El Sombrero Trial

The Birmingham Mail & Dispatch

December 8th 1958

Bystander was brutally set upon, court told

An innocent bystander was injured when a number of Teddy Boy gangs swarmed round a café in Horse Fair,throwing bottles and swinging studded belts,it was alleged at Birmingham Magistrates Court today.


Five youths was charged with being concerned together in maliciously wounding Mr Laszlo Mihalovies  (aged 25),a Hungarian of Hunters Road,Handsworth.

They were Dennis Mc Kenna (aged 20) of 272 Newtown Row Aston.

John Joseph Anthony Kearns (aged 17) of 171,St Martins Flats, Leopold  Street, Bassall Heath.

Barry Keith Wheeler (aged 17) of 234  St Martins Flats  Dymoke  Street  Balsall  Heath.

Edward Raymond Girling (aged 17) of  28  St,Martins  Flats, Vaughton  Street, Balsall  Heath.

William Davies (aged 16) of 152,St Martin’s Flats, Leopold Street.

All except Davis were remanded in custody until October 7, Davis  was granted bail.

Mr M.P.Pugh prosecuting,said  further charges would probably be preferred against one of the youths.

‘Large Number’

He said a large number of youths in Teddy Boy clothing were outside the café in the Horsr Fair on Friday night.

“Apparently they belonged to a number of gangs and  were there with the idea of making a concerted attack on the café and damaging it,” said Mr Pugh.

Many of the youths were armed with bottles,and the gangs moved over to the café with the five accused in the forefront,Mr Mihalovies ,an innocent passer-by customer,was  brutally set upon by the gang,who thought he had some connection with the café.


Mr Pugh said McKenna was seen to strike him and kick him when he fell down.Kearns threw a bottle into the doorway,another bottle  smashed on the floor  and the café window was broken.Wheeler was assisting McKenna in the fight,and Girling was seen to be swinging leather belt containing metal studs.

“The police have three metal belts which appear to have been the weapons used in this affair,”said Mr Pugh. “all the youths escaped,but three were arrested the next day,and the other two yesterday. They have each made statements which I’m told amount to admissions,and it would appear that this was an entirely unprovoked attack on the Hungarian,Detective Inspector James Finlay said enquiries were still proceeding and it was possible that further arrests would be made.


SEPTEMBER 30th 1958.


Four more youths appeared before Birmingham magistrates today, charged  with maliciously wounding  a Hungarian a Teddy Boy ‘vengeance’  raid’ on the El Sombrero café in Horse Fair.

Yesterday, when five other youths appeared on the same charge, it was stated that that studded belts and bottles were used,and knives flourished.

Mr M.P.Pugh prosecuting said the raid took place on September 26,when a number of gangs of youths wearing Teddy Boy clothing got together near the café.

It would appear,went on Mr Pugh,that the gangs arrived there to make a “concerted attack” on the café. The injured man, Mr Laszio  Mihalovics of  Hunters Road,Handsworth was buying refrehments when he was set about by the youths.


“He was very badly treated” said Mr Pugh.He had to got to hospital to have stitches to a wound.

Five youths had been remanded,four in custody until October 7 Mr Pugh said. It might be,went on Mr Pugh,that other charges would be preffered against some of the youths in custody.”Altogether there are nine youths in custody,he said.

Bail was objected to in the case of Albert Brian Smith (aged 18) of 155,St. Lukes Road,but not the case of the three others,two aged 15 and one 16 before the court.

Sombrero: 10 guilty of wounding   

Ted of the 11 accused in the El Sombrero Teddy Boy came at Birmingham Assizes were found guilty today of maliciously wounding a customer at the café on September 26.They had all pleaded not guilty.

Alfred Sherward (aged 16),was clearedof the charge.The 11 had pleaded guilty to assembly to cause a riot.


Last modified on November 26, 2013

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