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Tony Flynn
100 YEARS AGO: A POLICEMAN'S LOT IS NOT A HAPPY ONE IN SALFORD
Reading through the pages of the local newspapers from 100 years ago you will be guaranteed there is one constant, week in, week out, the pages are full of drunkenness, theft, violence, police assault and if your lucky all four in the same story.

This little story from April 1919, tells about a particularly, feisty Salford woman, Sarah Donohue who appeared at Salford Magistrates Court charged with an assault upon Sergeant Grainger the Salford Summons and Warrant Officer.

It was his unfortunate job to track down people who had failed to pay their court fines and either obtain the money or arrest them, as you can imagine a fun filled job.

Sarah Donohue lived at Park Place, a side road off Cross Lane which was notorious for being an area of lodging houses, shared houses with a reputation for drunkenness and brawls.

On the evening of April 2nd, Sergeant Grainger called at Sarah's lodgings in search of money she owed to the Magistrates Court in reference to an order granted by the Local Education Authority.

The hapless Sergeant had called three times at Sarah's house in a fruitless attempt to get money from her and on each occasion she had, "acted abusively towards me"

He then told the Magistrates that when he saw her on the Monday evening he could tell from her demeanour that she had no intention of paying him the outstanding money.

He told her, "quite frankly" that if she did not meet her obligations, i.e. cough up the money that she owed, she would have to accompany him to the Cross Lane police station.

Sarah wasn't taking this threat lightly and tried to incite a group of women she was drinking with by saying that he was going to lock her up for the sake of five shillings and he should be ashamed of himself.

The women tried to persuade her to borrow the money from her friends, she put on her shawl and said to Sergeant Grainger that she would be back with the money shortly.

Sadly, Sarah had no intention of stumping up the money and instead walloped Sergeant Grainger in the mouth, splitting his lip and drawing blood, as he tried to arrest her, she scratched his face drawing even more blood.

He managed to  arrest her and cart her off to the police station where she acted like, "A mad woman" screaming and shouting.

In her defence she told the Magistrate that, "I asked him if he would give me the chance to get the money and he said that he would have me instead and dragged me to the police station.

The court was told that Sarah was no stranger to the courts and had numerous convictions for drunkenness, which sealed her fate.

Sarah was sent to prison was 14 days with hard labour.

Image:Cross Lane police station.


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