Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Two Viragoes

A man who was attacked by two women died a week afterwards, but they were treated with leniency due to his own medical problems.

On Tuesday 17th June 1890 Joseph Graney visited his sister in Jenkinson Street. whilst there he got into an argument with two women that his sister lived with, Mary O'Neill and Catherine McCarthy. Both women then chased him out to the court and attacked him with fenders and buckets. 32 year old Graney was taken to his home in nearby Gomer Street where he died the following Monday.

The Liverpool Mercury correspondent who attended the following day's inquest described the two women as viragoes - defined as 'domineering, bad tempered women' in the Oxford Dictionary. The Coroner heard how a post mortem had found that Graney had lacerated wounds on his head and his chronic alcoholism made him more susceptible to injuries. Every organ in his body was found to be in an unhealthy condition. A verdict of manslaughter was returned and O'Neill and McCarthy who were aged 29 and 25 respectively and had already been arrested for assault were now committed to trial on the more serious charge.

At the Liverpool Assizes on 31st July counsel for the two women said that they had been acting in self defence but this claim was rejected by the jury and they were found guilty. The judge though showed a degree of leniency, Justice Vaughan Williams telling them that due to the 'unwholesome condition of their victim' he would impose a sentence of twelve months imprisonment with hard labour.

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