An echo of the midnight affray between four police officers and three brothers named Miles, well-known characters in the district, which took place at Wellpond Green, Standon, at midnight on September 18 last, was heard at the Ware Police Court on Tuesday, when Frederick Miles was charged with maliciously causing grievous bodily harm to P.s. Lee of Much Hadham, and P.C. Gooch, of Little Hadham, and with assaulting P.c. Burch , of Braughing. It will be remembered that on the occasion in question, when the police who had warrants for the arrest of John and Frederick Miles in reference to offences previously committed, went to their abode, a wooden hut in a garden, they were savagely attacked with guns and bottles. John and George were arrested, committed for trial, and sentenced at the November Assizes to three years’ penal servitude; but Frederick got away, and by hiding in a wood for a day or two ultimately made his escape. Last week he was arrested in London as he was going to work at night at Harlesden, where he was employed as a tram washer.
The magistrates before whom he was brought on Tuesday were Messrs A.C. Sandeman, Septimus Croft, A.H. Rogers and A. L. Ashwell.
P.s. Lee, of Much Hadham, described what took place on the night of September 18, when in company with P.c’s Burch, Gooch and Morley he was in search of the prisoner and his brother, John. The story of the affray has already been fully told in reports of police court and Assize Court proceedings. The witness deposed to Frederick Miles rushing out of the hut in company with his brothers and attacking the police; and he added that there was a fourth man there, but he did not know who he was.
The Prisoner: ‘He was the man who struck the Sergeant too’.
Continuing, the witness said the prisoner got away and was not seen again, as he left the neighbourhood.
The prisoner: ‘Didn’t you call to P.c. Gooch when I lay against his feet? Wasn’t I cuddling round his legs?’ The witness: ‘I don’t remember that’. ‘Wasn’t I bleeding from the head at the time that you called to Gooch?’. ‘I didn’t call Gooch’. ‘One of the policemen called out as I lay against his feet, but I could not get up as I was knocked down by a truncheon. Did you say you did not know who the fourth man was?’. ‘No, I didn’t’. ‘He lived on your beat and worked on it close to where you live, and he was the man who struck you. I can prove that, why didn’t you inquire for the man?’. ‘I didn’t know who he was. We heard a manly voice down the garden threatening to shoot us, but we never saw him.’ ‘Didn’t you inquire at the public house where we were that night who the fourth man was? They could have told you. I don’t see why they should summon three and not the fourth !’ ‘I didn’t know who the man was. All I know of him is that he shouted ‘Stand back; let’s do them all in now we have got them here. I’ll shoot the —–‘.’
P.c. Gooch, of Little Hadham, corroborated the Sergeant’s testimony. He saw the prisoner and his brother, George, just behind P.s. Lee each with a pint glass bottle in his hand, and immediately after that P.s. Lee received a blow on the back of the head which felled him to the ground, and the witness at once went to his assistance, and found him bleeding profusely from a wound in the head. As he was picking Lee up the prisoner, Fred Miles, took a running kick at the witness and caught him on the ankle, at the same time striking him on the head with something he had in his hand. Fortunately he had the helmet on, and it warded off the blow.
The prisoner:’Didn’t you knock me down as I came out the door?’. ‘No’. ‘And as I was rising, didn’t you knock me down again?’ ‘No’. ‘Didn’t I fall between your legs?’. ‘No’. ‘Didn’t I cuddle round your legs?’. ‘No’. ‘How did I receive these cuts?’. ‘I could not say’. ‘I received them from you as I came out of the door of the hut’. ‘No, you didn’t’. ‘Did you see me strike anyone?’. ‘I didn’t see you strike the Sergeant’. ‘Did you see me do anything with that bottle?’. ‘I would not swear what what you did with it’. ‘You say you did not see the fourth man and did not know him?’. ‘No’. ‘Yet he lives close to you’. ‘I did not see him’. ‘Did you inquire who was with us that night?’. ‘I did not’.
P.c. Morley, of Standon, also corroborated. Asked by the prisoner if he could tell the difference between him and the other man, he replied that he could, as there was a lighted candle in the hut, and the door was wide open.
The prisoner: ‘Did you see anyone strike me with a truncheon?’. ‘No’. ‘Did you see me on the ground with P.c. Gooch?’. ‘I saw you struggling with P.c. Burch’.
P.c. Burch, of Braughing, said he was struck by the prisoner with a gun barrel and knocked down. The prisoner fell on top of him, clung round his legs and prevented him from moving. He was the only officer who was not seriously wounded, the reason being that he was in private clothes, and having a thick muffler round his neck that protected him from the blows that he received. After arresting John Miles and taking him to Ware he and other officers returned to to the hut and arrested George Miles, but the prisoner, Frederick, had gone away. On the following Monday, September 21, he was at Bromley looking for the prisoner when he saw him coming towards him on a bicycle. As soon as the prisoner saw him he dismounted and ran away into a field. The witness chased the prisoner across the field, and as the witness got nearer to him he dropped his bicycle and escaped into a wood, where the witness lost him. It was useless to pursue him in the wood, and so he returned to Standon with the bicycle and telephoned to Supt. Handley for some help. Police officers were sent from all over the district and the wood was surrounded, but the prisoner had in the meantime made good his escape. The prisoner was lost sight of until last Friday, when the witness went to London with a warrant and arrested him. At 9.45 p.m. he saw the prisoner going to work on a night shift at Harlesden, where he was engaged at washing trams. He told him he had a warrant for his arrest, which P.s. Firth, who was with the witness, read, and they conveyed him to Ware. When arrested the prisoner said: ‘You have made a mistake, my name is not Frederick Miles’. The witness said: ‘All right, Freddy, I know you well enough’. The prisoner: ‘Didn’t you see the fourth man strike P.s. Lee?’. ‘I did not see the fourth man; but I saw you strike Sergt. Lee with the bottle’.
In answer to the charge the prisoner said: ‘All I have to say is, why wasn’t the fourth man summoned, and why should I suffer for what he has done ? He struck the blow, and I can prove it. I saw him do it. He rushed past me to do it. I was lying on the ground at the time. I saw him afterwards, and he told me he struck the sergeant. He will tell you so too. Besides, when a man is hit three times with a truncheon as I was, he is not capable of doing much damage to anyone.’
The Bench sentenced the prisoner to three months’ hard labour for the assault on P.c. Burch, and committed him for trail at the Assizes in June on the more serious charges.