Day, Stephen

Day, Stephen    1904 Nov 4th           Romsey

(see also Lamb, Thomas)

A Romsey Sensation – Fatal Sequel Follows a Violent Blow

On Saturday week Tom Lamb, drover, is alleged to have hit Stephen Day, a journeyman butcher, employed by Eastman’s Limited, at Romsey, a violent blow, which caused him to fall on the kerb of the pavement and fracture his skull, and as the result he died during the evening of Saturday last.

The inquest on the deceased was held at the Abbey Hotel on Monday morning, when a jury of 15 was called, of whom Mr W J Arnold was chosen foreman.

The Coroner said that it was a case that would need their care and attention, and that was a reason why he had increased their number. Romsey juries had always given great care to such cases, and he was sure that after they had heard the evidence they would do their duty as they ought. The jury then viewed the body, and the spot in Bell Street, where deceased fell.

Mr Hiscock, of Southampton, appeared to watch the case for Eastman’s Limited.

Albert Wheeler, builder, son-in-law, said deceased was 62 years of age.

Walter Henry Stares, of 21, Bell Street, manager for Eastman’s Limited, said that on Saturday evening, about 8.45, he was in the shop, when he saw a dog come in and take a rabbit from under the board. Deceased took the rabbit away from it. Within about five minutes the dog came back again, and deceased drove it away with a whip, but he did not know if the dog was struck. Thomas Lamb came to the shop and asked Day what he wanted to hit the dog for, and walked away. Deceased said he was doing his duty in driving the dog away. Three of four minutes later he heard a fall outside and saw Lamb walking away. He was about ten yards off. He saw no blow struck. He went to deceased’s assistance, and got him into the shop. He was insensible, and blood was running from his ear. He sent for a doctor, and then got a cab and sent him home. He did not hear Lamb make any threat against deceased. The dog was a brindle greyhound. He did not know if the dog belonged to Lamb. Lamb struck Day because the deceased drove the dog away.

By a juryman : He did not think Lamb was the worse for drink, nor did he know if Lamb and Day had had any words before.

By Mr Hiscock : Day was doing his duty outside, and was serving a customer at the time.

Louisa Mary Green, of 67, Tatburn Court, wife of Jesse Green, labourer, said that on Saturday, about 9 o’clock, she was outside Eastman’s shop. The deceased and Tom Lamb were having words. There was a little swearing, and Mr Day said, “My good man, if you were put into a shop like this and saw a dog come after the meat, wouldn’t you go after it?” Lamb said “Oh you —-,”and went round the Angel corner. Mr Stares was talking to her over the window board, and Mr Day turned sideways to her, and in a moment Lamb struck him a blow, she thought with his fist, and he fell and almost knocked her. He threw up his arms and fell on the pavement, his head hitting the kerb. Mr Stares ran out and said, “My God, Tom, you have done something now.” She went to Mr Day’s side, but he never moved. Mr Stares came back, and four of them carried him in. She did not hear Lamb make any threat, and Lamb struck him without giving him any warning at all. Day was standing sideways when Lamb struck him.

By the Foreman : Lamb did not say anything when he came back and struck the blow.

Charles Summers, of 16, Bell Street, general outfitter, said his attention was called to a disturbance outside of Eastman’s. He heard Lamb and the deceased having words. He saw Lamb walk away and stand in the middle of the road, about midway between his shop and Eastman’s. In about three or four minutes Lamb walked across and struck the deceased with his fist. Deceased fell like a log of wood, and the back of his head struck the kerb. He went across and spoke to Lamb, and helped to carry deceased into the room and bathed his head with cold water till he came round a little. Then they propped him up in a chair, and he then left them.

By Mr Hiscock : When he spoke to Lamb he said, “You scoundrel, you ought to be transported.” He didn’t hear Lamb make any reply.

Ernest Oliver Scallon, MD, said that he was asked to go to the house of Stephen Day. He found him on the sofa in a dazed condition and confused, with a large swelling over the right cheek bone. There was another large round swelling at the back of the head. Blood was issuing from the left ear. There were signs of hemorrhage from the left nostril. He did not detect any other signs of injury. He continued his attendance on deceased up till his death on Saturday evening. Acting on the Coroner’s instruction, he made a post mortem examination on Sunday afternoon, assisted by Dr Arthur Way. With the exception of the head there were no signs of violence. He found a fracture of the skull, about five inches in length, taking a somewhat curved course. The heart showed signs of fatty degeneration. There was nothing abnormal about any of the other organs. He should say the cause of death was exhaustion and heart failure, consequent on the fracture of the skull, and that was consistent with the fall described by previous witnesses. He should say the injury to the face was probably due to some smooth, hard substance having impinged on the cheekbone, and he came to the conclusion that the two injuries came about at the same time. The injury to the face might have been caused by a blow from a fist.

This completed the evidence, and the Coroner said he did not intend to make any remarks, because the evidence was so simple. They would see, from a consensus of the evidence, that Day was struck a blow on the right side of the head by Lamb, and the consequence was that he fell, and from that and secondary causes he died, consequent on the blow. He added that if they were convinced Lamb struck the blow, and that caused the injury, they could find no other verdict than that Lamb caused the death of the deceased and that was manslaughter. It would be for them to find a verdict of manslaughter or nothing.

The room was then cleared while the jury considered their verdict, and after an absence of a few minutes the Foreman said the unanimous verdict of the jury was that Day died from a fractured skull, as a result of a blow from Lamb.

Lamb refused to make any statement further than that he struck the blow.

Mr Hiscock said he wished to express the sympathy of Eastman’s Limited with the relatives of the deceased.

The jury put their fees together and gave them to the wife of Lamb, who has a considerable family. Lamb was then committed on the Coroner’s warrant to take his trial at Winchester, and the witnesses were bound over.

At the Borough Bench, on Tuesday, Tom Lamb was brought up on a charge of manslaughter.

Supt Wakeford deposed to arresting the prisoner in the Market Place on Thursday. At the Police Station he read the warrant. Lamb said, “I am very sorry. I should not have hit Day if he had not hit my dog. I did it under great provocation.”

Prisoner, on being charged and cautioned, said, “I saw Stephen Day thrash the dog over the head with a whip, and I got provoked and struck him, and I am very sorry for it. The dog came up the street shaking his head, and I went back to him. I did not think he was going to fall and hurt himself like he did.” In answer to the Mayor, he said he should like to make application for legal assistance under the Poor Prisoner’s Defence Act.

Prisoner was then committed to take his trial at the next Assizes. He asked if bail would be allowed, and the Bench agreed to accept two sureties in £50 cash, but these were not forthcoming at the rising of the Court. Supt Wakeford said the bail would have to be accepted by the Coroner as well.

Hampshire Assizes Trial 1904 Dec 9th

I will not repeat the evidence we have already gone through, but simply give the conclusions.

At the Hants Assizes last week, Tom Lamb, 42, drover, was indicted with the manslaughter of Stephen Day, at Romsey, on October 22nd.

The jury, without leaving the box, returned a verdict of manslaughter, and expressed the opinion that prisoner did not intend to kill Day.

Supt. Wakeford said that prisoner had been convicted of drunkenness, and other offences, some years ago. Prisoner was a native of Romsey, and was very respectable.

His Lordship said prisoner had been convicted on the clearest possible evidence. It seemed extra-ordinary, for the small provocation he received, to strike the blow, and he did not like his going away when he saw what he had done, neither did he like his going away and then coming back to strike the blow. He did not think prisoner intended to kill Day, or inflict any grievous bodily harm, except a nasty revengeful blow. He took no account of the previous convictions, as they had happened some time ago. Bearing in mind that prisoner had been in prison for a month, he would have to undergo a further period of two months in the second division.


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