Henry Neate – Charge of Assault 1888

16th November 1888 – Charge of Assault

Henry Neate, a signalman, was charged with assaulting Mary Gregory at Nantyderry on the 21st ult.,

Mr T Watkins appeared for the defendant and pleaded not guilty.

Complainant, an infirm old woman, who gave her evidence in a rambling fashion, said on the night prior to the assault, said she was in the Nantyderry Station with the defendant, who formerly lodged with her.

Defendant went out to signal a train, and whilst he was away she looked under a paper he had spread out on a bench, and saw his supper. When he came in he said she had been eating some of his supper, which she denied.

He told her she had better go, and she did so. On the following night she saw the defendant and asked him if she had eaten his supper. He said she had and she denied it. He said he could not take his oath of it, and that, but for her being an old woman he would give her a good shaking.

She told him he had better not, and with that he caught hold of her, forced her against some railings, causing a wound on her arm, and hurting her dreadfully. She was attended by Dr Wood afterwards.

Defendant pushed her all the way from the end of the row to her own house, and when she was on the door, “bleeding in streams,” he got a bucket of water and threw it over her.

Cross-examined: – She was not in such a state on the Saturday night as to forget what time she was in the station.

Mr Watkins: You are rather jovial on Saturday nights?

The Chairman: She doesn’t know what jovial means.

Mr Phillips: That’s to classical an expression for her. Were you drunk on this Saturday night?

Witness: No Sir. All I had was with my family in my own house, and nobody can say more.

Cross-examined: She had not been to Pontypool on the Saturday. She did not turn round in the station and spit meat out of her mouth. She spoke to defendant first about the supper on Sunday night.

Mr Watkins: Didn’t you fetch a bucket of water and tumble over the bucket afterwards?

Witness: Oh! Oh! (Laughter)

Mr Watkins: Don’t faint, we can get some water here.

Witness denied having fetched a bucket of water. She was not drunk on the previous Friday, and had no fall on the previous day.

Mr E.T. Cook, assistant to Dr Woods, produced a certificate from that gentleman, who was unwell and unable to be present. The certificate stated that the writer had attended complainant for contusion of the left ribs and lacerations on the arms, she also complained of pains all over her body.

For the defence, Mr Watkins said the complainant went to the station in a state of drunkenness, which was not at all an unusual state for her. Whilst defendant was out of the station, she commenced to eat his supper, after which she left. On the following night she asked him if he accused her of eating his supper, to which he said he did.

She caught hold of his two hands and spat in his face two or three times. He led her to the house, after which she returned with a bucket of water, which she threw over him. In doing so she fell over the bucket and a step nearby. He could also prove, if necessary, she had had a fall on the previous Friday. – Thomas Cooke, a coachman of Gloucester, formerly of Nantyderry, said that on Sunday night he was standing by his door, with his wife and child, when the defendant passed.

The complainant asked him if she said he had eaten his supper, and he said he did. She denied it again, when the defendant repeated the accusation, and told her not to speak to him again. With that she called him an offensive name, jumped at him, pushed him against the railings, and kicked him twice in succession on the shins. With that defendant caught hold of her arms and led her towards the house, where she spat twice in his face in the most disgusting manner. He put her inside the house and shut the door, after which she came out and threw a bucket of water over him. In doing so she fell over the bucket and a step. Defendant retaliated by throwing the remainder of the contents of the bucket of water, a few drops going on her shoulder and in her face. After that, her poor old husband re-filled the bucket to poor over defendant again.

Complainant: Shame on you Cooke! (Laughter)Complainant was requested to question the witness, but her cross-examination consisted of a series of her former statements, in the course of which she admitted she spat in defendants face.

The Chairman said they could not find that complainant’s statement was proved, especially after the evidence of an independent witness, whose word they had no reason to doubt.

Complainant must have misunderstood the thing altogether, the case would be dismissed.

Mr Watkins asked for the expenses of the witness, who had been subconded to attend from Gloucester.

The Chairman said the complainant was a poor old woman, they could not grant the application.

Complainant: I got nothing to pay anybody, (laughter).

Mr Watkins said he was only acting according to his instructions. He might say that they might have proceeded against complainant on a cross summons had they wished, so that she had been saved that expense.


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