Serious Charge Against An Old Man

Hertfordshire Mercury, 20th October 1906

By Brian S

George Hastler, 79, a labourer, of Stanstead Abbotts, was indicted for committing an act of indecency upon Dorothy Humphries, a young child, on September 6th, at Stanstead Abbotts.

Mr D. Chalmers-Hunt prosecuted, and at the direction of the court Mr W. Fordham defended the prisoner.

The offence took place in a field near the village school whilst children were in the playground, and the remarkable fact came out in the evidence of two school girls that three of the female teachers witnessed it, and took no step to protect the child.

The Chairman commented upon this extraordinary statement, and the police replied that it was the first time the facts had come to their knowledge. P.S. Birch, who laid information on the case, said he made inquiries of the schoolmaster, and he did not tell him anything about the offence, otherwise he would have called them as witnesses.

The jury found the prisoner guilty but recommended him to mercy on account of his advanced age.

He was sentenced to six weeks’ imprisonment.



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