The Times (London).
5 April 1898
Mr. Marsham resumed the investigation yesterday, at Westminster Police court, of the charges against William Maunsell Collins, M.D., formerly a doctor in the Horse Guards Blue, now unregistered, of performing felonious operations on Emily Edith Uzielli, which resulted in her death at 7 Buckingham gate, where she resided with her husband, on the night of Friday, the 25th ult. Mr. Bodkin, instructed by Mr. W. Lewis, appeared for the Public Prosecutor; Mr. Arthur Newton defended the accused; and Mr. W.E. Hempson, solicitor, watched the case on behalf of the Medical Defence Union; Chief Inspector Moore represented the police.
Mr. Bodkin said that, inasmuch as inquiries were not yet completed and the investigation before the coroner was not finished, the opening he would make would not refer to all the testimony which would be adduced. After recapitulating certain of the statements which have already been made public he proceeded to say that Mr. Uzielli, it would appear, did not know of his wife's visits to Dr. Collins's house, and it was on Friday evening, the 18th, that for the first time he saw Dr. Collins at his (the husband's) house at Buckingham gate, when a few words of conversation took place. Mrs. Uzielli was then in bed, and from that time till the Thursday following, though it must have been perfectly plain to Collins himself that the poor lady was dying in circumstances which showed that she was in great agony, Mr. Uzielli was assured that there was nothing very serious the matter. On the Thursday evening, the day before the lady's death, being very anxious about his wife, Mr. Uzielli spoke to Dr. Collins, who said Mrs. Uzielli would be well in two or three days, and there was no necessity to call in another doctor, though if Mr. Uzielli wished it another doctor could be called in, and his (Dr. Collins's) feelings need not be consulted. Even then the assurance was repeated that there was no cause whatever for anxiety. At that time, however, Mr. Uzielli was only too eager to have further medical advice, and he at once sent for Dr. Stivens, his own medical attendant. Dr. Collins had no option but to agree, and from that Thursday evening he did not see Mrs. Uzielli again. Directly Dr. Stivens saw the poor lady he realized the extreme gravity of the case, and told the husband of the very serious condition of his wife. On the following day Dr. Stivens called in Sir John Williams for consultation, but nothing more could be done, and in the evening the lady died. A certificate of death was not given, and the matter was reported to the coroner. On that Friday night Dr. Collins called on the husband and made a statement to him, of which evidence would be given. The post mortem examination of the deceased left no doubt in the mind of Mr. Bond and the doctors who assisted him that an illegal operation had been performed, which operation brought on miscarriage on or about the morning of Saturday, March 19. The case for the prosecution was that this lady's death was directly attributable to peritonitis, set up by a septic wound caused by the passage of some instrument. It would be shown that this instrument was used about March 14 or 15, when the deceased paid the visits to Dr. Collins's house. Mr. Bond and the other doctors agreed that upon an operation with an instrument being performed the after symptoms as described by the lady's maid would directly result.
The only witness examined was Henrietta Muller, for two years maid to Mrs. Uzielli. She said that when in London for the season Mrs. Uzielli went out a great deal to parties and entertainments. In the early part of the year Mrs. Uzielli had an attack of influenza, which kept her in bed for a fortnight. She was able to get about before she left the country house at Newmarket. The family went to the Hans Crescent Hotel about the third week in February. Ladies visited Mrs. Uzielli at the hotel, among them Mrs. Hope.
Mr. Bodkin - Did Mrs. Hope often visit? Witness - Yes, often. Answering further questions from counsel, the witness said that Mrs. Uzielli made a certain communication to her in February, which bore out witness's own idea of her observations. When at the Hans Crescent Hotel Mrs. Uzielli spoke more than once about the same matter. She was not pleased. She took some pills twice daily. She also took some dark brown, thick liquid medicine. No doctor attended her at the Hans Crescent Hotel. On Saturday, March 12, they left the hotel and went to live at Buckingham gate. On the following Monday, the 14th, Mr. and Mrs. Hope came to stay with Mr. and Mrs. Uzielli. They remained for a few days. Mrs. Uzielli went out several times before taking to her bed. She seemed a little weak in health, but there was nothing else the matter. She went out on Tuesday morning, the 15th, and also in the afternoon. She gave witness certain instructions on that day, in consequence of which she got things ready in her bedroom. On Mrs. Uzielli's return on that Tuesday afternoon she assisted her to dress, and noticed certain indications before absent. She spoke to Mrs. Uzielli about it, but the lady did not on that day account for it. On Wednesday and Thursday the symptoms first observed on the Tuesday continued. Mrs. Uzielli went out on Friday morning, the 18th, and returned about lunch time. After lunch she went to her bedroom, and complained of being cold. She noticed at this time that the lady was very cold and weak. She wrote a letter in her bedroom. The envelope was addressed to Dr. Collins, 10 Cadogan place, and was dispatched by Cripps, the footman. Cripps brought back a note addressed to the deceased. Mrs. Uzielli destroyed that note by throwing it in the fire. She was in bed at this time. About half past 4 that afternoon Dr. Collins visited her and gave a prescription. On that Friday evening Mrs. Uzielli gave further instructions as to linen, towels, macintosh, hot water &c. Dr. Collins came again that night and saw Mrs. Uzielli in her bedroom for about 20 minutes.
Did you go into the room after he had gone? - Yes. Then I noticed bloodstains on the linen, &c. Mrs. Uzielli spoke to me about it. Her rest that night was much disturbed. Mr. Uzielli slept in the next room; his apartment opened out of his wife's room. That was the usual procedure at Newmarket and in town. On the following day (Saturday) Dr. Collins called twice - in the morning and in the evening about 7.30. Each time he was alone with Mrs. Uzielli.
Continuing, witness said - By direction of the deceased I prepared hot linseed poultices. This treatment continued until the professional nurses came. Dr. Collins came twice or thrice on the Sunday. He certainly came three times on the Monday. I spoke to him then about obtaining nurses. I asked him how long my lady would be ill. He said a few days only - that she was getting on well.
The nest day (Tuesday) did he come four times? - Yes. Again I spoke to him about nursing assistance. In the presence of the accused Mrs. Uzielli said she would wait another day for a nurse. Prisoner repeatedly said of Mrs. Uzielli, "She is all right." All this time (up to the Wednesday) I was keeping up the poulticing, &c. I did not see Dr. Collins give the deceased any chloroform, nor did I ever smell it. On the Wednesday Nurses Smith and West came, and from that time I only helped in the sick room.
The witness said she wanted to tell the Court what her lady said to her on the Wednesday.
Mr. Newton - We cannot have that in this Court. Understand, it is not evidence.
In answer to Mr. Newton, the witness repeated hat Mrs. Uzielli was a kind and attentive mother. The influenza had pulled her down a good bit, but she was under medical attendance for it at Newmarket. Mrs. Uzielli did not appear at all well whilst she was staying at the Hans Crescent Hotel. Mrs. Uzielli lived on terms of the best affection with her husband. From first to last she saw no kind of instrument with the exception of an enema. From beginning to end the prisoner seemed in every way kind and attentive.
A question put by Mr. Newton as to the varying symptoms of the deceased elicited the answer that the miscarriage occurred on the Friday night (the 18th) or the Saturday morning.
Mr. Newton remarked that the witness never used the word "miscarriage" in the whole of her evidence at the inquest. The witness gave a very definite opinion and particulars of what she saw, in re-examination by Mr. Bodkin, on the last answer she had given to Mr. Newton.
A discussion took place as to the remand, and it was understood that the investigation would not be proceeded with till after the conclusion of the inquest. Prisoner was remanded, and bail was refused.