Deaf from birth; attended the Cabra Insitution for the Deaf and Dumb in Dublin for only 6 months before running away to Birmingham, England at age 10. Accused of stabbing a man to death after a tavern brawl in Birmingham in 1875, he was tried for the crime but difficulty arose because he only used Irish Sign Language and available interpreters only knew British Sign Language, and he was virtually illiterate. However, another young (hearing) man, John Parker, with whom Todd had been living for several years, had developed a home-made sign language to communicate with Todd, and was drafted by the court to serve as an interpreter using their home-made language. Todd was found guilty of the murder, and Parker was paid for his interpreting service in what may be the first case of a court paying a sign language interpreter.
Deaf Crime Casebook, p.48-55.