Phillimore, William

Phillimore, William     1920 April 9th       Cholderton


Fatal Quarrel at Cholderton

Cowdown Hill, Cholderton, was the scene of a tragedy late on Saturday night which arose out of a quarrel, the victim being William Phillimore (49), married man, of 7, Lodge Cottages, West Cholderton, Amport. The other man concerned, a bachelor, was Edward Rogers, 23 years of age, who lodged at Quarley Down Cottages. At the inquiry conducted by the Hampshire Coroner on Tuesday a witness said he saw the two at the time, bad language was being used, and a minute later, hearing a thud, he saw Phillimore lying unconscious in the road.

Major Dibble was foreman of the jury which held the inquest in a room at the Cholderton Laundry. Rogers was present in the custody of the Wiltshire Police, for the occurrence took place in Wilts, the body being removed to Phillimore’s house, which is in Hampshire.

Mrs Emma Phillimore, who wept bitterly, said her husband had been employed as a shepherd on the estate. At 8 o’clock on Saturday evening he left home, she guessed where he had gone, but he did not tell her. The next time she saw him was at four o’clock on Sunday morning, when he was brought home unconscious. He was a strong, healthy man, and never suffered from fits.

Alfred Tame, blacksmith, living at Quarley Down Cottages, said that about 10,15 on Saturday night he and his wife were going home from Cholderton village. Up Cowdown Hill he heard Phillimore, who was attended by Rogers, using most filthy language. Neither of them spoke as he passed, and he saw they were standing up facing each other about a yard apart. He heard Rogers say, “I won’t be called a gypsy by you or any other man.” He heard a thud and hurrying back saw Phillimore lying in the road, and saw he had been knocked down. He asked Rogers to help lift him to the side of the road. At first he refused, but eventually helped, and with the assistance of a man named Adams they lifted him to the roadside. He heard nothing else said. The men were not fighting and did not appear to be quarrelling. They looked quite sober and he did not think the language was in any way threatening. To swear was quite a habit with Phillimore.

James Coombes, carter, of West Cholderton, said he got Phillimore home as soon as he could, and motored for the doctor.

PC Pickett, stationed at Newton Toney, said that on Sunday morning, at 7.50am, he saw Rogers at Quarley Down Cottages, and before he charged him Rogers made the following statement, “The man showed fight to me. I did not strike him. I pushed him and he fell down.”

By the jury : There were ridges in the road, but there were no loose stones about.

Dr Williams-Freeman, of Weyhill, said he saw Phillimore at 3.30 on Sunday morning lying on the floor in his house. He was bleeding from the right ear, breathing stertorously, and he was deeply unconscious. He died about 4am in witness’ presence. Witness found no other marks of violence beyond the bleeding at the ear. There was no smell of liquor or any evidence of drink. He was a large, heavy man, and witness judged the cause of death to be fracture of the skull. That morning he made a post mortem examination. Looking at the skull he found a slight abrasion on the back of the head. There were no other marks of violence. On removing the skull cap he found extensive extravasation of blood on the surface of the brain, and the fracture extending from behind the ear across the base of the skull. This was the cause of death.

The Coroner : From the slight wound at the back of the head could you tell whether it was caused by a fair fall, independent of anybody else, or by a severe blow?

Dr Williams-Freeman : The fracture of the skull rather points to the man having fallen with violence. It was very probably caused by an additional force to the man falling down.

Rogers had nothing to say.

Summing up the Coroner said his opinion was that Phillimore appeared to be more at fault than the other man. Rogers might have had a good deal of provocation, but that did not justify him in killing the other man. His view was that it was a case of manslaughter.

The jury returned a verdict of “Manslaughter under great provocation” against Rogers, who was then committed on the Coroner’s warrant to the Assizes.

Phillimore leaves a widow, and a 12 year old boy.

Salisbury Magistrates Court 1920 April 23rd

At the Salisbury Magistrates Court much of the evidence was similar, and I shall reproduce only those new parts of it.

Edward Rogers, a labourer, living at West Cholderton, was brought up at the Salisbury County Police Court on Saturday morning, charged with having caused the death of William Phillimore on the night of April 3rd. The magistrates were Mr Thomas Greenwood and Mr Howard Lapham, and the defendant was represented by Mr C Emanuel of Southampton.

The only new witness was Fred Adams, carter, of Quarley Down Cottages, Hants, who said he met Phillimore and Rogers at the Crown Inn, Cholderton, on the night of April 3rd. They were all friendly and left at 10 o’clock, going in the direction of their homes. Witness stayed outside talking to some other men for about a quarter of an hour when he went on his way home. At the bottom of Cowdown Hill he met Mrs Tame, who told him something had happened, and he went on up the hill where he heard some voices as if someone was quarrelling. Further along he found Phillimore lying in the road on his back. Rogers was standing a few feet away. He asked him what was the matter and defendant replied, “Phillimore and I have been fighting. I struck him in self defence.” By this time Alfred Tame came up, and they lifted Phillimore to the side of the road. He was bleeding from his right ear, and seemed unconscious. Tame promised to call and tell Mrs Phillimore, so Rogers and he went home.

Cross-examined, witness said he had known Phillimore for four years. He was a man who occasionally quarrelled with other people when he had a drop of drink. He was known in the village as a quarrelsome man. With regard to the exact words used by Rogers when asked what was the matter, he said they were, “Phillimore and I have been quarrelling.” He did not say “fighting.”

Alfred Tame, a blacksmith, who passed Rogers and Phillimore on his way home that night, under cross-examination, said that the latter used foul language, but he heard nothing from Rogers till he heard him say he would not be called a b—– gipsy by any man. Phillimore had been in the habit of using insulting language.

Defendant, in the witness box, said he joined the Army in 1916 and came home in October, 1919. He got to know Phillimore after his return and until the night of April 3rd there had been no quarrel between them. They did not speak to each other in the Crown Inn. They left at closing time, but he walked in front of Phillimore. Going up Cowdown Hill Phillimore caught him up, and used very bad language to him. He took no notice but walked on. Phillimore continued using the bad language and then called him a b—– gipsy. He told him he would not be called that name by him or any one else. They both stopped. Phillimore drew near in a threatening attitude and started taking off his coat, saying, “I’ll fight you.”

Mr Emanuel : What did you do? I gave him a push to keep him away.

Was it a hit or a push? A push with my flat hand.

What happened then? He fell down.

Answering another question, he said he knew Phillimore was a quarrelsome man, and that was why when he heard him swearing he did not say anything to him.

Supt Buchanan : Do you want us to understand that a push would cause a man of 14 stone to fall down? Yes, sir. He lost his balance when pulling off his jacket.

There must have been a considerable amount of force used? No answer.

Do you think he would have fallen if you had not punched him? I could not say, sir.

Addressing the Bench on behalf of the defendant, Mr Emanuel submitted that a prima-facie case had not been made out, and no jury, on the evidence given, would convict the defendant of manslaughter. He asked the magistrates to say, that that being so, they were not going to put the man to the expense of being tried at the Assizes. The facts of the case were very simple. There was no question that the men were sober, but Phillimore was of a very quarrelsome nature when he had some drink, and on this occasion he unfortunately tried to rile defendant by calling him a b—– gipsy. Rogers took it as an offensive expression and promptly said he would not allow anyone to call him that. Phillimore threatened to fight him, Rogers pushed him away and he fell on the road where there were some ruts. No one regretted his death more then Rogers did, and however much their sympathy was aroused by the death of Phillimore, they had their duty to do to Rogers and he was entitled to sympathy as well. He contended that anyone had a perfect right to prevent a man from doing him injury by using as much force as was necessary to keep him away. So long as he used no more force than was necessary to prevent him committing an assault it was not a question of manslaughter at all, but an unfortunate accident that took place purely on account of the action of Phillimore.

The Bench decided that the case must go for trial at the Assizes. Bail was granted defendant in the sum of £30 and one surety of a like amount.

I was unfortunately unable to find the Assizes case, though I would guess he was found not guilty.



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