Home Crime Domestic Family Jars At Bolton.

Family Jars At Bolton.

July 1900

Mexborough & Swinton Times – Friday 27 July 1900

Family Jars At Bolton.

Some remarkable statements were made in the course of the hearing of the case in which William Henry Cutts, insurance agent, Bolton on Dearne, was summoned at the instance of his wife, Elizabeth Ann for persistent cruelty.

The woman applied for a separation and maintenance order

Mr R.A.a stop Tovey appeared for the complainant, and the defendant was represented by Mr W Baddeley.

The parties have been married for a period of 21 years, and the wages of the husband at the present time was said to be about 30 shillings a week. The wife wished the bench to give her the custody of the younger children, aged respectively 12, 10, eight, six and four years.

Mr Tovey detailed several acts of cruelty, said the defendant and held his wife by the throat, turned his children out of doors, and threatened his wife with a revolver.

This course of cannot have been pursued during nearly the whole of the time they had been married, and the defendant’s language to his wife during the greater portion of that time was of the most filthy description.

It was utterly impossible to account for his strange conduct, unless by assuming that he was thoroughly bad and of a most objectionable disposition. The defendant had been in the habit of purchasing groceries for the home, but beyond that he never contributed a fraction towards the maintenance of the wife of the family.

The complainant having generally borne out the statements made by Mr. Tovey, Ethel Coates, an adult daughter of the parties went into the witness box. She said that on one occasion her father actually jumped upon her mother and remained standing on her chest for some time. Her father, she said, was in the habit of persistently ill treating her mother, but the cruelty was committed in such a manner that her mother’s body was never disfigured. Her mother’s life was heavily ‘neared in the office of the company which her father represented.

In cross examination, the witness admitted that she had struck her father with an umbrella, and had called him objectionable names.

Mr. Baddiley: Is it not a fact that all the bother has taken place over you? Has not your father complained ahead you stopping out at nights and not contributing to your board?

The witness: He sanctioned the last time I went.

Albert Henry Cutts, an adult son, also gave evidence as to father’s cruelty.

In reply to Mr. Baddeley, he said that he had always given his wages to his father up to the time his father was ill, and then he began to give the mosey to his mother. He earned 24/-. and his lather used to give hint 2/6 a week as spending money. On one occasion he wanted a pair of boots, and asked his father to buy them. His father replied “Oh I want plenty of boots, you must buy them yourself ”

Kate Dickinson, single woman. Bolton on Dearne, said that on the 19th of May she saw the defendant with a revolver in his hand chasing his wife and children. She also saw the defendant assault his wife on the 9th.

Mr Baddiley, for the defence, asked that if an order was granted, the defendant should be allowed to have the custody of the younger children. He added that on the 10th inst. the defendant came to Doncaster to consult him as to the conduct of his, daughter, who had been in the witness box. He wanted to know whether or not he was legally bound to maintain the daughter. Acting upon his (Mr. Baddeley’s) advice be turned her out the following day, and it was then when the assault took place.

One very peculiar thing about the case was that the whole of the younger children had stayed with their father right away from Monday, the 16th inst., until the previous day, the 20th. The father again came to Doncaster on the afternoon of the 20th to consult him (Mr. Baddiley). In his absence the youngest child was away. When he returned he sent some of the other children to the place where his wits was for the child, and those children were detained for nothing else but that case.

In conclusion. Mr. Baddeley asked the Bench not to give the custody of the younger children to the mother and the adult daughter as, he contended, they had shown they were not fit to have them.

The defendant went into the witness box. He said he was summoned about seven years ago by his wife, and the summons was withdrawn. He had never since that time assaulted his wife or been cruel to her. The cause of the disputes between him and his wife had been through the conduct of hip daughter ,Ethel, who had been fond of going out and Playing out all night some times  and at time , until 11 o’clock. e had repeatedly complained of her conduct. He did not touch his wife on Monday, the 9th inst. On Wednesday, the 11th, he ordered his daughter away from the house in the presence of Police constable Blenkinsop. On the 9th inst. he spoke to Ethel about keeping one of the children out of doors, and Ethel struck him on the arm. His wife then came towards him, holding a poker behind her in the doorway. He never handled the poker, but has wife struck him on the face. He told his daughter she would have to pay something for her board and lodging at the house, and the daughter replied ‘I shall never stoop to pay anything for my board to an old b— like y ou.

While he was confined in bed with rheumatic fever for ten weeks, his daughter Ethel did the greater part of the collecting of the insurance money. At the end of that time when he got better and the books were examined it was found that there was a deficiency of £4 5s. 7d. in the accounts, and besides that he never touched a penny of his wages during the ten weeks. Since then be had been trying to make up the deficiency in the accounts by paying to the insurance company the sum of 5/-weekly, and he had paid £2 5s 7d. On the evening of the day he turned his daughter out she returned for her skirt. His wife let her into the house, and when she got in she began to insult him. Among other things her daughter said “You rotten old b —- you ought to drop where you are. – There was not a gentleman or a policeman about who had ever seen him drunk and he had been in the neighbourhood twenty years.

On Monday, the 16th, he was out collecting all day, and when he returned he found his wife had left him, though the five younger children were there. He had had the five children with him all the week, and it had been the quietest week he had had for some time. His wife was staying at the house that was within 30 yards from ha home. He had kept the revolver that had been spoken of locked up in his box ever 1893, with the exception of one occasion. When the South African War came on he took the revolver out to show his little boy the kind of weapon that was being used by the soldiers. He loaded it with a blank cartridge which be fired off. The revolver had never been loaded with a ball cartridge.

ln reply to Mr. Tovey, the defendant said he wanted to have the custody of the younger children, became he thought he could do better for them than his wife could do. He had always brought his children up to tell the truth, and he was not aware that the son, who had ban in the witness box, had ever told him a lie.

Mr. Tovey: Is not your wife a honest, truthful, industrious woman!

The defendant: She has never got my dinner ready for a month at a time.

Continuing the cross examination, the defendant said he could not suggest any motive why the witnesses who had been in the witness box should come to the court and say that which was wrong. He took a glass of beer now and again, but he was not a drunken man.

Mr. Tovey, reverting to the deficiency in the insurance accounts, asked the defendant if he wished the Bench to believe that his daughter was a thief.

The defendant : I think it seemed she had done something deliberately

Mr. Torey press for a definite answer to the question, and said he wrote to the insurance company asking them to believe that the deficiency had been caused by a series of errors, but whether It had or not they could not say. It had not been under his control has he had been ill for so long, and if the company would not interfere with him or his daughter be would pay the money by instalments.

The defendant produced a number at testimonials to show that he was a man of respectable character.

Mrs. Cutts, recalled, said she could earn from four to five shillings a week by dress making.

The Chairman said se doubt the case was an unfortunate one. They were of opinion that there had been ample of legal cruelty. The evidence was perfectly clear as to that. The Bench also thought the wife must have the custody of the five younger children, and that the husband must contribute to the maintenance of the wife and those children to the sum of 12 shillings a week.