed to knowing the deceased, to having seen him in his last illness, and at and after the time of his decease. The two medical gentlemen who examined the body after death could not say that death had been occasioned by poison ; and the gentlemen who examined the contents of the stomach, saw the appearance of poison, but had not analyzed such contents so as to be able to swear to the presence of poison. In addressing the jury, the learned judge severely reprehended the conduct of Edward Nicholson, one of the witnesses, grocer, at Warkworth, for having sold so young a girl an ounce of arsenic, which, if it had been used to poison the deceased, made the murder in a great degree chargeable to his account. The constable, William Tate, was reproved for the part he had unlawfully taken in getting the girl to make a confession to him. His lordship then adverted to the general good conduct of the prisoner, and to the uniform testimony of the different witnesses that she had lived on the very best terms with her father, for whom she had been housekeeper for 4 years.

Against SUSANNAH STEPHENSON (26), charged with aiding aid assisting Jane Mordue no bill was found.

NC, 2 Aug 1839 (Reporting on the Nortrhumberland Spring Assizes)
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