A lamplighter in Whitechapel, going about his business in the early hours of Wednesday the 14th of July 1869, was set upon and assaulted. Various excuses were made when the case went to court as was reported in the Clerkenwell News:
“At Worship-street, yesterday, James Hart, 23, described as a gas fitter, residing in Goulston street, Whitechapel, was charged before Mr. Newton with assaulting James Lomell, a breaking his lighting stick.
Mr BG Abbott, solicitor, of Worship-street, defended the prisoner.
The prosecutor stated that he resided in Edward street, Bethnal-green road, and was a lamplighter in the employment of the Independent Gas Company.
About 3.15 on the previous morning he was in Goulston street, engaged in turning out of the gas lights, when the prisoner, who was standing talking to a young woman there, began making some remarks to which the witness replied that he had better mind his own business. The prisoner walked up to him, and seizing hold of the stick with the light at the end, with which the witness turned out the gas, struck him with it on the forehead, then a below between the eyes with his fist, which knocked him against the wall and blackened his eyes. He then broke the stick across his knees, and from the pieces into the road. Police constable 166 H came up at the moment, and witness gave prisoner into custody. The Constable gave evidence, stating that saw the blow given.
Mr. Abbott cross examined the constable very severely, and taxed him with having been drinking with the prosecutor that morning before the case was called on. The constable deny this, but admitted being in a public house with the prosecutor was. The defence was that the prosecutor was drunk and could not see to turn out the gas; that when the prisoner went to help him he abused him, and, saying that he would make the – “Jew swallow the stick” struck him with it.
They then enclosed, and the prosecutor, who fell against the wall, broke the stick in the struggle, and received the injury to the eye. Witnesses were called in support of this, but Mr. Newton, characterising the defence has an aggravation of the offence, find the prisoner 60 shillings, for six weeks hard labour.
The money was paid”.
Old British News