Murder and Meningitis - Wadsley Sheffield January 1910
The following report is from The Manchester Guardian dated 25th January 1910 and refers to an incident that occurred in the Wadsley Asylum twelve days earlier. The first point of note is that the victim of the attack who subsequently died is not named. Similarly, the perpetrator of the attack is just named as "Hartell" who was classified as an "an epileptic imbecile."
A more detailed report appeared in The Yorkshire Telegraph and Star dated Monday 24th March 1910
But what was most surprising about the report was that the verdict "advised" by the Deputy Coroner Mr Kenyon-Parker and returned by the jury. The inmate was clearly murdered by Hartell and so that is the verdict that should have been returned. It would have been up to the judge and/or jury at the subsequent criminal proceedings to decide whether or not Hartell was fit to stand trial for the crime. In fact Mr Kenyon-Parker did state that this was "their proper verdict". If this was the case, that is the verdict that should have been returned.
But it seems that for reasons that were not disclosed, Mr Kenyon-Parker decided to advise the jury on a verdict that, whilst true, was not the real cause of the inmate's death. I can only assume that he had consulted with the relevant authorities beforehand, and they had decided that a criminal case would be a waste of public funds as it was clear that Hartell would never be found responsible for his actions.
To date I have not found any additional information on the case and so if anyone can supply me with any further insights please contact me
The Manchester Guardian dated 25th January 1910
The Yorkshire Telegraph and Star dated Monday 24th March 1910
The Sheffield Indexers
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