Serious Charge – A Successful Alibi from Conisborough

September 1895

Mexborough & Swinton Times September 6, 1895

A Successful Alibi from Conisborough.
A Serious Charge.

Doncaster. Saturday – before Messrs. J. B. C. Yarbrough (chairman), Frank Ramsden, Godfrey Walker, Batty writing, W. H. Ward album, Capt Gove, and M. T. Baines.

George Martin, miner, Denaby, was placed in the dock charged, firstly, with unlawfully wounding WM. Barker, at Conisborough, on August 17; and secondly, with unlawfully trespassing in search of game at Conisborough on the same date.

Mr. Hall appeared in support of the summons, and said that the question which their worship would be called upon to decide was whether the men in the dark was the right one.

He was charged with unlawfully wounding WM. Barker, Mr Godfrey Walker’s game keeper. Barker would tell them that he had known the defendant for 12 months, and knew him well by sight. On the day in question the keeper had found the defendant trespassing, and after following him for some time, came up to the man who commenced to assault him, striking him 3 off more times. As the keeper was putting down his gun, defendant picked up on a large stone and hurled it at the keeper, with the result that a large wound was made. The keeper had since been under the care of the doctor.

William Barker, gamekeeper, said that on 17 August he saw the defendant come into the field where he was. He then followed the hedge for some distance when witness saw him set a snare. Witness said, “What are you doing there?” When witness said these words, the defendant made a “threatening attitude” with the stick he carried. Witness shouted out, “Now don’t strike, you will get wrong.”

Defendant thereupon ran down the field and when overtaken by the complainant he said, “Let me off this time.” Witness didn’t answer him. Defendant again commenced to run away, but was overtaken by witness, who said, “it doesn’t matter, where you go I will follow.” Defendant then got over into the lane, and started to take to his heels. Witness gave chase, and eventually caught the man near the cliff.

It was then that the defendant threw the stone which made him unconscious. He had been confined to his house for more than a week owing to the effects of the blow. He had known the defendant by sight for nine or 10 months and had frequently met him. The affair lasted for about 20 minutes, during which time he had defendant continually in view. He had no doubt as to the identity of prisoner.

Defendant: I have never seen him before in my life.

Godfrey Walker said he received information that his keeper had been injured. Witness immediately went to see him, and found that he had been very severely injured indeed. A doctor was at once procured.

Defendant here began an explanation saying that he was “as innocent as the chairman,” and also that on the evening of the offence he was at Doncaster until 8 o’clock when he came by train to Conisborough reaching there at a 8:45 o’clock. It was a mistake in identifying him and he had never seen or spoken to Barker in his life.

He proceeded to call witnesses

Joe Brown called said that at 6.40 on 17 August he was in the Scarborough Arms, Doncaster, with the defendant. They were indulging in a game of dominoes. In reply to Mr. Hall, witness said he had been first open to about the matter that morning. He knew that the defendant left at 7:20 because he went to catch the 7.40 train. Witness had been with him since 6 o’clock. He first met him in the White Hart in at 12 o’clock. Defendant often came to Doncaster having been there frequently in the course of the last three months. Witness had never seen defendant from that date to the present. It would be impossible for the defendant to get to Conisborough by 8 o’clock. Witness had, as he said, being “convicted all round.”

Joe Cook said the defendant was with him from 4 o’clock. The defendant played dominoes until 7:20 and then went to the station to catch his train

Mr. Hall: Are you a relation of the landlord? – Witness: no. I am a bricklayer’s labourer at Mexborough. He lived at Doncaster and stayed there all that night. He did not know defendant before that date.

Mr Elliott said that it was impossible for a man to come home drunk as the defendant did at 9 o’clock and then be on the cliffs by 7.30. (Laughter.)

The defendant had left home on the Tuesday before 17 August. And only came back that night. Witness saw him come home and he was too drunk to go on any cliffs. (Laughter.)

Mr. Hall: did you speak to him? – Witness: I don’t talk to drunken men. I won’t put myself out of the way to talk to drunkards. (Laughter) it was morally impossible for him to go to the cliffs. (Laughter)

Sarah Sheldon also swore to seeing the defendant drunk at 9 o’clock on the 17th. Moreover, he was physically unable to throw stones owing to illness

The case was dismissed.