The assault of John Haigh

In 1854, John Haigh was assaulted by James McGrath & Dominic Moran as he was travelling up Southowram Bank

The Halifax Guardian [Saturday, 4th March 1854] describes the hearing at the Magistrates' Court

Dominic Moran, a labourer, was charged with assaulting Jno. Haigh, a manufacturer of Southowram.

The complainant was accommodated with a seat, not being able to stand

Mr Haigh said he was on his way home when he was knocked down by two men and severely kicked while on the ground. He could not swear the parties himself. He was knocked senseless and could not remember anything they said to him.

Charles Haigh and Samuel Lee were a little in advance of him.

As he was passing the two men, he found them reared with their backs against the wall; he said

You are taking up the bigger half of the causeway lads

and in a moment he was on his back in the road.

Henry Collinson, a delver of Southowram Bank, said he saw the prisoner between the coal pit and the Pineberry Tavern and found John Haigh, Charles Haigh and Samuel Lee standing together. The prisoner, pointing to the road said

If that is not good enough for you, you may take what falls to you

The other man (McGrath) then up with his fist and knocked him into the middle of the road. The prisoner then struck Charles Haigh and knocked Samuel Lee backwards.

Mr Mitchell, defence, said that when he came to court he was surprised to find the charges against the prisoner to be made by two such thoroughly respectable gentlemen as the gentlemen who had given their evidence. No consideration under any circumstances should ever leave him to abandon a client but he confessed he felt himself in an awkward dilemma because he could not cast a shade of suspicion upon the two respectable gentlemen who had laid the charge. What he proposed to do was this – he would abstain from making any remarks upon the case himself, but call the witnesses. If their testimony was to be believed then Mr Haigh must have been mistaken, but if their worships should not believe the witnesses then unquestionably both prisoners deserved severe punishment.

The Chairman, in announcing the decision of the bench said the assault had been atrocious, and for which Dominic Moran would have to pay £1 19s penalty and expenses for the assault upon Mr Haigh and £1 16s for the assault upon Mr Lee or to be committed to one month in each case. James McGrath was fined £2 10s and 14s expenses or two months to Wakefield.

Mr Charles Haigh wished to draw attention to the exceedingly dangerous state of Southowram Bank, particularly on a Saturday night, and thought there should be at least two policemen there


© Malcolm Bull 2022
Revised 13:13 / 19th January 2022 / 5062

Page Ref: X468

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