An army deserter steals a horse, but why cut its tail off ?

Hertfordshire Mercury, 16th February 1918



At the Herts Winter Assizes, Charles Saunders (32), dealer, pleaded guilty to stealing a mare, the property of John Howe, at Rickmansworth, on January 21st.

Mr Wardley, for the prosecution, said that the mare was valued at £60.  The police traced the mare to some stables at Golders Green, and had seen the defendant later when he had said that he had bought the animal for £22.  The tail had been cut off.  On being further questioned, the defendant admitted having taken the mare and said that he had done it in order to get arrested as he was a deserter from the Royal Fusiliers.  Some of the hair from the tail was found in the stable and some of it in the defendant’s bedroom in the pockets of a mackintosh.

Captain Bridges, Assistant Provost Marshall, said that the man had joined the Royal Fusiliers on January 20th, 1917, was in the army for 6 months, and that his army record was only ‘fair’.  The military authorities did not want him back.

Inspector O’Connor said that the defendant had a good character as far as honesty was concerned, but that was until this current offence.

His Lordship said that he did not believe that the defendant had committed the offence in order to get back into the army, and felt that that was about the last thing that the defendant would have wanted to do.  He would be sentenced to 7 months in the second division.

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