Preston pub thug kicked officer in his stomach while resisting arrest

Local historian Keith Johnson looks back at a vicious assault on a police officer that took place in a pub and then on a canal bridge.

By Henry Widdas, Communities Content Page Manager
Saturday, 13th November 2021, 1:28 pm
Updated Saturday, 13th November 2021, 1:30 pm

In the third week of December 1907 Thomas Fitzsimmons appeared in the dock of the Preston Borough Police Court accused of assaulting a policeman.

P.C. Lofthouse told the court that on the previous Saturday night his attention was drawn t o the Springfield Inn on Bow Lane, and entering he saw the prisoner kick his wife. Another man then remonstrated with the accused and they commenced fighting.

The constable stated that whilst attempting to intervene he was kicked in the stomach by Fitzsimmons before drawing his truncheon and managing to control and arrest him.

Some of the pub regulars attempted to prevent the arrest and a great deal of pushing and shoving went on before the landlord intervened.

P.C. Lofthouse then went on to state that he eventually set off to the Earl Street police station with a handcuffed Fitzsimmons, but as they reached the canal he once again kicked the constable and attempted to bundle him over the bridge on Marsh Lane. Only the timely arrival of three more constables ensured Fitzsimmons safe escort to the police cells.

Dr. Pilkington told the court that he had examined P.C. Lofthouse at the police station and found a wound over his right eye and bruise on his abdomen. Considering the pain the constable was in from his ordeal he ordered him off duty for a couple of days.

Thomas Edward Pattinson, the landlord of the Springfield Inn, then testified that he had seen the prisoner kick his wife, but did not see him kick the constable. Although in the melee that followed as Fitzsimmons tried to resist arrest he was kicking and punching.

Pub regular William Murty claimed that the officer had struck the prisoner when he was not making any bother and that the situation with his wife was purely a domestic,things having calmed down when the constable appeared and intervened.

Private Power, of the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, who had been by the canal bridge told the magistrates that he had seen the prisoner kick at the constable and hit him in the face.

In his defence Fitzsimmons, who had been drinking, claimed that he saw another man get hold of the constable in the inn and went to pull him off. The constable then began wielding his truncheon in the fracas that followed.

The magistrates after a brief discussion found the accused guilty as charged. It was then revealed that Fitzsimmons was no stranger to the magistrates, having been four times before previously.

Being in bother for assault and drunken behaviour and lucky to have escaped prison before, he was told that this time he would go to prison for two months.

A few days later Mr. Pattinson was back in the Police Court after being assaulted by labourer William Hanlon who had come to the aid of a man who was being ejected by the landlord for disorderly behaviour. The punishment for his intervention was one month in prison.

The Springfield Inn, on the corner of Bow Lane and Marsh Lane, dates back to circa 1835 and was closed in 1995 being converted into student apartments.