Alleged Murderous Attack upon a Farmer at Conisborough.

April 1881

Mexborough and Swinton Times April 29.

Murderous Attack upon a Farmer at Conisborough.

William Smith, cow keeper, of Conisborough, was charged by John Batty, farmer, of Conisborough, with assaulting him on the fourth inst.

Mr Nicholson appeared for complainant and Mr Hall for the defendant.

The complainant, stated that he was in the Red Lion Inn, on the day in question when he saw Smith and asked when he was going to pay the 10 shillings which he owed for “grazing.” Smith said he should never pay him, only in a dark lane some night, making use of a bad expression at the same time. He told Smith that was a respectable house and such language would not be allowed there. Then they parted. While he was outside, he was suddenly astonished at seeing Smith, coming up behind with a large stick. He had hardly time to ask what he was doing, when he received a severe blow on the side of the head, which felled him and made him unconscious. He remembered nothing more.

He was confined to his bed several days in consequence of the assault, and had not yet got over it. Had it not been for the hat which he wore (which was handed up to the bench) he might have been killed. The defendant had previously threatened him. That was once when he found several snares set in the lane. He said he would “settle me sometime.”

By Mr Hall: I have not been drunk at Conisborough all the week. I am not noted for assaulting men. I did not swear at Smith. I have not struck a man named Pease.

William Leaf, joiner, of Bradford, said he was on a visit to Conisborough. He saw the assault. Immediately the complainant was knocked down, he went for assistance. The stick looked like a branch of a tree.

Thomas Green, who described himself as an ex-publican, was called for the defence. The complainant, called the defendant, a thief and a scoundrel when in the public house, and asked what he had done with the cake he had stolen from a Mr Hudson. Batty said he would give Smith something, and bar all law.

The landlord was called and said he thought the man Batty used the worst language of the two men, when in the house.

Lord Auckland: The bench consider that this is a very serious assault. No doubt, if it had not been for the complainant’s hat you might have more severely injured him, if not killed him.

You have a very bad record against you. You have been convicted six or seven times for various offences – for assault on the police, larcenies, drunkenness, gambling, wilful damage and other things, and we think the best thing to do with you is to send you for one months imprisonment with hard Labour, without the option of a fine. It is to be hoped it will teach you to behave yourself more like a rational being.

And you will have the costs, amounting to £1 1s to pay

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