Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Killed Over A Handkerchief

In 1850 a row over a handkerchief that had been won in a raffle led to a man being killed by a flying brickbat and his killer absconding.

In October that year a woman in a court in St Martins Street in Vauxhall raffled a silk handkerchief so she could raise her rail fare for a journey to Manchester. Charging one penny a ticket, forty tickets were sold and it was on by a labourer named Patrick Caffray, who lived in a court in the same street.

A man named Michael Callaghan believed the raffle had been rigged and on the 29th of the month went with his father Patrick to Caffray's home, from where they were pushed back into the street. Michael Callaghan then picked up a brickbat and threw it at Caffray, who moved out the way but was caught behind the ear. Neighbours then intervened as Callaghan tried to follow this up by stabbing him with a pitchfork and although they restrained Patrick his son jumped over a wall and fled.

Caffray was taken to the Northern Hospital, where he remained in a delirious state until the 1st November when he died. Michael Callaghan remained at large, but Patrick appeared at the South Lancashire assizes on 16th December charged with 'aiding and abetting in a disturbance which caused death.' He was sentenced to four months imprisonment.

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