Margaret HEYES of St Helens charged with child murder at Southport, 1924

Manchester Guardian, Aug 2nd, 1924

Skeleton in cellar

Southport inquest adjourned

At Southport yesterday Mr F. A. JONES Deputy Coroner, opened an inquest on the skeleton of a child found in the cellar of 36 Hoghton St. Evidence was given by Sergeant SHARPE, officer of the Coroner, that he had in his possession the remains of a child, the sex unknown. There were teeth in the child’s head so the child must have been some months old. Mr JONES said he understood that in the interests of justice it was not desirable at present to disclose any further information. He would adjourn the inquest and in the meantime the police would make inquiries.

Manchester Guardian, Aug 7th, 1924

Untraced child

Mother charged with murder

A young woman named Margaret HEYES of Oxley St, St Helens was remanded in Southport yesterday on a charge of wilful murder of a child whose age was presumed to be about 6 months. Only formal evidence was given.

Detective Inspector WIGNALL stated that on Tuesday morning he, along with Detective Sergeant CATTLE and Chief Inspector ROE of the St Helens police, went to the home of the accused 9 Oxley St, St Helens, and saw her in the kitchen. He told her that they were police officers and were making inquiries about her three children. Two they had traced to her home in Festiniog, but the third they could not trace after the time she took it out of the home in Knowsley Rd, Southport at the end of December 1919. Accused did not speak.

He told her she need not make any answer or explanation unless she chose to do so. He brought the woman to Southport and charged her with the murder of the child, and she made a statement which would be used later on. He did not propose to give the statement in evidence at present.

The accused said she had no objection to a remand.

The charge it is believed, has reference to the finding of a skeleton of a child in the cellar of a house, 36 Hoghton St, Southport on Thursday last. The inquest on the remains was adjourned on Tuesday for three weeks, the Chief Constable remarking that it would not be in the interests of justice to give evidence then. The remains had been submitted to a pathologist, his report would not be ready for some time.

Manchester Guardian, Aug 14th, 1924

Cellar Skeleton

Mother charged with murder

Margaret HEYES a married woman, who was arrested in a house in Oxley St, St Helens, was charged on remand at Southport yesterday with the wilful murder of her 6 month old child. Supt CLARK said the police wished another remand, as inquiries were not yet completed and the report of the pathologist had not yet been received. A remand for 8 days was granted.

It was stated at a previous hearing that the baby with whose murder she was charged was taken out of a babies home at Knowsley Rd, Southport, in 1919, and while the police had been able to trace two other children they could not trace the one related to in the charge. The finding of a skeleton in the cellar of a house in Southport led, it is believed to the arrest of the woman. It is thought that the bones must have laid on a bench in a dark recess of the cellar for some years

Manchester Guardian, Aug 21st 1924

Murder charge at Southport

Woman and her infant

Margaret HEYES aged 34, a married woman from Oxley St, St Helens was again brought before Southport Magistrates yesterday charged with the wilful murder of her infant son William Griffiths.

The Chief Constable applying for a further remand for 8 days, said the prosecution was being undertaken by the Director of Public Prosecutions. The adjourned inquest had been fixed for Tuesday next and he hoped to have the police court hearing taken the same day so as to release the expert witnesses, a pathologist and radiologist who were coming to give evidence.

Mr B. Crompton CARR who appeared for the accused, offered no objection to a remand, and the accused was remanded for a week.

Manchester Guardian, Sept 3rd, 1924

Murder charge fails against mother

Margaret HEYES, aged 34, married woman of St Helens, was dismissed by the Southport magistrates yesterday on a charge of murdering her infant son William Davies GRIFFITHS, on or about Feb 29th 1920, The charge arose out of the discovery of the skeleton of a child in an air passage at a house in Hoghton St at which the prisoner at the date named, was a servant in the employ of a doctor.

Professor GLYNN pathologist at the Liverpool Royal Infirmary, said the remains were those of a child between 5 and 8 months old and had been in the position in which they were found for at least 3 or 4 years. There was no evidence of injury and nothing to show the cause of death.

Evidence was given by several witnesses that the child was puny and delicate and that the accused appeared to be fond of it.

Detective Inspector WIGNALL gave evidence of arresting HEYES and of the womans statement in custody. The alleged statement was, “I put some cold water in a tin bath and held his head under for a short time. I got him out and put him on my knee. I cried bitterly after I had done it, I thought I had taken him out of the water in time to save his life.” In cross examination the witness said from the time the accused was spoken to at St Helens she appeared like one in a trance.

Mr CARR submitted there was no case to answer. Professor GLYNN had said there had been no death by violence. The remains could not be identified on the evidence, and had it not been for the statement of the accused there would have been nothing to consider at all. It was shown she was in a state of stupor at the time the statement was made.

In her evidence HEYES said she had been in service for about 20 years but was not fully conversant with the English language. She believes she took the child out of the Baby Home on a Sunday. She gave him a bath, but he gasped and quivered and died. She did not hold the head of the child under water. She was afraid to tell what happened to the child because she thought she might get sent away and had nowhere to go.

The Bench returned to court after half an hour, and the Chairman, Alderman TROUNSON, said there was no evidence on which any jury would convict.


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