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Wigan Magistrates Court, 1889

Wigan Court cases, some interesting snippets of 1889 taken from old Wigan Observers.

27th March, 1889


  Robert Frith, a young man living at Ince, was charged with playing at pitch and toss at Ince, on the 17th inst. - Police constable Barrow proved the case, and that the prisoner had been summoned to appear before but had not done so. He had accordingly been arrested. - Mr Woodcock: Why did you not appear before? - Defendant: Please sir, I had no money. - Mr Woodcock: That is no excuse. You will be fined 2s. 6d. and costs.

3rd April, 1889


  William Bevington was charged with driving a horse furiously at Ashton-in-Makerfield, on the 16th inst. - Police Constable Gilbert said that at about ten minutes past five, on Saturday afternoon, he saw the defendant driving furiously, and to the danger of foot passengers. - Defendant denied that he was the man in charge of the horse, but was ordered to pay costs.

13th April, 1889


John Rathbone, 3, Martlew's-yard, was charged with wilfully setting his chimney on fire. - The Chief Constable said this case was a somewhat different one from those that had been brought there before, as the husband frankly admitted that he set the chimney on fire purposely. They found a piece of timber measuring four feet long in the chimney. - Police constable Hodgetts proved the offence, and the bench inflicted a fine of 1s., Mr Benson remarking that the practice was becoming too common in the town, and should be put down.

3rd July, 1889


  A young fellow named Joseph Foy, of 12, Boys' Well-lane, was put into the dock to answer the charge of setting on fire the bedclothes and breaking furniture of the house of his father, Thomas Foy, 12, Shaw's-yard. - Nothing intelligible could be gleaned from the evidence of the father, who evidently was struggling to gain redress for his son's wrong-doings, and at the same time presenting his son's faults in as 'favourable a light' as possible. Little difficulty was experienced when the prisoner's mother stepped into the box, and she very soon supplied the necessary information. It appeared that her son had come in raging drunk and had set fire to the bedclothes with a candle. Then he broke the table and several pictures with kicks, and getting a knife in his hand commenced a search for his father and mother, swearing that he would be hung for them. - Prisoner said he was trying to put the fire out when he accidently broke the table. - He was fined 5s. and costs and the damage.

10th July, 1889


  Martin Kenealey, 41, Victoria-street, and Martin Droyer, 30, Adelaide street, were charged with assaulting and beating Police-constable McFay, on the 20th ultimo, whilst in the execution of his duty. - The officer said that at half-past nine on the Saturday night in question, he was in Wallgate having in custody a man named Scully. He was in company with Police-constable O'Gorman. Both defendants came up to him, tupped him in the chest, and kicked him from behind, and he had to get assistance to get Scully to the station. - The defendants said they did not know anything at all about it as they were drunk at the time, but the bench thought there was no doubt about the case, and fined each of them 10s. and costs - in default, 14 days' imprisonment.

9th October, 1889


  A labourer, named Patrick Maloney, was charged with having lucifer matches in his possession whilst working in the No. 5 pit of the Norley Hall Colliery. - Mr. Lees prosecuted, and defendant was fined 5s. and costs. The matches were found by a banksman in defendant's coat pocket, along with a pipe containing tobacco, and the case was very clear against him.

18th September, 1889


  A man named Henry Martin was charged with assaulting Police-constable Waters, at Ince, on Sunday. - Police-constable Waters said at four o'clock on Sunday afternoon the prisoner was drunk and disorderly in Manchester-road, Ince, and witness and Police sergeant Barker went to him and told him to go home. The prisoner said he would do so, but he had scarcely got 100 yards away, when he threw his hat down, stood on his head, and commenced "preaching". Witness went to him, and prisoner turned upon him and kicked him several times on the legs. - The prisoner said he was very sorry for what he had done, and he begged pardon for it. - He was fined 10s. and costs.

30th October, 1889


  John Maloney, a sinker, of Wigan, was brought up charged with stealing a fox-terrier dog, the property of Charles Rose, licensed victualler, Gerard's Arms Hotel, Ashton. The theft was committed on the 21st inst. on the prosecutor's premises. The prisoner was apprehended on suspicion by Police-constable Barber the same day, and the animal was found in his possession. - The magistrates inflicted a 21 days' imprisonment with hard labour.

27th November, 1889


An old man named Daniel Casey was charged with stealing two hens at Upholland, between the 16th and 17th inst. - Mr John Laithwaite, to whom they belonged, discovered the man near a boiler house, plucking the hens, and frizzling them at the fire. - He was sent to prison for 14 days.

26th April, 1889


  Sarah Goulding, 32, Bradshawgate, was summoned for assaulting Jane Coughlin, 47, Vauxhall-road, on Monday, 17th June. - The complainant said that after ten o'clock on the the night alluded to, her daughter and defendant's daughter were fighting. She went to separate them, when the defendant came and began beating her severely. She had to go to the doctor in consequence, and her head had to be stitched up. - Thomas Dunn and Arthur Coughlin each corroborated, and further evidence was silently attested by the appearance of the complainant, whose head had evidently been hardly used. - The defendant called two witnesses named Thomas Johnson and Ann Clarke, who said the two women began fighting at the same time, and were both as bad as one another. In the words of the first witness, "They fowt like men." - The magistrates considered the case proved, and ordered the defendant to pay a fine of 5s. and costs.

18th May, 1889


  Charles Hagan was fined 10s. and costs for an assault upon Thomas Foster, of Ince, on the 18th inst. - Complainant said the defendant came into his house and caused a row, and eventually gave him a regular "buzzer" on the nose. He took a summons out because it was not the first time defendant had struck him. - Defendant pleaded that he was drunk at the time and knew nothing at all about it.

11th May, 1889


  A respectable looking man named Edward Mitchinson, 135, Warrington-road, who was defended by Mr. Lees, was fined 40s. and costs for indecently exposing himself in Dicconson-street.

3rd August, 1889


  A young man named Alfred Laithwaite was charged with riding a bicycle without a light on the night of the 20th ult. - Police-constable Barber said about ten o'clock on the night of the above date he saw defendant riding a bicycle on the highway at Ashton, without a light. He called out to him, but he took no notice. In fact, he had cautioned him previously for a similar offence. - It was a dark night. - Defendant said he could see some hundred yards in front of him. He had no lamp with him, as it was undergoing repairs, and he was only riding slowly. - He was ordered to pay costs.

3rd August, 1889


  Three lads, George Gibson, Robert Boyle, and Peter Stuart, were summoned for stealing apples from the garden of Mr. R. C. Haworth, of Hindley, on the 28th ult. - Mr. Haworth said the boys threw stones at the trees, knocked the apples off, and then got over the wall and took the fruit. - They were each ordered to pay 1s.

28th August, 1889


  James Holland, a collier, working for Messrs. Cross, Tetley and Co., Bamfurlong, was charged with neglecting to set sprags or props in his working place on August 16th. - Mr. Cowburn (Messrs. Darlington and Sons) prosecuted, and said the defendant had transgressed Special Rule 48. - Ralph Ellam, underlooker for Messrs. Cross, Tetley and Co., proved the offence, and the defendant, who attempted no pallsation of his carelessness, was ordered to pay the costs, Mr. Walmesley hoping he would be more careful in future.

7th September, 1889


  A boy named James Westhead, of Ince, was charged with stealing the sum of 7s. from a house in that township, the property of William Hostler, a collier, of 4, Union-street, Ince, on the 30th ult. Between six o'clock and half-past on the 30th ult., Mrs. Hostler was engaged cleaning in the front part of the house, when her son and the prisoner came in. The former asked for a halfpenny, and she told him to go to the cupboard in the kitchen and take one out of a cup, which altogether contained £2 1s. 7d. He did so, the prisoner still being in his company, and after her son had obtained the halfpenny they both left the house. About five minutes afterwards, Mrs Hostler, still in the front place, heard a noise in the kitchen which indicated that a cup was being put back into the cupboard. Straightway she went into the kitchen, and saw the prisoner just leaving the house by the back door. She followed him into Belle Green-lane, but he eluded her. On returning to her house she examined the contents of the cup, and found that the prisoner had helped himself to two half-crowns and a florin - 7s. in all. Information was given to police, and Police-constable Thomas took the prisoner into custody and charged him with the theft. He said: "I took it and gave it to a woman." The money was found on the ground in an entry by Ellen Holding, who returned it to the owner. - The prisoner pleaded guilty, and the magistrates ordered that he should receive six strokes of the birch rod.

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