then retired to consider their verdict and were absent for 50 minutes.
On their return, and having answered to their names,
The Clerk of Arraigns addressing them, said: Have you agreed upon your
The Foreman of the Jury: We have.
The Clerk: Do you find the prisoner, Mary Ann Cotton guilty or not guilty?
The Foreman: GUILTY
The Clerk: You find her guilty of murder?
The Foreman: Yes.
The Clerk: And so you all say?
The Foreman: Yes.
In answer to the usual question as to whether the prisoner had anything
to say why sentence of death should not be passed upon her, she replied
that she was not guilty.
The Judge then assumed the black cap usually worn on such solemn occasions,
and the usual proclamation having been made that silence should be kept
whilst sentence of death was being passed, his Lordship proceeded to
pass sentence as follows:- Mary Ann Cotton, you have been convicted,
after a patient and careful trial, of this murder. You have had the
benefit and assistance of counsel for your defence, and everything that
could be has been urged upon your defence. The only opinion the jury
can come to is that you are guilty; you have been found guilty of poisoning
your step-son, whom you ought to have taken care of. You seem to have
been possessed by that delusion which sometimes takes possession of
weak minded people, wanting in proper moral and religious sense, that
they can perpetrate these offences unknown to their fellows. The offence
of posioning is one of the most deadly and detestable crimes that can
be perpetrated, but by the providence of God it leaves behind it traces
of its presence, and brings just punishment. The sentence I feel bound
to pass upon you will be that others may be warned by your miserable
fate of the certainity of punishment. For yourself, these are the last
words I can give: I can hold out no hope for you; and I would earnestly
urge you to seek for yourself the only mercy which you can hope for
above. - His Lordship concluded by passing sentence in the usual words.
on hearing the sentence, appeared to be quite overcome and sank back
on the conclusion of his lordship's remarks into the chair she had occupied
during the trial. She sat thus as though unconscious and incapable of
movement, and had to be assisted up and led out of the dock by the attendant
rose at 5 o'clock.