Mexborough & Swinton Times , August 1917
Remarkable Court Scene
Denaby Miner sings in the Witness Box
A strange scene was witnessed at the Doncaster West riding police Court on Saturday, when John Gommerson, a Denaby miner, caretaker of a primitive Methodist Chapel, was summoned by the Denaby and Cadeby collieries Ltd for stealing the sum of 7s 1d and 10s 8d from gas slot meters.
William V. Simpkins, property inspector to the company, said the defendant formerly lived at 54 Adwick Street, in a house belonging to the company and on July 3 moved to 76 Doncaster road, to another house belonging to the company.
On July 4 he examined the gas meter at the first house, which was locked up, and discovered it had been broken open, and that 7s 1d which should have been in, according to the meter, was missing.
On July 24 he visited 76 Doncaster road, along with PC Rushton, and interviewed the defendant. The examine the gas meter, and found it broken open. PC Rushton asked him for an explanation. They then took aim to the other house ensuring the meter. They asked him where the money had gone, and he said he did not know but sooner than have any trouble he would pay the money. The house was properly locked up and all the windows closed and fastened.
PC Rushton said when he spoke to the defendant he said he did not know anything about it. He did not know it was broken open. He obtained a tin opener in the house, and found it made marks which corresponded with marks on the gas meter. As regarding the other house he said he did not know where the money was, but sooner than have any trouble he would pay the money.
The defendant elected to be sworn, and as soon as he got into the box and taken the author he raises right and above his head and commencing in at the top of his voice, “Jesus lover of my soul.”
PC Rushton, was on duty at the witness box, endeavoured to restrain him, but it was only after take him by the shoulders and I give him a good shaking that the man desisted. He then gave his evidence quite rationally. He denied offences, and said he had no idea the meters had been interfered with. He was responsible for the hours and was willing to find the money and pay the damage will stop
The case was dismissed, the magistrate intimating that they thought he should reimburse the company, which he agreed to do.