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

R v Kitchen [1836] NSWSupC 28

murder - domestic violence

Supreme Court of New South Wales

Dowling A.C.J., 6 May 1836

Source: Sydney Herald, 9 May 1836[1 ]

Friday, May 6 - Before the Chief Justice and a Civil Jury.

William Kitchen was indicted for the wilful murder of Ann Kitchen (his wife) at Sydney, on the 23rd of February last.

It appeared in this case (a full report of which was published some time back in the report of a Coroner's Inquest held on the body of the unfortunate deceased) that the prisoner had dragged the deceased by the hair of the head along the street, dreadfully beat her, kicked, and dashed her on the grounds, a distance through the street, until he arrived with her at his own house in Harrington-street, when he thew her into the house on the flor repeated is kicks, and as a completion of his brutality, threw a bucket of water on her, of which she almost immediately expired.  The case was of so clear and dreadful a nature that the prisoner did not attempt a defence of his conduct, and the Jury retired a few minutes and returned a Verdict of Guilty.  The Crown Officer prayed the judgment of the Court on the prisoner, and His Honor ordering proclamation to be made, addressed the prisoner as follows:-  ``The awful termination of this day's enquiry you must have long been prepared for; if you have not it is high time now to make the best use of the few hours which remain to you on this side of the grave, that by prayer and contrition you may obtain the forgiveness of your Maker.  What man, looking at the evidence on this trial, can doubt but that your heart was bent on the destruction of the unhappy woman, your wife, who, you were bound by every tie to protect and cherish, instead of, as you now stand before your country convicted of dipping your hands in her blood.  I entreat of you when you return to the dismal cell to which you will be consigned, to atone to your God for the dreadful crime you have committed, for there is no mercy for you on this side of the grave."

His Honor then passed the sentence of death on the prisoner, to be carried into effect on Monday, and his body to be given to the surgeons for dissection.[ 2]



[1 ] See also Sydney Gazette, 7 May 1836.

[ 2] Kitchen was hanged: Australian, 13 May 1836.

Published by the Division of Law, Macquarie University