Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Cart Killer Caught a Year Later

A youth who absconded after a cart he was driving knocked down a man who died was finally apprehended a year later and brought to justice.

In 1863 Patrick Callaghan was then 17 years old and employed by Cade's ginger beer company as a general labourer. On 28th November that year he saw Mr Cade's cart stood empty while the driver was doing business at a house and decided to ride off in it.

When he got to the corner of St James Street and Duncan Street he was unable to stop as John Hughes crossed the road. Hughes was run over and crushed by the cart and died from his injuries ten days later. Callaghan disappeared and was not caught for another year, meaning it was  March 1865 when he finally appeared at the assizes.

In summing up Justice Mellor said that if the jury were satisfied that Callaghan was driving too fast whilst close to a kerb or bend then he was culpable. Foot passengers, he said, had rights and were not to be run over when crossing even though some drivers felt they should not be there at all. 

The jury found Callaghan guilty but recommended mercy. This led to the judge telling him that he was imposing a lesser sentence than he had been considering. Telling Callaghan that 'drivers should be made to understand their position if they drive recklessly' and the sentence should reflect that, he imposed a term of six months imprisonment with hard labour.  

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