1916 court: Ice cream vendor and police in street scuffle

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At the Borough Police Court Alexandra Rea, ice cream vendor, 59, William Street, was charged with being drunk and disorderly in Castle Road on 24th July, assault upon Sergeant Stockdale and PC (13) Moore on the same day, and he was also summoned for obstruction in Aberdeen Walk on 20th July.

The defendant pleaded not guilty. Defendant was repressed by Mr J Whitfield, solicitor.

The charges of drunk and disorderly and assault were taken together.

Not guilty was pleaded in both cases.

Sergeant Stockdale said he was going off duty at the time and date in question. When he got to the corner of James Street he saw a big crowd at the end of Aberdeen Walk and Castle Road. There were about 200 or 250 people about and the road was completely blocked. He saw the defendant opposite the shop of Mr Vasey shouting inside the shop, “Bloody German spy.” He continued to shout this for about five minutes. Witness requested him several times to go away and persuaded him to go to his cart. He pushed it about three yards and then returned and commenced shouting “Bloody German spy” again.

He had a police court summons in his hand, which he had received in respect of the obstruction and this he threw in his (witness’) face. He was drunk and witness was obliged to take him into custody.

Immediately he took hold of him he commenced to resist very violently. He threw himself down, witness falling with him. Witness got him up and defendant kicked him on the left shin and they both went down to the ground. Witness had hold of his right hand with his (witness’) left arm behind him underneath his left armpit, so that when he went to the ground defendant fell with his face on the setts alongside the tram rails. At the time PC Moore came to his assistance, also a soldier from the Hunts Cyclist Battalion. Defendant still kept violent on the way to the police office until they were met by Inspector Thompson, opposite North Street.

The inspector placed his snips on the prisoner, and subsequently they succeeded in getting him to the police station, where the prisoner had his head dressed.

Mr Whitfield: Did the defendant not tell you that having got the summons for obstruction he went up to Vasey’s and showed the summons to him and said, “See what you have done; me trying to get a bit of bread for my children?” - No sir. All he said for about five minutes was “Bloody German spy.” He was making an awful noise in his own language, but witness did not understand it.

It is not correct he was indignant of being called a German spy by Vasey? - I cannot say that. He was indignant about something.

I submit to you that you seized the defendant’s arm, twisted it and caused him most excruciating pain? - Nothing of the kind. He twisted his arm after he kicked him (witness). Referring to the absence of injuries sustained by himself, Sergeant Stockdale said when a man had had 17 years police experience, and come into contact with the worst characters in Scarborough, he had a way of preventing being injured.

By Mr Whitfield: He did not know one of the defendant’s ribs was broken. Defendant did not tell him he was breaking his arm.

Defendant is only a worm of a man physically speaking, and you are a big burly constable. How did you come to have so much difficulty with this little man? - Little, active men are far more difficult to lock up than big men. This man is muscular - you’d be surprised.

By Mr Whitfield: He could not say that a woman called him (witness) a coward, and said “You will kill the man.”

Did you strike a woman? - I never struck a woman.

I put it to you struck a woman in the neck? - I pushed a woman, but never struck one.

Did people in the crowd call shame on you? - No, we were asked if we required assistance.

When you got near Grierson’s did you not strike him a second blow on the face? - No, sir, I never struck him at all. He denied also striking him with the snips.

PC Moore gave corroborative evidence. When witness first saw the prisoner he thought he was mad.

Further evidence for the prosecution was given by Inspector Thompson, Signaller Norman Sails, Hunts Cyclist Battalion; W Albert Dobson, 5, Murchison Street; Harriet Vasey, a relative of Mr Vasey, 3, Castle Road; Inspector Dalby, and PC Tilburn.

The magistrates were nearly half an hour considering their decision. Rea was fined 7s 6d on the charge of drunk and disorderly and 10s each on the charges of assault against Sergeant Stockdale and PC Moore.

The chief constable expressed his thanks to Signaller Sails for coming forward to the assistance of the police.