Alleged Highway Robbery – Strange Conisbrough Story

October 1919

Mexborough Times, October 11, 1919

Alleged Highway Robbery.

Strange Conisbrough Story.

On Tuesday, at Doncaster, a young Conisbrough, miner, John Smith, was charged in custody with highway robbery with violence on the previous Thursday night.

A Rotherham, miner, Michael Duffy, said he had been to the village to see a friend who lives at Mount Pleasant, and spent some time in the Red Line Hotel, afterwards visited the Three Horse Shoes, where they remained until 10 o´clock. When they came out, the prisoner and several others were outside, and they followed them up the Sheffield road in the direction of Mount Pleasant.

The accused came up to them and said he lived at Hooton Roberts, and said he would go with them. After preceding a short distance, and when opposite the cemetery gates, the prisoner pushed Duffy´s mate it into the hedge, and tripped Duffy up. He put his knee on his chest and took his watch and chain. He then bolted, shouting to the other men who were behind, “I have got it.” These men did not interfere.

The following morning he went to the place, and found two swivels on the ground where the struggle took place. Later he identified the prisoner from among several others.

Evidence was also given by Dominic Rush, while Ernest W. Exton, miner, of 1, Lime Grove, Conisbrough, said on Thursday last, at 10:15 PM. He was returning home from the Hill Top Hotel, and when near the Cemetery gates he heard some men approaching. They were arguing. He saw the prisoner shove Rush into the hedge. Witness knew the prisoner, and called to him to come away as he would only get into trouble. He never answered, and after standing a minute or two, witness went home. Rush and his pal had had some beer.

P.C.Wortling said he received a complaint from Duffy on the Friday morning, and he made enquiries. He arrested the prisoner on Monday morning at his home. He was later identified from among eight other men. When charged, he replied,”I am beaten, I will give in. You will find the watch and chain in a tin box on a shelf in my house” witness afterwards recovered the missing articles.

The prisoner told a strange story. He said he came out of the public house, and after speaking with some friends went along the road. Duffy and his pal started arguing and picking up a bother, and he thought they were going to set about him. He would have nothing to do with them, but Rush got all of his arm, and thinking he was going to hit him, he pushed him into the hedge. In the scramble Duffy´s watch came out of his pocket and he picked it up and ran away.

Prisoner was committed for trial at the next Assizes. Bail being allowed, himself in £10, and one surety of £20.

Mexborough Times, December 6th, 1919

Stealing a Watch
Conisbrough Miner sent to Prison.

At Leeds Assizes, on Monday, John Smith, miner, of Rotherham, was indicted before Justice Lawrence, for having robbed with violence. Michael Duffy, miner, of Conisbrough and stolen a silver watch and chain valued at £7.

Smith in his defence, said he had been all night drinking, and on nought cinder watch on the ground. He picked it up and ran away.

Mr Justice Lawrence, said the circumstances were not of Highway robbery, but the jury might be justified in finding Smith guilty of larceny. The party, he said, were for too much injuring to act reasonably, and all seemed to have tumbled about like skittles more than sober men.

The jury returned a verdict of larceny, and in sentencing Smith to 2 months with hard Labour, his Lordship said: “I daresay you did it because you had been drinking, but you had four days before the police came. If you were an honest man you would have returned the property.”


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