Conisborough Shooting Affray – Father Committed to Assizes – Frightened of Son

October 1925

Mexborough and Swinton Times, October 10 1925

Conisborough Shooting Affray.
Father Committed to Assizes.
Frightened of Son

At Doncaster, on Tuesday, John Richard Hannam, miner of Conisborough, was charged with having attempted to murder his son, Percy Hannam, who has been in Doncaster infirmary. Percy appeared at court with his arm in a sling.

The prisoner, who had been on bail, was defended by Mr J. W. Fenoughtly, of Sheffield.

Mr. E. W. Pettifer, the Magistrates Clerk, first read a statement made by Percy Hannam, at the infirmary. In this, Hannam, who lives at 37 Highfield Road, Conisborough, stated that on July 31, at about 2:20 p.m., he was coming from Edlington with his father Robert Mitchell. They were on bicycles. They had an argument about the reckoning of money from the pit, where they both worked in the same stall. They got excited with one another. When about 30 yards from Highfield Road, in which Road his father also lived, at number 50, they jumped off their bicycles and had a heated argument, which nearly came to blows.

Shot twice

His father went home, and witness stopped talking to Mitchell for a few minutes, then went to his own home. After dinner he came out to get a load of coal in, he saw his father at the entry and prisoner told him to fetch what he wanted.

Witness said he had some furniture at his father’s house, and he told him he should fetch it. His father came down the street, and witness met him. They had a further argument about 10 shillings, which his father said he had received three weeks before. He was going to hit his father, but only pushed him. His father run home and witness went after him.

His father then got his gun and shot him. He was 4 yards away when the first shot struck him in the right arm.

Witness went down the passage and his father ran after him and shot him in the left side. He ran into his house and was attended to by ambulance men until the doctor arrived.

Witness said he first saw his father loading the gun after the first shot.

Under cross examination at the infirmary by his father, witness said they were both “about drunk,” and he followed the prisoner because the latter had said that, old that he was, he could “clout” witness.

Witness now denied that he was drunk. He had three or 4 pints of beer, and his father had about same, but he thought his father had had more before they met.

A Good Son

Mr. Fenoughtly: do you admit that on this occasion you were about to attack your father? – Yes

It’s not the first time, is it? – No it isn’t.

Witness admitted taking a hatchet to strike his father about eight months ago. He did not strike him, he pushed him through a window.

You are quite a good son aren’t you?

Witness: Yes.

Witness agreed that when he was married his father told him not to go to his house.

A man named Allsopp said witness, had to do with the paying out, but his father reckoned the sheets up.

Did you threaten to knock his ——- head off? – No. I threatened to hit him.

I put it to you that you struck your father in the face several times? – That is a lie.


The Injuries

Doctor. J. W. Wilson, house Surgeon at the Doncaster Royal infirmary, said he counted 35 punctured wounds on the left side of the back. There was a lacerated wound over the right elbow, in which he counted over 30 pellets. There was about the same number beneath the soft tissues of the left side. An operation was performed on August 4th, 12 pellets were extracted. Cross-examined by Mr Bentley Dr Wilson said the wound in the elbow was consistent with having been received when the right hand was raised to strike.

John Richard Wilson, miner, 37, Highfield road, Conisborough. Said Percy Hannam married his wife’s sister, and was living with witness on July 31st. On that day witness was assisting Percy Hannam to get in a load of coal. Prisoner came on the scene, and an argument began about furniture. Percy Hannam told his father, to go home about his business. Prisoner when some distance, and then shouted to his son: “Come on here, I’ll righten’ you.” Percy followed, and witness got between them as he thought they were going to fight. He brought Percy Hannam back to the yard again. Prisoner again shouted to his son, and the latter once more went after him. Both entered the passage leading to the prisoner’s back door.

“Help me.”

Soon afterwards witness heard two shots fired, and saw Percy Hannam leave the passage. He had his hands on his hip and said “He has shot me, help me in.” Prisoner was following about seven or 8 yards behind, with a gun in his hand, and witness saw him trying to load it.

Cross-examined, witness said Percy Farnham threatened to strike his father, but did not do so. When witness first got hold of Percy Farnham he broke away, but he had got hold of him again and took him into the yard.

Mary Elizabeth Wilson, wife of the last witness, corroborated his evidence.

John Hawksworth, 47, Highfield Road, Conisborough, said while in his garden he saw the prisoner coming up the road in a very excited manner, and shouting something that caused Mr Percy Hannam to go and meet her husband. Prisoner went into his house and came out with a gun. He stood in the middle-of-the-road and said “Let him come, I’ll settle him.”

Percy Hannam afterwards entered the passage leading to his father’s house, and witness heard two shots and saw Percy running out crying for help, with his father following him with a gun. Miss Eliza Coward, next-door neighbour to the prisoner, said when Percy Hannam came to the prisoner’s house he asked his father to bring the gun out.

Both men appeared to have some beer, but she could not say whether they were drunk or sober.

Prisoner pleaded “Not guilty”, said he was frightened of his son, and got the gun to defend himself. He fired at his son’s arm. Had he wanted to kill him he could have done so in a second.

He was committed for trial at Leeds assizes, bail being allowed.