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100 years ago: Disabled war veteran goes on rampage in Patricroft

Once again we turn to the pages of the Eccles and Patricroft Journal for this rather amusing story from July 1916 which appears under the headline, ‘Permanently Disabled but Destructive’.

Dennis O’Heher is described as being, ‘a powerful looking man’ appeared at Eccles Magistrates Court charged with drunkenness and wilful damage.

The court heard that Mr O’Heher was in quite a state when he came back to Cordingley’s Lodging House after a night out.

It was the evening of Thursday 10 July when the defendant started to cause a ruckus on Ellesmere Street, off Liverpool Road in Patricroft.

To say that he was drunk and in a violent mood would be quite an understatement.

Once inside the house, his actions became quite scary; smashing all the windows in the house by throwing assorted pans and then an enamel washbasin through the glass.

Not content with this act of vandalism he went into the backyard and attacked a wheelbarrow with a spade, smashing both the wheelbarrow and the spade into smithereens, such was his fury at the inanimate objects.

The police were summoned by other frightened residents of the house.

PC Kay faced a formidable and violent opponent who didn’t want to go the police station quietly.

After a short but aggressive struggle, PC Kay managed to handcuff the errant man and drag him to the police station at nearby Green Lane to calm him down.

The former Green Lane police station, Eccles - now earmarked for luxury flats

The former Green Lane police station, Eccles – now earmarked for luxury flats

However Mr O’Heher wasn’t quite ready for an early night.

He proceeded to ‘act like a madman’. Once inside his cell, he began to wreck that too, ripping out a ventilation cover and destroying bedding.

With the assistance of a few burly guards he was handcuffed and left to sleep it off.

The next day in court, Mr O’Heher appeared to be a different person.

He admitted being drunk but said he knew nothing about any damage he had “allegedly caused”.

He then played his master card, producing army discharge papers which showed that he was permanently disabled.

In battle the drunkard had been shot through the shoulder, wrist and leg and was in receipt of an 18 shillings a week army pension.

The army discharge papers also stated that he was discharged with good character and that he had been a “good and clean soldier”.

He then told the court that he hadn’t had a drink since leaving the army several months ago and yesterday was the first time alcohol had passed his lips.

The Magistrate wasn’t quite convinced about Mr O’Heher’s character reference and said rather drily that it was evident from the damage he had caused that he was capable of doing some light work and that he would be serving his country better by accepting employment.

He was fined five shillings for being drunk and then fined a further £2 and 16 shillings for the damage he had caused in the lodging house and to the poice cell.

Mr O’Heher seemed to be a man of some wealth for he was found to be carrying £5 and 12 shillings on him when he was arrested.

He paid the fine there and then: leaving the court financially worse off – and, no doubt, with a raging hangover.

Hopefully he didn’t go for a hair of the dog or return to Ellesmere Street.

Main image: Liverpool Road, Patricroft © Salford Local History Library

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SalfordOnline.com's Local History Editor and Senior Reporter.