Newspapers and journals: Gumbleton v Gumbleton divorce case


Heavy Damages Against Bathurstian: Gumbleton v. Gumbleton Divorce


SYDNEY, Monday.

Unusual features are attached to the Gumbleton divorce suit which came before Mr. Justice Owen to-day and not the least of these was the appearance of respondent to conduct her own case in the proceedings. She sat at the barristers' table with a baby in her arms. The case, in which all three principals are from Bathurst, was one in which Robert Gumbleton petitioned for a divorce from Alice Levorna Gumbleton (formerly Proctor) on the grounds of her alleged misconduct with Arthur Jacques Pulbrook, a wholesale insurer, who was joined as co-respondent and from whom petitioner claimed £5,000 damages. In their answers Mrs. Gumbleton and Pulbrook alleged that Gumbleton condoned the misconduct, if any, and that he had been an accessory or connived at the disconduct, if any, and that he had been guilty of neglect. Gumbleton worked for Pulbrook as a traveller for a number of years. Prior to that he was employed in the boot department of Messrs. E. Webb and Co.'s. Leaving her baby in the arms of a lay clerk, Mrs. Gumbleton entered the witness box and told a remarkable story. Gumbleton and Pulbrook were both men of a religious turn of mind, she said, and they both enjoyed religious discussion. They became very fast friends in that way. Mrs.Gumbleton said she had 6 children. She declared that Pulbrook was the father of the last four. In an emotional voice Mrs. Gumbleton told the Court that Pulbrook had left her for another woman, and how after the break she had confessed to her husband. At that point the soft crooning ofthe baby broke out into squalls. Mr Abigail, who was questioning Mrs.Gumbleton. turned and took the baby from the clerk's arms. Amid laughter, he continued to question the mother, gently rocking backwards and forwards with the baby in his arms. The baby crooned delightedly. His Honor: You can do anything you like Mr. Abigail so long as you keep the baby quiet. Mrs. Gumbleton said that Pulbrook taught religion to the children. One of the children was called after him. To Mr. Hardwick, Mrs. Gumbleton said that her husband was a simple, trusting fool. She admitted that Pulbrook paid for furniture in the house and that although the later children closely resembled him her husband had no suspicions. She told how another woman came between her and Pulbrook. He bought a motor car for her, but the other woman got it.

The baby again commenced to cry. Mrs. Gumbleton: It Is 12 o'clock and the baby wants feeding. Mrs. Gumbleton was allowed to leave the box after she had taken the baby from Mr. Abigail's arms. "Until my wife told me Pulbrook was the father of her last four children, I had no suspicions," said Robert Gumbleton, giving evidence. Gumbleton said that after he came to Sydney he met Pulbrook, who offered him £100 and a sure job, and also to give his wife £5 a week for life and a house to live in it. Recalled, Mrs. Gumbleton admitted that although she swore an affidavit alleging her husband's connivance of the misconduct, the affidavit was not true. The defence relied upon condolence, connivance at the misconduct and conduct conducive to it. In reply to Mr. Hardwick, respondent said Pulbrook had been paying her £5 a week for the support of his children. One of Pulbrook's four children died and Pulbrook paid the funeral expenses. "I regarded Pulbrook as a religious man and a brother," said Gumbleton. The jury found the misconduct proved and assessed damages at £2,000 with a strong recommendation that the money be used for the maintenance and education of the children. Mr. Justice Owen granted a decree nisi and ordered the co-respondent to pay the costs of the suit.


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