As reported in Reynolds’s News 3 October 1887
Joseph Carlin, 22, groom, was indicted at the Central Criminal Court, before Mr Justice Grantham, for maliciously wounding Esther Bird, with intent to murder her.
Mr. Warburton prosecuted, and Mr Paul Taylor defended. The prosecutrix was a domestic servant at the house of Mrs Aarons, 20, Acacia-road, St.John’s-wood.
On the 6th September a man, who was alleged to be the prisoner, came to the house, the prosecutrix being there alone. The man told her that her mistress was shopping in the High-street, and that she had sent him for a bag to put the things in. While they were talking he suddenly lifted his right hand and cut her throat with a razor, which dropped on the floor. She fell and screamed, and he then put his hand on her mouth to prevent her screaming. Next he locked the area door on the inside and ran up-stairs, and she saw nothing more of him. She managed, however, to crawl to the window and give an alarm, at the same time throwing the razor out. The occupants of the neighbouring houses came to her assistance, and she was taken to St. George’s Hospital. On his going up-stairs, the man seems to have got out of a window, and made his escape over the garden wall.
Counsel for the prosecution said he understood the defence would be that it was a case of mistaken identity, but it would be shown that on the very day of the occurrence the prisoner had himself shaved in the morning, and in the evening had his whiskers shaved off. The prosecutrix had seen the man before, and he had spoken to her. He had also often been seen to be lurking about the back premises, and looking over the garden wall. The razor also was a peculiar one, and a mark showed that it belonged to the Royal Horse Artillery and the prisoner was a deserter from that regiment. Another matter bearing on the case was that the prisoner had married the sister of a former servant of the house in question, and was presumably acquainted with the arrangement of the rooms, the assumption being that he was bent on plunder, which the screams of the girl prevented him from accomplishing.
The house surgeon at St George’s Hospital said the wound in the throat was three inches in length, and had penetrated three arteries. The gash was an oblique one, and the razor had been stopped by a bone, otherwise it might have been fatal.
No witnesses were called for the defence. The judge, in summing up, said that every link in the chain of evidence going to prove the guilt of the prisoner was without a flaw. Without a moment’s hesitation, the jury found a verdict of “Guilty” and he was sentenced to ten years’ penal servitude.