Unsolved Murders

Sarah Ellen Delaney

Age: 6 months

Sex: female

Date: 25 Oct 1902

Place: 23 Thomas Street, West Hartlepool

Sarah Ellen Delaney died in her parents bed.

A 33-year-old riveter's labourer was tried for her murder at the Durham Assizes but acquitted. 

He had been charged on a Coroner's inquisition with murder but when the case had gone before the magistrates it was dismissed.

The riveter's labourer had married the mother on 3 March 1902 after which they went to live with the mother's mother where Sarah Delaney was born on 7 May 1902. They later went to live at 23 Thomas Street.

23 Thomas Street had been a two storey house with four rooms and the riveter's labourer and his wife occupied the two front rooms, the lower room being a sitting room and the other the bedroom.

A woman that had also lived at 23 Thomas Street said that Sarah Delaney's family occupied two rooms in the house and that on the night of Friday 24 October 1902 that her door was open and that she heard the man say to Sarah Delaney's mother, 'Give me that child, you cow', to which she said the mother replied, 'No, no, don't kill my child', and then, 'You have murdered my child'.

She said that the following morning she said, 'It's a pity about the child', to which she said he replied, 'Oh, ---- the child, we can get another'.

Another woman that also lived in the house said that the man went to bed at about 11.05pm and that she and the other woman went to bed about five minutes later. She said that about ten minutes after that that she heard Sarah Delaney's mother crying and shouting, 'Oh, don't, don't, you will smother my child'. 

She said that about 15 minutes after that that the man came out of the bedroom, leaving the bedroom door open, and went downstairs and into the backyard and that she heard nothing more that night. 

She said that she met him the following morning at about 8.30am and said to him, 'You must go upstairs, the child is dead' and said that he replied, 'Humph', and walked upstairs. She said that she saw him later in the kitchen and said to him, 'What a shame about that child. It did not die a natural death'. She noted that he was a little the worse for drink and said that he then swore an oath that the child was not his, noting that the mother had been present at the time.

When the riveter's labourer was arrested he said, 'I'm going to say nowt'.

After the evidence was heard at the Assizes, the defence said that there was no case to answer.

The judge said that he did not like to withdraw a case from the jury on points of fact, but that he would be very sorry to convict a man on that evidence. 

The jury then intimated that they did not wish to hear counsel for the defence and a verdict of not guilty was returned and the riveter's labourer was discharged.

*map pointers are rough estimates based on known location details as per Place field above.

see www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk

see Daily Gazette for Middlesbrough - Monday 27 October 1902

see Sheffield Evening Telegraph - Tuesday 25 November 1902

see Sunderland Daily Echo and Shipping Gazette - Saturday 22 November 1902