Conisbrough Loco Is Sent For Trial – Alleged Incident at Montagu Hotel

January 1957

South Yorkshire Times, January 5, 1957.

Conisbrough Loco Is Sent For Trial.
Sequel to Alleged Incident at Montagu Hotel.
Reserves His Defence.

Telford Plenderleith Milliken (17), a loco fireman of 26, Oak Grove, Conisbrough, was at Doncaster West Riding Magistrates’ Court yesterday (Thursday) committed for trial at Sheffield Assizes in March on charges of inflicting grievous bodily harm, and with inflicting grievous bodily harm on Norman Mullaney.

Through his solicitor, Mr R. S. Pennington, Milliken said he did not wish to give evidence yesterday nor to call witness. He reserved his defence and pleaded not guilty. He was remanded on sureties, £50 in his own surely and £25 in his father’s surety.

Medical Evidence.

Dr. Renos Phellas, surgical registrar at Montagu Hospital, said on Saturday, November 13th, he saw a patient at 11.30 p.m. – Mr. Mullaney – who complained of pain in his lower abdomen. He was kept under observation until 3.30 next morning when witness decided to operate.

He found two holes in the small intestine. There was no other injury. The holes could have been caused by a sudden and unexpected blow in the abdomen. The operation was absolutely vital to save his life.

The doctor said if the blow were unexpected the muscles could not be contracted and greater injury would be caused .

Dr. G. B. Petrie, of Adwick Road, Mexborough, said he was called to the Montagu Arms at 10.30 on November 18th. He went into the kitchen and saw Mullaney lying on the floor, writhing in agony. He gave him morphine and arranged for his removal to hospital.

Norman Mullaney, licensee of the Montagu Hospital, said that on the day in question, he was in the lounge bar and a barmaid called to him. As a result of whet she said he went to the concert room. There, he saw a group of men near the piano. They were arguing and he knew it was a trouble spot when he saw one of his staff behind them. ‘I went across and said, I am the landlord. Break it up, lads.’ One boy was holding another boy’s hand, so witness said, ‘Let him go, it will only make him fight.’ The accused’s hand was being held. He did not know the boy who was holding the accused’s hand.

‘A Glass In His Hand.’

The accused was wearing a duffel coat, witness said. The accused backed away from the group and witness saw he had a glass in his hand, but witness didn’t know where he got it. He backed into the centre of the room and said: ‘I am not scared of any –– landlord.’ Witness said accused looked round and threw the glass on the floor. Witness said: ‘You will have to go now, son.’

Mullaney said: ‘As I went towards him, he jumped on me, bumped my head with his head. I imagine, but to tell you the truth, I don’t know. I then felt a blow in the groin. There were quite a few blows. I had the impression the blows were caused by his knee.’

Witness was in pain, and knowing it was serious, he sent for the police and a doctor.

Witness said he could see no reason why he should have received these blows. He was in hospital about four weeks.

Cross-examined by Mr R.S. Penington (defending) Mr Mullaney said he had not previously received such kicks in the public house. He got quite a few tough customers in the public house. He thought he could deal with these youths without any trouble by smiling and easing it off without any trouble.

There were four involved, two of whom he knew. He could not see why the accused’s hand was being held. It was not being held affectionately. He did not know what they were arguing about. It was the youth he did not know who took it, was trying to stop accused from fighting by holding both his hands in front of him. The other two persons, whom he knew, were standing up. He went into the middle and had no thought either way as to who was causing the trouble. He got hold of the accused but did not hit him. He got hold of one of his hands and one of the other man’s hands.

He saw accused on the floor and when accused attacked witness, witness’s staff went to his assistance and the accused must have fallen on the floor then.

‘I did not roughly get hold of him because I wanted to break it up quietly and peacefully. I had not seen the accused before,’ he said.

Chairman’s Question.

In reply to the Chairman, Mullaney said he would not say the accused was drunk.

Horace Hakin, 116, Schofield Street, Mexborough, miner, said he sometimes worked as a drummer at the Monatgu Hotel. On the say in question he was drummer in the concert room.

Shortly before 10 p.m. he left the drums and went for a drink. He left his drum sticks by the drums and returned after a drink.

He noticed he had a wire brush missing and asked some of the lads sitting in front of the stage at a table about the brush. Accused was one of the men sitting at the table. They said they had not got the brush. A lady called Marty, across the room, said one of those at the table had the wire brush. Accused went across to Marty and said: ‘Anyone who picks on my mates picks on me.’ He looked as though he was looking for trouble, said witness. When he went across one of the fellows gave him his brush back. He then told them they did not want any bother.

Witness said he left then to hand in the brushes over the bar in the same room. He went back from the bar and was putting his drums back when he said he heard accused say, ‘Anyone can have it,’ and when he turned round again Mr Mullaney was coming from the middle of the room, doubled up, saying ‘Get the doctor.’

The accused was in the middle of the room. Before turning round witness said he heard breaking glass. Up to this trouble everything had been all right.

Never Seen them before.

Cross examined, witness said he had never seen any of the four men before. The table at which Marty was sitting was by the stage also. He had never heard any quarrels nor expressions between the two tables before missing his brush. After Mr Mullaney had gone away one of the barmen went to the accused.

Ernest Law, 51, White Lee Road, Mexborough, steelworker, part-time barman at the Monatgu Hotel, said he was at 10 p.m. on November 18th he was in the concert room bar and had called ‘time’ and was waiting for the waiters to bring in empty glasses. He noticed a disturbance in the corner to try to make peace. There were two people really involved although there were a number of people round the table. One of them was a boy called Marty and there was also the accused.

‘I did not get hold of anybody, I asked them to drink their beer and sit down or leave the premises,’ he said. ‘By that time Mr Mullaney has come in and asked me to stand on one side and he would see to it.’

Picked Up a Glass.

Witness said he saw Mr Mullaney speak to the accused and saw the accused pick up a glass and smash it to the ground. He was standing away from the table.

Mr Mullaney tried to restrain the accused by holding him by the arms. Witness added that the accused then put his knee into Mr Mullaney’s groin about six or seven times. Mr Mullaney went down to the floor. Witness went across to the accused and tried to restrain him. He said he saw he was past speaking to and bore him to the ground. He got him on to his feet and took him out of the room into the latrines and held him in a corner knowing that the police had been called. The accused was crying. When Mr Mullaney asked them to stop it, witness said he hear accused use obscene language. He never saw Mr Mullaney do anything which would have provoked the accused. He could not say how much the accused had had to drink.

By The Forearms.

Cross examined, witness said when he bore the accused to the ground he did not hit nor kick him. He said the accused did not do anything to him. Mr Mullaney was holding the accused by his forearms and after Mr Mullaney had been kneed, he could not defend himself.

William Sykes, 55, Pitt Street, Mexborough, steel erector, said he was sitting at a table next to the stage with a man whom he now knew as Marty. About 10 p.m. there was some trouble about a missing brush. He saw a young chap pick up a glass and put it into his pocket; it was the accused.

After Mr Mullaney had spoken to Milliken and had told him he did not want any trouble, the accused threw the glass to the floor and said: ‘Come on, you, anyone can have it.’

Mr Mullaney then put his hand on the accused’s shoulder to propel him outside. Miliken drew the landlord to him and put his knee into Mullaney’s groin. They fell to the floor where Mullaney was kneed again. Witness went to the landlord’s assistance. He never saw Mr Mullaney strike the man.

Phoned The Police.

Mrs Margaret Jean Law, 51, White Lee Road, a barmaid at the Montagu Hotel, said she called the licensee and telephoned for the police. She then returned to the concert room where there was a lot of shouting. She did not see Mr Mullaney and saw a boy pick up a glass and throw it on the floor. She then saw her husband take out of the room the boy who had thrown the glass.

Mrs Olga L. Beckwith, of the Montagu Hotel, Mexborough, stockroom chargehand, also gave evidence.

Mrs Lillian Mullaney, wife of the licensee, said she was in the hotel on the night in question but saw nothing of the trouble. She went into the toilet shortly after closing time and saw Mr Law holding the accused’s arm. The accused was sobbing and saying: ‘I didn’t mean it; leave me alone.’ She was not sure about him saying, ‘Leave me alone.’

‘Was Not Drunk.’

P.c. George Arthur Jarvis Hart said he was called at 10.10 p.m. and arrested the accused. The latter was not drunk and witness could not tell particularly that he had been drinking. He was upset and crying. ‘I took him to Mexborough Police Station. At 11.15 p.m. I cautioned him, charged him with inflicting grievous bodily harm with intent. He said ‘Why is everybody picking on me?’ I understand his name to be at that time James McCulloch. After charging him I searched him and found a railway-man’s travelling pass and the name on that was Milliken. He told me that he had lied and he was prepared to make another statement and gave his true name and address,’ said witness.

Witness continued that the alleged statement said that the accused’s parents lived at Conisbrough but that he was a railway fireman living at Welwyn Garden City. Accused alleged that the landlord struck him. He did not bear the landlord any ill-will. He did not see anyone strike the landlord. He had had four pints of beer but he was not incapable of his actions.

A Glasgow Address.

P.c. Harry Benson said that at 10.30 on the night in question he interviewed the accused at the at the police station. The accused gave his name as James McCulloch, aged 18, an apprentice engineer, and residing at 10, Park Road, Glasgow. He questioned the accused about what happened and accused said: ‘I will tell you all about it.’ he dictated an alleged statement in which he said he had come from Glasgow and he visited a friend whom he thought lived at Conisbrough. He went with his friend to the Montagu Hotel where they met some of his pal’s mates. He had four pints of beer to drink. There was some trouble when the string of a guitar broke.

Police Sergeant John Murray said he was with P.c. Hart when the accused was arrested. Law said to witness: ‘This is the man you want. This is the one who caused the bother. He struck the licensee, I think he is serious.’