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Key dates over June 1915

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Lives lost on this day: 0

11th June 1915 - Wife murderer sentenced to 21 month's hard labour

Rolling casualty count: 1420

1st Batt: Take over same line of trench from 1/Sherwood Frs. In billets at Le Franc’s factory in Estaires; 2nd BattL Battalion in billets at Verquin (8-14 June). Battalion at Training and exercised in Respirator drill; 3rd Batt: In bivouac near Busse-Boom; Royal Field Artillery: Petit Pont: Nothing to report, wind NE, weather fine.

The City Murder Charge: Sir Reginald Bray opened the Assizes for the City and County of Worcester this morning. His Lordship referred to the charge of murder against William Birch, and said that the Coroner’s Jury had returned a verdict of manslaughter, but the Magistrates had committed prisoner on a charge of murder…he referred to the evidence of Mrs. Birch, taken before she died, which was to the effect that Mr. Birch wanted to sell a suit, and she did not want him to do so. She followed him out of the house, and afterwards threw a cup and saucer at him. She said it was her fault, “as I should not have followed him.” There was no doubt, the Judge said, that the woman was anxious to make as light as possible the matter for her husband’s sake…The Judge asked if the injury to the woman’s skull was due to a blow or to the poking of the chair? Mr Bates replied that his impression was that it was done by poking the chair. Mr. Coventry said that a chair was not what one would regard as a murderous sort of weapon and asked his Lordship to deal as leniently with the prisoner as he possibly could, and reminded him that he had been in prison for 3 and a half months…The Reverend Philpott testified that Mrs. Birch, especially when under the influence of drink, was somewhat quarrelsome, and prisoner had told him, long ago, of the kind of life he had to live. On one occasion everything in the living room had been smashed to smithereens during a drunken orgy. The Judge had it in his mind before he heard evidence from the clergyman that it would be his duty to send prisoner to penal servitude but the evidence had produced some effect. It might be that there was not a single provocation; but that there might have been a good many, and perhaps that was some additional excuse for prisoner. But if he did not send prisoner to penal servitude he must give him a long sentence. He sentenced him to 21 months’ hard labour;

Burglary at the City Cemetery: Harry Williams (37), hawker, was charged with breaking into the house of Mr. J.L. Brierley, Superintendent of Worcester Cemetery, and stealing three silver vases, a silver butter dish, a pair of gentlemens’ boots, and other articles. He was also charged with breaking into the Cemetery Chapel and with stealing a grave marker. The prisoner was found guilty. The Judge said that it was not worthwhile proceeding with the indictment of sacrilege. He had been convicted many times, beginning in 1899, under several names. He was sentenced to four months’ hard labour.

Information researched by Sue Redding

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