Watkins, William Arthur

Accused murderer
Born at Birmingham, England; probably deaf at birth although it was never diagnosed until he was in his 30s, and he was "slow-witted" all his life. He managed to scrape through public schools, but never had an opportunity to meet and mix with other deaf people. Worked as an enameller in a bicycle factory. Married a hearing woman before World War II and had 4 children with her before he left her postwar for another woman (also hearing) 25 years younger, who became his common-law wife. They had one child together, but when the second wife became pregnant again, she didn't want the second child. Both attempted to conceal the pregnancy and childbirth from the neighbors. Police discovered the newborn baby drowned in a washtub, Watkins claiming the infant accidently slipped out of his hands while he was bathing it. He was arrested tried, and convicted on charges of deliberately drowning the infant, but it was clear during the trial that he had trouble following and understanding the proceedings. His lawyer, also not "deaf-aware", missed several opportunities to present his client's case more favorably. Watkins was sentenced to death and hung.
Deaf to Evidence, p.32-49.
23 January 1902-3 April 1951