JAMES MARLBOROUGH, AND SARAH, HIS WIFE
Imprisoned for Gross Cruelty to their Child, 8th of December, 1809
AT the sessions held at Hicks's Hall, for the county of Middlesex, on Friday, the 8th of December, 1809, James Marlborough and Sarah, his wife, were charged with most inhuman and cruel treatment towards Mary Marlborough, the infant child of James Marlborough by a former wife.
The defendant, James Marlborough, had two children by his first wife; Sarah was his second wife. From the moment of her marriage she practised every species of barbarity towards both of them, especially towards the little girl, whose daily and nightly shrieks and piteous cries not only annoyed but alarmed all the neighbours within hearing. On the 9th of October, 1809, the child was heard to weep most piteously in the front cellar, a place known by the neighbours to be of the most filthy and hideous description, and where the defendants kept a pig. About twelve o'clock at night some forced their way into the house, and insisted upon seeing both the children. They searched the cellar, but could not find anything there but gloomy darkness, dampness and a pig. They then proceeded upstairs, and in the back parlour found the child lying under the bed, with both her eyes beaten black, bruised from head to foot, and almost starved -- a shocking spectacle, showing a degree of cruelty and inhumanity never before witnessed. On this the children were taken to the parish officers, and had been in their hands ever since. The defendants were taken into custody, and the woman then acknowledged that she had ill-used the child.
The little boy told a tale of woe that would have harrowed the hardest heart. He fully established all the statements of the counsel for the prosecution. He said that his stepmother was in the frequent habit of plunging his little sister into a tub of cold water; that she used to beat her with sticks, with rods and with a toasting-fork, and that the two black eyes which she had when found under the bed were given her on that day by her stepmother with a spoon. The jury, without a moment's hesitation, found both the prisoners guilty.
It turned out in the course of the inquiry that James Marlborough had beat his wife for her ill-treatment of his children.
The Court sentenced the woman to one year's imprisonment in the house of correction, Coldbath Fields, and the man to fourteen days in Newgate -- a mild punishment for such barbarity.