Account of murder by Sarah BLY

NORFOLK CIRCUIT - Bury St Edmund's April 3 1849

Sarah Bly was charged with having wilfully murdered Joseph Edwin Bly, her infant son, by cutting his throat with a razor. From the evidence of the prisoner's mother it appeared that on the morning of the 9th January last she went to the prisoner's house to dress the baby; on uncovering the bedclothes the prisoner's child was found lying by her side dead from the effects of a wound in the throat.

It was afterwards ascertained that the prisoner made two ineffectual attempts to commit suicide by cutting her own throat with a razor. She at times admitted and at other times denied, having caused the death ofthe child.

But the material question was, whether the prisoner was in a state of mind to be responsible for her acts. The mother and neighbours proved that on their entrance to the room the prisoner looked wild and frequently seemed unconscious; and when comparatively lucid intervals returned she would sit up in bed and exclaim with great violence of manner, "I did not do it", and then suddenly throw herself back in bed in a state of utter unconsciousness.

Mr Worthington, surgeon, of Lowestoft, and his assistant proved that the prisoner had been very bad during her confinement, which took place two months before this melancholy occurrance, that all the family, consisting of a family and four children had been suffering from typhus fever, and that they had no doubt whatever that the deceased (sic) destroyed the life of her child whilst delirious.

The jury returned a verdict of Not Guilty on the grounds of insanity.

His Lordship said that the verdict was the only proper one, and he should order her to be retained in custody until her Majesty's pleasure was known.