It has to be said that, when it came to crime, the Victorian East End could boast a huge variety.
It wasn’t just the Jack the Ripper murders – or, for that matter, any form of murder – that the police of the age had to contend with.
One type of crime that attracted a lot of commentary in the newspapers was what was often referred to as “the revolver nuisance.”
On Saturday, 9th January 1892, The Illustrated Police News published the following story concerning a shooting that had occurred in a pub in Mile End:-
THE REVOLVER NUISANCE
At the Thames Police court, Henry Leslie, fifty, of independent means, and living at Longfellow-road, Mile End, surrendered to his bail on a charge of feloniously shooting at William Jennett, a labourer, living at 3, Leyton-road, Mile End.
The prosecutor said that on Saturday evening, the 26th ult., he was in the Globe public house, Mile End-road. His brother-in-law and sister were with him.
The prisoner was in the bar.
A man who was with the accused started a row with the witness’s brother-in-law. The former also abused his sister, and the witness interfered and had a scuffle with him.
Witness then heard a pistol shot, and on turning saw a revolver in the prisoner’s hand.
Witness closed with him, and, in the struggle, a second shot was discharged. and the bullet just grazed the palm of his right hand. He wrenched the revolver from Leslie, and held him until a constable arrived.
The witness could not say if the accused was drunk.
By Mr. Young: When the witness first saw the revolver it was pointed at him, and the bullet passed over his head.
Altogether there were five persons in the compartment.
He did not see anyone strike the prisoner.
Witness exchanged blows with the other man.
REPROVED FOR HIS MANNER
The witness during the giving of his evidence had several times to be reproved for the manner in which he answered the questions put to him; and, at this point, he refused to answer any more questions.
Mr. Mead accordingly ordered him to be taken into custody, and he was removed to the cells.
CHARLES WHAGLOW TESTIFIES
Charles Whaglow, a labourer, living at 81, Skidmore-street, Mile-end, said the prosecutor was his brother-in-law.
When they were in the New Globe public house the prisoner had a row with another man. The latter used bad language towards the witness’s wife, and the prosecutor struck him.
The prisoner then pulled out a revolver and fired towards the prosecutor, who “claimed” him.
A second shot was then fired.
By Mr. Young: Witness was perfectly sober, but the prisoner was very drunk.
Witness and prosecutor had not insulted the prisoner’s wife, and had not suggested both were “toffs”
IT WAS SELF DEFENCE
Police-constable 185 K said that when he was called to the public house the prosecutor was holding the prisoner, who had evidently been drinking.
Leslie said he fired the revolver in self-defence.
INSPECTOR SIMMONS GIVES EVIDENCE
Inspector Simmons, K Division, said that Leslie, in reply to the charge, said, “I was set upon by these men, and I was protecting myself, and I think that is the chief duty of a man. I did fire two shots and would fire forty if I had them.
He was not drunk, although he had been drinking.
AN END TO THE CASE
The prisoner was committed for trial.
Mr. Young said that the accused had just come into a small fortune.
Mr. Mead consented to accept bail in the sum of £50 for his appearance.
The prosecutor was then placed in front of the dock, when he expressed sorrow for his conduct Mr. Mead allowed him to go.