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The Newgate Calendar - LYDIA ADLER


Burned in the Hand for killing her Husband, who had four Wives.

THIS woman was tried at the Old Bailey, at the sessions held in June, 1744, for the wilful murder of her husband, John Adler, by throwing him on the ground, kicking and stamping on his groin, and giving him thereby a mortal bruise, of which he languished in St Bartholomew's Hospital from the 11th till the 23rd of May, and then died; and she was again indicted on the coroner's inquest for manslaughter.

Hannah Adler, daughter of the deceased, swore that he told her that his wife had given him the wounds which afterwards occasioned his death.

Benjamin Barton deposed that the deceased came to him, on the 11th of May, with a bloody handkerchief about his head, and asked him for a spare bed, saying: "This infernal fiend [meaning his wife] will be the death of me." But Barton, knowing the woman to be of a very turbulent disposition, refused to lodge the man. After this he visited him every other day during his illness, and he very often said: "I wish, Mr Barton, you would be so good as to get a warrant to secure this woman, for she will be the death of me"; and two hours before he died he inquired if such a warrant was procured; and desired that Barton would see her brought to justice, which he promised he would, if it lay in his power.

Hannah Adler, being further questioned, said that her father died between twelve and one o'clock; that about two hours and a half before he said: "I am a dead man, and this lady [the prisoner] has killed me." That after this he repeatedly declared that his wife was the person that had murdered him, and begged that she might be brought to justice. His last declaration was made only about ten minutes before he died.

Mr Godman, a surgeon, deposed that the husband died of a mortification, occasioned by a blow; but acknowledged that the deceased had a rupture, and that such a blow as he had received would not have hurt a person in sound health.

The prisoner in her defence said that her husband had two wives besides her; and that a quarrel happening between her and one of the wives, the husband endeavoured to part them, and in so doing fell down, and the other woman fell on him; but that she herself never lifted hand or foot against him.

Joseph Steel deposed that the deceased had had four wives; that he was kind to them all at the first, but afterwards used to beat them severely; and that he had seen the prisoner and her husband frequently fight together.

The jury gave a verdict of manslaughter; in consequence of which she was burned in the hand.


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