The Elephant & Castle was a public house in Charles Street, Wrexham. In the late 1870’s it had a local reputation for debauchery that included fights and prostitution. On one occasion the local Police Superintendent lamented that he had to dismiss three promising young police constables who he had suspected of using the services of a prostitute at the Elephant & Castle.
On Tuesday 31st December 1878, New Year’s Eve, one such example occurred Bridget Brannan was in the Elephant & Castle speaking to the landlady Mrs Birch. During the conversation Bridget borrowed 2s 6d from Mrs Birch.
Ann Roach, a resident of Market Street, Wrexham entered the Elephant & Castle and accused Bridget Brannan of “backbiting her” to Mrs Birch. Ann Roach, clearly very angry at the thought of being bad-mouthed attacked Bridget Brannan by striking her head first with a poker, and then with a bottle. Ann Roach then stabbed Bridget Brannan in the neck with a table fork.
After the attack, Bridget Brannan sought the attention of Dr. Williams, especially because she believed that a piece of the table fork had broken off in her neck. Dr. Williams found that she had a wound to her forehead, a further wound to the side of her head, and marks from the fork prongs on her throat; although he found that the prong had not broken off in her neck.
Meanwhile, Ann Roach was detained, and she was held in custody until the case could be heard by the courts.
On Monday 6th January 1879, Ann Roach appeared before the court. During the case the court heard evidence from Dr. Williams who commented that if the fork wound to her throat had been of any depth it would have been very dangerous.
The magistrates hearing the case classed it as one of the most serious, and as a result they sentenced Ann Roach to six months imprisonment, with hard labour.
Source: Written and researched by Wayne Cronin-Wojdat, B.A (Hons.), MSc – Historical Gems.