Gatton Murders - Illegal Abortion Margaret Buckley

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A CASE TO INQUIRY.-A young woman named Margaret Buckley, having been taken ill at the house of Mrs. Smith, 32 Dyer-street, West Perth, the services of Dr. Coventry were requisitioned. The young woman died, but Dr. Coventry refused to give a certificate of death. The Coroner (Dr. Lovegrove) being notified of the facts of the case, ordered the removal of the body to the morgue. An inqnest will be opened at the Perth Hospital this morning.


At the request of the officers of the Criminal Investigation Branch of the Police Department the inquest on the body of Margaret Buckley, concerning whose death Dr. Coventry refused to give a certificate, has been further adjourned until 2.30 p.m. on Tuesday next, when it will be continued at the Bohemia Hall. During yesterday afternoon the detectives executed a search warrant on the premises of Mrs. M. Smith, 32 Dyer-street, West Perth. On the backyard being dug up the body of a newly-born child was discovered. This was taken to the morgue, with the view to a post-mortem examination.


Saturday was spent by those making investigations in Dyer-street in completely, turning over an alley-way and portion of Mrs. Smith's yard to a depth of some three feet. Three detectives and three plain clothes constables delved till nightfall, apparently with no further result than the circulation of wild rumours in the neighbourhood. "The detectives have found 14 bodies," one wildly excited individual stated. The lowest estimate of any find was "bones," but whether they were human or not none appeared able to say. All day on Saturday a constantly maintained number of the public hovered around the vicinity, for while some departed, others came to take their place. On Sunday operations were suspended.
The inquest on the bodies already found was opened at the Colonial Hospital on Saturday, in the presence of the Coroner (Dr. Lovegrove), and the jury that had been empanelled to deal with the inquiry into the death of Margaret Buckley. The normal proceedings over, the inquiry was adjourned until the same day and. hour as those when the inquiry concerning Margaret Buckley will be resumed. Although the same jury will be employed and the same hour is fixed, the enquiries will be quiet separate from one another, that on the infants being dealt with at the conclusion of that in regard to the woman.
The three babies found in the yard in Dyer-street were, after the inspection of the jury, removed to the pauper portion of the cemetery and there buried.

The West Australian Wednesday 17 August 1898
At the Bohemia Hall yesterday the inquest on the body of Margaret Buckley was resumed by the Coroner (Dr. Lovegrove), with a jury. Inspector Farley represented the police, and the proceedings were watched on behalf of Mrs. Smith by Mr. H. B. Josephs.
Dr. Coventry said that he had attended the deceased at the residence of Mrs. Smith, of Dyer-street, West Perth. On August 3 he examined deceased, in the presence of Mrs. Smith. Margaret Buckley made no remark about her condition, but Mrs. Smith said that deceased had given birth to a five months' child three days before. She added that the child had been buried. Witness was thus unable to see the child. From the examination of deceased witness concluded that she had lately been delivered of a child. The result of the examination by witness was quite in accordance with the statement made by Mrs. Smith. Witness took the temperature of deceased, and found it to be 104.5. She was emaciated and yellow, and complained of great thirst, her tongue being dry. Deceased also complained of abdominal pain. Her breathing was rapid and shallow. Witness came to the conclusion that deceased was suffering from an advanced stage of blood poisoning. Witness anticipated a fatal result. Witness did not ask deceased any questions as to what she had been taking or doing to cause that condition, nor did he endeavour to ascertain what had been the cause of deceased getting into that condition. Witness remained with deceased half-an hour. He again saw her on the following day, her temperature being a little over 100 then. She was still breathing badly, but was not suffering so much from thirst. Witness did not ask any questions of her as to the cause of her condition. Deceased was very reticent, and somewhat deaf. Witness was sent for on the 7th, and found that the temperature had again risen. He made a further examination. Mrs. Smith asked him if it was advisable to have deceased removed to the hospital. Witness gave an order to Dr. Miskin.
When next he saw deceased she was in a state of collapse. Dr. Trethowan being at witness's house that day, witness being anxious about deceased, asked him to visit her. Dr. Trethowan diagnosed the case, the diagnosis agreeing with that of witness. Deceased died on the 8th inst. Witness received a verbal message to that effect. Witness was not asked for a certificate by any one, nor did he give one. He was from the first very suspicious about the case. He came to the conclusion from the rarity of abortion at the fifth month of pregnancy that nature had been interfered with. He thought that deceased had somehow been interfered with. There was not sufficient evidence to point to a direct cause for the abortion. Witness came to the conclusion that something had been used to bring about abortion. Had the abortion been natural, witness would not have expected to find the patient as he did when he first saw her. It would have been advisable to ask deceased if anything had been done to her, but he did not think he would have got anything out of her. It was from motives of delicacy as well as from the belief that he would get no satisfactory replies that witness did not ask deceased if she had been interfered with. Witness did not think that the case was one that should be reported to the authorities at the time when he first attended deceased. There was nothing to have prevented witness so doing. Mrs. Smith was on each occasion present all the time when witness visited deceased. Mrs. Smith said deceased had recently come down from the fields, and had complained, a few days previous to the birth, of a pain in the right side. On the day of the birth she (Mrs. Smith) was out at the back, when she heard her daughter cry out in the front room, and when she returned to the room the birth had occurred. Deceased was then on the floor. Mrs. Smith told witness this in the room where the patient was, but he did not think she heard it, as she was deaf. Mrs. Smith had nursed at two confinements at which witness had attended. Witness had known Mrs. Smith eight months, but he did not know whether she was certificated. Witness was well-experienced in midwifery. A certificated midwife was allowed to carry certain drugs and instruments. A catheter such as that produced would be suitable for the use of a midwife, but it could be used for procuring abortion. The ergotin produced could only lawfully be administered by the instructions of a doctor. It would produce abortion if improperly used, as would the belladonna produced. Wit- ness had not attended any other cases at Mrs. Smith's. The payment for attendance on deceased was to be looked for from Mrs. Smith. She said so. By the Jury: He thought Miss Buckley was poisoned before the child was born, and it would have required great care and attention to have saved her life from the date of the confinement. Witness surmised that a dirty instrument had been used to procure abortion. Witness did not give a certificate because he did not think deceased should have died from the birth of a five months' child.
At the conclusion of a series of questions put by Mr. Joseph, the inquiry was adjourned till 10.30 a.m. on Friday, the 19th instant.


The adjourned inquest on the body of Margaret Buckley was resumed yesterday morning at the Bohemia Hall, Murray street. Inspector Farley appeared for the police. Mr. H. B. Joseph watching the case on behalf of Mrs. Smith.
Margaret Ann Smith deposed that she was a midwife, and resided in Dyer-street, West Perth. She had a certificate in Adelaide, which was burnt about 15 years ago. It was given to her by Dr. Charles Goss. It was not a certificate, but a testimonial. She had not been trained in any institution, or examined by a public body. She had resided in Dyer-street since October last, and prior to that off Charles street. She had known Margaret Buckley for five years. Deceased went to witness' house about five weeks before she was taken ill. Dr. Coventry was sent for because Miss Buckley complained of pains in the stomach, and was unwell generally. The doctor said there was slight inflammation, and wrote a prescription. The witness told the doctor Miss Buckley had had a miscarriage, and that she had buried the child in the yard. It occurred on the previous Saturday evening, and was evidently not expected by the deceased. The child was buried in the yard on Sunday morning. The deceased complained of a pain in the side before the mishap. She had no thermometer and did not take deceased's temperature; she merely judged by appearances. The doctor did not give his opinion of the case until he paid his last visit, which was on the day the deceased died; he, however, said she would not recover. Witness told the doctor she would pay his expenses, but deceased's sisters undertook to pay the burial expenses. The body of Miss Buckley's child was one of the first two found. She (Mrs. Smith) was not aware that ergot, belladonna and a catheter were recognised in English practice as portion of a midwife's outfit. She had never used the catheter (produced) which she purchased in May last. The witness formerly lived in Melbourne-road, and the body oit a prematurely born child was found there. She had recently visited her old residence in Charles-street. A pocket book containing a record of the cases she had attended since February last, twelve in number, was produced; only two of the patients were attended on her premises, and three others were under medical supervision. In Miss Buckley's, case a doctor was not sent for at the deceased's request, nor did the witness think it necessary. After the miscarriage witness asked deceased why she had not told her what was the matter, and deceased replied that she did not think she was that bad.
She knew nothing of the deceased's condition until the morning of the day on which the latter gave birth to the child. The witness, when the deceased told her of her condition, told her not to let the matter worry her. Two premature births had taken place on her premises-Miss Buckley's and another's. The second was the case of a woman who came to the witness' house one morning about a week before Miss Buckley was confined. The name of the woman was either Leeson or Gleeson. She came to the house about mid-day.
Mr. Joseph objected to this evidence as having no connection with the case under inquiry. Deceased had had a child at witness house 12 months ago; it was not premature; it lived 7 months. She put it out to nurse with a person named Masters from whose house it was buried. She told witness the name of the father of both children. She never complained of the child being an inconvenience.
After the adjournment for lunch the examination of Mrs. Smith was continued. She said she was in the room when the miscarriage of a woman named Leeson or Gleeson took place. She left witness' house about 8 p.m. the same day as the miscarriage occurred. Witness had never seen or heard of her since. One of the first two bodies found on witness' premises was given birth to by that woman, who was an utter stranger to witness. Witness saw her go on to the railway platform. She did not know the sex of the infant. Witness buried it in the yard. No one paid witness for her trouble. Buckley's child was a female. Witness got the ergot of rye and belladonna from the Apothecaries' Company in William-street, just as it was when produced. The same label was then on it. Witness did not sign for the drugs. She described the man who sold them to her. The label on the ergot had not been cut by her, but was just as she received it. There was no poison label on the bottle. Witness knew a girl named Gould, but had not treated her. Gould was not confined at her place.
By the Coroner. Witness did not know why the woman Leeson or Gleeson had come to her house. Witness had a sign board up with "Mrs. Smith, Midwife,'' on it.
By the jury Witness' husband was a baker, and was still living. She thought she was qualified and privileged to call herself a midwife. Her husband contributed to the support of the family. Buckley had been staying with witness on and off for two years. Witness never knew much about her people. She knew now where the sister of deceased lived. They slighted deceased because of her previous trouble. Deceased was a general servant. To witness' knowledge, deceased had not taken anything' to produce miscarriage. Witness did not take Miss Buckley's temperature. The married sister did not offer to pay the doctor's expenses, but witness told Dr. Coventry she would pay him, as she knew the deceased had no money. The woman Leeson or Gleeson did not pay witness, but promised to send some money. Witness did not take her address. Witness made no note of the occurrence. Witness valued her services to the woman Leeson, or Gleeson, at 30s. Deceased was a woman who did not show her condition till the last moment. She did not say she had had typhoid, but said she had been bad at Kalgoorlie.
By Mr. Joseph Witness had acted as a nurse for 16 years. She was on good terms with her husband. Witness asked ol the woman Leeson, or Gleeson, her address, but she would not give it. Leeson, or Gleeson, said she was a general servant. In the house occupied by witness there were a sitting and dining room and three bedrooms, all of which were occupied by members of her family. Deceased used to sleep in her daughter's room or in witness' room. When deceased carne from Kalgoorlie her hands were swelled and in a very bad state. They were scaley and sore. She could not use them to cut up her meat. Witness noticed when removing the placenta after deceased's confinement that it was torn. Witness had no idea that a certificate would be refused. The first witness knew of any trouble about the death of Buckley was when a mounted constable came and asked to see the body of Margaret Buckley. When the sisters of deceased came witness told them to go to the doctor for a certificate. The sisters said they had been to see the doctor three times, and had then left a message. Witness saw deceased on one occasion using witness's enema. That was about three days before her confinement.
By Inspector Farley That was when witness first noticed a bad smell. The policeman came before the sisters of deceased told witness that they had not seen the doctor. Witness never touched the woman Leeson or Gleeson. She helped her on to the bed, and got her some old clothes, and did nothing else. Witness did not know why she did not enter the affair in her book. Witness had put down some of the entries from memory. She may have put down the entries on the first leaf from memory. Witness had only omitted three names from her list, but may have omitted some others. Witness imagined the child of the woman Gleeson may have been in the third month of development. Witness judged so from looking at it, but she could not tell the sex.
By the Coroner Witness thought she bought the pocket-book about three months ago. (The first entry was seven months ago.) The book was not a complete record of witness' practice.
By the jury Witness used the belladonna for domestic ailments. The ergot witness had administered when necessary after confinements, but never to procure abortion. Deceased was not addicted to drink. Buckley had not told witness what had brought on the miscarriage. Witness had administered ergot by instructions from Drs. Coventry and Trethowan.
At this stage the inquest was adjourned till 10.30 a.m. on Tuesday.

The West Australian Wednesday 24 August 1898
At the Bohemia Hall yesterday the inquest on the body of Margaret Buckley was resumed by the Coroner (Dr. Lovegrove), with a jury. Inspector Farley represented the police, and the proceedings were watched on behalf of Mrs. Smith by Mr. H. B. Joseph.
Detective F. G. Eggleston stated that he was one of the detectives who had searched the premises of Mrs. Smith on Thursday, 11th inst. He found the body of a child buried in the back portion of the yard, at a depth of 2ft. 6in. to 3ft. He delivered the body to Dr. Miskins, and obtained a receipt. On the following day he found another body, about 2ft. 6in. distant from the spot where the first was discovered. He handed the body to Detective Connell. That afternoon he found the body of another child, 24ft. to 25ft. away from the first place. He handed that also to Detective Connell. He was present at a further search, when a catheter, an enema, and bottles of ergot and belladona were found. Mrs. Smith was present.
To Mr. Joseph: Mrs. Smith took witness to the place where the first body was found. He told her that he had come to search for the body. After finding the re- mains of the other two children, she made a statement to Detective Connell, and after that she said there were two others buried in the yard. She said one was very young and the other about seven months old. The detectives searched for these, but did not find them.
Dr. William Trethowan said that on the 8th. of the present month he was called in to the residence of Mrs. Smith by Dr. Coventry for consultation. He made an examination of Miss Buckley and diagnosed that she was dying of septicaemia. He was told that she had been ill from nine to ten days. No application was made to him for a certificate of death. From what Dr. Coventry told him it occurred to him that there were suspicious circumstances connected with the case. If he had seen the deceased apart from the consultation with Dr. Coventry, he should not have given a certificate of death. If a medical man had been called in nine days previous to the death of deceased, assuming that the miscarriage had been natural, and not brought about by interference, the probability was that the life would have been saved. A miscarriage was slightly more dangerous than a birth at the full period and time. If the patient was in a delicate state of health, the risk would be greater, and it would be more necessary to have professional advice in such a case. Medical advice should be obtained in all cases of miscarriage, and more so if the patient was in a state of ill-health. There was an element of danger surrounding all such cases if they were not properly treated. He had had very considerable experience in midwifery cases during the time he had been in practice. It was absolutely necessary from his experience that nurses who dealt in those matters should be certificated by some authorised examining body. A properly certificated midwife would be justified in using one or two doses of ergot immediately after confinement. Belladonna had no connection with midwifery practice so far as he knew. It was not recognised as a powerful agent in procuring abortion; ergot, in large doses, was such an agent. The catheter produced was a recognised instrument used for the purpose of procuring abortion. The particular instrument in court would not be used by a qualified person. A dirty catheter would be the most dangerous instrument that could possibly be advised. At the same time it was legitimate for any woman to have a catheter. Miscarriage was most common when the foetus was from one to three months old. After that the tendency decreased as the child grew older. Four months or four and a half months would be the period at which a child might breathe. Breathing would not be common at four and a half months. The use of a catheter would cause septicaemia.
To a Juror: There was no special immunity from miscarriage at five months. He had known abortions at that period, but they were not common. Ha would not have given a certificate of death from natural causes, because he had only seen the girl five minutes, and she died shortly afterwards. In a case like this he would think it was absolutely necessary to report to the Coroner; he would not be justified in giving a certificate unless he had attended during the whole illness, or at least for a reasonable time.
To Mr. Joseph: In cases of miscarriage, when anything went wrong, a medical man could detect it in its early stages, or would be prepared to meet it, and perhaps save the life. A person suffering from acute illness would be liable to miscarriage, but it was the hardest thing possible to bring about miscarriage by jumping or any other violent exercise. Dysentery or diarrhoea might bring it on, and retching also. Syphilis produced a tendency to miscarriage. If there had been any offensive discharge coming from the girl before the miscarriage it would indicate local septic poisoning. After a catheter had been used, the visual period for miscarriage was from two to seven days; the unskilful use of the instrument would tend to prolong the time. He did not regard as auspicious the possession by Mrs. Smith of the quantity of ergot in the bottle produced, or the catheter, which was a perfectly innocent instrument in itself He advised Dr. Coventry not to give a certificate.
Re-examined: Miscarriage in acute illness, usually came on when the temperature was high. High temperature in itself had a tendency that way. It was improbable that a woman could use a catheter upon herself successfully. A nurse of 16 years' experience should recognise the danger of a discharge, such as that mentioned, as likely to increase the danger of an ensuing miscarriage unless measures were taken to neutralise it.
Detective Connell deposed lo having assisted in the search for the bodies, and handed two over to the hospital.
Constable George Bunton gave formal evidence as to taking the body of Margaret Buckley to the hospital morgue.
Dr. Edward Silencer, resident medical officer at the hospital, said he received the body of the deceased on the 9th instant, and made a post-mortem examination on the same evening. The deceased was about 30 or 35 years of age. Considering the time she had been dead putrefaction had advanced very rapidly. The cause of death was septicaemia, and indications clearly visible pointed to a recent miscarriage. He could come to no opinion as to the cause of blood-poisoning. He had examined two foeti brought to the hospital by the police. The first was about five months old, the second, a female foetus of about seven months. The former had not breathed, but the latter's lungs were fully distended and of a pinky colour, and occupying the whole of the throat, showing that the child had breathed. There was no ligature on the umbilical cord, which had been severed. The umbilical cord of the second foetus had also been severed. The third foetus, which he examined, had been buried two months or more.
To a Juror: It was possible that abortion had been brought about by artificial means without leaving post-mortem evidence. The second foetus had been buried about a fortnight longer than No. 1. If it had had a separate existence it could have only been for a very short time.
To the Coroner: The inflammation in some of the organs of the deceased was recent. It would have been possible for this inflammation to have been set up by the use of instruments without any lesion that would be visible to the naked eye taking place. The abortion might have been caused by indirect violence without leaving any signs. Children born by artificially induced means at the seventh month might live.
The inquest was at this stage adjourned until 10.30 a.m. on Tuesday next.


The inquest on the body of the woman Margaret Buckley, whose death took place at the residence of Mrs. Smith, Dyer- street, on the 8th inst., was resumed yesterday, at the Bohemia Hall, before Coroner Dr. Lovegrove, and a jury of three.
Inspector Farley appeared on behalf of the police, and Mr. H. B. Joseph represented Mrs. Smith.
Mr. Farley intimated to the Coroner that he had no further evidence to call at this inquiry.
Mr. Joseph said that he desired to call one witness.
Charlotte Smith, a single woman, and daughter of Margaret Smith, with whom she resided, stated that she knew the deceased, who used to stop at her mother's house when she was out of work. She was with them five or six weeks befere she died, having come from Kalgoorlie. Deceased never said anything about being enceinte, nor did her mother tell witness about it until after the mishap. After deceased came from Kalgoorlie she complained of a pain in her side.
Her hands were so bad that she could not cut her meat up. They were swollen and cracked. She was generally not feeling very well. She said she had had dysentery up on the fields. She did her own washing about four days before she became ill. She told witness that she had hurt herself by lifting a tub of rain water.
To Inspector Farley: The deceased had a child at her mother's place once before. Her mother then lived at Fremantle. Witness did not know anything of the treatment deceased had received after her mishap. Her mother told her what had happened. She never had anything to do with attending to Miss Buckley, except to give her a glass of water. The hands of deceased were swollen and painful up to the time she became ill. She advised her to get vasseline for them. Witness would think that it was harder for Miss Buckley to cut her meat than to wash clothes. Not having taken any interest in the matter, she could not give any idea of how many persons her mother had treated as a mid- wife this year. She had treated only two cases in the house for some months besides that of Miss Buckley. The children of those two cases lived, and were taken away. There were no others since she lived in Dyer-street, where she went in September or October last. She remembered a Miss Annie Gould stopping with her mother. She came on a Saturday night, and left for the fields on the Monday morning. Her mother did not treat her. Miss Buckley had a child at her (witness') mother's place in May, 1897.
Did not know if Miss Gould was confined there. Miss Gould stayed with her mother when she lived in Charles street. She was then out of a place. She was not confined there, but merely stayed until she got a place. Her mother had lived on the Melbourne-road. She did not know whether the remains of a child were found there. She did not have anything to do with the confinement of Miss Buckley until after it was all over, when her mother asked her to "help to undress Maggie."
She did not know what became of the child.
To the Coroner: Witness was not aware what had happened to a woman named Leesen or Gleeson.
To the Jury: The tub lifted by Miss Buckley was a large-sized tub, and was too heavy for her to deal with. Her mother thought a great deal of the deceased. Witness and deceased had slept together, but the latter never said anything about her condition.
To the Coroner: Mrs. Tonkin, her married sister, did not live with her. Her father was at work, and only came home when he could get away.
Annie Gould deposed that she knew Mrs. Smith, and first became acquainted with her in a house in South-terrace, Fremantle, near the Oddfellows' Hall. Mrs. Johnson, of Arundel-street, with whom witness was in service, introduced her. That was about 15 or 16 months ago. Witness did not know Mrs. Angelina Lawler, except by sight. Witness was at Mrs. Smith's in Charles-street, at the time she became acquainted with her.
This would be about four months after she became acquainted with Mrs. Smith. Witness could not say what month it was, but thought it was some time in July, 1897; certainly near upon Jubilee time. Witness was not pregnant at the time she went to Mrs. Smith's, and had never told anyone so. She knew Detective Kavanagh at Coolgardie, and never told him she was pregnant. Kavanagh suggested that she had been pregnant, and said he could pro- duce witnesses as to her having given birth to a child. She did sign the document produced, but she did not know that it contained such a statement.
Mr. Farley. Do you know that if you sign a document you are responsible for its contents?
Mr. Joseph objected.
Mr. Farley said he should ask the per- mission of the Court to treat her as a hostile witness.
Witness said she did not know. Before Kavanagh took down her statement he asked her several questions she did not understand, and she told Kavanagh so.
Mr. Farley then read the statement, in which the witness was represented as having stated that about 14 months ago she went to the house of Mrs. Smith, near the Oddfellows' Hall, Fremantle. She was then about two months pregnant. She was there a little over a month, and during that time she was operated upon by Mrs. Smith three or four times. After six weeks she left Mrs. Smith, and went to service. About a week later Mrs. Smith came to see her. and witness complained to her of feeling unwell. Mrs. Smith remained for awhile with her. Witness stayed at the house about three months, and then left, when she went to Mrs. Smith, who operated upon her again, and as a result she was delivered of a still- born child.
Witness said Mr. Kavanagh tried to make her swear that Mrs. Smith tried to bring on a miscarriage by using au instrument, and she (witness) denied that such a thing had taken place, or that she had been pregnant. Kavannah said Inspector
McKenna had a woman down in Perth who would swear she saw Mrs. Smith use such an instrument upon witness. Witness denied it, and Kavanagh said it was no use her denying it, as there was a woman who saw her give birth to the child. He also told her if she denied it, it was not a matter of 12 months' imprisonment, but she would be sentenced to years imprisonment—possibly 15 or 16. Witness replied that she supposed she would have to come down to Perth and do the imprisonment.
Mr. Joseph said the evidence was absolutely irrelevant. The inquiry was into the cause of Margaret Buckley's death this month; and even supposing Miss Gould had been operated on in June or July of last year, how could that give any clue to the death of Margaret Buckley?
The Coroner said the evidence would go to the character of Mrs. Smith, she having held herself out to the public as a mid wife, which implied a certificated practitioner, and it was shown she was not. There was also the evidence of Dr. Coventry.
Mr. Joseph said that in that case the only evidence admissible was such as would be used upon an indictment against Mrs. Smith.
Mr. Farley urged that he might give the same evidence as he would give before a jury.
Mr. Joseph said to show that Mrs. Smith used an instrument 12 months ago would not show she used it now.
The Coroner thought it would establish what was the custom of Mrs. Smith. He took a note of Mr. Joseph's objection.
Witness said she signed the document under the impression that Kavanagh was getting her to sign her denials. She thought he ought to have read it to her. She could not read writing. She did not ask Kavanagh to read it to her. She could only sign her name, but had to get other persons to write for her, except when she wrote to her own people, who would accept any kind of writing from her. She stayed at Mrs. Smith's about a week or so.
Witness had been introduced to Mrs. Smith in order to ascertain if the latter \could get her a situation. She was last pregnant in 1893. She knew Miss Buckley, and had last seen her on or about 25th July.
To Mr. Joseph: Miss Buckley did not tell her that she was pregnant, but said she was suffering from diarrhoa, and complained very much. She slept with Miss Buckley the night before she last saw her. Witness did not notice anything unusual about her, nor did she know that she was pregnant. Miss Gould did not say that Mrs. Smith was treating her. She informed the witness that she had been washing and injured herself—making her feel very ill. She also said that her hands were bad in consequence of the hard work she had had to do at the goldfields.
Angelina Lawler stated that she was living in Gardeu-street in August of last year. The previous witness was staying at Mrs. Smith's on and off. Witness lived at Mrs. Smith's for about six months, and during that time she became acquainted with Miss Gould. Once during the six months alluded to Miss Gould was staying with Mrs. Smith for two months, and sometimes she conversed with her. Miss Gould told her that she was pregnant.
Mr. Joseph objected to evidence being taken of these conversations, concerning which tha last witness had given a denial.
The Coroner decided to re-call Annie Gould, who said she had never stopped to speak to Mrs. Lawler until the night when tho latter screamed out " Murder," and she (witness) went to her room with Miss Smith. Her husband had threatened to cut her throat. Witness never told Mrs. Lawler that she was pregnant.
To Inspector Farley She (witness) never told Mrs. Lawler that Mrs. Smith was procuring abortion upon her. She never showed Mrs. Lawler her body.
Angelina Lawler She lifted up her apron, and said, "Look at the condition I am in."
Mr. Joseph objected to this, evidence, it having no bearing on the case as far as the character of Mrs. Smith was concerned. It was absolutely hearsay evidence, and could be easily manufactured. It was unfair to Mrs. Smith. They could go on with this class of evidence perpetually.
The Coroner said he would take time to consider the point.
Inspector Farley said the evidence was not important. He had secured the point which he desired. He thought, however, that he was entitled to proceed further.
The Coroner intimated that it would take him a little time to consider the matter. All the authorities he had looked it seemed to him to support his view,
which was that no evidence should be excluded. Whether it was relevant or irrelevant could only be ascertained alter the evidence had been given. He asked Mr. Joseph if he intended to address the jury.
Mr. Joseph proposed to address a few words to the jury upon the evidence of Mrs. Smith. He would, however, prefer to wait until the Coroner summed up.
The enquiry was at this stage adjourned until half-past 3 o'clock next afternoon.


The inquest into the cause of the death of Margaret Buckley was concluded yester- day at the Bohemia Hall, Murray-street. The objections raised by Mr. Joseph as to the admissibility of the evidence of Angelina Lawler were over ruled by the Coroner, and that witness was recalled.
Angelina Lawler, re-examined, said that Annie Gould had told her that she would have to get rid of her baby, as she could not take a situation in the condition she was in. This was three weeks before witness left Garden-street. By the Coroner: Gould was at the time living with Mrs. Smith. Witness had never had any conversation with Mrs. Smith about Annie Gould. By Mr. Joseph: The conversation between witness and Gould took place at witness' house. There was no quarrel between witness and Mrs. Smith, but Mrs. Smith and witness' husband had had a few words. Mrs. Smith had interfered between witness and her husband to make peace. Mrs. Smith had complained to the police about witness' husband. Her husband had been troublesome at times.
Witness had never to her knowledge complained to Mrs. Smith of her interference.
Witness never said to Mrs. Smith that she (witness) would take it out of her nor to anyone else, nor did she ever use words to the same effect. Witness never made such a threat to Annie Gould. By the jury: Witness' had not quarrelled with Annie Gould. Witness and her husband had had loud quarrels, but her husband had never had a knife in his hand to her knowledge. Mrs. Smith and her daughter had intervened in quarrels, but not Annie Gould. Witness had not volunteered evidence. By the Coroner: Annie Gould had never said that Mrs. Smith was using an instrument. By Mr. Joseph: She said Mrs. Smith was bringing on the miscarriage. By the Coroner: Once when she passed witness' door she said she felt very queer. By the jury: The police carne to witness to give evidence. Annie Gould said that she had given Mrs. Smith a diamond ring.
Mr. Joseph addressed the Court.
The Coroner reviewed the evidence, submitting in conclusion the following questions to the jury:
(1.) Did the septicaemia which caused the death of Margaret Buckley result from natural causes?
(2.) Was abortion the cause of the septicaemia?
(3.) Or culpable negligence of the nurse who attended deceased during her confinement?
(4.) Was septicaemia caused by interference?
(5.) Was Mrs. Smith an abortionist or was she an honest and trustworthy nurse?
The jury after an absence of forty minutes returned the following verdict: "Deceased came to her death by septicaemia caused by an illegal operation performed by Mrs. Margaret Ann Smith, and we return a verdict of manslaughter against her." A rider was added to the effect that in the opinion of the jury all nurses practising as midwives should be certificated. The jury further commended Inspector Farley and his officers for the way in which they had placed the evidence connected with the inquiry before the jury.
Mrs. Smith was then committed for trial. Before discharging the jury (Messrs. E. J. Bickford (foreman) F. W. Collett, and Jas. Keating) the Coroner said he agreed with their verdict. Mrs. Smith was then taken in charge by Constable Bunton, pending the decision of the Coroner on the amount of bail that would be accepted.


PERTH, Wednesday.
An inquest into the circumstances of the death of Margaret Buckley, a young woman who died under suspicious circumstances at the house of Mrs. Margaret Smith, midwife, West Perth, was concluded to-day.
The jury returned a verdict of manslaughter against Mrs. Smith, who was committed for trial.


The hearing of the charge against Mrs. Margaret Ann Smith of having caused the death of Margaret Buckley by using unlawful means to cause a miscarriage, was continued in the Criminal Court yesterday. The hearing of the evidence occupied the whole of the previous day, and during yesterday morning until luncheon counsel were engaged in addressing the jury. On resumption Mr. Justice James summed up, occupying exactly an hour. He traversed the evidence given by the doctors who attended the deceased before death and those who examined the body after death in detail, and directed the jury that if satisfied that Buckley died by reason of miscarriage the only question for their decision was whether the miscarriage was brought about by any act of the prisoner. Shortly before 3 o'clock the jury retired,
and after an absence of two hours returned a verdict of guilty, with a strong recommendation to mercy, on account of the prisoner's advanced age. On being asked whether she had anything to say before the passing of sentence, the prisoner remarked in a low voice, "I can only say that I am innocent." His Honour in passing sentence said, "Margaret Ann Smith, you have been found guilty of the manslaughter of Margaret Buckley on evidence which was of such a nature that it was possible for a charge of murder to have bean laid. I don't know why this was not done. You have been leading a very wicked life, and by your act caused the death of this young woman. When such an act as chis takes place it must not be forgotten that the community is robbed of more than one life. The jury have recommended you to mercy on account of your age, but in view of the nature of the offence I must pass such a sentence as is commensurate with the demands of justice. You will be sentenced to penal servitude for seven years."
During the passing of sentence the prisoner sat in the dock firmly gripping the rails in front. She refused to walk to the cells, and the services of two policemen were obtained to carry her down. When being conveyed from the dock she called out in a loud voice, "The man who has done this will receive his reward. Maggie! Maggie! You know that I am innocent."


CRIMINAL COURT.-The present sessions of the Criminal Court are rapidly drawing to a close and it is expected that they will be concluded to-day. Yesterday, after a hearing extending over nearly two days, Mrs. Margaret-Ann Smith was found guilty of the manslaughter of Margaret Buckley, and was sentenced to seven years' penal servitude.


PERTH, October 27.
At the Criminal Court to-day, Margaret Smith was charged with causing the death of an unmarried woman named Margaret Buckley, at West Perth, by malpractice. Evidence was given to the ellect that deceased had been stopping at the house of accused, and, subsequently to the offence with which she was now charged, the bodies of three infants were dug up in the back yard of the prisoner's house. The judge expressed surprise that the charge of murder had not been preferred against the accused, and sentenced her to seven years' imprisonment.


Mr. B. S. Harnes continued his argument before their Honours the Chief Justice and Justices-Hensman and James yesterday at the Supreme Court in support of his motion, placed before the Court on the previous day, that the conviction against Margaret Ann Smith be quashed. The prisoner was convicted on October 27th last of having caused the death of Margaret Buckley by an illegal operation, and a sentence of seven years' imprisonment was passed upon her. His Honour Mr. Justice James had reserved the points raised at the trial
(1) that evidence concerning the discovery of foetus in the yard of the prisoner was inadmissible, and (2) that the case should have been withdrawn from the jury.
The Crown Solicitor argued that there were cases where evidence might be admitted to show-by surrounding circumstances-that the same crime had been committed before the one before the Court. He instanced a case which had been adjudicated upon some time ago, and which was referred to in Archibold, where a woman was charged with poisoning her husband by the administration of arsenic. Evidence in that case was admitted which showed that her two children had died from the effects of eating food which she had cooked.
Mr. Justice Hensman: That is a different thing altogether. There was evidence of guilt in that case. The mere discovery of foetus in the back yard of the accused person is not proof of her guilt.
The Crown Solicitor quoted from the case Makin v. the Attorney-General of New South Wales. Their Honours answered this by showing that an offence against living children was one thing, and the discovery of the remains of immature children in a back yard was another, the Chief Justice putting the supposition that, if the prisoner were a midwife and the foetus was found in her back yard, would that be evidence of crime?
The Crown Solicitor said if that were the only circumstance it would be straining it to say it was evidence.
The Chief Justice: Do you say that the fact- that a midwife, who is an expert in these matters, having, by a mishap, brought about abortion, is prima facie evidence of crime?
The Crown Solicitor. No, it is not conclusive evidence.
The Chief Justice . No, clearly it is not.
The Crown Solicitor: I am not seeking to rely upon this as the only evidence of guilt.
The Chief Justice: Is there any evidence to show that instead of mishaps they were crimes?
The Crown Solicitor. If the case stood alone upon the fact that other foetus were found in a back garden, I admit that there was, no case for the Crown. The mere finding of foetus in a back yard is not evidence that there was any foul play-that abortion or miscarriage was brought about by foul play. I submit, however, that this evidence is not to be excluded because it is consistent with innocence.
The Chief Justice: There is a great danger in the admission of evidence of this sort and allowing it to go to the jury, for it would probably have a prima facie effect to mislead them. An educated person, reading this evidence, would say, "This looks bad for the woman." There would be an assumption of guilt.
The Crown Solicitor: I am asking the Court not to assume it from that circumstance alone. Proceeding, Mr. Burnside argued that the learned judge had been right in accepting the evidence and letting it go to the jury.
The Chief Justice, in giving judgment, said the Court was asked by the learned judge (Mr. Justice James) to answer two questions-(1) Was there any direct evidence of the crime of abortion which resulted in the death of Margaret Buckley, and (2), whether certain evidence that was given before the coroner at the inquest was admissible. He was of opinion that this case might be sufficiently disposed of by answering the question, whether or not the evidence given before the coroner was admissible. That evidence was that there were discovered in the back yard of the prisoner, three different foeti of immature children. The question was whether that evidence should have gone to the jury in corroboration and proof of the alleged crime of causing the decease of the unfortunate woman by an illegal operation. He was of opinion that that evidence was not admissible. There was a subsidiary point which had not been argued, namely, that the woman had not been warned at the coroner's inquest that the evidence would be used against her at the trial. This was a most important social safeguard, and upon that point he would say nothing further; but he thought on the merits of the case that the evidence was not admissible. There were many cases in which a person, charged with one crime, might have evidence brought against him of the commission of other crimes more or less closely connected with the crime upon which he was standing for trial before a jury. If a man were seen running about setting fire to one hay-rick and another, it was clear that his actions would be evidence against him to go to a jury, although he might only be charged with setting fire to one rick; but that case -(quoted by the Crown Solicitor)-was an extreme one. It was impossible to say where the line was to be drawn. The evidence in the present case was that the prisoner was a nurse and had been a mid- wife, and it was the most natural thing in the world that the larger the "number of persons who frequented a midwife's premises to seek her assistance, the larger would be the number of foeti which might be discovered, and foeti which had not been brought into the world illegally. Was anyone to look upon this as evidence of crime against the prisoner? Certainly not. Upon that ground they should not receive that evidence. He was of opinion that the learned judge had admitted evidence that was inadmissible, and that that evidence had influenced the minds of the jury in giving their verdict, and upon that ground the verdict could not stand.
Mr. Justice Hensman was of the same opinion as the Chief Justice with regard to both questions. Alluding to the medical evidence he said he would rather have expected that the first doctor who had attended the deceased, would have visited her more speedily after his second visit, when he found the case was so serious. He did not appear to have gone again until three days afterwards, and then he called in another doctor on the date of the unfortunate woman's death.
Mr. Justice James said he agreed with the decision of the other judges, and was glad that he had reserved the points for the consideration of the Full Court. The questions were "was there direct evidence of the crime? "and " was the evidence given before the coroner and at the trial admissible?" The answer to both questions was "no." Evidence of the commission of other crimes might be admitted, but here there was nothing to show that any of the foeti which were discovered in the back yard of the accused person had been tampered with in any way.
The conviction was therefore quashed.


BUCKLEY.-In memory of Margaret Buckley, who died at Perth August 8, 1898.
Call not back the dear departed,
Anchored safe where storms are o'er;
On the border land we left her,
Soon to meet and part no more.
Far beyond this world of changes,
For beyond this world of care.
We shall meet our missing loved one,
In our father's mansion fair.
-Inserted by her friends.

BUCKLEY.-In loving remembrance of Margaret
Buckley, who died 8th August, 1898, at West Perth.
-Inserted by her true friend, M. A. Smith.