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1917: Assault and hysterics in Cuckfield

Updated: Oct 1, 2020

Mid Sussex Times - Tuesday 03 April 1917




Yesterday (Monday), before. Major J. J. Lister, in the chair, and other Magistrates, at Haywards Heath Bench, Daisy Burridge and John Burridge, of Cuckfield, were summoned for assaulting Susannah Vickery, at Cuckfield, on March 22nd.

Mr. Grinstead appeared for the defendants, who pleaded not guilty.

SUSANNAH VICKERY, Crab Tree Cottage, Cuckfield, said that on March 22nd her husband brought home some wood. She was getting it in from the back door. Two children from next door were out in the road. Complainant heard Mrs. Burridge ask "Where is she?" Mrs. Burridge rushed round to complainant's back door, pushed the door back, and said "I'll give you frightening my children," also using abusive language. Mrs. Burridge caught hold of complainant, and hurt two of her fingers with her nails. Blood was running out of them. Then complainant had hysterics. Mrs. Burridge put her hand up in front of complainant's mouth, nearly suffocating her, and said "Stop that noise. Shut up your mouth." Complainant said "For God's sake let me go." That was in complainant's house. Complainant opened the door to go to the front, and then saw Mr. Burridge. He "up with his fist and knocked me on the side of the head," inflicting a bruise. Complainant reeled. Mrs. Burridge said to her husband "You stand back. I can manage her." Complainant went inside, and fell down exhausted in the passage. "Mrs. Burridge came in, took me up by my feet, held me up high, and threw me into the back scullery." Complainant's spectacles, which were in her pocket, were broken, and her hair came down. Complainant went out into the back garden. Mrs. Burridge beard her moaning, and said " Shut up that mouth, or I will give you some more." She threw complainant on some faggots of wood, and said “You sit there while I fetch a pail of water to throw over you." She did not fetch the water, complainant going to Mrs. French's.

By Mr. Grinstead: Complainant had hysterics and screamed. Nobody came to her assistance, as nobody was passing at the time. She saw the defendant's children down the road. She did not speak to them or look at them. "As true as God is in Heaven and I am a living soul I never threatened to strike them on this or any occasion." Complainant did not know that the male defendant was an invalid and suffered from heart disease.

ANNIE FRENCH, The Lodge, Bolnore, Cuckfield, said Mrs. Vickery came to her about 4 p.m. She looked as if she bad been very badly knocked about indeed. Her hair was all down her back, and her hands were all blood. Witness had a child very ill and did not ask complainant in. Witness had lived beside complainant for four years, and had never had a mis-word with her. Witness sent her to Mrs. Fennell.

By Mr. Grinstead : 'Complainant told witness that Mr. and Mrs. Burridge had knocked her about, but did not say in what way. Complainant was very frightened.

MARY A. FUNNELL, Peartree Cottage, said Mrs. Vickery came down to her about 4.30 pm. She was in a very bad state, and almost fainted. Her hands were covered with blood, and were swollen. Complainant said she had a bruise on the side of the head. Witness did not see it. Dr. Glenn was called to complainant, and witness was present when he came. Witness went home with complainant, and stayed with her till about eight o'clock. She did not see the defendants. Complainant was very frightened.

Peartree Cottage where Complainant retreated after the incident

DAISY BURRIDGE, wife of John Burridge, said that on March 22nd, about 3.30 or 4 p m., her little boy came running in screaming "Mummy, Mrs. Vickery is going to hit me with a stick." Witness ran out and said to Mrs. Vickery "You ought to be thoroughly ashamed of yourself to frighten a poor little boy." Complainant abused her for about a quarter-of-an-hour, and worked herself up to such a pitch that she went off into the usual hysterics and ran off down the road almost like a demented creature. Defendant's husband came round the corner from the back garden and wanted to know the cause of the screaming. She told him that Mrs. Vickery had hysterics again. She did not strike complainant, and did not see her husband do so. When the husband arrived complainant was running down the road. Complainant was excited, and almost like a lunatic. She (Mrs. Burridge) had lived next door to complainant for five years, and four years and six months ago was the last time she had anything to do with the complainant. “I deny absolutely that I ever struck the woman at all.”

By the Clerk (Mr. E. J. Waugh): Defendant did not put her hands on complainant, go into her house, or catch hold of her. What complainant had said was "a tissue of lies."

JOHN BURRIDGE said he was a carpenter by trade. He was an invalid now, and had been for fifteen months. He was suffering from heart disease and rheumatoid arthritis. Defendant was in the back garden, when he heard some screaming and came to the front of the house. Complainant was going down the road then. She was screaming. Defendant did not strike her, and he was not in a condition to do so. Complainant was 50 yards away from him, and he did not get any nearer to her than that. What complainant had said was all false. Defendant could not account for her hands being covered with blood or for the bruise on her head. The boy was 4 and a half years of age. Complainant was often frightening the children.

After a private consultation by the Magistrates the CHAIRMAN said to defendants: The Bench find you both guilty. You will have to pay the costs (8s.), and will be bound over in the sum of £5 each to keep the peace for six months.

A month was allowed for payment of the costs.



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