Disgraceful Public House Row – Alleged Cannibalism

February 1879

Mexborough and Swinton Times, February 21

Disgraceful Public house Row at Denaby.

Alleged Cannibalism by a Miner

Thomas Harrison, a trammer, living at Denaby, was summoned for having being disorderly and refusing to quit the Reresby Arms, Denaby, on the eighth inst, and also with having assaulted the landlord, John Slater, on the same day. Mr Parker Rhodes appeared for Slater and Mr C.V.Willis represented Harrison .

Slater stated that on the 8th inst at about a 2:15 in the afternoon, the defendant came into his house. A Collier named Patsy Oates was in the bar at the time, and when defendant saw him he made use of some very abusive language about the work at the pit. The talk was filthy and abusive, and he orderded Harrison to leave the house.

He refused after being told twice or thrice. He then got holdof him toput him out; but Harrison got down on his knees and bit a piece of flesh out of his left thigh. Thomas Potts eventually came to his (later) assistance, and they got the man out. Soon afterwards he came back, bringing a half brick in his hand. That he hurled at him, but it only grazed his cheek. He put the man out again, and as he was getting him out of the door, he bit his thumb. On this occasionhe struckthe defendant in self defence.

By Mr Willis: The quarrel between Oates and Harrison took place when there were several other people in the house, the latter complained that Oates had not got sufficient coal for him to fill. When he was putting Harrison out, his (Slater’s), wife did not say.” Oh Slater, come into the house and let him be.”

Thomas Potts, was called as evidence for Slater. He said he took Harrison out of the hoursfivetimes himself: and at last he commenced a fight with a man named Gregory. He saw neither Slater nor anyone else kick the defendant.

PCMidgley said after the occurrence had taken place – he was away when it did transpire – he went to the house and Slater showed him a black mark on his thigh as long as his palm, with a piece bitten out of the centre.

On behalf of its clients. Mr Willis made a statement, which was entirely corroborated, and which was to the effect that the defendant denied altogether that he bit Slater. He never created a disturbance during the time he was there .Another man named George Wardle and Patsy Oates were quarrelling at the time. The complainant never asked the defendant to go out of the house either. He stated that whilst he (Harrison) and Oates were talking together about their wages, Slater rushed into the room, got hold of him and pulled him from his seat to the floor. He was then kicked and he had two teeth kicked out, which was quite evident from his appearance.

Mrs Jemima Brady tell the bench that she saw Slater kick Harrison outside. It was singular, out of about 50 men, that no one was brought to corroborate the landlord´s statement, but Potts, the waiter.

In reply to Mr Rhodes, who remarked that he was told by Slater, that defendant’s case was a deliberate lie.

William Wardle said he could not tell, who beat Slater’s thigh. The defendant was laid with his head on the table in the room and never quarrel led with anyone.

Mrs Brady said that formally she lived as servant with Slater, and now lived opposite to him. She said she saw both Slater and Potts holding Harrison down and kicking him.

The defendant having given evidence, he was asked by the chairman, if he thought the landlord would be so foolish as to quarrel with such a good customer as he appeared to be.

Defendant: Well, your honour he did Sir.

The Chairman. We shall dismiss the case of assault, and we shall fine you for refusing to quit the premises. You will have 20 shillings and 8s 6d costs to pay or 21 days in the house of correction.

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