Western Times

Gipsies at Variance

Saturday, 3rd May 1902

Most amusing cases were heard at Paignton Petty Sessions yesterday. Unity Stanley, wife of Tom Stanley, was summoned by Eliza Stanley, wife of Henry Stanley, for using abusive language towards her in Winner Street, Paignton, last Saturday. Mr. J. B. Eastley, who appeared for complainant, said both parties lived in their camps at Yealmpton.

Prosecutrix stated that she was waiting for her husband, when Mrs. Unity Stanley and her mother came towards her, abused her, and threatened to "do" for her, when she was going home. On her way home she had to pass a field in which were defendant's tents. Defendant and his mother came out, and threatened to "break her jaw." She went home, and they then abused her husband. Defendant and her husband had both threatened her, and she went in fear of them.

During the cross-examination, Mrs. Unity Stanley's mother frequently interrupted, and was cautioned by the Chairman if she did not desist she would be ordered out of Court. Great amusement was caused by an animated discussion between Mrs. Unity and Mrs. Eliza, the former accusing the latter of telling lies.

Mrs. Lily Jones, who appeared in the witness-box dressed in a handsome brocaded blouse and red plush skirt, said she heard shouting, but did not know what took place. When she got home Mrs. Unity Stanley, Miss Stanley, and "Granny Stanley," were looking over the gate - (Granny Stanley; "Oh, you infernal liar"). Cross-examined; She never saw Mrs. Unity Stanley in the street. Another heated discussion took place during the cross-examination, Mrs. Jones denying that she heard any conversation in the Oldenbury Hotel.

Defendant was sworn, and denied the charge.

Harriet Ellen Stanley, a typical Granny gipsy, the mother of defendant, said she was in the porch of the Oldenbury Hotel, and corroborated her daughter's statement regarding what happened there. The old lady caused considerable amusement by the emphatic manner in which she gave her evidence. Granny further stated that there had been ill-feeling between the two camps, and she had come to live in one of them to try to make peace.

On leaving the box the old lady loudly called out, "What I have said is true as there's a God in Heaven."

Mrs. Eliza Stanley here made a complaint that she had been threatened in Court, - Mr. J. B. Eastley reported this to the Bench, remarking that would show what his client had to put up with.

A summons against Henry Stanley, husband of the prosecutor in the previous case by Mrs. Unity Stanley for threats and abusive language, was then heard, Mr. J. B. Eastley for the defence. Granny again made her appearance in the witness-box, remarking that what she had to say was what she had said before. When asked by Mr. Eastley whether she heard her daughter use any abusive language, she replied, "Oh, you must find that out yourself" - (laughter).

The Bench considered the assault in the first case proved, Eliza V. Unity, and fined Unity £1 7s 6d, including costs. Mr. J. B. Eastley applied that defendant be bound over to keep the peace towards Mrs. Eliza Stanley. The Bench decided that a formal complaint must be first laid. Mrs. Eliza Stanley was recalled, and made application, and defendant was bound over to keep the peace for three months towards Eliza Stanley in the sum of £5.

The charge against Henry Stanley was dismissed.

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Extracted From:
Western Times - Saturday, 3rd May 1902
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  • Eliza Stanley
  • Harriet Ellen Stanley
  • Henry Stanley
  • Lily Joles
  • Thomas Stanley
  • Unity Stanley