The Bristol Mercury Tuesday February 22nd 1887.

ALLEGED NEGLECT OF AN INFANT. – ADJOURNED INQUEST AT BEDMINSTER. Yesterday afternoon, Mr. H.S. Wasbrough, city coroner, held and adjourned inquest at the Bedminster police court touching the death of Alice Elizabeth Oatway, aged eight months, the illegitimate daughter of Tiney Oatway, a laundress, living at Long Ashton. On the last occasion the mother of the deceased and Drs. Fuller and Logan gave evidence.

Lavinia Martin, widow, living at 24, Greenway Bush Lane, said she was the sister of Tiney Ordway, and took charge of the child for some time before Mrs. Mitchell had it. When the child was brought to her it appeared to be in good health, and was very hearty. She fed the child on milk and biscuits, giving it a quart of milk in a day and night, on which it appeared to thrive, and when Mrs. Mitchell first had the child witness considered that it was in good condition, and it had no sores about it. A month ago the child was again brought to witness, and it was then in a dreadful state, with numerous sores on different parts of its body. There was a quantity of dirt between the child’s fingers, and when this was removed the parts were very sore. She did not consider the child improved at all before it’s death, except that some of the sores healed a little. Its head was also very sore, and witness drew the doctor’s attention to its condition. The child died on Monday last.

Dr. Logan, recalled, said that having heard Mrs. Martin’s evidence he was of opinion that the state in which the child was, as described by her, would have a tendency, combined with other causes, to produce the state of body in which the child was. He considered that Mrs. Martins feeding of the child was most injudicious.

Acting Sergeant Furze, stationed at Long Ashton said that on January 29th the mother of the deceased called at his house with a bundle of the child’s clothes for him to look at. He saw that the clothes were very dirty, and they smelt very disagreeably. They were mouldy.

Elizabeth Mitchell expressed a wish to give evidence, on being sworn, said she was the wife of George Thomas Mitchell, quarryman, of Providence, Long Ashton. She kept the child for about four months, and received 4s. a week for its keep. When the child was brought to her it was clean, but it was never a healthy, strong child. At first she fed the child on “tops and bottoms,” boiled and beat up in milk, but afterward she gave it Bath biscuits and new milk. She took the child to Dr. Fuller, who ordered her to give it milk and water, but subsequently the mother told her to continue with the same diet as at first, which he did. The mother came to the child regularly every week, and saw the child every time, except on two occasions. On January 23rd witness gave the mother notice to remove the child, as she had a bill from Dr. Fuller of £2 16s., and she wanted to go to work to pay for it. During the time witness had the child she used to go to work for four or five days a week. When the child was returned to its mother it was very clean, as witness washed it every morning. The child was always sore. Witness complained to Tiney Oatway of the infant’s condition, and was told it was in consequence of the child not being washed properly from its birth. She denied that the child was dirty when it was removed, but admitted that the night clothes were dirty. When she went to work she left her house at eight in the morning, and returned between seven and eight, and before going witness took the child to her mother-in-law’s house. The reason the clothes were not washed was that she had been to work several days that week. She did not insure the child’s life. She was sure the child was well attended to by her mother-in-law, and she paid 3s.a week to her for taking care of the deceased and her own two children. The Coroner at this point said he was sorry he should be obliged to adjourn, and the further inquiry was accordingly deferred until Thursday next week at four o’clock.


The Bristol Mercury Friday February 25th 1887.
THE ALLEGED NEGLECT OF AN INFANT. – CONCLUSION OF THE INQUEST. Mr.. H.S. Wasbrough, city coroner, yesterday afternoon resumed the inquiry at the Bedminster police station, into the death of Alice Elizabeth Oatway, aged 8 months, the illegitimate daughter of Tiney Oatway.

Annie Latham, wife of George Latham, living at Bath street, Ashton gate, said that in August last she lived next door to Mrs. Martin, who had that time the charge of the child. Witness saw it every day, and was of opinion that it was a healthy child. It was kept very clean and was not sore, and had for its food a Bath biscuit once a day, and a quantity of milk. She recollected that sometime in September last, the child was removed from Mrs. Martin’s care and given into that of Mrs. Mitchell, but she never afterwards saw the child.

Harriet Smith, wife of John Smith, of Long Ashton, said she was a sister of the mother of deceased, but only saw the child on the day it was removed from Mrs. Mitchell’s house on January 24th. She on that day took the child to Dr. Fuller, and she noticed that it was very dirty and covered with sores and abrasions. Its head was in a very bad state, being dirty and full of sores, and the deceased did not appear to have been washed for a long time.

Florence Ogborne, wife of Steven Ogborne, of Providence, Long Ashton, deposed that she saw the child about a week after Mrs. Mitchell had it first, and at that time it appeared to be healthy, and it has no sores on its head. Mrs. Mitchell used to go out to work, leaving home before eight o’clock in the morning. Witness frequently heard the child cry in the night, and sometimes when it was left by itself in the morning.

Elizabeth Mitchell then called.

Caroline Mitchell, wife of William Mitchell, Providence, who stated that she saw the child the first day it was taken to Elizabeth Mitchell’s house. At that time she considered the deceased was far from healthy.

Jane Mitchell, of Providence, a single woman, daughter of the last witness, proved seeing the child on the day Elizabeth Mitchell received it. When she first saw it she remarked what a “thin, delicate, little thing” it was. At that time it was in “a dreadfully sore state.”

Selena Mitchell, of Long Ashton, and Mary Williams, of Failand, sister of Elizabeth Mitchell, were called to prove that the child was very delicate when Elizabeth Mitchell received it.

The mother of the deceased (recalled) said, in answer to the coroner, that Elizabeth Mitchell never spoke to her about the sores on the child’s body, and witness never told her that the sores arose from the child not having being properly washed since its birth. There were no sores whatever on the child’s body when Mrs. Mitchell first had it, and it was not particularly thin. She removed the child from Mrs. Mitchell’s in consequence of the state in which it was. She had no notice given her to remove it.

The Coroner, in summing up, said the evidence was of a very contradictory and conflicting character, and he was afraid the jury would have some difficulty in coming to their conclusion, looking at the fact that the evidence of one witness was completely contradicted by that of another, each being equally positive as to their view of the facts. There seemed at first to have been an idea that the child was insured by Elizabeth Mitchell, but that evidently was not the case, and they might dismiss the suspicion from their minds. It was an important matter, because had the child been insured the case would have taken a more serious aspect, but under the circumstances it was to Mrs. Mitchell’s advantage for the child to live. Another fact was that, so far as he could judge, the feeding of the deceased both by Mrs. Martin on by Mrs. Mitchell was injudicious on might have laid the germs of tuberculosis. But improper feeding was sometimes done out of kindness. There was no doubt the child died from tuberculosis, and it was equally certain that all the appearances, both externally and internally, might have been produced from some lowering cause, which depressed the whole system. That was one way of considering the case, but another theory was that the child was not only improperly fed, but that the state of body it was in was produced by gross neglect on the part of the person who took charge of it. If they considered that the second theory was the correct one, there verdict would amount to one of the manslaughter. He left the case for that careful consideration which he knew they would give it.

The jury deliberated in private for over three quarters of an hour, and then returned a verdict “That the child died from tuberculosis, probably following upon whooping cough and an injudicious treatment.”

The Coroner, addressing Elizabeth Mitchell, said that she might consider herself very fortunate that the jury had taken so a lenient view of the matter. Their general impression was that the child and had not had that care and attention that ought to have been bestowed upon it by one having charge of it. He hoped that if she ever again took charge of children, she would be a little more careful of them herself, and not leave it for others.


Bristol Mercury Saturday November 12th 1887.
ASSAULTING A PUBLICAN. Edward Bevan and Ann Bevan were charged with assaulting Thomas Robert Oatway at Bedminster Down on November 3,and they were also charged with assaulting Emma Parfitt. Mr. R. B. Vachell prosecuted, and said that Mr. Oatway kept the King’s Head inn, Bedminster Down, and Emma Parfitt was his barmaid. On the day in question, about half-past one, Mr. Oatway was in his house, and hearing some noise he went into the bar. Defendant and his wife were there, and were quarrelling. Mr. Oatway ordered them outside, but they refused to go, and the female defendant said she had “had her knife into him for a long time.” Mrs. Bevan ran at Parfitt, striking her a blow in the face, and Oatway then went toward the female defendant to put her out, but her husband struck him in the face, giving him a black eye. With a second blow he knocked him down, and then both the defendants assaulted him further. With the assistance of some other people, the defendants were got out of the house, and whilst Mr. Oatway was holding the door Edward Bevan kicked him on the hand. Before Bevan went out of the house he struck Parfitt a violent blow on the forehead, knocking her down insensible. Mr. Vachell called Thomas Robert Oatway and Emma Parfitt, who bore out his opening statements. Henry Merrick and Charles Stokes were also called, and gave evidence which fully corroborated that of the complainants. The defendants said that Mr. Oatway commenced the assault, and called Eliza. Rayner, who gave evidence on their behalf. The magistrates said the assaults appeared to have been most unprovoked and cowardly. Ann Bevan would be fined 10s. and costs for the assault on Parfitt. Edward Bevan would be fined £1 and costs in each case, or 14 days imprisonment in each, one to follow the other. The defendants would also have to pay the solicitor’s fee. They allowed the male defendant a fortnight for payment.

Bristol Mercury August 1st 1889.
ACCIDENT AT ASHTON VALE COLLIERY. – Solomon Oatway (48), living in Long Ashton, and Joseph Thompson (36), of 7, Church-steps, St. Phils., have been admitted to the General Hospital suffering from injuries to their backs, caused by a fall of part of the roof at Ashton Vale pit, at a place where both were working at the time.

The Bristol Mercury – Saturday September 7th 1895.
ASSAULTS AT BEDMINSTER. – James Garland, of Bedminster, was summoned by Wm. Filer for assaulting him at Bedminster. Mister Wansbrough appeared for the complainant, and save the complainant was with a woman who had lost a duck, and who was making inquiries at the defendant’s house on August 8th. The defendant came out of his house and wanted to fight him, Complainant said he did not want to fight, but the defendant struck him two blows on the mouth, making it bleed. Isaac Evans said he saw the defendant if the complainant. A fine of 10s.and costs were imposed, with an alternate of 14 days.

Thomas Garland was summoned for assaulting P.C. Attwood at Bedminster. Mr. Wansbrough appeared for the complainant. He said Mrs. Ordway lost a duck- the one referred to in the previous case-and saw it amongst those of the defendant. She made the demand for it, but as he would not give it up she spoke to the police. P.C. Atwood went to the defendant’s house, and the defendant was very abusive. He took the officer by the cape, and pushed him back. His two dogs flew out at the officer, who requested to see the licenses for the dogs. The defendant went indoors and came out with a hay fork, which he thrust at the policemen, who averted injury by jumping aside. His wife and eldest son caught hold of him, but he made another thrust at the officer. Complainant bore out this statement, and corroborative evidence was given by Mrs. Mary Jane Oatway. The defendant called his son, Thomas Garland, who denied the evidence of the complainant, and said nothing was said about a duck. His father never picked up a hay fork.

The bench said that they were previous convictions against this defendant, who would be sent to prison for three months of hard labour.


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