10th September 1894
Reference Numbert18940910-717
VerdictGuilty > unknown
SentenceImprisonment > penal servitude; Corporal > whipping; Imprisonment > penal servitude; Corporal > whipping; Imprisonment > penal servitude; Corporal > whipping; Imprisonment > penal servitude; Corporal > whipping

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717. CHARLES MASON (25), WILLIAM WRIGHT (20), JOHN CHOWTHER (21), and ARTHUR HANSON (21) , Feloniously assaulting a person unknown, with intent to rob him.

MR. T. HUMPHREYS. Prosecuted, and MR. KEITH FRITH. Defended Wright.

FREDERICK OXLEY . (Detective E). On July 20th, about 2.30, I was with Callaghan, another officer, in plain clothes, in Drury Lane, and saw the four prisoners and three other men come through Bedford Street into Drury Lane—an old gentleman, alone, was going up Bedford Street towards Endell Street—we recognised two of them, and determined to watch them—we concealed ourselves in two shops, a beershop and a butter shop, and scarcely before we had time to do so the whole gang surrounded the old gentleman—Crowther and Mason got in front of him—they both put their hands on his waistcoat and clutched at his watch-chain—he put up his hands to protect himself, but the prisoners pushed him down in the road, and his hat fell off—Wright and Hanson were close together—Callaghan and I ran out, but before we could get near them, seeing us, they ran off in all directions—Crowther and Mason shouted out, "If you follow us we will corpse you"—they were all flourishing very thick sticks—the gentleman scrambled up and ran away in a different direction, and we chased them, but lost sight of them—I have known Crowther and Hanson a long time, and I know Mason, but not for so long—I saw Wright there; I had seen him once before with a similar gang; Crowther's brother, who is now in prison, and Massy and Hanson and another man who I do not know—after going to several other houses, I went with Callaghan at 3.15 on the same afternoon to the Sun public-house, Drury Lane—we looked into the private bar, and saw the four prisoners and three other men and three or four women all in the same compartment—I recognised the other three men as the men I had seen before that day—I got the assistance of two uniform men, and then went in with Callaghan, and said, "We are police officers; you will be charged with attempting to rob a gentleman and violently assaulting him"—two or three of them said, "All right, we will go quietly"—Mason said, "All right, governor, let us drink our beer"—I took hold of Crowther and handed him to Tate; he called out something, and there was immediately a free fight—they still had their sticks with them, and they struck us in all directions—I saw the landlord just as we took them in custody, but not while the tight was taking place—they struck me all over my body; the uniform constables were obliged to use their truncheons, and we were obliged to use our walking-sticks to protect ourselves—they then commenced scrambling over the partition—Mason climbed over, and I went over and dropped on top of him, and while I was securing him Hanson jumped over me into the street—I handed Mason to a constable, and chased Hanson through several streets, and he was stopped by another officer—he struggled violently, and hit us both—we took them to the station—they were all charged, and made no reply, except using filthy language and threats—Crowther said at the station, "That is the black heifer; they looked for us in the Iron House last night," and after a short time, he said, "We will kill you when we get out"—the Iron House is a public-house in Seven Dials—we had been there looking for all four of them the night before—other prisoners used to meet there; no one has objected to the license.

Cross-examined by Mason. I am sure every man had a stick—they were the same sticks as the two Macks have at the music-hall—you threw

your stick down when you jumped over the partition—I did not keep it because I had enough to do to take you—there was a water bottle and glasses there.

Cross-examined by MR. FRITH. I had only seen Wright once before, and in the evening—I did not know him to be a thief, but I saw him with thieves—I made no note of the conversation at the station, but I believe my brother officer did—I did not hear the other men say that Wright was quite innocent, and had not been at the robbery at all.

Cross-examined by Crowther. I was in a butter shop—I am sure I saw you snatch the old man's chain—you came up in front of him—there was a great uproar just afterwards—you flourished the sticks in Bottenden Street; you had one—you were fighting with a constable at the door of the public-house, hitting and biting him—one of the men threw a glass—he was on the sick list for some considerable time afterwards.

Cross-examined by Hanson. The gentleman was going towards Endell Street—the robbery was committed at the corner of Bottenden Street—there were seven or eight men there—Lockhart's coffee-shop is at the corner—you and young Crowther, Crowther's brother, were together, and Mason in front of you—there was no one else in the street but a postman, but when I blew my whistle the neighbourhood was all in an uproar—you ran through three streets to where I arrested you—I struck you once on your knees with the crook of my walking-stick, and a gentleman living in Endell Street told me to give you two or three more—you had dropped your stick before you left the public-house—I did not pick it up, because the house was surrounded by nearly a hundred people—when the constable took you you struggled and kicked—I have a mark on my leg from a kick—I was assaulted by you, and you were charged at the Police-court with kicking me—my leg was green and blue, and it afterwards commenced running; I showed it to the inspector.

Re-examined. I think it is impossible that Wright could have said he was not there, and I not hear him, I was so close to him.

HARRY CALLAGHAN . (Detective E). On July 20th, about 2.30 p.m., I was with Oxley in Drury Lane, and saw the prisoners and three others surround an old gentleman at the door of Lockhart's coffee-shop—I had seen Crowther and Hanson before on two or three occasion, and Wright and Mason once before—they made a grab at the gentleman's watch-chain, and knocked him into the road; they ran away, I followed them—they said, "You heifers, if you follow us we will corpse you"—we afterwards found them in a public-house and told them the charge—they said, "All right, governor, we will go quietly"; but a general fight took place, and pots, glasses, and sticks were used—outside the public-house they called on the crowd to rouse, which means rescue—there are about seven public-houses within a small radius—about one hundred people surrounded us and attempted to rescue the prisoners, who struggled violently all the while—we got them to the station with further assistance—I got hold of Wright—at the station Mason said, "The first time we meet you we will kill you"—he also said, "We knew it would come to this, working too strong handed"—the others said "Yes"—they were charged, and made no reply—I saw Hanson jump over the partition.

Cross-examined by Mason. You Mere coming down Bottenden Street—I saw you go up to the old gentleman and grab at his watch-chain with

three others—I saw what took place from a different position to what Oxley was in—I did not see you put your hand on the chain—I was in a public-house—I came out and chased a man and fell, or I should have had him here—he had a dark moustache—you had a stick—we did not set about unmercifully with our sticks till a general fight took place, and then we had to use our sticks to defend ourselves—glasses were thrown about, and some were smashed against the partition.

Cross-examined by MR. FRITH. Wright had one arm held by a detective and the other by a constable; he used the stick and got away from the constable, and I got hold of him; he struck me and I used my stick—there were seven men and three or four women.

Cross-examined by Crowther. I saw you grabbing the chain, and then the man was hustled and thrown into the road—the other men surrounded him—he was thrown into the roadway by two of the gang—you flourished sticks as soon as you saw us; you had a stick—I cannot say whether you assaulted any person besides the constables—you know it is impossible to get witnesses here, because they are afraid to come—it is such a frequent occurrence to have fights and disturbances there that the people in the coffee-house took no notice of it—there were a few people walking in the street—I have known you two years—I saw you on the Dials four or five days before, with Mason and Hanson, and I saw you before that in Long Acre.

Cross-examined by Hanson. About three men ran through Bottenden Street—you all had sticks.

Re-examined. I saw all the prisoners together on the Tuesday night before.

EDWARD TATE . (17 ER). On July 20th I was on duty in Drury Lane about 2.40 p.m., at the corner of High Holborn, and saw an old gentleman running along Drury Lane in a most excited state—he made a complaint to me, in consequence of which I went to Bottenden Street, but did not see either of the prisoners—later in the afternoon I went with Oxley and Callaghan to the Sun public-house—I took hold of Crowther—he struck me a violent blow on my hand with a very large walking-stick—he hurt me, and I was compelled to go on the sick list for three weeks; I had no use of my hand—he also kicked me several times on my legs—I over-powered him, got him outside the house, and took him to the station—he resisted on the way, and I had to strike him several times with my truncheon in self defence—I have not seen the old gentleman since.

Cross-examined by Crowther. He told me he had been knocked down by a gang of roughs, pointing down Drury Lane, who attempted to rob him—I asked him if he could give any description—he said, "No"; he had had sufficient of them, and he could not stop—I asked his name and address; he declined to give them—he was glad to get away for fear you should attack him again—he went up Museum Street, and I went down Drury Lane to made inquiries—you made violent resistance—I have the mark on my hand now, and you kicked me—I am positive you had a stick—there was such a conflict that I could not see who threw the glassses—your young woman did not say, "For God's sake, sir, do not hit him about in that manner," nor did I strike her, my truncheon was in my pocket—she did not, to my knowledge, come to the station to give evidence, nor was she refused admission—she struck me on my left ear

with her fist—the gentleman was from fifty-five to sixty; he had dark clothes, an iron-grey beard, and a high silk hat.

EDWARD FARNHAM . (365 E). On July 20th I was in Endell Street, and saw Hanson running, and Oxley after him—I stopped him; he kicked me on my shin, and Oxley came up and secured him—he kicked Oxley on his legs—when he found he was mastered, he said, "All right, I will give in, and go to the station."

Cross-examined by Hanson. Oxley was twenty yards behind you—you had no stick then—a working man did not say, "Don't strike him so many times," nor did Oxley say, "Hit him; give him two or three more."

ALBERT PEDDER . (Detective Sergeant E). I took Mason—when Hanson was taken he said, "You know this is not my game, Pedder; I don't go out pulling"—that means pulling a watch and chain.

Evidence for Mason.

JAMES WILLIAM JARVIS . I keep the Sun public-house, Drury Lane—one stick was picked up in my house—about seven men were there when the police came—two or three of them had very heavy sticks—they appeared to be young gentlemen—I went up to my dinner, and came down about two o'clock, and Mason was still there, and remained till he was arrested.

By the COURT. I saw the four prisoners there, and two or three more—they had two young "ladies" with them; two young men went out and brought them in about 12.45—I went up to dinner at 1.15 and came down at two, and found them all there still—I remained in the bar about ten minutes, and then went to the cellar; I was there about half an hour, and came up and found them there—my sister was there; she is not here—Mason did not go outside till he was arrested.

By Crowther. I did not see you with a stick or throw a glass, but two glasses were broken—I do not know whether they were thrown at the detectives—I saw sticks used on both sides.

By Hanson. I did not see you throw a glass—you were arrested in my house.

Cross-examined. I have known Crowther eleven months—I have seen Mason and Hanson as customers two or three times—I had never seen Crowther in my house before; I am not aware that he lived a few yards away—when I came back I saw men climbing over the partition—they all resisted as violently as they could—I saw Oxley take hold of Crowther, and saw the men begin to use their heavy sticks, and the uniform constables had to draw their truncheons—it was after that that Oxley and Callaghan had to use their walking-sticks—I heard a call for a rescue outside, but did not go out—I did not hear anybody call out "Rouse"—that means to get them away—my sister was the only person assisting me; she was serving while I was away—a water-bottle was not broken—I don't sell water.

Evidence for Wright.

ALICE EDWARDS . I am a buttonhole-maker, of 24, Liston Street, Mile End Gate—I was not living with the prisoner Wright, but he was in my apartments on Thursday, July 19th—he stayed there from the Monday to the Friday—I am not the landlady—I have apartments there, and he stayed

with me four days—he did not leave till 1.50 mid-day on Friday, the day he was arrested—he was in bed all day the day before; he was ill.

Cross-examined. Liston Street is near the London Hospital—he was in bed till 1.30—I have know him since childhood—he was brought up next door to me—while he stayed with me he was in the back room, and I was working in the front.

J. W. JARVIS. Re-examined). It was 12.45 when they all four came in, including Wright.

Mason's defence. I met a friend, and we went into a public-house, and Crowther and Hanson came in. We stopped till three o'clock, and went out. I am perfectly innocent of the robbery.

Crowther's defence. I had just come from my house, and met Hanson. He asked me to have a drink; we went to Bottenden Street to a public-house and saw Mason. I was there half an hour. I said, "I have a young woman to meet; I shall not be long." I went out and met her and went back with her, and in three-quarters of an hour the detectives came and said, "All you men consider yourselves in custody." Other persons were dragged out of the house, and I was struck over my head and legs with sticks and knocked about shamefully.

Hanson's defence. I met Crowther in Fleet Street, and asked him to have a drink, and remained there till I was arrested.

GUILTY .—They then PLEADED GUILTY. to previous convictions, Mason at Clerkenwell on November 2nd, 1891; Wright at Clerkenwell on April 8th, 1891; Crowther at Marlborough Street on July 5th, 1893; and Hanson at Newington on June 13th, 1893. Six previous convictions were proved against Mason, two against Hanson, six against Wright, and four against Crowther. Mason and Wright were both under tickets of leave, and Mason had been sentenced to fifteen months' hard labour and twenty strokes with the cat for robbery with violence. MASON— Fourteen Years' Penal Servitude and twenty-four strokes with the cat. WRIGHT— Ten Years' Penal Servitude and twelve strokes. CROWTHER— Eight Years' Penal Servitude and twelve strokes. HANSON— Ten Years' Penal Servitude and twelve strokes. The JURY, and the GRAND JURY, commended the conduct of the officers, and the COURT. awarded £10 to Callaghan, £10 to Oxley, £10 to Tate, and £5 to Farnham. There were other indictments against the prisoners.

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