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History With Flynn

Which brings me neatly to a story that I posted last week about the gun toting Salford pub landlady from the Nelson Inn, Ordsall Lane, Salford.

I was curious to know why the accused David Simpson got such a lenient sentence for what was a very serious offence. 

I fearlessly delved into the archives of the Salford City Reporter for 1919 and came across a follow-up story to the court case which shows that Jane Landers was very economical with the truth in the witness box about the events of that fateful day in January.

The new case was heard at the Salford Quarter Sessions before The Recorder, Mr A.M.Langdon K.Q. and the Mayor of Salford, Alderman E.Mather with Mr Horrowitz for  Simpson and Mr Rycroft for Landers.

Initially Jane Landers had told the court that she met David Simpson in the Derby Hotel, had a brief conversation and one drink with him.

Mr Horrowitz began his cross examination of Landers and was soon picking holes in her defence.

He asked her if she had several glasses of stout with Simpson earlier on in the day whilst sat in her pub, the Nelson Inn, she denied this

She was asked if she had gone out to buy fish and chips for Simpson and her sister on the same day, again she denied this.

Horrowitz asked her if the brewers dray arrived when Simpson was in the pub, she agreed that the dray did arrive that day but Simpson was not in the pub.

She was then asked if a Mrs Bowie and Mrs Waterford were sat in their company at the Derby Hotel and did they not also come back to the Nelson Inn where Mrs Bowie played the piano, again this was denied by Landers.

Finally she was asked if that when woken up by the sound of breaking glass in her bedroom door and she shouted out who was there, did Simpson shout out, "Davy"  or did she hear, Daddy?", she remained adamant that he said, "Daddy"

It's not looking to good for Jane Landers is it?, talk about when in a hole stop digging.

Horrowitz then questioned P.C. Gleeson who arrested Simpson and had stated that Simpson was sober when arrested. He then "Suggested" to the P.C. that Simpson was almost incapable with drink, also why was he not given a test at the police station to prove that he was drunk so that he could be charged with that offence also?

P.C. Gleeson glumly muttered, "No" to all questions asked of him.

David Simpson took the stand looking resplendent in the full Army uniform of a Quartermaster Sergeant of the Royal Scots regiment and told the Bench that he had served for 16 and a half years in the British Army and had fought in the Boer War and in France where he was wounded and discharged as being permanently unfit, adding that he had never been in trouble with the police or the Army in his life.

He then said that he had arrived in Salford at 5am from Colchester where he was in a Military Hospital, he went to his married sister's house in Gloucester Street, at 1pm he went for a glass of stout in the Derby Hotel and stayed until 2pm

On leaving the pub he met Mrs Bowie and Mrs Waterford and had a chat with them, Jenny Landers came along the road and was asked by Simpson if her name was "Kitty" to which she replied, "No, Jenny".

Minutes late she returned and asked him if he would like to go back to her pub, the Nelson Inn for a drink along with her unnamed sister to which he accepted.

Whilst there a brewers dray arrived and Jenny Landers said to him, "You must have brought me good luck, the beer has come".

After having drank more stout he gave her money to go and buy some fish and chips for the three of them, they all stayed in the pub until 7pm and then went to the Derby Hotel for more drinks.

At the Derby Hotel Mrs Bowie and Mrs Waterford joined them and they all drank whisky until closing time then returned to the Nelson Inn where Mrs Bowie gave them a song on the piano, it seems like an early episode of Coronation Street, we are just missing Ena, Martha and Minnie.

He then told the Bench that he left the pub about 10pm with Mrs Bowie, Mrs Waterford and the unnamed sister, after that he could only remember vomiting at the police station the rest of the evening was a blank.

He had no memory of returning to the pub, how he gained entry, being threatened with a gun or even being arrested, that's some memory loss for such an incident packed evening.

Two witnesses including the landlord of the Derby Hotel stated that they had seen Simpson and Jane Landers entering the pub together and being joined by other women.

Mr Horrowitz then told the Bench that Simpson was "simply a drunken freak" aman who had been drinking heavily all day and had eaten little food, he had caused no trouble throughout the day, had made no improper suggestions, left the Nelson Inn peacefully and quitely.

Also it was suggested that Simpson had climbed over the pub wall, but there was no marks on his clothes or bruises to his hands, it was not denied that Simpson had got into the pub, but even Simpson could not profess to to suggest any motives because he could not remember with all the alcohol he had consumed that day.

The Recorder Mr A.M. Langdon said it would appear that Simpson having returned from France had got so drunk that he did not know what he was doing which was no credit to him, but they had taken into consideration that he had been discharged from the Army hospital "and could not "carry" as much drink as Scotsmen usually do" which was met with gales of laughter for some reason.

He then said that Jane Landers should have been called to give evidence in both court cases also it was not shown that Simpson was on the premises for a specific criminal purpose.

"Under the circumstances I am going to give Mr Simpson the benefit of the doubt" then ordered that his previous conviction be quashed and he could leave the court without a stain on his character.

More questions than answers in this case I think, why was Jane Landers so adamant that Simpson hadn't been in her pub that day and denied other questions put to her?

I can only assume that her husband who was serving in the Army would not be too pleased to hear that his wife was entertaining men in his pub whilst he was away with the Army, drinking illegally and who knows what went on that day, a curious case to say the least.

Justice of a sort for David Simpson I suppose but I do know that my good friend and corner-man, Billy Nolan will be pleased to see a fellow countryman's good name exonerated!

Tony Flynn


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