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WEEKEND WEB: Teacher cleared of killing baby in 1917




Sapper Richard Beecham
Sapper Richard Beecham

MEMORIES OF THE GREAT WAR

We continue the story of Carrie Elizabeth Seaton, who was sent for trial at Lincoln Assizes accused of concealing the birth of her baby, then disposing of its body...

Schoolteacher Carrie Elizabeth Seaton (27), of Gedney Hill, pleaded not guilty.

Mr Sandilands held the brief for the prosecution and Mr Dyer was for the defence.

His Lordship barred certain references to medical evidence during Mr Sandilands’s opening and earlier, when the case was called on, said he should have to consider whether the methods used by the police to obtain what was called an admission were such as to meet with his condemnation.

Police-constable Weatherhogg, of Whaplode Drove, was one of the witnesses called and he spoke of a discovery in a field and a visit to the home of the prisoner.

He said to the prisoner and her parents: ‘Have you heard the rumours that are in the village?’ They said they had not. The officer then said: ‘They are about you, Carrie.’

He asked her a certain question, to which she replied in the negative.

The Judge at this point stopped the evidence and Mr Dyer submitted that what followed was extracted from her by fear of a person in authority.

His Lordship said he should not allow any further evidence of the conversation beween the police officer and the girl. His view was the officer was not entitled by incessant interrogation and by obvious implied threats.

The great principles of English law, said the Judge, was that a person should not by force of question or implied tyranny be required to implicate himself.

He then disallowed all that took place and disapproved of the methods employed by police in this case.

The Judge suggested the jury return a verdict of not guilty, and they duly did.

Military Medal for sapper

Hearty congratulations are offered to Sapper Richard Beecham, Royal Engineers, formerly of High Street, Spalding, who was awarded the Military Medal for distinguished service in the field in France.

Sapper Beecham joined up in April 1918 and went to France in November of the same year.

He was 28 years of age and had two brothers, also serving inFrance.



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