Exeter & Plymouth Gazette

Savage Assault At Dawlish

Thursday, 9th April 1891

At the Town Hall yesterday, before Mr. M. G. Brown (Chairman) and Colonel Germon, James Small, a gipsy, was charged with assaulting his son, Noah Small, so as to cause him bodily harm, on the previous day, at Dawlish

Complainant who appeared in Court with his left ear and right thumb bandaged, stated that he and defendant were driving home from Teignmouth on the occasion, and were accompanied by his mother and wife. At the time witness had had a little to drink, but his father was half drunk.

On the journey witness and his father had high words. His father eventually struck him. Witness returned the blow, and a scrimmage occurred. The women did not interfere, and his father bit two pieces clean off he ear (produced), and also bit his thumb.

When the cab arrived at Dawlish, the driver came to his assistance, and his father then had witness's thumb in his mouth. The cabman freed him. Witness then went to the Police Station, and afterwards to the Cottage Hospital, where his ear was dressed. Mr. A. de W. Baker, surgeon, stated that he examined the last witness on the following morning, and found nearly the whole of the flesh on the outer part of the left ear had been bitten off, and a part of the cartilage as well. Witness's thumb had also been bitten, but that was very slight.

Priscilla Small, wife of the complainant, said when the wrangling began she and her mother-in-law got out of the cab and walked behind.

P.C. Edwards stated that he took complainant to the Cottage Hospital, and afterwards arrested defendant. Witness then went to Teignmouth, and procured the two portions of the ear from the cab driver, which he now produced.

The Chairman said the Bench had decided to take a merciful view of the case by reducing the charge to one of common assault. They did not forget that the son struck his father back. It was a most disgraceful and serious affair - the action of a dog, and not a human being.

Defendant would be comitted to prison for two months with hard labour, and have to pay the costs of the Court, £1 1s 6d.

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Extracted From:
Exeter & Plymouth Gazette - Thursday, 9th April 1891
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  • James Small
  • Noah Small
  • Priscilla Small