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The Curious Incident of

Sabrina's 1956 Sheffield Riot

See all the other times Sabrina was in court.
11 May 1956 - Sabrina went to Sheffield to open a new tailor shop. A riot ensued.

24 August 1956 - The fall-out from the Sheffield kerfuffle ends up in court. A brief hearing has the case adjourned until 14 September.

Hartlepool Northern Daily Mail - Friday, p1

WHEN SABRINA MADE 'APPEARANCE'

ON the application of the prosecution, summonses arising from the "personal appearance" at Sheffield of Sabrina, the variety artist, on May 11, when she opened a new shop in the centre of the city, were adjourned by Sheffield magistrates today until September 14.
Town Tailors Ltd. trading as "Weaver to Wearer", of Margate, Leeds. were accused of wilfully obstructing the free passage of Haymarket, Sheffield, and Public Relations Services. Ltd., of Virginia Street. Leeds. were accused of aiding and abetting.
When the case was called Mr. C. O. Adams said that the prosecution could not proceed today, as two of the witnesses were unable to attend. He asked for an adjournment for three weeks.
Mr. K. I. Mitchell, representing both firms, said he had no objection to the adjournment.
He added that he might have to ask for the date to be changed, as it was necessary for a certain witness to be called.
One was "a well-known" personality known as Sabrina who was appearing in Blackpool. He was agreeable to the case standing over "provided the date is suitable for her."

The Day Sabrina Held Up All The Traffic

Daily Express, 25 Sept 1956

Sabrina 1956WHAT happened when Sabrina — of the 39 ½ -19-36 measurements - went to open a shop led to a court case at Sheffield yesterday.
A crowd gathered—more than 4,000 strong. It blocked one of Sheffield's main streets — Haymarket — when she came into view.
A police photographer took pictures—to show the size of the crowd. They were produced in court.
Summonses were brought against the owners of the shop - Town Traders, trading as Weaver to Wearer — and a publicity firm, Public Relations Services, of Virginia Street, Leeds.

WHO IS SHE?

The shop was fined £2 for obstructing the highway and the publicity firm £3 for aiding and abetting. Each was ordered to pay £3 3s. costs.
Sabrina gave evidence for the defence — as Norma Ann Sykes of Bloomfield Road, Blackpool. As Sabrina she had been mentioned 24 times when the chairman, chartered accountant Mr. Harold Jenkinson. said: "We have had references to Sabrina, but we have no judicial knowledge of who this person is."
A witness told him: "She is a well-known television celebrity."
Sabrina was wearing a close-fitting, grey-while. Continental suit with "bare neck" shawl collar, and a cerise velvet picture hat.

She eased off one of her spike-heeled sling-back shoes and rubbed her foot as she sat listening to the evidence.
Then she walked across the court to the witness-box, leaving her mink stole on a seat.

She took the oath — and missed out some of the words. Magistrates' clerk Mr. Leslie M. Pugh made her take it again.
She leaned an arm on the magistrates' bench and turned in profile towards the court. "Face the magistrates," she was told.
In two years she had made 400 public appearances — about 100 to open new shops, she said.

"When I am opening a shop, generally everything is organised and there is a gangway for me to go through the crowd."
But this time she did not see any policemen, there was no gangway — and I got pushed around by the crowd a lot."

THE SURGE

Police Superintendent Ernest Redfern said a sergeant and two constables were there at first. When the crowd grew reinforcements were sent.
When Sabrina appeared the crowd surged over the road and traffic was held up.
He denied that a police photographer was there in readiness because a prosecution was planned before the crowds began to arrive.
Outside the court a police sergeant and three constables kept people away from the entrance.

As Sabrina left she said : "It was quite frightening when I opened the shop — but I was even more nervous in court."
Then she handed autographed pictures of herself to the police officers — and left in a car for London.

Exhibit A - Sabrina...

The Argus, Melbourne (Vic)

26 September 1956

Exhibit A - SabrinaSabrina- Exhibit A 1956

Argus Special Service

LONDON, Tuesday: Sabrina, the blonde who became famous through being seen and not heard on TV, had to speak before a live audience yesterday - AND SHE MUFFED HER OPENING LINES.

She misread the oath when she went into the witness-box at Sheffield Court and was asked to take it again.

Sabrina was called to give evidence about an earlier "personal appearance" she made in Sheffield to open a clothing shop.

The crowd which gathered to watch her arrive and depart, according to police, blocked the road.

The store, and the advertising agency which invited Sabrina, were summoned, and both fined £2.

Sabrina Fluffs Her Opening Lines

Daily Mirror, 25 September, 1956

"Who is she?" J.P. asks

Sabrina on the streetLONDON, Tuesday: Sabrina, the blonde who became famous through being seen and not heard on TV, had to speak before a live audience yesterday - AND SHE MUFFED HER OPENING LINES.

She misread the oath when she went into the witness-box at Sheffield Court and was asked to take it again.

Sabrina was called to give evidence about an earlier "personal appearance" she made in Sheffield to open a clothing shop.

The crowd which gathered to watch her arrive and depart, according to police, blocked the road and footpaths.

Mink Stole

So the shop owners, Town Tailors, trading as Weaver to Wearer, were summoned for wilfully obstructing the highway, and Public Relations Services, who invited Sabrina, were summoned for aiding and abetting.
They both pleaded not guilty.

When Sabrina's name was first mentioned in court the chairman, Mr. Harold Jenkinson said:"Who is Sabrina? We have no judicial knowledge of this person."
Mr. Kenneth Mitchell, appearing for the two firms, replied: "Her real name is Norma Sykes. She is a well-known TV celebrity."
Sabrina, who wore a mink stole, a close-fitting grey two-piece suit and a bright red picture hat spoke for two minutes.

'No gangway'

Twisting her hands nervously she said: "Usually the police make a gangway for me to go through the crowds."
But it didn't happen at Sheffield — she didn't see any policemen, she said.
There were policemen there, said Superintendent Ernest Redfern, "I was there myself with a sergeant and two constables. Later I had to send for additional men."
Each firm was lined 40s. — the maximum — and ordered to pay 6 guineas costs.

24 September 1956 - Reported in Belfast News-Letter, Tuesday 25 Sept 1956, p.5

"Who is Sabrina?" asks Sheffield magistrate

The chairman. Mr. H. E. Jenkinson, asked at Sheffield Magistrates' Court yesterday. "Who is Sabrina? We have no judicial knowledge of that person."
He was told by a witness, "She is a well-known television celebrity."
Town Tailors, Ltd., trading as Weaver to Wearer. Margate, Leeds, were fined £2 for wilfully obstructing the highway of Haymarket, Sheffield, and Public Relations Services Ltd, of Virginia Street, Leeds, £2 for aiding and abetting.
They were each ordered to pay three guineas costs.
It was stated that the summonses arose from a "personal appearance" of Sabrina to open a shop. Police Superintendent E. Redfern said traffic was held up.
Sabrina who gave her name as Norma Ann Sykes, of Bloomfield Road, Blackpool, was a witness. After the hearing, she presented signed autographs to two police sergeants who were prosecution witnesses.


24 September 1956 - Lancashire Evening Post - Monday

After the hearing, Mr Mitchell said an appeal was being considered.
Said Sabrina: "It was much more nerve-wracking to appear in court than in front of the TV camera."

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