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He's sane...

Source: Cardigan Observer 22/02/1896       Date: 1896
Copyright:       Type: Newspaper

BOROUGH PETTY SESSIONS. On Tuesday evening, the 14th inst, a special session was held for the purpose of enquiring into the mental condition of John Donald Breeze, of Belle Vue House, Cardigan before Messrs. Lewis Evans and D. O. Jones. P.S. Denis Williams on oath said I am a police sergeant stationed at Cardigan. A few minutes after 12 noon this day I saw the defendant coming up from Priory-street towards the Guild- hall, and thence up to Pendre, returning when he arrived near the Methodist Chapel, and came back, and on his way seemed very severe in his manner, and accosting each man as he passed. When he got to Guildhall-square he returned towards Pendre muttering to himself in an excited state. When he arrived by the Methodist Chapel I saw him suddenly run up street after some little boy. The children were at this time coming out of the Board School, which is situated at Pendre aforesaid. Complaints were made to me about defendant's conduct. In consequence of what I observed, and the complaints received, I arrested him and took him to the police-station. When I searched him I found the stone now produced in his trousers pocket. It was then dry and clean. I have known defendant for about three years, and have received very numerous complaints about his conduct towards children and females, such complaints being more frequent recently. Until recently, when the defendant was not under the influence of drink, I never received any complaints about his conduct; but recently I have, and find that he is more dangerous when sober than other. wise. When I apprehended him to-day he was perfectly sober. I have frequently observed him walking up and down streets in a manner indicating mental aberration. Cross-examined by defendant: I did not make use of the words mental aberration," but what I meant was lunacy. I daresay I have had about 200 complaints about your conduct. I cannot say how many related to ladies, but they were numerous. I have heard many say you were not fit to be at large owing to your mental condition. The persons referred to as expressing that opinion were not medical gentlemen, but were respectable inhabitants of the town. Up to this day I have not consulted any medical gentleman as to your mental condition, and to-day beyond sending for Dr. Jones, I have not done so. I have frequently observed you walking up and down the street outside the Board School about the time the children were due to come out, and annoy them, and have requested you not to do so. John Thomas sworn said I live at the Emlyn Arms and am a butcher. About 12 noon to-day I saw the defendant standing by the Bazaar. He came up and passed me, and when by Margaret Parry's house he began to run after the children who were coming out of schooL The children did not-nor could they without my knowing it - annoy him in any way. Cross-examined: I heard no child call out to you, nor could one do so without my hearing. Re-examined I saw defendant a few days ago running after a little girl. She was the daughter of Mr Williams, ironmonger, was crying, and appeared very frightened. David Williams said: I am a member of the firm of Williams & Thomas, Ironmongers, Cardigan. I have known the defendant for seven years, his conduct on many occasions caused me to be of opinion that he was not fit to be at large, especially when in a drunken state. When sober I have found him sensible enough when talking to me. On Thursday last I was sent for, and my little girl was crying for hours. I charged defendant with having run after my little girl, when he replied, Had I known it was yours I would not have run after the little girl. He was then neither drunk nor sober. Henry R. Daniel said I am a solicitor practising at Cardigan, and the clerk of this court. About 9 or 10 days ago complaints were made to me as such clerk that the defendant was at Pendre throwing stones after some children, and that I ought to see it put a stop to. I went up immediately, and when near the Bazaar saw the defendant, who was at that time very excited with a crowd of children close by him. I saw him pick up a stone and throw it after the children; and then he stooped down again in search of more stones, but failed to find any. I then went on to him, and told him that he should not throw stones at children in that manner, when be replied, I will as long as I am insulted. I said, If you do I see you are sent back to Carmarthen again." He then said, A boy held up his hand, extended to his nose, to me now, and I will throw stones." I then sent a messenger for Sergt. Williams, as I was of opinion that the defendant was not fit to be at large in that state of mind. He then did not appear to me to be in a state of intoxication. I have known the defendant for several years. Until recently save when in drink, his behaviour has been good; but latterly, when clearly sober, I frequently see him in a very excited state rushing I after children,causing me to be apprehensive of that safety of my own children, and have frequently warned my folks at home not to allow my children to be out without adult protection. The defendant's conduct towards children has caused two of my children named Cissie and Harry, to be in a mortal dread of him, and immediately either sees him they run away in a state of mortal fear. Cross-examined The children referred to are the third and fifth of my children. They know you perfectly well, and see at chapel on Sundays but it is when they are unprotected on the street that they are afraid of you. I do not know whether the fourth child is afraid of you. I am not aware that you have been annoyed by my son. William Woodward said I am a justice of the peace for the borough of Cardigan, and have known the defendant ever since he came to the town. His conduct towards men, females, and in particular children, leads me to conclude that it is not safe for him to be at large. I have seen him at College-row and Priory-street throwing stones after children to the danger of life and limbs. I saw him to-day, and complained to P.S. Denis Williams. He was very excited. I saw him apprehended. Charles Griffith Jones said I am a medical practitioner at Cardigan. I have examined the defendant this day. The result thereof is not such as to justify my certifying him to be a lunatic. Idiot is a person of unsound mind.

The defendant, who displayed wonderful tact and ingenuity in cross-examining the witnesses with a view of ridiculing the evidence, and sometimes becoming painfully personal, was discharged.
Linked to
Breeze, John Donald [1843-1907]