R v Smith (“Brides in the Bath case”) 11 Cr App R 229 | 13 August 1916

ON 13 AUGUST 1916, the Court of Criminal Appeal delivered R v Smith (1915) 11 Cr App R 229.

The defendant was accused of murdering his wife, Bessie Munday, who was found dead at home in her bath. Evidence of the death of two subsequent wives in similar circumstances was held to be admissible as it was improbable that three different women would have accidentally drowned in the bath given that their deaths occurred not long after entering marriage and financial arrangements under which which the accused would stand to benefit if they died.

Smith’s appeal was unsuccessful. He was convicted and hanged on 13 August 1916.

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