Unsolved Murders

Mary Shaw

Age: 39

Sex: female

Date: 1 Jan 1903

Place: 106 Coft Street, Newport, Middlesborough

Mary Shaw died after a new year's gathering.

Her husband was tried for her manslaughter but it was said that the case against him was not established and he was acquitted.

He said that he had only pushed her when they had got back.

They had gone to a new year's gathering at the house of a neighbour at about 5pm and then gone to the house of another friend at about 11.30pm. At that time they were said to have both been quite friendly but under the influence of alcohol.

The woman whose house they had later gone to accompanied them home and left them there at about 12 midnight.

It was said that between then and 2pm the following afternoon that Mary Shaw met in some way the injury that caused her death.

About 2pm their two children returned home from some place and found their father in the kitchen alone and shortly afterwards went upstairs and found Mary Shaw lying on the bed in the front room with the bedclothes over her.

Her husband then went upstairs but came down immediately after and told his children to fetch a neighbour. When the neighbour came over she saw Mary Shaw lying on the bed fully dressed with her husband leaning over her and saying, 'Oh, Mary!' and said that she then noticed that her neck was swollen and that there was blood upon her mouth.

When the doctor came Mary Shaw's husband said to him, 'I did it with my fist'. He was said to have then been in a very excited and distressed state and made a further statement that he had pushed Mary Shaw.

The post mortem showed that her cause of death was a fracture at the back of the head just above the spinal column, the result of that being an effusion of blood on the brain.

When Mary Shaw's husband was arrested he said, 'I only shoved her'. At the trial he said that he only gave her a shove with his hand and that he never struck her.

When a doctor gave evidence at Mary Shaw's husbands trial he said that she should not have expected an ordinary blow or fall to cause such a contusion as he found.  Ehen he was asked by the judge whether he thought that a fall on the floor would cause the fracture, the doctor replied, 'I don't think so'. When the judge asked him whether it could have been caused if she had fallen on something projecting, the doctor replied, 'Yes'.

After the evidence was heard the Counsel for the defence submitted that the case had not been established and asked the jury to come to the conclusion that the injury was caused by Mary Shaw having fallen.

Mary Shaw's husband was then acquitted with a not guilty verdict.

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

see www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk

see Leeds Mercury - Friday 13 March 1903

see Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer - Saturday 03 January 1903