Sunday, 22 February 2015

Death From Fighting

A dispute between two men that led to a fight to resolve it led to one dead and the other convicted of manslaughter.

Thomas Quine and James Kirkby had a disagreement over something that was never established, leading to them agreeing to a fight at 1pm on Monday 24th March 1834. It took place before over a hundred people on a field that lay between the Leeds & Liverpool Canal and Sandhills Bridge.

The fight lasted over an hour and 25 rounds were fought before Quine received a blow to the left side of the head which left him unable to stand. Quine admitted defeat and he was taken to a beer house in Rake Lane and then one in Burlington Street that was owned by his brother in law Lawrence Tynan, who had been one of his 'seconds' for the fight. A surgeon was called as Quine was totally insensible and suffering from multiple bruising to the face, swelling to his eyebrows and bleeding from the ear.

The surgeon administered some medicine and visited Quine again three more times over the next twelve hours. The last of those was at 1am, about half an hour before he died. A post mortem discovered a ruptured vein which had been caused by a violent fall or blow, leading to coagulated blood forming. There was a bruise on the corresponding part of the head and the surgeon was of no doubt that this was the cause of death.

The inquest was held on 27th March before Borough Coroner James Cockshott, at the sessions house of Kirkdale gaol. The surgeon repeated his findings and a verdict of manslaughter was returned leading to Kirkby along with four others, who were seconds for both him and Quine, being committed for trial at the next assizes.

At Lancaster on 14th August evidence was given that it had been a fair fight and no kicking took place. It was also stated that no money had been at stake. The five men were found guilty but with a strong recommendation for mercy on the basis of the provocation received from Quine. The judge then sentenced 19 year old Kirkby to six months imprisonment and the others to periods of between one week and four months each.



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