Serious Charge against a Denaby Footballer

June 1901

Mexborough and Swinton Times, June 28.

Serious Charge against a Denaby Man.

William Lawley, a well-known local footballer, who played full-back for the Denaby club last season, was charged on remand with having committed a serious crime against a girl.

The case was heard in the magistrates room before Mr B. I Whitaker (in the chair) and Major Dove.

Mr W Baddilly, solicitor, Doncaster, appeared for the defence.

The prosecutrix was Lydia Sparks, the daughter of a miner, living at 5 Barnborough Street, Denaby. The accused is a married man, living at 2 Thrybergh Terrace, Denaby.

In her evidence the prosecutrix stated that she was 16 years of age in July last year.

On Monday the 17th inst atabout our past two in the afternoon, she went up to the house of the prisoner to borrow some bread tins.The back door was open, and she left it open when she went in. The prisoner was in the house and no one else. She asked him where his wife was, and he did not answer. She had been in the habit of going to the house. She went to the cupboard to get out the bread tins, and the prisoner came up to and started slapping her in the face in fun.

Then he got hold of her, and committed the offence complained of. She did nothing to prevent him except asking him several times to let her go. She told him that someone was coming up the yard and he then looked through the window, and locked the back door, afterwards repeating the offence.

On this occasion she screamed twice, and told him she would tell her father, whereupon the prisoner said “You would not like to see me get into trouble?”

What the prisoner did was against her will. When she left the house she took the bread tins with her and afterwards informed a woman named Hooper. Her father went up to the Denaby cricket field, where it a match was in progress, and spoke to Lawley, who was one of the spectators.

Lawley, her father, and she returned to Lawley’s house together, where, in answer to a question, Lawley said. “I have not done it.”

Later in the afternoona policeman was sent for, and they all went to the Conisbrough police station, the prosecutrix being afterwards examined, by Dr Craik.

Mr Baddeley subjected the prosecutrix to a lengthy cross-examination, in the course of which he suggested that story as to the assault was a fabrication. The questions as to not screaming the first time, and only screaming twice the second time, were especially pointed.

A number of witnesses on both sides were called, and after hearing the evidence the magistrates dismissed the case.

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