At Cheshunt and Waltham Cross Petty Sessions Sarah Rowley, of Amwell Street, Hoddesdon, was charged with stealing a collecting box containing 1s. the property of Arthur J. Cooke, at Hoddesdon, on April 14.
Francis Herbert Clark, of 83 Amwell Street, Hoddesdon, grocer, stated that on April 14 on the counter of his shop was a ‘Dumb Friends’ League’ collecting box. Between 9 and 9.30 the defendant came into the shop and was served by his assistant. He did not see her leave the shop, but in consequence of what he was told he went in search of a policeman. He believed the box contained from 1s. to 1s. 6d. The box belonged to the secretary of the Dumb Friends’ League, Mr A.J. Cooke.
The same day he was shown some charred pieces of a collecting box which were, in his opinion, part of the box which stood on the counter of the shop.
Gordon Fairchild, assistant to Mr Clark, said he served the defendant when she entered the shop on the morning in question. About two or three minutes after she had left the witness missed the collecting box from the counter. Another assistant named Ernest Flack said that when the defendant came out of the shop he passed her and he heard money ‘chinking’ in a box which she had in her basket.
Inspector Moles, of Hoddesdon, deposed to interviewing the defendant at 106 Amwell Street the same morning. He told her he was making inquiries about a Dumb Friends’ League collecting box which had been stolen from the counter of Mr Clark’s shop. She replied ‘I know nothing about any box.’ He asked to examine her purse, and she said ‘I have no purse.’
He examined the fireplace in which a fire was burning, and saw the charred remains of a cardboard box, with blue letters on, similar to those on the League’s collecting boxes. He asked for an explanation, and she replied ‘I am very sorry, I don’t know what made me do it, I hope Mr Clark don’t do anything with it.’ The witness asked what was in the box, and she said one shilling, and she handed him eight pennies and eight half-pennies.
The defendant elected to be dealt with summarily. She said she had had a lot of trouble at home, and her head was so bad at times that she did not know what she was doing. A fine of 9 shillings or 7 days was imposed, and a week allowed for payment.