Documents relating to Mrs Ann Helliwell

The following documents mention the case against Mrs Ann Helliwell & William Booth

The Leeds Times [Saturday 15th November 1879] reported

Suspicious Death of Bradford Woman

Ann Helliwell a herbalist of Halifax age 40 was charged that she did feloniously kill and slay Esther Davies.

William Booth, age 32, innkeeper of Halifax was also in the dock charged with advising, aiding and abetting in certain means used which resulted in the death of Esther Davies.

The court was densely crowded with women, all apparently more anxious to listen to every detail than the other sex. The Chief Constable (Mr Withers) said that the deceased, who was 27 years of age, had been a housemaid in the employ of Mr Alfred Sussman, merchant, at Springbank, Manningham, where she had met a man named Nathan Horsfall, a man she thought unmarried only to find that he had a wife and children.

The first witness was Emma Hartley, a waiting maid for Mrs Sussman. She said the deceased said she was going to Manchester to see her brother. She looked in good health when she left but when she returned the next day she looked very ill and was taken by Mrs Sussman in a cab to the Workhouse.

In evidence, Mrs Sussman, who was given a seat on the bench, said she called Dr Bonner to see her, and in consequence of what he said, removed her to the workhouse. Dr Edmund Bonner said the deceased had all the symptoms of a miscarriage. In his opinion, to speak plainly, she was in the family way.

John Leach a porter at the workhouse said deceased was brought to the outer gate of the workhouse by Mrs Sussman. She was very pale and shaky and her lips were quivering. She died the following Friday.

James Hird said he went with Horsfall to Booth's house – the Boar's Head Inn, Southgate. Witness told Booth that Horsfall had a woman with him who was enciente and asked about a certain female. Booth said they meant Mrs Helliwell and told them she lived at Hatters Fold, in the square. Booth told Horsfall that Helliwell was a very queer woman and he had better get witness to go as he (Horsfall) had too much appearance of a detective. Booth told him to ask for some herbs, such as balm. Witness then had a conversation with the woman who asked if he was in a position to pay. She said the charge would be £3 and he thought Horsfall would be able to pay that. She said matters would be over in an hour or two. She said the deceased was not in the least danger and the affair would have to be kept quiet.

The witness then went back to the Boars Head and saw Horsfall, but did not see Booth, and was given a card which said

Mrs Helliwell, Herbalist, Hatters Fold Square, Halifax

Det Officer Hogg went with the Chief Constable to Helliwell's house and in a drawer found a bone or ivory instrument and also some fortune telling articles. When he tried to put the ivory instrument in his top pocket Mrs Helliwell snatched it from there and broke it into several pieces. He then found a steel rod or knitting needle and some cards with some greasy matter with a long brass pin in it. Inspector Egar of Halifax went to the house and met Det. Hogg. He took charge of Helliwell when Det. Hogg went upstairs. Then Helliwell thrust a long ivory pin into the fire and poked over it but he managed to recover it, although Helliwell resisted violently. There then followed a long legal argument as to whether or not charges of aiding and abetting could be brought.

His Lordship adjourned the case until tomorrow and the jury were then given in charge of an officer.

The jury found Booth not guilty and Helliwell guilty of manslaughter with recommendation for mercy. The Judge:

On what ground do you recommend her to mercy for manslaughter?

The Foreman:

On the ground that she did not intend to kill or slay Esther Davies

The Judge:

Does anyone know how long this woman has been carrying on this business?

Mr Gune:

I have no information my lord

Booth was discharged, and sentence on Helliwell was deferred


The Hull Packet & East Riding Times [13th February 1880] reported

After deliberation for several hours Mr Justice Hawkins sentenced Helliwell to twenty years penal servitude

© Malcolm Bull 2021
Revised 16:07 / 11th May 2021 / 6983

Page Ref: X518

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