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Reading Room 2

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, May 4, 1860.

   Joseph Jolley, shopkeeper, Scholes, was charged with obstructing the footpath. - On Saturday last defendant had the carcase of a large pig before his door, and a butcher was employed cutting it up. The operation caused a number of people to congregate, and the footpath was blocked up. - Defendant said he had no other place to cut the pig up in, but Inspector Swallow said there was a yard attached to the premises which could have been used, and the Chief-constable added that the animal was brought on the footpath by way of advertisement. - The bench fined defendant 2s. 6d. and costs.

Friday, May 4, 1860.

   Thomas Hart, carter, was charged with furious driving. - Police-constable St. John said that on Tuesday evening last, in Chapel-lane, he saw defendant in his cart, which he was driving at a very furious rate. The factory hands were leaving work at the time, and they had to run in all directions, fearing that they might be run over. - The bench inflicted a fine of 2s. 6d. and costs.

Friday, May 4, 1860.

   Thomas Burke, a powerful-looking man, was charged with doing wilful damage at the house of Thomas Howley, by smashing some windows and damaging the window frame. - Complainant, who appeared to be a tailor, and has a comical expression of face, addressed the bench as follows: Last night Burke was sitting with me in my own house till half-past eleven, when he left to go home. I went to bed, and had only just got laid down when I heard a tap at the window like that (imitating the noise on the railing of the witness box). I got up and looked out, but never a one could I see. I went to bed again; but immediately after there was another tap, and I again got up and looked out, but I couldn't see no one, so I went to bed. But a third time there was a tap, and I went down stairs to the door, determined to find the "intruder." I went out with nothing on but my shirt, and I took the poker with me, when who should I see in the passage but Tom Burke. He got hold of me and struck me, smashed my windows, and broke the window frame. [Here complainant held up a piece of wood about six inches long which he said was part of the frame.] It isn't the first time he has done the likes, and I want the purtection of your worships from him. - Defendant, on being asked what he had to say, said that he formerly lodged with the complainant, but a short time since he received sudden notice to quit. Yesterday he, complainant, and some others had some beer at a beerhouse, and after closing time they took some away in a bottle, when they went to complainant's house and drank it. While there he (defendant) heard complainant say to the other "boys" that he was going to give him (defendant) a good "bating;" but of course he wasn't weight for that (casting a contemptuous look at the complainant). He did not break the complainant's windows, but he was standing in the entry when Howley came out with a poker, and in the scuffle which took place the windows were accidently broken. - The bench ordered defendant to pay the amount of damage done, and discharged him.

Friday, May 4, 1860.

   William Bell and Thomas Spencer, two men who vend some quack articles in the market, were charged with creating a disturbance in the public streets. Spencer did not appear. - Police-constable Whalley saw the defendants near the pump, in Wallgate, on Monday night, with a great crowd around them, and they were assailing each other with the vilest language possible; so much so that the tradesmen having shops near asked to have the quarrelsome couple removed. - Bell, on being asked what he had to say, said that Spencer first began to assail him, and all he did was to call Spencer one of the "most abominablest" liars that ever stood the market. - Bell was ordered to pay costs, and a warrant ordered to be issued against Spencer.

Friday, May 4, 1860.

   Peter Dean was brought up for disorderly conduct at the police office. - The Chief Constable said he was convicted at a recent sessions of breaking into a warehouse, and at the time of his apprehension a small sum of money was taken from him, and kept in the hands of the police. On Tuesday he made application at the police office for his property to be restored to him, but he was told he would have to see the magistrates at ten o'clock the day following. Hereupon he got very unruly, and being partly intoxicated, he was put in gaol all night. - Defendant said he had got a situation to which he should have gone that morning, and he applied for his things that he might not be delayed. He belonged to Manchester. - The bench ordered the property to be given up to him, and made him promise to leave the town immediately.

Friday, May 4, 1860.

   A man named Corcoran, who has recently served a period of imprisonment for stealing a watch, applied to have some money returned to him which he had in his possession when taken into custody. - The Chief Constable stated that the applicant, a short time back, had from motives of charity been lodged and fed for some days by a person in the town, and he returned his benefactor's kindness by stealing his watch, which he pawned. He had not a farthing of money of his own, and it was quite clear that what was taken from him at the time of his apprehension did not belong to him but to the owner of the watch. - Mr. Eckersley (to the applicant): Get away, you impudent vagabond; the money is not yours. - The man accordingly slunk out of court.

The next article relates to the story "A MAN BURIED ALIVE" on page 13.

Saturday, May 5, 1860.

   The coroner's inquest was held yesterday afternoon before M. Myers, Esq., coroner, at the house of Mrs. Thomas, Farmers' Arms, Bispham. A most respectable jury was summoned, Mr. Freeman, of Standish, acting as foreman. Captain Elgee, chief constable of the county, was in attendance during the inquiry. The prisoners, Cubbin, Hart, and Benson, were brought into the room handcuffed, and they appeared to feel their position most keenly. Hart is about 24 years of age, and has worked as a collier; Benson's age is 28, and he is a pavior; and Cubbin, who appears to be about 36, is a farmer, having a farm adjoining the one deceased occupied. All the prisoners belong to the township of Wrightington. Great excitement still continues to prevail for miles around the scene of the melancholy event; and the vicinity of the Farmers' Arms was crowded by people anxious to hear the verdict of the jury, and to catch a glimpse of the culprits. The facts we have given above were fully deposed to by a number of witnesses, including Ellen Fisher, the woman who left the Farmers' Arms in company with the deceased; John Prescott, who saw the deceased, Ellen Fisher, and the three prisoners in the field after they left the public-house, and who spoke to sods being thrown at Ainscough, but would not swear the three prisoners were the men who threw them, although he did not know and would have seen if anybody else had been in the field; James Clarkson, a fireman, who was the first to find the body of the deceased, on Wednesday morning; Mr. J. L. Price, of Standish, surgeon, and Mr. J. T. Winnard, of Wigan, surgeon, who had made a post mortem examination of the body, their opinion that death had been caused by suffocation consequent upon the treatmeant which Ainscough had received; Richard Marsden and Joseph Wilson, men who saw the deceaced's body after it had been discovered; Police-constable Anderson, of Wrightington, the officer who was first made acquainted with the case; Isabella Houghton, the woman who washed the body, and who deposed to the state in which it was found; Mary Tyrer, daughter of the deceased; and Sergeant Clarkson, of Standish, who apprehended the prisoners. As one of the prisoners, Hart, had made a statement to Clarkson when apprehended, we give the officer's evidence. After being sworn he deposed as follows:- I apprehended Charles Hart about eleven o'clock on Wednesday forenoon and charged him with being concerned in causing the death of Hugh Ainscough. At the time he made no reply. On being put in the lockups, and when going to close the door upon him, he said, "Shall I see the others when they come?" I said, "No; you must not expect to have any communication with anyone but me." He said, "Well, he (Ainscough) stripped to us, and we did put a loit o'sods upon him, but not so many as was said; and we did not put the 'stool' in his mouth. We all did about alike." This (Friday) forenoon, when I was entering his description in the charge sheet, he (Hart) said, "It's a bad job; he was alive when we left him, for I bid him good night. Ellen Fisher was standing about fifty yards off." When Cubbin was charged he said, "I never saw Ainscough after leaving Bispham School." Benson at the time of his apprehension, was drunk, but on being charged with the crime he said, "I never touched him; I went up Bannister-brow." The day following, when he was sober, he was again told what he was charged with, and he replied "John Prescott left us in the road; I laid me down in the ditch, as I was drunk. Cubbin and Hart came and pulled me up after."
   The examination of witnesses having closed, the coroner summed up the evidence, and the jury retired. After an absence of about fifteen minutes they returned into the room, and on being asked if they had agreed to their verdict, the foreman replied "Yes; we find the three prisoners guilty of 'Wilful Murder.'" They were accordingly committed to take their trial at the next Lancashire assizes, and the coroner made out the usual warrants.

Friday, May 11, 1890.

   Thomas Morris, a carter, was summoned for not exercising proper care over his horse and cart. On Saturday, the 28th of April, Police-officer Warwick saw a horse and cart turn the corner of Wellington-street, and travel near to Scholes bridge without any person appearing to have charge over them. He accordingly took the animal to the police office, when it was that both horse and cart were the property of Mr. John Green, and that the defendant should have had them under his care, but nothing was seen or heard of him till the following morning. Fined 2s. 6d. and costs.

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