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Newspaper Reports, 1887

5 January 1887

Thomas Townley (39), a workhouse master, who was indicted for unlawfully and indecently assaulting certain male persons at Lanfield on the 22nd December last, failed to put in an appearance, and accordingly forfeited his bail. A warrant was ordered to be issued for his apprehension. (Bradford Daily Telegraph)

1 February 1887

Peter Mann (IMP.), 22, labourer, was indicted for an unnatural offence on one Alfred John McCoy, a boy of 14, of Plymouth, between the 1st July and the 21st August, 1886. – Mr. H. Clarke prosecuted. – The boy's evidence contained serious and revolting allegations against the prisoner, but they were without any corroboration in their material features. – The jury found the prisoner "Not guilty," and his Lordship discharged him. (Western Times)

12 February 1887

NOT PROVEN. – John Smith, 42, servant, charged with committing an act of gross indecency with a male person, at Southampton, on February 1st, was found not guilty. (Hampshire Chronicle)

19 February 1887

AN ABOMINABLE OFFENCE. – Charles Lionel James Underwood, 48, accountant, 6, Orchard-cottages, Clifton-road, Norbiton, was charged with unlawfully and maliciously assaulting John Welsh at Queen Elizabeth-road, with intent to commit an abominable offence. – When the lad Welsh was called for, his father stepped forward and said the boy was sent on an errand by his mother at half-past 8 and did not return, so that he could not say where he was. – Inspector Pryke said he had sent a constable to search for the lad, but he could not find him. – P.C. Fripp deposed that on the previous night he was on duty in plain clothes in the London-road, when he saw the boy Welsh singing for money in the centre of the road near the Grammar School. Witness saw the prisoner go up to the lad in a very suspicious manner, and they both walked away together down the Queen Elizabeth-road, and crossed a field to the back of the houses in the Birkenhead-avenue. There they both got into a dry ditch, and witness succeeded in getting near enough to them to feel certain as to what was taking place, and then sprang out upon them. Witness asked the prisoner what he was doing there, and he replied "What oods [sic] is that to you?" He took the prisoner into custody, but the boy ran away. – In reply to Mr. Young, solicitor, who appeared for the defence, witness said he never lost sight of the prisoner and the boy. He did not say to the prisoner "You had better square it with me, or I shall take you to the police station." Prisoner denied the charge. Witness afterwards saw the boy singing in the Market-place and spoke to him about the case. The boy at first denied it, but when taken to the police station he admitted it. – Prisoner was remanded until Wednesday, bail being refused. (Surrey Comet)

12 March 1887

DEPRAVITY. – Charles Lionel James Underwood, described as a clerk (43), was indicted for assaulting a lad named John Welsh, with intent, &c., at Kingston on the 11th of February. – Mr. de Michele appeared for the prosecution, and Mr. Horace Avory, with him Mr. Broun (instructed by Mr. Young, of Kingston), for the defence. – The particulars of this case, which are quite unfit to be reported, exhibited a sad case of depravity on the part of the prisoner, who is a retired paymaster, and notwithstanding that he received an excellent character, the jury convicted him upon the third count.
          Sir William Hardman sentenced him to two years' imprisonment. (Surrey Advertiser)

12 March 1887

AN ABOMINABLE OFFENCE. – At the Surrey Sessions on Monday, before Sir William Hardman, Charles Lionel James Underwood, 43, accountant, 6, Orchard-cottages, Clifton-road, Norbiton, was indicted for committing an abominable offence at Queen Elizabeth-road, with a lad named John Welsh, on Feb. 11. – Prisoner was found guilty, and sentenced to two years' hard labour. – At the commencement of the proceedings at the Surrey Sessions on Monday, Sir William Hardman addressed the grand jury with reference to several cases of assault on very young children. He regretted that the Court was unable to inflict a punishment sufficient considering the heinousness of the offence, and he trusted that they would soon be empowered to order flogging. Later in the day the grand jury made a presentment, in which they stated that, having had several charges before them of the nature mentioned, they were of opinion that in all such cases the power should be given to judges to pass sentence of flogging in addition to imprisonment. Sir William Hardman said he was very glad that the jury had made this presentment, as it was entirely in accord with his own view and, he believed, that of the Secretary of State. (Surrey Comet)

6 May 1887

Mr. CONYBEARE asked the Home Secretary whether his attention had been called to a report in the Hampshire Independent of certain proceedings at the Southampton Borough Police-court on Friday, April 29, from which it appeared that upon a man of respectable dress and appearance being placed in the dock, and before any charge had been preferred against him, the solicitor of the prosecutor claimed from the magistrates, and obtained from them, permission to exclude all reporters of the press, as well as the public generally, and refused to allow them even to hear the charge of which the prisoner was accused; whether such report was correct; whether it is a fact that the accused had commenced proceedings in the Divorce Court, that his case was set down for hearing in the cause list of Friday, the 29th ultimo, and that on the previous day he was arrested at the instance of one of the co-respondents; whether it was the right, and, if so, under what law or authority, of a prosecuting solicitor in any case to insist that the reporters of the press should not be informed of the charge to be brought against a person in open court; and whether the magistrates were right in acceding to the application of the prosecuting solicitor, and refusing to the reporters even to hear the charege made against the accused; and, if so, by virtue of what authority had local magistrates power of hearing cases in camera, which the judges of the High Court decline to exercise.
          Mr. STUART-WORTLEY said the accused person was charged with an unnatural offence. On the application of the solicitor for the prosecution the court was ordered to be cleared, and, acting on the discretionary powers vested in them by the 19th section of the 11th and 12th Vic. cap. 42, the court was cleared. The case was remanded until Friday, and the offence being an indictable one, the magistrates could only have taken depositions of witnesses.
          Mr. CONYBEARE – My question was as to the refusal to allow the reporters of the public press to remain.
          Mr. STUART-WORTLEY – Reporters, sir, are members of the public.
          Mr. CONYBEARE – I think I have a right to press for an answer to the last part of my question.
          Mr. STUART-WORTLEY – I have quoted the section udner which the justices cleared the court. (Hear, hear.) It would not be proper for me to express any opinion on their action regarding the application for a remand.
          Mr. CONYBEARE – In my opinion this is a question of such importance that I shall call further attention to it. (Hear, hear.) (Morning Post)

7 May 1887

. . . Even the name of the prisoner and the nature of the charge against him were withheld from the members of the Press, who were threatened with all sorts of pains and penalties if they discovered and published the information. Mr. Stuart-Wortley, in reply, stated that the Magistrates had acted within their discretionary powers, but he omitted to add that the whole of the Judges of the High Court are quite opposed to the hearing of charges with closed doors, and never exercise this discretionary power. Judging from the observations of Mr. Conybeare, there was something behind the action taken which rendered it all the more necessary that the examination of the accused should not be quietly smuggled through in a closed Court. We notice, however, that the publicity which the matter has secured by being mentioned in Parliament has had a good effect upon the Magistrates, who, yesterday, when the prisoner was brought up on remand, conducted the examination in the ordinary and proper way, in the presence of the reporters, leaving it to their discretion as to what it was desirable in the interests of the public to publish in the newspapers. (Hampshire Telegraph)

11 May 1887

JOSEPH PEARSON (16), labourer, or soldier, and JOHN SCAFE (24), glass blower, or soldier, were indicted for having committed an abominable offence at Pontefract, on the 9th April last. Prisoners were then privates in the D Company of the South Yorkshire Regiment, stationed at Pontefract. Mr. TAYLOR prosecuted. They were found guilty of attempt, and were sentenced to twenty-one months' imprisonment. (Leeds Mercury)

11 May 1887

Joseph Pearson (16), labourer, and John Scarfe (24), glass blower, were indicted for having feloniously committed an unnatural crime at Pontefract, on the 9th of April. Mr. Taylor prosecuted. At the time the offence was committed the prisoners were privates in the D Company of the South Yorkshire Regiment stationed at Pontefract. The jury found both prisoners guilty of the attempt, and they were sentenced, each of them, to 21 months' imprisonment. (Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer)

14 May 1887

George Welton Lawrence (47), labourer, and Joseph Holmes (51), valet, were indicted for committing an unnatural offence at Leeds on the 12th February last. Prisoners pleaded guilty to an attempt to commit the offence, and Mr. Kershaw pleaded in mitigation. They were each sentenced to 18 months' imprisonment. (York Herald)

14 May 1887

A SERIOUS CHARGE. – Joseph Rotthoff, of Denzil Avenue, for whom Mr. W. L. Bell appeared, was brought up, on remand, charged with committing an unnatural offence on Michael Saunders, aged 17 years, of 32, Bell-street. – The case was heard in closed court, and occupied several hours. – In the end prisoner was committed for trial at the Assizes, and Mr. Rogers agreed to take bail for his appearance, if offered, himself in 200 and two sureties in 100 each. (Hampshire Advertiser)

18 May 1887

Edward Davies, 25, carpenter, having pleaded guilty to committing an act of gross indecency on James William Bell, at Bath, was sentenced to be imprisoned and kept to hard labour for 18 months. (Weston-super-Mare Gazette)

5 June 1887

ALLEGED EXTORTION. – William Markham, aged 31, and George Gray, 29, alias "Billy at the Gate," and a boy named Frederick George Mooney, 19, who already stand committed upon five charges of attempting to extort money from young men, principally in the employ of noblemen, by threatening to accuse them of an infamous crime, were again placed in the dock. Mr. Sims, who appeared on behalf of the Public Prosecutor, said he had yet another charge to profer against Gray and Mooney. William Copeland, butler to the Marquis of Bristol, St. James's-square, Pall-mall, then gave evidence to the effect that he met the lad Mooney in Hyde-park on the 15th May last year, and got into conversation with him. They walked to the place where bathing is permitted, when three men pounced upon him and demanded money, by threatening to accuse him of an unnatural offence. Prosecutor took the men to St. James's-square, and there gave them a sovereign each. They subsequently called at his lordship's residence, and prosecutor drew, on different occasions, checks for 14 and 15, which he gave them. After some additional evidence, Mr. D'Eyncourt committed the prisoners for trial. (Reynolds's Newspaper)

18 June 1887

I have known many cases of highly educated men who have been convicted of very disreputable crimes, and who have oscillated between the lowest grade of humanity outside of a lunatic asylum. There ws a man with a life sentence of the name of Smith. He had kept a wine store in the City, and received his sentence for an unnatural crime. He was an extremely pious prisoner, who, because he could not take the communion, made himself an object of the most pitiable contempt. He tore leaves out of books, for which he received the most terrible punishment an educated man could have – the deprivation of books. He was reported nearly every week. He howled under discipline, and disgusted everyone by wishing to argue that his offence was perfectly moral, and ought not to be noticed by the law. He was always meditating suicide, and excused his carrying out his intentions on account of the pain it would cause, and would put his thoughts into the neatest of Latin phrases or indulge in Greek quotations upon the crime for which others loathed his presence. For years I noticed his miserable state. Pity at last made me interfere on his behalf. He entreated me in the most abject tones to get his case brought before the authorities. The chaplain at last interfered, but was compelled by his idiotic protégé to leave him to his fate. He was always hungry. As he walked on the floor he picked up the food thrown away by others. On the works his favourite diet was slugs and snails. A raw carrot or turnip was an unwonted delicacy. He denied that he ate rats or toads, but he alleged that frogs were proper food. (Fife Free Press)

1 July 1887

Rosa Jarvis, 20, a young negro [male], well known as a member of the Salvation Army in Northampton, was charged with criminally assaulting a little boy named George Britten. – Prisoner, who wore a blue guernsey under his coat with the words "Rosa Jarvis" and "Salvation Army" in coloured letters, stoutly denied the offence; but the jury found him guilty, and he was sentenced to the shortest period allowed by law – ten years penal servitude.
          Henry Foster, aged 41, labourer, was charged with an unnatural offence at the Wheat Sheaf, Braunston, on May 31st. He is an army pensioners, with a medal and clasps. Found guilty of the attempt. He was sentenced to 15 months' hard labour. (Stamford Mercury)

2 July 1887

ROSA JARVIS, aged 20, a young negro well-known in the town as until his apprehension he was a member of the Salvation Army in Northampton, was charged with criminally assaulting a little boy named George Britten. – Mr. Lindsell prosecuted, and the prisoner, who wore a blue guernsey under his coat with the words "Rosa Jrvis" and "Salvation Army" in coloured letters, was undefended. – The prisoner stoutly denied the offence, but the jury found him guilty, and he was sentenced to the shortest period allowed by law – Ten Years Penal Servitude.

HENRY FOSTER (41), labourer, was charged with an unnatural offence at the Wheatsheaf, Braunston, on May 31st. – Mr. Hastngs Lees prosecuted, and Mr. Denman defended. – The prisoner had been in the Army 21 years, was a pensioner, and possessed a medal and clasps for service on the North-Western frontier. He was found guilty of the attempt, and sentenced on Wednesday to Fifteen Months' Hard Labour. (Northampton Mercury)

5 July 1887

At the Central Criminal Court on Saturday, George Gray (39) and George Frederick Mooney (19) were charged with demanding money with menaces from William Copeland, butler to the Marques sof Bristol, St. James's-square, Pall Mall.
          . . . After hearing the evidence, Mr. Justice Stephen ruled that there was no case against Mooney, the prosecutor not being able to identify him.
          The jury acquitted Mooney, but found Gray guilty.
          The prisoners Gray and Markham were stated to have been previously convicted.
          Mr. Justice Stephen, in passing sentence upon Gray and Markham, said he did not like to trust himself to say what he thought of this case. But he would just remark generally that he did not think that two worse men ever stood in that dock. Robbery was a bad crime enough, but what they had practised systematically (there were five indictments against them, four of which had been tried) and had apparently made a disgraceful living by what was nothing less than robbery by the most horrible form of torture. A man who used violence, who garrotted people or used other similar cruelty, did almost nothing in comparison with a person who used this mode of torturing others in order to extort money from them. Owing to a technical omission in one of the indictments his Lordship said he could not pass a sentence of penal servitude for life, but he would pass a sentence which practically came to the same thing. He would pass the full sentence that he had the legal power to inflict. He should direct, as he had legal power to do, that the punishment on one indictment should begin as soon as the punishment on the other indictment finished. His Lordship then sentenced the prisoners to five years' penal servitude on the fifth indictment; to 14 years' penal servitude on the fourth indictment for robbery with violence; and to five years' penal servitude on the first indictment. On the second indictment he sentenced Gray only to five years' penal servitude, as he only had been convicted on that indictment. The result was that Gray would be kept in penal servitude for practically his life – namely, for 29 years; and Markham would be kept in penal servitude for 24 years.
          Mooney was discharged. (Bury and Norwich Post)

27 July 1887

George Frederick Gaymer (43), butler, was indicted for feloniously committing an unnatural offence with John Garnham, at Kenninghall, on April 2nd, 1887. He was further indicted for gross indecency with the said John Garnham on April 26th, 1887. Mr Carlos Cooper held the brief for the prosecution, prisoner being undefended. The facts, which were of a filthy description, were not disputed by the prisoner, but he made rambling statements, and put questions quite foreign to the issue the Jury had to decide. A verdict of guilty was found, whereupon Mr. Cooper said he would not proceed with the second count in the indictment. His LORDSHIP commented in strong terms upon the horrible character of prisoner's crime, and passed a sentence of 15 years' penal servitude. (Norwich Mercury)

10 September 1887

William Sladden, aged 60, and Richard Sherwood, aged about 26, were charged with attempting to commit an unnatural offence on Tuesday at the Crown Inn, Burgate-street, Canterbury. The case was heard with closed doors. The Bench committed prisoners for trial at the City Quarter Sessions. (Canterbury Journal, Kentish Times and Farmers' Gazette)

14 September 1887

When Mr. Barstow next week deals again with the charge which Mr. W. W. Harris, of the Constitutional Club, and of 10, Finsbury Park-gardens, has brought against Reno Shrickert, of 154, Euston-road, we hope he will also investigate the charge which Mr. Harris says Shrickert and his friend have brought against him. By the 11th setion of the Criminal Law Amendment Act, the offence which Mr. Harris says was imputed to him is punishable by two years' hard labour. He may be most unjustly accused, and his accusers may repudiate their own accusation. But the facts testified to by Mr. Harris himself are suspicious. To pick up an unknown German scamp at the Criterion Restaurant, to bring him down to the Constitutional Club, and then to go off with him to spend a quarter of an hour in his bedroom in the Euston-road, are acts which may be capable of an innocent explanation, but which are also perfectly consistent with the grave accusation made by Shrickert's friend. It would be interesting to know what the committee of the Constituaional think of the affair. (Pall Mall Gazette)

24 September 1887

James Bandy and Harry Peacock, youths living at Redbourn, were charged on remand with the above, at Redbourn, on Sunday last. – Depositions were taken from two witnesses, and the prisoners, who said nothing and called no witness, were committed for trial at the assizes. (Herts Advertiser)

6 October 1887

AN UNNATURAL OFFENCE. – Charles Mead, labourer, of Prittlewell, was charged that he did with one Elizabeth Mead, his wife, feloniously commit an abominable crime, at Prittlewell, on the 18th September. Mr F. Gregson appeared to prosecute, and asked that the charge be altered to one of aggravated assault upon a woman. The Bench could then deal with it, whereas they could not under the present charge, which was a very bad one. Moreover, the complainant was in an advanced state of pregnancy, and could not go to the Assize; and, if the prisoner was convicted, a sepration would have to be obtained, for they could not again live together. The Bench decided that they could not alter the present charge, and it was proceeded with. Complainant said: I was married to prisoner on the 8th June this year, and am by him pregnant. He was a widower when I married him, and there are two children living of his first wife's, which until recently were living with us. My husand is a labourer, and worked for Messrs Darke, of Southend. His age is 25, and mine 22. Witness then gave evidence of the assault complained of.
          – Cross-examined: I did not say your children were too much for me to see after. – Elizabeth Anderson, mother of complainant, said her daughter came to her on the 21st September and made a complaint to her; she was in such pain that she could not sit down. She had seen her in similar pain several times before. She came to her home on the 27th. – Dr Dempster gave medical evidence. – The Bench committed prisoner for trial. (The greater part of the evidence was unfit for publication.) (Southend Standard and Essex Weekly Advertiser)

19 October 1887

At the Cardiff police-court this morning – before Mr T. W. Lewis (stipendiary), Dr Paine, and Mr J. Cory – Henry Jones, private in the Worcestershire Artillery, and John Nash, corporal in the Welsh Regiment, stationed at Maindy, were charged with having on Tuesday committed an unnatural offence. They were both committed to the assizes. (South Wales Echo)

22 October 1887

William Sladden, 60, and George Sherwood, 36, waiters, were indicted for attempting to commit an unnatural crime, at the Crown Inn, Burngate Street, Canterbury. – Mr. Stuart Sankey prosecuted and Mr. G. L. Denman defended. – The jury returned a verdict of "Guilty," and the Recorder sentenced prisoners to eighteen months' hard labour. (Canterbury Journal, Kentish times and Famers' Gazette)

22 October 1887

Mr. Melville Portal, addressing the Grand Jury, said . . . There were but two cases to which he would allude, one in which a soldier named Rush was charged with an unnnameable offence. There was no doubt the man was guilty of gross misbehaviour in barracks, for which he merited a military punishment, but it appeared to him that the serious offence with which he was now charged was not clearly made out by the evidence, and if the jury had an uncertainty as to the result, it would be better they should throw out the bill, rather than that the case should be gone into in open court with a possibility of prisoner's ultimate acquittal. . . .
The Grand Jury threw out the bill in the case of William John Rush, a soldier, charged with an unnatural offence at Farnborough. (Aldershot Military Gazette)

3 November 1887

Thomas Eltringham (26), miner, and James Horn (50), miner, were charged with attempting to commit an unnatural offence the one upon the other. – Mr Skidmore defended, and the prisoners were acquitted. (Northern Echo)

4 November 1887

In the case of Charles Mead, 24,labourer, indicted for committing an unnatural offence upon his wife, Elizabeth Mead, at Prittlewell, on the 18th Sept.,
          Mr. C. E. Jones, who appeared for the prisoner, asked his Lordship to quash the indictment upon two grounds. First, as to whether this offence could be committed upon a woman at all.
          His Lordship: "Elizabeth Mead," it does not appear that that is a woman. (Laughter.) I know a great many men of the name of Ann. I shall not quash on that ground.
          Mr. Jones: The indictment does not allege carnal knowledge, as the form requires.
          His Lordship: I shall not quash on that ground.
          Mr. Jones then said that the prisoner's wife had that morning been confined of a child. Would his Lordship adjourn the case to the next Assize to allow the prisoner to cross-examine? When the prisoner was before the magistrates, his wife was not cross-examined, so that no line of defence had been made. The prosecutrix would not be able to come to the court now.
          Mr Grubbe (for the prosecution): I do not oppose the application, as the doctor assures me the woman will not be able to get here.
          His Lordship said he would enlarge the recognisances accordingly, but the prisoner must find very serious and substantial bail.
          Mr. Jones said he was in a position to offer almost any amount.
          The case was accordingly adjourned to the next Assize. (Chelmsford Chronicle)

5 November 1887

Harry Peacock, 17, labourer, and James Bandy, 19, a labourer, were indicted for committing an unnatural offence, at Redbourne, on Sept. 11th, 1887.
          Mr. Muir was for the prosecution, and Mr. Ogle for the defence.
          The prisoners were found guilty of the attempt, and were each sentenced to 12 months' hard labour. (Essex Newsman)

10 November 1887

John Nash (34), soldier in the Welsh Regiment, and Henry Jones (20), of the Worcester Regiment, were indicted for having together committed an abominable offence at Cardiff Barracks, on the 9th October last. – Mr Fea prosecuted. – Both prisoners, under the new law of evidence, were allowed to be sworn and examined. They made a rambling statement denying the offence, and the jury acquitted them (South Wales Daily News)

13 November 1887

At Lambeth Police Court on Saturday Henry Valentine Pickering, described as a clerk in holy orders, residing in Lorrimore-square, West Newington, was charged on a warrant with an act of gross indecency with John Debour, a hairdresser's assistant. After hearing the evidence Mr. Chance remanded the prisoner, reqjuiring bailin twosureties of 500. (The People)

22 November 1887

On Monday, before the Stipendiary Magistrate at Hanley, Josiah Hallam, an inmate of the Spittals Workhouse, a cripple, and who was said to have formerly been a school-master, was charged, under the eleventh section of the Criminal Law Amendment Act, with having committed gross acts of indecency towards other male inmates of the workhouse. – The prisoner, who declined to avail himself of the power under the statute to give evidence on his own behalf, was committed for trial at the Assizes, without bail. Mr Smith prosecuted, on behalf of the Board of Guardians. (Gloucestershire Echo)

10 December 1887

The Innocent Young Lady and the Wretched Cabman.
At a London Police-court on Monday Mapel St. John, the young person who has repeatedy been before the court under this and other assumed names, such as Maude Rothschild, Violet Bell, Lilly Sinclair, Florence Le Grande, &c., but whose correct description is said to be Amy Anderson, of the Seven Dials, was again charged with being drunk and disorderly. The prisoner, who on this occasion described herself as an actress, of Bessborough-gardens, was attired in an elaborate cream-coloured costume and wore a profusion of rings and other ornaments.
          POLICE-CONSTABLE 243 C said that at 10 o'clock on Friday night he found the accused in a state of intoxication in Cork-street. She was surrounded by 20 or 30 persons, who were laughing and jeering at her, and from what witness could asceertain, it appeared that the disturbance originated by her refusing to pay a cabman "a matter of 7s. 6d." which she owed him. As she refused to go away he took her to the station.
          Mr. MANSFIELD: What have you to say?
          PRISONER: Sir, I had been taking exercise with a lady friend, and was returning to my residence when a wretched cabman stopped me and asked for money. It is some eight months ago since I engaged him as my driver and really I had quite forgotten the little affair. I certainly owe him something, but it is very hard upon a lady like me to be stopped and asked for a cab fare in the streets. I had taken a gentleman's arm, and was actually walking away when that rude policeman came up and seized me. With regard to a crowd collecting, of course it is only natural that a fashionably-dressed young lady should attract attention, and I certain'y found my progress somewhat impeded. But as for creating a disturbance, there is not a word of truth in it. It is a very long time since I was last in trouble, sir, and this time I am entirely innocent, I assure you on my word of honour as a lady.
          In answer to the magistrate, Sergeant VINE, the gaoler, said that the prisoner's convictions from that court alone were numbered by dozens, and she had only been discharged from prison on the previous morning, having undergone a sentence of two months from the Westminster Police-court for assaulting a gentleman in the streets.
          PRISONER: Yes, and now I have been taken up again all for nothing. Oh, dear me! the very idea of an innocent young lady like me being dragged here on such a charge. (Loud laughter). I really come from a good family, gentlemen, and my dear mamma (bursting into tears) will be deeply shocked when she hears of this. (More laughter).
          Mr. MANSFIELD (sternly): I have not forgotten that you were some time ago, concerned in a conspiracy to obtain money from a young gentleman by charging him with an unnatural offence. Your confederates were properly punished, but unfortunately you were not included in the indictment. You will have to pay 40s. or go back to your old quarters for a month. (Worcestershire Chronicle)

28 December 1887

Mr. Arthur Balfour will, we trust, have already instituted searching inquiries into the grave charges brought against a highly placed official in Cork by Canon O'Mahoney. The Canon asserts that this official, who represents law and order and the Government of the Queen, in an important Government post, is a criminal guilty of unnatural offences against little children, which would, if proved in court, consign him to penal servitude for life. If Mr. Balfour hesitates to act let him remember the horrible scandal at Dublin under Lord Spencer's administration, and take warning lest any of the shame of unnatural crime should attach to the Administration which refused to make strict and searching inquiry into allegations publicly brought against its trusted officials. (Pall Mall Gazette)

2 March 1888

Charles Mead, 25, labourer, was indicted for committing an unlawful offence on Elizabeth Mead, his wife, at Prittlewell, on the 18th Sept., 1887.
          Mr. W. J. Grubbe, for the prosecution, said the case came on at the last Assize, but was adjourned in consequence of the confinement of the prisoner's wife. His learned friend Mr. Jones was instructed for the defence, but he could not be at the court before the afternoon.
          His Lordship said he would ask a member of the bar to watch the case for the prisoner.
          The brief was handed to Mr. H. C. Richards, who took a preliminary objection that the wife was not a competent witness against her husband. The only case in which a wife could give evidence was where her husband was indicted for personal injury.
          His Lordship: Is not this personal injury?
          Mr. Richards: Supposing that she is a consenting party?
          His Lordship said that would have to be established by evidence, and therefore it would be necessary for the wife to give evidence.
          Mr. Grubble then called
          Elizabeth Mead, who said she was married to the prisoner on the 8th of June last; a child was born in November; the prisoner was a widower with two children when he married her. Witness then described the assaults complained of, which she said commenced three weeks after her marriage.
          In the course of a lengthy cross-examination by Mr. Richards, the witness said she was not hysterical before her confinement.
          Elizabeth Anderson, mother of the prosecutdor, said on the 21st September last the latter came to her house and complained of her husband's unnatural treatment of her; her daughter said she should soon if her husband kept using her so; witness, when she knew all about it, went to see Dr. Deeping a magistrate, and afterwards Dr. Dempster saw her daughter.
          Dr. Dempster also gave evidence.
          Mr. Richards called
          Mrs. Poole, who said the prisoner's first wife was her daughter, and he had been a good husband to her; she had known the prisoner for seven years, and he was always a respectable man.
          Thomas Morris, of London, said the prisoner had the character of being a decent man, and witness knew nothing against him.
          George Wm. Mead, the brother of the prisoner, said he had never heard of any indecency on the part of the prisoner, who was known as a sober, well-conducted man.
          Mr. Richards then addressed the jury, saying that the punishment for this offence was so awful that it behoved the jury to only find a verdict of guilty on the fullest possible evidence. He then reviewed the evidence, contending that the offence was not proved. He said the charge was brought out of the most wicked and most cruel animus, in the hope that a separation would result. But the jury must have something more to decide upon then the mere word of an excitable, angry woman, whose story did not tally in its vairous points.
          Mr. Grubbe replied.
          His Lordship, in summing up, said the jury must be very cautious, for as the learned counsel for the defence had pointed out, there was no corroboration of the wife's story.
          The jury found the prisoner not guilty, and he was discharged. (Chelsford Chronicle)

SOURCE: Various newspapers, dates as given.

CITATION: If you cite this Web page, please use the following citation:
Rictor Norton (Ed.), "Newspaper Reports, 1887", Homosexuality in Nineteenth-Century England: A Sourcebook, 28 October 2019, updated 3 March 2023 <>.

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