Ethel Courtien

Old Bailey Proceedings Online (, version 6.0, 30 December 2011), December 1904, trial of ETHEL COURTIEN (18) (t19041212-83).

Dated: 12th December 1904

Ethel Courtien (18 years) , Feloniously wounding Jesse Charles Allen with intent to do him grievous bodily harm.

MR. PARTRIDGE prosecuted.

JESSE CHARLES ALLEN . I am a police constable in the employ of the Central London Railway. My duties take me often to Tottenham Court Road Tube Station. I have cautioned the prisoner two or three times there that if she did not behave she would not be allowed to come into the station; she acted in a disorderly manner. I was on duty there on November 11th when I saw her soon after 5 p.m., and also four or five times after that in the station. I had to eject a well known disorderly character of the name of “Irish Girl” from the lavatory for being drunk. The prisoner was in her company. At 8.55 p.m. they rushed into the station with their clothes raised in a disorderly manner followed by a crowd. I heard “Irish Girl” say to the prisoner “I sloshed him one,” and they were going into the ladies’ lavatory, which is outside the barrier, when I called “Keep out there. You are not wanted in there.” As they went in I followed them, just as I entered the door I saw “Irish Girl” and said “We have had enough of you.” and she went off without saying any more. I saw her out of the station. I then returned to the lavatory for the prisoner, whom I found hiding behind another girl. She tried to throw herself down, but I succeeded in getting her outside into the booking hall. She struggled, and threw her hand bag down. I released her hands, and she apparently ceased struggling. She then put her hands to her hat, which was a large one, as if to arrange her hair, she then stabbed me with two hat pins, one striking me here (Indicating his stomach, a few inches from the centre line) and here (Indicating his belt). I was wearing my tunic, a thick waistcoat, and two flannel shirts. I got her to the door, she said she had dropped her purse with a half sovereign in it, and I think I called to the clerk to give it to her. I saw a Metropolitan constable outside, I called him, and he followed me into the booking hall. When we got to the prisoner, she had this hat pin (Produced) in her right hand. I called to the constable to take the pin from her, which he did. She struggled again. This pin, (Produced) which is bent from having been stuck in my belt, was picked up afterwards. She was then taken to the station, being very violent all the time. I said to the constable as we were going along “I am bleeding. I could feel myself bleeding, and when I got to the station, before I charged her, I felt very sick and faint. I was examined by the divisional surgeon, and afterwards by Dr. Hallen, who dressed my wound and sent for the police inspector. I was then attended to by my own doctor. I was on the sick list for three weeks.

Cross-examined by the Prisoner. I have not seen you drunk, or use bad language, but you have been very frivolous sometimes. You had four hat pins altogether.

Re-examined. She was not arranging her hair at all in the lavatory.

THOMAS GEORGE HAMMOND . I am a ticket collector in the employ of the Central London Railway, and I was presiding at the glass box at the Tottenham Court Road Station on the evening of November 11th. I know by sight a woman called “Irish Girl”; she came in first at 7 p.m., and again at 8.45 p.m., accompanied by the prisoner. They rushed into the booking hall, and as they passed me I heard “Irish Girl” say to the prisoner, “I sloshed him one”. With that they went into the lavatory. The prisoner seemed all right, but “Irish Girl” was excited. I noticed nothing about their clothes.

FREDERICK RAY . I am a lift man at the Tottenham Court Road Tube Station. I saw the prisoner at 8.48 p.m. on November 11th standing by the ticket box crying, a few minutes afterwards Allen came in and told her to get outside, and she went to the other side of the box. Allen said to another constable, who had come in, “Take those hat pins away from her” and there was a struggle. They struggled towards the door, and I did not see any more. About 45 minutes afterwards I picked up this hat pin (Produced) which is bent, just outside my lift. The prisoner complained while standing at the box that she had dropped her purse, but she had it in her hand all the time.

Cross-examined. This pin was bent exactly like this when I picked it up.

GEORGE LEE (162 C.) I was on point duty on the evening of November 11th, outside the Tottenham Court Road Tube Station, when the railway constable there called me into the booking hall. I saw the prisoner standing beside the rails, crying, the prosecutor said “This woman came in here and behaved in a disorderly manner, and I asked her to go out, and she refused to go, and when I was attempting to eject her she stabbed me: I will charge her; she has another hat pin; take it away from her.  I took a hat pin from her hand, she did not say anything when Allen said she had stabbed him. We took her to the station, where she said “I only stabbed him twice.” I saw Allen undressed, and he had a small wound on the left side of his stomach, there were also two small holes in his belt. I know “Irish Girl “as a disorderly character in the neighbourhood. The prisoner was sober at the time.

ARTHUR CORNELIUS HALLEN . I am the medical officer to the Central London Railway. At 4.30 p.m., on November 12th, I examined Allen, who was in bed. I found a small punctured wound on the left side, about an inch off the middle line just over the stomach. He was suffering from shock and was vomiting. I should say the wound was about two inches deep, and was such as could be caused by a hat pin. If it had been two inches higher, it would have been over the heart, if the pin had been dirty, it might have set up blood poisoning, and there was also a risk of peritonitis. He was in bed two weeks, and went to the seaside for a week. He is all right now, but for a little nervousness. I saw his belt, upon which was a mark as if it had been caused by a sharp pin-considerable force must have been used to have penetrated a tunic, a waistcoat, and two flannel shirts.

The prisoner’s statement before the Magistrate. If he had told me to go out of the Tube, I would have gone, but he did not wait for me to walk out. He said, “Are you the girl who brought her in?” and he said, “Come on then,” and pulled me out by the shoulders, and pulled me outside the Tube station. Then I pulled out the black hat pin from the front of my hat, and I pushed it into him, and I did not know where it went; I never used any other hat pin.

Evidence for the Defence.

MARIA LANGHORN . I am the ladies’ lavatory attendant at the Tottenham Court Road Tube Station. I have known the prisoner since September, coming in and out of the lavatory. On November 11th “Irish Girl” and the prisoner came in and went out again at 7 p.m. They came in again between 8 and 9 p.m., went out, and returned again. I did not see what happened outside, they were perfectly quiet in the lavatory. I did not call in the policeman to get the prisoner out of the lavatory.

The Prisoner, in her defence, said that she did not do it intentionally.

GUILTY of unlawful wounding. Discharged on recognisances.