PC George Snipe

Born in January 1868 to Emma and William Snipe, George was formerly a groom and in the British Army. On February 20th 1890, 22 year old George joined the Birmingham City Police. By March his salary was 24/ a week and by the time he was appointed in April 1891, he had been promoted to the 3rd class and was receiving 26/ a week. In August 1891 he was transferred to the C Division which saw him based at Kenyon Street police station and living in the single quarters there. According to an article on the Birmingham Mail website from 2010: On July 19, 1897, PC Snipe was on patrol in Birmingham city centre when he was called to a drunken disorder in Bridge Street West. ‘He and a colleague arrived at the pub at closing time to break up the trouble, arresting a couple of men for being drunk and disorderly. But as the officers tried to walk away, a crowd that had gathered around them turned on them.’ The officers were pelted with stones, but the drunken mob became increasingly violent – with both officers being punched and kicked. ‘The officers managed to force their way into the entrance of St Matthews Church, possibly in a bid to escape the crowd. Before he could reach sanctuary, PC Snipe was hit on the temple with a brick.’ The 29-year-old married father-of-one, described as an “exemplary officer”, received a fractured skull and died four hours later. The article states that following the incident, a woman came forward and spoke to a senior officer at the old Kenyon Street Police station to say her boyfriend had thrown the brick. It goes on to say that James Franklin was subsequently arrested and charged in connection with the death of PC Snipe. He denied the offence and was later acquitted when witnesses came forward to state he did not throw the brick that killed PC Snipe. Birmingham City Police later arrested George "Cloggy" Williams for the offence. He fled after the disorder and was not seen back in Birmingham for some months until his money ran out. He was eventually committed for trial in February 1898, convicted of manslaughter and given a life sentence.

© 2020 West Midlands Police Heritage Project

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