11th August 1861


Last week, a farmer and butcher in Ardwickle-street, near Doncaster, pointed a gun, which he did not know was loaded, at two Irishmen who, with himself, had taken refuge from a storm in a wheelwright’s shop, but the contents did not go off. The gun missed fire. He put a second cap on, and was about to point at them again, when it went off and shot two boys who were standing close by. The wounds, in each case at the back of the head, were most serious and may yet prove fatal.


Mr Townson, of Southwark-bridge road, said that, about eleven o’clock one night last week, himself and family had retired to rest, when he was roused up by hearing a rattling noise at his street-door. He jumped out of bed and listened again, when the noise was repeated, as if some one was trying to open the door. Wondering who it could be, he went down stairs, and on opening the street-door he perceived Mr Thomas Cockerel, a neighbour, on the step. He said to him, “Mr Cockerel, you have made a mistake in the house; your house is next door.”

Mr Cockerel, making use of an oath, said, “I’ll come in here and I’ll have your head off.” Mr Townson, perceiving that he was under the influence of alcohol, endeavoured to shut the door upon him, but he forced his way in and attacked him in a violent manner, actually tearing his nightshirt off him, placing him in a state of nudity. He was compelled to use all his force to keep Mr Cockerel off after that, and, while they were struggling, some ladies who lived in the upper part of the house came down and, fortunately, a constable entered from the street and conveyed Mr Cockerel to the station house. Mr Townson was greatly confused at the ladies coming down and finding him utterly bereft of all clothing.

Mr Cockerel stated that he had been out with a number of friends and unfortunately had imbibed rather too much grog, and had made a mistake in the house on returning home.

Mr Townson said he had no desire to press the charge of assault against an old neighbour. Mr Cockerel said he would pay the damage that had been done and promised not to make such an unlucky mistake again.


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