Husband deserts wife to leave her destitute

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1913 Police Court

At the Borough Police Court today before the Mayor (Mr AM Daniel) in the chair, and other magistrates, Frederick Henry Marflitt, whose address was given as “care of Mrs Hall, Globe Street,” was summoned by his wife, Ellen Marflitt, who made an application for a maintenance order.

Defendant denied that he had deserted his wife.

Mr Claude Royle, solicitor, who appeared for the applicant, said that his client was residing at 4, Fish Yard, St Thomas Street, and that the husband was a butcher by trade, although at the present time he was not following that avocation. The parties were married on May 17th, 1902, at the St Mary’s Parish Church.

The cause of complaint was that defendant left his wife just after Christmas, and that at the time when he left her he intended to break off the cohabitation.

He had not allowed her anything in the way of maintenance, and had it not been for the assistance of her sister, she would have had to go to the Workhouse.

His client, Mr Royle went on to say, had seen her husband drinking until that time, and she had also seen him in the company of other women.

It seemed to him that there was sufficient cause for complaint when the wife was left destitute, and when the husband could afford to conduct himself in the manner he had spoken of, Mr Royle added that his client was unable to earn her own living as she was suffering from nervous debility.

Complainant corroborated the statements of Mr Royle, and said that her husband was always drunk when he could get liquor.

After having left her the defendant had come to the house in a drunken condition at four o’clock one morning. He went to bed, and on rising said that he did not know how he had come to be there (laughter). That was the only occasion which defendant had visited the house after having left her.

Defendant could earn about 10s a day during the season.

Complainant denied having locked her husband out of the house and that he had knocked on the door three times.

Eliza Cook, sister of complainant, spoke as to having allowed the latter 7s 6d per week during the time her husband had been away from her. She denied having told defendant that they could get on better without him.

Defendant had said for 12 months past “they” had been trying to get rid of him. He was in the way. They wanted him to allow them something and to let them live by themselves. He did not blame his wife; he blamed her family. He spoke as to having had to cook his own meals, and said that the sister had said to him that they did not want him.

The sister had paid three weeks arrears of rent and had also bought coal.

The Mayor announced that the bench had decided to grant a separation order, the defendant to pay 8s 6d a week to the complainant and £1 10s 6d costs.

The magistrates asked applicant’s solicitor if she would like the money to be paid into court.

The reply was in the affirmative and the magistrates said defendant would have to pay the money weekly to an officer of the court.