On Monday 7th May 1888, after all the evidence was given the case for the prosecution  of Dr. Burke closed at 12.10 pm.

Mr. West summed up the case for the prosecution as below:

The prosecution pretty much proclaimed that the shooting of his daughter was a willful act, and drunkenness was not an excuse.

The defense took that stance that Dr. Burke did not set out to kill his daughter. His judgement was impaired by the amount of alcohol he had taken that day. Mr Mellor pointed out that whatever went on between him and his wife was not taken into consideration as a wife could not testify against her husband, so her side of the story would never be known. The letter was the only indication of their relationship, which was under pressure from Dr. Burke’s drinking. But at the time of the shooting she was back living with him again, after leaving him and temporarily living with her sister. In fact they were on good terms right up to the right before the shooting, when Mrs. Burke came rushing out of the room and summons a police officer and telling him to go to the room her husband and daughter were in. Then two shots were fired.

It was pointed out that Dr. Burke might have thought that someone was coming in to take the pistol from him pulled it out and it went off by accident, shooting his daughter by accident.

Mr. Mellor’s speech went on of a half an hour, concluded that if the death of the child was not by pure accident it certainly was through negligence and certainly not willful.

The judge noted that it was unclear when exactly the shot was fired or whether it was a case of accidental shooting by a man who, despite having taken quite a quantity of alcohol was responsible for his actions

Sheffield Independent 07 May 1888