East Anglian Daily Times
07 November 1900


The sequel to the Boxford public-house affray was heard at Boxford Police Court on Tuesday, when, before Col. W. H. L. Corry (in the chair), and E. B. Cook, Esq., John Death, an ex-marine and militiaman, was charged by Eliza Phillips, married woman, Baker's Arms, Boxford, with aggravated assault, and by her father, James William Andrews, landlord of the Baker's Arms, with common assault. —Mr. L. G. Fisher (of Messrs. Fisher and Steed, Sudbury and Melford), defended. —Both cases were taken together.

The complainant, Mrs. Phillips, who wore a bandage round her head, and had a black eye, said she was the wife of William Phillips, veterinary surgeon, and lived with her father at the Baker's Arms, White Street Green, Boxford. Prisoner had lived in her house up to October 21st, but she then refused to have him as a lodger any longer. He came to the house on Saturday evening, October 27th, and asked for some beer. She served him, whereupon he turned the table and a jug and glass of beer over, and said that she should not have any money for it. He afterwards came into her private room and knocked her about, slapping her face. He had a gun barrel in his hand, and struck her on the top of the head with it. The gun barrel belonged to her father. She fell on the floor, and heard him smashing the windows. Nobody came to her assistance. -Cross-examined by Mr. Fisher, she contradicted her previous statement in regard to the time the jug end glass were broken, and stated that it occurred in the afternoon. She asked him for the money, and he refused to give it to her. She did not get angry. She had not been drinking, and was not drunk; and had never been drunk in her life. Her father told her that he hit Death with a mallet, but she did not see it; she was lying insensible on the floor at the time. She saw prisoner knock her father about "surprisingly, something extraordinary."
Mr. Fisher: Did you ever put a rope round the neck of a man named Josling, until he got black in the face? —Oh, yes, the man would not pay me for a glass of beer.
Complainant further added that Death said to her, "I will strike you, and this will be a death, in cold blood." He was not drunk. —James William Andrews, landlord of the Bakers' Arms, and father of complainant, said prisoner came in between eight and nine o'clock in the evening. Witness was in the taproom serving customers; he refused to serve prisoner. He heard a noise and lumbering upstairs and a call, but when he went to the bottom he could obtain no answer. His tale was very disjointed, but it appeared that he alleged having seen his daughter down on the floor. He believed prisoner hit her with a gun barrel. Prisoner hit witness on the forehead, and kicked him as he was falling. —Cross examined: He had never seen his daughter drunk. Witness hit prisoner once with a mallet.
Mr. Fisher: Supposing he had three open wounds cut down the side of his head, does it not occur to you, someone else must have hit him? —I do not know; I only struck him once.
Further questioned, Andrews stated that when he got into the room, his daughter was on the floor, struggling with Death. Witness rushed into the cellar and got his mallet, which he used to broach his beer with, and tapped prisoner on the head. He hit as hard as he could.
Prisoner deposed on oath, that he had served in the Marine Light Infantry, and subsequently in the Middlesex Militia. He served in the Egyptian campaign at Tel-el-Kebir, and received a medal. He had lodged at the Bakers' Arms for over twelve months. He had had a disagreement with Mrs. Phillips about money, as she wanted him to pay before he had received his wages, and on the Wednesday evening previous, to the row, she threw a knife at him. On Saturday evening she began "getting on" to him about money, and at last struck him with a gun barrel. The two of them set on him, and would not desist when he asked them, so he wrenched the barrel away and used it to defend himself. He was smothered with blood, which flowed out of him like as from a tap.
Dr. Thompson, Boxford, said that when the woman came to him forty-eight hours after the assault she had a deep scalp wound and a black eye, which had not been attended to. She was not sober. He told her to go home and bathe the wound. On Friday evening, he examined the prisoner's head, and found three severe scalp wounds, two of them penetrating to the bone, and two or three bruises. The wounds could not have been produced by a hand, but probably by the gun barrel and the mallet. P.c. Double, Boxford, deposed that at nice o'clock on Saturday evening, Mrs. Phillips, who was under the influence of drink, made a complaint to him, and wanted him to lock prisoner up at once. He went to the house, where he saw that the windows were broken, and that there was a lot of blood about in the tap-room, in the parlour, and in the shop. Mrs. Phillips went upstairs to look for prisoner, and when she came down she said, "You must lock him up now. I have lost my watch; he has robbed me." She also accused him of having stolen her box, containing money. She insisted upon going with witness to look for the man, and fell down four or five times. When witness searched prisoner, he found none of the articles alleged to be stolen upon him.
Mr. Fisher urged that prisoner only struck the complainants in self-defence, and was fully justified.
The Chairman said the Bench did not consider that Death began the row, and that when he hit the prosecutors he was acting in self-defence. They consequently acquitted him. Death would be allowed his costs.
Mrs. Phillips laid information against Death for the alleged theft of six silver watches and about £25 in money. —Mr. Fisher characterised the charge as a mere persecution, and asked the Bench not to grant a summons. —The Magistrates' Clerk said he had advised Mrs. Phillips that she had not sufficient evidence, and refused to grant her a warrant. —Supt. Peake said the police had made enquiries, and had no evidence connecting the man with the loss.
The Bench declined to issue a summons.