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1898 Child Murder in Marmora

(Toronto star photo) Despite its promising beginnings, the Andrew Mercer Reformatory for Women in Toronto would become the centre of controversy with allegations of torture, beatings, experimental drugs, and medical procedures, all in the name of reform. Closed in 1969 , the site where the old reformatory existed is now the Alan Lamport Stadium. All that structurally remains from the original site is the superintendent's house at the corner of King Street and Fraser Ave. (Wikipedia)

The case of Helen Darrach of Marmora, who was accused of child murder, came up at the assizes on Sept. the 28th. From the evidence it appears that the girl was in the employ of John Terrion who lives near Marmora and that on May 24 last she gave birth to a child of whose murder she stood accused. .Mr. and Mrs. Terrion gave evidence as to the circumstances surrounding the birth, and as to the finding of the infant’s body and the subsequent proceedings. Dr. Sutton of Madoc was called in as coroner and held an investigation at which Drs. Jones and MacKechnie of Marmora held a post-mortem examination. They tried what is known as the hydrostatic test on the body to see if the child had lived after birth. On this test in which the child's lungs are said to have floated, rested the charge. The body showed marks of violence about the neck and the mouth was full of excrement.

Mr. W. J. Camon, who defended the prisoner, cross-examined Drs. Jones and Sutton carefully and did not  put in any defence. On the former's cross-examination he did not positively swear as to the fact of life having been present at birth. Hon. Chancellor Boyd addressed the jury and advised them to dismiss the charge of murder and find the girl guilty of desertion and failure to provide for her offspring, and concealment of birth, The jury did so without leaving their seats and the chancellor gave the unfortunate young woman a very kindly lecture and sentenced her to two years in Central prison. (That was the Andrew Mercer Reformatory for women) The crime was evidently the result of gross ignorance as the unfortunate woman is almost wholly illiterate. The despicable scamp who was the cause of her downfall is said to be a business man in the village of Marmora Belleville Sun. and North Hastings Review Oct. 1898,

The view of the Reformatory location now - Lamport Stadium