Local soldier tried for manslaughter at Portadown, Co. Armagh

On 6th January 1942, a manslaughter trial took place in Portadown, Co. Armagh. In the dock was a local soldier from the neighbouring town of Gilford, Co. Down.

On 6th January 1942, a trial took place in Portadown, Co. Armagh. In the dock, Phillip Dorrien Porter of Gilford, Co. Down stood accused of manslaughter. The case referred to an altercation that took place at Carrickblacker Road in the town on 2nd November 1941.

On that night, an altercation took place between two soldiers and a young married woman. Mr. R.M. Cullen represented the Porter in the Portadown court. The charge was the manslaughter of Cyril Jenkins of Griffithstown, Monmouthshire, Wales.

On 2nd November 1941, Cyril Jenkins had gone to the home of the young woman. During the ensuing altercation, Porter pushed Jenkins and the Welshman fell, striking his head on the kerbside. District Inspector Kenny gave details of the incident to the courtroom.

The Evidence

Among the evidence was that of a Sergeant Cairns who backed up a previous statement about road measurements. This important detail was useful in confirming the view that witnesses would have had of the incident.

Further evidence from Dr. H.S. Henry suggested that Jenkins’ skull was thinner than usual. This may have increased the severity of the blow as the Welsh soldier fell on the kerbstone.

In his defence, solicitor Mr. Cullen put forward a defence that Mr. Porter had only been defending the woman. He suggested that had the Gilford soldier not remonstrated with Jenkins, the case would be entirely different. Had Jenkins attempted to injure the woman and Porter remain uninvolved, he would face questions as to why he had not stepped in. Cullen also reminded those in attendance that there was no proof Porter had struck a blow or used a closed fist in the attack. He also added that the deceased soldier had been under the influence of alcohol while Mr. Porter was a life-long teetotaller.

With bail allowed, Phillip Dorrien Porter would return for trial to the next Assizes in Co. Armagh.

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