Date: 4 Apr 1902
Annie Hanson died on 4 April 1902.
Her husband was tried for her manslaughter but acquitted. It was alleged that he had kicked her.
They had lived at 1 Union Square, Coley, Reading.
Her husband had been a 46-year-old plasterer.
Annie Hanson's daughter said that she had been at home with Annie Hanson on the Easter Monday when her father came home in an intoxicated condition and started to abuse Annie Hanson and then said that he had a mind to give her a good hiding and hit her in the eye, knocking her down, and that whilst she was down that he kicked her on both sides.
She said that she then went to the assistance of Annie Hanson she was unable to get up but her father pulled her away and so she went outside to get someone but her father fetched her back.
She said that she afterwards got Annie Hanson up and took her to bed and Annie Hanson complained all night about pains in her side.
She said that on the Wednesday Annie Hanson was worse and so she fetched her aunt who came to see Annie Hanson and that the doctor was then called in by her father that same evening after which Annie Hanson was removed to the hospital on the Friday.
A doctor that had lived in Castle Street said that he was called to 1 Union Square on Wednesday 7 April 1902 and found Annie Hanson suffering from severe abdominal pain and vomiting. He noted that she also had a black eye. He said that he prescribed for her and told her that if she was not better she would have to go to the hospital.
He said that when he saw Annie Hanson on the Friday she was still suffering from pain and also had a weak heart, noting that whilst in the company of her husband she accused him of causing the pains.
He said that he carried out a post mortem on Annie Hanson on 5 April 1902 with the house surgeon at the hospital and found that the only cause of death was that her heart was somewhat fatty and dilated and concluded that her cause of death was due to cardiac failure accelerated by shock. He noted that they found no inflammation in the stomach but agreed that if Annie Hanson had been in a normal state of health that no fatal consequences would have ensued.
He noted that her heart disease was of several years standing and that inflammation of the stomach was not necessarily to be expected as the kicks had been to her sides.
When Annie Hanson's husband was charged with causing Annie Hanson's death he denied kicking her.
When he gave evidence at his trial he said that when he had left home in the morning he had been good friends with Annie Hanson and that when he returned later that night there had been no one home and so he had pulled off his boots and gone to bed.
However, he said that afterwards his wife and family came in with a following of about 200 outside and that he called for her to come to bed and that she called him 'a lousy toe-rag' and accused him of being in the company of women during the day.
He said that he then went downstairs and had a few words with her, noting that she was drunk and kept 'chattering'. He said that he then told her that he was going to bed with the little ones and that Annie Hanson struck him and that he returned the blow. He said that she then hit him over the head with a chair and that as he was taking it away from her that she fell down against the perambulator, noting that if Annie Hanson hurt her side that she did it then and that he never kicked her and never put on his boots again. He added that Annie Hanson never laid on the floor, stating that she fell against the perambulator and then sat in a chair.
When he was cross-examined he said that he had been drunk on the night and didn't threaten to give her a good hiding. He added that his daughter did not have any need to help Annie Hanson and nor did she go out.
When Annie Hanson's daughter was recalled at the request of the jury, she said that Annie Hanson had been sober on the day in question and that there had been no crowd outside the house until her father started on Annie Hanson. She agreed that Annie Hanson fell on the perambulator and knocked it over, but denied that she hit her father with a chair.
When the judge summed up he told the jury that if they were satisfied that Annie Hanson's husband had kicked Annie Hanson in the manner described by the prosecution then there was no doubt that that was manslaughter. However, he said that if, on the other hand, they thought that the shock was caused by a fall that Annie Hanson had had during the quarrel with her husband, then her husband should be discharged.
The jury then returned a verdict of not guilty.
Union Square has since been redeveloped and was approximately where A329 ring road is today where it meets what Willow Street.
see Berkshire Chronicle - Saturday 21 June 1902