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A soldier's outburst - 1918

Loughborough Herald - 24th October 1918

Exciting scene in Loughborough Police Court - A Soldier's Outburst

Quite a touch of melodrama occurred in the Loughborough Police Court on Wednesday. It arose after a case in which Thom H Simpkin, farmer, of Woodhouse, pleaded not guilty to assaulting Jane Turner, widow, of Quorn, on Sept 28. Mrs Turner said she had four soldier sons, and one came to work for Mr Simpkin, and was given a cottage, while on agricultural work. She alleged Mr Simpkin abused her while she stayed in the cottage, and on the day in question jammed her hand in the door and nearly choked her when she declined to give him the key.

By Mr Moss: She and her son went off to Aberdeen to see her grandson, and left Mr Simpkin's employ. She had since worn out three pairs of boots in searching for a house. She was leaving on the Monday when defendant assaulted her on the Saturday. Mr Moss: "You were allowed to stay 55 days without paying any rent; that did not show Mr Simpkin was unreasonable?"

Complainant: "Well, I couldn't help it. I couldn't get a house".

Complainant's grandson, aged 9, gave evidence that Mr Simpkin tried to get the key away. PC Neal spoke to complainant alleging defendant had crushed her hand and nudged his elbow in her throat. Defendant who was defended by Mr Moss, stated complainant's son was given a cottage rent free, and his furniture was carted free. When the man left his employ, Mrs Turner was allowed to stay during August and September, although the cottage was required. Mrs Turner was asked for the key, but she struggled for it, he let go. - The case was dismissed.

At the conclusion of the case, and before the Bench had given their decision, Mrs Turner's son, in his uniform, asked to give evidence, but was informed the case had been closed. The soldier, who was evidently angry, rose, and placing a cap on his head, called out in a loud voice: "In the King's name I wish to be heard". Later on he repeated the demand, and then turned round with a threatening gesture to Mr Simpkin, and remarked "I'll deal with you when I get outside if justice is not done to my mother."

Mr Wilfred Moss called the attention of the Bench to this threat, and asked for the man to be bound over. He then agreed to let the matter pass by.

The parties left court, and within a minute there was the sound of a scuffle, and Mr Simpkin was brought into the court with blood streaming from his face, and in a condition which showed he had been subjected to a violent assault. The sequel was seem a little later, when Samuel Turner, the soldier son of Mrs Turner was charged with assault.

Evidence was called to show that on leaving the court, and without a word being said, Mr Simpkin was struck a violent blow in the eyes knocking him up against the wall. Half a dozen more blows were rained onto his face and it was feared his nose had been broken. Defendant, who is said to have suffered from shell shock, admitted the assault, and told the Bench: "you would not give me a chance to speak, so I dealt with it, and shall do so."

The Magistrates' Clerk: "Anything more?"

Defendant: "Yes, (vigorously slapping the bar) yes, I shall settle it again; it is not done with. There are some more of us, and the other brothers will deal with it. I am the only one who keeps and protects my mother. I did not get justice from the Bench, and so I took it on myself."

The Bench said they considered it a very disgraceful assault, and they were determined to protect witnesses. Defendant would be committed for two months with hard labour, and must find sureties himself in 10 and two of 5 or go to prison for another two months.

There was an outcry from the mother, and defendant called out there were 39 relations in the army, 10 N.C.O's and this was the reward. As he was about to be removed he had a struggle with the police, and retreated into a corner, but was eventually calmed down and taken down to the cells.

 Submitted on: 2011-01-05
 Submitted by: Kathryn Paterson
 Artefact ID: 1132
 Print: View artefact in printer-friendly page

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