In this week in 1889

1889 newspaper imageTo celebrate entering our 125th year, throughout 2013 we are publishing details of a selection of local court cases and other items of local interest from the year we were founded, 1889.

The cases below, heard before Hastings Borough Bench and Eastbourne Bench, appeared in the local press in late November and early December 1889. To view reports from other weeks of 1889 visit our 125th year section.

Week ending 7 December

Struggle at Eastbourne Station

George Springett, a railway porter, and Station Constable Avis were charged with assaulting James Thomas.

Mr Thomas deposed that he was a nurseryman and lived in Brighton. At around 3:30pm on 27 November he was due to travel by train. He was in the booking office at Eastbourne Station when Mr Springett approached him and asked whether he had been in the lavatory, and said, “You did not pay the attendant a penny.” A porter then pushed Mr Thomas to the floor, ‘collared’ him and dragged him into the road.

Mr Thomas remonstrated with the porter, then one of the station policemen (Avis) pushed him off the pavement. Questioned by Springett, Thomas denied he had put himself ‘into a fighting attitude’, insisting that he had not done so for nearly 50 years. Nor did he take off his clothes, nor did he call Springett a liar and a fool.

PC crouch stated that Mr Thomas was evidently under the influence of drink while at the Railway station. Joseph Erry, an Eastbourne Station booking clerk, said he heard the disturbance, saw Mr Thomas put himself in a fighting attitude and swear at those who tried to eject him from the station. Arthur Gates, also an employee of the British Railway Company at Eastbourne, confirmed the evidence as to the conduct of Mr Thomas.

The Magistrates consulted in private then dismissed the charges against Constable Avis. The Bench said Mr Springett appeared to ‘act rather roughly’ in ejecting Mr Thomas, but the evidence was insufficient to justify a conviction for assault.

Hit and run

Emily Victoria Hart was charged with drunkenness while in charge of a horse and cart.

PC Epps deposed that at 4:50pm the previous day he saw Ms Hart driving a pony and cart from Wellington Place into Queen’s Road. A young woman was also in the cart. As it passed Miller’s shop, the horse, which was trotting at a rate of six miles per hour, ran into a woman who was crossing the road. She was knocked down and one wheel went over her.

Ms Hart drove off, but PC Epps stopped the cart and took her to the police station, where he found she was drunk. She denied being drunk and sent for Dr Connor, who confirmed she was intoxicated.

Henry Hermitage stated that he was speaking to PC Epps when he heard a scream. He then found that a lady had been run over by Ms Hart’s cart. Her face appeared to be severely bruised and blood was flowing from her right ear. Mr Hermitage assisted her to the shop of Mr Foord and afterwards saw her onto a train to Bexhill.

Alfred Foord, jeweller of Queen’s Road, said the injured woman was a customer of his. That morning he had been to see her in Bexhill, but was informed that she was ill in bed.

The Chief Constable applied for a remand, and the prisoner, who said she was willing to make any amends she could to the injured woman, was remanded for a week with bail allowed.

Hastings gang fight

William Damper, Ernest Catt, Robert Skinner, James Lancaster, described as ‘boys’, were summoned for using profane and obscene language in Earl Street on Sunday afternoon.

The evidence showed that a free-fight took place near the railway bridge between two gangs of boys, who hailed from Bohemia and Hastings. Catt, who appeared to have been mistaken for another boy of the same name, was discharged.

James Pulley, George Crawford, William Wright, William Dunstan, Charles Dunstan, William Field, Ernest Winall, Joseph Gibbs and Daniel Lye, who composed the Hastings gang, were summoned for throwing stones and sticks at the same place.

Damper and Skinner were ordered to pay 10 shillings and costs each or serve 14 days, and the rest were fined 5 shillings and costs. The Mayor announced that future offenders would be dealt with severely.

Witnesses needed

Edward Gallop, a hawker who appears in the third and eleventh parts of this series, was charged alongside Alice Lamb with disturbing the peace by fighting.

PC Muggeridge proved the charge, the offence being committed in Robertson Street the previous night. Gallop denied fighting and Lamb had nothing to say.

The Chairman asked if the police had any witnesses and PC Muggeridge said they had not. The Chief Constable then applied for a remand until Thursday. The application was granted and bail allowed.

Posted: 03 December 2013

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