Riot case: William Trott

William Trott record

  • Assizes record courtesy of Mr John Gillespie, grandson of Insp Fred Janes.

William Trott, aged 34, labourer, 73 Ashton Road, Luton, was charged that: “On the 19th of July 1919, together with divers other persons whose names are unknown to the number of at least one thousand or more, then and there being riotously and tumultuously assembled together to the disturbance of the public peace, feloniously did unlawfully and with force demolish and destroy a certain building there situate to with the Town Hall, belonging to the Mayor, Alderman and Burgesses of the Borough of Luton, contrary to Section 11 of the Malicious Damage act 1861.”



Appearing before magistrates in Luton on July 30th, 1919, William Trott was said by Special Sgt Sidney Farr to have struck at a Town Hall window three times with a stick and broke the glass, and then walked back to the middle of the road. The Town Hall was then well ablaze.

Warrant Sgt Charles Speight said he stood against the back doors of the Town Hall in Upper George Street, and he saw Trott with another man. The building was then well alight. Witness had known Trott for years, and easily recognised him because he had a deformed foot.

Inspector Fred Janes said that on July 29th, at the police station, prisoner said: “I shall have to put up with it.”

Trott, who had nothing to say and no witnesses to call, was committed for trial, bail of £10 being allowed in view of his affliction.



At the Assizes in October, William Trott told the jury that he had difficulty controlling his arm due to a nervous condition. When his arm gave out, whatever was in his head jumped out.

He was found not guilty and discharged. Said Judge Greer: “He is lucky. I hope there are some decent people who will look after him.”