Attempted murder of an aunt, 1866

Liverpool Mercury, July 10th 1866

Shocking affair in Whitefield Rd

Attempted murder by a boy

Yesterday morning the inhabitants of Whitefield Rd and the neighbourhood were much alarmed by a report being circulated that a shocking crime had been committed in Harewood St, during the night, a boy 16yrs of age, had attempted to murder his aunt with a carving knife, and that the unfortunate woman was not expected to live. The rumour proved true.

It seems that Arthur BRAYBROOKE, aged 16, who resided with his aunt, Mrs Amelia PHILLIPS, wife of Captain Tobias PHILLIPS, 26 Harewood St, off Whitefield Rd. It is said some disagreement had recently taken place between Mrs PHILLIPS and her nephew and that on Sunday she upbraided him for letting her child fall, whom he was taking care off.

On Sunday night the family retired to bed at an early hour, about 3am yesterday the inhabitants of the usually quiet street were startled by hearing cries of "Murder!" proceeding from the house of Mrs PHILLIPS. It would seem that BRAYBROOKE got up from his bed at about 2.30am, armed himself with a carving knife and proceeded to his aunt's bedroom, and while the poor woman lay asleep stabbed her in the breast with the knife, inflicting a fearful wound an inch and a half in length.

Mrs PHILLIPS was awakened by the attack and seeing her nephew in the room with the knife in his hand, screamed for assistance. Her cries awoke a gentleman who lodged in the house, and who immediately went to her. In the meantime BRAYBROOKE had escaped and run down Whitefield Rd as far as Norwood Grove, where he was observed by PC. FAHEY, of the county force, who was on duty in the locality.

The officer, seeing the young man running, thought there was something wrong, and gave chase, BRAYBROOKE ran very fleetly and it was a short time before the officer came up with him. On getting hold of him FAHEY inquired where he was going to. BRAYBROOKE replied, he was going for a doctor as his aunt was very ill, and wanted medical assistance immediately. The officer did not believe this statement and further questioned the boy, who then said that he was running away to sea, that his aunt would not let him go, but that he was determined to go in spite of her.

While the officer was speaking to the boy a gentleman came up and said, "That's him who did it, keep hold of him" The officer then learned that the boy had stabbed his aunt and apprehended him on that charge.

On proceeding to the house a horrible sight presented itself. The poor woman was bleeding profusely from the wound on her breast, the bed-clothes saturated with blood and the floor sprinkled with blood. BRAYBROOKE in his hurry to escape left behind the knife with which he had stabbed his aunt. The knife, a most formidable looking weapon, was covered with blood, and was taken possession of be the police-officer.

As Mrs PHILLIPS appeared to be in a dying state, it was thought necessary to send for a magistrate to take her deposition. A messenger was sent to Mr J. J. STITT, who was soon in attendance. In the meantime Dr WOOD and other medical men had arrived, and rendered every assistance to the injured woman. In her deposition she detailed the circumstances of the attack upon her, and identified BRAYBROOKE as the person who stabbed her. PC. FAHEY took his prisoner to the central office in Dale St.

BRAYBROOKE was brought before Mr RAFFLES yesterday morning, at the police court, charged with feloniously wounding Amelia PHILLIPS with intent to murder her. Mr WALTER prosecuted the prisoner was undefended.

Constable FAHEY [646] , of the county constabulary, stated that about 5 mins to 3am he met the prisoner running down Whitefield Rd, Everton. He had his shoes off, was without a cap, and appeared excited. He stopped the prisoner and asked why he was runner in the manner he did at that hour in the morning. Prisoner said at first he was running for a doctor, his aunt was very ill. The officer did not believe that statement, the prisoner then said he was running away to sea. The officer again intimated that he did not believe him and turned the prisoner back on which he told him he lived in Harewood St. As they were going up the street they met a man running, who told him the boy had stabbed his aunt in Harewood St and that she was nearly dead. The officer then went to the house and saw Mrs PHILLIPS in bed covered with blood, and on the floor he found a knife [a large ivory handled carving knife] with blood upon it. As soon as he got into the house with the prisoner Mrs PHILLIPS said, "There he is - lock him up."

Mr RAFFLES, "What did he say? - Officer, He said nothing. I then charged him with stabbing Amelia PHILLIPS, with intent to take her life, and in reply he said, "She beat me with brooms and punched me in the chest, and called me names."

Constable SKUCE [249] of the borough force, said that he went for Dr WOOD, and afterwards for Mr STITT, magistrate to take Mrs PHILLIPS'S deposition, as it was believed she was in a dying state.

Mr WALTER then read the following statement :-

I Amelia PHILLIPS of 26 Harewood St, Everton, believing myself to be in a dying condition, do hereby solemnly and sincerely make oath that about 11 o' clock last night I went to bed. The prisoner Arthur BRAYBROOKE went to bed at the same time in the adjoining bedroom. About 3 o' clock this morning I was asleep when I felt something dab or stabbed at me, when I awakened and saw Arthur BRAYBROOKE running out of the room. I think he said something about the policeman. I got up and a knife fell out of my side. The knife produced is the knife that fell out of my side. Yesterday the knife was in the knife-box, and had not been used all day. Yesterday morning he dais he hated me. He was always being saucy and impudent to me. I had a quarrel with him yesterday morning because he let my child fall


Signed and sworn before me this 9th of July, 1886, at 4.40am


J.P for the Borough of Liverpool

The following statement of the prisoner was then read :-

I Arthur BRAYBROOKE, nephew of Amelia PHILLIPS, say that my aunt angered me and beat me yesterday morning because I let the child fall, but I did not let it fall. We have had several quarrels, but it was not all my fault. We have never agreed.


Signed before me this 9th day of July 1866, at 4.45am


J.P for the Borough of Liverpool

Mr WALTER also read the following certificate from Dr WOOD :-

This is to certify that I was called at 3.15 am to attend upon Amelia PHILLIPS, of 26 Harewood St, whom I found in a state of extreme debility from loss of blood from a wound in the right breast of about an inch and a quarter in length, and that she is at present in a dangerous condition

Thomas WOOD, M.R.C.S.

White Rock St, July 9

Mr WALTER added that it was believed the knife had penetrated the lungs, Mr PHILLIPS was in a dangerous condition, and it was not expected would survive the morning.

The prisoner said he did not let the child fall, and that his aunt struck him several times on Sunday morning and made him keep his room. In answer to the question as to what he had to say about stabbing her, prisoner, who throughout had shown a sullen disposition, made no reply. He was remanded for 7 days.

Mr RAFFLES complimented Constable FAHEY for his conduct in stopping the prisoner when he did, and remarked that if he had taken the excuse the prisoner might have got off.

Liverpool Mercury, July 31st 1866

Liverpool Police Court

Monday July 30th

Before Mr Horatio MANSFIELD

The case of the boy charged with attempting to murder his aunt

Arthur BRAYBROOKE, aged 16, had been several times remanded on the charge of having wounded his aunt Amelia PHILLIPS, of Harewood St, with intent to murder her and was now brought up for final examination.

Mr DAVIES deputy law clerk, for the prosecution detailed the main facts of the case. The prisoner is the son of a sister of the prosecutrix, his father is dead, he had gone to reside with Mrs PHILLIPS until a situation could be procured for him. For some time after the attack she was in such a dangerous state that it was necessary then to take her "dying deposition". She is now scarcely able to walk, and was supported on her way to the witness box by Thomas WOOD, the surgeon who had been in attendance upon her

Her evidence was to the following effect :- I am a married woman, my husband is James Tobias PHILLIPS, a master mariner, at present at sea. I live at 26 Harewood St. The prisoner is my nephew, his mother lives in India and his father is dead. He has lived with me since last Christmas, he came until his father could get him taken out to India, but his father died in the meantime. Since his father's death he has been waiting the arrival of an uncle from sea.

On the night of Sunday the 8th July I went to bed about 11pm, there were in the house at the time Mr COOKE, a lodger, my two children and the prisoner. Mr COOKE slept in the front bedroom, I and my children in the middle back room, and the prisoner in the room next to mine. Just at break of day I was awoke by feeling a knife going into my breast, the prisoner was standing at my bedside, his hand by his side near the bed, and the knife was left in me. I jumped up and went to the door to call Mr COOKE, when I called out the prisoner ran away. Mr COOKE came to me I asked him to knock up the people next door immediately, and after that I felt a rush of blood. I thought if I lay down on my back I would be saved and accordingly I returned to my bed and lay down. I became insensible and when I came to my senses I saw two policemen, Mr STITT the magistrate and the prisoner, and three doctors. I have been very ill ever since [the knife produced]. The knife now produced was in my knife-box up to dinner time on Sunday, I know nothing of it since then. The prisoner and I had unpleasant words on Sunday morning, he told me he hated the sight of me, the quarrel arose about his having let my child fall about 10.30 am on Sunday, he was very saucy afterwards. I called him to his tea in the afternoon but he would not come, however he did come down in the evening and had supper with me. When he went to bed he kissed the child and said, "Goodnight." I told him to get up early in the morning and he said he would, we parted good friends.

Mr David COOKE, the lodger stated he had resided in the house three months and had known the prisoner since living there. He and his aunt lived on tolerably good terms, but occasionally had words. The prisoner made himself useful about the house. On Sunday morning 8th July witness was dressing to go to church and heard BRAYBROOKE and his aunt quarrelling, they quarrelled coming up the stairs together and she ordered him to his room. Each was complaining of the others conduct, She complained that he had let her child fall, and brought it to him that he might see that his cheek was hurt. The prisoner said to her, "I hate you." Mr PHILLIPS, said, "After all I've done for you", the prisoner replied, "The more you do for me the more I hate you.". Witness finished dressing and went out, the quarrel had not subsided then. When he returned from church he saw Mrs PHILLIPS, but not the prisoner, he spent the rest of the day at a friend's house and returned home about 10pm, when he saw the prisoner whose anger seemed abated. He sat at the supper table with him and his aunt, with whom BRAYBROOKE seemed quite friendly

They all retired about the same time, about 3am he heard Mr PHILLIPS calling, he went to her room and saw her coming towards the door, smeared with blood. Witness said to her, "You had better lie down." and got her into bed. She said to call the next door neighbour and he did so. The neighbours came to her assistance and a gentleman who came in went for a doctor. When the neighbours came in the prisoner came out of his room and asked, "What's the matter Mr COOKE?" The prosecutrix heard him and said, "You've stabbed me." He then went downstairs without his shoes and was brought back to the house by a policeman. Witness approached Mrs PHILLIP'S bedside and trod upon a knife which he picked up and handed to a policeman.

Patrick FAHEY, county police constable [646] spoke to apprehending the prisoner as he was running down Whitefield Rd. He first said in reply to witness's question that he was going for a doctor his aunt having been ill all night. He then said he was running off to sea, as his aunt would not let him go. Witness did not believe what he said and took him back to the house. There he was charged with having stabbed his aunt with intent to murder her. He made the reply, "She beat me with brooms in the face, punched me in the chest with her fists and called me names".

Mr WOOD of Whiterock St, surgeon called in stated that when he arrived at the house he found her in a very weak and exhausted state, almost in a state of collapse. She was covered in blood from a wound in the upper part of her right breast. It was an incised wound about an inch and a half in length, and the same in depth. She had bled excessively before the witness arrived. She was in immediate danger from loss of blood for ten days afterwards, the wound, apart from exhaustion was dangerous in itself in consequence of the number of large vessels there and the haemorrhage which resulted. He thought he might say that she was now out of danger.

PC No 249 of the borough force repeated the evidence he gave in the former hearing, this closed the case for the prosecution.

The prisoner, who manifested the utmost coolness and indifference throughout the proceedings, declined to put any questions to the witnesses or to make any defence, and was committed to take his trial at the ensuing assizes for wounding with intent to murder.

Liverpool Mercury, Aug 15th 1866

Liverpool Assizes

Crown court

Before Mr Baron MARTIN, Tuesday Aug 14th


Arthur BRAYBROOKE, the boy found guilty of stabbing his aunt with intent to murder her was sentenced to seven years penal servitude. Previous to the prisoner being sentenced the prosecutrix, Mrs Amelia PHILLIPS, was assisted into the box, and asked His Lordship to deal mercifully with the prisoner. His Lordship said if anything would induce him to deal leniently with a prisoner it would be the appeal to which he had just listened, but he felt that he could not do so. The prisoner after his aunt had gone to sleep, had proceeded to her bedside and stabbed her in the breast with a knife


1871 census

Portland Convict Establishment for Male Convicts

Arthur BRAYBROOK; Convict; Unmarried; 20; Labourer; Liverpool, Lancashire

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