Brutal Assault on a Young Lady At Kilnhurst – Details of Outrage

May 1892

Mexborough & Swinton Times, May 27, 1892

Brutal Assault on a Young Lady At Kilnhurst.

On Sunday a sensation was caused in the township of Kilnhurst on it becoming known that an outrage of a most brutal character had been committed on a young woman, aged 21, (daughter of Mr. Fl;avell, newsagent, &c., Kilnhurst. It appears that at eleven o’clock on Saturday night Miss Florence Flavell was returning home from Swinton, where she has charge of a shop, and when in a lonely part of the highway on nearing Kilnhurst she was attacked in a most violent manner.

When found shortly afterwards she was almost unrecognisable, the blow, which had evidently rendered her unconscious, having made one side of the face quite raw flesh, and the ear was cut ; the features were also greatly swollen. A scream was heard and this is supposed to have been raised by the unfortunate young woman as soon as she was surprised by her assailant. Almost immediately help was at hand but her assailant escaped. Four young men conveyed Miss Flavell home and Mr. Flavell speaks highly of their careful attention.

Miss Florence Flavell is the eldest daughter of Mr. Flavell, of Birmingham House Kilnhurst.

Mr. Flavell, is the owner of a branch establishment at Swinton, and for a considerable period his eldest daughter has had the management of the business. It was her general custom to return home by the train arriving at Kilnhurst about 10 o’clock. On Saturday evening, however, she missed the train and had the option of walking home, or waiting until the mail, which reaches Kilnhurst about 11-20. She decided to walk home, and proceeded by the turnpike road. Beyoad the Sportman Inn, at Swinton, the road is a very lonely one. The young lady, it seems had just passed Meadow View terrace, about 40 yards on the Highthorn road, when she was pounced upon by some ruffian or ruffians, and unmercifully maltreated. She screamed out but must have been instantly knocked insensible. Mr. S. Goldspink, of Thomas-street, Kilnhurst, who was returning home from Swinton, heard screams in the direction of Meadow View and quickly reached the scene of the outrage. Several residents from Meadow View terrace were also quickly en the spot and it was ascertained that Miss Flavell had received a very severe wound on the left side of the head, her ear being nearly cut in two. She also had a very severe cut over her eye.

The poor girl presented a “butchered “appearance, her face and clothing being saturated with blood. On the wall which fences Midland Railway from the turnpike, there was discovered a quantity of blood. Whether an attempt had been made to drag the girl over the wall on to the line is unknown, but it seems not unlikely. The alarm quickly spread through the village, even at that late hour of the night. Miss Playable was removed to her residence in Victoria-street, Kilnhurst, a messenger in the meantime having been despatched for Dr. Burton, of Swinton. During the whole part of Saturday night and part of Sunday Miss Flavell remained in a semi-conscious condition, in which state the has made many rambling remarks, from which it is gathered that when she recovers consciousness, as it is hoped she will, sue may be able to give information that will lead to the arrest of the assailant. Police-constable Lund was quickly on the scene on Saturday night and since that period diligent investigation has been made in the matter, and it is hoped before long the villain will be brought to justice. Numerous rumours are current as to the motive of the crime. It is thought by some that the perpetrator is someone well known to the locality, whose intention it was to rob the young woman of the day’s takings from the Swinton branch. She bad a basket on ha arm. Nothing in it, however, was disturbed. The outrage took place about eighteen minutes past eleven.

About twelve o’clock the police roused up Mr. Hewitt, a newsagent at Kilnhurst, and had him thoroughly examined. His clothes were also carefully inspected. He cannot have been far away from the scene of the outrage at the time it was committed, but he indignantly denies all knowledge of it apart from rumour. This is, perhaps, why the police suspected him, it being considered that he was within range of sound of the young lady’s screams. But Mr. Hewitt says there was a drunken brawl near Kilnhurst, as be approached the township, and that he stopped for a short time to witness what was going on. He says he afterwards went innocently enough into his shop at Kilnhurst, and that it was not until then that he was aware of what had been going on. On Sunday last Mr. Hewitt, was singing in the choir, and on his leaving the church a police officer accosted him with the words, “You are the man who has done this business.”

Dr. English, of Mexborough, is thoroughly convinced that Hewitt is innocent, and that he is about the last man in the world to lay a rough hand upon any one. ” If Hewitt is proceeding against,” added the doctor. ” I and others will take good care he is well defended.” Hewitt formerly worked at the Thrybergh Hall Colliery. Jake Smith says that at a late hour on Saturday night, he was walking front Kilnhurst to High Thorn, and passed a man with whom he is acquainted at the Meadow view houses. Forty yards further on he passed Miss Flavell and as he was proceeding up the hill to High Thorn, he passed Guldspink who heard Miss Flavell’s screams. There is also a statement about a man being seen crouching in the hedge dose by the houses at eleven o’clock that night and there is a belief that this man was well acquainted with the fact that Miss Flavell carried money home, and meant to rob her. She had between £7 and £8.

A further statement is made that a man was seen running up the road to Swinton shortly after the occurrence. The doctor says that if the blow Miss Flavell received had been an inch further up it would have killed her. The young lady lost a lot of blood and her head was much swollen. Miss Flavell must have received at least two blows from the position of the wounds. The first was probably the one which cut her ear, nearly severing it, and bruised her face. She screamed, and then swooned away. The statement of Jake Smith as to first meeting with a man at Meadow View, and then with Miss Flavell is very important. Smith says the young lady was coming at a pace which would allow of her getting alongside the man at Meadow View. It is certain that she was struck down here in a most cowardly manner, and when a party of young men, attracted by the screams, hurried to the spot, met this man on the way. The names of these young men who carried the young ladv home are John Gray, Charles Gray, Somerville, Samuel Thompson, and Cobb. When they reached the spot, they found that Goldspink, who was coming from High Thorn, had got there before them. Goldspink heard the screams up the road, and ran direct to the place. Miss Flavell lay on the opposite side of the road to the footpath and, as, there was blood on the wall, it appeared as though she had fallen against it. It is stated that a man was seen lounging about 20 minutes before the. Deed was committed with a stick in his hand.