The 'Bluecoat Boy' Case

Arthur’s friend Tommy Taylor had been down the Jewish end of Brick Lane, mucking about with some of the prostitutes and earning money from them. ‘Darky the Coon’ was the local ‘Guvnor’, and when he found out, he beat Taylor up claiming all the girls were in effect, his jurisdiction. Although Arthur despised people who lived off immoral earnings, Taylor was a long time friend and he didn’t want to refuse his vendetta.

‘The Coon’ used to drink in the Bluecoat Boy pub in Bishopsgate, so Arthur and his gang went down there to square everything up. They strolled in and saw ‘The Coon’ standing there with his cowboy hat and unbuttoned shirt, and who asked Arthur in a broad American accent “What are you drinking”? Arthur got his drink and threw it directly back into ‘the Coon’s’ face, followed promptly by the glass.

Immediately Arthur’s boys were smashing glasses, using them as weapons and beat the whole gang up gaining barely a scratch. Luckily no one was killed, and they could have got away with it if it wasn’t for the fact that Taylor pulled a knife out after the incident and near-fatally stabbed ‘The Coon’ in the neck as an act of mindless revenge.

Without that act of stupidity, the law would have simply seen the incident as a drunken brawl, but now they had evidence to claim there was intent to harm or kill owing to the presence of a knife. Along with this, one of ‘The Coon’s’ gang claimed that Arthur’s lot had asked him where ‘The Coon’ was drinking that night. This by law meant that Arthur was willingly searching for a fight, with intent.

Directly after the incident at the ‘Bluecoat Boy’ pub, ‘The Coon’ gang asked the police for protection in return for helping the police solve the case. Arthur got to know that this was what they were going to do and went down to the Old Street Police Courts with a few of his boys, determined to attack the gang. This was despite the fact they would have been coming out of the courts under police protection, something which just didn’t seem to stop Arthur. Nevertheless, the police had somehow had a warning that this was what they were going to do, and DDI Wensley, hell bent on teaching the gang a lesson, had set a trap. As soon as Arthur exposed his position and charged ‘The Coon’, a huge number of CID men rushed up and arrested Arthur and most of the people he was with.

Arthur received a sentence for possessing a firearm in a court of law when he attacked the ‘Coon’ gang, and a sentence for the fight at the pub amounting to five years in 1911. He was aged 25.

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