36 years of marriage, but wife ‘lived in fear’

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1913 Police Court

At the Borough Police Court today before Mr SN Smith (in the chair), Mr Henry Stephenson, and Mr EH Gawne, a case in which Wm. Kelly, 32, Trafalgar Street East, was summoned by his wife, Mary Kelly, who made an application for a maintenance order, came up for adjudication.

Mr Claude Royle, who appeared for the applicant, said that the facts of the case were that the parties came to reside in Scarboro’ in December, 1909, and since that time the husband had been addicted to drink. Although his client would tell them (the magistrates) that defendant had, at intervals, behaved himself in a proper manner, he had spent a considerable portion of time under the influence of drink. Drink appeared to have been the cause of the trouble. Three weeks ago (on 8th March) defendant came home considerably the worse for drink, and owing to his threatening conduct the complainant had been compelled to seek the protection of PC Taylor, who lived in the vicinity. On more than one occasion, continued Mr Royle, defendant had taken the poker and had threatened his wife.

Mary Kelly, the complainant, said she married defendant 36 years ago at Halifax. She had suggested to defendant that he should give up his drinking habits, and that was the only provocation he had had. She added that she was in bad health, and been receiving medical treatment at the hospital for five weeks.

Her health had suffered as a result of her husband’s conduct.

Defendant said that his wife had exaggerated the state of affairs. She had used abusive language to him.

Defendant (to complainant): Have I ever struck at you since we were married?

Complainant: No.

Defendant: Have I ever tried to?

Complainant: Yes, you have.

Defendant said he had nothing more to say but that he was very sorry.

Louisa Blanchard said she resided in a house adjoining defendant’s. Complainant had frequently come to her in a very frightened condition as a result of her husband’s treatment.

Asked if he had any questions to ask witness, defendant said he had not. “She has really been the cause of all our trouble in telling tales,” he asserted.

PC Taylor said that when Mrs Kelly had come to him for protection three weeks ago he had gone with her to the house and, the door being locked, he had told her to knock.

The defendant had put his head out of the window, and said to his wife, “I’ll strike your bloody head with this.” He saw me, continued witness, and said, “Oh, come in Mr Taylor” (laughter).

Defendant asked witness if he (defendant) had not shown to him a bruise on his eye?

PC Taylor said that was so, but that he did not think the wife was strong enough to have given him the blow which had caused it.

Addressing the Bench, defendant said that if they would take a lenient view of the case he would promise them, and also his wife, that he would be teetotal for the rest of his life. It was certainly due to drink and provocation that he acted as he had acted.

The Chairman asked Mr Royle if there was a possibility of the case being withdrawn, but he said that the husband had made so many promises that they felt they could not withdraw the summons.

Mrs Kelly, questioned as to her husband’s earnings, said that in the season he could earn between £2 and £3 a week.

A separation and maintenance order was eventually granted, the husband to pay 7s 6d per week to complainant.