Leeds The Times, 14 February 1835
Manslaughter from drunkenness
On Saturday last an inquest was held at the Fitzwilliam arms at New Biggin, near Rotherham before T. Badger Esq. Coroner, on view of the body of John Lambert of Conisbrough, a man in the employment of the River Don company. It appeared from the evidence that the deceased, along with Thomas Ellis, Rawmarsh, and three of his associates, spent several hours, on Thursday, at the York Keel public out, at Masbrough, where they had ten quarts of ale amongst them.
They then went to their work, which was cleaning out the canal, near Eastwood Lock, of dirt, and afterwards taking the same to Eastwood old lock.
Upon their arrival there, a dispute arose amongst them, and a serious quarrel occurred between the deceased and Thomas Ellis; they commenced throwing dirt at each other. Lambert was at this time in the boat, when Ellis who was on the canal bank, threw at him a large piece of coal which hit the deceased on the head and went through with such violence that his cap was cut through and part of his skull driven into his brain.
The poor fellow was carried to his lodgings, at the old Lock, where he died next morning during the time Mr Copeland was performing an operation on the fractured part.
The jury returned a unanimous verdict of manslaughter against Ellis, upon which the coroner issued his warrant for his committal to York, to take his trial for the offence.
Ellis has through life been an irreproachable character and but for the excitation of liquor it is believed this lamentable affair would not have occurred.