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Alleged Indecent Assault 1878

Loughborough Advertiser - 31st January 1878
Petty Sessions (see also Assize report, Artefact 267)

Wm. Hickling, a labourer, was charged on remand with an indecent assault, and an attempted rape upon Annie Stapleton, at Quorndon, on the 22nd inst. The Court was cleared during the hearing of the case. From the evidence of the prosecutrix it appeared that she is a single woman, and will be 21 years of age next month. She is living as domestic servant with Mr McConnell, draper, Rectory Place, Loughborough; and on the day in question she left Loughborough for Barrow-on-Soar by the 2.28pm train, in search of a fresh situation. She went to Mr Whitmore's and on returning to the station to go home by the 4.39 train she found it had gone. She asked the station master the way to walk home, and started to do so, coming towards Quorn as far as the two roads where she saw two men talking. She asked the way to Loughborough, and they directed her. She had only gone a little further when she heard a person following her. He spoke to the two men she did and passed her.

She kept on til she got to the 'Flesh House', the man who had passed her still keeping in front. She hurried after him and asked him if she was on the right way for Loughborough. He said, "You're right, I'm going pretty nearly there myself. I will show you the way". She replied that in that case they might walk on together. The man said "yes". He walked in front till they got to the stile leading into the fields. She asked him where that road led to, and he told her Moor Lane. He asked her if she had ever been that way, and she said she had not. He said "I suppose your home is in Loughborough," and she told him she was in a situation there. He still kept in front of her, and did not turn round when he spoke. She told him she had missed the train and he said he lived at Quorn. She said he would know her aunt (Mrs Bunney) then, and he said he did.

He told her he was going to attend some beast and could not go further: she had only three or four more fields to cross. He asked her what she would give him to take her all the way, and she said 6d. He asked if she would not give him more, and she told him she had no more. He asked for the 6d then, and she said she would give it him when he had been. He turned round and said, "Then I'll have to do with you". She said, "Indeed you won't," and turned round to go back to Barrow station. She could see who he was, as it was getting dusk but not dark. It was prisoner. He pushed her on her back as she was going from him, and she fell on the ground. She half got up again, when he came to her and a struggle commenced, and he attempted to have intercourse with her. She screamed as loud as she could, and he laughed and said no one would hear her, and if they did he would do for her before they came. In the struggle she rolled over and over several times, and he then knelt on her chest and she fainted. When she came to herself she was sitting on the ground, the prisoner holding her up. He told her to get up and put her hat on. She tried but could not, and prisoner went and fetched her hat, which was some distance off. Her clothes were much disarranged, her jacket and dress being unbuttoned. Prisoner told her his name was Noon. He asked her for the 6d and said he would go.

She ran off as fast as she could and got on the turnpike, where she saw Mr Wright, a butcher, in a cart, and asked him for a ride. When she got home she told her mistress what had occurred and, she was examined by Dr Hutchinson. The same night she went to Quorn with Superintendent Peberdy, but they could not find the man. The next Thursday she went with a policeman to Barrow lime-kilns, and there identified the prisoner as the man. She was sure he was the same.

Mr McConnell spoke to the prosecutrix being a domestic servant at his house, and he was present when she returned home on the evening of the 22nd. She told them what had taken place, and appeared to be very exhausted. He had every reason to believe she was a most respectable and well-conducted girl.

Mr F Wright, pork butcher, corroborated the prosecutrix's statement as to asking for a ride home. She appeared very excited, and said to him, "Are you a honest man? If so you'll give me a ride to Loughborough".

Dr Hutchinson said he examined prosecutrix the same evening; her clothing, both under and outer, was much marked with dirt and mud; her hands were scratched as if by bushes; and she appeared very excited, and her pulse was weak and feeble, but there was no evidence of sexual intercourse having taken place.

Supt. Peberdy produced part of the clothing prosecutrix had on at the time. John Ward, hay dealer, spoke to seeing prosecutrix and prisoner pass on the road the same night. PC Leech said he went with prosecutrix to Barrow lime-kilns, when she identified the prisoner as the man who assaulted her.

This was the case and the prisoner pleaded not guilty. Messrs Deane & Hands were engaged for the prosecution, and Mr Goode for the defence, and Mr Clifford (for the latter) appealed to the Bench whether on the slight evidence of identity there was sufficient case to send for trial. The Bench committed prisoner for trial at the assizes, but offered him bail, himself in 50, and two sureties in 25 each. We understand prisoner is a married man, with a family of young children.

 Submitted on: 2009-07-14
 Submitted by: Kathryn Paterson
 Artefact ID: 210
 Artefact URL: www.quornmuseum.com/display.php?id=210
 Print: View artefact in printer-friendly page

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