LOUISA VINCENT, Breaking Peace > wounding, 25th October 1847.

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"LOUISA VINCENT, Breaking Peace > wounding, 25th October 1847" is the transcript of a court case proceeding that took place at the Old Bailey in London.  This case includes many lurid details (abuse, prostitution, illegitimacy, attempted murder) that would catch the eye and capture the imagination of Victorian readers.


2490. LOUISA VINCENT was indicted for feloniously cutting and wounding Thomas Soarston, on the left side of his head, with intent to do him grievous bodily harm.

THOMAS SOARSTON. I am a carpenter, and live in Kendall-street, New Cross, Deptford. I know the prisoner—I believe the child she has now in her arms to be mine—I have contributed to its maintenance ever since it has been born—I have allowed her 3s. 6d. a-week until I was had up at the Court, and then I was to pay half-a-crown a-week—I lived with her two years ago, for about eighteen months—I have left her nearly two years—the child is twelve months old next May—she would never keep away from me—she has been to my lodgings several times—the last time she came was a month ago yesterday, between eight and nine in the morning—she knocked at the door, and I answered her—she said I was the party she wished to see—I said, "Whatever you do be quiet"—she rushed into the kitchen, and began knocking me about as well as she was able—after that she was quiet, and I thought she was going away quietly—the child was with her—she put it down under the table, and began violently to assault me as far as laid in her power, after which the child was taken away by the neighbours—I thought she was then going away quietly, when she struck me with the poker—she had hit me with the rolling-pin previously, but I do not make any complaint about that—she struck me with the poker on the forehead—she said she should not mind being hanged for me—I cannot say the exact words she used.

Prisoner. He beat me with the rolling-pin, and I struck him in my own defence; he knocked me down; whilst on my back he put his left hand round me, and tried to strangle me; he took up the rolling-pin and nearly broke my arm; I was very much bruised. Witness. It was some considerable time after that she struck me with the poker—there were some blows exchanged on both sides with the rolling-pin—she first came between eight and nine—as near as I can recollect, she staid altogether about twenty minutes—she struck me first with getting the better of me—she is a powerful person.

Prisoner. I went for my money—I was without victuals four days.

Witness. She had three week's money due to her at the time—I did not hit her particularly hard—it was not harder on one side than the other—she hit me as hard as she could, and perhaps just in the moment of excitement I hit her as hard as I could—I did not have a surgeon to attend to the wound, but I have the mark of it.

WILLIAM MORCOMB. I heard the disturbance, but did not see the beginning of it.

SAMUEL COPPING (policeman.) About nine o'clock, on the 25th of Sept. the prosecutor came to me, I looked at his head where he was cut—blood was flowing down each side of his cheek—I found a large cut on his forehead—I put my finger on it, and pressed the wound down, and it did not come up again—I told him to go to the doctor—he did not go—the prisoner was not there then—she was in a beer shop opposite—I went there to her, and told her she was my prisoner for cutting a man's head open with a poker—she said, "It serves him right, I mean it"—she said nothing about being beaten with the rolling-pin, or about any scuffle between them.

Prisoner. I told him I had been very much beaten—I did not know whether I could carry the child to the station for my arms were so bruised about.

Witness. When she got about a mile towards the station, she said, "My arm is bruised, and I can hardly carry the child, "but when I took her she never said a word—she pulled up her sleeve at the station, but I could not see any bruises.

Prisoner. A woman named Martha Davis saw the bruises about me, and promised to bring my bonnet here to show.

(The prisoner put in a written defence, stating that the prosecutor, after premissing her marriage, had induced her to live with him, telling her that his wife was transported; that after some time he wished her to obtain money by prostitution, which she refusing he deserted her, agreeing to allow her something for the child; that she went to him for the money, when he knocked her down and ill-used her, and all she did was in her own defence.)

MARTHA DAVIS. I remember the day when the prisoner was apprehended on this charge—I was with her the whole of the day—I saw her when she came back from the prosecutor's—she was bruised very much on her arm and sides—she showed me the bruises—she appeared to have been beaten.

THOMAS SOARSTON re-examined. I am a married man.


The Proceedings of the Old Bailey Online
Page numbers in original volume

LOUISA VINCENT, Breaking Peace Wounding, 25th October 1847. London's Central Criminal Court. 25 Oct. 1847. The Proceedings of the Old Bailey Online. Web. 10 Nov. 2016.