The Climax at Mexborough – Alleged Persistent Cruelty

June 1909

Sheffield Evening Telegraph – Wednesday 30 June 1909

The Climax at Mexborough

Alleged Persistent Cruelty

A sad story of persistent cruelty and ill-treatment, which culminated in a charge of unlawfully wounding, was told in the West Riding Court Doncaster this morning, when James Holland, described a labourer, appeared in the dock.

His wife, who had been dangerously wounded about the head, had to be accommodated with a seat whilst she detailed long story of brutality. In November, 1906, she got a separation order, and lived apart from him for some time. Then they came together again. She lived at Conisborough and afterwards Mexborough. Almost nightly he abused and threatened her, mostly when in drink, He not only broke the furniture to pieces, but struck her. He had threatened to “put her light out,” and that he would “finish her.”

She left him last September, and removed Mexborough to get out of his way. Eight weeks ago he turned up at Mexborough, broke the pictures, and used threats to her. Witness had run out of the house to get out of danger. The particular assault in question took place on the 21st of June—the beginning of Mexborough Feast—when prisoner suddenly appeared on the scene.

She was upstairs with a neighbour named Maud Barker, when her son called out, “Dad’s come—come down.” On coming downstairs and getting to the kitchen door she saw her husband in the kitchen. His greeting was, “What’s your ——– game now.” The house was her own, and she told him he had no right there. A lodger named Baxter and her son were in the kitchen, and after he had made an offensive remark prisoner struck her violently with something very sharp, and she remembered little that followed. She staggered back and supported herself against a dresser in the room. Blood flowed from her head as though someone had “turned a tap on.”

She had a deep wound the right side of the head . She remembered seeing one of the lodgers, a man named Cooper, turn the prisoner out of the house. Dr Gardner was fetched, and she was taken to the hospital were she had been until that morning. A shoemaker’s hammer was produced belonging to the prisoner, It was kept in a box near the door where prisoner was standing.

Prisoner cross-examined his wife as to the ownership of several articles the house.

Prisoner; Did you tell lodgers to give me a good hiding and turn me out ?—No, they turned you out to save me.

Did they strike me?—l never saw them.

I struck at you with that iron ?—lt was with something in my hand.

John Edward Holland, 13, son of the prisoner, next gave evidence in support of the charge. He said he had seen his father strike his mother times, and had heard him threaten her. He had said he would be finishing her some of these times.”

On the night in question his father came home about half-past seven. James Baxter and Reuben Tyser were in the kitchen. His father said, “You are playing a nice game now, aren’t you?” He kicked a plant pot and broke it. He said witness, “Are you happy.” He had had some drink, and witness called out to his mother, who came downstairs. His father again said “You are playing nice game.” and used bad language to her. He struck her with something, and she staggered, but he could not see what he struck her with.

Dr. Gardner, Mexborough said he was called to the prosecutrix, and found her very weak from loss of blood. She had an incised wound. 3 ½  inches in length, on the right side of the scalp, the wound extending down the forehead. It was possible for the hammer produced to have inflicted the wound.

Answering prisoner, the doctor said it was possible for the wound to be caused the woman falling against the door.

Sergeant Dales said he arrested the prisoner the same night, and he said. “I did not think I had hurt her much. Is she dead?” The hammer, which was spotted with blood, was found in the kitchen.

Prisoner, giving evidence, said his wife told the lodgers to turn him out, and he struck her on the head with his fist. Prisoner was committed for trial at the Assizes.