Tuesday 28 June 2011


A not untypical tale from the Times in 1852. Miserable, but at least a sympathetic ending:-

Bridget Dowling, 25, spinster, was indicted for endeavouring to conceal the birth of her male child.
     Mr. Prendergast prosecuted, and Mr. Robinson defended.
      It appeared that the prisoner, who is a servant out of place, had taken lodgings at 43, Marshall-street, and was noticed by the landlady to be pregnant. After having been there a short time, she was one morning a long time in the yard, which the landlady spoke to her about; but prisoner denied that she had been delivered. The landlady, not being satisfied with the mere denial, made a search, and found in the waterclosot unmistakeable proofs that her suspicions were correct, and, upon looking into the dustbin, there found the body of a male child, wrapped in a piece of old carpet.
     The medical evidence proved that no violence was visible on the body of the child, but it was evident that it had breathed. Mr. Robinson contended that there was no permanent concealment intended on the part of the prisoner, but that she merely wished temporarily to hide her shame from the other lodgers.
     The jury Acquitted her.

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