Conisborough Man gets Two Years – Brutal Assault on the Police Well Punished

January 1905

Mexborough and Swinton Times January 14, 1905

A Conisborough Man gets Two Years
A Very Old Offender
A Brutal Assault on the Police Well Punished

At the Chrismas Quarter Session of the Peace for the West Riding, held at the Sheffield Court House on Friday, a case which is of particular interest to readers residing in this district, took up a good deal of time of the Second Court
Mr T Norton presided, and the other magistrate present was Mr C Chapman

A Conisborough man, named James Dalton (33), a stoker, was charged with stealing from the person of Patrick Martin Myers 9 shillings (45p) in money, at Conisborough, on 12 November; and further, having assaulted Harold Wailes and Samuel Lund, police constables at Conisborough on the same date
Mr Fleming prosecutor, prisoner being undefended, and pleaded not guilty

Opening the case, Mr Fleming said that on 12 November Myers drew his wages sometime during the afternoon and then went and ordered some beer, afterwards going to sleep on the sofa in his own home
The other person, besides some children who were in the house, were the prisoner and the landlord. After a time he woke up, and missed the 9s.

The landlord said to him, “If anybody has been in your pockets, it is this man Dalton.”

Later on, the prisoner was charged with stealing the 9s and to the police officer who charged him he said, “it’s a – – – fact I took it and boozed it.” He then said to the prosecutor, “Monty, give me in charge.”

The prosecutor was then sworn, and he said his name was Patrick Martin Myers, and he was a miner lodging at 51 Blyth Street, New Conisborough. He remembered November 12, when he drew 31s 6d wages. When he got home he sent for half a gallon of beer, and in the house at the time was a prisoner and the landlord, Matthew Elwood. He then went to sleep on the sofa, and at that time he had 31s in his pocket, a sovereign, a shilling, two half crowns, and two florins**. When he woke up nine shillings were missing, and prisoner asked him for one shilling.

Noah Myers, schoolboy, said he remembered his brother lying down upon the sofa and going to sleep. Later, witness also laid upon the sofa, and he saw the prisoner feel into his brother’s pocket.

Matthew Elwood gave evidence, and cross-examined by the prisoner, said he was surprised when he found that prisoner had taken the money

Police Constable Wailes said he was sent to 51, Blyth Street, on 12 November, and when he charged prisoner with the theft of the money he replied, “It’s a – – – fact I took it and ‘boozed’ it. Give me in charge, Monty (meaning prosecutor) the prosecutor said, “I have already given you in charge.” Witness took him to the police station, where he was searched, and one half crown and one 2s piece were found upon him

It was stated that when charged before the local justices, prisoner said “I am nothing to say against the charge at present; but under the Act passed last year concerning poor prisoners, I wish to ask for legal assistance upon my trial.”

The prisoner was now sworn, and he stated that the prosecutor and himself had known each other from childhood. They played as boys together; they grew up as youths together, worked as men together, and lodged together. On 12 November they had had some drink, and about 8 o’clock he found himself short of money. Myers and himself had lent each other money many times, upon this occasion he “prisoner” try to waken him but was unable to do so. Failing to rouse him he took the money out of his pocket, but not with the slightest intention of stealing it. He did not do it with any intention of theft. He had never denied taking the money from the first the loss. Of course he took the money, and had spent part of it.

The jury retired, and another jury was empanelled to deal with the second charge against the prisoner

Mr Fleming briefly outlined the case, stating that on the same date, 12 November, about 10 minutes before midnight, police constable Wailes was called to the house, 51 Blyth Street, New Conisborough accompanied by police constable Lund. When they got there the prisoner was being charged by the prosecutor in the previous case with having stolen some money out of his pocket. Wailes then charged him and he admitted it so Wailes said, “You must get ready to come with us,”

The prisoner without making any more to do struck Wailes on the head with his fist, both men eventually, after the struggle, falling onto the sofa. Lund and Wailes then attempted to put the hand cuffs upon the prisoner, but he kicked and struggled violently, throwing himself down and behaving in a very disorderly way. They got him outside the house, and he commenced to struggle violently again. He kicked Wailes on the body, bringing him to the floor. He was also rendered useless because he received a severe blow from the prisoner. PC Lund was also badly assaulted, and both had been under the doctor for a considerable time on account of injuries received

Police Constable Wailes said they were sent for on 12 November two Myers house. When they got there the prisoner attempted strike Myers, and witness got in between them received a blow at the back of the neck, delivered by the prisoner with his fist. He closed with him, and they struggled some time, eventually falling upon the sofa. Prisoner then struck and kicked him and generally behaved like a wild man. They attempted to handcuff him but they did not succeed. He then tried to upset a paraffin lamp which was upon the table; but at the same time a woman was laid across the hearth in a fit. Prisoner threatened to kick them both to death and said “no – – – policeman could lock him up.” Witness asked him several times to go quietly, but he continued to use threatening language, and behaved in a violent manner. He kicked PC Lund, laying him out of the road, temporarily disabling him, whilst later on kicked witness again, disabling him for a short time. Witness was off duty six days, and was unable to use his arm. The prisoner was ultimately taken to the police station upon a barrow by five or six young Irishmen.

Cross-examined by prisoner, witness said that he (prisoner) and been out of the hospital for some time.

Prisoner: It’s a pity you are not able to speak the truth. You are old enough, I am sure.” (Laughter)

PC Lund give similar evidence. Prisoner behaved like a madman. He refused to walk, threw himself down on the road, and kicked and struggled violently. Witness was off duty seven weeks owing to having two bones at the back of his hand broken from a kick received from the prisoner. He could still feel the effects of it.
Mary Jane Bodkin, wife of John Bodkin, a miner, of 39 Balby Street, said she was in Blyth Street at 11.50 on the date in question, when she saw the prisoner there. He kicked both policeman who had him in charge. They asked him to go quietly, but he refused. He continued to struggle for three quarters of an hour. Both constables appeared to be hurt.

Sarah Swift, a widow of 72 Blyth Street give similar evidence

Police Sgt Horton said he met the two constables in Denaby Road. Six or eight young Irishmen were helping them take the prisoner to the police station. When he was been taken to Doncaster the following morning he said, “I shall go, but I shall come back. When I do come back some of you – – – will know something of it. When I get off this, 12 months will not get me off the next.”

Dr Forster said on 30 November the two constables came to surgery at 8.40 pm. Wailes was suffering from strain, whilst his left arm was also injured. He left shoulder was also badly injured, whilst there were bruises upon the lower part of the right side of his body. He was six days under his care. Lund suffering from a fracture of two small bones in the back of his hand, whilst was also suffering from a graze upon his left cheek and bruises upon the back. He was seven weeks under his care.

The prisoner was against sworn and he stated that he told them he was unable to walk, and asked them to hire a conveyance, but they refused. He admitted that he kicked them, but he was provoked to do it. Cross-examined, prisoner said his ankle was broken on 5 September, was taken to the Mexborough Montague Cottage Hospital, where he remained five weeks, after he was removed to the Union Hospital at Balby, coming out on crutches.

Both juries returned verdicts of guilty.

The Chairman said the prisoner had been in trouble repeatedly, having been convicted about 60 times. The charges have been very varied, including stealing, living upon the earnings of a prostitute et cetera and he had several times committed violent assaults on the police. Taking it all together the prisoner had such a bad character that one could have but little sympathy with him, but it would be their duty to pass a somewhat severe sentence upon him.

For the theft of the 9 shillings he would have to go to prison for 12 months, and for the assault he would also have to go to prison for a further 12 months, two years in all, with hard labour.

**Money translated:

A sovereign   =                     21 shillings                       =            £1  5 p
A shilling       =                                                                                     5 p
Two half-crowns =   2 shilling and sixpence each   =                  25 p
And two florins =      2 shillings each                         =                 20  p

Total                   =                31 shillings                    =            £1 55p