Assaults With A Wooden Leg

The officers of the Victorian Metropolitan Police force had to face numerous dangers when they went out on their beats at night to try to maintain law and order on the streets of the Victorian metropolis.

Indeed, when they bravely stepped in to intervene in drunken brawls or the like, they never knew what weapons their adversaries could be carrying.

Guns and knives were common, and, as a result several officers lost their lives in the line of duty.

But, they could also face completely unexpected weapons to be used against them, as happened in the following case – which was reported by The Illustrated Police News in its edition of Saturday the 21st of January 1893 –  when a police officer was called to a public house and was asked to eject a very troublesome client from the premises:-

ASSAULTS WITH A WOODEN LEG

Patrick Murphy, twenty-nine, a very powerfully-built man, with a wooden leg, was charged with assaulting Police-constables 288 H, 291 H, 29136 H, and William H Austine.

On Friday night Police-constable 288 was called to the Old Rose public-house to eject the prisoner.

KICKED THE OFFICERS WITH HIS WOODEN LEG

When outside, he kicked the officer several times with his wooden leg, in the use of which he was most proficient.

The constable was so badly hurt that he could not render any further assistance.

Police Constable 291 H helped to get the prisoner up, after which the latter put his wooden leg into the constable’s stomach with great force.

This officer was also incapacitated from doing anything for some time.

An illustration showing Patrick Murphy kicking the police with his wooden leg.
Patrick Murphy Kicking The Police With His Wooden Leg. From The Illustrated Police News, Saturday, 21st January, 1893. Copyright, The British Library Board.

PROMISED TO GO QUIETLY

Police Constable 296 H then came up, when Murphy promised to go quietly to the station.

After walking a few steps he suddenly 296 H in the stomach.

AUSTINE ASSISTS AND GETS KICKED

William Austine, the manager of the Old Rose, went to render assistance, when the accused also kicked him on the forehead and on the leg.

THEIR EVIDENCE WAS UNTRUTHFUL

Murphy, in reply to the charge, said that the witnesses had given their evidence in a very untruthful manner.

He didn’t give them any provocation, and was treated like a dog.

MANY CONVICTIONS

Assistant-gaoler King said there were many convictions against the prisoner for assaulting the police.

SIX WEEKS HARD LABOUR

The magistrate then sentenced Murphy to six weeks’ hard labour.

On hearing the sentence, the prisoner turned to the magistrate and said, “thank you, sir.”