14 December 1901

A Mossley Man's Escapade

On Wednesday, at Stalybridge Police Court. James CONWAY, labourer, in the employ of Mr WHITTAKER, contractor, Oldham, and residing in Stamford-street, Mossley, was placed in the dock on two charges, viz, using obscene language on the platform of the Joint Railway Station, and assaulting Mr James SYKES, stationmaster. Mr LYNDE prosecuted on behalf of the Great Central Railway Co, and Mr BRADBURY defended. CONWAT pleaded not guilty to both charges.

Mr LYNDE said defendant arrived by the two pm train on Monday last from Manchester. When he changed at Stalybridge he commenced to use bad language to the porters on duty, and he was told this could not be tolerated. Defendant the commenced using the same kind of language at the top of his voice. Stationmaster SYKES came up and told the man to behave himself, and further told him to clear off unless he did so. Mr SYKES went back to his office, thinking the man might cool down, but as defendant continued to misbehave himself, Mr SYKES came on to the platform again, and asked him if he had a ticket. The man produced a workman's daily ticket between Manchester and Mossley, but this was not available at the hour CONWAY was travelling.

Defendant had changed at Stalybridge in order to join the Micklehurst train. The man dropped the ticket upon the platform, and the station master was in the act of stooping down to pick it up when defendant caught hold of his ankle and at the same time gave Mr SYKES a violent blow on the shoulder and left eye, knocking him to the ground. The porters rushed to Mr SYKES' assistance and defendant was removed to the latter's office and subsequently given in charge of the police. During this time defendant made use of filthy language, repeating the same sentence over and over again,

CONWAY was very much under the influence of drink at the time. The magistrates would readily appreciate what a serious thing it was for a stationmaster to be assaulted whilst in the execution of his duty. This appeared to have been a most cowardly assault, and at all events a most unprovoked assault. Mr LYNDE asked the Bench to make an example of defendant, and on account of the seriousness of the offence he desired to press the case.. Detective-inspector COTTRELL produced the bye-laws of the Great Central Railway Co which set forth that any person using bad language on the company's premises was liable to a penalty not exceeding 40s.

Stanley BOOTH, porter, of 35 Cambridge-street, Stalybridge, said that upon the arrival of the 2pm express train, Manchester to Huddersfield, he was taking a four-wheeled truck with some luggage towards the goods van, when defendant stood in the way. Witness shouted, "By leave, please," in the ordinary way, but defendant took no notice; and witness touched him on the shoulder he moved immediately. BOOTH proceeded to put the luggage in the van, when he was surprised to hear defendant coming out with very bad language. Addressing witness, CONWAY said, "I am not going to be knocked around with a ––––– like you; I will knock you under the earhole."

Defendant shouted at the top of his voice, and the passengers cried shame on him. Lady passengers put up the windows of the compartments, and said defendant should be locked up for using such language. Cross-examined by Mr BRADBURY: Witness did not run the truck into defendant and knock him down. The truck did not touch defendant, and witness did not threaten to knock defendant's face off.

Mr SYKES spoke as to the assault upon himself. Councillor HOPWOOD: What was your opinion about his condition?– He was not sober; he could not possibly have used the language has he been sober; at least a man in his proper senses would not use such language. All the fourteen years I have been there I have never had such an experience as that on Monday.– Councillor HOPWOOD: I suppose you felt very much grieved being knocked down in your capacity?– Mr SYKES: I did, sir. I felt rather out of place, laid on the platform, and with my hat gone!– (Laughter.)

For the defence, Mr BRADBURY said he was given to understand that it was nothing unusual for a scene to take place at Stalybridge Joint Station, and the place having gained this unenviable notoriety, the public were terrified to speak to an official there. The porters seemed to think they were privileged to do as they liked, and in this instance BOOTH knocked CONWAY down with a truck just because he did not get out of his way. It was in consequence of being knocked down that he used bad language, and the whole question resolved itself into this: Who was the aggressor?

CONWAY gave evidence. He said he had not tasted intoxicants for ten years and all he had on Monday were "two small sherries." When he changed trains at Stalybridge, BOOTH ran a truck into him and knocked him down. He admitted cursing a bit, but the language he used was not so "blue" as the written specimen. Mr SYKES tried to take his ticket from him, and as a consequence of the way he was knocked around, he now bore black marks on his arms and legs. Jane CUMMINGS, of Church-street, Mossley, gave corroborative evidence.

The Bench retired, and upon their return, Councillor HOPWOOD said they had come to the conclusion that defendant was guilty of both offences, and he would be fined 10s 6d and costs for each, or in default 14 days hard labour in each case. The fines and costs amounted to 2 3s 10d. Mr LYNDE then applied for a summons against CUMMINGS for assaulting William WOOD, but Mr BRADBURY objected, and said this was not the time or place to take out a summons.

Councillor HOPWOOD said there was just one remark he would like to make with reference to what Mr BRADBURY had said was a usual proceeding at the joint railway station for passengers to be insulted. His experience was quite the reverse, and he thought the station was conducted in a respectable and proper way.

Sequel in the Ashton County Police Court

The Ashton county justices had before them. On Wednesday, a case arising out of an alleged grievance between two Hurst chip potato dealers. The parties were John ROBINSON, Mary Jane ROBINSON, Emmanuel NARDSLEY, Phoebe BARDSLEY, and James William BARDSLEY, and they were charged with a breach of the peace. There was also a summons and a cross-summons for assault. Mr J S EATON appeared for the ROBINSONs, and Mr J B POWNALL represented the BARDLEYs.

Constable George REID stated that at two o'clock on Saturday afternoon, November 23rd, he saw John ROBONSON and Emmanuel BARDSLEY on the ground in Curzon-road, Hurst, clutching each other's arms, and struggling. The three other defendants were shouting and quarrelling, and causing a great uproar. There had been some trade dispute between them.– By Mr EATON: They both kept chip potato shops near to each other, and there had been a little ill-feeling about disposing of refuse water. Constable saw Jas BARDSLEY strike John ROBINSON. Whose mouth was bleeding, and he told witness that he had lost a tooth.

Mr POWNALL said his client had been in this house for something like 20 years, and had carried on a chip potato business. ROBINSON had seen fit to open a similar business next door but one. Opposite ROBINSON's house there was a grid for refuse water. It had been the custom of these people instead of letting the water go down the sink at the back, when they had boiled their peas, to pour it down the grid in the street, but in consequence of trade jealousy ROBINSON had adopted what was a most offensive kind of annoyance. Instead of pouring the refuse water down the grid near his own premises, he had brought them up the street and poured them opposite BARDSLEY's shop, with the result that the husks of peas had collected about the premises.

His client, who was deaf, had stood this as long as he could. On getting up on this particular morning he found that the practice had been repeated, and he brushed the refuse down the street in the direction of the grid. ROBINSON came out with his own brush and began to sweep it back again. ROBINSON's brush head was knocked off and he got hold of BARDSLEY and threw him on the ground. BARDSLEY got hold of him in self defence. Unfortunately he could not put his client in the box in consequence of him being absolutely deaf.

Mrs BARDSLEY gave corroborative evidence. The opposition shop, she said, was started by ROBINSON about six months ago. When the struggle commenced her son ran out to part them. ROBINSON's own son hit him on the head and said "You silly thing." The police parted them. The magistrates did not think it desirable to go further into the matter and dismissed the assault cases and bound the defendants over in 40s to keep the peace for three months.

ALLEGED ASSAULT.– John Hardman SCHOFIELD was summoned for assaulting Samuel WOOLLEY on the 30th November. Defendant did not appear.– Constable DISTON said he was deputed to serve the summons, but defendant had gone away to avoid service.– The Clerk told complainant and police would let him know when the summons was served. The facts of the case were not disclosed.

THE OBSTRUCTION NUISANCE.– Five lads, named James DOOLEY, Charles CARROLL, Harry ANDREW, Edward LUCAS, and Benjamin GREENWOOD, were summoned for causing an obstruction in Portland-street on the 5th instant by standing thereon.– Constable PRATT stated that at 9.30 pm he saw defendants standing at the corner of the Friendship Inn, Portland and Old-streets.– Fined 2s 6d each for costs.– Albert CHADWICK was summoned for a similar offence in Oldham-road by playing football thereon on the 28th ultimo. He pleaded guilty and was fined 5s 6d for costs.

DRUNK AND DISORDERLY.– Joseph DOOLAN was charged with being drunk and disorderly in North-street on the 30th ult. He pleaded guilty, and was fined 5s 6d for costs, having been up before.– James HENDERSON, an elderly man, was charged with a similar offence in Camp-street. He said he had had a sup, but was not drunk; he could find his way home. If people were not drunk the police would make them drunk by shaking them up.– Constable DISTON stated that on the 7th he found the defendant very drunk sitting on a doorstep and hammering at the door. He refused to go away, and was locked up.– Fined 5s 6d for costs.

DRIVING A CART WITHOUT LIGHT.– Handel WILLIS was summoned for using without having a light attached on the 29th November.– Defendant said he was guilty of being without light. He had a lamp, but it was not an ordinary lamp.– The Clerk: What sort of lamp was it? A bicycle lamp.– Well, that is not a proper lamp.– It was the only lamp I was provided with.– Who is your employer? Frank MARLAND.– You had better ask him to supply you with a better lamp.– We are not used to being out at night. I was going past Hegginbottom's mill when the officer stopped me and I told him I could not keep it in.– Constable BARRETT: He told me he had no oil in the lamp.– Fined 1s and costs.

CHARGE AGAINST A STALYBRIDGE CABMAN.– John RENWICK, cab driver, Stalybridge, was in the dock charged with being drunk in charge of a horse and cab in Warrington-street on the 8th inst. He pleaded no guilty.– Constable STEELE stated that on Sunday night, the prisoner was drunk in charge of a horse and cab. He refused to take the gentleman who was in the cab to Blandford-street. He would not take him any further than Warrington-street.– Prisoner said a person at Stalybridge paid the fare for the person in the cab and told him to put him down at the market ground, which he did.– The Clerk: You ought to have taken the occupant of the cab wherever he desired.– Prisoner: But I had only been paid to take him to the market ground.– The Clerk: Your cab is for the conveyance of the public, and if the passenger does not pay your fare, you have your remedy.– Constable ROLLINSON said he was in the police office when the defendant was brought in and he was drunk without a doubt.– Constable STEELE added that the passenger said the fare was paid to the prisoner to take him to Blandford-street.– Prisoner: No, nothing of the kind. The officer told my employer that I was more stupid than drunk.– The Clerk: Who is your employer?– Prisoner: Mr WHALLEY.– The Clerk: Is he here?– Prisoner: No.– The Clerk: Why didn't you bring him to give evidence?– The Chairman told defendant he ought to have taken the man home, and fined him 5s 6d, and costs, or 14 days.

A Child's Systematic Thefts

A lamentable case was before the Ashton Borough justices on Thursday, in which a little girl named Elizabeth ASHDOWN, aged 11, was before the magistrates on three separate charges of stealing shawls belonging to Michael JACKSON on November 25th, Maria BRANDON on December 2nd, and Beatrice ROGERS on December 9th. Mr J S EATON appeared for the prisoner.

Mabel JACKSON, 8 Robinson-street, attending Christ Church Central School, stated that the shawl produced was her property, and she was wearing it when she went to school on November 25th. She placed it in the cloakroom at the school, and when she went for it, it was missing. The shawl was worth 6s.– Hugh Mason BROADBENT, assistant for his mother, Caroline BROADBENT, pawnbroker, 13 Market-street, stated the shawl was pledged with him by the prisoner on November 25, and he lent her 2s 6d on it.

Maria BRANDON, Newmarket-road, Taunton, stated that she attended Christ Church Central. She went to school in the shawl produced on December 2nd, and put it in the cloakroom. When she went for it, it had gone. It was worth 6s.– Joshua STOPFORD, pawnbroker, Oldham-road, Waterloo, stated that the shawl was pledged with him by prisoner on December 2nd, and he lent her 2s 6d on it. She said the shawl belonged to her mother.

Amada ROGERS, 52 Jackson-street, said she attended Christ Church Central School. The shawl produced was her property, and was worth 2s. She went to school with it on Monday the 9th inst, and placed it in the cloakroom. When she came out it had gone.– Hugh Mason BROADBENT, the aforementioned assistant pawnbroker, deposed to prisoner pledging the shawl with him on the 9th inst. And he lent her 7d on it.

The Chief Constable said that although there were only three cases gone into, between November 22nd and December 9th, there had been no fewer than 13 shawls stolen from this school, and they had all been recovered except one, and traced to the prisoner.– Mr EATON said he was instructed by the mother of the child to state to the Bench that there was absolutely nothing to say in extenuation of the offences that had been committed by the child. He would make an application to the Bench that the child should be sent to an industrial school. They had tried all they possibly could with the girl.

She had been in the habit of staying out at night, and had been given a trial at different day schools in the town, but she would not attend regularly. She had stayed away from home as long as three nights together, and her parents had not been able to find her. She had robbed her mother. Three clergymen of the town had been consulted with reference to her welfare, but her parents had been absolutely unable to chastise her, and her father had done all he could.

The Chairman (Alderman ANDREW): What has she been doing with the money?– The prisoner: Spent it..– The Magistrates' Clerk: What on? I have been going to the theatre with it.– Mr SNELL: That is a statement she made to the constable at the time.– The Bench committed the girl to an industrial school until 16 years of age, and remanded to the workhouse until a school was found for her.

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