Monday, February 01, 2010

nine months' hard labour


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Kylie Minogue's ancestors lived in Thornbury and worked on Bristol trams
Monday, February 01, 2010, 07:00

Australian pop star Kylie Minogue's roots have been traced all the way back to the town of Thornbury, but her relatives were not all quite so well behaved.

The ever-popular singer's great-great grandfather appeared at Thornbury Magistrates' Court 120 years ago on charges of indecent assault, reports in a national newspaper have claimed.

Morgan Riddiford lived in the village in the 1890s, with his widowed mother Sarah and two sisters, according to the genealogy website Findmypast.com.

Born in 1875, he was brought before the South Gloucestershire court when he was just 16 years old, along with 18-year-old co-defendant William Sainsbury.

Court records in the National Archives show the pair pleaded guilty to an indecent assault on 14-year-old Mary Ann Tandy.


They were charged with "beating, wounding, ill-treating and doing other wrongs to her".

Riddiford and Sainsbury appeared before Mr Justice Mathew at Gloucestershire Assizes in November 1890, who sentenced Miss Minogue's ancestor to nine months' hard labour in Gloucester prison.

The court was told that the pair had been out following a group of girls in Thornbury with a third boy, 14-year-old William Smart, one Sunday evening.

Mary, who was one of the three girls being followed, was in the service of local farmer John Clarke. When the boys set upon Mary, her father Lewis heard the screams and ran to investigate.

Smart fled the scene but later gave evidence about his two friends, the court records show.

After his release from prison, Riddiford moved to Bristol to work as a tram inspector, and married a local girl, also called Mary.

According to the 1901 census, he lived in Bristol when he was 26.

The Minogue dynasty moved to Australia when Kylie's grandmother Millie Jones emigrated from Maestag, South Wales, years later.

Millie's daughter Carol Jones married Ron Minogue and had three children.

Kylie would go on to star in the Australian soap Neighbours before selling 68 million records in her hugely successful pop career.

She was awarded the OBE for services to music in 2008.

Her sister Dannii is one of the judges on The X Factor talent show programme.

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Carol Jones,John Clarke,Kylie Minogue,Bristol,Thornbury,Australia,Gloucester Prison