Quarrel between two rival organ grinders

Hertfordshire Mercury, 16th February 1907


Vito Lurgio, 21, an Italian organ-grinder, pleaded not guilty to an indictment for feloniously wounding Peter Cololues at Bushey, on January 10th.

Mr J. H. Murphy prosecuted, and prisoner was undefended. The charge was conveyed to him through an interpreter. In answer to the Judge as to whether he could speak English, prisoner replied ”I cannot speak English.” At his lordship’s request Mr E. H. Tindal-Atkinson took up the defence, and prisoner on his advice pleaded guilty to the minor offence of unlawful wounding.

Mr Murphy said this trouble all arose because prosecutor, who was also engaged in the organ-grinding business, anticipated the prisoner by calling at one of his regular customers and obtaining a penny. Prisoner was annoyed at this poaching on his preserves, and procuring a hedge-stake, struck him on the head, causing a severe wound. On being told by another man that he had nearly killed Cololuca, prisoner replied ”Serve him right if I had,” which did not sound as if he could not speak English. (Laughter.)

Mr Tindal-Atkinson said the prisoner now wished to express his regret for what he had done. It was not a very serious wound, no knife or sharp weapon being used.

His Lordship asked to see the stick, and when it was produced it turned out to be a heavy hedge-stake as thick as a man’s arm.

Prisoner was sentenced to two months’ hard labour and severely reprimanded by the Judge for his cowardly and ruffianly conduct.

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