A youth who was belted by a man for throwing stones at his house threw a poker back at him, leading to the man's death but an acquittal in court.
On the afternoon of Sunday 1st October 1882 a fourteen year old called John Ross and some friends were setting off fireworks in Norris Street,which was situated off Bevington Hill in Vauxhall. A 28 year old Hungarian man named Fedor Matyazski, who worked as a labourer in a sugar refinery, went out and sent them away.
A few minutes later Ross and his friends returned to Norris Street and threw stones at Fedor's windows. Fedor, who was known locally as being hotheaded, came out and ran after Ross but was stopped by a passing carter named Charles Fyles. Ann Kalmann, who lived in the house with Fedor, hit Charles with a poker causing him to leave the scene and they then caught up with Ross in Burrough's Gardens.
On catching Ross Fedor took off his belt and hit him a few times, causing the youth to pick up the discarded poker and launch it at him, embedding it in the back of his skull. A police constable patrolling in Limekiln Lane saw the crowd gathered and went over where he saw Fedor lying on the ground. Those present refused to give any information and were dispersed. Fedor refused to be taken to a dispensary, saying he would call a doctor to his home.
Ann took Fedor back to the house and removed the poker but he died three hours later before a doctor was able to attend. Ross was apprehended in Dryden Street that evening, telling the detective that he had been hit with the poker and simply thrown it back, not intending to cause any harm.
A post mortem revealed that death had been as a result of hemorrhaging due to a fracture of the skull, the poker having penetrated two inches and caused a laceration in the brain. Two days later at the inquest the jury returned a verdict of manslaughter and Ross, whose father had died three years earlier, was committed for trial at the assizes but allowed bail.
Ross appeared before Mr Justice Day on 23rd November. He was able to convince the jury that he had not actually thrown any of the stones and had acted in self defence by throwing the poker, leading to a not guilty verdict.