22 August 1903

A Wife Charged With Murdering Her Husband

Stalybridge was on Tuesday night thrown into a scene of the wildest excitement upon a rumour being circulated that a woman had made a murderous attack upon her husband with a knife, and that there was little hope of his recovery. The report only too true, for within about twelve hours of the perpetration of the deed the unfortunate husband had succumbed to haemorrhage, following upon loss of blood caused by a terrible wound in the neck.

The deceased was Joel BROADBENT, a forgeman employed at Messrs Summers’ Globe Ironworks, and he resided with his wife, Margaret BROADBENT, and two children, at a cottage, No 3 Cocker Hill, a short distance from the Town Hall. At nine o’clock — it appears from the statement of Mrs BROADBENT’s mother (Mrs Margaret DOCKNEY, who resided with the parties) — deceased arrived home and he and his wife exchanged a few heated words.

At that time there were two knives on the table, and fearing a disturbance Mrs DOCKNEY cleared the table of the pots. Whilst doing this it is alleged that her daughter picked up one of the knives — an ordinary weapon used for peeling potatoes — and stabbed her husband in the neck. What subsequently transpired is best gleaned from the account furnished by Constable Brierley GRIMSHAW.

This officer was on duty in the vicinity of the Town Hall when he saw BROADBENT knocking vigorously at Dr ROBERTS-DUDLEY’s surgery door. GRIMSHAW proceeded to ascertain the cause, and at once discovered that the man was bleeding profusely from an awful wound in the neck. The doctor not being at the house, the constable hurriedly conveyed the unfortunate man to Dr CLEMENTS’ surgery in Portland Place, and upon arriving there, BROADBENT utterly collapsed from loss of blood

By this time information of the tragic events had reached the Town Hall, and the poor man was conveyed in an unconscious state to the District Infirmary in the horse ambulance. Later on he recovered consciousness, but succumbed the following morning as stated.

From what the deceased man said, Constable GRIMSHAW afterwards went to a house in Avon-street, and there arrested Mrs BROADBENT. He took her to the police station, and she was locked up. After midnight the man’s dying depositions were taken at the Infirmary by Mr Jno WHITEHEAD (magistrates’ clerk) who was accompanied by Dr HOWE, JP, and Captain BATES (Chief Constable), and we understand that a very clear statement incriminating the prisoner was made.

Mrs BROADBENT was brought before the justices on Wednesday morning, at 10.30, her husband having died less than half an hour before the woman was transferred from the cell to the dock. The court was crowded, and as the prisoner, along with others for trial, was lead into the dock breathless silence prevailed, broken only by an occasional whimper on the part of Mrs BROADBENT.

One or two minor cases were disposed of, after which the Magistrates’ Clerk called upon the woman to stand up. She complied instantly. She stood against the dock rail, wearing a blue shawl over her head and shoulders, and only displayed a portion of her countenance as the Chief Constable asked the magistrates to hear formal evidence of arrest, and then remand prisoner for a week. In the meantime, added Captain BATES, the inquest would be held, and the woman would have to attend it.

Constable GRIMSHAW then came forward and said: Your worships, I arrested prisoner in a house in Avon-street at five minutes to nine o’clock last night. Just previously, I met deceased, bleeding profusely. I asked him who had caused the wound and he replied, “My wife, with a knife.” Upon charging her, she replied, “Yes; and if I had got a weapon I would serve you the way I served him. I don’t care what they do; I’m not afraid to die!” She was then locked up.

Clever Capture By Constable Hamer

On Wednesday, at the Stalybridge Police Court, two youths with very bad records, named respectively Samuel SIMKISS and James GREENWOOD, were brought up in custody — having been remanded from Monday — on a charge of stealing two pairs of shoes and a pocket handkerchief from the Ashton, Stalybridge and district lawn tennis pavilion, on the 16th inst. Prisoners were arrested red-handed on Sunday midnight by Constable HAMER, and the Chief Constable pressed for a severe penalty. The following evidence was tendered:

Captain John ERSKINE said: I am a member of the Ashton, Stalybridge and District Lawn Tennis Club, and reside at the Ashton Barracks. The handkerchief produced is my property, and bears my name at the corner. It is worth 1s, and I last saw it safe on Friday on the club premises.

Constable James HAMER said: On Sunday at midnight I was on duty at Cockbrook, and upon examining the pavilion in the tennis club ground found a window broken and a ladder reared against the side. I got inside the window, and found prisoners hiding under a table. GREENWOOD made an attempt to escape, and as I hit him with my staff he shouted, “Hold on, we’re copped.”

I brought them to the police office, and upon searching them I found the handkerchief on GREENWOOD. Upon being charged with the theft, GREENWOOD replied, “Aye,” and SIMKISS “Yes.” Subsequently I found that GREENWOOD was wearing the shows produced, the property of Mr HILDYARD, prisoner having exchanged his own for them. I charged them both this morning with stealing the shoes, and they replied, “Yes, that is all we have stolen.”

Captain BATES: I think the Bench will agree with me that it was a clever capture by Constable HAMER. — The Chairman: He is deserving of being complimented for it.

Allen BOWER, of Egerton-street, Ashton, deposed: I am caretaker of the pavilion and grounds of the tennis club. On Saturday night I left everything secure, but early on Monday morning I was knocked up by the police who told me that the pavilion had been broken into. I went there, and found that the shoes belonging to Mr F E HILDYARD, of Ashton, had been stolen. They are worth about 10s, and I saw them safe on Saturday night.

Prisoners elected to be tried by the magistrates, and both now pleaded guilty. GREENWOOD said he had no boots. — The Chairman: Do either of you work? — SIMKISS: We only landed back from Liverpool on Sunday. — The Chief Constable: They never will work; they will spend their lives at this game.

The Chairman: In this case, the Bench feel compelled to deal as severely as they can with both of you. It is quite clear you are both very bad lads. One of you has served three months’ hard labour on three separate occasions last year, and the other one three months twice. SIMKISS had been convicted 11 times and GREENWOOD 8. It is a great pity that young men like you, on the threshold of manhood, should be misusing your time in the way you are doing. We shall now give you three months on each charge, six months in all.

Addressing Constable HAMER, the Chairman said: I am requested by the Justices to compliment you upon the capture you have made, and I am sure the community generally will be glad to think they will be ridded for six months of two such dangerous characters. Everyone will be pleased with your capture. — Constable HAMER: Thank you, sir.

A Remarkable Record

The oldest resident in the borough of Dukinfield passed away last Wednesday week in the person of Sarah BOWYER, of Crescent-road. She had attained the remarkably advanced ago of 95, and was a woman who had always enjoyed very good health up to within a recent period. She had lived in Dukinfield nearly all her life, though she was a native of Cheadle, and was married at Bowdon Church. She had been present at no fewer than 35 old folks’ annual tea parties in the Old Chapel School. The following are the names of her children:

Great- grand child’n
Great-great- grand- chid’n
Joseph Higham
68 dead
Thomas Bowyer
61 dead
Henry Bowyer
66 living
George Bowyer
63 dead
Mary Williams
70 living
Ann Chappels
68 living
Sarah Daniels
53 living
Ellen Pemberton
55 dead

She had the following brothers and sisters:- Henry HIGHAM, 66, dead; James HIGHAM, 81, dead; William HIGHAM, 80, living; John HIGHAM, 73, living; Elizabeth BAKER, 70, living; Mary TAYLOR, 82, dead; Ann GOULD, 72, dead; Elizabeth GOULD, 72, dead; Elizabeth HIGHAM, Edna HIGHAM, Martha HIGHAM, died in infancy.

The interment took place last Saturday at the Ashton and Dukinfield Joint Cemetery. The bearers were the grandsons and great-grandson.

Knocked Down By A Sheffield Express

On Saturday morning an inquiry into the circumstances attending the death of John James BUTLER, of 306 John-street, Ashton, was held at the Hyde Police Station by the coroner, Mr F NEWTON, and a jury, of which Mr Josiah MOORES was foreman. Inspector BUCKLAND represented the Great Central Railway Company.

The first witness called was George BUTLER, of 11 Birch-street, Ashton, who stated that the deceased was his nephew. He was 32 years of age, and was in the employ of the Great Central Railway Company as an assistant signal fitter. He (witness) last saw deceased alive at twenty minutes past eight on Thursday night. The deceased was at his house, and was in the best of health at that time.

Henry ORME, 3 Turner-street, Dukinfield, said he was a labourer in the signal department of the Great Central Railway Company. On the day of the accident he was working with deceased at Hyde Junction. He remembered the express at 11.25 passing from Sheffield. The deceased was connecting some points. He did not notice him until after a portion of the train passed, and he a was then in a sitting position under the foot boards.

He at once went to his assistance, and when he picked him up, the train had caused deceased to turn over on his face. He was living, but not conscious, and was bleeding from his head. He was at once carried into the waiting room at the station, and expired in about ten minutes. When he was repairing these points he was obliged to be in a sitting position.

The Coroner: Was there any one watching to warn you of the approach of this train? — Witness: No. — Were you in the signal box at Hyde Junction? No. — Where were you when the train passed? I was on the point rods. — Was there no signal given? No. — Had he room when the train passed to be safe? I could not say. — Was there sufficient room to be safe? Yes. — Had he as much room as you? No. — Had you no look out man? No. — The deceased could have worked on the other side of the points and been quite safe? Yes.

Inspector BUCKLAND said the nearest rod was 3ft 6in away, so that BUTLER could have worked as far off the rails as ORME, or he could have worked further away from the main line than he really was. The inspector produced a drawing of the place where the accident happened.

A Juryman: Would you care to be in the space of 2ft 7in when the express was passing? Witness: yes; but there was also an eight foot space. — The Coroner (turning to ORME): What part of the train struck him? Witness: The steps. — Was he standing or stooping? Stooping. — How long did you see the train? I did not see it. I had my back to the train. — Was the deceased deaf? No.

Inspector BUCKLAND: There was a train approaching on the other side. Witness: Yes; and it was going in the direction of Hyde, and by the noise it made it drowned the approach of the down train.

John Samuel PEARSON, of 4 Bradburn Place, Sheffield, a fireman in the employ of the Great Central Railway Company, stated that he was on the 9,30 express from Sheffield. As near as he could tell, they passed Hyde Junction Station about 11.20.

The Coroner: Did you see anything of this man BUTLER? Yes. — What was he doing? He seemed to be attending to the points. — How far away was he when the train was coming? He was quite clear of the train. — Did he make any movement? When the engine passed him he slipped forward on his hands. — What part of the coach struck him? It was the footboard. — Did it turn him over? Yes. — No warning was given on the approach of this train because he was safe? — Yes. The engine driver was looking on the other side, and could not se what happened? Yes.

The Coroner observed that the jury had now to say how the deceased had come to his death. It seemed clear that if he had not had an accident in the shape of slipping or tumbling, the deceased would have been safe, as there seemed to have been sufficient room for him to work in safety.

Prior to the jury arriving at their verdict, Inspector BUCKLAND showed the plan of the accident, which depicted the distance from where the deceased was working and the main line. The jury returned a verdict that the deceased had met an accidental death, which had been caused by injuries to the head from a passing train.

On Friday night, at twenty minutes past ten o’clock, a serious accident happened to a girl named Annie O’HARE, 15 years of age, a twiner, living at 6 Dale-street, Hooley Hill. It appears from the report made by Police Inspector McFEELEY that the girl was brought to the Town Hall suffering from a fracture of the left femur, a large wound in the calf of the right leg, a wound over the left eyebrow and several bruises to the face and body.

It appeared that she had mounted on of the circular bicycles on the triangular space at the end of the Town Hall, and soon after the cycles started she fell off the one she was riding — one of the outside ones. Her skirt got entangled with the pedal, and she was dragged along some yards before the machinery could be stopped. First aid was rendered in the police office, and Dr HUGHES, junr, was called in, and dressed the injuries, after which, on the doctor’s orders, removed to the District Infirmary in the horse ambulance.

On Wednesday afternoon, about 100 workhouse children and old people from the same institution were treated to their usual Wakes entertainment on the Ashton Market Ground.

In the first place they were admitted to Sedgwick’s Menagerie, and heard the lions wildly roaring when Lorenze put them through their paces. Then Captain PAYNE treated them to his bioscopes exhibition, and gave them enough to talk over for a week. Then they had a ride on Patrick COLLIN’s gondolas, and a ride on Jon COLLIN’s galloping horses, followed by n experience of the sensations acquired on John GREEN’s switchbacks.

Then, to wind up the afternoon, they were taken to the Fish Market, where Mr WHITEHEAD had prepared for them a grand treat. On tables were displayed grapes, plums, water melons, ice cream, mineral waters, lemon tea, oysters, etc, with which they were regaled to their heart’s content.

Over and above, each one was supplied with a bagful of nuts, grapes, etc, and a piece of fish to take away with them. As in former years, the arrangements were made by the Chief Constable, who superintended everything, with the assistance of Inspector TOLSON, Sergeant HEIGHWAY and several constables.

Creative Commons License Rhodes Family History by Ian Rhodes (1999-2018 v.3.0) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial-Share Alike 2.0 UK: England & Wales License. Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available by contacting me.
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