15 August 1889
Liverpool, Aug. 8.
Mrs. Maybrick has been found guilty and sentenced to death. Nothing can save her from the gallows now but the intervention of the Queen, through her Home Secretary. It may be possible that a popular petition may succeed in putting the convicted American girl behind bars for life, but this as yet is mere speculation. As the case stands at this moment she is condemned to die on the scaffold. When the accused came into court her pale, haggard appearance was fairly startling. She had to be helped up the stairs leading to the dock. When she got to the top of the stairs she staggered and trembled, and it was with much difficulty that she walked to the front of the dock. When she reached the rail she again trembled, clutched the rail and looked as if she was about to faint. With a deathly pale face she took a seat in the dock and swayed backwards and forwards in her chair as if about to fall. She was evidently ill and weak. The female attendant kept constant watch upon her.
Judge Stephen, in his charge to the jury, said there ws strong and distressful evidence to show that the prisoner had a motive for ridding herself of her husband. This could be found in her infidelity, which had rendered it necessary for her to enter into inextricable mazes of living. He also called particular attention to the phrase "he is sick unto death," contained in her letter to Brierly. This was terribly important in view of the fact that on the day the letter was written the doctors fully expected Mr. Maybrick would recover. It showed there was a reason for believing that the prisoner was desirous of being rid of her husband, in order that she might live with her paramour. The Judge put the question to the jury whether it was reasonable to believe that a loving wife would yield to her husband's suggestion and put an unknown powder in his food.
At 3:20 o'clock the judge stopped talking and said: "Now, gentlemen, consider your verdict." Breathless silence reigned in the court as the jurymen filed out. Friends of the accused, who calculated on a verdict of acquittal without the jurors leaving their seats, began to look anxious as the time crept slowly on. The interest of the crowded courtroom centered on the prisoner. She looked around anxiously, watching the door of the jury-room. At length the twelve trusty men returned, after being out an hour and thirty minutes. The judge resumed his place and there was a terrible stillness throughout the court.
The foreman of the jury said: "We have agreed that the accused is guilty." The clerk asked the customary question whether the woman had any thing to say before sentence of death was passed. The prisoner, pale and haggard, rose, with a respectful bow, and addressed his lordship in these words: "My lord, evidence has been kept back from the jury which, if it had been known, would have altered the verdict, I am not guilty of this offense." Saying this she sat down, gasping for breath, and seemed more dead than alive. The poor woman sat sobbing like a child, while the judge, assuming the black cap, in solemn tones sentenced her to be hanged by the neck till dead. At this moment there was an awful hush upon the court, and a pin could have been heard to drop. Some of the women present were in tears. The judge himself was visibly moved.
As Mrs. Maybrick rose to walk from the fatal dock she tottered and almost fell, and kindly the wardens put out their hands to steady her. But it was her strength and not her courage that had failed her. She shrank from the hands of the wardens as if the well-meant help was repulsive to her delicate tastes.
After the verdict became known, thousands of people assembled around the entrance to the court-room and waited for the departure of the judge. As soon as he made his appearance, he was greeted with howls of rage, and the hooting of the crowd was kept up for a long time. There were incessant cries of "Shame," and an attack upon the judge's carriage was only prevented by the active interference of the police. The feeling in Liverpool against the verdict is intense. Steps have been taken to secure a stay of execution on the ground of the discovery of further medical evidence.
London, Aug. 8.
The London papers give a feeble approval of the verdict of guilty against Mrs. Maybrick. The Times holds that enough evidence has been presented on the side of the accused to make her case one for the earnest consideration of the Home Office.
Mrs. Maybrick is an American woman and has resided in England for some years. Her crime was the poisoning of her husband, James Maybrick. Mr. Maybrick had been ill for some time and Mrs. Maybrick had been nursing him. As he continued to fail in health his relatives began to suspect that he was being poisoned by his wife, and one of them, Michael Maybrick, commenced to watch her. In his testimony he said that he had visited his brother during his illness and had warned Mrs. Maybrick that he suspected his brother was receiving improper treatment. His wife insisted upon her right to nurse her husband. He thereupon summoned two doctors and a new nurse. He also seized a bottle containing brandy and extract of meat. At a later visit he found Mrs. Maybrick changing the contents and labels of medicine bottles. He remonstrated with her and asked her how she dare to do such a thing. She replied that there was sediment in the bottles. He again caused a change of nurses to be made. Notwithstanding his precautions, however, his brother grew worse and died in a short time. He was delirious towards the end. After his death the nurse gave him a parcel labelled: "Arsenic poison for cats." Many other witnesses corroborated Michael Maybrick's testimony, and some of them said Mrs. Maybrick hated her husband and had threatened to "give it to him hot" for publicly upbraiding her. It was also shown that she had tampered with his medicine.