Monday, 8 July 2019

Unlawful Slaying in Bootle

When a man died after a fight in Bootle in 1935, the other person involved was charged with manslaughter but acquitted. 

Hermitage Grove
At 11pm on Saturday 9th November that year a fight took place in Aughton Road between Robert Langton and Paul Taylor.  Twenty one year old Taylor went home to his lodgings at 2 Hermitage Grove. On being asked by his landlady Mrs Morgan why he had a bump on his head said that it had been from "a scrap". She made him supper and he went to bed in a room that he shared with Mrs Morgan's son. Before going to sleep Taylor said he had a headache and the following morning he was found to be dead. 

When detectives visited Langton, a dock labourer, at his home in Florida Street to arrest him he responded "Dead, I thought I got the worst of it, I don't know what to say". He was taken in for questioning and on the Monday morning appeared before magistrates, where his father aid £25 so that the twenty three year old could be released on bail.  

An inquest heard that Taylor had died from a brain haemorrhage triggered by a ruptured meninginal artery, directly as a result of violence. At a committal hearing in Bootle Police Court on 19th November, other males present stated that Langton was upset by a remark Taylor had made about a girl he was with. They had fought, but shook hands at the end of it. Langton accepted striking Taylor, but insisted he had not thrown the first punch and also stated he had received a cut lip. Langton was committed to the Manchester Assizes for trial and again granted bail. 

The trial took place just seven days later. Medical evidence showed that Taylor's skull was thinner than normal. The defence also suggested that he could have struck his head against a wall during the scuffle and that this was what caused the injury. With these doubts having been raised, the jury returned a verdict of not guilty without leaving their box and Langton was discharged.  

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