19th November 1883
Reference Numbert18831119-15
VerdictGuilty > unknown
SentenceImprisonment > hard labour

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15. WILLIAM HOMES (19) , * Unlawfully firing a pistol at a railway train on the London and North-Western Railway Company's railway, thereby endangering the safety of persons in the train.

MR. GRAIN Prosecuted.

GEORGE ALDRIDGE . I am a signalman employed by the North-Western Railway Company at Gospel Oak Station—on 14th September, at 4.13 in the afternoon, I was on duty in the box—two or three trains were due to pass one way or the other at that time—I noticed some young lads and boys coming across a piece of waste ground near the signal-box, which is the property of the North-Western Company—I heard the report of a firearm, and a shot struck the front of the box—I looked out immediately, and saw about a dozen lads all together about 30 yards away—I did not see any firearm in the hand of anybody—there was a down train just coming in—I signalled to the station by a bell for immediate assistance.

JAMES MARKS . I am station inspector at Gospel Oak—in the absence of the stationmaster I take his place—on 14th September I was on duty at the station, and heard a signal from the box; it was six gongs, which meant a call for assistance—I went to the box at once; the signalman said something to me, I got over a fence, and saw three largish lads and a number of small boys—to the best of my belief the prisoner was one of them—when they saw me they ran away, and when I ran after them the prisoner, I believe, turned round and fired a pistol at me—I heard the report—they got away.

GEORGE WILLIAM BRIANT (A boy). On 14th September I was playing on a piece of waste land near Gospel Oak Station with some other boys and lads—the prisoner was there with us; I know him—he had a pistol in his hand; he was firing at trains passing by—I saw him do so three

times—I also saw him fire at the stationmaster and at the signal-box, and I saw the man look out of the box—the prisoner said if we told he would jump on us.

JAMES WILKINSON . I am 13 years old—I was with Briant on the 14th—the prisoner was with us—he had a pistol—I saw him fire at the trains passing by and at the signal-box—the signalman shouted out to him—I saw Mr. Marks running after us, and the prisoner turned round and fired at him—he said if I told he would kill me.

The prisoner, in his statement before the Magistrate and in his defence, denied firing at any trains or any persons, and declared that he was only firing at a tin pot on the bunk for amusement.

GEORGE WILLIAM BRIANT (Re-examined). I saw a tin pot—the prisoner did not fire at that.

JAMES WILKINSON (Re-examined). I saw a tin pot there—the prisoner did not fire at that.

GUILTY .— Four Months' Hard Labour.

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