- Born: Abt 1810
- Marriage (1): LINDSAY
- Marriage (2): Samuel NEWPORT on 10 Apr 1850 in Nelson, Nelson, New Zealand
- Died: 6 Jun 1854, Nelson, Nelson, New Zealand aged about 44
- Buried: Fairfield Cemetery, Nelson, New Zealand
Cause of her death was In Nelson hospital after ill-treatment by her husband.
10 June 1854 [Extract from: The Nelson Examiner and New Zealand Chronicle]
Charge of Manslaughter
On Wednesday last an inquest was held on the body of Mary Maria Newport, late wife of Samuel Newport of Brook Street, and who died the preceding day. The deceased had been separated from her husband for about three weeks, and at the time of her death was an inmate of the hospital. As the deceased had attributed her illness to had usage received from her husband, the Coroner, on her death, proceeded to hold an inquest on the body; and the following were the jurors: - Messrs Rich, Washbourne, Coates, Aitken, R Burns, T Askew, L Devaney, Gorrie, G Taylor, Hooper, Newman, McKenzie, and J McArtney, foreman. The evidence taken was as follows:-
John Macdonald, sworn:- I am a Gardener, and am living in Nelson. I am living near Mr Newport, and have done so for eleven years. About three or four months ago I heard a great noise, nearly opposite my house. I went down to the brook, and found Mr Newport had got his horse into it, as I expected. About half an hour afterwards I heard screams of people in distress, which seemed to be females. My wife wished me to go up Newport's, but I would not do so. The cries were 'Murder, McDonald'. I did not go that night. Some time after that, it might be a week or two, I heard cries of murder again, and calling my name. This might have been about eleven o'clock at night. I got out of bed, and ran down my garden to the road in my shirt. When I got near the place, which was nearly half way to his house, I saw Newport kneeling on his wife as she was lying on her back in the road and his dog was barking at her. I got hold of Newport, and pulled him up from her, when she got up and appealed to me to protect her. He wanted to take hold of her again, saying that he wished her to go home. I prevented him from touching her. I advised her to go home, and said that I would go home and put on my clothes and come back. She went home, but she told me that he would serve her as he done before when he got her home, which was knocking her down and jumping on her. I went about his house, but I heard no more noise or disturbance that night. I have heard noises from his family frequently, but I have not gone to their assistance since that time. About one or two months ago I met Mrs Newport in the road, and she told me that since that time when he had kneeled upon her, she had felt something wrong in her inside, and her side enlarged, she had no breath, and she was so weak that she could not walk. My house is about two hundred yards from Newports. I consider Newport by no means a sober man. As far as my knowledge of the deceased goes, I believe her to have conducted herself as his wife correctly. They have been married between three and four years.
Thomas Bluck, sworn:- I am a Farmer, and am living in Nelson. I am living near Newport's house. About two or three years ago Mrs Newport came down to my house, and she told my wife that Newport had kneeled upon her, and that she had never been well since. About three weeks ago she again told me that he had served her the same way two or three times since then. I cannot see Newport's house from mine; there is a hill between. About a fortnight ago Mrs Newport went to town in my cart to make some complaint at the Court House against her husband, which I believe was heard, but the matter was ended by her signing an agreement, in which she was to have £1 a week, and they were to separate. After this paper was signed she left Newport's house, and I took her to the hospital in my cart. Mrs Newport told us that Newport knocked her down and knelt upon her. She lived about twelve days after she went to the Hospital.
Jane Elizabeth Berry, sworn:- I am a Nurse at the Hospital. I received Mrs Newport into the Hospital on Friday, May 26. She was very ill and very weak, and complained of shortness of breath, and severe pain in her leg. Her pain was across her waist, and great tightness. She said the night before she died that her illness arose from her husband having knelt upon her. Newport was sent for to see the deceased. She said she hoped God would forgive them both. Newport called again to see her just before she died.
Thomas Renwick, sworn:- I am a medical practitioner, residing in Nelson. I have attended Mrs Newport upwards of twelve months. In August last she had an attack of acute rheumatism, from which she recovered, but some heart affection remained. About three months I was called in to see her again, and found her suffering from disease of the heart, and particularly complaining of a pain behind the upper third of her right leg, which on examination, I found to be an aneurism. My attendance terminated when she went into the Hospital, about ten days ago. She complained of a difficulty breathing, which I looked upon as a symptom of her complaint. During my attendance on deceased, she frequently complained to me of her husband's ill-treatment. On one occasion she stated that her husband, shortly after her recovery from the rheumatic attack, dragged her out of the house, knelt upon her, and beat her, and, as she expressed would have killer her had her daughter not come to her assistance and pulled him off her. She stated that from that time she had felt pain over the region of the abdomen. Her husband was never present when she made any of these remarks. Mr Newport told me that he did not wish me to attend her, but if he thought it necessary, he would get some one else to do so. I considered it was necessary, and told him that she was in a very dangerous state. Having been requested by the Coroner to make a post-mortem examination, I have done so, with the assistance of Dr Williams, twenty-six hours after death, and found the following appearances:- The body generally and the extremities extended and pale; abdomen distended; oedema of the lower extremities, particularly the right leg, which was livid in the lower two-thirds, a diffused swelling occupying the posterior part of the upper third, which, upon examination, was found to be an aneurism of long standing, part of the tibia, with which it lay in contact, being partially absorbed. I then proceeded to examine the cavity of the head; found the membranes natural in appearance, and a small quantity of fluid in the cavity when the brain was removed; brain healthy, and no fluid in the lateral ventricles. I next opened the thorax, and found both the pleurae full of pale coloured derum, with a few old adhesions between the two surfaces at the upper and back part; the lungs very oedematous, but otherwise healthy in structure; the pericardium free over its whole extent, and filled with pale coloured serum. The heart very large, pale, and flabby; the right cavities much dilated, and somewhat thicker than natural, and full of fluid dark blood; the left cavities dilated, and walls very much hypertrophied, but easily breaking down under the fingers and empty. The aortic valves were the seat of ragged ulceration, and thickly studded with numerous deposits... Such a state of the liver might have been caused by external violence, but it is more generally the result of the use of ardent spirits. In this state, I have no doubt that external violence would accelerate death.
George Williams, sworn:- I am a Surgeon living in Nelson. I examined the body of the deceased, Mrs Newport and acquiesce in the evidence given by Dr Renwick.
The jury, after some deliberation, gave as their verdict (in which, however, one of the jurors, Mr Coates, refused to join), "That Mary Maria Newport met with her death from the ill-treatment of her husband, Samuel Newport, and not otherwise." On receiving the verdict, the Coroner issued a warrant for the apprehension of Newport on a charge of Manslaughter, and he has been committed to gaol to await his trial.
rdrtrdrsrdrw10rsp20 rdrlrdrsrdrw10rsp80 rdrbrdrsrdrw10rsp20 rdrrrdrsrdrw10rsp80 June 1854 [Extract from: The Nelson Examiner and New Zealand Chronicle]
Letters to the Editor - The Late Coroner's Inquest
Sir - As one of the jurors who was to inquire into the cause of the death of the late Mrs Newport, reported in your last paper, I beg to be allowed to make a few remarks on the verdict which my brother jurors thought proper to come to on the occasion, and from which I altogether dissented.
I should come forward with greater diffidence to question the correctness of a verdict, to which the whole of my fellow-jurors subscribed except myself, had I not, on a former occasion, stood alone in a similar manner, in the case of child said to have died from sun-stroke, but which I maintained had occurred from poison, when through my advise being disregarded both by the jury and Coroner, that the body of the child should be examined, a second child in the same family was lost within a week, and the cause of this second death being found to be poison, left no doubt in the mind of anyone as to the cause of the death of the first.
As you have published so fully the evidence taken in the inquest on the body of Mrs Newport, I need only refer your readers to the last Examiner for the main facts of the case; but there are also a few in addition which I wish to state to show the process by which so remarkable a verdict as that given was arrived at. First I will say, without fear of contradiction, that the evidence did not justify such a verdict. According to the best medical testimony, death was the result of natural causes; and although it is true that medical gentlemen who examined the body admitted the possibility of such a state of disease as Mrs Newport suffered from being caused by external violence, there was nothing whatever to prove that in her case it was so - and although it was shown that Newport ill-treated his wife on various occasions, a jury had no right, except on the fullest evidence, to return that the deceased "had met her death from such ill treatment, and not otherwise." The truth seems to be this - that the Coroner forgot his office, and the jury their oaths, and instead of deciding upon the evidence before them, they suffered their judgement to be swayed by their feelings, and to show that this was really the case, I will sate how the verdict given was arrived at. In the first instance, a verdict, proposed by myself, "that the deceased died from natural causes, hastened by the treatment of her husband, " was unanimously agreed to by the jury; but then this was shown to the Coroner, and that officer asked what would be the result of such a verdict, he replied, "Words, mere empty words. I cannot touch the man on such a verdict as that." Some members of the jury then proposed that the verdict should be manslaughter, at which the Coroner expressed himself highly satisfied, and proceeded himself to write out the extraordinary verdict which was given, which was then signed by all the jurors except myself.
My object in bringing these facts before the public is, first, to state the grounds upon which I differed from my fellow jurymen, and justify my own conduct; and, secondly, to give a word of caution to future jurors, not to suffer themselves to be swayed by their feelings, which, in considering a verdict, they should not regard, but to well weigh the consequences of disregarding evidence, and the injury they may thereby inflict. I might, were I disposed, comment further more upon the extraordinary conduct of the Coroner and the verdict of the jury, but as I do not desire to excite any unnecessary ? , I decline doing so, and here leave the rest to the tribunal of public opinion.
Mary married LINDSAY. (LINDSAY died before 1850 in Nelson, Nelson, New Zealand.)
Mary next married Samuel NEWPORT, son of Samuel NEWPORT and Caroline BRADLEY, on 10 Apr 1850 in Nelson, Nelson, New Zealand. (Samuel NEWPORT was born in 1797 in Great Missenden, Buckinghamshire, England, christened on 30 Jul 1797 in Great Missenden, Buckinghamshire, England, died on 6 Sep 1880 in Nelson, Nelson, New Zealand and was buried on 8 Sep 1880 in Fairfield Cemetery, Nelson, New Zealand.)