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Times (London)
29 May 1889

THE CHARGE OF POISONING AT AIGBURTH

The adjourned inquest on the body of Mr. James Maybrick was held before Mr. S. Brighouse, county coroner, in the Reading Room, Garston, near Liverpool, yesterday. Much interest was shown in the proceedings. The deceased's widow, who is under arrest on suspicion of poisoning her husband, was unable to be present. The police were represented by Superintendent Bryning and Inspector Baxendale, Mrs. Maybrick by Mr. Pickford, the relatives of the deceased by Mr. A.G. Steele, and a witness by Mr. Mulholland. Plans of the deceased's residence, Battlecrease house, Aigburth, were produced.

Mr. Michael Maybrick, professor of music, of Wellington mansions, Regent's Park, London, said that the deceased was his brother, and was in his 50th year. His wife was about 27 years of age. His brother had recently been to London to consult a physician. On the 8th of May witness went to Liverpool in consequence of a telegram and met his brother Edwin. They proceeded to Battlecrease house, where, inconsequence of what witness heard, he took possession of a letter (produced). It was addressed to Mr. A. Brierley, Huskisson street, Liverpool. The deceased was in bed, in charge of Nurse Gore. Witness told Mrs. Maybrick that the patient ought to have a professional nurse and a second doctor. Next day he saw Dr. Humphreys and Dr. Carter was called in. The following day, the 10th of May, he saw Nurse Gore, who told him something, in consequence of which he removed from a little table near the window of his brother's room half a bottle of brandy. Later, after Nurse Gore, who had been out, had told him something else, he took possession of a bottle of Valentine's meat extract, similar to the bottle mow produced. It was placed between two washing basins and in the centre of the table. He gave the bottle to Dr. Carter on the same day. After taking possession of the meat extract bottle he walked round the garden for a while. On returning to his brother's room he found Mrs. Maybrick changing the medicine from one bottle to another and changing the labels. She said it was on account of the thick sediment in the smaller bottle. Witness then said he was very much displeased and should have the prescription remade. In consequence of what witness saw he had the nurse changed. After this time deceased grew rapidly worse, and died on the evening of Saturday, the 11th inst. About an hour after his brother's death witness gave instructions to the children's nurse, Alice Yapp, who subsequently brought him a box and a parcel in brown paper. The first thing he saw in the box was a white packet labelled "poison." On one side was a label, "poison," and on the other "arsenic poison" and "for cats" in writing. These witness had sealed up in presence of his brother and Mr. Steel, a neighbour. Powder was running out of the parcel, which was open at one end. He locked it up in the wine cellar, and afterwards gave it to Inspector Baxendale. His brother was the only person besides himself who had a key to the cellar. He had given some letters found in Mrs. Maybrick's bedroom to Mr. Baxendale.

The Coroner - The documents consist of two letters addressed to Mrs. Maybrick, a third letter not in an envelope, and a slip of paper that seems to be the draft of a telegram? - Yes. The last is in Mrs. Maybrick's handwriting.

Alice Yapp, the children's nurse, gave evidence about the events that occurred on the Grand National day. Witness heard the deceased say to his wife, in the bedroom, "It will be such a scandal, it will be all over the town tomorrow," and as they proceeded downstairs witness heard Mr. Maybrick say, "Florrie, I never thought it would come to this," adding, "If you once cross this threshold you will never enter the house again." She found in Mr. Maybrick's bedroom some flypapers with liquid on the top of them. On the 27th of April Mrs. Maybrick told witness the master had taken an overdose of medicine, and on the following morning Mrs. Maybrick said, "The master is ill again." Mrs. Maybrick went downstairs and got a cup, the contents of which witness did not see, saying, "It will make you sick and remove phlegm." She then said that Dr. Humphreys said that it was Mr. Maybrick's liver which was out of order. On the 6th of May Mr. Maybrick was very ill, and witness suggested that Dr. Hopper should be called in, but Mrs. Maybrick refused. On the following evening witness saw Mrs. Maybrick on the landing pouring the contents of one medicine bottle into another. When she saw witness she put the bottles down and went away. Subsequently Mrs. Maybrick gave witness a letter to post. It was in her handwriting and was addressed "A. Brierley, Esq., 60 Huskisson street, Liverpool." The baby dropped the letter in the mud, and so as to put it in another envelope witness opened it in the post office. She caught sight of the words "My darling," and she then read the letter and gave it to Mr. Edwin Maybrick.

The Coroner read the letters, which was written in pencil, and ran as follows:-

"Dearest - Your letter under cover to J. came to hand just after I gave them to you on Monday. I did not expect to hear from you so soon, and delay ommitted in giving him the necessary instructions. Since my return I have been nursing all day and night. He is sick unto death. The doctors held a consultation yesterday, and now all depends on how long his strength will hold out. Both my brothers in law are here, and we are terribly anxious. I cannot answer your letter today, my darling, but will relieve your mind of all fear of discovery now or in the future. M. has been delirious since Sunday, and I know that he is perfectly ignorant of everything, even to the name of the street, and also that he has not been making any inquiries whatever. The tale he told me was a pure fabrication, and only intended to frighten the truth out of me. In fact he believes my statement, although he will not admit it. You need not therefore go abroad on this ground, dearest; but in any case please do not leave England until I have seen you once again. You must feel that these two letters of mine were written under circumstances which must ever excuse their injustice in your eyes. Do you suppose I could act as I am doing if I merely felt what I inferred? If you wish to write to me about anything do so now, as all the letters pass through my hands at present. Excuse this scrawl, my darling, but I dare not leave the room for a moment, and I do not know when I shall be able to write to you again.

In haste, yours ever,
Florrie."

Witness further said that after the death she found in a closet a chocolate box and packet of powder marked "poison" which she took to Mr. Michael Maybrick.

Bessie Brierly, housemaid, gave evidence of quarrelling between Mr. and Mrs. Maybrick on the night of the Grand National and about the discovery of the fly papers.

Thomas S. Wokes, chemist, Aigburth, said that about the end of April Mrs. Maybrick purchased of him two dozen fly papers and a lotion.

Elizabeth Humphreys, cook in the house, deposed to bread and milk prepared for the master testing different when returned to her. The witness was kept out of the sick room for some time. When she saw her master he asked her for lemonade as he was dying of thirst. This was on the Wednesday morning before. The lemonade was prepared, but was taken out of witness's hand by Mrs. Maybrick, who set it down, saying the doctor had forbidden it. On Thursday morning, the 9th, Mrs. Maybrick followed witness down to the kitchen and cried, and said she was blamed for all this trouble. She said, "It was all through Mr. Michael Maybrick," who had had a spite against her since her marriage with master. "But," she continued, "I suppose I must submit to it for the time being. Once Mr. Michael goes out of my house he shall never enter it any more." She then cried very bitterly. Afterwards during the day Mrs. Maybrick said he would never pull through.

Mary Cadwallader, housemaid and waitress, gave evidence corroborative of that of the other servants.

Ellen Anne Gore, certificated nurse of the Liverpool Nurses' Training School, Liverpool, said she assumed charge of Mr. Maybrick on the afternoon of the 8th inst. Soon afterwards Mrs. Maybrick brought medicine in a medicine glass and asked witness to give it to the patient. She did so, and put the glass on one of the tables in the bedroom. About half past 6 that evening Mrs. Maybrick said, "The medicine is due now." Witness said she would give food then instead of medicine, and did so. Previously she had looked for the medicine glass, but could not find it in the room. Witness went to the lavatory, and there saw Mrs. Maybrick, who had mixed the medicine in the missing glass. She said it must have so much water in it else it would burn the patient's throat. Mrs. Maybrick then put the glass containing the medicine in a glass of cold water to keep cool. She went downstairs and witness threw the medicine down the sink. The next day witness gave Mrs. Maybrick some Valentine's meat juice from a table on the landing just outside the door. The bottle appeared to have been unopened. Mrs. Maybrick had said her husband had had Valentine's meat juice before, but that it had always made him sick. Witness, however, did not observe any ill effects to follow the portion she had given him. While he was sleeping Mrs. Maybrick and herself were in the bedroom. The open bottle of Valentine's meat juice still remained on the table. Mrs. Maybrick took it into the dressing room, pushed the door to, and remained there about two minutes. Then she returned, and while talking to witness put the bottle of Valentine's meat juice back on the table. Witness made a statement to Mr. Michael Maybrick, and afterwards saw him taking the bottle of Valentine's meat juice from the room. That was the last she saw of the bottle.

Margaret Callery, a nurse of the Nurses' Institute, Liverpool, also gave evidence. On the Friday the deceased was very much exhausted, and complained of his throat and of pains in the abdomen. He said, "Don't give me the wrong medicines again," Mrs. Maybrick said, "What are you talking about? You never had the wrong medicine."

By Mr. Pickford - The nurse going off duty never leaves the room until the next one comes on. While witness was on duty nobody gave the patient anything except on one occasion, when Mrs. Maybrick gave him a small piece of ice.

Susan Wilson, also a certified nurse from the Nurses' Training School, Liverpool, said that when she took charge on Friday she found in the room nurse Callery and Mrs. Maybrick. Mrs. Maybrick stayed in the room most of the time. On Friday at 6 o'clock the deceased said three times, "Oh, Bunney, how could you do it? I did not think it of you!" He seemed all right then, not delirious. Mrs. Maybrick replied, "You silly old darling, don't bother your head about anything," and she remarked to witness, "We cannot think what is the matter with him or what has brought this illness on."

By Mr. Pickford - When I heard the deceased say, "How could you do it?" I knew that Mr. Maybrick believed he had reason to complain of the conduct of his wife. I did not know the facts, but I suspected what was the matter.

Mr. Michael Maybrick, recalled, produced the will of the deceased. The document was handed to and glanced at by the Coroner. Witness said that the seal on the will had not been broken, and he did not see how Mrs. Maybrick could have any knowledge of the contents.

The Coroner - I thought it was suggested that the will was very much in favour of the widow, and that she had an opportunity of knowing it.

Mr. A.G. Steel - Only £2,000 at the outside, I think.

By Mr. Steel - There is no truth in the suggestion made by Mrs. Maybrick to the cook that I have had a spite against Mrs. Maybrick; quite the reverse. I have done all I can to assist her married life and make her happy. A short time ago I entertained her in London. I never had the smallest word of discussion with her in my life until the other evening about the doctor's certificate.

Christina Samuelson, wife of Charles Eyton Samuelson, 5 Princes park terrace, said that she knew the late Mr. James Maybrick and Mrs. Maybrick. About a fortnight or three weeks before the Grand National witness and her husband were staying at the Palace Hotel, Birkdale. The deceased and his wife were stopping at the same hotel. Mr. Alfred Brierley was also stopping there. While at the hotel witness had a conversation with Mrs. Maybrick, who said she hated her husband. On the 29th of March witness was at the Grand National with Mr. and Mrs. Maybrick and Mr. Brierley. While at Aintree she saw Mrs. Maybrick return to the omnibus in Mr. Alfred Brierley's company. She said to witness, "I will give it to him hot and heavy for speaking to me like that in public."

Cross examined by Mr. Pickford - There was a little unpleasantness, and I understood Mrs. Maybrick to refer to that. She at the time was very angry.

The inquest was adjourned until Wednesday, June 5.


Related pages:
  Florence Maybrick
       Dissertations: A Coroner for All Seasons: Sir Samuel Brighouse 
       Press Reports: Atlanta Constitution - 1 June 1889 
       Press Reports: Atlanta Constitution - 14 June 1889 
       Press Reports: Atlanta Constitution - 16 June 1889 
       Press Reports: Atlanta Constitution - 2 June 1891 
       Press Reports: Atlanta Constitution - 23 June 1889 
       Press Reports: Atlanta Constitution - 25 October 1889 
       Press Reports: Atlanta Constitution - 26 May 1889 
       Press Reports: Atlanta Constitution - 29 May 1889 
       Press Reports: Atlanta Constitution - 6 June 1889 
       Press Reports: Atlanta Constitution - 7 June 1889 
       Press Reports: Bluefield Daily Telegraph - 6 June 1905 
       Press Reports: Colorado Spring Gazette - 10 August 1889 
       Press Reports: Daily Northwestern - 18 March 1891 
       Press Reports: Fort Wayne Weekly Sentinel - 5 November 1889 
       Press Reports: Freeborn County Standard - 15 August 1889 
       Press Reports: Freeborn County Standard - 18 August 1889 
       Press Reports: Freeborn County Standard - 24 October 1889 
       Press Reports: Times [London] - 20 May 1889 
       Press Reports: Times [London] - 28 May 1889 
       Press Reports: Times [London] - 6 June 1889 
       Press Reports: Times [London] - 7 June 1889 
       Press Reports: Trenton Times - 1 August 1889 
       Press Reports: Trenton Times - 13 August 1889 
       Ripper Media: My Fifteen Lost Years 
       Ripper Media: This Friendless Lady 
       Suspects: Florence Maybrick 
       Suspects: The Trial of Florence Maybrick 
  James Maybrick
       Authors: An Interview with David Maybrick 
       Dissertations: Bravo for Maybrick 
       Dissertations: Bristol University Surface Analysis of Maybrick Watch - 3... 
       Dissertations: Dear Diary 
       Dissertations: Maybrick Watch - Scientific Analysis 
       Dissertations: Turgoose Report on the Maybrick Watch - 23 August 1993 
       Message Boards: James Maybrick 
       Press Reports: Marion Daily Star - 7 December 1889 
       Ripper Media: Jack the Ripper: A Suspect Guide - James Maybrick 
       Ripper Media: The Ripper Diary: The Inside Story 
       Suspects: Background of the Maybrick Family 
       Suspects: James Maybrick - Index 
       Suspects: Photographs of Battlecrease Mansion 
       Suspects: Photographs of the Maybrick Grave