The Nine of Hearts by B L Farjeon Page 1 of 175

PART THE FIRST.
THE TRIAL OF EDWARD LAYTON.

I.
A STRANGE DECISION.

This morning, at the Central Criminal Court, Mr. Justice Fenmore resumed the trial of Edward Layton for the wilful murder of his wife, Agnes Layton, on the morning of the 26th of March, by the administration of poisonous narcotics in such quantities as to produce death.

Extraordinary as was the excitement caused by yesterday's proceedings, the public interest in this mysterious murder was intensified by the strange decision arrived at by the prisoner on this the third day of his trial.

The Attorney-general, Mr. J. Protheroe, Q.C., and Mr. Standing conducted the case on behalf of the Crown.


The widely spread rumor that an episode of a startling character was impending, received confirmation immediately upon the entrance of the prisoner in the dock.

He presented a care-worn appearance, and while the usual formalities were in progress, it was observed that he and his counsel (Mr. Bainbridge, Q.C.) were in earnest consultation, and it appeared as if the learned gentleman were endeavoring to overcome some resolution which the prisoner had formed. At the termination of this conversation Mr. Bainbridge, turning to the Bench, said,

"I have to claim your lordship's indulgence for a statement which I find it necessary to make. It is in the remembrance of your lordship that on the first day of this trial the prisoner was undefended, being, as it appeared, resolutely determined to defend himself.



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