Boys' escapade at St Albans Home

Hertfordshire Mercury, 28th August 1915


At Stevenage Petty Sessions on Thursday, before Messrs C. P. Stewart (Chairman), H. N. Barclay, M. H.  Foster, and F. Villiers, two boys, formerly inmates of St Albans Home, Knebworth, were charged on remand with stealing £1 in money, the property of the Church of England Waifs and Strays Society, an overcoat, value 12s. 6d., the property of Cecil Baghall, and other articles, including two watches and an albert.

The boys were Alfred E. Parfitt, a native of Guernsey, and Edward A. O. Abbott.  Both boys, who pleaded guilty, were arrested in London, Parfitt appearing at Tower Bridge Police Court charged with breaking into a pavilion.

The evidence of Mr Joseph Frost, master, St Albans Home, Knebworth, was to the effect that he locked the establishment up on Saturday, August 7, at 9.45.  Everything was then safe, and the boys were all in.  On Sunday he found that the two boys were missing, and that the cupboard in the dining room had been broken open and £1 in silver and coppers taken.  A collecting box in the hall had also been broken open.  He also found that two of the boys had lost watches.

Frederick Herbert Willows, one of the boys in the Home, identified one of the watches produced as his property.  It had been taken from his locker on August 7.

Thomas Bodley, another boy inmate, also identified a watch (produced) as his property.  He went downstairs on Sunday morning, August 8, and found the coal pantry and storehouse doors open, and everything in disorder.

Cecil Baghall, another inmate, spoke to missing his overcoat on August 8.

PC Kirby deposed that on August 18 he proceeded to Rodney Road Police Station, London, where Parfitt was detained.  The prisoner gave him a watch which he said the other boy had given him, and told him that the boy Abbott had the other property.

PC Baldwin, Hitchin, deposed to arresting Abbott at Rodney Road Police Station, London.  He had Bodley’s watch on him.

In reply to the Bench, the Rev. Herbert B. Hunt, a member of the Home Executive Committee, stated that Parfitt had been with them since March.  He had no-one to look after him.  Abbott had always borne a good character, and undoubtedly had been influenced by the other lad.  He would be ready to take him back with him that morning, and place him in another home.

After consideration the Bench allowed Abbott to be taken care of by the Rev. H. B. Hunt, but they committed Parfitt to a reformatory.

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