1905: Assault on Haywards Heath policeman at Sussex Hotel

Updated: Oct 2, 2020

Mid Sussex Times - Tuesday 29 August 1905


A VIOLENT NAVVY.

Assault on a Haywards Heath Policeman.

Mr. W. Borrer (in the chair) and other magistrates, at Haywards Heath Petty Sessions yesterday (Monday) heard the case of Alfred Rowland, navvy, who was charged with assaulting P.O. Farley whilst in the execution of his duty at Haywards Heath on the previous night.

Prisoner pleaded not guilty.


P.O. Farley gave evidence that at 10.30 p.m. on Sunday he heard a noise in the urinal in Franklynn Road adjoining the Sussex Hotel. He tried the door, but found it locked inside. Witness called out the landlord, who brought out some steps, and witness unfastened the door, struck a match, and spoke to prisoner, who was asleep.


Witness shouted at and aroused the prisoner, who immediately picked up his stick (the thick stick produced) and struck witness over the head with it. He took the stick away from prisoner, who then came at him with his fist. Witness defended himself, pushing prisoner back, and outside prisoner took off his coat and came at him again. Prisoner was in drink at the time. Witness took him into custody. On the way to the police station he was very violent.


At Muster Green he took hold of witness’s serge coat, and tore it right up the front. Prisoner tried to double witness on his back, but did not succeed. He ran away, and witness ran after him. Prisoner fell down in the road, and witness fell over him. When he got up he “framed up” at witness again, and struck him several times. Witness had to close with him again. Prisoner rushed up the steps, and rang Mr. Hayes’ bell, thinking it was a doctor’s. Witness blew his whistle, Mr. Hayes came to his assistance, and ultimately they got prisoner to the police station.


By Superintendent Brooman: At the police station prisoner again behaved very roughly indeed. Witness had to hold him down while his boots were taken off. Prisoner refused to give any name at all to the Sergeant.


John Brown, landlord of the Sussex Hotel, gave corroborative evidence. Witness saw prisoner, when outside the urinal, strike at the constable with his fist several times. Witness asked prisoner to go away quietly. Prisoner had not been in witness’s house that night, and had not been there for several weeks.


Richard O. Hayes, chemist, Haywards Heath, stated that at 11.40 p.m. on Sunday night his nurse knocked at his bedroom door, and told him policeman and man were fighting in the street outside the bedroom window. Witness went to the window, and saw that the policeman had more than he could manage. Prisoner rushed up witness’s steps, and pulled violently at his shop bell. Then witness threw up his bedroom window. The policeman blew his whistle, and asked witness to go and assist him. Witness did so as soon as possible.


By Superintendent Brooman: On the way to the police station prisoner told the constable that whatever came of this he should have his revenge. Superintendent Brooman said he had had a considerable amount of trouble with the navvies on the drainage works lately, and, as he considered this was a most unprovoked assault, he asked the Magistrate to make an example of the prisoner.


Prisoner was sentenced to month’s hard labour.


A man in Court—probably one of prisoner’s mates —was about to create a scene. “I wish to make protest,” he said, but he got no further with his protest.


“Put that man outside,” went forth the command of the Superintendent, and three or four policemen promptly ejected him.


Prisoner asked to be let off with a fine, but his request was in vain.


Superintendent Brooman said he should like to publicly thank Mr. Hayes for his assistance to the police. They were always very grateful for such assistance.


The Chairman concurred in this expression thanks.


Thank you to John Twistleton for the photograph