Horses for courses

Hertfordshire Mercury, 7th February 1914


At Hertford Borough Sessions, Richard Bailey (22), of Cambridge, and formerly in the employ of the International Stores, Hertford, was charged with assaulting Oliver Clipstone, with intent to commit a felony and steal money at Cole Green on the Saturday night.

Oliver Clipstone, of Hertford, said that he was a grocer’s assistant at the International Stores, Market Place, Hertford.  On the Saturday, he had been delivering goods with a horse and van at Hatfield Hyde, and had been collecting money for those goods.  On his return journey, at about 8 p.m., near Cole Green, three men had stopped him.  They had been arm-in-arm across the road, and had pretended to be drunk.  He had said “Good-night” to them, but immediately on saying that, one of the men had got in the van and had struck him with a stick.

The man had been wearing a mask.  The witness said that he had beaten the man off with the reins but, in doing so, the reins had got in a tangle and the horse and van had gone into the ditch alongside.  He had got the horse to re-start, but the man had started hitting him again with the stick.  After a further struggle, he had got the horse going again, and had galloped away, shouting for help.  It was a dark and very lonely road.  He said that neither of the other two men had touched him, but one of them had run alongside the van, on the opposite side, and he had felt that they had been intent on getting his money.

The witness said that the prisoner was the build of the man who had attacked him.  He said that he had seen the prisoner the previous Thursday when the prisoner had asked him about the amount of trade he had been doing.  The prisoner knew the round because he had previously been in the employ of International Stores.  The stick with which the prisoner had attacked him had been a white cane.  He said that he had had about £12 on him when he had been attacked.  He knew the prisoner’s manner of walking, and had identified him by both that and by the clothes that he had been wearing.

Police Constable Lee stated that, on the previous day, he had gone to Cambridge police station where he had found the prisoner detained, and had arrested him on a warrant.  The prisoner had made no reply to the charge.  Whilst waiting at the entrance to the station, however, the prisoner had asked “Have you got any more in for this?”  “For what?” asked the Constable, and the prisoner replied “Any more for this job.”  Whilst in the train on the way to Hertford, the prisoner had then said “It is not anything very serious.  What do you think I shall get for this?”  The Constable told the prisoner that it was for the Magistrates to decide.  The prisoner then went on to say “We were all about drunk, or it would not have happened.  We could easily have got the money if we had wanted to.”  He then asked the Constable what the man in charge of the van had done once he had got to Hertford.  He added  “Poor devil, he was frightened.  I left Hertford that night with one of the other fellows, and I guessed there would be a fuss about it.  That’s the reason I ‘skipped’.  I expect the others have given me away.  I suppose that’s how you found me out, but I shall not give them away.  I shall plead not guilty and make a fight for it.”

The prisoner was remanded in custody.

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