Housebreaking at Much Hadham

Hertfordshire Mercury, 20th February 1915


At Hertfordshire Winter Assizes, William Henry Frederick Johnson (29), Labourer, was charged with burglariously breaking and entering the house of Charlotte Williams, at Much Hadham, on December 22, and stealing a dead fowl and other articles and 3 shillings in money.  The prisoner pleaded guilty and admitted a previous offence.

Mr E.H. Tindall-Atkinson said the money consisted all of coppers, and when the prisoner was arrested the next day, a large number of coppers fell out of his pockets.  They found him concealed in the house where he had formerly lodged, and he was so violent that P.S. Lee and a Constable had to handcuff him and his legs.  The prisoner was to a certain extent an old offender.  He began in 1905 by stealing a bicycle, followed in 1906 by housebreaking in Chelmsford, fowl stealing in Essex in 1907, burglary in 1908, for which he received penal servitude, and stealing two bicycles in 1911, whilst there was a warrant out against him for stealing a bicycle in Takeley last December, which the prisoner acknowledged.  Apparently the prisoner had done some service in the army.

The Judge to the prisoner: ‘Have you been a soldier?’



‘I was discharged from the Bedfordshire Regiment last October as medically unfit.  I got better and joined the R.F.A.’.

‘Were you discharged again?’

‘No, I deserted’.

The prisoner put in a written statement, which, however, was not read aloud.

His Lordship: ‘I will do what you wish to a certain extent.  I will not send you for a long term again because it is not quite necessary to do so.  You have pleaded guilty to burglary and to stealing this bicycle in December.  You will have six months for the burglary and two months for the  bicycle’



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