Mexborough and Swinton Times January 8, 1886
Extraordinary Conduct of a Policeman at Conisborough
Thomas Sharp, blacksmith and Henry Lindsay, labourer, both of Conisborough, were summoned at the West Riding Police Court, on Saturday for committing an assault on PC Coddington, and the former defendant was also charged with being drunk and disorderly.
Mr Hall appeared for the defence
PC Coddington stated that on the 23rd ult. he found the defendant Sharp on the highway at Burcroft, very drunk, and cursing and swearing. He asked him to go home and he refused, and shortly afterwards Lindsay went up and struck him several times with the buckle end of a belt at the back of his head. Then Sharp struck and kicked him about the body. Lindsay eventually got Sharp away from him.
In reply to Mr Hall witness said he was at the Castle Inn for five minutes, but he had nothing to drink. Mr Booth did not pay for a glass of gin for him. He had no whiskey, nor was he there an hour. He saw the defendant Sharp have a pint of beer in the taproom, and told the landlady to send him out. Defendant Sharp did say at the time that he would report the officer for drinking. He did not strike Sharp.
Mr Hall: Where you on the floor together, and you on the top of him?
I was. (Laughter)
Mr Hall: Had you hold of him by the throat, and did you kick him?
Mr Hall: Did the women tell you to get up?
Witness: They said I was a brute.
Did you knock the mother down?
I did not; I shoved her out of the way.
That was not the first public house you are in that day, was it?
Not by many.
Were you at the Alma about 12 o’clock?
I did not go into the Alma.
Did you have anything to drink there?
Will you swear you had not a glass of beer with Mr Moody?
He did not give me a glass of beer.
Upon your solemn oath did you not have some beer there?
I had a glass of beer, but I paid for it.
Did you “square before this man and say “Let’s have a bit of a spar”?
No I did not.
You were on duty, were you not?
Yes, I was on duty.
That was wrong, was it not?
I don’t know.
Will you swear that you don’t know that it is wrong to drink in a public house when on duty?
Thomas Jepson Askin said he saw one of the defendant running after the officer and striking him with the buckle end of a belt.
For the defendant Charlotte Frampton stated that at the time in question, she was going for a pint of beer, when she saw Sharp coming first police officer following him. Sharp told the officer that he should report him for drinking, and on that the officer asked Sharp what he had insulted him for, and struck at Sharp and felled into the ground, and whilst down kicked him and hit is head against a brick wall. Witness then went for Sharp’s mother, and on her return he found the officer kneeling with his knees upon Sharp’s chest, and he had hold of him by the throat. Sharp was screaming “murder” as well as he could. Sharp’s mother said, “You will strangle him,” and the officer replied “I will kill the ——
The officer afterwards struck Lindsay with a pair of handcuffs and Lindsay ran after them. The officer ran away leaving his hat and stick in the middle of the road. Sharp was a little the worse for drink, but was going home quietly.
Mrs Sharp, mother of one of the defendants, said she and Lindsay went with the last witness, and generally corroborated the evidence given. The officer, when she told him he had done enough, said “Get out of the way you old ——“ and knocked her down also.
Charlotte Frampton, a girl of about 13 years of age, is serving at the Castle Inn, said on the day named she saw the policeman only two glasses of whiskey at the Castle Inn, which Mr Booth paid for. The officer was in the house about an hour
William Charles Gibson stated that on this day to be at the inn, a little after 8 o’clock. The officer came in and Mr Booth said, “Will you have a drop of anything to drink?” The officer replied, “I will have a glass of gin. On the glass being brought in Mr Booth said, “Let us go into the bar,” and the officer and Mr Booth left the taproom together. Sharp afterwards came into the taproom and had a pint of beer and the officer soon afterwards return and told landlady to ask Sharp to leave. He went.
In about 10 minutes the officer returned to the public house with his handcuffs in his hand, said “Are you going to see a —— killed.” The witness said it was a pity he could not do is business, and he replied Feel at my head, I have had five of the ——- at me.”
The defendant Lindsay, on being sworn, said in consequence of what Mrs Sharp said he went with her to the a Castle Inn, and found the officer on top of Sharp, and witness and Mrs Sharp pulled the officer off. On Sharp getting up the officer struck and felled him again. The officer afterwards knocked Mrs Sharp down.
Mr Hall said that was the whole of the evidence, and added that he hoped there would be an enquiry into the policeman’s conduct.
The witness Gibson had stated that another man was in the Castle Inn when the policeman returned after the assault, and on it being said that the man was in court, the Bench called him and he was sworn.
In reply to the Bench the witness said when the officer returned he said, “Are you going to see a man get killed?” To which the witness replied “I am not going to get killed.” The officer went on to say that there had been five or six men at him. About two minutes afterwards witness went out but he could not see anyone about. The officer was in the public house about 25 minutes before the assault.
The Bench retired to consider their decision, and on their return Lord Auckland said the Bench had very carefully considered the volume of evidence that had being given, they were of the opinion that as against Sharp then was not sufficient evidence of disorderly conduct on his part to support the charge of being drunk and disorderly, and it would be dismissed.
With regard to the assault which both men were charged the magistrates were of the opinion that whatever assault was committed on the policeman was brought upon himself. They dismissed that charge. (Applause in court which was immediately suppressed.)