Monday, 12 January 2015

Boy Killed by Stone Throwing Policeman

A policeman who killed a boy when he threw a stone at his boat after he ignored an instruction to come ashore was let off by just a shillings fine after being found not guilty of manslaughter.

On 7th February 1847, fourteen year old John Ryder and three friends were sailing in a boat in Clarence Dock basin when they were called to the quay by a policeman named William Warbrick. He told them to get out and come ashore but they laughed at him, leading to him picking up a stone with the intention of using it to splash them with water. Unfortunately, his aim was completely out and it caught Ryder on the head.

Ryder first went to his home in Prince William Street in Dingle, where it was found impossible to stop the bleeding from the scalp wound, so he was taken to the Northern Hospital where his condition gradually deteriorated over the following weeks. On 17th March he died and at the inquest two days later the surgeon said it was as a result of mortification of the scalp. The jury returned a verdict of manslaughter and Warbrick, who lived in Bevington Street, was committed for trial on a Coroner's Warrant.

At the South Lancashire Assizes on 31st March 34 year old Warbrick was found not guilty of manslaughter, but was convicted instead of committing an unlawful act in throwing a stone. The judge gave him a few words of caution for the future and he was fined a shilling.

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