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Tony Flynn
100 YEARS AGO: ECCLES BROTHERS FIGHT WITH HAMMERS "FALSE TEETH TAKEN OUT AS A PRECAUTION"
Sibling rivalry is a long established thing, Cain and Abel, Don and Phil Everly and those twerps, Noel and Liam Gallagher.

 

The Jones brothers of Eccles are worthy members of that club as they proved at Eccles Magistrates Court in March 1919 when John appeared accused of Unlawful Wounding of his brother.

The court heard that the feuding brothers, John and the other sadly unnamed were originally good friends and when John came back from the Great War they decided that the two of them would set up a green grocery business in Winton, Eccles, so far so good.

The arrangement was that the unnamed brother who was an Engineer in Manchester would provide between £30 - £40 to set up the business and he, his wife and four children would live at the shop.

John was to manage the shop in the daytime and after he had finished his shift would go to Manchester to meet his brother after he had finished his night shift amd purchase produce from the local markets.

The friendship soured on Sunday 17 March, 1919 when there was dispute between them about John not getting to the market in time resulting in John giving him a black eye which obviously soured the relationship.

John told the Court that he didn't go in work on the Monday and on the Tuesday morning was out in connection with the business.

He returned to the shop and asked where his brother was and was told that he was at the cottages behind the Jolly Carter pub.

Mr Parker for the Prosecution asked John why he went to the cottages, his reply was none to subtle, "To give my brother a good thrashing"

Parker then told the Court that when John got to the stables his brother was nowhere to be seen, however he was seen coming out of the kitchen door of the pub.

John hit him three times with a hammer and the pair started fighting and rolling about on the floor.

John denied taking the hammer with him and said, somewhat bizarrely, that he had, "taken his false teeth out as a precaution in case of a fight"

In the fight the unnamed brother got the upper hand, and the hammer and started walloping the living daylights out of John.

The Landlord of the Jolly Carter, John Baines said that he heard shouting and saw the brothers fighting and managed to separate them whilst the police were called.

P.C. Woodworth told the court that he took John into custody who said to him, "I wish I could have killed him" not helping himself here is he?

Then the real reason for the fight came out, the unnamed brother had told him on the Sunday, after the black eye incident presumably, that he was selling his share in the business and not to him.

John then went to the shop on the Tuesday to remove stock which he said was his only to be told by his brothers wife that he couldn't take any stock as his name wasn't above the door and furthermore his brother had sold his share of the business.

So this was the reason why John  went to see his brother, and no doubt the reason for taking the hammer and his false teeth out.

Mr Watson for the Defence told the Magistrates that his client had been serving in very hot climates abroad with he Army and some allowances should be made for that and asked for the charge of Unlawful Wounding be reduced to the lesser charge of Common Assault.

He then added that John wished to express his regret at what had happened and surely the fact that he had taken his false teeth out proved that he was not going for a fight!

What was John going to do, bite him to death?

The Magistrate, Mr A. Dempsey decided to bind John over in the sum of £10 to keep the peace for six months and must also pay the Court costs.

So who do we have sympathy for, John the hard working if somewhat erratic ex-serviceman who felt that he had been diddled of his share of the company, or the unnamed brother who was no doubt sick of getting second prizes from his violent brother and wanted rid of the business?

Hopefully the brothers kissed and made up though I somehow doubt it, the story made me laugh though.

Image: Jolly Carter pub.


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