Thursday, 20 May 2021

Silly Argument Leads to Death

What was described as a silly argument between between friends led to one of the dying from their injuries after a fight. When the case went to trial however, leniency was shown by the judge.

On 9th April 1957, Brian Connolly and Philip McAndrew, both aged 22, went for a few drinks at the Queens Hotel in Stoneycroft with a man named, John Neilson. Around closing time they began arguing about the merits of another friend, and crossed Queens Drive to settle this by fighting on some wasteland.

Neilson was given their coats to mind, then Connolly stuck McAndrew on the chin with his fist and he fell down instantly. He died before an ambulance called by Connolly arrived. Connolly was taken to Old Swan bridewell and questioned. He admitted throwing one punch and was charged with manslaughter. When he appeared at the magistrates court in the morning, he was remanded on bail for a surety of £25.

Philip McAndrew's death was the second tragedy involving the children of the family from Crofton Crescent. In 1937 his brother Donald died aged 6 when he fell from a drainpipe whilst climbing to retrieve a football. 

On 30th May a committal hearing took place, where the cause of death was confirmed as aphysxia due to swallowing vomit.  Neilson confirmed that McAndrew went down on his back after being punched just once and hadnt struck any blows. Rex Makin, who was defending Connolly, read out a statement which said "We had about five pints of beer each and Phil and I started arguing about another mate of ours. Due to the drink we had this silly argument continued and Phil issued a challenge to me. I feel really sorry about the whole thing, it should never have happened." Makin contended that there was no case to answer, but the magistrate felt that it should proceed to trial.

Connolly, a lathe turner who lived in St Oswald's Crescent, appeared at St George's Hall on 30th November. His defence counsel maintained that this had been a 'friendly fight' and that the two men had been laughing and joking as they walked over the the field. Connolly was found guilty but spared jail by Mr Justice Lynskey, who instead placed him on probation for three years. 

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