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Old news detailing sports, crime, violence and suffering in Victorian Wigan. All stories taken from The Wigan Observer And District Advertiser, 1860. Material kindly loaned by Paul Byrne.


Friday, July 20, 1860.

WIFE BEATING.
   Henry Fogg, a brewer, whose jovial-looking physiognomy betokened anything but the possession of wife-beating propensities, was charged with assaulting his wife. - Complainant said that on Monday night, her husband, after getting his supper, went out and got some drink, and while she was in bed she heard him calling out for her. She got up, and on getting into the Ship Yard (where they lived) she found him scuffling with some men. She managed to get him away, and because she would not let him go out again to the men he commenced to thrash her. - Defendant good-humouredly said he did not know that he had thrashed his wife; he knew he got thrashed when he went into the Ship Yard. - Mr. Ingram: I should advise you to turn teetotal. - Defendant: Nay, I can't be teetotal, when I make ale. - The bench, however, thought it not altogether incompatible for a brewer to be a teetotaller; and has defendant had never been in the court before they would discharge him on paying costs.



Friday, July 27, 1860.

SHOCKING SUICIDE.
   One of the most shocking calamities that we have had to record for some time past occurred on Saturday evening, between the Appley Bridge and Newburgh stations on the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway. The facts connected with this lamentable event appear to be these; - On the day mentioned, a woman was observed near the canal, a short distance from the railway, and as she wore a dejected and melancholy appearance, fears were entertained that she intended to destroy herself, and she was driven from the spot. About eight o'clock, as the Manchester train for Southport was proceeding between Appley Bridge and Newburgh, the engine driver perceived a woman on the line, only some fifty yards distant. The whistle was instantly sounded, and an attempt was made to bring the train up, but this proved futile. The woman took no notice of the alarm, and the consequence was that the engine knocked her down, and she was killed on the spot. We hear that her legs were completely cut off, and that her body was dreadfully mangled. No doubt she is the same person who was seen near the canal, and there can also be no question that after she found she had no opportunity then of drowning herself, she determined upon ending her life in the horrible manner described. We understand that the unfortunate woman was married and resided at Liverpool, but had been compelled to leave her husband, on account of his ill-treatment. This circumstance may have led to the commission of the sad act.



Friday, July 27, 1860.

APPREHENSION OF A RUNAWAY THIEF.
   A case strongly illustrative of the vigilance and watchfulness of our police force, and proving how next to an impossibility it is for any criminal long to elude the grasp of the law, occurred here on Thursday. That morning the Chief constable, along with the authorities of other towns, received a notice, coupled with a description of the supposed thief, of a robbery of 57 15s. from a lodging-house kept by Michael Cockrin, Longton, Staffordshire. It appears that a man who gave his name as William Morris, went on Monday last, in company with a woman, to Cockrin's lodging-house, and after staying a while they both suddenly disappeared, when it was discovered that a trunk had been broken open, and the sum above mentioned abstracted from it. The Longton police were at once acquainted with the robbery, but no trace of either man or woman could be found, and accordingly bills were issued offering the reward of 10 for the apprehension of Morris. One of those bills, as we have said, reached the Chief Constable on Thursday, and the police force were made acquainted with the case, and took the description of the person "wanted" for the robbery. About eleven o'clock Detective Whalley was on duty near Scholes Bridge, when his attention was arrested by a man who was walking along with a bundle on his shoulder. As this man's appearance corresponded in some respects with the one of whom he had notice, Whalley went up to him and questioned him, and his answers not being satisfactory he was taken to the police office. The Chief Constable asked him if his name was not Wm. Morris, and if he was not the person who had robbed Cockrin's house, when he replied that his name was Morris, and that he had been at Cockrin's, but did not steal the money. He was, however, searched, and 19 in gold, a shilling, and threepence in copper, and also some new clothes, were found upon him. The Longton authorities have been communicated with, and the man will be handed over for disposal by them.



Friday, July 27, 1860.

STEALING A PAIR OF SHOES.
   Peter Seddon was charged with stealing two shoes, the property of John Knowles, Wallace-lane, Whelley. - Prosecutor's daughter said she saw the shoes in question in the house on Wednesday morning. She went out a short time, and on returning the shoes were gone. - Ann Yates saw the prisoner in Wallace-lane, on Wednesday morning, standing by a gate close to the house occupied by the prosecutor. - John Griffiths, assistant to Mr. Stuart, pawnbroker, Millgate, stated that prisoner offered the shoes in pledge, and seeing they were odd ones, and that one was longer than the other, witness remarked this to the prisoner, who replied that the person to whom they belonged had odd feet. The prisoner's explanation not being deemed satisfactory, a police-officer was sent for, and he was given into custody. - Prisoner had nothing to say, further than that drink was the cause of his committing the theft; he had a wife and four children. - The magistrates committed him to Kirkdale for a month.



Friday, July 27, 1860.

DRUNK AND DISORDERLY.
   Margaret Hurst, a girl about 16 years of age, for being drunk and disorderly, was sent to prison for 14 days as a vagrant. - Ann Walsh, a married woman, who only came out of gaol on Monday, was again charged with disorderly conduct in Hallgate, on Tuesday night, but discharged with a caution. - Patrick Kelly, alias "Sambo," for being disorderly in the Market-place on Tuesday night, was discharged on promising to leave the town. - William Eckersley, charged with riotous and disorderly conduct in Spring Gardens, was discharged on payment of costs.



Saturday, July 28, 1860.

FATAL ACCIDENT AT BILLINGE.
   Yesterday an inquest was held at the George and Dragon, Billinge, on the body of a man named John Valentine, a clogger, who met with his death by falling down stairs. Deceased, on Wednesday morning was in a state of intoxication, and while trying to ascend the stairs to his bedroom, he overbalanced himself, and fell heavily to the ground, sustaining such injuries that he died on Thursday morning. - A verdict of "Accidental death" was returned.



Friday, August 3, 1860.

A NOTORIOUS FAMILY ONCE MORE IN COURT.
   Sarah Acton, of Scholes, was charged, on the information of her mother-in-law, Mary Ann Acton, with riotous and disorderly conduct. - Complainant stated that defendant came to her house and called her names, saying she would "wring her head off," and causing a crowd to collect. - The defendant, whose right optic was set in a large blue black circle, and whose condition unmistakeably demonstrated that she had been severely punished by some one, stated that the complainant first came to her house, and clapping her hands challenged her out, and asked her how she would "draw her (complainant's) claret," and adding that "an Acton never fought but they drew blood." Defendant also said that her own husband and his brother, knocked her down and kicked her, and that she was laid up on Monday through their treatment. - The bench ordered the costs to be divided between the parties, and the complainant, who protested that her conduct had been of the most lamb-like nature, on most reluctantly tendering her portion, observed to the clerk that "the Almighty was looking down on that money."



Friday, August 3, 1860.

ASSAULTING THE POLICE.
   Daniel Simpkin was charged with assaulting police-constable Atkinson on the 17th May, 1859. - Defendant was seen by the officer chasing some women, one of whose collar bones he had broken, and on interfering he received a violent blow on the face, after which defendant took to his heels, and absconded till this week, when he surrendered. - The bench imposed a fine of 20s. and costs.



Friday, August 3, 1860.

ATTEMPTING TO RESCUE A PRISONER.
   James Highton was charged with disorderly conduct, and William Molyneux was charged with rescuing Highton from the custody of the police. - Police-constable Murphy said he was called by the landlord of the White Horse, Standishgate, to put Highton out of the house, and while thus engaged Molyneux interfered, knocked the officer aside, and attempted to prevent Highton being taken into custody. - The bench ordered defendant to pay costs.


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