Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Expenses Row Killing

A row between two labourers over how to spend their expenses led to one of them attacking and killing the other, but receiving a very lenient sentence.

On the afternoon of 22nd July 1858 Michael Sutton drove some cattle from Clarence Dock to Blackstock Street station, where he was met by a man named John O'Neill. They both loaded the cattle onto wagons and Sutton was given 6d by the cattle's owner to cover both men's expenses. 

O'Neill immediately suggested the money should be used to buy ale but Sutton refused, saying he had had no breakfast and would just give him 3d instead. As he was walking away to get some change O'Neill struck Sutton from behind, causing him to fall against some stones and hit his head. O'Neill him up but after being taken to the Northern Hospital, he died that evening having not said another word.

The following day an inquest returned a verdict of manslaughter and a warrant was issued for O'Neill's apprehension.  At the South Lancashire assizes at St George's Hall on 16th August O'Neill claimed that he had only given Sutton a hefty push, which caused him to fall. He was found guilty of manslaughter and recommended to mercy, receiving a sentence of just three months imprisonment.

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