At Hertfordshire Winter Assizes, Reginald Allison (19), described as a Shoe Hand, was indicted for feloniously demanding with menaces of Cissie Edmonds, the sum of £50, at St Albans, on January 21. The boy pleaded guilty.
Mr J.H. Murphy said the prisoner was supposed to be a Boy Scout, but he presumed there must be various kinds of Scouts. The prisoner had stated that he felt he must break in somewhere to get food, and an inspiration came to him to act as he did. In these days when lights were out, especially in lonely country places, ladies were much more liable to become nervous and intimidated than in more normal times.
The prisoner chose a time when it was dark to visit a house on the outskirts of of St Albans, and according to his own statement, must have made a reconnaissance of the place, because he had cycled that way previously. He rapped at the door, and when the cook from within asked who he was he replied: ‘I want gold, £50, or your life will pay the forfeit’.
The Cook asked him where he came from and he replied: ‘Never mind, I demand gold’.
The Cook said: ‘How dare you send such a message to my mistress?’.
The prisoner replied: ‘Never mind, those are my orders, and they must be obeyed’.
The Cook asked, ‘Who sent you?’ and the prisoner replied: ‘The head of the gang’.
The Cook was wise enough not to open the door, and when her mistress came down she had the presence of mind to say ‘I have two officers billeted here and if you don’t clear off I’ll call them down’.
The prisoner’s pluck seemed to fail him, and he bolted. From enquiries at Northampton it appeared that the prisoner had a good home, but had been in trouble before for stealing from a collecting box.
The Judge: ‘Was he acting alone?’.
Mr Murphy: ‘He was acting on his own, the body as well as the head of the gang. Whether it was the Black Hand Gang or not I don’t know. (Laughter) He was wearing a cap with a badge, having belonged to some Boy Scouts Brigade at Northampton’.
The Judge told the prisoner that he was within the age which enabled him to send him to a Borstal home, and he proposed to do so. He had apparently got into bad habits, and it was best that he should be put away from temptation for a time. He would be sent to a Borstal institution for three years.