Watchmen, convicted of assaulting those whom they were bound to protect, September, 1810
AT the sessions of the Old Bailey held in September, 1810, Thomas Bellamy and John Laney, watchmen, belonging to the parish of St George's, Bloomsbury, were indicted for assaulting Mr Hindeson and his wife. The watchmen had indicted Hindeson and his wife for an assault on them, so that the jury had to try what is termed a cross-indictment.
It appeared that on the 1st of April, at two o'clock in the morning, Hindeson and his wife were going home -- they residing in Stonecutters' Buildings, Lincoln's Inn Fields -- when Hindeson, from the street, discovered a light in his apartment, at which he was somewhat alarmed, thinking that thieves were in the house, and with that persuasion of mind called the watch. Three came, and he desired them to remain at the door with his wife whilst he went upstairs to see everything was as it should be. They did so, and upstairs he went. Shortly afterwards he returned, informing them that all was right -- that the light proceeded from his fire -- and thanked them for their trouble. The watchmen, it seemed, took umbrage at being "made fools of," as they termed it, and wanted to be paid for their trouble in doing their duty; and on Hindeson doing nothing more than thank them for the trouble he had given them they were inclined to have from his bones what they could not get from his pocket -- satisfaction! They attacked both Hindeson and his wife with their bludgeons, and after cutting him violently on the head, and tearing almost all the clothes off his back (the tattered and blood-stained remains of which were exposed in court), they insisted on carrying Hindeson to the watch-house, and he remained under confinement for thirty-seven hours.
The watchmen, finding that Hindeson was going to proceed against them, indicted him and his wife for an assault; and they swore that they saw nobody strike either him or his wife, nor did they strike either of them till Hindeson and his wife began to maul them, when some blows might have been given in getting Hindeson to the watchhouse. This and much more swore the two watchmen; but there was neither circumstantial evidence nor tattered and blood-stained clothes to support their tale. Such being the case, with the total absence of all kind of evidence on the part of the watchmen, they were found guilty on the indictment preferred against them by Hindeson, and fined and imprisoned.