11 June 1904

Struck by a Pick

To the heavy clouds of dust blown about on Monday were attributed a singular accident which befell a pavior in the employ of the Ashton Corporation, named Alfred SMITH, residing at 206, Katherine-street.

He, along with other Corporation workmen, were engaged in laying the setts along Whitelands-road, when a thick cloud of dust was blown along the road. Another workman, named John SIMISTER, was using a pick close by in order to break up the ground, when, as was stated, the dust became so thick that they could hardly see each other, and as SMITH changed his position the pick descended, and the point struck him on the buttock inflicting a nasty wound.

The police ambulance was requisitioned, and he was immediately conveyed to the District Infirmary, in charge of Constables ALFORD and WOLFENDEN.

An alarming accident occurred in Chester-square, Ashton, about six o’clock on Saturday evening, by which a lady cyclist, named Mary Elizabeth OLDFIELD, of 7, Robinson-street, Ashton, narrowly escaped very serious injuries.

She was cycling through the square in the direction of St Peter’s Church, when she collided with an electric tramcar, throwing her with much force to the ground. She was picked up by the driver of the car, and assisted into Dr SMITH’s surgery close by, where she was found to be suffering from shock. She was afterwards driven home in a cab.

An accident occurred to a woman named Elizabeth Ann POTTS, wife of Jos. POTTS, collier, 53, Jermyn-street, Ashton, on Saturday night. She was walking through the Market Hall when her foot slipped and she fell, severely injuring one of her legs, which was deformed. Dr PEARCE attended to the injuries, and she was taken home in the police horse ambulance.

Camp Meeting in the Market Ground

On Wednesday night a camp meeting, under the auspices of the Ashton and District Free Church Council, was held on the Market Ground. On the platform there were present Messrs. William HAMER (chairman), Revs. Thomas HOOPER, Bramwell DUTTON, and A. T. GREENWOOD, and Mr George TAYLOR.

After several hymns has been sweetly sung by the choir of the Ashton Union of Christian Endeavour Societies (under the conductorship of Mr J. A. YOXALL), who were present, the Chairman explained the objects of the meeting — that if the people would not come to them, they would go the people, and expressed the hope that that meeting would bear fruit in many hearts among the congregation.

The rest of the evening was spent in speaking and singing, the Rev. Thomas HOOPER and Mr George TAYLOR delivering eloquent addresses.

An Obnoxious Passenger

At the Ashton Borough Court, on Monday, a young man named Frederick KING, of Dukinfield, was charged (1) with using profane language on a tramcar; and (2) with refusing to leave the outside of the car when requested to do so, on the 27th May. Defendant pleaded guilty. — Mr F. W. BROMLEY, town clerk, said he was instructed by the Tramways Committee to prosecute the defendant, who, having pleaded guilty, he would state the facts shortly.

It seemed that on Friday, the 27th of last month, defendant and a friend tried to get upon a car coming from Stalybridge to Ashton at the Sycamore. Defendant’s friend was drunk, and was not allowed to go on the car. Defendant got on while the car was in motion.

He would not go inside or on the top, although frequently requested by the conductor to do so. When the car got near the Albion Chapel the conductor had it stopped, and he brought round the driver. They both requested KING to go on the top, and he again refused. It was not until a police officer came that he did.

When he did comply with the conductor’s request, he used very abusive and profane language. He was asked for his name and address, and at first he refused to give it, but ultimately complied.

As this was the first case which the Corporation had found it necessary to bring before their worships, he was desired to say that they would on every occasion rigorously have the by-laws complied with. They knew the tramcars were a great boon and convenience to a large number of people. A very many women travelled by the car, and it would be intolerable if they could not do so without being compelled to listen to profane and disgusting language.

He did not make these remarks as applying to this case in particular, but generally. The conductors had very difficult duties to perform. The Tramways Committee insisted upon their being civil and obliging to the public, and on the other hand they intended to insist that the public should not oppose the conductors and officials in carrying on their duties. Therefore in future they hoped these cases would be very, very few indeed.

Dr COOKE: Was he under the influence of drink? — Defendant: I had had some, your Worship. — Dr COOKE: As this is the first case, and you seem a respectable sort of man, we shall deal more leniently with you. It should be generally known that the Tramways Committee will on no occasion allow abusive language or rough conduct to prevail on their cars. In your case this morning we shall fine you the costs of the court, which will be 5s. 6d. in each case.

Mr BROMLEY: Will you allow the advocate’s fee? I don’t think the committee should be put to any unreasonable expenses in carrying out their duty to the public. — Dr COOKE: Very well, we allow it.

Perjury Somewhere — The Police Vindicated

At the Dukinfield Police Court, on Thursday, Sarah Ann LOMAS, married woman, of Birch-lane, was charged on an adjourned summons with being drunk and disorderly in Birch-lane on the 30th May.

Superintendent CROGHAN informed the magistrates (Alderman J. KERFOOT and Mr T. MORTON) that the case had been adjourned since last Thursday. On that occasion defendant was summoned for being drunk and disorderly in Birch-lane on the 30th ult.

A constable swore that she was drunk and creating a disturbance at the corner of Birch-lane and Meadow-lane at five past 11 o’clock at night. She denied it in toto, and she was corroborated by her husband and a man named BIBBY. They swore she was perfectly sober, and that she was never out of the house on that occasion. In other words, the policeman was swearing a lie.

It was apparent that flagrant perjury was being committed on one side or the other, and it might damage the constable. He (Superintendent CROGHAN) made an application for the bench to adjourn the case with a view to getting independent witnesses to give their version of the affair, and let the magistrates and the public see who had been committing perjury

He hoped the bench would believe him when he said he was most anxious that the police should swear the truth. It was most important that they should do so, and the Chief Constable had over an over again impressed them with that fact. If the police were not truthful, they were not honest. It was essential that policemen should be truthful and honest.

If an officer did choose to swear a deliberate lie and commit perjury he must take responsibility. He was not only liable to dismissal from the force, but also proceeded against for perjury. He had only one object in view, and that was to get at the truth. He had witnesses who would tell the bench what had happened, and he would leave it to the justices to decide which side had committed perjury.

Constable Ernest HALL was then sworn. He stated that he was on duty in Birch-lane on the night of the 30th May at 15 minutes past 11 o’clock when his attention was called to the defendant standing at the corner of Birch-lane and Meadow-lane, about 20 yards from her own door. She was drunk, shouting, and using very bad language. He went to her and persuaded her to go into the house.

She went as far as the doorstep, and then renewed the shouting and bad language. She went inside, but came out again after witness had walked a short distance from the door. Eventually her husband took her inside. She was in the street altogether about a quarter of an hour. He did not know the woman before, and had not the slightest feeling in the matter. He reported the case in the usual way.

Alderman KERFOOT: With regard to your evidence about her being drunk. How would you describe her drunkenness? — Mr MORTON: Was she staggering about? — Witness: Yes, she was staggering. I walked by her side from Meadow-lane end to her door, a distance of 20 yards, and she kept bobbing against the wall.

Superintendent CROGHAN: What was her language? Was it that of a sober woman? No, it was filthy language. — The Deputy Clerk: Any questions to ask the witness? — Defendant: Did you come to the door and say you would report me? Yes. — Wasn’t that the first time you saw me? No.

Thomas JONES, cowman at Victoria Farm, stated that at 10 past 11 o’clock on the night of the 30th he was coming down Meadow-lane, and heard a noise in Birch-lane. He saw Mrs LOMAS at the corner of Birch and Meadow-lanes. She was cursing, and he came to the conclusion she was drunk.

Superintendent CROGHAN: Have you any doubt about her condition? No, she was drunk. I saw the constable come across the street to her and tell her to go into the house and behave herself. — Have you been compelled to come here and give evidence? Yes. The Deputy Clerk: Any questions to ask? — Defendant: No. I was not outside and he did not see me.

Elizabeth PATTEN, 50, Birch-lane, stated that on the afternoon of the 30th at 4.30 she saw Mrs LOMAS at her own door. At that time she had had a drop of drink, but was not drunk. About five past eleven o’clock she saw her and the constable at the corner of Birch and Meadow-lanes. — Superintendent CROGHAN: What was her state then? — Witness: She was not so drunk but what she could walk without assistance — Was she drunk or sober? She was not so drunk that she required to be carried. — She was drunk? Well, she was drunk. — You didn’t want to come here? No, I am very sorry to come. — You have been summoned here? Yes.

Lucy COKELY, 47, Birch-lane, said that at five minutes past 11 o’clock she was in her house when she heard a noise outside. She went to the door, and saw Mrs LOMAS standing on her own doorstep. She was making a noise — swearing. She came off the doorstep and staggered towards Meadow-lane. — Superintendent CROGHAN: Was she drunk? Yes. — You have been compelled to come here on summons? Yes, I did not want to come. — I don’t blame you. — The Deputy Clerk: Any questions to ask? — Defendant: No, I never saw her.

William WOOLLEY, cabdriver, 1, Anne-street, off Birch-lane, stated that at 11.15 he was going home along Meadow-lane, when he heard Mrs LOMAS shouting on her own doorstep. In his opinion she was drunk.

The Deputy Clerk: Do you wish to come into this box and give evidence on oath? — Defendant: No, I will stop here. — Then call your witnesses.

Joseph BOYD, 56, Birch-lane, repeated the evidence he gave last week, that he heard a bother in the street, and saw a policeman at Mrs LOMAS’s door. The officer told her to go into the house, and she did so. He could not speak to her condition as he did not see her. He had seen her at 8 o’clock, and she was all right and sober.

Superintendent CROGHAN: You are a bit more careful in your evidence this morning than you were last Thursday. Didn’t you swear that when you saw her on the doorstep she was sober? No. — Will you swear now she was drunk or sober at a quarter past 11 o’clock? I did not see her. — I have nothing more to ask you then.

Joshua LOMAS, husband of the defendant, was called. He said he and his wife were having a few words in the house shortly after 11 o’clock. His wife was standing near the door when the constable came up and told her if she did not go inside he should report her. She made a remark that she was in her own house, and was only having a few words with her husband. Witness then got up and closed the door.

The Deputy Clerk: What state was your wife in? She was not drunk. — Superintendent CROGHAN: You don’t swear so positively about your wife’s state as you did last Thursday. Will you swear she was sober? She was not drunk. — Last week you said she was sober and had no sign of drink. Do you still say she was sober? Yes. — Do you know that your wife was in the Wheat Sheaf in the afternoon? No. Were you in there? Yes, in the evening. — Will you swear you do not know that your wife was there drinking when you were in the taproom? Yes.

Will you swear you do not know that she had whiskey at Mrs TAYLOR’s, 57, Birch-lane that night? I don’t know. — Did you have some there? Yes. —You’re your wife there? Yes. — How many women were there? Four or five. — Were they all drinking whiskey? No one was drinking whiskey while I was there. — You had some though? Yes. — Will you swear you did not drink out of the same cup as your wife? I don’t know whether it was the same cup or not. — Did you see your wife drink any? No. — Perhaps you did not leave her much to drink? Perhaps not.

Will you swear that your wife did not leave the house before the constable came? Yes. — Do you think it reasonable that all these people have come here to tell lies about your wife? No, but they would not have come if they had not been made. I am not saying this as a threat, but possibly you will hear more of this.

Witness: At the last hearing the constable said that a shopkeeper had made complaint about the disturbance. Why had he not brought him as a witness. The inspector and four constables had been making a house-to-house inquiry, and causing more commotion than ever. — Superintendent CROGHAN: Why haven’t you brought the tradesman? I didn’t want to bring him from business.

Alderman KERFOOT: Have you anything against her? — Superintendent CROGHAN: No; it is her first appearance. I have nothing prejudicial to her character.

The magistrates consulted with the deputy clerk after which Superintendent CROGHAN said if the bench had made up their minds to convict he would ask that they should order the defendant to pay something towards the cost of bringing the witnesses for the police.

As the bench were aware, it was a most difficult thing for the police to get witnesses to give evidence. They did not like to come against their neighbours, and he did not blame them, but in the interests of truth and justice he had summoned them. That had entailed some expense, and it was not fair that the county should bear the whole of it.

This was not of their seeking. It had been forced upon the police. The evidence last Thursday branded the police officer with perjury, his credibility was at stake, and he thought it hard that the county should be put to needless and unnecessary expense through the stupidity of the defendant and her husband.

The Bench then fined defendant 5s. and costs, and 10s. expenses for witness in addition. In default 14 days. The fine and costs amounted to £1 18s. 6d.

At 8.45 on Thursday morning the dead body of Samuel BANKS, aged 76, a well-known resident of Millbrook, was found suspended by a rope tied round his neck and fastened to the ceiling of his house, No. 1, Grenville-street. Deceased, who was a woollen weaver by trade, had been in failing health for some time, having suffered from bronchitis and heart affliction.

He was left sitting in a chair downstairs early on Thursday morning, his wife retiring to bed, and at seven o’clock he was heard walking about the house, but upon getting up later Mrs BANKS was horrified to find her husband hanging as stated. The body was cut down by Finlay McKINLEY, Co-operative Society butcher, and Mr NEWTON, coroner, fixed the inquest for 2.30 on Friday afternoon. A report of the inquiry will appear in our Monday’s edition.

The ordinary business routine of the Ashton County Court on Thursday was relieved by a very acceptable touch of humour. Mr George HEATHCOTE, of Dukinfield, sought to recover £15 11s. 6d. for professional fees from Moses BERRY, formerly of Dukinfield, and now of Openshaw, for business done in connection with the sale of certain cottage property.

BERRY alleged that the charges were excessive, and that superfluous cab fares entered into the bill of costs. He gave evidence in a manner which elicited roars of laughter from the assembled solicitors, and the judge rebuked him two or three times.

He alleged that Mr HEATHCOTE “had, along with other solicitors done the cake-walk — walked off with his money.” — (Laughter.) He made a personal appeal to the judge to exercise partiality. Ultimately the judge found for Mr HEATHCOTE.

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