Mexborough & Swinton Times – Friday 08 August 1930
Denaby Pedlar’s Cruel Conduct
Denaby pedlar’s cruel treatment of his 13-year-old stepson, who was so frightened that he sought the protection of the police, was described at the Doncaster West Riding Court on Saturday, when Hugh McDonald, of no fixed abode, but until recently living in a tent in a held at Old Denaby, was charged with having neglected the boy.
Mr. W. L, Crawford, who prosecuted on behalf of the N.S.P.C.C., said the prisoner had been hawking between Denaby and Sheffield. On July 5th he had the boy with him and chastised him for some cause, and then kicked him and hurt him severely. The boy was in considerable pain.
On July 7th he complained to his mother, who went to the Mexboro’ Police Station and made a complaint. P.c. Stafforth and Inspector Redfern went to the field where McDonald was living, but could not find hint.
On July 8th, apparently because the incident had been reported to the police, prisoner told the lad ‘that he would half kill him, and the boy was so scared that he went to the police station and appealed for protection, and had since been kept away from McDonald. Immediately after the boy ran away from them the prisoner and his wife left the district, and could not be traced until McDonald was apprehended on another charge on July 31st. McDonald had made no inquiries as to the whereabouts of the boy.
The boy, Leonard Wignall, aged 11, said he had not been to school for three years, but bad assisted his stepfather at hawking. He was afraid of his lather, and did not want to go back to him.
Bursting into tears, the lad admitted in cross-examination by McDonald that he half fell off the cart, but denied that his injury was caused by that, persisting that the prisoner kicked him. “You hit me for nowt; you are not my real father,” he said.
P.c. Stafford said that in consequence of a complaint by the boy’s mother he examined the lad and found him injured rather severely.
Det.-Officer Lee said the boy was in a very agitated and distressed condition when the complaint was made. The injury was evidently painful.
On oath, McDonald said the injury was caused by the boy tumbling head first over the front of the cart, his trousers catching the lamp holder. He was hanging in that position until witness pulled him hack. He had corrected the boy on one or two occasions for misbehaviour, but had never ill-treated him. “He smokes and be doesn’t like me because I am his stepfather, I have done my best for him,” added the prisoner.
McDonald had a bad record, having several convictions for larceny, indecent assault and other offences.
When told he would be sent to prison for six months with hard labour, he replied, “I shall appeal against that verdict.”
Before this case, McDonald was charged with having stolen a sack of horse hair, valued at £1, from a Bentley horse slaughterer, but the case was dismissed.