Court Records – Alfred Gamble (London, 1895)

Alfred Gamble was arrested on 4 December 1895 and brought before magistrate H Smith at Clerkenwell Police Court. He was aged 17 and worked as a labourer (the media noted he was a costermonger, which was a fruit and vegetable street seller), being accused of wounding William Charles Cattle in an attempt to kill him.

William Charles Cattle was just three years old and his mother gave evidence to the court, noting that he was playing in the street by their home at Sidney Grove in Islington. Alfred attacked the boy, attempting to strangle and suffocate him, at the stable at 18 Sidney Grove.

Alfred was tried on 15 January 1896 and the jury found him guilty, but said that he was also suffering from insanity. The trial was overseen by Sir H Hawkins and Alfred was sentenced to remain in HM Prison Holloway “until Her Majesty’s pleasure be known” following his inability to plead or engage with the case.

The Evening Standard reported in December 1895 that “large numbers of people visited the scene of the outrage. Sidney Street forms one side of a triangle of which Goswell Road and the City Road form the others”. The boy was seriously injured, but was taken to hospital and made a recovery from his wounds.

It has since been thought that Gamble was likely involved with other crimes, including the murder of Sidney Victor Dowling. Although possibly a different Alfred Gamble, but the birth-year is the same, there was a resident of Cane Hill Hospital (a psychiatric hospital for the insane) with this name in 1939.