Miles Kington Remembered: The remarkable tale of the postman who finally bit back

Early in my career, after several episodes of being bitten by dogs, I decided to fight fire with fire, and to acquire my own fierce dog, which I took on my rounds

Share
Related Topics

(12 may 1998) A most curious trial is going on in a London court at the moment, in which a postman is accused of biting a dog. The action is being brought under the little-used Domestic Animals Protection Act (1923), which was originally passed to stamp out cruelty in the RSPCA, but which is thought never to have been previously used against a postman.

Here is an extract from the fascinating proceedings.

Counsel: Now, Mr Watt, you are a postman?

Postman: I am.

Counsel: I believe that one of the hazards of a postman's life is canine assault.

Postman: It is.

Counsel: And what precautions can be taken against it?

Postman: Many things have been tried. Dogproof trousers, anti-dog spray, a stout stick, a whistle designed to repel dogs ...

Counsel: Which one of these measures have you adopted?

Postman: None.

Counsel: So what do you do when faced with a hostile dog?

Postman: I bring my own dog into play.

Counsel: Ah! You own a dog of your own?

Postman: That is correct. Early in my career as a postman, after several episodes of being bitten by dogs, I decided to fight fire with fire, and to acquire my own fierce dog. Accordingly, I bought a bulldog which I took on my rounds with me. Whenever I entered a garden or property with a hostile dog on the premises, I would bring Profumo.

Counsel: Profumo?

Postman: Yes. That is the name of the bulldog.

Judge: Most unusual name, Mr Watt. Was it named after John Profumo?

Postman: Who, sir?

Judge: Never mind. Carry on.

Postman: If I were faced with a fierce dog, I would bring in Profumo and set him on the opposition. That always did the trick.

Counsel: So Profumo was never worsted in battle?

Postman: No, sir, though he once had a close draw with a mastiff in Willesden, called Rab Butler.

Counsel: Now, tell us what happened on the morning of 17 July last year.

Postman: The day dawned bright and early, though clouds started to form before half past five. I had a boiled egg for breakfast, with two pieces of toast...

Counsel: I don't mean everything that happened on that morning, just what is relevant to this case.

Postman: Ah. Well, at about 9.40am I entered the garden of 4 Macmillan Road, carrying a pile of letters. I did not take Profumo in with me, as I knew there to be no dog at No 4, and I tied Profumo up outside. What I did not know was that over the weekend the owners of No 4 had bought a spaniel. It was not trained, and attacked me. Without Profumo to aid me, I was panicked and without thinking I did what Profumo would have done.

Counsel: You sank your teeth into the spaniel?

Postman: Yes.

Counsel: Causing injuries which have produced a limp to this day?

Postman: No. I was not hurt at all.

Counsel: I am thinking of the dog.

Postman: That is what most people do. Nobody thinks of the poor postman.

Judge: I dread to ask this question, but what was the name of the spaniel?

Postman: I believe it was Cliveden, sir.

Judge: Good Lord. Carry on.

Counsel: Do you really think you were justified in attacking the dog?

Postman: I did not attack him. I defended myself. Those of you who have never been a postman do not realise under what constant threat we are. I have been attacked by cats, by birds, by barbed wire, by trees, by householders who were furious that the expected letter had not arrived, by householders who were furious that the expected bill HAD arrived. On one occasion I was even attacked by a female snake. Small wonder if occasionally we give way to our human nature and retaliate. Is a postman not also human? If you bite us, do we not bleed? (Huge applause from public gallery, which is crowded with postmen.)

Judge: I probably should not ask this, but was the snake called Christine?

Postman: No, sir.

Judge: Thank heaven for that.

Postman: It was called Mandy, sir.

The case continues.

React Now

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Digital Marketing Consultant

£28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Digital Marketing Cons...

Recruitment Genius: Assistant Stores Keeper

£16640 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Assistant Stores Keeper is r...

Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developer - C# / ASP.NET / SQL

£17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Developer required to join a bu...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

General Election 2015: The SNP and an SMC (Salmond-Murdoch Conspiracy)

Matthew Norman
A voter placing a ballot paper in the box at a polling station  

General Election 2015: Despite all the seeming cynicism, our political system works

Ian Birrell
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living