Vue Gaol on Hyde Road

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Post by wangrong on Tue Nov 23, 2010 7:19 am

On 18 September 1867, Kelly and Deasy were being transferred from the courthouse to Belle Vue Gaol on Hyde Road, Gorton. They were handcuffed and locked in two separate compartments inside a police van escorted by a squad of 12 mounted policemen. The van contained six prisoners: a 12-year-old boy who was being taken to a reformatory, three women convicted of misdemeanours, and the two Fenians.[10] As it passed under a railway arch, a man darted into the middle of the road, pointed a pistol at the driver and told him to stop. Simultaneously, a party of about 30–40 men leaped over a wall at the side of the road, surrounded the van and seized the horses, one of which they shot.[11][12] The unarmed police were described by O'Meagher Condon, who organised the attack on the police van,[13] as "a miscellaneous lot, apparently embracing the long and short and the fat and lean of the Manchester force"; they offered little resistance and soon fled.[14]

A commemoration plaque at the site of the incident
The rescuers, after an unsuccessful attempt to force open the van with hatchets, sledgehammers, and crowbars, called upon Police Sergeant Brett, who was inside the van with the prisoners, to open the door. Brett refused, so one of the rescuers placed his revolver at the keyhole of the van to blow the lock, just as Brett looked through the keyhole to see what was happening outside. The bullet passed through his eye into his brain and killed him. The door was opened when one of the women prisoners took the keys from Brett's pocket, and passed them through a ventilator to the Fenians outside,[15] allowing Kelly and Deasy to escape.[8] Brett was the first Manchester police officer to be killed on duty,[16] in an incident that became known locally as the "Manchester Outrages".[17]

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