A man who intervened in a fight between two women was kicked to death by the teenage son of one of them.
On Monday 19th September 1864 John O'Neill, a thirty seven year old cattle driver returned to his home in a court at Bull Entry, off Scotland Road. Witnesses said he was in an intoxicated state but he was able enough to try and calm down two women who were fighting outside his home.
One of the women lived in the court but the other, Mrs Nolan lived in nearby Ennerdale Street and O'Neill told her to go home, putting his arm on her shoulder to escort her there. A scuffle broke out between the two and they fell to the ground. Mrs Nolan's fourteen year old son saw what was going on and kicked O'Neill in the neck, close to the ear. He then picked his mother up and took her home.
A few moments later O'Neill was sat up but then fell down immediately, sighed a few times and died. A postmortem revealed that there was a contusion under the skin by the ear, at the same place where he had been kicked. There was also extravasated blood at the base of the brain, which was considered to have been caused by external violence.
When the youth was told that O'Neill had died he replied 'How could I kill him with these', pointing to his laced up boots. He then disappeared and an inquest was held two days later in his absence before the Deputy Coroner Mr John Wybergh. Mrs Nolan was present and Wybergh showed some sympathy in his summing up, saying 'No doubt seeing his mother on the ground and not knowing the cause he felt bound to assist her.'
The coroner's jury found Nolan guilty of manslaughter but added there were extenuating circumstances. The Deputy Coroner then said that he hoped the boy could be found and that he could offer bail. He did not have the same sympathy for Mrs Nolan though, telling her that her conduct had been reprehensible and that if it had not been for her drunkenness O'Neill would be alive and her son wouldn't be facing trial at the next assizes.
Nolan remained at large for a week, having made his way to Ormskirk where he stayed with relatives. he surrendered himself to Wybergh on 27th September and was granted bail at £20. The following March he appeared at the assizes,where Mr Justice Mellor sentenced him to four months imprisonment with hard labour.