Yorkshire Villains, Rogues, Rascals and Reprobates

Discover the dark side of Yorkshire with this remarkable collection of true life crimes from across the county. Featuring tales of highwaymen, cut throats, poachers, poisoners. thieves and murderers, all factions of the criminal underworld are included in this macabre selection of tales. Drawing on a wide variety of historical sources and containing many cases which have never before been published, Yorkshire Villains will fascinate everyone interested in true crime and the history of Yorkshire.

Chapter List

Chapter One:               Highway Robbery

Chapter Two:              Riots and Treason

Chapter Three:            Forgery and Counterfeiting

Chapter Four:              Stealing

Chapter Five:              Arson and Explosions

Chapter Six:                Child Murder

Chapter Seven:            Manslaughter

Chapter Eight:             Poaching

Chapter Nine:              Burglary

Chapter Ten:               Breach of Promise

Chapter Eleven:          Bigamy

Chapter Twelve:         Poisoning

Chapter Thirteen:        Murder

Extract from the book

A most curious case came before a judge at the assizes held at the Crown Court at York in December 1865 when the jury was told of highway robbery being committed by a blind man. The man named John Cuddy aged 22 had pleaded not guilty to having assaulted William Eley and stealing a watch from him at Bradford (WR) on 7th October 1865. It seems that Mr Eley was walking to Halifax late at night and not knowing the way asked a night watchman to direct him. Cuddy was standing nearby and offered to show him the way as he was also travelling along that road. The two men walked quite a long way until Cuddy told his companion that he knew of a short cut across Wibsey Common. They proceeded to go across the common when Eley began to get suspicious as there was no obvious road and the surrounded countryside was quite deserted. He insisted on going back to the road they had left and continuing with their journey. It was at this point that Cuddy knocked him to the floor and stole his watch, yanking it so hard that the chain broke off in his hand. Leaving Eley senseless on the floor Cuddy made haste towards Leeds where he later tried to pawn the watch for 4s. Unfortunately there were not too many blind highway robbers around and Cuddy was soon arrested and found guilty and sent to take his trial at the Leeds assizes on Saturday December 16th before Mr Justice Shee. The court was told that Cuddy was well known in Bradford where he made his way around the town without assistance of any kind. Medical evidence was given to the jury to state that the man was all but completely blind. Cuddy told the court that he had bought the watch off Eley for 2s 6d during their journey together but Eley had regretted it and taken the watch back. Cuddy stated that it was for this reason that he had knocked him down in order to recover the watch. The judge in summing up expressed astonishment that a man who was unable to see could conduct himself and another over hedges and fields. The jury found him guilty and he was sentenced to twelve months imprisonment with hard labour. The man showed no repentance and told the judge as he left the dock ‘It is a bad jury My Lord. I hope they know what it is to be blind before they die’ before being led away to the cells.

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