Brutal Conduct at Conisborough Station.

September 1901

Mexborough and Swinton Times, September 27.

Brutal Conduct at Conisborough Station.

Cowardly Attack on Railway Officials.

Bookmaker sent to Prison.

A story of brutal conduct was unfolded at the Doncaster West Riding Police Court on Saturday, before Mr G.B.C. Yarborough and other magistrates.

The accused were two Conisborough young men, and the means they adopted for their defence called forth strong remarks from the Chairman, who did not hesitate to declare that perjury had been committed both by the defendants, and other witnesses.

Isaac Gough, miner, Conisborough, was summoned for travelling without a ticket on the Great Central Railway, and with having obstructed the railway officials; and Thomas Gough, his brother, described as a bookmaker, was summoned for assaulting Charles Peters Richards, stationmaster, Conisborough and Albert Tooth, porter on Sunday, 1 September.

Mr Dixon H. Davis, Great Central Railway solicitor, appeared for the prosecution and Mr Baddiley, solicitor, Doncaster, for the defence.

The prosecuting solicitor, said that some time the railway officials at Conisborough had known that persons travelling on the late train from Doncaster to Conisborough had been defrauding the railway company, and this was particularly the case on Sunday nights, when organised rushes took place at the ticket barrier.

The night of September 1st, Isaac Gough, lighted from the Doncaster train due at Conisborough at 10:25 pm and went towards the exit gate. Thomas Gough appeared to have a ticket, but both passed porter Tooth and clerk Piper, without giving up tickets. They took part in an organiser rush and subsequently Thomas Gough assaulted two officials named in the summons. He (Mr Davies) submitted that a stop should be put to that sort of thing.

Mr Baddiley: No doubt it will be if you can prove it.

Harry Piper, railway clerk, said he was on duty at the station on the arrival of the train from Doncaster, when the two defendants rushed at the barrier. Witness took hold of Thomas’s coat and said “Tickets please.” Immediately Isaac Gough, who was behind, placed his hands on his brothers back and pushed him forward. They both got past without giving up their tickets.

Mr Richards, the stationmaster, who was standing near, went through the barrier up the steps after the defendant, and Thomas Gough struck him in the face and knocked him down five or six steps. Witness was quite sure that the men came to the barrier together. Several people got away without giving up tickets in consequence of the conduct of the defendants. Isaac Gough did not give up a ticket to witness.

Alfred Tooth, a railway porter, who was assisting in the collection of tickets, gave similar evidence. He said Thomas Gough was in front and Isaac was just behind when they got to the barrier. Isaac had his head down, and they both made a rush. They both got through the wicket gate at the bottom of the steps and the witness got hold of Thomas Gough’s coat over the gate. Thomas Gough, who was then up to 3 steps, turned round and kicked the witness on the chest. He felt the effects of `for several days afterwards. Mr Richards then went up the steps and asked Thomas Gough for his ticket, and the witness believed the defendant gave him a ticket. The stationmaster then asked Thomas Gough for his name and address, and before Mr Richards, knew where he was Thomas Gough hit him on the left jaw, and knocked him down five or six steps. Both witnesses got away.

Two or three days afterwards Isaac Gough was brought into the station office and asked to point out the man to whom he said he had given up his ticket, but he could not do so. Isaac Gough then gave his name and address.

Charles Peters Richards, stationmaster, said there were probably 70 or 80 passengers by the train, and as stated by the last witness, he went after the men, when he saw they had not given up their tickets. He held out his hand to Thomas Gough, who gave him a ticket, at the same time striking him heavily on the jaw with his right hand, knocking him headfirst to the bottom of the steps. He was rendered unconscious, and it was some time before he realised what had happened. He was unable to go on duty the next day in consequence of the ill-treatment, and suffered from pains in the head.

Before the assault took place he asked the defendant for his name and address, as he had seen him assault the porter. Isaac Gough did not give up a ticket. He knew the man perfectly well by sight and two or three days afterwards Isaac Gough came to his office and said he had given up his ticket, but could not identify any member of the staff as the person to whom he had given it. Thomas Gough stood about two steps above the witness, so that the length of his arm was on level with his face. He found Thomas Gough on the Tuesday following in a public house, near Mexborough. He had not the slightest doubt the defendants were the men.

Mr James Lardner, a railway detective, gave evidence of searching for the prisoners, in company with the stationmaster, who identified them.

Mr Baddiley for the defence, said the evidence he had to put before the Bench was entirely contradictory to that which had been given, and he submitted that some mistake must have been made.

Mr Henry Howden, Balby Street, Denaby Main, stated that Thomas Gough travelled from Doncaster in the same compartment as himself and Willis Cuttle and Thomas Mee and several more. The carriage in which they were stopped near the exit set. Thomas Gough was the first of their party to go up the steps, and he gave up his ticket in the usual way. The witness did not see the brother Isaiah at Conisborough station. No assault took place. He (witness), Thomas Gough, Cuttle and Mee went direct to his house.

Thomas Mee gave similar evidence, and Willis Cuttle also said Isaiah Gough was not with them.

In answer to a question in cross-examination, the witness caused some amusement by saying: I had not been drinking in Doncaster – not to go on a “drinking excursion” as you may say.

Walter Hewitt, Firbeck Street, Denaby, said he was just behind Isaiah Gough at the booking office at Doncaster station, and saw him get a ticket for Conisborough. They travelled together in the rear part of the train, and when they got off at Conisborough, they passed through the barrier in the usual way. Isaiah Gough gave up his ticket to Harry Piper. The witness never saw Thomas Gough at Conisborough station. He saw no assault.

Lawrence Sawyer, Balby Street, said he travelled the same compartment as the last witness and Isaiah Gough and never saw Thomas Gough at Conisborough station. The witness did not see any assault, but he saw the stationmaster leaning against a wall.

Isaac Gough, the younger defendant, was sworn, and he told a similar story and Thomas Gough the other defendants, also swore that he never touched either Piper or the stationmaster.

Isaac Gough was fine 30 shillings, including costs for each offence, three pounds altogether.

Before passing sentence on Thomas Gough, that the Chairman said the Bench had not the slightest doubt that he was acting along with a lot of ruffians like himself in endeavouring to get his brother through without paying, and that he committed a very violent assault on the porter and on the stationmaster. The magistrates were determined that ruffians, like the defendant, his family, and his associates, should be dealt with strongly. They have made the case worse by the circumstances of their defence. One witness after another, including Thomas Gough and his brother, had committed the most deliberate perjury. It was perfectly painful for the magistrates to sit and hear one witness after another coming to Court with a deliberate intention to commit perjury.

For the first assault on the porter, Thomas Gough would be committed to Wakefield prison with hard labour for two calendar months, and for the assault on the stationmaster two calendar months, the sentences to be consecutive; therefore, the defendant would be kept at hard labour for four months.

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