MUCH EXCITEMENT IN THE RHONDDA.
Opinion is General that Margaret Jenkins Could Not Have Been Responsible for Her Horrible Action.
The terrible crime which was committed at Tynewydd on Friday afternoon by Mrs. Jenkins, wife of a collier, has caused a profound sensation throughout the Rhondda Valleys, and especially in the immediate locality of the deed, where it afforded the chief topic of conversation on Saturday and Sunday. The very fact that a mother could have deprived her infant child of only about seven weeks of its
precious life in such a fearfully atrocious manner has sent quite a thrill of horror throughout the district, where opinions are generally expressed that the unfortunate woman could scarcely have been responsible for her action, and that she must have sacrificed the little babe’s life whilst under the influence of severe depression. Colour is given to this opinion by the fact, which is well known in Tynewydd, an essentially mining district where she resided, that she has shown evidences of unusual
despondency after her confinements, and that she often appeared strange in her manner. She was Jenkins’s second wife, and by whom she had had eleven children, but only six of the number are now alive. It is generally believed that the deed was done after the dinner hour, and that, in order to accomplish her horrible work, she placed the tender infant on the salting stone, which is an ordinary slate slab, about two feet above the floor, and severed the head from the body with one blow, the instrument used being her husband’s axe. which was covered with blood when Merit-constable Bryan found it behind the door of the pantry a few hours later.
husband and children are stricken with grief, and are inconsolable in the dire distress which has befallen them, whilst the neighbours said all who knew the unfortunate woman have been horror-struck by the butchery of the innocent one, and are loth to believe that its mother was in anything like a proper frame of mind when site so cruelly murdered it.
The Question of Insanity.
In the course of a conversation with a popular public gentleman in the Rhondda Valley, and one who knew Mrs. Jenkins in her younger days, our representative was informed that the family – her father and mother – although of a religious turn of mind, were generally considered “soft,” and there can be no doubt that this is a case of hereditary insanity. This idea is gaining ground in the valley, where the inhabitants, one and all, show every sign of sympathy towards the husband of the prisoner.
It is a somewhat remarkable fact that eleven years to the very night the last murder was committed at Blaenycwm, Treherbert, when a man named Knight shot his wife. This man was arrested by Police constable Tom Bryan, who also arrested Mrs. Jenkins, and was eventually sentenced to penal servitude for life.
Sympathy for the Family.
The information published in the Western Mail this morning that there was insanity in the family has cleared away any doubt shown by the public relative to the mental condition of Mrs. Jenkins. Large crowds visited the scene of the murder this morning. The precincts of the Tynewydd be held is besieged by large numbers of people, in the hope of seeing the prisoner. It is doubtful, however, whether Mrs. Jenkins will be called upon to face the ordeal. The funeral of the murdered child will take place on Tuesday. Much sympathy is felt for the bereaved family, and many who visit the house kindly give monetary help to the poor husband.
Jury say “Wilful Murder” but Think the Prisoner is Insane.
The inquest on the body of Elizabeth Jane Jenkins, the murdered child, was opened (before Mr. R. J. Rhys, coroner) at the Tynewydd Arms at a quarter to three this afternoon, the Rev. D. W. Watkins being foreman of the jury.
The first witness called, after viewing the body, was the father. The body of the child was encased in an oak coffin, on which was inscribed, Lizzie J. Jenkins, died May 18, aged six weeks.”
David Jenkins, the father, who gave evidence in Welsh, said he was a collier, and resided at No. 9, Bryn Wyndham Terrace. Elizabeth Jane Jenkins was his daughter, and was aged six weeks. His wife’s name was Margaret Jenkins. He was in bed on Friday, and when he awoke at half-past three he was told by his wife that the child was dead. She came to him to the room, and asked if he was awake. She told him to get up, and sat down in the room. He asked where was the child, but she went back to the kitchen. He then went after her, and asked again, and she said it was in the pantry. He asked her twice before she answered. On being asked what words she used, the witness said, “‘Rwyf wedi gwpla fe.” (” I have finished it”). Continuing, he said he went to the pantry and saw the child lying on the salting- stone shelf in the pantry. There was a small window in the pantry, and he could see the child. He could not say how it lay, for he came out, as he was shocked. He called his son, David Joseph Jenkins, thirteen years of age, who went to the pantry and came out, saying, “Oh, father, the baby’s head has been cut off.” Witness was crying at the time, and told the boy, “Your mother has killed the child.”
The jury returned a verdict of “Wilful murder” against Margaret Jenkins, but expressed the opinion that she was insane.
Source: Evening Express newspaper.