The judge affirmed that throat cutting was a coward's way out

Hertfordshire Mercury, 18th May 1918


At Hertfordshire Petty Sessions, the case against Eleanor Chalkley (46), of Ashwell, for alleged stealing, was adjourned for a month as the defendant was too ill to attend.

Subsequently, at Hertfordshire Summer Assizes, Eleanor Chalkley (now 47), a single woman who had been in service in Hatfield, pleaded guilty to a charge of attempting to commit suicide at Ashwell on the 14th of April.

Mr St. John Morrow, who appeared for the prosecution, stated that up to about a week before the date of this occurrence the prisoner was in service in Hatfield, and whilst there she was accused of having taken some eggs, and the case had been brought before the Hatfield Justices on 15th April when it transpired that, on the previous day, she had cut her throat.  She was found in a bedroom in a serious but conscious condition with a razor and a knife lying beside her.  A doctor was fetched and it was found that she had a serious wound across the throat six inches long.  As far as the doctor could ascertain there was no question of insanity.  In answer to the Judge, Counsel said that the charge of stealing eggs had been withdrawn.

George Chalkley, engineer, in the employ of Fordham’s Brewery at Ashwell, father of the prisoner, said that he would take charge of the prisoner and bring her up for judgement if she did not behave properly.

The Judge, addressing the prisoner, said he hoped she appreciated that she had done a very wicked thing.  Whatever the charge was that was hanging over her she ought to have had the courage to face it and not attempt to take her own life, which was the art of a coward.  He desired to give her every chance of getting into another situation and leading an honest life in the future, therefore, he should take her own recognizances and those of her father to come up, if necessary, which meant that she would hear no more of this case if she behaved herself properly.

The prisoner was then discharged.

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