The Brief Life of Kenneth Toulson - Sheffield 1931

I've had this cutting for a few years. It is from The Times dated Monday 7th December 1931.

The Times dated Monday 7th December 1931

I thought it would be an idea to give a name to the six week old baby who was thrown into the boating lake. Thanks to the marvelous endeavors of the Sheffield Indexers I found this entry in the burial registers of Sheffield's City Road Cemetery

TOULSON, Kenneth (Son of Ivy, age 6weeks). Died at 34ct 5 Young St; Buried on November 18, 1931 in Consecrated ground;
Grave Number 7752, Section U of City Road Cemetery, Sheffield. Parent or Next of Kin if Available: ~. Remarks: .
Kenneth was one of 42 burials in the grave which are mainly stillborns and children who died at an early age

Based on the above information I wanted to know how the discharge of Ivy came about. The trial started at West Riding Assizes on Friday 4th December 1931. And immediately the presiding judge Mr Justice McCardie was confronted with a problem

Yorkshire Post dated Friday 4th December 1931

Western Daily Press dated Saturday 5th December 1931

From my understanding Ivy had originally been indicted on a charge of willful murder, a charge that carried a mandatory death penalty. As Kenneth was over four weeks old and was not newly born under the terms of the legislation, this was the correct charge. But the jury under the instructions of the judge rejected the bill for willful murder and replace it with the offence of infanticide. The defence counsel then pointed out that that there was no case to answer as the victim was over four weeks and so did not come under Infant Life Preservation Act 1929. This was refuted by the prosecution who said that Mr Justice Shearman had stated that a six week old child was newly born. There is little wonder that Mr Justice McCardie adjourned the trial to consider the point. 

 

Lancashire Daily Post dated Saturday 5th December 1931

Mr Justice McCardie resumed the trial the following day and was beset with even greater problems. The "most material witness" to the death of Kenneth could not be traced despite every effort of the police. This non-appearance of the witness was seized upon by Mr Justice McCardie to halt the trial and indicate that the defendant be found Not Guilty and discharged. This the jury did with alacrity. There was insufficient evidence and it would have been unsafe to proceed. It also got the judge out of a legal predicament!

The police and the prosecuting counsel had thought that there was a case to answer, and when you review the circumstances of Kenneth's death I believe they had no option. But Ivy's mother had said that her daughter had been "very ill since the birth of her child and should not have left hospital. She could not carry the baby long..." There is no indication on Ivy's part that she was preparing to commit a malicious act as this report of the actual tragedy states. It is from the Northern Daily Mail dated 21st November 1931

Northern Daily Mail dated 21st November 1931

Ivy lived to be 85 years of age. It is not known if she had any more children

First name(s) IVY Last name TOULSON
Birth day 7 Birth month 3 Birth year 1909
Death quarter 1
Death year 1994
District SHEFFIELD District number 0481D Register number D49A Entry number 093 Date of registration mm/yy 0394
County Yorkshire Country England Record set England & Wales deaths 1837-2007

Notes

Ivy in the 1911 Census

 

Sources

The Times dated Monday 7th December 1931

Yorkshire Post dated Friday 4th December 1931

Western Daily Press dated Saturday 5th December 1931

Lancashire Daily Post dated Saturday 5th December 1931

Northern Daily Mail dated 21st November 1931

This page was last updated on 28/10/15 14:56

Return To Main Homepage