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Alan Baird

PC 881 Edward Watkins City of London Police

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Hi,

Police Sergeant Joseph Roskelly was born in Cornwall and after he had completed his service with the Metropolitan Police retired to Cornwall. A Cornishman through and through. 

On the 20th of June in 1895, there was a civil case being heard at the Cornwell Assizes and Joseph Roskelly gave evidence at this hearing. Obviously by stating Joseph Roskelly was a Police Sergeant with the Metropolitan Police may have given his evidence more substance. The case revolved around a contested 'will' and his wife was the niece to the deceased. Joseph Roskelly's evidence related to the last time he had seen his wife's uncle and to the uncles state of mind. The article is far too long to go through completed but basically the family successfully contested the will. 

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As my former rank was Sergeant, I decided to collect a Sgt's medal from each Division involved in the hunt for JTR.

I have been looking for a 'H' Division example for many years and when the Roskelly piece appeared on DNW I thought I would finally be able to complete my quest.

I put an initial bid on the medal with the intention of tuning in to the live auction.  However, due to reasons beyond my control I could not partake in the live auction and my initial bid was beaten by just £20.

I am still feeling physically sick!!

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Hi,

To be honest, your bid took me to my maximum bid, so anything higher and I would have been knocked out. I placed the bid in advance but I watched the sale on their site and the suspense was terrible. I actually thought, ''I need to stop collecting.'' I would not be surprised, if the next sale contains other examples of 'H' division medals. I think it may have been the same collector that was selling off his collection over the last two auctions. If I ever sell it, I will let you know. I know how you feel as I have been in the same boat on numerous occasions.

regards,

Alan. 

P.S. my wife would have preferred if you had won...…………….

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9 hours ago, Alan Baird said:

P.S. my wife would have preferred if you had won...…………….

😀😆.....and my Receiver-General was glad I didn't.

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Hi,

I have just realised something regarding Police Sergeant Joseph Roskelly's brave actions in arresting the knife wielding Alfred Eagleton in December of 1888...……….

The original article that I posted, was actually dated the 8th of December in 1888, ''Ripper Up'' I also typed out a copy the text of the article and posted that on the site. I found it strange when the article stated :-

The woman screamed, ''He has kicked me.'' and later the article stated ''The woman appeared to be badly hurt.''

But now I will post details of an article, dated the 4th of December in 1888 and which comes from the' Morning Advertiser [London].' This article  comes from the JTR Casebook site and clearly states :-

The woman screamed, ''He has killed me.'' and later the article stated ''The woman appeared to be badly hurt.''

Therefore the incident appears to be much more serious than I originally though because Alfred Eagleton actually wounded the woman in the attack. Since he was 26 years old in 1888, he must have been born in approximately 1862 but I am still trying to find more about him especially any trial or sentence details.

In JTR Casebook there is also details confirming that Joseph Roskelly was residing in the Mile End area but we already knew that from the England Census of 1881.

 

 

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,

Regarding the newspaper articles on the Alfred Eagleton incident where Police Sergeant Roskelly disarmed and arrested him, in December of 1888...…………….here is the summary of these articles so far :-

[a] 4th of December in 1888. Morning Advertiser [London].' Ripper Up,' article. Note  - The woman screamed, 'He has killed me.' 'The woman appeared to be badly hurt.' [previously posted]

8th of December in 1888. East London Observer. 'Ripper Up,' article. Note - The woman Screamed, 'He has kicked me.' 'The woman appeared to be badly hurt.' [previously posted]

[c] 15th of December in 1888. East London Observer. 'Ripper Up,' article. Note - The newspaper article was simply a repeat of the article which was published on the 8th of December in 1888. But also added to the end of the story, the fact that the 'woman now refused to prosecute.' Remember the original articles stated this man was considered to be a very dangerous man. All the court could then do then was...….. 'Mr Saunders then cautioned the prisoner and then allowed Alfred Eagleton to be discharged from the court.  [attaching the full article]

 

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More Police Sergeant Joseph Roskelly short stories :-

7th of June in 1884, newspaper article by the East London Observe, article headed ''A Cannibal.''

James Goodman [30] was charged with violently assaulting Christopher Griffiths of 400 Cable Street, St George's in the East. Not only did he assault his neighbour but he also severely bit him on the face and the court stated 'he has acted like a savage dog.' Found guilt and sent to the kennels...…....I mean jail for two months. Police Sergeant Roskelly  attended the incident and gave evidence at the trial. I have attached the article should anybody wish to read the fuller version of what happened.

 

 

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2nd of March in 1889, newspaper article by the East London Observer, titled ''The Troubles of a Ticket-of-Leave Man.''

This article is about Victorian supervision/license of ex-convicts.

John Wood [22] was charged with being a convict and failing to report himself according to the terms of his licence. He was on a second charge of failing to produce his license.

John Wood had completed a 5 year sentence for robbery but the courts had also given him a 3 year police supervision requirement. On the 31st of December in 1887 John Wood reported to Police Sergeant Roskelly at Shadwell Police Station who served him with a notice and directed him to report himself to this police station on the 9th of each month. John Wood was at that time residing at 99 Sutton Street. John Wood claimed he had gone to New York and destroyed his copy of the license on arrival in America. On return he had handed himself in to the Police and the court remanded him over for a week in order to prove the truth of his statements.

Full article is attached

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Hi,

I think it is reasonable to suggest that Police Sergeant Joseph Roskelly must have been a good and hard working and professional Metropolitan Policeman.

He served as a Police Sergeant in Whitechapel or 'H' division for approximately a decade and which was considered to be a hard and difficult posting.

Police Sergeant Joseph Roskelly also served in Whitechapel or 'H' division throughout the Jack the Ripper murder period in late 1888 which must have been an extremely difficult time for all of the Whitechapel or 'H' divisions personnel. The pressure was on them to catch JTR and the criticism was never ending and from all quarters. Police Sergeant Joseph Roskelly also served in Whitechapel or 'H' division, after 1888 and up to 1891 when there were still false alarms sounding that 'Jack the Ripper was back.'

On the 15th of July in 1891, his efforts and hard work paid off, as he was promoted to Station Police Sergeant because again he was considered to be a valued and dedicated member of the Metropolitan Police.

The question now is, what was the major disaster that occurred in his career which resulted in Station Police Sergeant Joseph Roskelly being reduced in rank to Police Sergeant 2nd Class, on the 3rd of November in 1899. This was a heavy blow especially when you consider he retires on pension approximately 2 years later. 

On the 14th of October in 1899, local newspapers reported on a 'prisoner's death at Ilford Police Station.' James Maguire [50] and a labourer was found drunk and incapable, on a footpath,  in Romford Road. James Maguire was then taken by ambulance cart to the Police Station and a doctor attended and dressed a small wound on his head. Police Sergeant Roskelly was then responsible for the prisoner from 9pm onwards. At approximately 1.30 am the prisoner was found on the floor of the cell and a doctor was again summoned. Unfortunately the prisoner was declared dead. The post-mortem showed death to have been caused by internal bleeding within the head which probable had continued over a period of 4 to 5 hours.  Police Sergeant Joseph Roskelly gave evidence at the inquest and stated when he came on duty he had checked on the prisoner and all appeared to be fine. The Jury returned a verdict of 'death from compression of the brain caused by the fractured skull.'  

The death of the prisoner and Joseph Roskelly's punishment of a reduction in rank, in my opinion, may well be connected. The court hearing did not suggest the Police were to blame for the death of the prisoner or that there were failures in Police procedures but Bow or 'K' division would have certainly carried out their own investigation and who knows what they have come up with. As the Station Police Sergeant on duty, he certainly would have been responsible for what happens in the Police Station and maybe they needed to blame somebody.

I am not saying this is what caused his reduction in rank but it is certainly a good theory to why he was reduced in rank.

 

 

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HI,

The newspaper article on the death of James Maguire in the Police cells, at Ilford Police Station, seems perfectly straight forward and does not attempt to place the blame on anybody

Dr. Evans was the doctor who originally treated John Maguire for his head wound. The previous on-duty Station Police Sergeant Clarke said, ''the doctor certified that the deceased was drunk and was fit to be placed in a cell. Dr. Evans was also the doctor who then carried out the post-mortem on John Maguire and presented the medical evidence at the court hearing.

The only part of the evidence that I find a bit strange, is the statement from Dr. Evens regarding the post-mortem results.

Quote ''There was a fracture of the base of the skull on the left side and there had been bleeding of the brain over the seat of the fracture. Death was caused by this bleeding which must have continued for four or five hours. The fracture probably occurred before deceased was found by PC Walker.''

We have the time-line for when Station Police Sergeant Joseph Roskelly took over responsibility for the prisoner and that was at 9pm. The other part of the time-line which is known, is that the prisoner, James Maguire, was found on the floor of the cell at 1.30am. The doctor was sent for and Dr. Evans arrived approximately 15 minutes later. Therefore Station Police Sergeant Joseph Roskelly had now been responsible for John Maguire for approximately four and three quarter hours in total.

Dr. Evans stated at the hearing that, ''this bleeding continued for four to five hours.'' So it would appear the medical evidence is stating there was no real bleeding within the skull when the incident originally occurred or while they transporting him by ambulance to the Police Station or when Dr. Evans originally treated John Maguire and certified him fit to be placed in the cells but all the damage was done over the period the new shift took over ie the arrival of Station Police Sergeant Joseph Roskelly.

Just my opinion and food for thought.....

   

 

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