Woodman assaulted by farm foreman

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1913 Police Court

A case which has aroused great interest in the Ayton district came before Mr F Baker and Mr AM Daniel at the North Riding Police Court, Scarborough, today.

George Brown (37), farm foreman, East Ayton, was summoned by William Atkinson, woodman, East Ayton, for assault on 25th of March.

George Brown was further summoned by the complainant for malicious damage to trees, the property of the Earl of Londesborough, at East Ayton on the same date.

The defendant was further summoned for damaging a fence, the property of the Earl of Londesborough, on the same date.

Mr JD Murphy, solicitor, appeared on behalf of complainant.

Defendant pleaded not guilty to three cases.

In outlining the case, Mr Munby said that the complainant was a woodman in the employ of Lord Londesborough. On Tuesday 25th of March, about five o’clock in the evening Atkinson was at the top of Raincliffe Woods when he heard sounds of someone felling trees. He proceeded to the bottom of the wood, and there found defendant who was in company with two others, named John Moore Sedman, and a boy, Johnson. Near by was a larch tree, which had just been cut down; and defendant was in the act of cutting down an ash tree. There was a horse and cart, on the latter being some wooden fences. He said he had received leave from Mr Blaylock to get them. Complainant asked defendant to take them out of the cart, but he said “what have you got to do with it?” The woodman then left the defendant, but he followed him, and when about 100 yards away from the other two, he came up to him and hit him a blow on the face.

Knocking out two of his teeth and cutting his face, he had to see a doctor. The defendant caught complainant by the throat and threw him heavily on to the fence. Complainant was unable to work the following day.

Complainant was then called, and stated in evidence that when he went up to him the defendant asked him what right he had to interfere. Witness said to him that it was his business to see that there was no damage done. He told him to put the fencing out of the cart, but he would not. He followed witness down the road for about 100 yards, when he hit him in the mouth. He then grasped him by the throat threw him across the fence. The same evening he went to see the doctor, and the next day was only able to do light work. Later witness went with Sergt. Peacock to the farm of defendant’s father, at East Ayton, and there identified the two trees (portions of which were produced in court), and also eight larch poles and the fencing. Both trees witness valued at 2s each, the fencing 8s, and the cost of labour to repair the fencing would be 3s, making 15s in all.

Defendant (to comp-lainant): You say you saw me knock the fence down. I swear I never touched it.

Sergeant Peacock, stationed at East Ayton, said he went to see Brown on 9th April. He admitted cutting the trees down for the purpose of propping up a shed. He also said there were a few rotten stakes in the field and he took them home on the cart.

In his defence, Brown said that he and one of his boys named Johnson were going to harrow the field, but these stakes and rails mentioned in the charge were in the way, and so they put them into the cart, which they had with them. The fencing had been blown down; it was so rotten, having been there about 15 years. He admitted he had not had permission from Mr Blaylock to cut the trees down. He admitted cutting them down, but he got them to prop up a shed which was some of Lord Londesborough’s property, and denied the assault. He did not strike him.

In his defence, defendant said he didn’t expect he was doing any harm. He was getting them for his own fields which belonged to Lord Londesborough.

In the first case defendant was fined a guinea and a half, including the doctor’s fee. In the second case he was fined 4s, damages and 1s costs. The last case was dismissed.