Date: 15 Dec 1957
Joseph Farrell died on 15 December 1957. He was stabbed during a quarrel following a night of drinking and taken to hospital but later died.
His 47-year-old wife was tried for his murder at Liverpool Crown Court on Wednesday 19 February 1958 but acquitted. She admitted striking him but said that she had not known that she had had a knife in her hand until afterwards.
Joseph Farrell's wife was noted for having had 16 children. It was said that Joseph Farrell had been habitually cruel to his wife and that before his death he had been violent towards her and used 'filthy language'. At the trial the prosecution said that Joseph Farrell was far from perfect, adding, 'He was frequently drunk and often violent to his wife'.
It was said that Joseph Farrell and his wife had been out drinking on the night of 15 December 1957 and had returned home very drunk and had a quarrel during which Joseph Farrell had struck at his wife with a poker. However, it was said that Joseph Farrell's wife had caught his arm and that one of his sons had taken the poker away.
It was said then that Joseph Farrell went to bed but that there was later another struggle downstairs between him and his wife and that when they were separated a knife fell to the floor and Joseph Farrell was found to have been stabbed.
The court heard that on 14 December 1957 Joseph Farrell had gone home the worse for drink at about 7pm and that by 8pm he had bullied his wife into going out with him for some more drink. Joseph Farrell's son said that when Joseph Farrell had come home his wife had not been there and that he had told him to go and find her and bring her home. Joseph Farrell's son said that when Joseph Farrell's wife returned that she and Joseph Farrell had an argument but that they made it up and went out at 8pm to drink.
Joseph Farrell's son noted that before Joseph Farrell had gone out on 14 December 1957 that he had eaten his evening meal with his fingers even though there was cutlery on the table.
They were said to have then gone out and visited two public houses after which they were described as being perfectly drunk. Joseph Farrell's son added that whilst out drinking at one of the public houses that there was another altercation and that Joseph Farrell threw beer over his wife but that they again made it up and went home.
It was said then that a few minutes after 10.20pm that they returned home and that they had a quarrel during which Joseph Farrell was said to have been accusing his wife of being familiar with young men in the pub and saying that she was 'always messing about with young boys'. It was said that Joseph Farrell's wife had then replied by saying, 'Why, you even accused me of sleeping with my own son. You won't even let me go to church because you say I am meeting other men'.
It was then that Joseph Farrell was said to have struck at his wife with the poker which was then taken away from him by his son.
Joseph Farrell was said to have then gone to bed, but to have later been found quarrelling again with his wife downstairs and that when they were separated he was found to have had a wound under his jaw from which he was bleeding and he was then taken to hospital where he later died.
Joseph Farrell's 29-year-old son said that Joseph Farrell treated his wife 'like an animal', and added, 'Whenever he had money he would drink it away and when he was drunk he was violent'.
He said that when he had gone down into the kitchen that he had seen Joseph Farrell and his wife locked together like two boxers and that when he pulled them apart he saw the knife fall and found that Joseph Farrell was bleeding from the throat.
The stab wound to his throat had penetrated 3½in into his neck.
Joseph Farrell's wife said that she had struck Joseph Farrell because she didn't want him to hit her and that she had not known that she had had a knife in her hand until she saw it fall to the floor.
It was said that after stabbing Joseph Farrell that Joseph Farrell's wife had said to her son whilst he was putting a towel to Joseph Farrell's wound, 'I've done it. He made me do it'.
see National Archives - ASSI 52/978, DPP 2/2758
see Shields Daily News - Wednesday 19 February 1958
see Aberdeen Evening Express - Thursday 16 January 1958
see Manchester Evening News - Wednesday 19 February 1958
see Manchester Evening News - Thursday 16 January 1958
see Leicester Evening Mail - Monday 16 December 1957