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Derby Mercury, September 3, 1856

[Before F. WRIGHT, P. B. LE HUNT, and JOHN WRIGHT, Esqrs.]

Mr. F. Wright and Mr. J. Wright having left the Bench, James Wigley and Robert Middleton were brought up and charged with having assaulted Thomas Hand and Joseph Frost, gamekeepers to Francis Wright, Esq., on the night of the 21st inst.
Thomas Hand deposed that he was gamekeeper to Francis Wright, Esq., of Osmaston Manor. He and Joseph Frost were out watching on the night of the 21st. About two o'clock they were concealed by the side of a fence on a piece of land called the Gorse Cover, in the parish of Shirley, belonging to and occupied by Mr. Wright. The prisoners, who had a dog and nets with them, came towards witness and Frost. Witness seized Middleton, and Frost, Wigley. They had got some rabbits. A struggle ensued, and the prisoners promised to go quietly, if they were let at liberty, but as soon as they were liberated attempted to run away. They ran a few yards when Middleton turned round and threw something at witness, which he heard whizz pasts his head. The prisoners were again captured, when a struggle took place between witness and Middleton, Frost, and Wigley. After struggling for a short time Frost called out that Wigley was "jobbing" something into his head. Witness called his dog, and Wigley got up from off the top of Frost. The prisoners were then taken to Osmaston. On the way there Middleton dropped something out of his pocket. Witness found the stone produced in Middlelon's pocket when be got to Osmaston; having returned to the spot where he saw Middleton him drop something he found two other stones, produced. He also found other stones (produced) where the struggle had a taken place; one of them had marks of blood upon it. There were no other stones of the same kind near. Witness was sure the prisoners were armed with the stones, as they never picked up any during the affray.
Joseph Frost, who was greatly disfigured by the beating he had received, corroborated the last witness's evidence as to is finding and taking the prisoners. After capturing them the second time he and Wigley struggled together, when that person drew something out of his right hand jacket pocket, like a stone, and struck him three times on the head with it ; the last blow knocked him down, and the prisoner Wigley fell on hime and continued to beat him with what he had in his hand for two or three minutes, until witness got hold of his arm, when the prisoner "butted" him in the face with his head. The keeper's dog then came up, and Wigley discontinued beating him. As soon as ever Wigley got up witness laid hold of the dog to prevent it seizing the prisoner. The prisoners then gave up, and went with the keepers. On the way to Osmaston Wigley dropped something out of his pocket.
Mr. Skevington, surgeon, proved having been called in to attend Joseph Frost, whom he found to be in a dangerous state from three large wounds to the head, and other bruises. The wounds on the head bad been produced by a blunt instrument. The stone produced would cause such wounds. At the time it was first shown to him it bad marks of fresh It blood upon it. He considered Frost in great danger from the injuries he had received.
The prisoners were committed for trial.

"ASHBOURN PETTY SESSIONS, SATURDAY, August 23." Derby Mercury 3 Sept. 1856. 19th Century British Newspapers. Web. 20 May 2016. URL Document Number: GALE|BA3200016842 (subscription required)

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