The Attack on Samuel Ross [1858]

In January 1858, Samuel Ross was attacked and robbed by Patrick Frane and John Broghan in Halifax

The Leeds Mercury [Thursday 4th February 1858] reported

Robbery and Attempted Murder at Halifax by Boys

A case was heard in Halifax in which astounding revelations of criminal acts were detailed. A youth of fifteen or sixteen years of age, named Patrick Frane, was charged with robbery, attended with great violence, upon another boy of only thirteen years of age, named Samuel Ross. The crime was shared by a youth, John Broghan, who has run away to avoid the police. Both offenders are well known to the police and Frane had appeared in court a few days ago charged with stealing razors. In court, Samuel Ross said

I left work with my wages amounting to 5/4d. On the way home, I found a shilling. I went home but did not give up my wages to my mother. Next day, I left home with 6/4d and had not told my mother that I had got turned off work as I was afraid to do so. Down near the station, I met a boy named Aaron Kershaw and showed him 5/4d. Later, I saw Frane near the station and had some talk with him. We went to a beer shop near the Blucher and he borrowed 4d off me. Then I got half a crown changed at a man's named Webster. We went to a pea shop in the market and then to a cook's shop near. Going towards the station, we met another boy named John who had red hair and who was known to the prisoner but not to me. We then walked on Skircoat Moor where the prisoner kept putting his hand round my neck and unloosing my smock. I had the money in my waistcoat pocket.

We all came back to Halifax and went to the pea shop again. At about 6 o'clock we went to an ale house in Woolshops and had some ale. The prisoner then proposed to go to Stone Dam, saying he had some money at home and would pay back the 4d he had borrowed. At Stone Dam, the prisoner put his hand on my mouth and drew an open pocket-knife and said he would run it through me if I did not give him my money. I said I would give him the money if he let me go. The prisoner then made a signal with his foot and the other boy came and took the money. After tearing my smock and pulling off some buttons, the prisoner then tried to put me over the rails into the dam and the other boy assisted him. I stuck to the railings and cried murder.

A man in a field nearby ran up and the robbers ran

Aaron Kershaw said he had seen the prisoner and Ross and a boy with red hair called Foxey near the shooting gallery in the market. Ross asked him where the prisoner lived and he told him Smithy Stake. Police Constable Wood said Ross appeared to have been roughly used and he apprehended the prisoner at the Colosseum (a sort of casino) in Northgate.

When charged the prisoner said

It's all right, sir

The man who ran to assist Ross has not been found but the officers were ordered to seek for him.

The prisoner was further charged with stealing some soap bags, an old rope and some sacks from a warehouse yard of Mr William Hainsworth. These were later found at Messrs Bracken's the paper makers


On 4th March 1858, Frane was sentenced to 18 months' imprisonment for Larceny of the Person

© Malcolm Bull 2023
Revised 00:51 / 2nd November 2023 / 5600

Page Ref: X496

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