4 January 1902

Strange Revelations

Before the county magistrates sitting at Hyde Police Court on Monday, Peter HALL, labourer, of Ashton, was brought up under a warrant charged with fraudulently taking and selling a brown cart horse, the property of George KEMP, of Winterbottom Farm, Matley.— Superintendent COOPER briefly stated the case and added that prisoner was engaged on the 25th at Hayfield. From that time up to his apprehension a few days ago he had not been in the neighbourhood.— Prosecutor said prisoner had not been permanently employed by him, but on Tuesday, the 25th of September, he engaged him to take a brown cart horse, value 6, to the farm of Mr John PORRET, at Hayfield. Witness's instructions were to deliver the horse to Mr PORRET and bring another back in exchange. From that date he had not seen nor heard anything of him. On Tuesday, the 2nd October, he took out a warrant against prisoner, and on Thursday, the 4th of October, he received the brown cart horse from the police. Prisoner had no authority to dispose of the horse other than in the way specified.

John HUDSON, of Stone Head, Hayfield, cattle dealer, said that on Tuesday, the 25th September, he was at the Grouse Inn, a public house between Glossop and Hayfield, when prisoner came in. He spoke to witness and told him he had a horse to sell. He said he would fetch it and he did so. It was a big brown horse and he asked 3 for it. He subsequently said he would take 25s, and eventually a bargain was made for 10s. The next morning witness examined the horse, when he found it in a shocking condition, not fit for anything. Witness afterwards sold it to Aaron LAWTON, of Birch Vale, a "sacker," for 23s 6d.

Prisoner, in reply to the charge, pleaded not guilty. He said he took the horse to PORRET according to arrangement, and the latter declined to accept it, saying he would have anything like that about his farm. He therefore told prisoner to take it back. Prisoner said it was too late to do so, but he subsequently started on the journey. Before he had gone far the animal became completely exhausted and fell in the roadway. Further on it fell again, and as he was afraid of being prosecuted by the police for cruelty he sold it for 10s.

Prisoner was committed to take his trial at Knutsford Sessions, and on Wednesday morning was brought before Sir Horatio LLOYD. He was found guilty and sentenced to nine months.

An Important Point

At the conclusion of an inquest at the Ashton District Infirmary on Thursday afternoon, Mr James MARLAND, of Cockbrook, foreman of the jury, said he would like to bring a matter before the attention of the Coroner. Here was a case in which the deceased resided at Stalybridge. She was brought to the Infirmary at Ashton where she dies, and when the inquest is held the entire jury is drawn from Ashton. Why should this be when Stalybridge was equally as near to the Infirmary as Ashton, and further, when the case came from the former town?

The Coroner: Stalybridge is in a neighbouring county. Mr MARLAND: That is so, and she belonged to the other county. The Coroner: I am doubtful whether I can send for a jury from another county, but I will look into the matter and if I find I can I will give instructions for some of the jury to be drawn in future from Stalybridge. Had Stalybridge been in Lancashire I could have done so, but I am afraid I cannot summons a jury from Cheshire.

Mr MARLAND: I think it is a shame that tradespeople of Ashton should bear the entire brunt of these inquests when the people directly concerned have no connection with the town. The Coroner: It has struck me the same way. I do not see why Stalybridge should be freed altogether.— (Hear, hear.)

A Juror: It is the same with Dukinfield and Hyde. People come from there and die at the Infirmary, and then we are saddled with the inquiry. The Coroner: I promise you Mr MARLAND that I will look into the matter. A Juror: They get paid in Stalybridge, Dukinfield and Hyde, and we get "nowt."— (Laughter.) The Coroner: In Cheshire the jurymen are paid out of the Weaver Trust fund.

On Monday afternoon Constable HODKINSON received information of the body of a man having found in the canal near Cinderland Bridge, Littlemoss. The discovery was made by a boatman named Richard RATCLIFFE, of 28 Gate-street, Dukinfield. The body having been removed from the water, Constable HODKINSON procured a milk float, and the remains were removed to the Newmarket Inn. A set of moulder's tools, a pipe, knife, key, tobacco box, and a penny in money were found on the body being searched. Deceased is about 50 years of age, 5ft 6in in height, sandy hair, stout build. He was dressed in striped jacket, moleskin trousers, striped shirt, red, white ,and blue stockings, laced boots, and dark coloured overcoat. The body was afterwards identified as that of John YATES, moulder, of Albert-street, Bardsley.

The inquest was held at the Newmarket Inn, Waterloo, on Thursday forenoon, by Mr J P PRICE, district coroner. Henry YATES, painter, 29 Albert-street, Bardsley, stated that the deceased was his father, and was 54 years of age. He was employed at the Sheepbridge Iron Co, Chesterfield, and left home on Monday, November 25th. He did not say when he would come back, but he was expected home at Christmas. They heard nothing more of him, and they therefore commenced to make enquiries, and subsequently learned that had been found in the canal. He had no trouble. His son had gone to the war about a week since, but that had not troubled him. He had never threatened to drown himself. The only way witness could account for him getting into the canal was that he had been walking on the canal side and fallen in.

Richard RATCLIFFE, canal boatman, 28 Gate-street, Dukinfield, deposed to seeing the body in the canal at Cinderland Bridge. The body appeared to have been stirred up in the water by his boat. He did not take the body out of the water because he had not time to stop. He was short-handed, there being only two of them in charge of two boats.— The Coroner: It would not have taken you long? It meant going for a constable, and it would have spoiled the afternoon. It was a very quiet place about there. As soon as I got to the locks at Fairfield, one and a half miles away, I gave information to the lockkeeper. The man was dead when I first saw him. I do not know who took the body out of the water.

George AINSWORTH, 4 Hooper-lane, Droylsden, stated that he was assistant lockkeeper at the Fairfield Locks. He received information from the last witness at 1,30 on Monday afternoon that there was a body in the canal. He went to the place indicated, and found the body lying on the bank on the opposite side of the canal from the towing path. Witness examined the body, but was unable to tell who it was. He inquired as to who took the body from the water, but could not find out. No other boat had passed after the last witness's boat that he was aware of.

Constable R HODKINSON stated that he had received information that a dead body had been found. He went there, and found a set of tools on the deceased. There were no marks of injury, but deceased was somewhat swollen in the face. He appeared to have been taken out of the water head first and dragged up the bank. Witness made enquiries but could not find out who took the body out.— The jury returned a verdict of found drowned.

Scene in an Ashton Smithy

At the Ashton Borough Court, on Monday, a rough looking young man, whose face bore traces of having been in a melee, named Ernest BIRD, was in the dock charged with being drunk and disorderly in Wood-street on the 27th and assaulting Thos COOPER, blacksmith.— An officer stated that about noon on Friday his attention was called to Mr COOPER's smithy. He went there and found the prisoner drunk and using bad language. He had assaulted Mr COOPER very badly, and witness locked him up.

Thos COOPER said he was a blacksmith and carried on business in Wood-street. On Friday about a quarter past 12 o'clock prisoner entered the smithy and asked for a light. He told him there was plenty of fire, and he could get one. He rushed at him like a madman, and a desperate struggle ensued, which lasted some considerable time. The anvil was knocked over, and he got bruised on the ankle. Prisoner tried to get a hammer to strike him, but he prevented him. Eventually assistance came, and prisoner was given into the hands of the police.— By the prisoner: I never touched you.

In the struggle a lot of goods were damaged that should have gone away that same night.— The Clerk: What is the meaning of all this?— Complainant: He lives across the way, and he has been threatening me for a couple of months.— Wm ELLIS, scalemaker, was called. He said that shortly after 12 o'clock he was coming out of his workshop when he saw the prisoner at COOPER's smithy door coming out with some very bad language. He then suddenly darted into COOPER's workshop. Witness followed and saw prisoner make a grab over COOPER's anvil, and they both fell between the anvil and the block. Witness got hold of the prisoner to pull him off COOPER, and the latter got up. Immediately he did so prisoner rushed at him, got hold of him by the legs, and upset him again. Witness then went for the police.— By the prisoner: I never struck you at all.

George ELLIS stated that about 12.30 he was coming out of their workshop to dinner, and heard a disturbance in COOPER's smithy. He went there, and saw COOPER right underneath the bellows, and the prisoner on top of him trying to strangle him. He tried to get hold of the prisoner to pull him off, but it was useless.— Prisoner asserted that he was assaulted first, and called his mother, Maria BIRD. She stated that she was at the blacksmith's shop door, and saw Mr ELLIS strike her son three times whilst he and COOPER were down. Her son was certainly drunk at the time. Mr COOPER struck her son with a piece of iron.

The Clerk: Your son is not unknown to the police. He is known very well in Dukinfield.— The Chief Constable informed the Bench that in 1888 prisoner was before the Dukinfield magistrates for assault. And was committed to gaol for two months; 1892, resisting the police, 30s and costs, or two months; 1896, similar offence, committed for six weeks. He had also been 16 times for drunkenness.— After a short consultation the Chairman told the prisoner that this was a most aggravated and disgraceful assault. For being drunk and disorderly he would be fined 5s 6d costs or seven days, and for the assault committed to gaol for two months hard labour. They hoped that at the end of that period he would come to his senses.

Alleged Theft of Brass Steps

At the Ashton County Police Court on Saturday, Wm O'SHAUGHNESSY, described as an habitué of Ashton lodging-houses, was in custody charged with breaking into a warehouse and mills belonging to Messrs CRYER Bros, Littlemoss, and stealing therefrom 22 brass steps.

Superintendent HEWITT stated that the mill, warehouse, and engine-house were combined in one building. The mill, it appeared, was left locked up and secure on December 24th. On Dec 25th the engine-house door was found to be open, and from another part of the building — a workshop in connection with the mill — the brass steps (produced) were missed. A large screwkey was found on the premises, and from the marks this appeared to have been used to force open the engine-house door. It was a large screwkey, and belonged to Messrs BYROM, Royal Mills, and had been missed from there. Prisoner was arrested on Friday by a constable from Ashton with the property in his possession.

Constable HODKINSON deposed to apprehending the prisoner with the brass steps in his possession. When charged he replied "That's right." Superintendent HEWITT asked for a remand and the case was adjourned for a week.

Robbery with Violence

At the Ashton Borough Court on Saturday, two young fellows of the street corner lounging fraternity in Charlestown, named Thomas WELSH or WALSH and James Patrick LAMB were in the dock charged with stealing 2s in cash, one pipe and three pawntickets from the person of Thomas TIMPERLEY, and at the same time did use personal violence on the 24th December.

Thomas TIMPERLEY said he lived in Pitt-street, Ashton. About 11.30 on Tuesday night he was walking along Pitt-street, Charlestown, and saw the prisoners there. They seized him and threw him down on his back in the street and LAMB put his hand in his pocket and took out what was in. One pocket was tore out completely. It contained 2s, one pipe and a tobacco box containing three pawntickets. WELSH kicked him several times on the right side and held him down whilst LAMB rifled his pockets. They ran away after they had robbed him. He got up and found his pipe and torn pocket, and the cap produced, belonging to LAMB, in the street.— By WELSH: I had no stick with me, and never threatened anyone.

Mary Jane WILLIAMS said she lived at 11 Pitt-street. About 11.30 on Tuesday night last she was stood at the door when she saw TIMPERLEY come out of a house about three doors away. At that time the two prisoners were stood under the window of her house. When TIMPERLEY got near her house the prisoners rushed at him. WELSH got hold of his legs and threw him down. He fell on top of him, and then got up and kicked him several times. LAMB stood over him, but she could not say what he was doing. She afterwards saw both prisoners run away. As WELSH passed her he kicked her. She went and picked TIMPERLEY up after the prisoners had gone.

Nellie MURPHY said she lived at 22 Pitt-street. On Wednesday , at 8.30am she found the box produced containing three pawntickets in the middle of the street opposite CARTER's lodging house, and near where the witness Mary Jane WILLIAMS lived. Jesse CARTER said he had a lodging house at 18 Pitt-street. At ten minutes to 12 o'clock midnight on the 24th he was just coming out of his house when the prisoner LAMB came up without hat. He asked witness if he had a cap, that I could give him. He replied "yes" and turned into the house and fetched one out. He did not see WELSH at that time.

Sergeant TOLSON said that at 11am on Thursday, the 26th, he went to WELSH's house in Wellington-street, and told him he wanted him. He said, "What for?" He told him for robbing a man called TIMPERLEY in Pitt-street on Christmas Eve in company with James Patrick LAMB. He said, "I got hold of his legs and upset him, and if he was robbed LAMB robbed him. I didn't. I didn't have a halfpenny." He brought prisoner to the Town Hall and charged him. Later in the day he arrested LAMB in Back Marland-street, and brought him to the Town Hall, and charged him in a similar manner. He replied "I am not guilty."

Prisoners were committed to take their trial at the next Manchester Assizes.

At the Ashton Borough Police Court, on Thursday morning, Arthur COOPER, alias George HARRIS, and G HAYES, was charged with obtaining 1s by false pretences on Sunday evening last, and attempting to obtain a further sum on Monday morning from Mr James W POWNALL, almoner and treasurer of the local Masonic charities at Ashton-under-Lyne. Mr Arthur LEES prosecuted.

James William POWNALL said : On Sunday last about nine o'clock, the prisoner called at my residence, 26 Henrietta-street, and said he was a poor and distressed Mason., had just come into town from Huddersfield, being tired and footsore he was anxious for a rest, and if only I could relieve him with a small sum to enable him to get a bread and breakfast, he would be satisfied, as on the following morning he intended going on to Manchester where he would be all right. I asked him for his lodge certificate and he said it was in the hands of friends in Manchester, He said his name was Arthur COOPER, and he belonged to 406 Northern Counties Lodge, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, and had been a member for 18 years, the last seven of which he was a pastmaster.

Without proving him to be a Mason, I gave him 1s, believing his statement to be true, and told him if he called upon me the following morning, proving himself to be a true Mason, and worthy of support, I would relieve him with a larger amount. He then shook hands and bade me good night. The prisoner turned up the following morning at 9.30 at my place of business, No 13 Bow-street. On entering the shop I at once recognised him as a person whom I had previously relieved, but not in the name of Arthur COOPER.. I asked him to give me a receipt for the 1s I had on the previous night given him. He replied "Will it not do on the one receipt?" I said "No; I prefer all receipts for monies to be kept separate. The reason I had for him signing the receipt produced was to compare his handwriting with the other two receipts also produced.

I then took him to a private room and he proved himself to my satisfaction to be a mason. He said he had returned the week previously from the war, having served almost two years with the "Fighting Fifth." On reaching his home, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, where he carried on the business of a picture framer and gilder, he was greatly shocked to find his wife had been confined with a child during his absence, and of which he was not the father. He had come away, fearing that if he stayed he might do something serious to her, and had left his eldest son, 21 years of age in charge of the business.

I then asked him to write the name of Geo HARRIS, PM 636, De Ogle Lodge, Morpath, Northumberland, which he did at one interrogation; also the name of Geo HAYES, 1,274 Wilberforce Lodge, Hull, and on comparing his writing with the two receipts produced, dated January 25th, 1900, and the 12th June 1897, I charged him with being one and the same person. He denied it. I said you were here on January 25th 1900. I relieved you with 2s 6d, and you signed in the name of Geo HARRIS, and also on the 12th June 1897, with 1s signing as G HAYES. He denied this also. And said I was mistaken, because he had never been in this town before the previous evening.

I then gave him into the custody of Constable PRATT, who took him across to the police office. In answer to a telegram I afterwards sent to Newcastle-upon-Tyne, "Is Arthur COOPER a past master of you lodge?" reply came, "Not a member 0f 406. Don't know him.— BARTLETT, W M." I also produce letters from the secretaries of the other two lodges that no such name as HARRIS or HAYES exist on their books. I am decidedly creation the prisoner is the one and the same person. I have on three occasions relieved in different names of HARRIS, HAYES and COOPER.

The prisoner made a lengthy statement, and admitted that his name was not Arthur COOPER, but refused to disclose his true name and lodge. He said he felt his position very keenly indeed. The Chairman said the Bench could not overlook the offence — defrauding charity — and he must go to prison for fourteen days with hard labour.

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