When two brothers went out drinking for the first time in three years, the night ended in tragedy when a fight broke out, leaving one of them dead.
In April 1943 William Clare, a twenty year old naval seaman, returned to his family home in Grovehurst Avenue, Dovecot. On the 17th (a Saturday) he went to a pub with his 33 year old brother Patrick, a labourer who lived in a flat in Stockbridge Lane, and another friend.
The brothers left the pub at 10pm on good terms, walking ahead of their friend. However when he caught up, he found a crowd gathered around Patrick, who was lying on the pavement, his face bruised and battered. He was carried into a house to await the arrival of an ambulance, but he was declared dead on arrival at hospital.
The following morning William refused to believe it when told that Patrick had died. He attended a police station and said "I am the brother of the chap who was found dead. I don't know how it happened, we had a row and started fighting." William was charged with manslaughter but granted bail when he appeared in court on the Monday.
On 4th May William appeared at a committal hearing, where he was defended by Rose Heilbron. His statement was read out, in which he had said the brothers started fighting after disagreeing over whether William had leant Patrick £1 or 10 shillings in the pub. When William had left his brother, he was leaning against a tree and shouted that he wold see him the following day.
Dr Grace, who had carried out the postmortem, said that Patrick had bruising above his eye, cut on the nose and three teeth were knocked out. He believed that death was a result of shock due to a contused wound on the jaw. After prosecutors acknowledged that William had cuts to his face, Miss Heilbron submitted that it was a most distressing case but that it was an accident and there was no case to answer.
Dismissing the charge, the presiding magistrate Mr Worrall said "This is one of the most unhappy cases that has come before my court."