Sleep - Walker
Sutcliffe, a tall middle-aged man respectably dressed, appeared in the dock at
Leeds Court House on Wednesday charged with having been found drunk.
early hour the same morning policeman John Helmsley discovered him lying on the
flags (flagstones or pavement) near St Paul's Church asleep.
The officer roused him but he was so
much intoxicated that he was quite incapable of making use of his legs and had
it not been that a cab was passing at the time, the driver of which undertook
to convey the prisoner, Helmsley would have been quite unable to get his charge
to the police office.
In reply to
questions from the magistrates (Ralph Markland Esq. and Wm. Pawson Esq.) the prisoner, with a very grave
face, said the policeman, in supposing he was drunk was altogether mistaken and
that if he had been properly awakened, instead of being taken to the police
office, he would have most undoubtedly gone straight to Rawden where he lived.
He also stated that he was a slubber, that in consequence of a
"break-down" at the place
where he worked he came to Leeds on Tuesday and that he went to a public
house kept by Mr Winder where he remained "talking over family
affairs" until a late hour.
magistrates, not appearing to credit his statement that he was sober when found
as described, he again declared that he was merely asleep and further ,
"that it is quite a common thing for him to fall asleep when he was
walking and that he had many a time awoke and found himself standing straight
upon his legs".
statement proved rather too much for the gravity of the bench.
However, to give
the accused a fair chance, Mr James the superintendent of police was called in
order that he might confirm Helmsley's testimony or the contrary, and Mr James,
who was at the police office when the prisoner was taken thither, said he was
not only drunk but so much so he was unable to walk.
was that the bench inflicted the usual penalty of 5s and costs".
Image courtesy of the British Newspaper Archive, research by Edwy Harling
Additional information by Christine Lovedale
The St Paul's
Church mentioned was in the south east corner of Park Square, it was built in
1793 on land donated by Bishop Wilson and the architect was William Johnson.
the industrial landscape of Leeds encroached round the prestigious Square and
surrounding area the inhabitants moved further from the city centre, by the
late 1800s no congregation was left and the church was demolished in 1905.