LIVERPOOL POLICE SCANDAL. .|1902-05-21|The Chester Courant and Advertiser for North Wales - Welsh Newspapers Online
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LIVERPOOL POLICE SCANDAL.…

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LIVERPOOL POLICE SCANDAL. A STRANGE STORY. ALLEGED CONSPIRACY. At Liverpool Assizes, on Friday week, Mr. Justice Wills and a special jury commenced the hearing of a remarkable action by William Patrick Welsh, an ex-detective-Sefgeant of the city police force, against his late superior officers for conspiracy and false imprisonment. The defendants were Edwin Sperrin, chief clerk, and third in command of the force; Thomas Stret-tell, chief detective-superin- tendent; and Robert Duckworth, detective-inspec- tor, his immediate superior. The case, as outlined by Mr. Taylor for plaintiff, was of an extraordinary nature, the plaintiff alleging that at the instance of the defendants he had obtained certain perquisites from ships' stewards and others, and that ultimately, by way of preventing disc.osure, the defendants sought to obtain his retirement from the police force, and that they attempted this by representing to tho Chief Constable that he was suffering from de- lusions, and was not in a mental condition to con- tinue his police duties. The plaintiff had, in fact, been confined for a few days in the lunatic ward of a Liverpool workhouse, but the surgeons de- clined to certify for his detention, and he was liberated. On Saturday plaintiff was subjected to a long cross-examination, but repeated his statements as to having obtained corn, cigars and other things from the docks, and also spirits from bonded vaults. He had not thought of using the letters which he had in his possession until Duckworth told him he was a thief. Asked as to why he did not report to the head constable the fact that superior officers had written these letters to him, the plaintiff stated that if he had done so it would have meant his ruin in the. force. The reasons he suggested for the defen.diants' entering into a conspiracy against him welikthe discovery by thorn of his being in possession off letters asking him to get goods. Plaintiff was still under cross- examination when the court adjourned. On Mon- day the plaintiff was severely questioned: by Mr. M'Call as to his honesty in answering interroga- tions from the Head Constable, who asked him to report all complaints which he had against aotiy officer, and he admitted that in his report ke never mentioned Mr. Strettell. He, however, per- sisted in his charges as to obtaining goods from the docks and other places for Strettoll and Sperrin. Evidence having been called as to the medical examinations which resulted in Welsh being discharged from the padded room in which he had been detained, Mr. M'CaU, for the defence, suggested that the very serious charge which had been brought forward was founded upon the mor- bid imaginings of a man who believed that every member of the force was against him. Captain Nott Bower, called for the defence, said he ac- cepted responsibility for all the proceedings which led to Welsh's arrest. His examination had not concluded when the court adjourned. On Tuesday all three defendants gave evidence, and denied in toto all the allegations made against them. On Wednesday evidence was given by police officers to the effect that Wolsh was constantly complaining of tyranny on the part of his superior officers and other members of the force, one of his greatest grievances being that he was perse- cuted on account of being an Irishman and a Roman Catholic. Chief-Inspector Robertson, In- spector Pogue and other police officials testified that these suspicions and charges wen absolutely without foundation. CHESTER CHIEF CONSTABLE'S EVIDENCE. Mr. John Henry Laybourne, Chief Constable of Chester, said he was formerly a member of the Liverpool detective force, and from 1893 to 1897 was under Inspector Strettell. He had re- cently been ill in bed, but on Monday he read in the newspaper plaintiff's assertion that he had never received money to get corn from the Corn Exchange for Mrs. Nott-Bower. Mr. M'Call: Did you yesterday morning send a telegram to Captain Nott-Bower?—Yes. In consequence of that telegram you are here as a witness?—Yes. Witness then stated that one morning he brought the reports and a letter down to Inspector Stret- tell. Strettell opened the letter, and then said to witness, "See if Welsh is in." I called Welsh, witness added, and he came in. Mr. Strettell said, "I have a letter from Mrs. Nott-Bower ask- ing me to get her some corn sweepings. Go down to the Corn Exchange and get a sack, and send it to her house by parcel delivery." He then took out his purse and gave Welsh 10s. What for?—The corn. I then, at Strettell's request, answered the letter to Mrs. Nott-Bower, saying the corn had been ordered. Cross-examined, witness said the incident in question took place some time between 1893 and 1897, but he could not recall the exact date. He remembered saying to Mr. Strettell when he was answering Mrs. Nott-Bower's letter, "What a very large hand Mrs. Bower writes; it is a peculiar thing Captain Nott-Bower writes the same hand." Tho bonded warehouseman whom plaintiff called "Jack" denied in evidence ever having given Welsh bottles of spirits out. of bond. Alder- man Maxwell, chairman of the Watch Committee, testified that when Welsh was before the. com- mittee he said he had no charges to make, and withdrew his allegations. Evidence was also given by Drs. Dawson and Lowndes police surgeons, that they separately examined Welsh, and came to the conclusion that he was suffering from mental delusions, and Dr. Dawson said he certified that Welsh was a dangerous lunatic, and should be put under care and control. Dr. Wiglesworth, who also examined Welsh, said he concurred in the opinion that plaintiff was suffering from mental disorder of a dangerous kind, but it was quite un- justifiable to put him in a padded room. THE VERDICT. The trial concluded at the Liverpool Assizes on Thursday. The jury found a verdict for the defendants on the charge of conspiracy and for the plaintiff 011 that of false imprisonment, and after a second retirement they assessed damages for the plaintiff at £200. Mr. MeCall asked for judgment for the defendants with costs on the finding of the jury with regard to conspiracy. The judge directed that the question of costs should be argued before him on Friday, and granted a stay of execution for three weeks. Judgment was suspended by Mr. Justice Wills on Friday. The case stands over for further con- sideration in LoVidon on the findings of the jury.

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