Thursday, 13 June 2013

Fined For Killing Omnibus Conductor

In 1866 a bus passenger received an extremely lenient sentence after being convicted of killing the conductor of the omnibus on which he was travelling.

On Friday 19th January that year Charles Grice was travelling from London Road to West Derby and boarded the Cabbage Hall omnibus by mistake, soon jumping off at the corner of Moss Street. The conductor John Wardle chased after him and demanded payment of the fare, but Grice said it was ridiculous for him to pay given the distance travelled and pushed him away. When Wardle asked again, Grice pushed him so hard that he fell into the path of another omnibus and had his arms and chest run over by the wheels.

Wardle was taken to the Royal Infirmary where he died from internal injuries at 1am on the Saturday morning. Within hours Grice, a respectable man who ran carriers (a taxi of the time) between Liverpool and West Derby, made his first appearance in court charged with manslaughter and was released on £100 bail.

When he appeared before the Assizes on 2nd April Grice called upon several witnesses to testify to his good character. The jury found him guilty of manslaughter and strongly recommended mercy given Grice had admitted the incident from the beginning and expressed his regret at what had happened. Mr Justice Mellor decided not to imprison him, but instead imposed a fine of £10.

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