Death of Police-constable, James GOODWIN, at Birkenhead, 1879

Liverpool Mercury, Sept 5th, 1876

Birkenhead Police Court, Monday Sept 4th, before Mr HOBACK, Deputy-stipendiary

Violent assault on the police

Two stalwart young men both notorious characters, named Patrick FLYNN and Thomas SMITH, belonging to Egerton St, where brought up on remand charged with unlawfully wounding Police-officer No 1 GOODWIN. Mr MOORE appeared for the prosecution, Mr HANNEN for the defence.

The Complainant stated that on Monday night, the 28th ult, he was on duty in Chester St, when the prisoner FLYNN'S mother came to him and complained of the conduct of her son. He went to Egerton St, where he found FLYNN, who was drunk making a great disturbance. FLYNN'S father told him to take his son away. He accordingly took hold of young FLYNN, who, after walking quietly a short distance, tripped him up and kicked him on both legs whilst he was lying on the ground. A struggle took place and by the time they got to the top of Egerton St, complainant was knocked down four or five times. During this time FLYNN kept striking and kicking him, and once he was kicked in the stomach. Upon getting up to the top of Egerton St, the prisoner SMITH came up, and kicked complainant twice on the right knee. Three or four other officers came up and FLYNN was taken to the bridewell. The complainant added he had been spitting blood for some days and he had not been able to resume duty since the occurrence in consequence of his injuries.

Police-officer No 5, SLATTERY, who gave corroboratory evidence, said he was also kicked by FLYNN, other witnesses having been heard Dr JENNETT was called and stated that Officer GOODWIN bore marks of violence on different parts of the body. He attributed the spitting of blood to the kick which the officer received in the abdomen.

The magistrate remarked that it was necessary the police should be protected in the execution of their duty, and committed both prisoners for trial.

At the Cheshire General Sessions, Chester Castle, Oct 21st 1876

Patrick FLYNN aged 22, and Thomas SMITH aged 24, were sentenced to 18 mths imprisonment with hard labour, for the violent beating and kicking they inflicted on Police-officer James GOODWIN


Patrick FLYNN and Thomas SMITH, after their release from gaol continued their violent career

Liverpool Mercury, June 23rd, 1879

Birkenhead Police Court, Saturday June 21st, before Mr PRESTON

Two ruffians, Patrick FLYNN and Thomas SMITH, both residents of Egerton St, were brought up in custody, the first with being drunk and disorderly and with threatening to take his father's life and the latter with attempting to rescue FLYNN from custody. It appeared on Friday afternoon FLYNN went in an intoxicated state to his father's house and seizing a pair of tongs threatened to take his father's life if he was not supplied with drink. The prisoner next "butted" his father in the face. The old man managed to get away, and gave information to the police, who with difficulty took him into custody. Whilst FLYNN was being apprehended the prisoner SMITH came up, and excited the crowd of "roughs" to effect a rescue of his companion. Superintendent CLARKE stated that both prisoners were a terror to the neighbourhood, about 3 years ago they violently assaulted Police-officer GOODWIN, and for this offence were sentenced to 18 mths imprisonment at the sessions. The Superintendent added that Officer GOODWIN was still suffering severely from the effects of the assault committed upon him by the prisoners and had not been able to attend duty for the last six months. SMITH was sentenced to 1 mths gaol with hard labour, FLYNN was remanded

Liverpool Mercury, Oct 28th, 1879

Birkenhead Police Court, Monday Oct 27th, before Mr PRESTON and Alderman ROPER

A dangerous character

A man named Thomas SMITH was charged with being drunk and disorderly and refusing to leave the Castle Hotel, Chester St, and with assaulting the barman and Police-officers, MORRIS [27], CHALONER [24], and PARKER [30]. A Saturday night Constable MORRIS found the prisoner making a disturbance at the hotel from which he had been ejected. Upon seeing the officer he became very violent, and it required the assistance of the other constables to take him to the bridewell. The prisoner was so violent it was found necessary to strap him to a stretcher. The officers in taking the prisoner to the bridewell were assaulted. The accused, in answer to the bench, said he was a little rowdy when he got drunk, but was the quietest fellow in the country when sober. Mr PRESTON remarked that the prisoner had been no fewer than 18 times before the court charged with various offences. Superintendent CLARKE stated that the prisoner was one of the men who was present when Police-officer GOODWIN received kicks, from which he had been suffering for 18 months, and from the effects of which it was thought he would die. The prisoner was committed to gaol for 4 months.


Police-officer James GOODWIN died from his injuries on the 11th, November 1879

Liverpool Mercury, Dec 4th, 1879

At the meeting of the Watch Committee, the committee recommended that a grant of 50-5s, be paid out of the police superannuation fund to the widow of the late Police-officer GOODWIN, who had died in his service to the council


Liverpool Mercury, Nov 22nd, 1880

FLYYN was again brought up at Birkenhead Police Court, charged with using abusive and threatening language, he was a beerseller in Egerton St and had gone to his father's house and threatened him. Police-officers M'CLELLAND and WILLIAMS had a warrant for the prisoner for a previous offence and proceeded to the complainants in order to arrest FLYNN. FLYNN became violent, the latter aimed a blow at the prisoner and his staff struck his head, inflicting a wound which was bleeding profusely. On being taken to the bridewell a doctor was called but FLYNN refused to be washed and would not permit the doctor to examine him. Superintendent CARSON, stated that the prisoner was a violent fellow, and that over three years ago the prisoner he was imprisoned for 18 mths for violently assaulting Police-officer GOODWIN, who has since died from his injuries. The prisoner was remanded.

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