The Times (London).
15 September 1909
(Before Mr. Justice Coleridge)
The Spitalfields Murder
Harold Hall, 27, seaman, was indicted for the wilful murder of Kitty Ronan. He pleaded "Not Guilty."
Mr. Muir and Mr. Leycester prosecuted for the Director of Public Prosecutions' Mr. H.D. Harben, at the request of the Court, appeared for the prisoner.
On July 18 the prisoner went to the police at Bristol and said he wished to give himself up for the murder of Kitty Rooney (sic) about midnight on July 1, in a room at the top of a house in a street off Commercial road, Whitechapel. He explained that he had read a newspaper account of it, and he believed Kate Rooney was the woman's name. He went on to say that he saw her draw her hand from his inside coat pocket, whereupon he said, "Is that your game?" and, flying at her in a rage, seized her by the throat and thrust the knife in the side of her neck. The prosecution suggested that there were circumstances corroborating the prisoner's confession. The bloodstained knife was identified as his, there were points in his statement which, as far as the police knew, had never been mentioned in any newspaper account of the murder, and the prisoner was picked out by a witness named Wilkins from among a number of other persons at the police station as the man he had seen entering the court with the woman and coming away alone. In the course of his statement the prisoner said that in South Africa a French woman had robbed him of all he had - £30. He did nothing to her, but he made up his mind if it occurred again what he would do. He had, while employed as a paper sorter at the Salvation Army premises in Bermondsey, been seen working with a knife, one blade of which was broken and which corresponded with the knife found near the body of the dead girl.
The witness Wilkins now stated that he was not sure about the prisoner's being the man he saw entering and leaving the court. When he picked him out at the police station he (Wilkins) was recovering from a drunken sleep.
Mr. Harden, addressing the jury for the defence, maintained that it was a bogus confession, which the prisoner had now retracted by his plea of "Not Guilty."
The jury found the prisoner Guilty. On being asked whether he had anything to say why sentence should not be passed, he shook his head.
Mr. Justice Coleridge sentenced the prisoner to death.