Mexborough and Swinton Times September 13, 1895
A Dishonest Contractor at Denaby Main
A case of great interest to those engaged in the colliery industry came on for hearing, namely, that which Joseph Grainger, miner, Denaby was charged with that he, on August 17, then being the baillee of a certain sum of money, to wit 18s 3d, the property of William Hall, miner, and others, did convert that sum to his own use, and therefore feloniously did steal that sum.
Prisoner pleaded not guilty.
Mr Hickmott appeared to prosecute, but there was no legal defence.
Mr Hickmott, in opening, said he would lay the facts before the bench, and thought they would then concur with his own opinion, that this was a bad case, because it was one in which a miner robbed his fellow workmen.
The bench would know that in the collieries there were banks in which a number of men worked, been paid according to the amount of coal they got. Such a bank was a prominent feature in the present case, and in the bank in question there were four miners and seven trammers at work. The cause of the great number of trammers was that the miners have been for some days without the requisite number of trammers, therefore an extra number of men have been put onto tram coal as it was produced. Now those seven men had to be paid accordingly to the number of corves sent out. The prisoner was the man to whom they have been supplied an account of the number of cards, and the money where with to pay the trammer, amounting in all to £3.12s 3d.
The money was to have been divided between the seven men. The prisoner himself was entitled to only 22s, but in cellophane the money as a portion yet paid part of it, and pocketed the residue, namely 18s 3d.
The colliery company was taking the matter up on behalf of the men, they themselves being indemnified from any responsibility, the money having been paid out of their hands. The prisoner himself had bolted, was apprehended at St Tipton in Staffordshire, a warrant having being applied for and granted.
William Hall, miner of Cliff View, Denaby Main, was sworn, and said that he worked at the Denaby Colliery. He had worked in the same stall as the prisoner. For the week ending August 17, seven trammers and four miners were to be paid for work done in that particular stall. The prisoner receives the money for the trammers. The men were to be paid according to the amount of work done by them. Witness received all the wages flat bank, and the added to the prisoner £3 12s for the purpose of paying the trammers.
Prisoner: Did I raise an objection as to what was to be paid a ton?
Witness: Yes, and I replied “5 ½ d for coal, and 2 ½ d for small coal.”
Prisoner: You know very well that is not the proper price to pay.
Witness: No, I don’t.
Prisoner: Isn’t it 5s 6d a score?
Prisoner: The men are looking for it.
Mr Clews (deputy magistrate’s clerk): Did you make an agreement with the company as to what should be paid?
Prisoner: you didn’t pay me £3 12s but £3 6s 5 ½ d.
Witness: No. It was right as I gave it you.
In reply to Mr Verelst, witness said that prisoner had received a written statement, showing how much was due to each individual man and this account was handed to prisoner, along with the money.
Mr Hickmott: Do you know how much Walsh had received?
Witness: Yes, he received 3s and three half pence.
Mr Hickmott then proceeded to call the seven trammers in order to prove the amounts which had been paid, and those who had not their wages for the week ended August 17.
Joseph Hickmott, trammer, Denaby Main, said that for the week specified he was entitled to the sum of 15 shilling, which about the prisoner had paid him on August 17.
Prisoner proceeded to cross-examine witnesses as regards a certain 2s 9d which had been stopped out of his (prisoners) wages the week before.
Peter Peplow, trammer, Clifton role, Derek Main, said that for the weekend August 17, he together with a Thomas Taylor were entitled to the sum of 7s 6d which was duly paid.
James Walsh, trammer, Doncaster Road Denaby, said that the week ending August 17 his wage amounted to 4s 1 ½ d. He asked the prisoner for that amount, but he (prisoner) refused to pay it in. In consequence of this witness went to see the under manager, Mr Soar, leaving the prisoner waiting for him. When witness came back the prisoner was gone, and witness had seen no more of him until that day.
Prisoner proceeded to put a lengthy list of questions to this witness, among them be the question as to whether the witness knew that he (prisoner) had had an interview with Mr Soar at his house, as to the disposal of the money.
Witness denied this
Prisoner said Mr Soar told him (prisoner) to keep the money to the Monday following and then to see him (Mr Soar) again.
Witness: You challenge one of us to fight for his wages (laughter).
Witness was present when Mr Hall paid the £3 12s into prisoner’s hands.
Prisoner: I offered them some of the money – all I had got – and they refuse it. They would have all our non-. (Laughter)
William Turner, trammer, Denaby Main, and working at Denaby Pit, said he was entitled to 4s 1 1/2d for his services to August 17. Witness asked prisoner for the money, but that worthy informed him that he would have to be satisfied with the sum of 6p which offer was politely but firmly refused (laughter).
William Henry Clark, tremor, Clifton Street, Denaby, said that he was also entitled to 4s 1 1/2d for his services to August 17. He had been paid not. When witness demanded money from prisoner he said he had only seven shillings left from the £3 12s. He had been to Mr Soar, who told him to come on Monday, but the prisoner absconded.
Prisoner: I had got enough to pay.
Fred Raby, PC, stationed at Swinton, said, that on September 2 the apprehended the prison at Tipton, in Staffordshire and served him with the warrant produced will stop he said: “I couldn’t steal 18s 6d when I had only 8s 3d left. I had done five shifts and thought I was entitled to them. I want to them to go to Mr Soar’s, but they wouldn’t.
Prisoner, in his defence, said that he had spent the money drink on the Saturday and afterwards walked to Staffordshire. It was his first offence of any description and he pleaded for leniency.
Mr Veralst (chairman) said that when it was drink that had led the prisoner into the offence, or what, they regarded it as a particularly mean one, as it robbed his fellow miners, and he will be fined £5 or one month.