Belgian refugee charged with incendiarism

Hertfordshire Mercury, 6th November 1915


At the Stevenage Petty Sessions on Thursday, a Belgian refugee, Jean Van Hoof, giving an address at Bircherly Street, Hertford, and described as a labourer, was brought up in custody, charged on remand with setting fire to a stack of mixed hay, value £100, the property of Messrs. John Inns & Co., of Stevenage, at Ashtree Bottom, Knebworth, on October 24.;

also with setting fire to a wheat stack, value £130, the property of Mr. John William Smith, of Stevenage Bury, at Stevenage, on October 24; and further with setting fire to two clover stacks, to which injury was done to the extent of £170, the property of Messrs John Inns & Co., of Stevenage, at Little Wymondley, on October 25.  The prisoner could only speak Flemish, and M. Gerard Cunis, a Belgian, of Hitchin, acted as interpreter.

Evidence was given by a number of witnesses in support of the facts, which were fully set forth in our last week’s issue, and the accused was committed for trial to the Herts. Assizes on all three charges.  He said he had nothing to say except that he was not guilty.

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