24 January 1903

Two men named George SHEPLEY, 18 Bank-street, Hyde, and Samuel HANNIBLE, 1 Dawson-street, Hyde, were charged with stealing a brass casting, 6lbs weight, value 11s, the property of Herbert and Robert LEES, between the 1st and 6th January. George SPENCER, of Denton, engineer for Messrs H and R LEES, at High-street Mills, Godley, identified the brass casting produced as the property of his employers. He last saw it safe on the 2nd inst, in a shed adjoining the mill.

Henry CHAPPELL, marine store dealer, carrying on business at Perrin-street, and residing in Russell-street, stated that about 10am on Thursday, 16th January, the prisoners came to his warehouse and offered the brass casting produced for sale. Suspecting something wrong, he refused to purchase it, and afterwards gave information to the police. He told the prisoners he did not like the look of the casting, and one of them said they worked for Mr Tom ROBINSON, and had got it at a place where they had been working. They also said they had got plenty of other stuff.

Mr Herbert LEES, cotton manufacturer, was next called. In answer to Sergeant DAIN, who conducted the prosecution in the absence of the Chief Constable, who was at the Woodley fire, witness said the prisoners had no authority to take the casting away. The prisoner HANNIBLE used to work for the firm, but witness did not know the other prisoner. On the date in question, Mr ROBINSON was not carrying out repairs at their mill, although some repairs were being done. The shed was not locked, but it was enclosed on the premises in the mill yard, and had a door. They kept old castings and other material in the shed.

Sergeant NUTALL stated that about 10.30am on the 15th inst, from information received, he apprehended the two prisoners in Market-street. He brought them to the police station, and then went to the house where SHEPLEY lived, and found the brass produced. He found it in a drawer below the cupboard adjoining the fireplace. Witness subsequently charged the prisoners together with stealing the casting. SHEPLEY replied, “I didn’t steal it; I found it on the roof.” HANNIBLE replied, “I was at Droylsden, and have not been in Alec’s factory for three years.”

The magistrates discharged HANNIBLE, and the Clerk then read over the charge to SHEPLEY, who pleaded guilty to fetching the brass away, but repeated that he found it on the roof, and said he didn’t think he was stealing it.

Mr Thos. Henry ROBINSON, contractor, residing at 71 Travis-street, came forward and said he had known SHEPLEY ten or eleven years. SHEPLEY had frequently worked for him, and witness found him a decent, workman, straight-forward and honest; and he had received no complaints about SHEPLEY, who, so far as witness knew, had always borne a good character. The bench gave the prisoner the benefit of the First Offenders’ Act, and bound him over, the Chairman hoping this case would be a lesson to him.

In this action Joseph COOPER, 49 Greenheys-lane, Manchester, salesman, sued Ernest WOOD, trading as Wood and Co, who has a shop at Haughton Green, for the recovery of £9 alleged to be due for wages during an illness that the plaintiff had had. Mr RIDEAL appeared for the plaintiff, and said the illness was temporary, while plaintiff was in the employ of the defendant. It seemed that the defendant, who had provision shops all over the country, engaged the plaintiff as salesman nine months ago; and then on 29th September last, plaintiff was taken ill and at once wrote and told defendant, who sent a man down, and satisfied himself that the plaintiff was really ill and in bed. After recovery, plaintiff communicated again with the defendant, and told him he was prepared to resume his work, and then defendant wrote to him a letter saying there was no work for him.

The plaintiff, Joseph COOPER, said he entered defendant’s service nine months ago, as branch manager, and was to be paid 30s a week. In answer to defendant, witness said that when ill he had congestion of the liver, which was brought on by colds. Witness was brought by defendant from Warrington to Stockport, and from Stockport to Salford. Witness denied he had been drinking.

By His Honour: His wages were paid weekly, and he did not receive any commission. He travelled about and opened shops. Witness’s mother wrote twice to defendant about his illness. – Defendant, replying to His Honour, said he engaged someone else. – His Honour: But if a servant is temporarily ill, it does not necessarily say you should find someone in his place.

Re-examined by Mr RIDEAL, the plaintiff strongly denied that drink had anything whatever to do with his illness. – A letter sent by defendant to plaintiff immediately after the illness was handed up to His Honour, who said it seemed from the letter that the servant was on very good terms with the master. His Honour said it was a very extraordinary thing if a person on weekly wages was incapable of following his employment for many weeks, and was entitled by law to recover for many weeks, without having given notice to the employer, or without doing a stroke of work. Supposing the illness had lasted three months?

Mr RIDEAL said he expected that after a couple of weeks’ illness, or so, the defendant would say that as plaintiff continued ill he would determine the agreement. Defendant had never in any way communicated with them. – His Honour said if a person was ill a short time it would be hard to say he was not entitled to wages for that period; but if it amounted to months it would be hard on the employer.

He thought he might adopt Mr RIDEAL’s suggestion and hold that plaintiff’s wages did not cease during the week in which he was giving notice that he was temporarily ill, the employer not answering that letter. He thought he might infer that during that period the wages continued to run, so the plaintiff was entitled to a week’s notice for the first week; and then he thought, it was the duty of the employer to have terminated the employment by a formal week’s notice afterwards. As a result, he gave judgment for plaintiff for £3, costs to follow.

A Wife’s Application Dismissed

Joseph BICKERDYKE, Cooper-street, a striker, was charged with persistent cruelty towards his wife, Alice, residing in Bank-street. Mr Joe COOKE, solicitor, appeared for the defendant.

The Complainant said they were married on the 12th November, 1893. They had two children, the older one being eight years of age, the younger one two. She left her husband a week last Wednesday, on account of his cruelty. On Wednesday the 14th, bother started through her sister’s little girl coming to their house. Her husband swore at the girl and threw her out. Witness went between them, whereupon her husband began knocking her about. He gave her a good hiding, and knocked her over a chair with his fist. His ill-usage had gone on for several years.

They had been separated before, for seven or eight months. Her husband came home drunk three or four nights a week. When drunk, he kicked the furniture about; broke pots, and ill-used the children. He beat her and the children a week or two previously. He beat witness three nights on running – Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. It was a frequent occurrence. “No sooner a word than a blow, and oftener than not the blows came before the words,” she went on.

He had generally given her 6s or 7s a week. In Christmas week, he gave her 10s, and had 5s back again. The last week her gave her anything it was 9s 2¼d. She had to meet all the expenses of the house with that, together with a few shillings she made herself.

Cross-examined by Mr COOKE: The witness said they had not been married long when she first applied for a separation order, and the magistrates made an order for 6s a week. She admitted the order was afterwards reduced to 4s, but she said it was owing to her husband getting less. In further cross-examination, the complainant admitted having another child besides the two she had mentioned, and that it was born while she was living apart from her husband, and that her husband was not the father of it She denied that her husband had complained about her conduct in going out at nights.

Mr COOKE cross-examined the complainant at some length as to her going to a home in Travis-street with her sister. She declined to tell the reason why she went, and said she would leave it to her sister. Mr COOKE submitted a list of defendant’s from his employer, Mr COOPER. Eighteen shillings was his wage for a full week, but he had often broken time, and the amounts submitted ranged as low as 10s 6d.

Eliza KEALING, wife of Henry KEALING, and Ellen CLARKE, both of New Mills, and both sisters of the complainant, were called, but it happened that neither of them could speak of within the last six months, so their evidence could not be taken.

Mr COOKE said he did not wish to take advantage of the complainant, but was about to submit there was no case, insomuch as the only evidence was that given by the complainant. He was not going to say that under the Act of Parliament they were bound to have corroboration; but he thought, having regard to her prior conduct, although it had been condoned by the defendant, nevertheless they should not forget it, and it was there, that the complainant was a woman of not the best of morals, because during the time she was under the protection of the bench, and defendant was going to his work and trying to conform with the order, she went and got herself enceinte with another man.

Although he did not put much pressure in cross-examination, she did not go through the ordeal very well. She admitted that her husband had warned her about going to a certain house in Travis-street, where her sister was, and she refused to tell what she went for. From her evidence he took the impression that the sister was living in the town, but it seemed she lived in New Mills. The husband had frequently to complain of her objectionable conduct. Mr COOKE submitted there was no case.

The Chairman announced that the Bench found there was not sufficient evidence, and they dismissed the case.

Lurry Driver and Horse Injured

An accident of a somewhat serious character took place about a quarter-past six on Thursday evening, near the foot of Kingston Brow, Hyde. A mineral water lurry belonging to Mr WHITE, mineral water manufacturer, Manchester, was proceeding along the flat in the direction of Denton, when a collision occurred between the lurry and a tramcar in the opposite direction.

There were two horses in the lurry, and the driver of the lurry was sitting on the high box in front. The impact was so great that the driver, named MEYERS, of Russell-street, Denton, was knocked off the box. One of his knees was badly bruised, and he was severely shaken, and was assisted into the grocer’s shop close by.

The near shaft of the lurry was knocked off by the collision with the car, and the near horse was very severely cut on one of its forelegs, but the other horse escaped unhurt, as did also the driver of the tramcar. The injured horse fell and lay in the roadway, and practically could not move, so it had to be dragged away from the tramlines. It lay on the road for several hours.

At ten o’clock on Thursday evening, when one of our representatives visited the scene, the horse still lay there, and it was feared it would have to be killed; but we were glad to learn that the driver of the lurry was getting round very nicely.

Wife Alleged to be a Habitual Drunkard

Under the new Licensing Act, Sydney POVEY, 180 Dukinfield-road, a sawyer, applied for a separation from his wife, Mary POVEY, who was alleged to be a habitual drunkard. The defendant, Mrs POVEY, only came out of gaol last Saturday, having been down a week in default of paying a fine recently imposed upon her at this Court for drunkenness.

The first witness called was Police-Constable John RICHARDSON, of Cheadle, where the parties used to live. His evidence was to the effect that when the POVEYs lived at Cheadle, two or three years ago, he was fetched to the defendant several times. He had found her lying on the hearth drunk, and when the husband came home at night there had been no tea and no fire.

Defendant had broken house furniture and mugs, but she always kept in the house if she expected the police coming, and they could not lock her up. She was a woman of well-known drunken habits. Her husband had complained in her presence about her having pawned things out of the house, and she had admitted it. Witness had seen the husband go to shops for provisions and have them sent home, so as to avoid letting his wife have any money.

Witness regarded the woman as a habitual drunkard. She often had bruises on her face, which appeared to be caused through falling. The husband, during the time witness knew him, was a hard-working, respectable man, and also a teetotaler.

The applicant next gave evidence. They were, he said, married on the 21st October, 1899, at a Registry Office in Stockport. The defendant was his second wife. She had no children, but witness had three by his first wife, the eldest being fourteen years of age, and the youngest seven. Witness earned about 28s a week as a sawyer.

His wife’s drunken habits had gone on from about a month after they were married, to the present time. Witness had regularly been compelled to after the house and the children. Witness mentioned two occasions on which his wife had smashed windows. When in drink, his wife was violent towards the children. Witness had not tasted drink for three years.

Defendant had often pawned things – blankets and sheets off the bed had gone that way, and it was no use getting them back, because she took them again immediately. She had also pawned the children’s clothing. Witness never illtreated her. He had fetched her out of a field at two a.m., and on one occasion she slept in a field all night, and would not move. This was about nine months ago, at Chinley, where they resided after leaving Cheadle, and before coming to Hyde.

Answering questions from his wife, and from the bench, witness admitted he once told her to pawn some things, but that, he explained, was when he was out of work. He admitted that he had served three months in gaol for neglecting his children, during the lifetime of his first wife, who was sentenced to six weeks’ imprisonment for similar offence. His children at that time had been placed under the protection of the workhouse authorities, who proceeded against him.

His present wife before being married to him was in service at Levenshulme. He admitted seeing his wife drunk on one occasion during their courtship. His first wife died in Hope Hospital, Salford, six or seven years ago, and it was about six months afterwards that he heard of her death. His work often took him to different places. He was not in prison during the six months named. – (Mr BARON: You’re a model husband!)

Clara POVEY, aged 13, daughter of the applicant, was called, and gave evidence of the defendant’s drunken habits.

Mrs POVEY was sworn, and in course of her statement admitted getting a drop of drink, but alleged she only got drunk when her husband ill-used her. She got excited, and this caused her husband to say she was drunk. She asserted that she had never pawned things except when her husband told her. She admitted having broken windows twice, and that her husband had been a sober man during the last two or three years.

Mrs ELLIS, of 204 Dukinfield-road, a married woman, who let the house in which the parties had been living, was called by the defendant. She said she had lately seen her several times a week, and had noticed nothing wrong about her. Witness admitted having recently seen two broken windows at the house of the parties, but did not see them broken. The husband paid the rent. Last Sunday week witness saw the husband pull defendant about the flags, and the woman, who seemed hysterical, cried to be locked up.

In reply to the bench, defendant said she came out of Wales – Carnarnvonshire. She had a poor old mother, who since she was married had sent her two pairs of boots, and in one of the boots there was a shilling. She gave one pair to Clara.

The magistrates granted the husband a separation order, and the Chairman intimated he must pay his wife 5s a week. The husband, of course, retains custody of the children. The Chairman told defendant that now was the time to turn over a new leaf.

Flashes from the Half-Moon
(By Tamesider)

Notwithstanding the prejudice with which several members of the Town Council view the Education Bill, a determined and honest effort is to be made to put the Act in operation. The Mayor (Alderman H PRATT) called a meeting of the General Purposes Committee last week-end, and the various phases of the Bill were freely discussed. The majority of the members were undoubtedly in favour of the Council becoming the local education authority, and a resolution was finally moved by the Ex-Mayor (Councilor W E WOOD), and seconded by Councilor J GRIME, that a committee be formed to prepare a scheme to present to the Council. No further action will be taken for some days to come.

SACRED CONTEST.- There was a crowded attendance at St Mark’s Band Institute, on Sunday forenoon, when a sacred concert was given by Mr Titus CROPPER and party. Mr W CROPPER occupied the chair, and the vocalists included Messrs H MAIDEN, W HAGUES, Geo. CARTER, E ROYLES, and Bert RAYNOR. The accompanist was Mr Dom FAVIER.

WESLEYAN NEWS.- Mr HARVEY has been appointed secretary and convener of the Joint Committee of trustees and members of the Foundry-street Wesleyan congregation, which is charged with the duty of carrying out the improved lighting of the school. The following officers of the Sunday School have been elected for 1903:- Messrs TAYLOR and SEABORNE, superintendents; Mr J PICKUP, J.P., treasurer; and Mr Robt. BROWN, school visitor. Alderman PICKUP has also been appointed senior society steward in succession to Mr J H SNOWDON.

SUDDEN DEATH.- Mr F NEWTON, Cheshire County Coroner, held an inquest at the Town Hall on Tuesday afternoon, on the body of George WHITEHEAD, a retired miner, aged 76, of Church-street, who died suddenly at his home the previous morning. Evidence of identification was given by Isaac WHITEHEAD, who stated that his father slept on the sofa on Sunday evening. About ten minutes to four on Monday morning he was awakened by his wife, and on going into the kitchen he found deceased in a kneeling position against the sofa. Life was extinct. – The jury returned a verdict of “Death from natural causes, probably heart failure following bronchitis.”

Two old English “man-traps” came up for sale at a London auction-room this week. These terrible engines – 74in long from end to end and 3ft high – would catch a man above the knees, and as it requires two men to set the traps owing to a strong spring at either end, the wretched poacher would be held a close prisoner until the gamekeeper released him.

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