The death of Arthur Drake



In 1876, Joseph Lawton was charged with the manslaughter of 10-year-old Arthur Drake at Halifax.

On 3rd July 1876, Lawton was playing cricket in a field at Crown Road, Boothtown, when a group of boys – including Arthur – were playing with a horse in the field.

One of the boys – Halliday – got on the horse's back and the others beat the animal with cricket bats & sticks. Lawton told Halliday to get of the horse, but Halliday put his fingers to his nose and swore at Lawton, who picked up a stone and threw it at the boy. The stone struck Arthur Drake on the temple, causing it to bleed very much. Lawton took the boy to a pond and washed the blood off his face, and then carried him home.

Next day, Dr Strickland was called, but Arthur's condition grew worse and he died from lockjaw.

At the inquest, death was said to have been caused by injury to the brain, which might have resulted from a blow with a stone. Evidence was given that a few days before the incident, Arthur had fallen and sustained a knock on the back of his head against the ground.

The Jury returned a verdict of manslaughter against Lawton, and he was committed to trial at the next assizes.

At the Leeds Assizes [26th July 1876], the Grand Jury found Lawton not guilty




© Malcolm Bull 2020
Revised 16:04 /16th February 2020 / x416 / 3468

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