Attempt To Wreck a Train At Conisbro’.

January 1899

Sheffield Independent – Monday 09 January 1899

Attempt To Wreck a Train At Conisbro’.

A singular case of alleged attempt to wreck a train came before the West Riding magistrates at Doncaster on Saturday. A small delicate-looking boy, named Harold Ernest Chappell, aged 10 years, and living with his parents at High street, Mexboro’, was charged with having placed certain obstructions on the Great Central Railway at Conisbro’, on the previous night.

Joseph Walter Beaumont, engine driver, living at Mexboro’, said while on his engine in the sidings Jie saw a lighted hand lamp on the line at the east end of Conisbro’ Station, at 7.40 p.m. He left his engine and went to where the lamp was. He there found two empty bottle crates, a hand-barrow, and an ordinary wheelbarrow in the four foot of the down line. He saw a little boy run away, but he could not recognise him. He shouted to the child.

The Conisbrough station master said, on the previous night, while leaving his house, his attention was called to something on the line. He found the things named by the previous witness. A train travelling on that line could not .have avoided coming in contact with the obstruction. The lighted lamp was turned away from the direction the train would come. He removed the whole of the things and communicated with the police. He had previously seen the boy at the station.

Sergeant Brown said he examined the  line, from information received, and at 11.30 p.m. he apprehended the boy at the home of his parents at j Mexboro’. He charged him with attempting to wreck trains at the Conisborough Station. The boy replied that he was ” only wheeling ” the things about.

In reply to the Chairman Mr. Yarborough, the boy acknowledged that he had put the things on the line. The lad’s father, who is well respected as an industrious workman, said tho boy was subject to epileptic fits, and that he was very mysterious. He had  been previously summoned and punished for offences. When at the Rotherham Court, certificates were received from Dr. and Dr. Blythman to say that the boy was not responsible for what he did in any shape or form. The boy was not at any school, I and he had to attend to him all along.

The Rotherham magistrate said if the boy was there again they would send him away.

The Chairman there were three previous conviction against the boy, and once he had been whipped. He would be detained at Doncaster till Monday and would receive six strokes from the birch.

The father said, since the boy was last whipped, he had been ten times worse.

The boy was removed to one of the cells.