Sentenced to death

Southport Visiter, Dec 16th 1858

At the Liverpool assizes on Tuesday there were three trials for wilful murder, in two of which sentence of death was passed, without hope of remission.

The first of which was a charge of murder committed at Manchester, in attempting to procure an abortion.

Carl STADTMULLER, aged 24, and Auguste WILHELM, aged 29, were indicted for having, at Manchester on the 26th Sept last, wilfully murdered one Martha BILBOROUGH.

Both prisoners were arraigned to challenge the jury, and they both pleaded not guilty to the charge in which they were indicted, after which Mr SOWLER intimated that, with the concurrence of His Lordship, the prosecution had agreed to the acquittal of STADTMULLER, and to call him as a witness against the other prisoner.

Mr SOWLER then stated the case as affecting the prisoner WILHELM, but the details are wholly unfit for publication.

We may briefly state that the prisoner was a Chemist and Druggist carrying on business in Bury, New Rd, Strangeways, Manchester, STADTMULLER, was an assistant in his employment.

The charge was causing the death of a young woman by an attempt to procure an abortion.

The deceased was a relative of Joshua BILLCLIFFE of the General Havelock, Public house, Stetford New Rd, Manchester.

For some time previous to Sunday the 26th Sept, she had been in the habit of sending for medicines to the prisoners shop.

On that day she went herself to the shop, about 2pm and remained there till after 11pm. While she was there at 6pm a girl heard violent screams coming from the shop.

The young woman returned to the General Havelock at midnight accompanied by WILHELM, she appeared ill and went to bed.

The following day the prisoner visited the General Havelock and saw the young woman, and ordered medicines, which were brought by, Mrs WILHELM.

He and STRADTMULLER attended again on Tuesday and ordered leeches which were applied to her lower body.

The deceased became gradually worse and Dr WILSON was called in, he perceived she was dying and ordered some gentle stimulants, the young woman only lasted a few more hours.

Dr WILSON was of the opinion, foul play had been used and BILLCLIFFE waited upon the prisoner asking for a certificate showing the cause of death, he received one alleging the cause of death from inflammation of the bowels.

On a post mortem the medical men were of the opinion death was due to an attempt to procure abortion, were instruments were used.

WILHELM was found guilty and sentenced to death.

Henry REID, aged 40, a labourer was found guilty of the wilful murder of his wife Susannah REID, at Manchester, on 23rd Sept last and also sentenced to death.

Hugh MC’CABE, aged 22 and Michael MURPHY, aged 21, were indicted for the wilful murder of Robert VOSE, at Windle on the 6th Oct, MC’CABE was only charged on a coroner’s inquisition.

The prisoners are Labourers at St Helens and on Tuesday night, 5th Oct, the deceased, his cousin, and some other men were drinking in a public house, the Peel Arms, when the prisoners, who had previously been drinking at the Star, public house, came in, and angry words ensued.

At 12pm, the Landlord came and said it was time for them to leave, the deceased and his cousin Richard VOSE, left first.

The other men came out and MC’CABE and the deceased started fighting.

A general fight broke out and according to one of the witnesses the deceased struck the first blow, but another witness said it was MC’CABE who struck VOSE in the first instant.

During the fight MURPHY ran across the street to assist MC’CABE and was knocked down by Richard VOSE.

According to the evidence Richard VOSE and the deceased ran down Water St for the purpose of returning home, followed by MC’CABE, but according to another witness, after the deceased and MC’CABE had been struggling on the ground, the police arrived, they both got up and ran away.

About 10 minutes later a man was found lying on waste ground by the road, the man thought he was drunk, and there being a rattling sound in his throat, thought he wanted to vomit, the witness turned him over and walked away, without observing any blood on the man as the night was very dark.

At 5-30am the body was found in the same place quite stiff and cold.

On examination there were two wounds on the body, one on the left arm, the other in the upper left breast, penetrating into the cavity of the chest, the latter wound being the cause of death.

The circumstances under which the prisoners were arrested were described.

As also the extraordinary statements which MC’CABE made when taken into custody – that before anything had been said as to the charge, he asked, “Is the man dead?”

The jury after a short deliberation, returned a verdict of Manslaughter against MC’CABE, whose sentence was differed.

MURPHY who was acquitted was discharged.

S. V, Dec, 30th 1858


Although in the case of Auguste WILHELM, convicted of murder by a futile attempt to procure an abortion, the jury would have been glad to return a verdict of manslaughter, if the law would have allowed them, and in the case of REID, convicted of strangling his wife, there was recommendation to mercy on account of his drunkenness, no respite or reprieve has yet been received, 14 days have passed since the sentences were passed, 11 since the assizes were terminated and both judges have left town.

Little hope is entertained that a remission of the sentence in either case, it is expected the law will take its course in the morning of Saturday next, New Years day.

They willingly receive the ministrations of Rev T. APPLETON, Chaplain and regularly attend chapel

WILHELM’S wife and child took their leave of him on Monday forenoon. REID has not been visited by any of his friends.

It will be remembered both cases are from Manchester.


Kindly forwarded by Lyn TODD, 25th Dec 2006

WILHELM 's sentence was commuted to Life and he was transported to Western Australia in October 1861 on the ship 'Lincelles' in Australia he was identified as prisoner # 6159.

He fell from a horse and died on Christmas Day 1864 - ( - exactly 142 years ago today !)

He is described as being 5' 5 1/4" tall


Convicts to Australia - or the Lincelles

Fremantle Prison Convict Database

You can also see a full physical description from the link on the relevant DPS page.

There were 1161 men convicted in Lancashire that were sent to WA between 1850 & 1868.


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