Conisborough Shooting Affray – Provocation

March 1921

Mexborough Times, March 26th

The Conisborough Shooting Affray

Great Provocation

At Leeds Assizes on Friday, before Mr Commissioner H.J.Young, K.C., John Richard Hannon (52), miner, Conisborough was indicted for inflicted grievous bodily harm, on George Cocksedge and Thomas Grork.

The initial stages of the drama as outlined by Mr H.R.Bramley, for the prosecution, were enacted at the Star Hotel, Conisborough, where there was talk of an inflammatory nature on English and Irish affairs.

An Irishman named Butler was alleged to have said that the English ought to be at the bottom of the sea, and there was other talk of that nature anduntil the landlord intervened.

There was trouble later outside the Three Horse Shoes, and Grork was knocked down by someone unknown, sustaining injuries to cheek and lips. Cocksedge, who was a personal friend of the prisoners, accompanied the latter as far as Highfield road, where he lived.

After leaving him he heard sounds of a disturbance, and turned back. He then saw that a gang of men, had followed the prisoner up the road to his house. He next heard a shot, and the men came flying down the road.

Cocksedge stood still, the next thing he saw was a flash in a few yards away, and he felt himself hit in the right side. He had 17 punctured wounds between the elbow and right arm, and had to be conveyed to Doncaster infirmary.

The other prosecutor, Grork, who was an Irishman, continued Mr Bramley,had been taken home by a man named Rochford. They reached the bottom of Highfield Road when a man rushed down and said to them: “are you English or Irish?”

Rochford said, “we are Irish.”

Thereupon the man pointed the gun at him. However, he did not fire, but he hit Grork over the head with the butt end.

Ambrose Mangham, miner, St John´s Road, new Edlington, said he went with prisoners to Highfield Road, and when they got there. 20 to 30 men followed them up the street. While inside the prisoner´s house. Witness heard one of them say: “let´s fetch the – – – out.”

The Commissioner: The position seems to be that there was trouble between the English and Irish. The English retreated up Highfield road, and entered the house. The Fort was besieged, and what we want to know is how the siege was resisted.

PC Davidson, who was attracted to the scene by the sound of shots, said he saw prisoner level his gun at Grork, and then hit him over the head with the butt end of it.

For the defence, Mr R.A.Shepherd contended that if the shots were fired, as alleged, prisoner was justified in the action he took in self defence and in protection of his home.

He were generally frightenedof the gang of men who followed him, and if a shot did strike Cocksedge, it was not fired with malicious intent.

Prisoner himself gave evidence, and admitted firing the gun in the passage of the house to frighten away the men who had followed him. He fired a second shot in the yard, but denied having struck anybody with the butt of the gun.

A number of other witnesses bore out prisoner statement.

The jury found the prisoner guilty under great provocation with regard to the assault on Cocksedge and not guilty with regard to Grork.

He was sentenced to 3 months imprisonment with hard labour

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