The barman brothers who came to blows

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1913 Police Court

The story of two warring brothers was related before Mr Hy. Stephenson (chairman) and Mr John Hall, at the Scarborough Police Court, when Charles Sanderson (27), barman, Middlesbrough Hotel, Dumple Street, was charged with inflicting grievous bodily harm upon his brother, Tom Sanderson (23), also a barman at the Middlesbrough Hotel.

The brothers appeared in court with their heads so heavily bandaged that only their faces were visible, and it was evident that the affray in which they had been engaged had been a severe one.

The Chief Constable said that, unfortunately, the brothers got squabbling at their home, the Middlesbrough Hotel, and not content with fighting with fists they used implements one against the other. Therefore this charge arose. It was a case full of difficulty, but one which it appeared necessary to bring before the court.

Tom Sanderson, who mumbled his evidence in a low and dazed manner, stated that shortly after eleven on Monday night he was entering the outside doorway of the house from the street when his brother struck him with a hard implement on the left side of the head. It was a severe blow. He ran out and down the street as far as the market to find his father. On returning a policeman was in the house.

Questioned by the Chief Constable, witness stated that something had happened previously in the afternoon. They had had a tussle about three o’clock, and another tussle about six.

Mr Windsor: Do you mean a fight with your fists? - Yes.

What happened between ten and eleven? Charles came on about half-past ten at night and went into the kitchen. He had had some drink. A few words passed between us then, and we “had a bit of a fight.”

I started it. I got on to him because he came in drunk. About eleven o’clock I went out with my father, and Charles “came at me” as I was going out, but did not strike me then. When I went back again he struck me with the hard instrument as I have stated.

Can you give any reason or motive for his wounding you ? - I cannot say.

Cross-examined by the prisoner Charles: What did I say to you when you kicked me? - I did not kick you at all.

I received a blow on the back of the head from some blunt instrument; I don’t know what it was? - Yes, and you used an instrument as well.

Tom Sanderson, senior, father of the prisoners, stated that his two sons assisted him in the management of the house. About half past four in the afternoon Charles was using bad language in the house when Tom told him not to use such language to his father. Charles replied that he would use it to anyone and Tom said he should have more sense. Charles then knocked Tom down with his fist. Tom went into the kitchen, Charles following, and they commenced quarrelling again and had a scuffle. He parted them. Charles went out about half past six and returned about half past ten, the worse for drink. Tom was in the kitchen and Charles went there. Again the quarrelling commenced and it came to blows. He saw Tom bleeding from the head and then the soldering iron (produced) in the hand of Charles, but he did not see Charles strike Tom with it. Charles was also bleeding from the head, and he went for the police. In the struggle each of them fell down two or three times.

The Chief Constable: They were determined to fight then? - Yes.

Cross-examined by the prisoner Charles: Did you strike me with a set of knuckle dusters? - No; there is not such a thing in the place to my knowledge.

The Chairman: Is this a frequent occurrence for these two sons to quarrel? - Yes, but never so bad as this time.

Mr Hall: Cannot you let one go somewhere else to work and keep the other as barman? - That is what I am going to do now.

PC Taylor stated that at 11.35pm he was called to the Middlesbrough Hotel and found Charles Sanderson seated on a chair in a dazed condition bleeding from three wounds on the head. He 
began to render first aid, and then Tom Sanderson came in bleeding from a wound on the head. He asked Charles if he struck his brother with the soldering iron and he said “yes”.

At the hospital Charles said to Tom, “you were laughing at me having my head in a bandage this afternoon; now you have yours in one.” At the police station they each charged the other.

The Chairman said that the magistrates had decided to dismiss the case because Tom had admitted that Charles struck him in self defence. It was high time one of them left home. The case against Tom Sanderson was then withdrawn, and the brothers sat down beside each other before leaving court.