William Bogan

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Police Constable William Bogan, 222H.

Witness at Frances Coles' inquest.

Born c. 1861, Ireland.

PC Bogan was on duty outside the London Docks when he came across James Sadler lying in the gateway. He was alled to the third day of Coles' inquest:

On the early morning of the 13th inst. I was outside the main entrance of the London Docks at 1:15, when I saw a man who looked like a sailor lying down in the gateway. He was drunk.

Mr. Mathews. - Had he any injury to his face?

Witness. - Yes, a wound over the left eye. I took hold of him by the collar to lift him up. When the gate opened the man said he wanted to get into the dock to his ship, the steamer Fez, and the "dock swines would not allow him." I said he was too drunk to be allowed to go to the ship and requested him to go away. He became abusive, and some dock labourers came up and inquired what was the matter. One of the labourers offered to pay for Sadler's lodging for the night, but Sadler replied "I don't want your money, you dock rats." He took off his hat and a paper dropped out of it. I picked it up and gave it to him, and he said, "That is my account of wages - £4 16s." I again requested him to go away, but he replied, "I'll be locked up first." I said I would take him into custody if he did not go away at once. I gave him another chance and walked away, leaving him still in front of the dock gates.

Mr. Mathews. - What time was that?

Witness. - About half-past 1, but I cannot be certain within five minutes or so.

Mr. Mathews. - What was the next you saw of him?

Witness. - About 2 o'clock I saw him on the pavement opposite the Mint.

CORONER. - This is very important. Can you be sure about the time?

Witness. - Yes, the Tower clock had just struck 2.

Mr. Mathews. - Were you in the company of Sergeant Edwards, and did you notice any further injuries?

Witness. - Yes, a cut over the right eye and his face covered with blood. He said he had been assaulted down by the London Docks by some men. He had his hand on his right hip and said he had been kicked in the ribs. Sergeant Edwards walked away with the man towards the Minories.

Mr. Mathews. - When you left the man the last time outside the Mint, could he have got to Swallow-gardens without passing you?

Witness. - He could have gone up Sparrow-court into Royal Mint-street and then up Swallow-gardens. If he had gone along the Minories he must have passed me.

Mr. Mathews. - How long would it take a man to walk there from where you left him?

Witness. - It is about five minutes walk.

A juror. - For a sober man?

Witness. - Yes.

Mr. Mathews. - What was the exact time when you left the man with Sergeant Edwards?

Witness. - About 10 or 12 minutes past 2 o'clock. Sergeant Edwards only walked about seven yards with the man and then came back to me.

Mr. Lawless. - When you left him at the dock gates there were men - dock labourers - about?

Witness. - Yes.

Mr. Lawless. - And he could have been assaulted between then and the time of your seeing him again?

Witness. - It is quite possible.[1]

PC Bogan was apparently criticized for not arresting Sadler on the spot. Bogan obviously did not take this criticism well and had his wages reduced from 29s a week to 26s. He was then transferred to Lambeth (L-division) as P.C 286L for insubordination to Sergeant Wesley Edwards. In November 1891 he was dismissed for "Obtaining fried fish, refusing to pay for the same, being under the influence of drink, and assaulting the lady shop-keeper".[2]


  1. Inquest report, The Times, 21st February 1891
  2. My Funny Valentine, Bernie Brown (Dissertation on Casebook