1867 – Fatal Fight at Conisbrough

April 1867

1867, April 6th, Sheffield Independent

Fatal Fight At Conisbrough

John Glasby, 27, glassblower, was charged with the manslaughter of Thomas Hunter, at Conisbrough, on 10 December. Mr Waddy prosecuted and Mr Vernon Blackburn defended.

The facts, as stated by counsel were these: on 10 December, the prisoner and the deceased were at a public house call the Railway Station Inn, at Conisbrough. Whilst there, prisoner and another man had a quarrel, with which the deceased had nothing whatsoever to do, and he interfered with the desire of making peace between the two.

He ultimately became involved in the quarrel, and the prisoner challenged him out to fight. Several rounds were fought with varying success, first one getting an advantage and then the other, until the prisoner struck the deceased a knockdown blow, and the back of his head came in contact with a stone which was on the ground.

Whilst he was on the ground, the prisoner kicked him, and he received several severe bruises on the side of his head. Ultimately he called out that he would yield, and the prisoner was taken away from him, and the deceased man went home, where he was attended by his wife, who found that he was in a shocking state. His ears were full of blood, his face was bloody, and he appeared to be partly insensible, not from drink, but from the blows which he had received on the head. He never went to work afterwards, and death ensued in 10 days after the fight.

The result of a post-mortem examination was that death was found to be the result of the injuries inflicted upon him during the fight, and especially of the injury to the back of the head, caused by the fall and the blows on the side of the head

Mrs Hunter was examined, and spoke to the state in which her husband was when he came home. She proved that he was not able to go to work on the following day, and that he died 10 days afterwards. In cross examination, she said her husband went out to see the foxhounds on the day after the fight. He did not tell her that whilst following the hounds he fell down and hurt himself.

The facts of the fight were reported by a man was present at the time. They agreed to have a “rough-and-tumble fight.” Witness considered that the prisoner was the best of the two. One of his “left-handed” blows sent the deceased backwards, and his head came in contact with some greensward.

Whilst he was on the ground, one of the spectators called out, “Give him the boot toe” and the prisoner ran towards the deceased and kicked him twice on the side of the head. After the last kick, the diseased caught hold of one of the prisoner’s legs and he fell down. He then placed one of his knees on the diseased body, and put his left hand on his neck. Withhis other hand he struck the diseased several times on his face, and he kept striking him till at last the deceasedcried out “that will do.” Witness then took the prisoner off the deceased, who made his way home.

Inanswer to Mr Blackman, witness said the day after the fight he went with the deceased for a walk, and they went about 20 miles. They called at several public houses in the course of the day, and spent about 1s 6d (7 1/2 pence) each in drink.

Other witnesses were called to prove the facts stated by Mr Waddy.

Mr Rowland Hills, surgeon, said that the cause of death was extravasation of blood on the brain, which in his opinion had been caused by violence. The deceased might work for some days after the injury, as extravasation took place gradually.

The witness was cross-examined at some length by Mr Blackburn, his object being toelicit that the injury which caused death must have been inflicted after the fight. He admitted that he was very unusual for a person with such injuries as were inflicted on the deceased to walk on the following day a distance of 20 miles, and he said if he had not been told about the fight, he should have fancied that the injuries were inflicted sometime during the day on which he walked the 20 miles.

Mr Fairbank surgeon, who assisted in the making of the post-mortem examination, corroborated the main portion of Mr Hill’s evidence. It was he said, very strange that the symptoms of the extravasation did not appear sooner than they did, in the case of the deceased, bearing in mind the nature of his injuries. It was very extraordinary that the man should walk 20 miles the day after the injuries were inflicted. He had never heard of such a case before.

At this stage of the proceedings, his Lordship expressed it as his opinion that a conviction could not be obtained.

After a short consultation the jury returned a verdict of not guilty

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