Crime & Punishment, Accidents & Incidents Part 2 – 1922 to 1939 incl.

  The first case in 1922 at the Holmfirth Police Court involved Mrs.Ethel Beever who was summoned for allowing a dog to be at large during the night. The case was proved by Sergeant Thomlinson and the defendant was ordered to pay 7s 6d. In a similar case in June at the same court, Harry Mellor, who did not appear, was summoned for allowing his dog to be at large during the night. The case was proved by PC Gillespie and Mellor was fined 7s 6d.

 In November , Hildred Dyson, a foreman from Netherthong, was summoned for wife desertion. They had been married a long time but trouble had arisen through the man keeping his wife short of housekeeping money. There was a family of six, and he doled out the money to stop his wife getting into debt. He said he was engaged at Deanhouse Institution and his wage, with bonus, was £2 18s a week.  The Clerk of the Court said that the total income for the family was £6 4s a week. The Bench made a maintenance order against the defendant.

 In March 1923 at the Holmfirth Police Court , Albert Wagstaff, a farmer from Hepworth, pleaded not guilty to obstructing the footpath at Netherthong on February 9. PC Smart said that at 1.15pm he was on duty at Townsgate when he saw a milk float standing in front of the Clothier’s Arms. The horse was on private property, but the wheels of the milk float were on the centre of the path. During the 10 minutes that he was there, a number of people had to leave the footpath. It was school time and about 30 children had to go into the roadway because of the obstruction. When the defendant left  the Clothiers , PC Smart drew his attention to the matter, and he replied that he had been trying to sell the landlord a pig. He said that he had only been away for a few minutes and there had been room for people to pass. He was found guilty and fined 7s 6d.

 The following month, after a search by the police, the dead body of a Deanhouse resident, Willie Cartwright 38 years old, who was an assistant engineer, was recovered from Snape Reservoir, Upperthong. The deceased, a married man, had been in a depressed state of mind and, during that period, had made remarks which had caused distress. It was reported that he made a personal statement to his wife, left the house in haste, locked the door and left the key in the lock. This was about 12.30 at night and it did not appear that he was seen again that night. Charles Armitage of Snape Farm found a blue smock and cloth cap on the reservoir embankment, which was clearly identified as the property of the deceased. The following morning a search revealed a body in the reservoir.  At the inquest, PC Smart stated that the body, recovered from the reservoir on the Thursday morning of April 19, had been identified as W. Cartwright. He said the water had been about 14 ft. deep. The coroner recorded a verdict that the man had drowned himself.

At the Holmfirth Police Court in March 1924, Herbert Roebuck, a railway porter resident in Netherthong, failed to appear on the charge of allowing his dog to be at large without a name on its collar. PC Gillespie said he saw the dog on Huddersfield Road and took it to the police station, where it was subsequently claimed by the defendant. Roebuck was fined 10s.

 At Leeds Assizes in May 1925, Miss Mary Eastwood of Netherthong sued Thomas Wilson , a grocer’s assistant , for breech of promise. Mr .T. P. Parks appeared for the plaintiff and Mr. J. Green for the defendant. Miss Eastwood said she had known the defendant since they were little children and they began to keep company in 1911 and became engaged in 1916, when the dependant gave her a ring. They did not fix a date for a wedding as they could not obtain a house. In January 1923 she went to a dance at Thongs Bridge and the defendant introduced her to Miss Pugh, the lady he later married. About a month afterwards she told him that people had said the engagement was broken off, and she asked him if this was true. He replied ” I will tell you when it is “. She said she began proceedings against the defendant because of the cheeky way he and his wife ” passed her window and looked in at her “. Thomas Wilson said that he and the plaintiff had started walking out  and in 1918 he gave her a ring but marriage was never mentioned. Asked by his Lordship if he became engaged to the plaintiff when he gave her the ring he replied ” well we were to a certain extent”. He said he did not meet his wife until 1922, and they became engaged in 1923 and he later married her in All Saints’ Church. He denied looking through Miss Eastwood’s window to annoy her. After a brief consultation the jury returned a verdict in favour of the plaintiff and awarded damages of £150.

In June, Norris France, a farmer in Netherthong, was fined by the Police Court for using bad language in Huddersfield road at 10.30pm. P.C. Smart, who brought the case, said the bad language could be heard 150 yards away and must have been audible in nearby houses. He did not appear at Court and was fined 7s 6d.

In August, P.C. Smart ,who had been in the Holmfirth section for seven years and forthe last four of which he had been stationed at Netherthong, was promoted to Sergeant and moved to Kirkheaton.

 In February 1926, Mr. Norris, the Huddersfield Coroner, opened an inquest on John Bamforth , aged 62 years, a farmer of Lower Hagg farm who died on February 1st. following an accident on January 18th. on Woodhead Road. The evidence was that on the 18th. Bamforth had been driving a cow along the Woodhead road and it was dark and the road was slippery. A police car found a motor lorry standing in the road and Bamforth, who was injured, laying nearby. The cow was straying about the road. The officer said he examined the lorry and found a patch of hair on the radiator which was slightly damaged. The lorry also showed signs of having been struck. Another witness said he found Bamforth and that his leg was broken. Bamforth was taken to the Huddersfield Royal Infirmary where death took place from shock and irritation to the brain. Dr. Rowell said the injuries were probably due to being hit by a fast moving vehicle. The driver, Harry Dows of Blackmoor Foot Road said he saw the cow and simultaneously felt a collision. The animal fell down and then got up again. He heard no cry nor did he see Bamforth until he went to restart the lorry. Bamforth was face down and his trouser leg was trapped beneath the wheel. The jury returned a verdict of accidental death and they attached no blame to the driver.

In April,  a Deanhouse woman had a miraculous escape whilst she was in Bradford. She was walking down Godwin Street , when a motor-waggon ran backwards down the incline and crashed into a window of a large store injuring her. She was Mrs.Hugh Swallow , 50 years, of the Cricketer’s Arms at Deanhouse. and she suffered concussion and was detained in hospital. Witnesses said she was very lucky as she could have been crushed to death.

  In March 1927, Hildred Dyson, labourer, was the defendant in an action brought by his wife for the recovery of maintenance arrears of £44 5s. Dyson applied for a variation of the order. In 1922 an order had been made by the Court for the defendant to pay his wife £1 a week and 7/6 for each of the three children. The order gave the wife custody of the children but the husband had persistently refused to allow the children to live with their mother. The maintenance had not been paid regularly and the outstanding amount was £ 44 5s. Mrs. Dyson was a delicate woman and was unable to work. Under the order, the mother was given custody of the children and a separate allowance was made for each child. The children had refused to leave their father and go to live with their mother and he had maintained them. Dyson’s lawyer, Mr.Hargreaves, made application for a reduction of the order. Dyson said he was a stoker, earning £2 12s 6d a week, but he had been unemployed for three years. After further discussions, the Bench made an order that the maintenance be reduced to 18/- a week with a further 2/- to be paid towards the arrears. In June a case was held at County Court Huddersfield concerning irregular school attendance. Tom Hobson of Deanhouse was the defendant. The school attendance officer said that the defendant’s daughter had been absent from school forty three times in as many weeks. Hobson stated that the reason for his daughter’s absence was the illness of his wife. He said that he had ten children and this was the first time he had been summoned and he considered it ridiculous. A fine of 5/- was imposed. A fine of 5/- was also imposed on Charles Boothroyd for a similar offence. His daughter, aged eight, had been absent forty times in thirteen weeks.

Later that year, Albert Goldthorpe, a farmer in the village, was summoned for breach of the Animal ( Records ) Order. According to Police Sergeant Thornley of Honley, the defendant had failed to make a record of the removal of cattle in the book provided for this purpose. He said he had kept an account book but had been unable to get a special book. He was fined 10/-.

In October, Mrs.S.Jackson was summoned for allowing her dog to be at large during the night time. A letter was read out from the defendant expressing her her regret and stating that she had had some company, and the dog had slipped out. She added ” he seems to know that I cannot run after him “. She was fined 20/-.

There were no reported incidents in 1928 and the first one in 1929 was in March when the Huddersfield Poor Law authorities at Deanhouse institution received information that a man ,who was believed to have come from the Institution, had been found frozen to death in Chew Valley, Greenfield near Oldham by two ramblers. The body was identified as that of Maurice Jordan ( 70 years ) of 72 Upperhead Row, Huddersfield who had been in the Institution about seven months before leaving there on January 3. it was said that Jordan had no friends and nowhere to go. The ramblers found the body at the foot of a 200ft. high cliff – it was a shapeless mass and ice had to be broken away from the body before it could be pulled from the ground. It was taken to Saddleworth mortuary at Uppermill, and they found that almost every bone in the body seemed to have been broken and the skull was fractured in several places . A clay pipe in his pocket was intact. The District Coroner held an inquest and, presuming the man had fallen down the ravine whilst rambling over the moors, he returned a verdict of accidental death .

 In January 1930 at the Huddersfield West Riding Police Court,  Norman Shaw, a cloth finisher from the village, was summoned for riding a bicycle without a light at Honley. P.C. Quantrill said the defendant’s lamp was in perfect condition and that he was trying to save his battery. He was fined 10/-. That proved to be the sole recorded incident of the year.

   In March 1931 at Holmfirth Police Court , the magistrates were engaged for a lengthy period in the hearing of licensing prosecutions relating to the Clothier’s Arms. Chas. Edward Carter, the licensee, was summoned for supplying intoxicating liquors during non- permitted hours to four men, John Smith, Frank Dickinson, Herbert Kenyon and Herbert Sykes all of Netherthong who were charged with consuming alcoholic liquor during non- permitted hours. The landlord was also summoned for aiding and abetting, but this was not proceeded with. Supt. Wood, outlined  the case for the prosecution and stated that about 11pm on Saturday, February 7 , Inspector Wilde, Police Sergeant Askam and PC Jones were on duty in plain clothes near the Collier’s Arms and they noticed a light in the kitchen. They stood near the window and heard voices. The Inspector was lifted up to the window and could see glasses containing beer on the tables and persons reaching for the glasses and drinking from them. At 11.50 pm the Inspector tried to open the back door but was unable to do so, and it was not opened for a while. On entering they saw the landlady rushing out of the kitchen carrying four glasses which she emptied on the floor. There was a lengthy report on who did what etc and the inspector finally told them they would be reported for drinking beer which they denied.

 The defence contended that there had been no drinking and that the men were just eating cheese and biscuits. After considering for five minutes, the Chairman announced that they had considered the case against Chas. Cutter had been proved and he was fined 25/- on each of four counts. The other defendants were each fined 20/-. ( This report is also included in the chapter of the public houses in the village ).

A distressing fatality occurred near Honley when Mr. Harry Wilkinson of Deanhouse suddenly collapsed and died when out for a walk with his fiancée. The verdict was death due to natural causes.

At the Holmfirth Police Court there were three cases involving dog licences. The first one was brought against Annie Armitage, a married woman, who did not appear. The case was proved by PC White. He said that on March 20th. he had visited her house about her dog and asked if she had a licence and she replied she had not taken one out this time. She was fined 10/-. The next case involved Ernest Vyle, an attendant, who pleaded guilty to having a dog without a licence and he was also fined 10/-.  The final case was against Annie Holmes who did not appear. PC White said that when he saw the defendant she said that she did not think it was necessary to have a licence as she had a farm. She was fined 10/-.

 It was interesting, in the light of the above case, that at the next sitting of the Police Court a month later, applications for exemption from dog licence fees were granted to 20 farmers.

 In January 1932, Mrs. Moorhouse, 60 years old, met with a most unfortunate mishap which led to her being taken to Holme Valley Memorial Theatre suffering from severe injury. She was alighting from a Huddersfield Corporation & LMS bus near the Technical School in order to catch a bus going in the opposite direction to Netherthong when she fell into the road. There was no follow-up report.

Holmfirth Police Court sat in judgement on George Bamforth, poultry farmer ( his farm was located just past the junction of Moor Lane and Knoll Road). He did not appear but was fined 10/- for keeping a dog without a licence.

In the same month, April, a man whose name was Albert Mellor, 68 years,  of no known address but who had been formerly an inmate at St. Mary’s Institution, was rescued from the stream that flows through Hagg Wood. He was found face down in the stream by two youths and, when they dragged him to the bank, he was still breathing. A Police ambulance was summoned and he was taken to Huddersfield Royal Infirmary. His condition was reported as ” slightly improved”.

 The next report was another  tale of serving intoxicating liquor outside of hours. William Brook, licensee of the Queen’s Arms, was summoned for serving intoxicating liquor to John Winder, a scourer from Honley, and F.Williams, a tile fixer also of Honley, during non-permitted hours, and the two men were summoned for consuming drinks. On Sunday, June 12th. about 11.30pm., Inspector Wilde and PC Jones went to the Queen’s Arms,  entered by the back door, and, when they went in the tap room,  they found both men with a pint of beer. The landlord was standing in the doorway and when the Inspector asked the landlord what the two men were doing there , he said he had been fairly caught. Inspector Wilde said that they had kept the Inn under observation for some time and they had seen a man coming out wiping his mouth. All three defendants admitted the offence. The Chairman fined the landlord 30/- on each case and fined the other two defendants £1 each.

A similar offence occurred two years later. In April 1934, William Brook, the landlord of the Queen’s Arms, pleaded guilty to supplying intoxicating liquor during non- permitted hours and Arthur Dyson, piecener, was summoned for consuming intoxicating liquor during non-permitted hours. Supt. Crockford stated that on Sunday, March 10, about 10.30pm, Inspector Cooper and P.C.Jones, after making observations, entered the Queen’s Arms and found Dyson in the bar with a pint of beer in his hand. When P.C. Jones was taking away the glass, Brook struck his hand and some of the beer was spilt. The police asked the landlord if he cared to give an explanation and he did not reply. P.C.Jones, in evidence, said that when he looked inside the bar he saw a number of beer glasses with fresh froth adhering to the sides and there were six men in the tap. Supt. Crockford asked Jones if the landlord gave any explanation for the men being there. Inspector Cooper replied no. Brook said he did not serve any drink after 10pm. He had not sold the beer to Dyson but had given it to him. He said he had been playing the piano. It was stated that Brook had been fined for a similar offence previously. The Chairman informed Brook that he would be fined £5 for supplying liquor. He added that Brook had taken over a house of good standing without conviction for a long number of years and here in two years there were two convictions.

At the start of 1933 at the Holmfirth Police Court, Gordon Barrow, a farmer from the village, was brought up on remand charged with being drunk and disorderly, for  attempted suicide in a cell at Holmfirth Police Station and committing wilful damage to a cell rug. Superintendent Wood said Brown was arrested and taken to Holmfirth Police Station where he was locked in a cell. Later in the evening Inspector Wilde heard a noise in the cell and saw the accused standing on the WC, with part of the cell blanket round his neck and the other end fastened to the pipe of the cistern. He rushed in and pulled the blanket from his neck. Brown was violent so badly that a constable remained in charge of him during the night. In answer to the charge of attempted suicide Brown pleaded guilty and expressed his regret and said he would not have done it if he had been sober. Superintendent Wood said it was a case of drink and that the defendant was suffering from an injury to the head and should not take intoxicating liquor. The Chairman said they had decided to put the defendant on probation and he should abstain from taking intoxicating liquor for 12 months. He was fined £1 for being drunk and disorderly and £1 for wilful damage.

In October a horse was found laying dead in Moor Lane. The animal which belonged to Mr. Hirst Roebuck had been grazing in an adjoining field and had fallen over a wall and down a steep bank breaking its neck.

A report in February 1936 was ‘ Missing from home’. Harry Hoyle, 15 years old, and the son of Mr. & Mrs.Hoyle of Melrose Cottage, left home on a Sunday morning and had not been heard of for several days. When he left he had told his parents that he was going to join the Army, and his mother had subsequently learned that he had presented himself to a recruiting centre, given his name but no address. He told them that he would be 18 the following month and was told to return when he was a little older. He apparently stayed two nights at a Salvation Army hostel in Manchester. There was no follow-up report so I can only assume that he returned home some time later. In that same year Percy Robert, a millhand, was summoned for keeping a dog without a licence and also allowing the dog to be at large without a name on his collar. He was fined 10/- on each count. Hirst Roebuck, a farmer, was summoned in October 1936 for failing to keep a dangerous dog under control. Police Inspector Cooper said the facts were simple – about 3.30 am on Sunday, August 23, two girls, one of whom was the defendant’s grand – daughter, were playing in Ox lane outside the defendants farm house, when one of the girls felt a sharp pain in her right leg and she saw the defendants dog running away. Five stitches had to be inserted into the wound which later turned septic and she was detained for 11 days in the Holme Valley Memorial Hospital. The defendant said he believed his dog thought that the girl was going to strike his grand-daughter. The Bench made an order for the dog to be kept under proper control and the defendant was ordered to pay the costs of the summons amounting to 12s 6d.

The first case at Holmfirth Police Court in February 1937 involved Herbert Scholfield, a motor driver of Deanhouse, who pleaded guilty for failing to keep a record of journeys etc. Presenting for the Traffic Commissioners, Mr.E.Wurzal, stated that the defendant, whilst driving in Huddersfield, was stopped by a policeman and asked to produce his records and it was found to have no entry for two days. When asked the reason he replied it was the first time he had overlooked it. He was fined 20/- and 8s 6d costs.

In December at the West Riding Police Court, William Bowden, a motor driver from the village, was fined £10 for permitting the use of his motor car when it was not covered in respect of third-party risks. Two other defendants appeared with Bowden. They were Harry Lockwood who pleaded guilty to driving a motor car without Road Fund Licence and Harry Mallinson who pleaded not guilty to aiding and abetting Lockwood. The offence was committed at Meltham on the night of October 17. Bowden’s car was taken away when the licence expired and the insurance was not in force.

Bowden said he was in Blackpool at the time and, if he had been at home, he would not have allowed his car to be taken out.  Lockwood said that when he suggested borrowing the car he understood it to be all right. Lockwood was fined 20/- for each account and his licence was endorsed. Mallinson was fined £2. When the Chairman told Bowden that he would be fined £10, he told them he could not pay and his wife , who was in the gallery, exclaimed ” He has six children, your Majesty “. The Magistrate’s Clerk asked ” What did you pay for the car?”. Bowden replied ” I bought it for £4 10s.” ” What do you think it is likely to realise?”. ” £1″, was the reply. The Magistrate allowed him two months to pay the fine.



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