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Arthur PENFOLD (1859- )

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Arthur Edward PENFOLD, 1874, age 15, Frederick William & Arthur Penfold [seated]

1 Arthur Edward PENFOLD (1859- ) [89], son of William PENFOLD (1826-1873) [11] and Mary Ann Charlotte GUNN (1831-1886) [12].

Born 1859, Hartfield, Sussex, England.1 Christened 5 Jun 1859, Hartfield, Sussex, England.2

, Saturday, December 20, 1890

THE LIVERPOOL MURDER CASE. - It has been placed beyond doubt that Arthur Penfold, charged with the murder of a woman at Liverpool, is identical with a grocer's assistant who recently absconded from East Grinstead. On seeing the name in the newspapers Police Superintendent Barry, of East Grinstead, telegraphed to Liverpool for a portrait, which came to hand yesterday and was at once recognised by the prisoner's brother, Charles Penfold, a boot and shoe maker, carrying on business in Green Vine Road, East Grinstead. Charles informed a reporter last evening that Arthur served in the 5th Lancers, and was invalided out of the service suffering with heart disease. He afterwards joined the Sussex Artillery Militia under the name of Peter Bright. He used to complain very much of his head, and the pain was always aggravated by drink. Even if he took only a little liquor it made him like a lunatic. There was no insanity in the family, but his grandmother was eplileptic, and his mother died in an epileptic fit. He absconded about a fortnight ago with 18/. belonging to his employer.

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The Manchester Evening News, Tuesday, December 23, 1890

THE LIVERPOOL CAB TRAGEDY.

PENFOLD’S ANTECEDENTS.

Inquiries yesterday resulted in little further information as to the identification of the murdered woman Stewart or Cowie. A considerable number of people have viewed her body, some whom have known her during the period of her life spent in Liverpool. Up till a late hour last evening she had not been identified, and her parentage and place of birth still remain a mystery. It is believed, however, that she was formerly resident in Glasgow and Edinburgh. As to her Liverpool life it appears that until about five weeks ago the deceased woman was the keeper of a house of ill-fame in a court off Lambert Street.

The following are the antecedents of Arthur Edward Penfold, the full and correct name of the accused, which form quite a melancholy story. He was the son of a tollgate keeper and was born at Hartfield, a pretty rural village on the borders of Ashdown Forest, in the north of Sussex. His parents are long since dead. He served in the 5th Lancers, and was invalided out of the service with heart disease, and afterwards joined the Sussex Artillery Militia under the assumed name of Peter Bright. He appears to have won the good opinion of every one with whom he came in contact, but was liable to give way to drink, and when he had only a small quantity he was “like a madman” Generally a teetotaller, he appears to have periodically broken out, and then he would leave his situation, however profitable it was, and, without warning, go away, often turning up in a deplorable state of destitution. Writing to his brother from Norwich Union Infirmary in 1888, after speaking of his misery, the letter runs: “Sad to lead a life like this: you cannot wonder at my being laid up. What a fool I must be to do it when I might be settled down and comfortable. What a poor, weak-minded fool for yielding so easy to temptation. I feel as if there was no hope for me; it seems no use praying; there is no God to hear my prayer. I have sinned away my day of grace, and must now take my chance. Oh, that I had never left the proper path. It is too late for me now. I am glad you are all right, dear brother, Keep to the patch and don’t yield one inch to the devil, or he will surely soon be your master.” He returned to East Grinstead after that, and his old master, hearing that he was again in the town, sent for him, and without asking any questions as to his career during his long absence at once installed him into his old place of grocer’s and draper’s porter. Several months ago he had another outbreak, and not returning with a horse and van to his employer’s shop, information was given to the police. Penfold was discovered drugged and insensible on Tunbridge Wells Common and the horse and van on another part of the common not under control. He then admitted that he had given was to drink and to immoral women, with whom he generally got associated after taking even a moderate amount of liquor. He was brought up at the East Grinstead Police Court, and the charge was withdrawn, and, strange to say, there were two former employers whom he had in his freaks forsaken waiting to offer him a situation, even, as one of them said, “If Penfold had done a couple of months’ imprisonment.” He went back into the employment of the draper and grocer, however, and went on properly until a fortnight ago, when he was sent to Horley with the horse and van. The morning was bitterly cold, and it was snowing fast, and there is no doubt that Penfold indulged in a little intoxicants to warm him. As usual it got over him, and when put up the horse and cart at Horley, after collecting an account of £18, he went off, and was not heard of till his name was identified by East Grinstead police in connection with the Liverpool tragedy. He was then “wanted” for stealing the £18 alluded to. It may be interesting to state that though such a trustworthy employee when he kept to his temperance pledge he occasionally complained of pains in the head, and was sometimes strange in his manner. It seems also that his grandmother was subject to epilepsy and his mother died in an epileptic fit.

OPENING OF THE INQUEST.

The inquest on the body of the deceased woman Margaret Stewart, alias Isabella Cowie, was opened yesterday before Mr. Clark Aspinall in the Coroner’s Court, Dale-street. The jury, after viewing the body at the mortuary of the Royal Infirmary, were dismissed by the coroner and bound over to appear next Monday at one o’clock, and in the meantime the whole affair will be further investigated. At the time the inquest was adjourned the identification of the unfortunate woman had not been clearly established.

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Liverpool Mercury, Wednesday, Decembe 24, 1890

THE CAB TRAGEDY. Prisoner Before The Magistrate.

At the Liverpool Police Court, yesterday before Mr. Raffles, stipendiary magistrate, Arthur Penfold was charged with having caused the death of Margaret Stewart, alias Cowie, on Wednesday, December 17, by stabbing her whilst in a cab driving from Ranelagh-street to the residence of the deceased in Lambert-street. The prisoner, who seems to be a man about 30 years of age, was well dressed, and during the few minutes he was in the dock conducted himself in a calm manner.

Mr. Moss (prosecuting solicitor) said that he must ask his worship to adjourn the case for a week, in order that the police might make further inquiries in regard to the identification of the deceased.

Mr. Raffles. - It is quite right. I will adjourn the case for a week. - Prisoner, who offered no opposition, was then removed below.

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THE YORKSHIRE EVENING POST, WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 24, 1890.

THE LIVERPOOL CAB MURDER.

PENFOLD – “QUEER IN HIS HEAD.”

Throughout Sussex, and especially in East Grinstead and Hartfield, where the prisoner Penfold was so well known, the news of the terrible and extraordinary tragedy in a cab in Liverpool has created a profound impression, and not a little excitement, and those who knew him intimately will hardly credit the astounding news, Penfold being considered a man of affectionate and amiable disposition. The TERRIBLE STORY is being discussed by everybody in his native place, and there are few acquaintances who fail to ask, “What’s your opinion about Penfold?” The reply is generally one expressing sympathy with the poor fellow for it is generally asserted that, though he was a man who was very much liked, still he was frequently “queer in his head”, and when he gave way in the slightest degree to drink he was not responsible for this actions. Indeed there is AMPLE PROOF that he comes from a weak-minded stock in which there is hereditary epilepsy and imbecility. As previously stated his grandmother was an epileptic, his mother expired whilst seized with an epileptic fit, and he has a brother who suffers from epilepsy. It has also been ascertained that there is a first cousin a lunatic still living in Hartfield, who has periodically to be confined in an asylum, another cousin a confirmed epileptic who has also to be occasionally placed under control, and another first cousin, a man named Carr, living at Hartfield, who a few months ago was charged at the East Grinstead Petty Sessions with attempting to commit suicide.

PRISONER BEFORE THE MAGISTRATES.

Yesterday, at the City Police Court, before Mr. Raffles, the man, Arthur Penfold, charged with having caused the death of Margaret Stewart, alias Isabella Cowie, was again remanded for a week in order that the police may complete their inquires as to the identity of the deceased woman.

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The Belfast News-Letter, Tuesday, December 30, 1890.

THE MURDER IN A CAB.

Liverpool, Monday. - At Liverpool to-day an inquest was held on the body of a young woman named Cowie or Stewart, who is alleged to have been murdered in a cab by Arthur Penfold now in custody. Evidence having been given as to the finding of the woman and to the arrest of Penfold, who admitted that he had stabbed the woman, a witness named Ross deposed that she lived with deceased in a house of ill-fame at Glasgow, and travelled to Liverpool with her. She knew her as Stewart, but saw a letter addressed to her from her mother, at Greenock, as Janet Cowie. A verdict of wilful murder against Penfold was returned.

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Birmingham Daily Post, Tuesday, December 30, 1890.

THE MURDER IN A CAB. - The inquest on the woman who was murdered in a cab in Liverpool was resumeed yesterday. The identity of the victim has not yet been clearly established, but a woman who knew her two and a half years ago in Glasgow said she had seen a letter addressed to deceased from her mother at Lerwick in the name of Margaret Cowie. She seems also to have been known by the name of Margaret Stewart. It appeard from other evidence that deceased had lived with the prisoner, Arthur Penfold, in Liverpool for a week previous to the tragedy, and that both had drunk heavily together. When getting out of the cab prisoner told a constable he had stabbed the woman, and hoped she was dead, saying she told him to do it. The jury returned a verdict of "Wilful murder" against Penfold.

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The Dundee Courier and Argus: Wednesday, December 31,1890

THE LIVERPOOL CAB MYSTERY. - Arthur Edward Penfold was at Liverpool yesterday committed for trial charged with the murder of Margaret Stewart alias Isabella Cowie, an unfortunate.

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Freeman's Journal and Daily Commercial Advertiser [Dublin], Tuesday, December 30, 1890.

MURDERED IN A CAB.

Liverpool, Monday.

An inquest was held here to day by the Coroner on the body of Margaret Stewart, alias Isabella Cowie, who was murdered in a cab on the 17th inst in Lambert street. The deceased was not identified by any relative. She came originally from Scotland and settled in Liverpool, where she led a loose life. Two of four wounds inflicted between the ribs penetrated the heart, one also going through the liver. a verdict of wilful murder was returned against Arthur Penfold, a Surreyman, who had been living with the deceased and got on the spree.

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Aberdeen Weekly Journal, Tuesday, December 30, 1890.

At Liverpool yesterday, an inquest was held on the body of the young woman named Cowie or Stewart, who is alleged to have been murdered in a cab by Arthur Penfold, now in custody. Evidence having been given as to the finding of the woman and as to the arrest of Penfold, who admitted that he had stabbed the woman, a witness named Ross deposed that she lived with deceased in an irregular house at Glasgow, and travelled to Liverpool with her. She knew her as Stewart, but saw a letter addressed to her from her mother at Lerwick as Janet Cowie. A verdict of wilful muder against Penfold was returned.

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The Liverpool Mercury, Wednesday, December 31, 1890.

THE CAB TRAGEDY IN LIVERPOOL.

Yesterday, at the Liverpool City Police Court, Arthur Edward Penfold, 31 years of age, was brought up on remand before Mr. Raffles, charged with having, on the 17th December, feloniously, wilfully, and of malice aforethought, killed Margaret Stewart, alias Isabella Cowie, of 28, Lambert-street. Mr. Moss conducted the prosecution. The prisoner, who had already been committed for trial to the assizes on the coroner's warrant, was undefended. The court was crowded, amonst those present being many of the associates of the deceased who belonged to the "unfortunate" class. Evidence given at the coroner's inquiry was recapitulated without variation. All the witnesses having been examined, the dispositions were read over by Mr. Savage, assistant magistrates' clerk, after which Mr. Raffles administered the usual caution to the prisoner and asked him if he had anything to say. The accussed replied, "I have nothing to say." He was then committed for trial at the next Liverpool Assizes.

During the hearing of the case the prisoner was accommodated with a seat in the dock, and manifested a stolid demeaneour, except when the clothing of the deceased was produced, at the sight of which he hung down his head, and appeared to be deeply affected.

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Manchester Times, Friday, January 2, 1891.

THE LIVERPOOL CAB MURDER.

The Liverpool coroner held an inquest on Monday on the body of Margaret Stewart, alias Cowie, who was stabbed to death in a cab in Liverpool on 17th inst. by Arthur Penfold. Evidence was given as to the girl having lived an irregular life for some time, and as to her intimacy with Penfold - Agnes Ross, and "unfortunate", now living in Liverpool, said she first knew the deceased in Glasgow about two years ago. Deceased, who was known as Margaret Stewart, then lived in Main-street with a woman named Ingram, the wife of a sailor. Witness once saw a letter from deceased's mother at Lerwick and it was addressed to "Margaret Cowie". Witness and deceased came to Liverpool about two years ago.. The Ingrams accompanied them but subsequently returned to Glasgow. The jury returned a verdict of "Wilful murder", and the prisoner was committed for trial. Prison has also been committed by the magistrates.

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The Blackburn Standard and Weekly Express, Saturday, January 03, 1891.

THE LIVERPOOL CAB MURDER.

The Liverpool coroner held an inquest on Monday on the body of Margaret Stewart, alias Cowie who was murdered in a cab in Liverpool on the 17th inst. by Arthur Penfold. Evidence was given as the girl have lived an immoral life for some time, and as to her intimacy with Penfold. Agnes Ross said she first knew the deceased in Glasgow about two years ago. Deceased, who was known as Margaret Stewart, then lived in Main-street, with a woman named Ingram, the wife of a sailor. Witness once saw a letter from deceased's at Lerwick, and it was addressed to "Margaret Cowie". Witness and deceased came to Liverpool about two years ago. The Ingrams accompanied them, but subsequently returned to Glasgow. - The jury returned a verdict of wilful murder, and Penfold was committed for trial.

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Liverpool Mercury, Wednesday, March 11, 1891.

THE LIVERPOOL CAB TRAGEDY.

A true bill was found by the grand jury in the case in which Arthur Edward Penfold (31), described as a porter, is charged with the wilful murder of an unfortunate named Margaret Stewart, alias Isabella Cowie, on the night of the 17th December, at Liverpool. The trial is fixed for Friday.

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The Liverpool Mercury: Saturday March 14, 1891

LIVERPOOL ASSIZES.

Friday, March 13.

CROWN COURT.

Before Mr. Justice Day.

THE LIVERPOOL CAB TRAGEDY.

PRISONER SENTENCED TO DEATH.

Arthur Edward Penfold (31), porter, was indicted for the wilful murder of an unfortunate name Margaret Stewart alias Isabella Cowie, on the 17th December last, at Liverpool. Mr. Potter, Q.C., and Dr. Sparrow conducted the case for the prosecution, and the prison was defended by Mr. Segar.

Mr. Potter, Q.C., in opening the case, said the facts were very short and simple. The woman whom the prisoner was accused of having murdered was the inmate of a disorderly house in Lambert-street, and it appeared that for some five or six days before the 17th December, when the murder took place, the prisoner had been consorting with her, and during that time they had undoubtedly been drinking, more or less. On the 17th December at about threen o'clock in the afternoon, they left the house in Lambert-street together, and according to the evidence for the prosecution there was not then any appearance of drink about either the prisoner or the poor woman. What they did in the afternoon the prosecution had no evidence to show. The next information the prosecution could give about them was that at half-past seven in the evening they were together in Ranelagh-place. They came up to a cab which was on the rank there and the woman tried to open the door The cabman got down from his box and opened the door for her. The deceased and the prisoner entered the cab, and the former told the cabman where to drive, namely, to the house in Lambert-street. The cabman drove to Lambert-street, and stopped a door or two short of the particular house he had been told to drive to and when he got down from the box the prisoner told him that he had stabbed the woman who was in the cab, and that she had asked him to do so. He said further, "It's all right: I'm not going to run away. You can call a policeman if you like." Shortly afterwards the cabman did call the police, and two policemen came up, and the prisoner made the same statement to them, namely, that he had stabbed the woman and that she had asked him to do it. One of the policemen took the man into custody, and the other took the poor woman, who was not dead at that time, to the Royal Infirmary. The prisoner, on his was down to the police station, wanted to stop at a public house, but the constablee would not let him. He afterwards tried to stop at another public house, and then the constable, noticing that he was trying to put his hand into his left trouser pocket called to his assistance another man, who took the prisoner's arm on that side. So the prisoner was taken to the Central Police Station and there when he came to be searched, there was found in his left trouser pocet a knife with fresh blood on it. The knife was then closed. The wounded woman died at the infirmary shortly after her admission, and, on a post-mortem examination being made, it was found that over the left breast she had received six puntured wounds, four of which penetrated the wall of the chest, whilst one penetrated the heart, and one passed through the heart and penetrated a portion of the liver. Either of the last two wounds was, of course, necessarily fatal. It would be for the jury to consider - and he thought it would be almost the only question they would have seriously to consider - whether the prisoner at the time he committed this crime was responsible for the act which resulted in the death of this woman. The prosecution had noticed that there was some intention to raise this defence, and, acting on instructions from the Home Office, they had had the prisoner examined by certain medical men. It had also been represented to the prosecution that there was an inspector of police at East Grinstead who knew a good deal about the prisoner and, as the prisoner had no means to procure the attendance of this man, the prosecution were appealed to to procure his attendance. The prosecution had done so, and he proposed, subject to the approval of the court, to put this witness and the medical men into the box, and to allow his learned friend to ask them such questions as he might think desirable. There was no doubt that the case was one presenting some unusual features. He was unable to suggest any possible motive which could have actuated the prisoner either to kill or injure the woman he had been consorting with. They would have the evidence as to the condition he was in when he left the house, and when he was taken into custody, and it would be for them to say, under his lordship's direction, after they had heard the whole of the evidence, whether there was anyting in it to convince them that at the time the prisoner committed this act he was - whether from drink or from other causes - in such a condition as not to be aware of the nature of the act he was committing.

Ellen Ash, as widow 28 years of age keeping a house of ill-fame at 28, Lambert-street was the first witness. Examined by Dr. Sparrow she said she had known the deceased since September last, under the name of Margaret Stewart or Isbella Cowie. When first she knew her she was living in a house of her own in 10 Court, Lambert-street. The deceased came to live with witness about give weeks before her death. The prisoner came to her house on the 11th December, and stayed with the deceased, going away in the morning. The last occasion on which she saw the deceased was on the 17th December, at three o'clock in the afternoon. The prisoner was with her then. When the prisoner and the deceased left her house at that time, they were perfectly sober. She did not see the deceased again alive. She saw her dead body at the Royal Infirmary on the 22nd December. - Cross-examined by Mr. Segar: The prisoner was a very quiet man, as far as she saw. She thought he had been drinking heavily during the time he was at her house. As far as she knew, he had not had that day, before he went out, two bottles of ale, some gin, and a quartern of rum. She did not know whether he had any drink before he went out. There was a woman named Margaret Anderson living at her house at that time, and she might have fetched in drink for the deceased without witness knowing of it.

Margaret Anserson, examined by Mr. Potter, Q.C., said she also lived at 28, Lambert-street and she knew the deceased under the name of Margaret Stewart or Isabella Cowie. She knew that the deceased stayed with the prisoner for six nights before her death, during which time they were drinking together. She never saw them drinking much. She saw them leave the house together on the 17th December, about three o'clock in the afternoon. They were both then sober. She next saw the deceased at the Royal Infirmary, at a quarter to eight o'clock in the evening, alive but unable to speak.

- Cross-examined: The prisoner and deceased got up about one o'clock on the 17th December. She had seen the prisoner the night before, but she did not notice whether he was drunk or not. She did not know that he had a number of drinks before he left the house on that day. She did not fetch any drink for him, and no woman in the hosue fetched any to her knowledge. She could not say whether the prisoner and the deceased had some ale, gin, and rum before they got up. The deceased went out in the morning, but she did not see her bring back any drink. The prisoner was always a very quiet man.

Catherine Cuthbert, an unfortunate, living at 28, Lambert-street, gave corroborative evidence. - Cross-examined: During the six nights prior to the tragedy prisoner and woman were drinking heavily. He appeared to be very fond of the girl. Witness saw no quarrel. They had drink on the morning of the 17th December.

William M'Gee, cabdriver, stated that he was with his cab in Ranelagh-place when prisoner and the girl engaged him. The girl got in first, and told witness where to drive to. They both seemed to be sober. Whilst driving to Lambert-street witness heard the cab window pulled up. The night was cold. When he got to the house he opened the door of the cab , and saw prisoner fumblling about his trousers pocket as though hiding his hands. Prisoner got out, and said, "I've stabbed her, cabby. She asked me to do it, and you can go for a policeman if you like. I am not going to run away." Witness then noticed that the girl had been stabbed about the body and he called for assistance. The police having secured prisoner, witness drove the poor girl to the infirmary. - Cross-examined: After giving information of the affair, prisoner made no attempt to get away.

Police-constable Cutler stated that when he was called prisoner confessed what he had done, and he was taken to the bridewell. Whilst in London-road prisoner wanted to go into a public house. He seemed to be sober at the time, but looked as though he had been drinking. He pulled up in the street, and tried to put his left had in his pocket. Witness called another officer, and prisoner was taken to the detective office where a pocket-knife covered with fresh bloodstains was found in his trousers pocket. There was blood on prisoner's hands. He said "That is the knife I stabbed her with. - Cross-examined: Prisoner appeared to have been drinking heavily.

George John Tregifgas, labourer, said he assisted to take prisoner to the detective-office. Prisoner said to witness, "I've done it, I hope she is dead"

Police-constable Corran stated that he assisted to take the woman to the informary. She was unconscious at the time. When witness charged prisoner with the murder of the girl, he made no reply. Witness produced the clothes of the girl, showing the marks of the knife.

Dr. Jay Gould, of the Royal Infirmary, deposed that the woman never recovered consciousness from the time she entered the institution. Witness made a post mortem examination. He found six punctured wounds on the left side of the chest. Two penetrated the heart, and either was sufficient to cause death. There was no appearance of alcohol in the stomach - Cross-examined: He had not made insanity a special study. It was common knowledge that a person subject to epilepsy was subject to temporary bursts of insanty. If a person had epileptic tendencies he would not like to say that a bout of drinking would bring on insanity.

This was the case for the prosecution.

Mr. Segar said that the only question the jury would have to try was whether the prisoner was aware at the time the deed was done of the nature of the act he was committing. The prosecution had in court several medical gentlemen, including Dr. Wiglesworth, Dr. G.Whittle, and Dr. Barr, but, as they had not called them, he would aks them for their opinion as to the state of the mind of the prisoner. The witness that would be called for the defence would give evidence of the strongest possible character to prove that an act like the one the prisoner was charged with was motiveless, and that fact in itself was the strongest possible proof that prisoner's mind was unhinged. If a man did an act without motive there was a strong assumption that the man was mad. The act of the prisoner not only showed insanity, but the whole history of the man indicated that tendencies to insanity existed in his blood. His mother died in an epileptic attack, he had a cousin who was an idiot and another cousin had been tried for attempting to commit suicide and was acquitted. Furthermore, the prisoner himself had twice attempted to commit suicide. Once he went on to London Bridge with the intention of jumping into the river, and on another occassion he put poison into his coffee. In many ways his actions had been mysterious and his conduct singular. When charged with attempting to take his own life he was acquitted on the grounds of insanity, and on another occassion a prosecution against him for theft was withdrawn because the authorities came to the conclusion that he was not of sound mind. He had also disappeared from his employment on three or four occassions without any good reason. All these matters the jury would have to consider along with the facts that prisoner and deceased were on good terms, and that no ill-will existed; and he felt confident that the jury would without hesitation, find as a fact that at the time this crime was committed prisoner was irresponsible for his actions.

Dr. Wiglesworth said he had great experience in cases of insanity. He was in this matter instructed by the procescuting solicitor to examine prisoner. He was of opinion that the crime partook of the character of an insane act. There was apparanty no motive and no attempt at concealment. Epilepsy at times developed itself into sudden fits of insanity and if emileptice tendencies were in prisoner's family, it might effect him.

Witness had been hold that prisoner had been drinking heavily. At the time the crime was committed he thought that prisoner was suffering from mental disorder, the effects of drink, and that would prevent him fully realising the nature of the act. - Cross-examined: At the present time prisoner was quite sane. From his observations of prisoner witness had no reason to suppose that there were any epileptic tendencies in him, or tendencies to insanity.

Dr. James Morton, of Chelsea deposed that he had known prisoner's mother, brothers and other relatives for many years. They were all characterised by a tendency to nervous disease. The mother died at the age of 56 during a violent epileptic seizure. Witness knew two brothers of the prisoner. One showed great mental instability and the slighest excitement, either from joy or grief rendered him almost irresponsible. That brother's child two years ago had attacks of epiloepsy. Prisoner's elder brother had five children and three witness had seen during epileptic attacks. Presuming that prisoner had two cousins suffering from insanity and bearing in mind the other facts mentioned, it would show a family tendency to epilepsy or insanity. The evidence was consistent with the idea that prisoner was suffering from a violent attack of mania when he committed the crime - Cross-examined: The usual attacks of epilepsy make a suffer helpless, but there was a form which was characterised by more or less uncontrollabe acts of violence.

George Berry, superintendent of police at East Sussex, stated that he knew that prisoner had been in the 5th Lancers, but was not aware that he had suffered from rheumatic fever or heart disease. Witness also referred to the fact that prisoner was once charged with having stolen a horse and cart but witness, noticing prisoner's peculiar condition had him watched all night. He was jumping about the cell whistling and singing, and acting in a very peculiar manner. Seeing this, witness handed prisoner over to his brother, and the magistrates later on dismissed the case. In 1884 prisoner was before the magistrates on a charge of attempted suicide, and he was ultimately given up to his friends. One of prisoner's female cousins was an idiot, but not bad enough to be locked up.

Charles Penfold, of East Grinstead, said he was the younger brother of prisoner, who in 1878 disappeared suddenly from his employment. Subsequently it was found that he had joined the 5th Lancers, which he had to leave owing to heart disease and rheumatism. One more than one occassiion he disappeared mysteriously from his employment. He had often been in the hospitals. Witness had at one time suffered from epilepticed fits. If he took drink he very soon became irresponsible. Prisoner had never been given to acts of violence.

William Turner, who lives in battersea, London stated that he had known the Penfold family for some time. Prisoner used to complain about his head.

Frederick William Penfold, of her Majesty's navy at Portsmouth spoke of having frequently noticed peculiarities about the prisoner He stated that he had not seen the prisoner for over seven years.

Dr. Glyn Whittle, of Liverpool, said that when he examined prisoner there were signs of his having been drinking. - Mr. Segar: What is your opinion, after having the whole of the evidence, as to the condition of the man's mind at the time the act was committed? - Mr. Potter: I object to that question. - His lordship upheld Mr. Potter's objection, sayin that that was the question the jury would have to anser. - Mr. Segar attempted to put the question in serveral forms and contended that the other medical gentlemen had been allowed to answer it. - His Lordship would not allow the question. - Mr. Segar: Very well, I will give it up. Will your lordship ask the question in the form you think proper? - His Lordship: I will not. You can put all questions that are material in accordance with law. - In reply to Mr. Segar witness said that is was possible for the prisoner to have been insane on the 17th December and sane the following day.

Mr. Segar. in addressing the jury, said he had managed to struggle to the end of the evidence. He said "struggle," because he had not received answers to one or two questions he had asked, which if answered would have enabled him to address them upon the opinion of this medical gentleman, which was to his mind material. An opinion had, however, been obtained from Dr. Wiglesworth, and in deciding the case he was sure the jury would remember that fact.

His Lordship, in summing up, said that the burden of proving insanity rested upon the persons who alleged it, that law had been denounced by the counsel for the prisoner as somewhat hard, if not unjust. Now, to his mind, that law was very much in the interest of society. It was a law not made by statute, but developed by the custom of ages. In this case any observations as to hardships were ill-placed, because every assistance had been rendered by the prosecution. Reviewing the facts of the case, his Lordship remarked that there had been no evidence at all that prisoner had been treaded for mania or epilepsy, and, therefore, they might infer that he had never suffered from those diseases in such a form as to call forth medical treatment.

After a brief consultation, and without leaving the box the jury found the prisoner guilty.

His Lordship having assumed the black cap, said that the jury could have come to no other conclusion than they had arrived at. Prisoner had taken the life of this poor woman without provocation and had sent her into eternity without any notice. He gave her no time for repentance, and he had now forfeited his own life. The law, however, allowed him time to prepare for his great change, and his lordship urged him to make the best use of his time. The death sentence was then passed in the usual form, and the prisoner left the dock weeping.

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The Blackburn Standard and Weekly Express, Saturday, March 14, 1891.

THE LIVERPOOL CAB MURDER.

At the Liverpool Assizes, yesterday, Arthur Edward Penfold thirty-one years of age, porter, was indicted for the murder of Margaret Stewart, alias Isabella Cowie in December last. Prisoner came to Liverpool from East Grinstead, Sussex, and lived for some days with the deceased, a native of Aberdeen, who was a woman of immoral character. While driving with her in a cab one day he stopped the vehicle, and told the cabman he had killed the woman. It was then found that the woman was fatally stabbed. A question as to prisoner's sanity was raised, and the prosecution said that evidence would be called on the point. Evidence as to the facts having been given, a medical witness said he considered the prisoner quite sane, and could not support the idea that the prisoner at the time of the murder was suffering from epilepsy. Another medical witness, who knew prisoner's family, said the mother died during an epileptic seizure, and a brother showed great mental instability. Both brothers were subject to fits, and prisoner, who was invalided from the Lancers, had done a number of eccentric things.

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THE BIRMINGHAM DAILY POST, SATURDAY, MARCH 14, 1891.

LIVERPOOL CAB MURDER – SENTENCE OF DEATH.

At Liverpool Assizes, yesterday – before Mr. Justice Day. – the trial took place of Arthur Penfold (30) for the murder of Margaret Stewart, alias Isabella Cowie, a native of Shetland, by stabbing her through the heart, in a cab. Prisoner is a native of Hartfield, Sussex. After leaving the 5th Lancers, he became a grocer’s porter at East Grinstead. In December last he went to Liverpool, and lived with the deceased for a week, drinking heavily. When arrested he said the deceased asked him to kill her. In defence of Penfold, counsel attempted to prove insanity, contending there was a hereditary taint in the family, his mother having died insane. Prisoner twice tried to commit suicide, and was acquitted of theft at East Grinstead on the ground of insanity and absence of motive for the crime. Dr. Morton, Chelsea; Police-superintendent Berry, East Grinstead; and the prisoner’s brother Charles gave strong testimony to the prisoner’s insanity. The jury gave a verdict of guilty, and the death sentence was passed.

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The Liverpool Mercury, Tuesday, March 17, 1891.

The Liverpool Cab Murder.

To the editors of The Liverpool Mercury.

Gentlemen, - Will you allow me a little of your valuable space to bring before your readers the following facts, and to solicit their sympathy on behalf of the unfortunate man Arthur Edward Penfold, now lying in Kirkdale Jail awaiting his fearful doom. On Friday last the court had a most delicate and difficult task, I have no disposition to in any way cast reflection upon any gentleman who had the grave responsibility of judgment and of action in this most painful case; and your readers will be already familiar with the evidence as given in court. They will remember also that, in opening the case for the prosecution, Mr. Potter, Q.C., said – “The case unquestionably presented some unusual features, and he was unable to suggest any possible motive that could have activated the prisoner to kill or injure the woman with whom he had been consorting; it would be for the jury, after hearing everything, to say whether, as the time the prisoner committed the act, he was, whether from drink or other cause, in such a condition as not to be aware of the nature of the act he was committing.” From this it would appear that the counsel for the prosecution agree with counsel for the defence that there was an utter absence of motive; which implies irresponsibility. If this were consequence upon hard drinking simply, in the eyes of the law and probably in the judgment of the public the sentence of “guilty” is quite just. But, from the evidence, there is at least considerable probability that it was hard drinking plus something else! Now, gentlemen, from the medical testimony, particularly of Dr. Morton, who has known the family for three generations, and of Dr. Wiglesworth – who is a specialist, and who will probably supplement and confirm by letter evidence already given – from hereditary tendency, for his mother died in an unconscious state from epileptic seizure, and he has relatives who are idiots, and from the history of this man, there is immense probability, amounting – as I think – to certainty, that the “something else” was temporary insanity.

Let me add two items of evidence that were not given in court. The eldest brother, John Robert, would have proved , had he been put in the witness box, that there were periodic moods when the prisoner lost all self-control, and was irresponsible. In several of these moods he had been of necessity closely watched. When the prisoner’s photograph was officially sent for identification, a late employer at Chelsea remarked – “Dear mo! Why, the fact is, you know, the man is half a lunatic.” On one occasion, when visiting the unfortunate man at Kirkdale, I asked him – “How came you to do it ? Did you know what you were about?” He said he didn’t know why he did it or when, or even where it was done, his memory entirely left him ; but he knew as soon as the fearful act was committed what he had done, and he could not forgive himself. I believe the man’s statement, and from the circumstances of the case, as also from the laws of mental philosophy, I am satisfied that it is consistent with his ready confession upon realising the result of his violent and awful seizure – “I have stabbed this woman.”

My present action in this case is the result of a deep conviction, of a sober judgement, and of an interest that I am sure any one else would have were they in my position and had the same information in their possession.

The petition below is based upon the evidence, and is deducted from it. If it should be successful it will remove from a most respectable family the odium of a terrible crime; it will give the condemned man the “benefit of doubt” and the advantage of great probability; while it secures him in a criminal lunatic asylum during her Majesty’s pleasure from the repetition of such acts of violence.

I appeal to your numerous readers for their signatures and practical help.

29, Hope-street. Wm. Hodson Smith.

Petition on Behalf Of The Condemned Man.

To the Right Honourable Henry Matthews. Q.C., her Majesty’s Secretary of State for the Home Department.

Regina v Arthur Edward Penfold.

Your petitioners call your attention to the following facts:-

1. That the prisoner was proved to have been always a quiet man and never to have been known to have committed any previous act of violecnce.

2. That the prisoner was proved to have been on good terms with the deceased, and that there was absolutely no motive proved or suggested for the crime.

3. That the prisoner made no attempt to conceal his act or to escape.

4. That is was proved that insanity existed in the prisoner’s family.

5. That it would appear that in last August he was considered by the superintendent of the police at East Grinstead and a magistrate or magistrates irresponsible for his acts.

6. In our opinion, the medical testimony was sufficient to establish the probability of the prisoner’s insanity at the time the act was committed.

Your petitioners therefore pray that you will recommend her Majesty to pardon the prisoner to be remitted to safe custody during her Majesty’s pleasure, on the ground that he was not responsible for his actions at the time the deceased was killed.

Copies of the petition may be signed at the office of Mr. William Rudd, 28, Victoria-street; the Sailors’ Home, Exchange Newsroom or Flags (if practicable), the Labour Registry, 62, Soho-street; the Village Club, Woolton; the Cabstand, Pembroker-place, and other places. Copies of the petition can be obtained at the office of Mr. Rudd, or from the Rev.W.Hodson Smith, 29, Hope-street.

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The Leeds Times: Saturday, March 21, 1891

Arthur Edward Penfold (31), porter, was sentenced to death at Liverpool for murdering his mistress in a cab.

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March 23, 1891

Kirkdale Gaol

Efforts are being made to obtain a commutation of the death sentence passed on Arthur Penfold at Liverpool Assizes for the murder of a woman in a cab, but so far the prison governor has received no communication about him from the Home Office.

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THE HERALD. SATURDAY, MARCH 21, 1891

THE TRAGEDY IN A HANSOM CAB.

SENTENCE OF DEATH.

At Liverpool Assizes, before Mr. Justice Day, Arthur Penfold, aged thirty, was put upon his trial for the murder of Margaret Stuart, alias Isabella Cowie, by stabbing her through the heard, in a cab at Liverpool, on December 17th. – The prisoner is a native of Hartfield, Sussex. After leaving the 5th Lancers he became a grocer’s porter at East Grinstead. In December last he came to Liverpool, and lived with the deceased for some days. The woman, it was alleged, was the native of Aberdeen, but had been a barmaid in Lerwick. The prisoner was drinking heavily, and when driving home with the deceased in a cab he stopped the vehicle and told the cabman to go for a policeman, as he had killed the woman. The police were brought, and the woman was found dead, having been fatally stabbed. A question as to the prisoner’s sanity was raised, and the prosecution said evidence would be called on that point. Evidence as the facts of the murder having been given, a medical witness was called, who said that, from examination and observation, he considered the prisoner quite sane at present, and could not find any evidence in support of the idea that he at the time of the murder was suffering from epilepsy. Another medical witness said he knew prisoner’s family. His mother died during an epileptic seizure, one brother showed great mental instability, and the children of both brothers were subject to epileptic attacks. Attacks of epilepsy led to mental disorder, causing suicide and homicide. One of the prisoner’s cousins had attempted suicide, and another was mentally affected, while the prisoner had done many eccentric things. He had been invalided from the Lancers for heart disease. – The prisoner’s council attempted to prove insanity, contending that there was a hereditary taint in the family. The prisoner, he said, twice tried to commit suicide, and was acquitted of theft at East Grinstead on the ground of insanity. – The jury found a verdict of guilty, and death sentence was passed.

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The Liverpool Mercury: Friday, March 27, 1891

The Convict Penfold. - The Governor of Kirkdale Jail received the official document from the Home Office yesterday morning, announcing the respite of Arthur Edward Penfold, who was, at the recent assizes, found guilty of wilful murder. The decision of the Home Secretary was not only received with joy by Penfold himself but by his brothers and others who, since the trial, have been indefatigable in their exertions to save the unfortunate man from the gallows.

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The Herald: Saturday, March 28, 1891

A MURDERER RESPITED.

On Sunday, the Governor of Kirkdale Gaol, Liverpool received a communication from the Home Office intimating the respite of the death sentence passed on Bliagwar, a Lascar, for the murder of Captail Lyall of the ship Buckingham, while on a voyage from Dundee to York. One of the crew of the Buckingham has since the trial made an important statement, which was sent to the Home Office on Friday. A petition on behalf of Arthur Edward Penfold, also under the death sentence at Kirkdale Gaol, for the murder of a woman in a cab is being largely signed, on the supposition of the prisoner's insanity.

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Liverpool Mercury, Saturday, April 18, 1891

THE LIVERPOOL CAB MURDER.

To The Editors Of The Liverpool Mercury.

Gentlemen, - Will you allow me to bring before your readers once more the case of the unfortunate man Arthur Edward Penfold. It will be remembered that the prayer of the petition to the Home Secretary on his behalf has been granted. So far we have been very successful. There yet remains, however, the question of costs. While the legal expenses were most moderate, the general costs of the trial and of the petition were considerable. The brothers are exceedingly poor, and their poverty has been much aggravated by recent events; help is sorely needed, and would be most grafefully received.

I feel sure there are some who would like to show their sympathy in a practical way, and I shall be glad to see to it that any contribution forwarded to the address below is duly acknowledged and devoted to the object for which it is given. Thanking you for your kindness in this case.

Wm. Hodson Smith. 29, Hope-street, April 17, 1891.

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Sources

1"Census 1891 Her Majesty's Prison, Kirkdale, Lancashire RG12 / 2968" (RG12 / 2968).
picture

Source: Census 1891 Her Majesty's Prison, Kirkdale, Lancashire RG12 / 2968, 1891EnglandCensus_279805270

2"Christening: Arthur Edward Penfold - Tree001:W06".
3"Arthur Edward Penfold: Criminal Registers".
picture

Source: Arthur Edward Penfold: Criminal Registers, EnglandWalesCriminalRegisters17911892_172711519 (2)