Daring Case of Garrotting, 1893

Highway Robbery At Bradford

Alex Mackintosh, a  commercial traveller staying at the Midland Hotel, decided he might take in the night air.

Leaving the hotel not  knowing the area he found himself in George St., where two women attempted conversation with him. Almost immediately he was grabbed by the neck from behind,  the contents of his waistcoat were very neatly removed; in all some 15 shillings, as well as his gold guard and locket.  By luck rather than management the thieves missed his gold watch and some £20 in gold and notes.

Alex was sober at the time, he wasted no time in reporting the crime to the police. Upon directing  Police Constable Dempsey to the very spot where the crime was perpetrated, one of  his attackers was identified immediately, one John Williams, a painter living on George St.   Williams, seeing the police, took flight.  He led a considerable chase before being taken into police custody;  he was duly charged and  lodged in the cells below the town hall overnight.   The following morning the magistrates wasted no time in remanding Williams to Armley Gaol, Leeds.   The following week he was committed for trial at the next sitting of the Leeds Assizes.

Leeds Assizes on the 11th May 1893.

Williams pleaded not guilty to the offence, claiming a defence of  mistaken identity and justifying his attempted escape  by the fact he was a “ticket of leave man”; being  fresh out of jail he feared for his liberty. However the court was well aware he was a frequent inmate to prison for various offences and had undergone two terms in the reformatory. More recently he had served a term of penal servitude, hence his ticket of leave.

Exemplary Punishment

Williams was found guilty of the offence and ordered to serve a term of 18 months imprisonment with hard labour and in addition, 36 strokes of the “cat o’ nine tails”