John Hall

Old Bailey Proceedings Online (, version 6.0, 15 October 2011), April 1887, trial of JOHN HALL (17) (t18870425-588).

Dated: 25th April 1887

JOHN HALL, Damage to Property other.

JOHN HALL (17) , Feloniously placing a pair of trolley wheels across the line of the London and South-Western Railway Company, with intent to endanger the lives of passengers, and obstruct engines and carriages using the railway.

MR. AVORY Prosecuted.

WILLIAM JAMES SANDERS . I am inspector at Clapham Junction Station, South-Western Railway. About 6.30 p.m. on 6th April I saw the prisoner at the top of Sleeper Road, or what is called the Kensington siding, with a number of other lads. I gave instructions to the signalman. About 7.15 I heard of these trolley wheels being on the line.

WILLIAM COTTON . I am a carriage examiner of the South-Western Railway. On 6th April, about 7.15 p.m., I saw the prisoner on the new Kensington siding. He placed two pairs of trolley wheels on the new Kensington siding with other boys, and sent them rolling towards the middle road and the departure rail. I could have caught him, but as I knew a London, Chatham, and Dover train was due I followed the wheels and took them off the line. They were rolling towards the line used by the passenger trains. I gave information to one of our policemen.  Next evening, April 7th, I saw the prisoner in custody and identified him.

JACOB LAWRENCE (South-Western Railway Constable.) On 7th April, about 7 p.m., I saw the prisoner with several others on the new Kensington siding between the metals. They went to the examiner’s hut and pulled down the door, they went inside, knocked the stove to pieces, kicked the fire all over the place, and pelted the chimney pot with stones till they knocked it off. I told him I was a Company’s officer, and took him in custody. I took him to my box, and while he was there Cotton, the other witness, came up and identified him.

RICHARD EDMONDS (Police Inspector South-Western Railway.) The prisoner was handed over to me by Lawrence.  Cotton came and gave me information, and I then told the prisoner he would be charged with causing wilful damage to the platelayers’ hut, and further with obstructing the line on the preceding night. He said he did not. He said, “What obstruction?” I said “A pair of trolley wheels.” He said “I know nothing of the trolley wheels; I was there.”

JOHN CONDON (Policeman V 190.) I received the prisoner at the station. The Inspector read the charge to him in my presence, of obstructing the line on 6th April. He said “It is a lie.”

The prisoner in his defence said that he knew nothing about it.

GUILTY .    Eighteen Months’ Hard Labour.