20 July 1901
CONSTABLE SAVAGELY ASSAULTED
Attempt to Rescue a Prisoner
There was a large crowd, both inside and outside the
Ashton County Police Court on Wednesday, interested in
the proceedings in connection with the trial of three
men named Fred and James WARD (brothers), and Edward DOLEMAN,
Fulsons Court, Lees, who were brought up on remand
on a double charge of assaulting Constable PERCY; also
being drunk and disorderly at Lees on July 3rd.
Mr J HURST (Richards and Hurst,
solicitors) prosecuted on behalf of the police, Mr J B
POWNALL (solicitor) defended James WARD, and Mr J S EATON
(Eaton and Watson, solicitors) appeared for Fred WARD,
DOLEMAN being unrepresented.
Constable PERCY deposed that
on the 3rd instant, he was on duty at Lees about 6 pm,
and a quarter of an hour later, he saw DOLEMAN, who was
drunk and shouting and creating a disturbance in Church-street.
Witness told DOLEMAN to go into the house and be quiet.
DOLEMAN continued to be disorderly, and witness put him
in the house twice over, but he came out again, and called
witness a "big monkey in policemans clothes,"
and struck and kicked him on the legs.
Witness had to arrest him then,
but Fred WARD came rushing out the house, drunk, and called
upon his brother James to "fetch the
poker." Fred then took of his waistcoat off and kicked
witness on the legs, and said "Let go that
prisoner." Witness got hold of Fred WARD, and told
him he would have to go to the station. DOLEMAN got free,
and getting behind witness hit him on the head.
James WARD, the elder brother,
then appeared on the scene, rushing through the crowd
of women who had assembled, and struck witness with his
fist on the face and mouth, making his mouth bleed. Witness
drew his truncheon, and hit him on the arm, and the next
occurrence was that the constables arms were pulled
behind him by James WARD, and they fell to the ground,
and in the struggle his staff was taken from him, and
Fred WARD gave him several blows on the head, causing
two wounds and a loss of a considerable amount of blood.
Witness was pulled away by two women, and got to the police
station, and subsequently he was attended by Dr CURRIE
who had to put a stitch in one of the wounds. Witness
had not been on duty since.
Mr POWNALL: Up to the time
of James coming out, what had you done to Fred? I had
got hold of him and was taking him towards the police
station. And had you hit him? No. Was it
not after you had hit Fred that James turned up? No.
And he resented it? No. And he came through the
crowd? He rushed through the crowd and struck me
in the teeth. Didnt you hit Fred on the head
with your truncheon? No; that was afterwards. How
many people were there about? A number of women.
Did no one help you? No. From your story it was
a murderous attack upon you? Yes. Didnt you
provoke the whole thing? No. Didnt James say, "Its
not good enough the way you persecute out Fred?"
No. You have dogged his footsteps in such a way
that his life has been one of misery? No, that is not
true. Didnt you strike James? No.
Didnt you try? No. I hadnt time. They had
my arms behind me then. Up to that time was it
necessary to use your truncheon? Yes.
Mr EATON: Have you been tracking
Fred WARD? No. The man had had no peace? I deny that.
Where were you when the bother started? In High-street.
Didnt you plant yourself right in front of
this house? No. What attracted you there? DOLEMAN
was on the street shouting and making a disturbance and
I told him to go in the house. Fred was simply
defending his brother James? No.
Edward DOLEMAN, on his own
behalf, gave evidence on oath. He said that Fred WARD
and himself had been doing some work together, and had
got to their tea when the policeman came up and said to
Fred that he would summons him again if he did not mind.
Witness told the constable to get away, and not get the
lad (Fred) into bother. The constable asked him for his
name and he told him to get away, but he would not, and
he called PERCY "a monkey in policemans clothes."
He (DOLEMAN) then went inside and locked the door, and
James came across the street and two women got hold of
the latter to hold him back.
Mr POWNALL said the officer
might have been attacked, but he provoked it, and did
something which a British citizen could not tolerate.
Fred WARD had had more attention paid to him by this officer
than an ordinary citizen or taxpayer could stand. If he
was charged with drunkenness the constable would aggravate
him and make him act in a disorderly manner as well; that
was the kind of conduct complained of. In this case the
prosecution had tried to make out that the officer was
practically being murdered, and yet all the witnesses
looked on. He submitted that nothing took place to justify
the drawing of the truncheon. Had a man to wait to be
hit? In the struggle the officer got a knock or two, but
had the officer not drawn the truncheon there would only
have been a little street brawl.
Emily WARD, wife of Fred WARD,
said that the officer struck James on the head, and was
proceeding to repeat the blow when Fred got hold of the
truncheon and struck the officer. Lizzie DODD, Jamess
sweetheart, Ralph WARD, another brother, and Alice Ann
TAYLOR, a neighbour, gave similar testimony. Superintendent
HEWITT enumerated a long list of convictions against the
The Chairman, addressing the
prisoners, said: You are three bad characters, and we
are going to relieve your village of your presence for
a short time, trusting and hoping that it will have a
good effect upon you. You are a disgrace to the place,
and you will each have to go to prison for a month with
The announcement of the sentence caused great commotion
in court. Mrs Fred WARD, with the child in her arms, and
Miss Lizzie DODD, commenced crying piteously, and rushed
to the back of the dock to the prisoners. The WARDs tried
to pacify them, James telling them to give over crying
and making a fuss, remarking, "Never mind, it is
not a hanging job. What are you crying for?" Other
people crowded round the dock to shake hands with the
prisoners and exchange a few hurried words with them.
When quietness had been partially restored by the removal
of the women, the chairman announced that with regard
to the other charges against the three prisoners, they
would be ordered to pay the costs which came to about
Mr POWNALL then said he wished
to give notice of appeal and Mr EATON said he wished to
do likewise. The conversation between the solicitors and
the Bench on the subject of appeal could scarcely be heard
for the hubbub in court. It was stated that notice would
have to be given in writing, and Mr EATON asked that the
amount of the sureties be fixed at once pending the appeal,
as the sentence was one of imprisonment without the option
of a fine. His clients wife had a child at the breast,
and Fred WARD had already been detained in prison for
After the luncheon interval,
Mr HIRST said he had had some conversation with Superintendent
HEWITT with regard to the case, and he was rather inclined
to ask the Bench to reconsider their verdict. He did not
wish to be vindictive in the matter. Justice would be
met by substituting a fine for the imprisonment. They
wished to show there was no vindictiveness on the part
of the police.
The Chairman addressed the
prisoners. He said: You are aware that it is no
pleasure to us to send any of you down to prison. That
you have richly deserved it there is not a shadow of a
doubt. That you have not been good characters there is
not a shadow of a doubt, but in the face of the police
application, and the consideration they have shown towards
your wives and families, and they having shown that they
have no vindictive spirit against you, we can hardly refuse
their request. You know that if anything of this sort
happens again after this trial it will be brought against
you and instead of getting a month, you will in all probability,
get three months.
It is only at the earnest request
of the police that we are going to alter the sentence.
I take it that you solemnly promise we shall have no more
of this drunkenness and disorderliness. For you will be
severely punished. With regard to the child at the breast,
I dont think that a very strong argument, but, however,
we have decided to fine you as follows. The fine will
be 40s and costs for each of you, and then you will have
to pay "2 2s for the advocates fee, and £1
1s for the doctor,, and the two male witnesses will receive
5s each, and the two women witnesses 3s 6d each, and I
hope and sincerely trust we shall never have you here
Prisoner James WARD: You wont
have the chance of seeing me again. I shall leave the
The Chairman: I hope you will.
It will be a good job for the country.
OF THE WARDS DEALT WITH
Ralph WARD, another brother of the two prisoners in
the above case, was then charged by Constable PERCY with
creating breach of the peace on the 3rd instant. By shouting
and swearing, and arguing with his brothers to induce
them to continue the assault. Ralph WARD, on the advice
of Mr POWNALL, pleaded guilty, and was bound over in the
sum of 40s to keep the peace for three months, and pay
The Chairman said he would
like to say to all of them that as to where they get their
drink from in Lees, he would take care that the police
watched the house.