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100 YEARS AGO: SALFORD PUB LANDLADY THREATENS TO SHOOT DEAD BEDROOM INTRUDER

History With Flynn
Salford women are well known for their robust, down to earth, no nonsense attitude and this story is a glowing example of that fortitude I so admire.

Salford Magistrates Court heard a rather, strange case when David Simpson hailing from Motherwell in Scotland appeared on remand charged with breaking into and entering the Nelson public house on Ordsall Lane, Salford with intent to commit a felony.

Jane Landers the landlady of the pub was standing in for her husband who was serving in the British Army.

She told the Bench that on the evening of Friday, 24 January 1919 she had been in the Derby Hotel, Salford with her sister when she saw the accused, whom she had known since childhood.

He asked her if her name was Kitty Harrison (her maiden name) she replied, "No, I am, Jenny"

At 9.30 she and her sister left the pub and left for home where she locked and secured the doors and windows before retiring to bed, the other occupants being her three year old child and a 12 year old, nephew.

At 1.15am she was rudely awakened by the sound of  the glass on her bedroom door being smashed and the shape of a man in the room.

She cried  out, "Who's there?" to which came the enigmatic reply, "Daddy"

Showing amazing courage she leapt out of bed and seized a loaded revolver from the bedside table and aiming it at him shouted,

"Get out of this room or I will blow your brain's out!"

He attempted to climb out of the bedroom window and once again showing real composure, she told him,

"Not that way out, out of the front door or I will shoot you dead"

Wisely he raced down the stairs and out onto Ordsall Lane, and straight into the arms of a passing P.C. Gleeson who promptly nabbed him on the spot and carted him off to Trafford Road, police station.

And who was this mystery man? non other than David Simpson the man from the Derby Hotel.

Simpson was charged and remanded in custody for a week.

Jane Landers told the Court that her husband was with the Army Pay Corps in Notingham and she was looking after the pub for him, and on the evening of 24th January she and her sister went for a drink at the Derby Hotel.

Mr Hinchcliffe for the Prosecution asked her if she she had been drinking for most of the day with Simpson,she replied an emphatic, ""No"

For the Defence was Mr Desquesnes a well known local figure questioned Jane if it was true that she had known that Simpson had been discharged from the Army and had been out celebrating with him at several pubs in Salford?, she strongly denied this and stated that she had, had a brief conversation with him, no more, no less.

He then turned his attention to P.C. Gleeson who had stated that Simpson was sober when he arrested him.

Desquesnes disagreed with him and said that Simpson had been drinking a considerable amount of stout that day, also he had been discharged from a Military Hospital a few days earlier and was in no fit condition to drink alcohol.

He then suggested that that in his mind that there was no doubt that on the night in question, he was not acting criminally by any means, the whole incident was really the actions of a "freak" and there was no evidence that he committed  a burglary or felony.

Fully in his stride Desquesnes added that there was no intention on the accused's part to do anything of a criminal nature, but it was an incident in respect of which the prisoner must naturally expect to be visited with some consequences, and that he had already served a week in custody and that a sentence of imprisonment with hard labour would involve the forfeiture of his Army pension.

After due deliberation the Bench stated that women whose husbands were away on service must be protected and that the accused must go to prison for five weeks without hard labour.

A strange case indeed, was Simpson drunk and thought he had somehow charmed Jane Landers into letting him stay the night?, an odd way of showing your affection by smashing down the bedroom door, though.

What would have happened if she hadn't had the loaded revolver by the side of her bed, also what would have happened if she had blown his brains out as threatened, I'm fairly certain she would have got away with that charge.

I think Simpson got off lightly receiving a prison sentence of such leniency and also keeping his Army pension, not to mention his brains which could have been decorating the walls of a bedroom in a Salford pub




Tony Flynn



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