Crime file: “Herefordshire laborer tried for unnatural crime”

For our ongoing Crime Files series, we go through the collection to tell stories from the history of Herefordshire.

A person was presented to the court of justice in Hereford in 1866. They accused him of committing a crime.

All women and children were ordered out of the courtroom when Hereford Assizes was told that the 36-year-old David Johns had committed an “unnatural crime” during the trial at Clehonger on the 29th of June , 1866.

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Herefordshire laborer tried for unnatural crime

Journalists who were at the trial were warned that they could not give any evidence presented by witnesses and were called upon to support allegations that the judge was responsible for this “disgusting” incident.

“He has an imposing, stolid look and is part of the lowest class of workers,” it was reported at the time.

“He was not consulted and said he had no memory of the events. “

After listening to the evidence, the judge, Ms. Justice Keating, asked witnesses to explain the reason they didn’t do anything in order to prevent the crime. He explained that it was their solemn responsibility of Christians to take action.

Johns, who spoke about himself, claimed that Johns had consumed 2 years-old cider at the time of the incident. He was drunk to the max and consequently, didn’t know about the crime.