Saturday, April 1st 1899: Jackson’s Oxford Journal
SERIOUS ASSAULT IN MILL-STREET
Algernon Porter, cab driver, 2. Luther-street, St. Aldate’s was charged with being drunk and disorderly in Mill-street on Tuesday; he was further charged with assaulting George Borman, Elizabeth Borman, and Mark Molyneux, at the same time and place. – Prisoner pleaded not guilty. – Mr. A. Walsh prosecuted on behalf of Mr. Borman, the landlord of the Kite public-house, Mill-street, who he said was so seriously hurt that he was unable to attend. He had a doctor’s certificate, stating that Borman would not be able to appear for a week, and Mrs. Borman was also confined to bed by her injuries. He therefore asked that the case might be adjourned. – Mr. Fisher, who appeared for the prisoner, agreed to this course. – Remanded till Wednesday. – Mr. Fisher made application for bail, which was refused.
Before Mr. W. Brain (in the chair), Aldermen Cooper, Saunders and Wilson and the Sheriff (Alderman Bacon).
THE MILL-STREET ASSAULT CASE
Algernon Porter, cab driver, of 2, Luther-street, St Ebbe’s, was charged with being drunk and disorderly in Mill-street, St. Thomas’, on Tuesday, March 21st; he was further charged with assaulting George Borman, landlord of the Kite public-house, Mill-street. Elizabeth Borman, his wife, and Mark Molyneux at the same time and place. Prisoner pleaded not guilty.
Mr. Gordon Walsh appeared on behalf of Borman and his wife, and Mr. H.J. Fisher defended the prisoner.
The charge of being drunk and disorderly was first proceeded with.
P.C. Harriss stated that he was on duty outside the railway station on the 21st March, about a quarter-past four, when he was called to the Kite publichouse in Mill-street. He went there and saw Porter, and asked what was the matter, and he replied that three or four men had been attacking him. Witness went inside, and saw the landlord, who was in a frightful state. His face was bashed about, and blood was flowing from it. The prisoner followed him into the house, and Borman said to witness, “I give that man in charge for assaulting me.” Witness told Porter he would have to go to the police-station, and he had better go quietly. He replied that he did not know that he should, and added that as witness was a big man he should not mind having a “go” at him. He came at him, and witness went for him and got him down and handcuffed him. He took him to the station, and he was very violent on the way.
By Mr. Fisher: Prisoner was mad drunk. Witness did not hesitate very long about putting him on his back, but this would not pacify him altogether. On the way to the station he heard someone offer to take the prisoner in a cab, but he took him on foot as he did not want to take the responsibility of any damage that might have been done to the cab.
The charge of assult was then gone into, and in opening the case, Mr. Gorden Walsh said that Porter visited Borman’s house on the morning of the 21st, and they went out together. Porter called again at the “Kite” some little time after three o’clock, and Borman noticing that he was drunk, refused to serve him with the brandy and soda which he had called for. Porter appeared to have become enraged at this, and to describe it in a few words, practically cleared the house. Walsh described the prisoner’s violence in detail, and said he had failed to find any justification for the assaults, as there had not been any provocation of any sort or kind. The only reason appeared to be that he was refused drink, which Borman was perfectly right in doing. He might say on behalf of Borman and his wife that they had not the slightest vindictive feeling against Porter in the matter, but as the propietor of the licensed premises he was bound to take notice of any disturbance which took place in his house for the sake of his licence. The assaults were more serious than those which generally came before the Bench, and the question of punishment was for the magistrates to decide. He would ask them to bear in mind that Porter was not an ignorant man, but a man of education, and one who ought to have known better than to do what he did.
Alfred George Borman, landlord of the Kite Inn, said he had held the licence of that inn for seven years. He knew the prisoner well. On the morning of the 21st he came to his house sober. He had a glass of port wine and they left the house together. They went to the “Old Gate House,” where they had a a drink together. Witness, accompanied by Porter, then went to the brewery to do his business, where they had a glass of bitter. They afterwards met two friends of the prisoner, and went to the “Anchor,” where they had another drink together, and he then left him. He next saw him about 3.30, when he came to his house in an intoxicated condition. He asked for a brandy and soda, but witness refused to serve, and invited him to have some dinner with him. He refused, and went in and kicked the dinner over. Shortly afterwards witness went out into the yard and saw Molyneux washing his nose uder the tap. Read was also in the yard with his hand to his face. Prisoner was stripped out, and as soon as witness went out prisoner hit him between the eyes, and before he could recover struck him again, kicked him down, knelt upon his ribs, and again struck him. His injuries were so serious that he had to call in a doctor and keep his bed for several days. They had always been good friends, and he could not understand why prisoner treated him in this way. Prisoner also assaulted his wife, and she was being medically attended at the present time.
Cross-examined: They had always been good friends and there had been no quarrel between them. The meeting in witness’ house was not the result of a quarrel that had been patched up. There was no suggestion of “tossing” for drinks, although on the previous Monday they had done so. He had his dinner when his business permitted, and it was not unusual for him to have his dinner on the table at 3.30 untouched. He did not keep champagne in the house, although he had done so. Witness did not make any remark that he had been fortunate at “tossing”. There was a man who was in the Navy in the house on Monday, and he and the prisoner “tossed” for a bottle of champagne, but he heard no suggestion made of cheating. Mr. Hitchings had attended him before for bleeding of the nose, but on this occasion it bled from the result of prisoners’ blow. He was not a quarrelsome man, and his wife at present did not bear marks of his violence. It was not alleged that Porter caused her black eyes, as they were caused by falling out of a chair, which the doctor would prove. Witness and prisoner did not knock Molyneux down. The assault on Molyneux took place in the taproom at 3.30, but the constable did not arrive until 4.15. Before he saw Porter he was not aware that his wife had been assaulted. Witness was perfectly sover, and had not had a considerable quantity of drink.
Re-examined: There was no “tossing” in his house on this day, so far as he knew.
Mr. Robert Hitchings, M.R.C.S., said he had known Borman for two years as a patient. He was called to see him on the 21st. He had several contusions on his nose, and his face had marks of blows on it. He suffered from bleeding of the nose for most of the night. Witness sent him to bed, where he remained until the following Saturday. He was of opinion that the injuries might be the result of the blows described. He also attended Borman’s wife, who was suffering from gastric catarrh, and was unable to attend the court. He believed she had been subject to fainting fits. He had examined Mrs. Borman, and found two marks on the lower part of the woman’s body, which might have been caused by a blow or a fall.
Cross-examined: He did not suggest that the gastric catarrh was caused by the prisoner. Mrs. Borman said the marks on her eye were caused by a fall. He thought Borman had had some drink; he should not say he was a full-blooded man. He had seen bruises on people’s faces caused by boxing. He had previously attended Borman for bleeding of the nose, but on this occasion it was acute and not chronic. On this occasion there was also a contusion of the nose, and blood seemed to come from the stomach.
By the Magistrate’s Clerk: He found no bruises on the prosecutors’s ribs.
Mark Frederick Molyneux, of Clarke’s-row, St. Aldate’s, said he went to the “Kite” about 3.30 on this day, and heard prisoner call for a brandy and soda from the tap-room. Borman told him a good dinner would do him more good, and invited him to have some with him. Witness looked into the taproom and saw prisoner kick the fender over with some plates that were on it. Mrs. Borman, on hearing the crash, went into the taproom and asked what he was doing. Porter put up his elbow and caught her across the chest. She fell across the table and then on to the floor. Prisoner asked witness if he could fight, and he replied that he was not a fighting man. Prisoner then struck him between the eyes, breaking his nose. Witness went into the yard and washed his nose under the tap, and while he was doing this Read was struck in the left eye by Porter. Borman came out, and Porter “went for him” and knocked him about. Witness told prisoner he would kill him if he was not careful, and witness then went for a policeman. He had been medically attended for the injury to his nose. He first went to a chemist, who sent him to the Infirmary because his nose shifted from side to side.
Cross-examined: His nose was not yet better but there was not much the matter with it.
Joseph Read, baker, said he went to the “Kite” at 3.30 p.m on the 21st for a drink. Porter, who was the worse for drink, was refused a brandy and soda by the landlord. Witness went into the yard and saw Molyneux at the tap. He asked him if he could do anything for him, and Porter then struck him in the eye, although he did not say a word to him. Borman then came out and told Porter not to act such a fool, and prisoner then struck him several times and knelt on his ribs.
Mr. Fisher, addressing the Bench for the defendant, said if Porter had not been such a strong man as he was physically he would not have been there that day, and if the constable had used the tact which most policemen did and not preferred to take the bull by the horns by handcuffing him, he might have taken him to the station in a different manner. With respect to Borman, he did not desire to press the charge against the prisoner, and although he was quite right in refusing him drink if the prisoner was drunk, he thought he was courting danger by going out into the yard and telling him not to act the fool instead of sending for a constable, and what he got was partly due to his own indiscretion. With respect to Mrs. Borman he did not think the Bench would attach any importance to that charge and would dismiss it, as there was no evidence before the Court that she bore any marks of bruises consequent on the assault by Porter. In dealing with the case the Bench would not forget the stigma that was already attached to prisoner’s name by having been mixed up in a drunken brawl, and that is was also a disgrace to the prisoner and an old family name for having been hauled through the streets of Oxford with handcuffs on. They also would not forget that he had already been in gaol under these charges for eight days, and that was a stigma, which would attach to his name.
The Bench retired, and on their return into Court, Mr. Brain said they had decided to dismiss the charge against the prisoner of assaulting Mrs. Borman. The Bench were very sorry to see the prisoner in the position in which he was, but they thought it a most serious offence. They also thought that P.C. Harriss acted excellently in discharging his duty in the way he did. The Bench also desired him to say that they did not consider that Mr. Borman courted danger by going out into the yard. They had decided that for the assault on Borman, he would be sentenced to one month’s imprisonment with hard labour, and for the assault on Molyneux to 14 days’ hard labour, the sentences to run consecutively.
Considerable interest was manifested in the case, there being a large attendance of the public in the Court.
Upon the prisoner being removed to the cells under the court, he suddenly threw himself over some railings, and fell a distance of several feet; he sustained rather severe injuries to his head, back, and one arm, and was not able to be taken to the prison for nearly an hour.