A second husband whilst the first is serving abroad !

Hertfordshire Mercury, 15th June 1918


At the Watford Police Court on Tuesday, Silvia Annie Crampton, of Norfolk Road, Rickmansworth, was charged with bigamy.  Police Sergeant Mead stated that, on 29th May, he had received information regarding the defendant which he then submitted to Inspector O’Connor.

On 30th May, the witness was at Rickmansworth Police Station with the Inspector and the defendant when she admitted that, on 24th March last, she had married Corporal A.A. Andrews at the parish church at Rickmansworth.  She also admitted that, on 19th September,1910, she had married Arthur Henry Crampton at the Registry Office, Bedford.  On Wednesday, 5th June, she had handed the witness the certificate of the Bedford marriage and, on 8th June, she had handed the witness the certificate of her Rickmansworth marriage.

That (Tuesday) morning, the witness arrested her on a warrant and charged her.  She replied  “It is all my own fault.  I have no one else to blame but myself.”

Frederick George Edward Crampton, of Liverpool, electric fitter, deposed that the defendant was his sister-in-law.  He was present at her marriage to his brother at Bedford.  The defendant’s husband had been serving in the army close on 3 years, and was now in France.  The witness had heard from him about 3 months ago.  The defendant’s maiden name was Sylvia Annie Rosen.

Mary Jane Crampton, wife of Frederick Peter Crampton, of 7 Gadsden Street, Bedford, stated that Arthur Henry Crampton was her son.  He wrote to her in a letter dated 21st May.  He was serving with the R. F. in France  The defendant had never written to the witness.  Sidney Broomfield, of Norfolk Road, Rickmansworth, a discharged soldier, deposed that on or about 14th January, Corporal A.A. Andrews, Australian Imperial Forces, took a room at the house of the witness’s  mother for 10 days whilst on sick leave.

On one occasion, he brought the defendant to them, introducing her as Miss A. Crampton.  The witness was present on 24th March 1918 when Andrews and the defendant were married.  They stayed at the witness’ house afterwards.

The defendant was committed for trail at the Herts Assizes.

At Herts Summer Assizes, Sylvia Annie Crampton (25), described as a shop assistant, pleaded guilty to bigamously marrying Albert Adolphus Andrews, an Australian soldier, at Rickmansworth, on 24th March, whilst her lawful husband, Arthur Henry Crampton, was still alive.

Mr J.H. Murphy, for the prosecution, said that the prisoner’s husband was in the British army and arrived home from France on the previous day, being within the precincts of the court.  He understood that the prisoner had been drawing two separate allowances.  The husband was called and, as soon as he appeared in Court, the prisoner through up her hands and collapsed, weeping bitterly.  In answer to the Judge, the husband said that he was willing to answer any questions put to him.  He then stated that he had been in the army for 3 years.  He was married to the prisoner in September 1910, and they had two children.  In November last, he was home on leave for 14 days and spent it with his wife who was then in lodgings in London.  He had left her on good terms when he returned and had received letters from her regularly until quite recently.

Inspector O’Connor, of Watford, stated that the man, Andrews, who was now in France, was an Australian soldier.  At the time he went through a marriage ceremony with the prisoner he was staying in the military hospital at Hatfield.  As far as he knew, he was a respectable man and was 27 years of age.

The Judge asked the prisoner “Do you wish to say anything to me?”,  and the prisoner replied “No.”  The Judge asked “Don’t you wish to give any reason or excuse for your conduct?”, and the prisoner responded “No, except to say that I must have been mad.  There was no reason.  He was one of the best husbands that could be.  I don’t know what made me do it.”

His Lordship, in passing sentence, said  “You can find no excuse for your conduct, and I am sure I cannot.  I cannot even invent one.”  The prisoner, sobbing, said “I have no excuse.  It was simply madness.”  His Lordship responded  “It is nonsense to tell me it was madness.  There is too much method about the madness, especially when I hear that you have in addition been guilty of a very mean fraud upon the Government and taxpayer of this country by drawing double separation allowance.

You have deceived your husband who was out fighting for his country, and all the time writing him affectionate letters pretending you were still his affectionate wife, yet all the time living in adultery with another man.  You must go to prison with hard labour for 6 calendar months.”

There was another scene when the prisoner heard the sentence.  She sobbed aloud and was carried out by the warders in a state of collapse.

This page was added on 11/01/2016.

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