Date: 31 Jul 1932
Thomas Sivyer died from head injuries.
A 23 year old third officer from the Swedish steamship Consul Olsson was charged with his murder and tried at the Old Bailey for his manslaughter but found not guilty and discharged after the judge said that the evidence was contradictory.
He had been staying with his family at the house of a friends in Rochester when he heard some tapping at the window. It was said that he opened the door and saw a number of foreign sailors and was then later found injured.
He was taken to St. Bartholomew's Hospital where policemen remained by his bedside until he died.
It was said that Thomas Sivyer had gone with his wife and three children to see his friend in Rochester and on the night of Sunday 31 July 1932 a party took place with 14 people present. It was heard that the party was justifiable, and that there was no suggestion of drunkenness and that shortly after midnight, around 12.15am, some tapping was heard on the window. At first it was thought that it was a practical joke on one of the party.
It was said that the tapping continued and four of the party went out to see who it was and when the third officer was asked if he had knocked on the window he said that he had not. The party then went back in to the house, but a woman became locked out and made a noise and called out to the others in the house. Then, when a woman went out to see, she was said to have been seized by the third officer but to have got away.
Then the rest of the party in the house came out and told the third officer to go away. It was said that Thomas Sivyer had not said anything up until that point but that then suddenly, without warning the third officer was said to have withdrawn his hand from his pocket and to have struck Thomas Sivyer on the upper part of his body causing him to fall and strike his head on some brickwork.
He died from a fractured skull some hours later.
At the trial the court heard that the third officer had himself been hammered all over his face. He also noted that there had been a hostile party out on the road against him and said that he didn't think for a moment that on that evidence it would be sufficiently safe to convict him.
It was also heard that the prosecution did not for one moment suggest that the third officer's blow was struck with any intention of doing Thomas Sivyer any harm.
The jury stopped the case without calling the defence and found the third officer not guilty.
Thomas Sivyer was a motor-tractor driver from Limpsfield, Medvale, Redhill, in Surrey.
see Hull Daily Mail - Monday 01 August 1932
see Gloucester Citizen - Thursday 04 August 1932
see The Scotsman - Wednesday 21 September 1932
see Illustrated Police News - Thursday 11 August 1932
see Portsmouth Evening News - Monday 01 August 1932
see Dundee Evening Telegraph - Monday 01 August 1932
see Illustrated Police News - Thursday 29 September 1932
see Nottingham Evening Post - Tuesday 09 August 1932
see Western Daily Press - Wednesday 21 September 1932