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Decisions of the Superior Courts of New South Wales, 1788-1899

R. v. Lloyd or Lynch [1840] NSWSupC 18

murder, infanticide, pregnancy, concealment of, women defendants in crime, sentencing discretion

Supreme Court of New South Wales

Dowling C.J., 5 May 1840

Source: Sydney Herald, 6 May 1840[1]

Ann Lloyd was indicted for having on the 26th of last March murdered her own new born infant, a female child, by thrusting it into a privy on the premises of her mistress, in whose service she had been for two years.  A second count charged the prisoner with concealment of pregnancy.  The prisoner pleaded not guilty; and was defended by Mr. Purifoy.

            The Jury returned a verdict of guilty of concealment. - Remanded.

Dowling C.J., 6 May 1840

Source: Sydney Herald, 13 May 1840[2]

Ann Lynch, who had been convicted before his Honor on the preceding day, of concealment of pregnancy, was brought up to receive sentence.  His Honor stated, that he had remanded her with the view of enabling him to make inquiry whether there were any extenuating circumstances in her case, that would warrant him in the discharge of his duty, in mitigating the penalty which the law awarded to the crime of which she had been convicted, and also to ascertain whether the reported father of the infant was likely to make any atonement to her for the injury which he had done her.  His Honor had done so out of mercy to her, for he could not but believe that it was a sense of shame, more than want of motherly affection, which had led her to act as she had done, and he was truly sorry to find that the present was not her first departure from the paths of virtue, as he had been credibly informed she had been a mother before, still he did not think she was irretrievably lost, as her mistress, a most respectable lady, had borne testimony that for two years she had behaved well in her service, and but for the circumstances which had brought her as a prisoner to the bar of the Supreme Court, she might have been still in that situation.  The offence she had been convicted of, was one which the laws of the land authorised him to punish by not less than two years in the House of Correction, but in the present instance, in the hope that she would see the evil of her ways and return to those paths from which she had swerved, he would not pass such a severe sentence as he otherwise might have done; he therefore ordered her to be confined in the House of Correction for six calender months and kept to hard labour.  His Honor subsequently stated, that any of her Majesty's gaols as well as the female factory, came under the designation of the House of Correction, and that it lay with his Excellency the Governor, and the Executive Council, to say in which she was to undergo her sentence.


[1] See also Sydney Gazette, 9 May 1840; and see R. v. WhiteAustralian, 8 February 1840 and 19 May 1840.

[2] See also Sydney Gazette, 9 May 1840.

Published by the Division of Law, Macquarie University